Swirling pools of quicksand recede as whipping tentacles rise from the earth, dragging up a monstrous, terrifying sight. Easily twenty feet or longer, it’s chitinous, pocked hide gleans in the harsh sunlight as it surges out of the ground, huge legs carrying forward a gnashing maw with surprising nimbleness.
Ollphéist CR 7 XP 3,200
N Gargantuan animal Init +5; Senses scent, tremorsense 120 ft.; Perception +6
DEFENSE AC 18, touch 8, flat-footed 12 (+1 Dex, +1 dodge, +6 natural, -4 size) hp 128 (10d8+83) fast healing 2 Fort +13, Ref +8, Will +5 DR 5/—; Resist fire 15
OFFENSE Speed 50 ft., burrow 40 ft. Melee bite +11 (2d8+8 plus grab), three tentacles +9 (2d6+4 plus grab) Space 20 ft.; Reach 15 ft. (tentacles 30 ft.) Special Attacks sand funnel
TACTICS Before Combat The ollphéist uses sand funnel to entrap creatures in patches of quicksand, hiding beneath the earth using it’s freeze ability (DC 30 Perception check to notice the tentacles writhing about in the ottom of the quicksand). During Combat An ollphéist isn’t mindless, but it’s not overly intelligent. Once it has sprung upon some prey, it attempts to grab and kill as many creatures as it can, all at once. Morale Reluctant to leave a meal unfinished, an ollphéist doesn’t retreat until reduced to 10 hit points or less, at which point it disappears beneath the ground and tunnels away at top speed..
STATISTICS Str 26, Dex 13, Con 22, Int 5, Wis 14, Cha 5 Base Atk +7; CMB +19 (+23 grapple); CMD 30 (34 grapple, cannot be tripped) Feats Dodge, Improved Initiative, Multiattack, Skill Focus (Stealth), Toughness (2) Skills Climb +12, Perception +6, Stealth +0 (+10 submerged); Racial Modifiers +10 Stealth while submerged; Size Modifiers -12 Stealth SQ freeze (underground only), no breath
SPECIAL ABILITIES Sand Funnel (Ex) An ollphéist can spend a full-round action to transform an area of sand within reach of its tentacles into quicksand. Once it has started a patch of quicksand, the ollphéist can maintain it as a swift action.
Corruption Blooms CR 5 A vast field of beautifully vibrant argent and carmine flowers. Type magical/living; Perception DC 25 / Knowledge (nature) DC 20; Disable Device special (destruction of plants, damaging the blooms triggers the trap) [hp 10 / 5 ft. square] Trigger location; Reset automatic
Each of the flowers has six pear-shaped petals that are deeply red in color with metallic silver specks erratically splashed throughout. The field is nearly 60 ft. wide and stretches from visible horizon-to-horizon. The verdant stalks of the blooms are tall, some standing as high as a halfling, and create an almost hypnotic pattern as they gently sway in the breeze.
Corruption Blooms are known to the people of the K’naghi tribe as “Soulweed” due to their ability to transform any creature that wanders into their field into a corruption bloom.
They are carnivorous plants and their bite is both venomous and magical, first paralyzing its prey before slowly mutating them into a plant type creature. Eventually, if left untreated, the mutating effect changes the victim into another corruption bloom.
Exceedingly rare in the wild, corruption blooms are magic plants (of true neutral alignment) that can grow in any climate from the icy abode of the arctic tundra to the harshest of deserts. Their only means to reproduce is through the mutating effects of their venom. They can have a lifespan of centuries.
The blooms are often planted by proprietors of sacred or secret sites to deter and prevent passage by unwanted visitors. This is the case with the K’naghi tribe who plant the “soulweed” as a defense around the far outskirts of their village. The members of the tribe have been bestowed with a supernatural protection from the blooms by their tribal god, and the plants do not attempt to attack them. However, this protection is afforded to them only when they travel within their ancestral homelands.
A field (or infestation) of corruption blooms does not immediately trigger with the presence of potential prey, instead waiting for creatures to wander into the center area of the field (at least 30 ft.) where they are surrounded.
Once a creature is near the center of the infestation, the trap triggers and all corruption blooms surrounding the creature lash out with gaping maws that were hidden beneath their large flowers.
To avoid the bite of the corruption blooms, a targeted creature must make an immediate DC 15 Reflex saving throw that repeats at the beginning of any turn they begin their turn in a square occupied by corruption blooms. Traveling through a square occupied by corruption blooms requires a DC 10 Reflex saving throw to avoid the reach of the trap.
