Posted on Leave a comment

Mendacious Materials: A Bit of Story

“Mohkba’s not just a place of glamor and regal nobility,” the old dwarf says, scratching the scar near his eyepatch idly, “there’s a dark underbelly of the elite that doesn’t often reach the taverns outside the city. Why it was only last year that those bloody Cultus Sanguineus lot nearly summoned up an evil as bad as anything from HEL.”

sanguine ball proper - a bit of storyMykail’s fine half-elven ears, ever keen to any mention of HEL—nearly always an excellent source of dramatic stories or legendary tales—perk up at the mention of the final resting place for the most wicked souls in Aventyr. “That bad?”

The stout, aged warrior strokes his beard, grinning in the satisfaction of earning an attentive listener. “That bad or worse. Whole bunch of the rich folk had gotten real into the thick of it—cult worship, that is, devoting all their time and piles of unspent gold to gather up massive pools of blood beneath Mohkba’s streets. Nobody’s quite sure how many bodies got drained down there, but the Sanctioned Arcane Pracititioners figured on something in the hundreds.”

Taking a long swig from his flagon, the storyteller lets a moment of silence pass, allowing the gravity of it sink in. “So the nobles, they gather up all this blood, right? But it’s not enough—I’m more familiar with a sword than a spellbook but even I know enough about blood magic to say that seems to be the case most of the time—and they need a little more oomph to summon their lord or whatever it was. They set up this big event, a huge ball, inviting everybody they can think of to dance and eat to their heart’s content. Then halfway through the night the whole floor drops out from them! The whole floor of the ballroom!” The dwarf raises up his flagon with his voice, waving the former at the innkeep to get another round of ale. “Damn shame, sure, but a fine bit of engineering, that’s for certain.”

cultus sanguineus cover“After that it was a massacre, if the survivors or the papers didn’t embellish it too much. Some adventurers got into the mix and managed to kill it before the conjured up thing could reach the streets. Think it was called the Exsanguinator, or the Extinguisher, or something Ex-wise. Turns out that a bunch of the nobles were vampires, too, so there was a whole wave of fear after that came to an end, and word is it’s still going on, usually when criminals have something to do with things.” As two flagons come over to the table, the old warrior grabs up both and downs one in a vicious chug, grinning broadly at Mykail after unleashing an equally impressive belch. “How’s that for a bit of story, stilty legs?”

Jotting a few final notes into his journal, Mykail could only shrug. “That sounds like it was really something, I can’t deny that. We’re not here looking for vampires though, we’re after this group called the P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R.S., we think. Ever heard of them?”

“P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R.S.?!,” the dwarf yells, breaking into a fit of laughter, “nobody’s seen them for years! You’re definitely not in the right city for that, youngster!”

Posted on Leave a comment

Mendacious Materials: Blood Thrall Template

Blood Thrall Template (+2)

Although the debauchery of the Cultus Sanguineus were disrupted and upended by adventurers last year, the metropolis of Mohkba still suffers from the corruption brought to it by some of its greediest, most bloodthirsty nobles.

One of the most curious—and disturbing—instances are blood thralls, maddened creatures perpetually caught between life and death, constantly in a state of regenerative destruction. It isn’t well known and though they appear to be mindless, blood thralls are only slaves to their enigmatic creators.

Creating a Blood Thrall
“Blood thrall” is an acquired template that can be added to any living creature (referred to hereafter as the base creature). Most blood thralls were once humanoids, but any living creature can become one. A blood thrall uses the base creature’s stats and abilities except as noted here.

CR: Same as the base creature + 2.

AL: The creature’s alignment changes to chaotic neutral.

Type: The creature’s type changes to undead (augmented). Do not recalculate class Hit Dice, BAB, or saves.

Senses: A blood thrall gains darkvision 60 ft.

Armor Class: Natural armor improves by +2.

