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Cultus Sanguineus – A Chase in Mohkba!

Mohkba Alleyway

Synopsis
Count Krev Ragata rushes through the narrow streets in one of the less wealthy areas of Mohkba having just met with several different black market merchants and keen to quickly reach his next destination. Ne’er-do-wells in the city have something else in mind, however, and a group of them ambush the noble directly in front of the adventurers, wrestling away several prized items as they stab him in the stomach with a wicked looking dagger coated in poison.

During the struggle Count Ragata yells, “the countess requires these for the ball! You cannot have them!”, before falling limp and unconscious. One of the muggers turns to see the job finished while his compatriots bound down the alleyway, making their escape quickly in frenzied dashes.

 

A Chase Through Mohkba!

As the party (4-6 adventurers of 8th-9th level) travels the less savory backstreets of Mohkba they suddenly hear shouting and commotion from a narrow, shadowed alleyway up ahead.

A giant of a man stands over a crumpled form at his feet—behind him, two other men are starting to run down the alleyway away from you. The inert form on the ground trembles and with great effort rises his hand and points at the man clad in flashy clothes and shouts: “Stop him, he has…”, but a precise strike from the brute cuts his sentence short. The large man raises his fist again, this time with the intention to quiet his victim permanently.

Hrolff runs at full speed to get the items he carries away from the scene. Vasiliev will stop and cover Hrolffs escape with spells and scrolls, while Eignar physically engages the party, to hinder the characters from pursuing. Hrolff reaches a large street in 1d4+2 rounds, where his tracks are lost in the crowd. Should the party almost catch up to him he will duck down another alleyway where Exsanguinator manifests his will (see Alleyway of Blood from the February 5th meal for the AaWBlog!)

The alleyway is 100 feet long by 10 feet wide (its sides are from 10 feet high to 25 feet high, varying as often as the motley architecture of the homes here) and at the end it connects to the veritable maze of narrow corridors that make up Mohkba’s infamous lower class quarter, providing plenty of alleyways to pursue Hrolff through—if the party gets past Eignar and Vasiliev.

Eignar Ravnirson CR 9

Image_Portfolio_1.13_Fantasy Rudolf Montemayor 05 XP 6,400
Male human monk (tetori) 9/barbarian 1
NE Large humanoid (human)
Init +1; Perception +14
DEFENSE
AC 17, touch 17, flat-footed 13 (+1 Dex, +1 dodge, +2 monk, +2 shield, +1 Wis)
hp 81 (9d8+1d12+29)
Fort +10, Ref +7, Will +7; +2 vs enchantments
Immune disease; DR 10/adamantine (currently under the effects of stoneskin; 62 hp left)
OFFENSE
Speed 60 ft.
Melee unarmed +11/+6 (2d8+5)
Ranged tanglefoot bags +7/+2 ranged touch (entangle and half speed for 2d4 rounds; Reflex DC 15 or glued to floor, DC 17 Strength or 15 slashing damage to regain movement; Range 10 ft.)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 10 ft.
Special Attacks stunning fist 9/day (Fort DC 15; fatigue or stun 1 round or sicken 1 minute)
STATISTICS
Str 20, Dex 12, Con 14, Int 8, Wis 12, Cha 10
Base Atk +7; CMB +16 (+20 grapple); CMD 23 (30 vs. grapple)
Feats Dodge, Rapid Grappler, Snapping Turtle Clutch, Snapping Turtle Shell, Snapping Turtle Style; Improved Grapple, Stunning Pin, Greater Grapple
Skills Acrobatics +14, Climb +18, Perception +14, Sense Motive +14
Languages Common, Klavek, Vikmordere
SQ Break free, counter-grappler, evasion, fast movement, graceful grappler, inescapable grasp, ki pool (magic, cold iron, silver; 5 points), maneuver training, permanent enlarge person, rage (6 rounds/day), purity of body, still mind, unarmed strike
Gear 5 tanglefoot bags, potion of invisibility, potion of negate aroma, potion of silence, sanguine antidote (the magical poison afflicting Count Ragata does not respond to mundane cures)
RAGING STATISTICS
AC 17, touch 15, flat-footed 11; hp 96; Fort +12, Will 9; +11 vs enchantments
Melee unarmed +13/+8 (2d8+7)
CMB +18 (+22 grapple); CMD 25 (32 vs. grapple)
TACTICS
Eignar uses his grappling skills to stall the party’s pursuit of Hrolff and Vasiliev—he will not hand over the antidote he carries voluntarily.
As the party tries to revive the count, Eignar taunts them from a distance and tries to goad them into rushing him by loudly yelling, “he is as good as dead now, your magics are no match for the power of my master!”, while holding up a flask filled with cyan liquid before slipping it into his pocket and assuming a fighting stance.