A creature bitten by corruption blooms takes 1-2 damage and must make a DC 15 Fortitude saving throw or suffer from one of the effects listed on the table below. On a success the creature is not affected by the venom.
1d8 Venom Effect
1-5 Paralysis that lasts for 1d4 rounds. Slow (1d12/1d12 hours) mutating effect.
6-7 Paralysis that lasts for 1d4 minutes. Moderate (1d4/1d4 hours) mutating effect.
8 Paralysis that lasts for 1d4 hours. Fast (immediate; see below) mutating effect.
Once the corruption bloom venom effect has been determined, subsequent failures do not alter or augment the effects for that creature.
The affected creature begins a painful mutation process, turning from a creature of its type to a plant type creature. If left untreated, after the first increment of time the creature loses its ability to move, speak or communicate. After the second increment, it becomes a corruption bloom. A fast mutating effect takes hold immediately; after 1d10 minutes the affected creature begins to gestate, and 1d4 hours later is transformed into a corruption bloom.
The effects of this mutation, while in process, can only be mitigated by use of the antidote. Once the mutation process is complete, and the creature has been turned into a corruption bloom, it is permanent. Only a greater restoration spell (CL 20th) can reverse and negate the permanent mutation.
An antidote for the mutating effects caused by corruption blooms can be concocted from the petals of the flowers crowning the plants. With two dozen petals (each bloom has 6) the antidote can be created with a DC 20 Spellcraft check or DC 30 Knowledge (nature) check.
It takes 30-minutes of focused effort to create enough antidote to reverse and negate the mutating effects suffered by one Medium creature, half as long for a Smaller creature, and Twice as long for a larger creature. The antidote is applied topically. If the mutating process is completed, it provides no benefit.
The people of the K’naghi tribe keep a few doses of the antidote within their village, reserved for accidental triggering of the trap by friendly visitors. However, they are not willing to just hand over their stock of antidote without either ample compensation or until they are sufficiently convinced that the affected creature is worthy of saving from their botanical fate.
Precisely where I got the idea to make the AaWBlog a months-long, continuing plot is unknown to me. Fortunately it seems to be going well, and for that, a tip of the hat needs to be given to the most frequent of the AaWBlog crew: Brian Wiborg Monster, Justin Andrew Mason, Tim Snow, and Rory Toma!
This wild ambition began with Tribal Troubles. A mysterious creature appears and sweeps the PCs off to the Disputed Territories of Aventyr where they interact with three tribes of natives before breaching an ancient temple. Within they awaken a dangerous, timeless creature, along with a powerful sword that can sweep them away to Pradja, following a curious photograph that talks of the party’s death!
Definitely take a look at the summaries here and here!
The AaWBlog adventure path continues in the tundra of northern Aventyr, along the railways of gnomish engineers and laymen laborers. Our adventurers travel to Steamtown, embroiling themselves in a proletarian conflict centered around a strange, prophetic news sheet! Alligotonium, a mineral integral to the adventures to come, makes its appearance in these series of articles.
Destiny Derailed can be perused now here and here!
DESCRIPTION The glimmering blade of this enormous sword flows down from its sharp edge into a sweeping hilt. It seethes with a red aura when wielded.
This +2 falchion benefits its wielder with endure elements as a constant spell-like ability. In addition to that, once per month the wielder may summon a gyeongsa warp storm as though they had cast summon monster VI. Every round, the wielder of Dogovor, Falchion of Accord may spend a standard action to control the actions of the gyeongsa warp storm as though they had cast dominate monster; it can only successfully resist on a natural roll of 20 for its Will save. After 12 rounds, this dominate monster effect abates.
Additionally, the wielder of Dogovor, Falchion of Accord can banish a gyeongsa warp storm once per month (as teleport, displacing the creature to as far a distance away as possible).
Success on a Knowledge (history) check to learn more about Dogovor, Falchion of Accord reveals some facts about the unique weapon’s lore:
Some legends of the Disputed Territories speak of a dangerous sword tied to the lands, hidden away beneath the sands near the Alimpulosa. DC 20 The famed blade is named Dogovor, Falchion of Accord, and it’s said that anyone that brings it to the Ayaxan nomads is destined to rule their tribe. DC 25Dogovor, Falchion of Accord is said to appear in the hands of warriors near gyeongsa warp storms, DC 30 While none are positive as to how exactly the weapon was first crafted—or by whom—many claim that the progenitors, or even the gods, created Dogovor, Falchion of Accord to bring balance to the Disputed Territories, a collection of realms that appear to defy the implementation of order.
