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Awake in Alucinar: Inside the Dead God’s Brain

After surviving the galate, a shadow bomb trap, and the suicidal shadow haunt, the adventurers are drawn into the very center of the Sea of Nightmares where they find the massive brain of the dead god—the lair of the dream dragon’s evil double. The effects of the ephemeral waters end within 100 ft. of the dead god’s brain and the area is under the effects of the Subjective Directional Gravity planar trait, giving the PCs an opportunity to briefly rest and collect themselves.

inside the dead god's brain mapGray Matter
The wrinkled and decaying gray folds of neural tissue surrounding the dead god’s brain are virtually impervious but still supple, creatures that press against it to sink inside of it. Any creature touching the gray matter surrounding the dead god’s brain makes a DC 15 Strength check or become pinned until they extricate themselves, a movement action that requires a Strength check (DC 15 + 1 per previous check). After being caught inside of the gray matter for 1 minute and every minute afterward, the creature takes 1 point of Wisdom damage and 1 point of Charisma damage. When either attribute is reduced to 0 the creature dies and becomes a piece of gray matter. Creatures not caught in the gray matter can attempt to help a pinned creature with a DC 12 Strength check, but failure by 5 or more causes them to slip and touch the gray matter (possibly becoming pinned themselves).

Inside the Dead God’s Brain
The whole of the dead god’s brain is exposed to Alucinar, half of it having rotted away already. An evil copy of Sleepless Sonuvanje dwells within, resting and consumed with manipulating the dreams of creatures presumably in Aventyr. As soon as it detects the PCs (it has a -20 penalty to Perception checks until an adventurer enters the pinkish parts of the dead god’s brain) it attacks, ferociously defending the area and chasing down anyone that flees into the Sea of Nightmares.

Attacking the Nodes
Instead of attacking the nightmare dragon [Tomorrow’s Statblock Sunday! —MM] directly, the party can target the purple nodes within the dead god’s brain. Even after the draconic monster is killed the nodes must be destroyed to completely destroy the perished deity’s psyche.
While the nightmare dragon lives the four nodes have DR 10/adamantine, resistance of 10 to all types of energy (excluding force damage), and 40 hp, though after it is slain the nodes’ DR and resistances are reduced to 5. Any attacks against a node made with a dreamblade deal double damage and ignore the node’s DR.

Once the nightmare dragon and the nodes of the dead god’s brain are destroyed the entire structure discorporates into nothing, an effect that spreads to the Sea of Nightmares and many of the other recent dangers in Alucinar. Soon afterward Sleepless Sonuvanje—now well rested, alert, and not at all deserving of the title—seeks out the party and promises to take them to a place that will bring them home to Aventyr. The dragon believes the  P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R.S. are enacting the final steps of their insidious plot and though he can’t be sure, he believes they are perfecting the creation of creatures called skurgxon, abominations made from the maddened designs of a demented biomancer working his craft in the wastelands of the Scorched Lands.

5E Rules

Resisting the gray matter is a DC 15 Strength save (or DC 15 + 1 per previous check).

The nodes have 30 hp and until the nightmare dragon is destroyed, resistance to all types of damage except for force and psychic damage.

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Awake in Alucinar: Traversing Dead Dreams

traversing dead dreams

A day after freeing themselves from the trapped city of Ullast, as the party wanders across Alucinar (running into the sea of chaos haunt or a shadow overlap—which they encounter is up to the GM) a strange anomaly appears nearby, one that will lead the adventurers into traversing dead dreams in the decaying mind of a god.

There’s a change in pitch to the otherworldly winds of the Dreaming Island, coming from just west of you. Glancing in that direction you see a few bits of rock and detritus rise from the ground, sliding away toward the coastline. Suddenly much larger rocks begin to “fall” that way, rapidly disappearing from sight, and then you feel an inexorable force that rips your sense of gravity laterally!