 

Vasiliev Dovrovich CR 7

Image_Portfolio_1.13_Fantasy Rudolf Montemayor 01 XP 3,200
Human bard 8
NE Medium humanoid (human)
Init +7; Perception +11
DEFENSE
AC 17, touch 15, flat-footed 13 (+2 armor, +1 deflection, +3 Dex, +1 Dodge)
hp 63 (8d8+24)
Fort +3, Ref +9, Will +6; +4 vs. bardic performance, language-dependent, and sonic
OFFENSE
Speed 30 ft.
Melee rapier +9/+4 (1d6-1, Crit 18-20/x2)
Ranged shortbow +9/+4 (1d6, Crit x3)
Special Attacks bardic performance 21 rounds/day (move action; countersong, dirge of doom, distraction, fascinate, inspire competence +3, inspire courage +2, suggestion)
Bard Spells Known (CL 8th; concentration +13)
3rd (2/day)—deep slumber (DC 18), dispel magic (DC 18), displacement
2nd (3/day)—eagle’s splendor, hold person (DC 17), invisibility, mirror image
1st (5/day)—charm person (DC 16), comprehend languages, disguise self, expeditious retreat, lesser confusion (DC 16)
0th—daze, detect magic, light, prestidigitation, read magic, resistance
STATISTICS
Str 8, Dex 16, Con 12, Int 14, Wis 10, Cha 20
Base Atk +6/+1; CMB +5; CMD 18
Feats Dodge, Improved Initiative, Magical Aptitude, Skill Focus (Use Magic Device), Weapon Finesse (rapier)
Skills Acrobatics +14, Knowledge (history) +13, Knowledge (local) +13, Perception +11, Perform (mime) +14, Perform (wind) +14, Spellcraft +15, Stealth +14, Use Magic Device +20
Languages Common, Klavek, Vikmodere
SQ bardic knowledge +4, lore master 1/day, versatile performance, well-versed
Gear bracers of armor +2, ring of protection +1, scroll of dispel magic (3 total at CL 9th), satchel with papers, a mask of diplomacy +1* (stolen from Count Ragata)
*This item is actually the mask of thirst, but only members of the Cultus Sanguineus are able to identify it as such.
BASE STATISTICS
Without eagle’s splendor, Vasiliev’s statistics are Bard Spells Known reduce spell DCs by 2, concentration +11; Cha 16; Skills Use Magic Device +18.
TACTICS
Vasiliev is under the effect of eagles splendor, displacement and mirror image (4 images) when the party shows up. Displacement lasts 6 more rounds. When the party arrives he takes up position in cover behind some barrels down the alley in the same direction Hrolff fled. Vasiliev intends to cover Hrolff’s escape alongside Eignar, using use his scrolls and spells to keep the party from mounting an effective chase until Hrolff is gone—Vasiliev then leaves Eignar and make his own escape with the help of his invisibility spell.

 

Hrolff Angirsson CR 7

XP 2,400
Human monk 7/barbarian 1
NE Medium humanoid (human)
Init +4; Perception +8
DEFENSE
AC 18, touch 18, flatfooted 13 (+4 Dexterity, +1 dodge, +1 monk, +2 Wisdom)
hp 58 (7d8+1d12+15)
Fort +8, Ref +9, Will +7; +2 vs enchantments
Immune disease
OFFENSE
Speed 85 ft.
Melee unarmed +7 or +7/+7/+2 (1d8+1)
Ranged tanglefoot bags +9 ranged touch (entangle and half speed for 2d4 rounds; Reflex DC 15 or glued to floor, DC 17 Strength or 15 slashing damage to regain movement; Range 10 ft.)
Special Attacks stunning fist 7/day (Fort DC 16, stun 1 round or fatigue)
STATISTICS
Str 13, Dex 18, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 8
Base Atk +6; CMB +9; CMD 25
Feats Fleet x3, Point Blank Shot, Shot on the Run; Deflect Arrows, Dodge, Mobility
Skills Acrobatics +15 (+26 to jump), Climb +11, Escape Artist +15, Perception +8, Sense Motive +9, Stealth +15
Languages Common, Klavek, Vikmordere
SQ Evasion, fast movement (barbarian 10 ft., monk 20 ft.), flurry of blows, high jump, ki pool (magic, cold iron, silver; 5 points), maneuver training, purity of body, rage (5 rounds/day), still mind, slow fall 30 ft., unarmed strike, wholeness of body
Gear boots of striding and springing, hat of disguise, potion of invisibility, potion of negate aroma, potion of cure serious wounds, 5 smokesticks, 5 tanglefoot bags, hidden satchel (amulet of the sundered heart*, cloak of the dark servant*); currently under the effects of a potion of nondetection (CL 9th)
*If identified, these appear to be nothing more than an amulet of natural armor +2 and cloak of resistance +2.
TACTICS
The only thing on Hrolff’s mind is taking the loot back to his master, he will fight if cornered, but will take the first opportunity to continue his escape, and use his hat of disguise.