CONSTRUCTION Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, a handful of dirt from the furthest cardinal points of the Disputed Territories, the captured essence of an elder air elemental, endure elements, summon monster VI; Cost 16,250 gp
This enormous humanoid stands nearly fifty feet tall, and bears three sets of functional insect-like wings and a face that resembles a nightmarish insect. Several long tentacles protrude form the side of its head and its mouth is augmented with sharp pincers that gleam with spittle as it lets forth an ear-splitting roar while rising from its slumber within the temple, followed by the deafening buzz of its wings as they rev into a blur behind the monstrous thing’s back.
NAGHITH, THE MANY-WINGED FATHERCR 8 XP 4,800
CE Gargantuan outsider (insect, devil, extraplanar) Init +6; Senses darkvision 60 ft., see in darkness; Perception +16
DEFENSE AC 23, touch 17, flat-footed 16 (+6 Dex, +1 dodge, +6 natural) hp 94 (9d10+45) Fort +11, Ref +12, Will +7 DR 8/good; Immune acid, poison; SR 19
TACTICS Before Combat Before engaging in direct combat, Naghith uses its spell-like ability to cast fear at the target that completed the temple lock puzzle. As its first action it takes flight, hovering 50 feet above the PCs before summoning a swarm (3d4) of gigantic locusts, which it commands to also engage the party. During Combat Naghith’s first attacks with its acid spit while mid-air. If the acid attacks seem less than effective then it lands. When it lands (or is forced to land), Naghith resorts to making melee attacks with its claws. If PCs wander into range of its tentacles, Naghith tries grapple and then use its pincer attacks. When Naghith is reduced to 30 or fewer hit points, it rips chunks of rubble from the ruined temple and hurls them at its opponents. After Combat Naghith fights to the death, but when reduced to fewer than 1/3 of its total hit points, if there’s no immediate aggression towards it, the giant creature retreats back into the temple where it slumbers to recover from its wounds. If awakened from this slumber, Naghith fights to the death.
STATISTICS Str 20, Dex 23, Con 21, Int 14, Wis 18, Cha 21 Base Attack +9; CMB +14; CMD 31 Feats Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Mobility, Point-Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Rapid Shot, Shot on the Run Skills Acrobatics +18, Bluff +17, Escape Artist +12, Fly +19, Intimidate +19, Perception +16, Sense Motive +18, Stealth +18 Languages Infernal; telepathy 100 ft.
ECOLOGY Environment any Organization solitary Treasure triple (Dogovor, Falchion of Accord)
SPECIAL ABILITIES Grasping Protrusions (Su) The many tendrils protruding from the side of Naghith’s head can be used to grapple a medium-sized creature within a 15-foot range.
The Temple of the Locust God There sits a vast temple in the middle of a sea of dunes; it has no surrounding complex, just a massive tribute built from stone. Though the desert sands and arid winds have done their work to erode away at the structure, it remains a sight to behold nonetheless.
The temple’s builders and its true purpose have been lost to time, and even the oldest tales about the shrine refer to it as an ancient abandoned site. Its current title is derived from the name of the K’naghi tribal god—the word “Naghith” literally translates to Common from the Giant tongue to mean “the winged one.”
Centuries ago, the giant overlords of human slaves (that would come to be known as the K’naghi tribe) discovered this temple. The tribal mythology of the desert people recounts how their god, Naghith the Many-Winged Father, arose there and slaughtered the giants, inadvertently freeing the humans before returning to its slumber within. This event would leave a resonating impact on the cultures that evolved in and around the Alimpulosa territory. Since then the temple has been a forbidden place—or at the very least taboo and widely avoided—to most, save the occasional foolish traveler.
Giant Skeleton Boneyard Lending some credence to the mythology surrounding the temple, the parched skeletal remains of several dozen giants litters the approach to the structure (after the bane of the Piseogach). When the PCs breech the boneyard (coming within 50 feet of any of the temple’s stairways) one of the skeletons becomes animated, and wielding the bones of his dead brethren as weapons, attacks the adventurers!
As you near the base of the temple stairs, there is a noticeable shifting beneath the nearby sand. Sharp winds kick up motes of sand, revealing skeletons of several large humanoids beneath the surface. The bones are dry, bleached by sun and sand. For a moment the area grows still before suddenly, with an explosion of grit sent skyward, a complete giant skeleton leaps from the desert! Its brittle bones clack loudly as it moves toward you, wielding a large femur bone in one hand and a cracked giant skull in the other.