The PCs have been gripped by the sea of nightmares [posting on Thursday September 24th! —MM] and are drawn toward the psyche of the dead god on the outskirts of Alucinar. After falling for 5d4 rounds the adventurer’s “descent” slows immediately as they each slam into and through shadowy doorways, taking 6d6 nonlethal damage (no save). On the other side of the dark barrier the party finds they are re-united and in a cave shaped much like an outstretched hand. An ameslari is asleep on the floor, but after the arrival of the last PC it gets up and attacks; use the statistics for a Scheming Fencer (CE Human fighter 11) from the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: NPC Codex, but with ameslari racial traits.

This is not the most dangerous enemy here, however, and the true threat—a galate [tomorrow’s Statblock Sunday! —MM]—prowls on the edge of combat, abducting PCs and dragging them to the chambers’ edges for a foul ritual. Any attempts to teleport out of the cave automatically fail and the shadowy doors are impossible to open or harm in any fashion until the galate is killed.


5E Rules

Instead of one figure asleep in the cavern, there are three: an assassin and two gladiators, each of them ameslari.

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Awake in Alucinar: City of Ullast

city of ullast

As the PCs skirt planar overlaps (with both the Astral Plane and Limbo) while tracking down the P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R.S. in Alucinar, they come across an eerily familiar sight. Just ahead of the party are what appear to be the gates of the city of Ullast, guarded by a manticore. Once they spot the city it cannot be avoided; if they change directions, it soon materializes straight ahead of them. The adventurers must enter the settlement and are only able to do so through the front gates (which Ullast orients towards them regardless of their direction of approach). The manticore at the gate is the same one that was encountered before, only this time it has the dreamghost template [Tomorrow’s Statblock Sunday! —RT). When the dreamghost manticore is defeated, the PCs may pass into Ullast.

Immediately after entering the city the party encounters a dreamghost version of Issa. The girl is clearly searching the area for something and when asked she explains that stones are missing from her bracelet. She even shows the PCs her bracelet and the empty mounts. Issa has searched much of the city but she cannot get into the main town center because it is guarded by a terrible creature—she asks the party for help. A DC 18 Knowledge (planes) check reveals that Issa’s determination to recover her lost treasure is likely anchoring this extraplanar version of Ullast to the Plane of Dreams and restoring her trinket is likely the only way to escape.

When the adventurers are ready Issa leads them to the town center and points to a mutated creature just across the fountain in front of what looks to be the town hall. The monster should be familiar to the party: it looks like a malfunctioning skurgxon except that it is actually a dreamghost malfunctioning skurgxon. Once it is defeated, the PCs can enter the town hall and locate Issa’s missing gems with little effort (a DC 10 Perception check suffices). Issa and Ullast slowly fade away after the stones are returned to her, leaving the party free to go on their way.


5E Rules

A DC 13 Intelligence (Knowledge: Arcana) check determines that helping Issa recover her bracelet’s missing stones is what is required to escape the impression of Ullast on the Dreaming Island.

A DC 7 Intelligence (Investigate) check finds the missing stones in the town hall.


[Submitted by Rory Toma!]

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Awake in Alucinar: Walking the Path

After the PCs encounter Sleepless Sonuvanje while making their way across the surreal landscape of Alucinar, the dragon—unusually weary—leads them to a caravan of ameslari [a new player race! Tomorrow! —MM] traveling along one of the Dreaming Island’s major roads. The dreaming dragon is happy to answer a few questions about Alucinar (up to 1d4+1) before leading the party to a group of the native nomads riding in an unusual vehicle. All told there are four ameslari (three females and one male) all varied in appearance, but each with elven features.
The wagon has four orb-like wheels fashioned from the hemispheres of a pair of large, crystal spheres, and the colorful vehicle is pulled forward by a hefty porthya (a creature with body of a horse, the head and horns of a bull, and a coat bright purple in color). Porthya are unique creatures native to Alucinar. They have the same stats as a draft (heavy) horse, replacing the hoof attack with a gore attack (1d8 piercing).  Despite its awkward appearance, the wagon is a perfectly functioning medium wagon.
As the PCs approach, Sonuvanje announces them and then yawns loudly, drifting off into the sky. One of the ameslari advances in a non-threatening manner, introducing herself in the Common tongue as Iya. She inquires about the adventurers trying to discern if they pose a threat to her group; if she is satisfied that the PCs mean them no harm (DC 12 Diplomacy check) she informs the adventurers that she was about to set camp for a rest, and invites them to join her and her friends for a meal and companionship. Iya is the leader of her group and her female comrades are Psy and Lir. The male is named Dag, and he is shy (speaking very little) and appears to be very tired and weak.