 

After the battle, Count Ragata hopefully gets the antidote (otherwise, he dies within 1d4 rounds without a restoration spell) and the party retrieves the stolen items from Vasiliev. The count assures them that all the items are accounted for, but says that the mask is not his (a DC 32 Sense Motive check reveals that he’s lying) and the party should keep it—furthermore, they are all invited to a ball held at his manor in two days time. He hands them each a gilded invitation to the masquerade ball, giving them occasion to wear the recovered mask. Again thanking the adventurers from the depths of his heart, he sincerely looks forward to seeing them at the grand event and introducing them to some of his acquaintances.

 

[A Wiborg/Myler Projekt]

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Insidious Inclusion – 5 Duplicitous Tips to Lure Players

Eventually, players get wise to the mimics, the hidden assassins and the unassuming forest trail. Sometimes to move the plot ahead, however, you need to really walk your group into the lion’s den. Even the most experienced player can still fall prey to a number of different ploys to draw them into an ambush, trap or unfortunate surprise; I’ve detailed a few below.

 

Knight-riding1) Appeal to Alignment

This goes without saying for paladins and antipaladins, but characters of every stripe can be called upon to act out their nature. While a great tactic, it’s not to be used too often—it isn’t likely that all the PCs share the same world views and motivations, and arguments arising from these situations can be catastrophic.

 

2) Opposing Obstacles

A bomb is about to explode, but the mayor is halfway across the city and also primed for fatal catastrophe! Sure, it’s one of the older tricks in the book, but it is effective. Watch out for the same sort of trouble you see with the above option, and avoid saturating your game with this. Forcing PCs to one or two logical solutions to being caught between a rock and a hard place too much might take away too much drama from your game, or dishearten players into feeling that their actions lack impact.

 

marbles3) Incentive

The road to hell is paved in gold and good intentions. Even the most cowardly rogue will give in to their greed and make for a dangerous situation if the gold glitters brightly enough. If you’re feeling particularly vicious, go ahead and throw one or two permanent silent image illusions their way. Eventually clever PCs might start throwing rocks at chests to see if their figments before engaging them and we’re back to traps!

 

4) Cover, Concealment, Reach and Grab

In Pathfinder awakened animals don’t go up in CR. So, for instance, an awakened giant lake octopus gains high-level tactics and 2 HD without raising its challenge rating. There’s already been talk about using terrain effectively, but imagine how an intelligent animal (especially big ones) might modify their hunting grounds. Make use of creatures with reach and grab, concealing them and enticing PCs to wander just close enough that they think they are safe (there is the Lunge feat, after all).

 

knights-armor-205) Sweet Poison Pie

Seed your real plots into innocuous happenings. These could be as simple as running into a pickpocket while at the tavern, or a little more complicated. This month the AaWBlog is taking on a bloody theme to match February’s holiday: Cultus Sanguineus. Within this mini-adventure, the PCs are invited to a grand ball. To seed this, the GM might make it clear that one of the more important members of society’s elite is only accessible to the party at high level functions; while there’s no shortage of events like this, infiltrating one is as hard as earning an invitation. When the adventurers finally find a way in, they’ll think they scored the jackpot—nobles to sleight of hand, influential contacts to make and juicy rumors to learn—only to find out differently much too late…

Do you have a contribution or idea for Meta Thursdays?  Send us your ideas (after reading the submission guidelines) to submit(at)adventureaweek.com with “Meta Thursday” in the subject line!

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Alleyway of Blood

Alleyway of Blood CR 7
XP 3,200
NE haunt (manifestation) (10 ft. by 50 ft. alleyway)
Caster Level 7th
Notice Perception DC 32 (to hear the faint rustling of swift running feet)
Hp 14;Trigger special (see text);Reset 1 day

077-Castle-Street-q75-992x1289

Effect The manifestation appears at the will of the Exsanguinator and can manifest anywhere, anytime, as long as the location is not wider than 10 feet. One day must pass between each manifestation.
1d6+3 ghostly humanoid shapes jump out of the walls themselves or rise up through the ground—they are cloaked and have no facial features that can be made out in the short duration of the assault. Each of the shapes darts down the alley with supernatural speed and delivers one attack to every person in the area of effect, after which they fade back to whatever realm spawned them. The shapes use a variety of short-bladed weapons from daggers to scalpels. and resolve their strikes as melee touch attacks (+7, 1d6+3 and 2 bleed; this bleed damage stacks).