The giant skeleton wields other giant bones as improvised weapons; using a large femur bone as a club and/or uncovering multiple skulls to be thrown as missile weapons. The giant skeleton continues to engage the PCs until it is either destroyed or they travel further than half-a-mile away from the temple (in which case it returns to the boneyard and collapse back into bones). If the skeleton returns to the boneyard and is “reawakened” by another approach to the temple, it is fully restored as if it were totally new monster. There is only one giant skeleton, and once it is fully destroyed it does not return.
The skeleton has no treasure, but a search of the sandy area nearby uncovers a total of 25 inanimate giant skeletons alongside an array of treasures that were likely possessions of the dead creatures.
The Three Altars Three separate sets of stairs create open-air corridors, 120-feet in length that each ascend 50-feet high to three different altar tiers near the top of the temple. These tiers are small and isolated from one another, each bearing a stone slab crowned with a pillar that stands nine feet tall.
As well as being the key to solving the combination lock on the sanctum entrance found in the temple ruins on top of the temple, all three altars are also cleverly disguised traps. Each has been created to trigger at the detection of any spell being cast. This trigger includes the use of wands, staves or other magic items that result in magical effects.
Engraved upon these three pillars is an array of different pictographs. If detect magic is cast upon a pillar, it reveals that one of the pictographs on each pillar is a magic sigil. Each of the unique magic sigils found on the three separate pillars denotes one part of the six-part combination needed to unlock the entrance to the temple sanctum.
The original builders of the temple intended the use of the rare wortworm fungus as a part of deciphering the combination key. If the PCs have some powder of detection, it allows them to detect which of the sigils is magic without causing an actual magical effect that would trigger the traps. It also reveals the specific color associated with the pictogram (based on the powder’s glow due to the type of aura the sigil generates) needed to complete the combination lock upon the door to the sanctum. However, casting a spell (including detect magic) triggers the trap upon the stairs leading to that altar.
Stairs to the South Altar
The Corridor of Night Trap Type magical; Perception DC 35; Disable Device DC 40 Trigger spellcasting; Reset automatic (1 hour) Effect multiple targets (all targets on the steps), whirring blades (3d6 slashing, DC 25 Reflex negates)
When this trap is triggered, the entire corridor fills with magical darkness (CL 8th) and whirring round blades (3d6 damage) jet out from the seams between the steps. A creature with blindsense or blindsight receives a +10 circumstance bonus to their Reflex save.
Stairs to the Central Altar
The Corridor of the Sun Trap Type magical; Perception DC 37; Disable Device DC 30 Trigger spellcasting; Reset automatic (1 hour) Effect spell effect (fireball, 10d6 fire damage, DC 15 Reflex halves); multiple targets (all targets within a 30-ft.-radius circle)
When this trap is triggered a large fireball (CL 10th) hurls down the corridor originating from the pillar, exploding when it strikes a target (or reaches the bottom of the stairs).
Stairs to the North Altar
The Corridor of Stars Trap Type magical; Perception DC 25; Disable Device DC 45 Trigger spellcasting; Reset automatic (1 hour) Effect delayed effect (3 rounds); multiple targets (spread, see text); exploding motes (3d6 per creature, 1d4 cold damage each, no save)
When this trap is triggered, the pillar emits countless pinpoints of light that drift down the corridor as if on a gentle breeze. At first these motes are harmless. However, once the first of the motes has drifted down to the bottom of the stairs (3 rounds), each of them explodes into a tiny burst of cold. Any character remaining in the corridor or on the altar are hit by 3d6 of the explosions (dealing 1d4 points of cold damage each).
The pictographs engraved into the pillars are each unique and consist of hundreds (if not thousands) of different stylized designs.
The South Altar: The magic sigil on the pillar of the south altar is in the shape of a stylized eclipsed moon and has a faint aura of transmutation. If the PCs use powder of detection this aura glows with a violet hue.
The Central Altar: The magic sigil on pillar of the the central altar is in the shape of a stylized sun rising over the horizon and has a faint aura of abjuration. If the PCs use powder of detection this aura glows with a red hue. (Image of Sigil)
The North Altar: The magic sigil on the pillar of the north altar is in the shape of a stylized dual eight pointed star and has a faint aura of enchantment. If the PCs use powder of detection this aura glows with a green hue. (Image of Sigil)
Temple Ruins Narrow channels lead from the three altars and incline towards the highest plateau of the structure. Atop of the main tier of the temple appears to be the rubble from an entire level that at some point in the past collapsed. Debris litter the stone flooring, leaving little behind but a few partial columns and remnants of what appear to have once been inner arches.