walking the pathInside the cart is an assortment of mundane (though finely fashioned) gear which seems to have all been crafted from materials available in the environs of Alucinar. In fact the array of goods (500 gp total of mundane items) have been created by the ameslari, which they use to trade with others they come across as they trek across the plane of dreams. They also have food and water gathered from the area that they freely offer to the adventurers.
The ameslari take a seat and invite the PCs to join them after setting a fire, which burns in a roiling rainbow pattern atop of a trio of flawless black crystal shards that Iya places near the wagon. Preparing the rations for everyone, Psy begins telling about their own journey. Their friend—Dag—is nearing the end of his life. Though he appears to be relatively young, Psy explains that he’s far older than any of them who accompany him. They are currently seeking a suitable place for their comrade to enter his final rest.
The food and company seem to brighten Dag’s demeanor and he begins to open up to the adventurers, telling fantastic tales about the realm of Alucinar, accounting for many of the magnificent sights he’s seen over his centuries of wandering. If the PCs make mention of their quest or any early encounter with a dragon-like being, Dag will recite a hymn known as “The Dead God Dreams.” [In a Fiction Friday later this month! —JAM] After a couple of hours have passed and everyone has their bellies filled, Lin suggest that the adventurers take part in a game of Walking the Path, which she explains is a favorite amongst her people: the measure of a true storyteller.
The game consists of all participants sitting around the fire taking turns in a clockwise fashion to weave a tale, but the challenge is that each participant may only speak two sentences, and within those two sentences must be a word that begins with a specific letter of the common alphabet; beginning with ‘A’ and progressing by each letter until reaching ‘Z’, and then repeating. There can be no more than 5 seconds pause at the beginning of each turn, or else that player is removed from the game. The cycle continues until only the final storyteller remains, who uses his last turn to provide a suitable ending to the tale the group has crafted together.
After explaining the rules, Lin designates a PC to begin the game (the adventurers with the highest Wisdom score) and then joins her companions in applauding the party. When the game is completed, Dag tells the winning PC that it has been longer than he can remember that he has encountered such magnificent story tellers.
In either case Dag has made the decision that ending his time among the ameslari surrounded by his comrades, after an evening of merriment with new friends, is the best way to highlight a life well lived. However, he has also decided that he desires to aid the PCs on their mission, and offers (much to the surprise of his companions) to become a dreamblade to aid the adventurers, insisting that his knowledge can aid them on their journey through the plane of dreams. [You can find out more about the dreamblade on the next Magic Item Monday! —JAM]
He explains to the PCs that rather than eventually meeting a grisly end that he would rather commit his memories and life-force to the forging of a dreamblade, explaining how the weapon must be linked to the spirit of another in order to maintain his consciousness within. If the PCs accept his generous offer then they must decide who among them will be permanently linked to the dreamblade.
The forging of a dreamblade requires that the intended recipient join hands with Dag as he enters a state of deeper meditation known as the “forever dream.” The recipient is compelled to speak Dag’s mind in a stream of consciousness as his body transforms into the shape of a blade, held in the recipient’s hands as their two minds link and the ritual is completed—with Dag now inhabiting the form of a dreamblade.


5E Rules

Convincing the ameslari that the party poses no threat requires a DC 8 Charisma (Persuasion) check.