Hit Dice: Change all racial Hit Dice to d8s. Class Hit Dice are unaffected. As undead, blood thralls use their Charisma modifier to determine bonus hit points (instead of Constitution).

blood thrall templateDefensive Abilities: A blood thrall gains channel resistance +2, DR 5/magic, and resistance to cold 5 and electricity 5, in addition to all of the defensive abilities granted by the undead type. A blood thrall also gains fast healing 5, but its nature of constant change deals 3 damage to a blood thrall every round; this makes a blood thrall have an effective fast healing 2 (most of the time; see below).

Weaknesses: The bones, muscles, and skin of a blood thrall are constantly stretching, breaking, and reforming at all times, dealing 3 points of damage to the creature each round at the end of its turn. Blood thralls are also vulnerable to critical hits and precision damage. This makes it extremely difficult for a blood thrall to cast any spells (if it is even capable of doing so), but is extremely unsettling for living creatures to witness. Blood thralls are essentially mindless, but those that retain any true sentience often become consumed by their own impulses and desire for fresh blood to sate the pain of existence.  They constantly hunger for the flesh of other creatures, driven by a diabolical appetite, and after killing an enemy the blood thrall spends the next round eating part of it before engaging in combat again.

Speed: Same as the base creature +15 ft.

Melee: A blood thrall gains a slam attack if the base creature didn’t have one. Damage for the slam depends on the blood thrall’s size (see Natural Attacks in the Universal Monster Rules section of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Bestiary). Its slam also deals 1d4 bleed damage (this bleed damage does not stack with itself). Its natural weapons are treated as magic weapons for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.

Special Attacks: A blood thrall gains several special attacks. Save DCs are equal to 10 + ½ blood thrall’s HD + blood thrall’s Charisma modifier.
     Sanguinating Aura (Su): Every creature suffering from a bleed effect within 20 ft. of a blood thrall take 1 additional bleed damage, reducing the amount of self-inflicted damage to the blood thrall by 1 for the round.
     Unsettling Exterior (Su): Due to their constantly morphing bodies, when making an Intimidate check against living creatures a blood thrall rolls twice and takes the better result. Blood thralls can make an Intimidate check that normally requires a standard or full-round action as a swift action instead.
     Visceral Explosion (Su): When a blood thrall reaches 0 hit points, the creature explodes in a violent blast of blood, bone, and gore. All creatures within a 40-ft.-radius of an exploding blood thrall take 1d10 force and piercing damage for each hit dice possessed by the blood thrall (Reflex save negates).

Ability Scores: Str +6, Dex +6, Int -4 (minimum 1), Wis +4, Cha +4. As an undead creature, a blood thrall has no Constitution score.

Skills: Blood thralls gain a +12 racial bonus to Acrobatics checks and a +4 racial bonus to Perception and Stealth checks.

Posted on Leave a comment

Mendacious Materials: Sanguineus Memory

Sanguineus Memory     CR 5

sanguineus memoryXP 1,600
N haunt (5 ft. by 10 ft. alleyway)
Caster Level 5th
Notice Perception DC 15 (to hear the death throes of the Cultus Sanguineus’ victims)
hp 10; Trigger proximity; Reset 1 minute

Effect When the sanguineus memory haunt is triggered, creatures within its area make a DC 15 Will save or are suddenly overcome by vivid visions of a bloody massacre for 1d4 minutes. In a darkened hall, maddened cultists in black robes are furiously attacking virtually unarmed nobles, the blood of both drenching the chamber. Creatures experiencing the memories of the victims of the slaughter are confused for the duration of the sanguineus memory’s effects, often mistaking allies for enemies or driven in a frenzy to injure themselves.

Destruction A vampire’s ashes must be spread across the sanguineus memory’s area and then drenched in three flasks of holy water.

Adventure Hook The sanguineus memory haunt is one of many repercussions from a vicious bloodbath just last year, the final act in a cult-led ritual to rebirth the dreaded Exsanguinator.