Adventure Hook This manifestation represents the Exsanguinator’s memories of the blood hunts held in his honor before he was banished to a prison plane for seven centuries. As a ritual to free him nears completion the seals in his prison are weakening and allowing his will to manifest across the planes to help his faithful, albeit manifested weakly.Destruction  A manifestation is indestructible permanently unless the entity behind it is slain or banished back to whatever realm they came from. To read more about the Exsanguinator and how to bring an end to his malevolence, keep reading the AaWBlog as more of Cultus Sanguineus is revealed!

[Submitted by Brian Wiborg Monster]

 

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Blood Thirst Box (CR 7)

Pen_box_(Qalamdan)_by_Shaykh_Muhammad_(Shaykh_Kamal_Sabzavar),_1587,_Gujarat,_India,_lacquered_teakwood_with_mother-of-pearl_inlay_-_Freer_Gallery_of_Art_-_DSC05236Blood Thirst Box

This hand carved wooden box is inlaid with mother of pearl in circular patterns and has golden hinges and clasps securing the lid. The wood itself is smooth, and the fine grain of the hard wood creates a mesmerizing pattern with the inlay.

Type: magical; Perception DC 31; Disable Device 31

Trigger Touch; Reset None

Effect

The PC that opens the box is cursed (DC 24 Will Save negates). The cursed character hungers for blood, and will not eat anything else. One quart of humanoid blood is required each day, otherwise, after 24 hours the PC gains the exhausted condition. After feeding, the PC is fatigued. Also, if the PC does not feed, normal starvation rules apply.

The cursed PC also gains light sensitivity.

The curse can be removed by remove curse with a caster DC of 24.

This is the first of three trap posts that are thematically connected with this month’s overall theme, Cultus Sanguineus.

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Mask of the Thirst

Mask of Thirst blog-readyMask of Thirst
Aura moderate transmutation; CL 6th
Slot eyes; Price 16,810 gp; Weight 0.2lbs

DESCRIPTION
This ornate half-face masquerade mask is created of the most valuable materials, crafted from finest ebony and laced with fine gold filigree. Androgynous in design, it can be worn by either men or women with equal skill—providing they are of the correct social standing. The central design on the forehead is of a ruby shaped like a drop of blood around which twelve polished ebony studs are arranged in a circle.

This represents the highest quality of dress clothing in the region and is highly desired by nobles who attend the many grand balls at court. Whenever it is found, the mask always represents the latest fashion found at the time and adjusts naturally to the size of the wearer. However, the wearer gains a mild sense of paranoia and always seeks to know whether others are plotting against them, wearing the mask more and more often to hear their thoughts.

The wearer of this mask gains +2 insight bonus to all Charisma-based skill tests and can hear the surface thoughts of others within 10 feet. It also maintains two other enchantments; the first allows the wearer to whisper a short conversation three times per day to a nominated individual within 100 feet. The second is that its true nature is obscured to prevent casual detection from non-members of the Cultus Sanguineas, making others simply believe it to be a mask of diplomacy +1 (granting a +1 insight bonus to Diplomacy checks) of the highest quality.

 

History PCs that succeed on a Knowledge (nobility) check to research the mask of thirst learn some fragments of its lore:

DC 15     This mask of diplomacy +1 is said to have once belonged to a caste of royalty that wore them day and night. They are greatly valued and if found upon someone that is not nobility, removed forcibly from their person (sometimes leading to arrest).

DC 20     Like any other contraband, thieves’ guild leaders also value these enchanted opera masks. Where they are prevalent, acolyte rogues are often made to procure one as a right of passage.

DC 25     Some scholars of esoteric items believe that these masks of diplomacy +1 are somehow related to vampires because of the masks appearance, but they are often disregarded as fools. The history of their founding by the noble caste that bears them is well documented.

DC 30     Baron Varig Norkull was the first to wear the enchanted opera mask and the fashionable item quickly became popular among society’s elite. Numerous would-be adventurers instead retired to live luxuriously as creators of these simple masks of diplomacy +1.

 

CONSTRUCTION
Requirements: Craft Wondrous Items, detect thoughts, eagle’s splendor, magic aura, message; maker must be an arcane caster and worshiper of the Exsanguinator or god of undeath. Cost: 8,405 gp 337 xp

 

[Submitted by Jonathan Ely]
Edited by Mike Myler

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