As you move upward towards the highest tier of the temple, following the narrow channel from the altar, you find what appears to be an entire collapsed level of the temple—debris covering much of the high stone platform. Gazing across at the localized destruction, you notice another stairway near the center of the temple that descends down to two massive stone doors.
The doors are solid, adorned with six rounded stone dials. Three larger stone dials have been engraved with several pictograms, and are arranged side-by-side near the middle of the ten foot tall doors. Three smaller stone dials have been inlaid with a series of five surprisingly large gemstones of various colors, situated one each above the larger dials. Below the dials is a heavy iron ring, obviously a door knocker.
Each of the dials is accompanied by a chevron engraved in the stone of the door behind it, likely indicating a selected icon or gemstone for each.
At the bottom of the chamber is the corpse of Gyrick the gnome. He’s been bloodied and an arrow sticks through his shoulder, but a DC 15 Heal check reveals that he didn’t die from blood loss. A thorough search of his person reveals two potions of cure light wounds, a +1 dagger, and some masterwork thieves’ tools, but little else.
The dials turn in both directions. The door is securely sealed and constructed of 5-foot thick granite stone. When all the dials have been set to the proper order to resolve the combination and the door is “knocked” three times sequentially they open, each stone panel sliding to the side to allow for a 10-foot high, 10-foot wide entryway that leads into the temple sanctum.
The combination of symbols includes the sequence of magic sigil pictograms that are located on the three altar pillars (in this order: south altar, central altar, north altar). The smaller dials above each should be set to match the color of the gemstone with the color of the aura of each of the sigils revealed by powder of detection.
Lock Combination Each of the larger stone dials weigh about 500 pounds and require 100 pounds of pushing force to turn. The smaller dials weigh about 100 pounds and require 25 pounds of pushing force to turn.
The first three times a combination is failed (or the doors are attempted to be opened by some other method), it triggers a life-drain effect that targets all living creatures within a 30-foot radius surrounding the door, dealing 1d6 points of temporary Constitution damage. This effect is only triggered three times before it becomes iner (no other effects occur due to additional incorrect combination attempts). The lock is ridiculously advanced and can only be automatically solved with a DC 50 Disable Device check.
The gemstones inlaid inside the smaller dials are ten times the size of normal gemstones of their type, thus increasing their typical gp value by x 100. They can be relatively easily pried from their resting place with a DC 15 Strength check.
Gemstones and GP Values: ruby (1,668 gp), violet garnet (511 gp), jacinth (1,990 gp), diamond (2,436 gp), bright green emerald (1,973 gp), star rose quartz (412 gp), purple corundum (677 gp), amethyst (359 gp), sardonyx (717 gp), clear quartz rock crystal (112 gp), alexandrite (406 gp), emerald (1,168 gp), chrysoprase (247 gp), star rose quartz (325 gp), jacinth (1,298 gp), red spinel (464 gp), ruby (2,035 gp), carnelian (313 gp)
The Inner Temple Sanctum The stone doors open to reveal an inclining passageway that continues into the depths. It opens into the temple sanctum, the large chamber that fills the interior of the structure.
The area is 150 feet by 150 feet, boasting a column-supported ceiling some 50 feet high. Narrow shafts leading outside, less than half-an-inch in diameter each, dot the upper half of the walls and create a visual appearance of a sea of stars overhead. The radiant beams cast through the dust-laden air are bright enough in contrast to the darkness of the chamber to illuminate the area with dim light.
In the center of the room is a large 10 foot high solid stone statue of an insectile head. Around the sculpture’s neck—which extends down the the ground—is a stone gorget attached to a round sigiled amulet so large that it rests against the sanctum floor like a table.
Above this massive, round platform, levitates an enchanted blade—Dogovor, Falchion of Accord [next Magic Item Monday, folks! -MM]—that slowly rotates in the open space it is suspended within. If the weapon is removed from it’s location by any means (requiring at least 30 pounds of force), it triggers the awakening of Naghith [tomorrow’s post! -MM]. The stone head sculpture magically transforms into living matter as it rises from the ground below, revealing a massive pit in the center of the sanctum and the other (much larger) portions of its buried body.
Enraged, the Many Winged Father takes flight, immediately collapsing the weakened stone ceiling to expose the sky above, sending debris down upon the PCs as he takes flight above the temple. The adventurers must make a DC 17 Reflex saving throw or be hit by falling debris (2d4 damage).
See tomorrow’s AaWBlog article to find out more about the locust god and its combat tactics as it engages the PCs in an epic battle!