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Bogs of Bane: Dreaming Journey

Each night as the PCs camp, sleep brings visions and strange dreams that cause their minds to race with bizarre images of biomechanical swarms. Creatures that fail a DC 19 Will save wake up with the fatigued condition and do not recover hit points or spells from resting. These conditions last until the party encounters a sleep envy trap near the Dreaming Fields—anyone that succumbs to a contraption-inspired slumber is targeted by a single skurgxon swarm that takes them on a dreaming journey. [More on that in tomorrow’s Statblock Sunday! —RT]

The creatures begin their attack within the dreams of their opponents, keeping conscious party members unaware of the assault until after the first full round of combat. Once a somnambular skurgxon swarm drains a negative level from one of the adventurers, a glowing portal appears nearby and spews forth countless more of the strange little monsters (there should be at least one swarm for each member of the party). Anyone that is still asleep is dragged towards the portal while the remaining PCs are targeted each by at least one swarm that attempts to drag them into the portal after bestowing a negative level.

dreaming journeyOnce through the portal, the party find themselves on the boundary of Alucinar and their negative levels are automatically restored. [More on Alucinar, the Plane of Dreams, next month! —RT]

The portal remains open for several hours after the swarms have been dispatched; any PC that took level drain and did not cross over into Alucinar senses that a part of their life force is on the other side of the dimensional breach. Due to their temporary dual-existence on two planes, a creature so affected can see and hear ghost images of Alucinar, causing them to be distracted (taking a -4 penalty on all concentration checks, skill checks, and attack rolls; they must also make an additional concentration check to cast any spell).

Once all the PC’s have entered Alucinar, the portal closes.


5E Rules

Receiving the benefits of a long rest requires a DC 14 Wisdom save.

Creatures experiencing dual-existence have disadvantage on all ability checks.

[Submitted by Rory Toma!]

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Bogs of Bane: The Current Temple

the current templeThere’s always been an uneasy peace between two powerful and dangerous forces in the Muddy Mangroves: the clergy of the Current and the minions of the Mud King that tromp in the Dreaming Fields area of the Mangrove Maze. These diehard followers maintain a temple within a deep pool close to the dry area of the fields in order to have easy access to the narcotic flowers that are used in various ceremonies and rituals which they use to attempt contact with the swirling eddy of the Maddening God’s thoughts. Believing the soporific effects of the flowers and the resulting drug induced sleep to open their minds and allow for bonding with their elusive deity, these worshipers of the Current stubbornly remain in the vicinity of the Dreaming Fields and have built a mind-bending temple structure at the bottom of a deep, murky stretch of water, only the twisted doorways at its top visible to passersby.
Treating the flowers as sacred the Current priest has tolerated occasional picking of the plants by the Mud King’s subjects for use in their foul concoctions and occasional narcotic fueled rites of passage. Recently however the Mud King has started harvesting flowers in earnest to provide the P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R.S. with the quantities they require to make skurgxon. Claiming dominion over the area, the Mud King has rejected requests from the the Current congregation to reduce plant picking and has ignored their attempts at protecting sections of the Dreaming Fields. This has led to heightened tensions between the two camps and it has come to the point where a single misinterpreted action could spark outright hostilities.
Into this powder keg situation come the PCs, guided to the Dreaming Fields by a demon huntress (Varssadd of the Bloodclaw Tribe) in search of the P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R.S.; unfortunately they have already moved on after collecting enough of the living spores that they required from the area. To get access to The Dreaming Fields the adventurers must defeat both the Mud King’s subjects and the Current’s followers, or set one against the other and use the resulting chaos to enable investigation of the area. The information here is scant—when the party questions any of the locals (either as a result of intimidation, after capture, or while assisting one side against the other) they learn that the Mud King has been helping outsiders for some time to harvest flora from the area. What more the gathering of the living spores has recently ceased and there has been no sign of the outsiders for some time.

Creatures in the area
The Mud King has a number of minions and active combat units in the area, most notably several groups of minotoyles under the command of a mud monster sergeant.
The Current worshippers consist of a small troop of fey acolytes and a priest. [Tomorrow’s Statblock Sunday! —MB]

The Current Temple
Sitting in the mud, almost completely submerged in the depths of a stagnant lake (the largest body of water close to The Dreaming Fields) is a mind bending structure built over many years by the loyal flock of the Maddening God: the Current Temple. What lies within the shrine is anyone’s guess… [This is another adventure seed! Do what you will GMs, you nefarious masters of the world! —MM]

[Submitted by Martin Blake!]