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Sidequest Saturday (Macabre Manses): Trapped Within

macabre manses map

After the PCs’ strange encounter in the forest during Finding the Macabre Manses, they find themselves facing down a long dark courtyard revealing the mansion’s distinguished foyer. Though the estate’s grounds suggest that there haven’t been any visitors to the site in a long while, the mansion’s interior—with its clean wooden floors and illustrious decor—brings such a theory to question. As the PCs enter the mansion a magic circle appears around the building and across its wooden floors, which begin to glow a deep purple hue. A strong gust of wind forces shut the inward swinging front doors to the foyer, and a strange orange and green glow floods the room.

There are a particular series of rules that govern the way the party is able to interact with their environment, and many hazards to face in their pursuit of freedom. The entire mansion has been manipulated by the cult Fomalhaut in the pursuit of their dark lord’s liberation—both they, their god, and the party are trapped within!

  • Portals of all kinds including doors, windows, and dimensional travel malfunction within the mansion. Instead of leading to the locations desired by the user, they pop anyone to the locations as indicated in  the omnidirectional doorways of confusion.
  • Fomalhaut’s dimension thrives on and feeds chaos; all spells of the chaotic subtype are cast at caster level + 5.
  • Looking outside of the mansion is hazardous for one’s mental health, and can have a debilitating effect on a party’s teamwork.

Gruxm Goretooth has let his cultist followers loose upon the mansion with strict orders to detain intruders on site so that they may be offered to Fomalhaut as a living sacrifice, a means to bind its life force the the Material Plane, a process that will likely kill its victims when they reach their destination as Fomalhaut exits the vessel(s). Fortunately for the PCs, the occultists have no advantage over the omnidirectional doorways of confusion, the twisted visage hazard, or any of the other devious obstacles within the mansion, leveling the playing field to their advantage.

Within rooms 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, 30, 34, 35, 38, and 39, Gruxm has placed random summoned monsters. Since dimensional travel is only one way within the mansion, summoned monsters do not dissipate after being defeated and any objects or treasure that they would ordinarily carry is easily collected. Additionally, due to the nature of Fomalhaut’s dimension, there is a 25% chance that any monster summoned within the mansion gains the star spawn template.

Monk-2In room 12, Gruxm is makes preparations to honor Fomalhaut with the living tribute. Should the PCs find their way into this room there is a 70% chance that the goblin is present and preparing for their demise; Gruxm gives a long speech about his master and what the party’s purpose in the mansion is. If the adventurers approach Gruxm, he uses monster summoning VII to conjure a powerful creature to assist in subduing the PCs.

The remaining rooms are filled with beautiful decor, but are otherwise lacking anything of interest. A number of Gruxm’s followers equal to the party’s size (CE Human conjurer 7; see the “Conjurist” entry in the NPC Gallery section of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Gamemastery Guide) were inside the mansion when it traversed the dimensional rift. The odds of encountering an occultist in any of the rooms is 20% and should be checked by the GM every time the adventurers enter a new room. Occultists attack the PCs on sight and without warning, weakening them and depleting the party’s resources.

In the event that the party kills off every foe within the mansion, they are stuck within the demiplane for the rest of their lives, however long that might be (though a sufficient amount of thorough research might yield another means, any hope of escape requires years of study and experimentation that ultimately leads to the same conclusion). It is absolutely necessary to make the living sacrifice to Fomalhaut in order to bridge the dimensions so that they might all travel home. Discovering the specifics about the ritual from Gruxm requires successive Intimidate checks of increasing difficulty, the first DC 25 followed by DC 30  and DC 35.

Bridging the gap not only frees the players to return to the Material Plane, but allows Fomalhaut to hitch a ride on their coat tails bringing a new chaotic element into their world. What impact will Fomalhaut have on their home? Only time will tell.

 

[Submitted by Jeremy Kleve]

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Fiction Friday (Macabre Manses): Cult of Formalhaut

As a child Gruxm Goretooth was often alienated by his tribe, getting along with only a few of them—eight, to be precise. Gruxm and the fellow goblins that he called friends suffered daily night terrors involving traumatic visions that both haunted and confused them. When the visions began to intensify, they were drawn towards the occult, learning what they could from the tribal shaman. From these learnings, sinister urges and desires began growing within their hearts. On one particularly gloomy evening, Gruxm and the rest of his following snuck through the tribe’s encampment, murdering everyone in their sleep. After the onslaught they attempted to contact the deity they believed had been responsible for the hellish dreams that drove them mad; after countless efforts and many sleepless nights, they successfully called out to a demiplane whose sole inhabitant was a cosmically vast mass of swirling space dust and interstellar energies.

Final-Hallway-CNearly infinite in every direction for an unfathomable distance, the being is known by only one moniker of its own devising—Fomalhaut. Gruxm and his followers beseeched it to grant them their desires, as well as power enough to spread chaos within their realm. Fomalhaut granted each of them mastery over magic and sent them on a journey of discovery and destruction, asking in return only that they continue to search for a method to release Fomalhaut from its demiplane upon the rest of the universe. These nine empowered goblin sorcerers all went their own ways in hopes of being the one to release the dark entity and to gain its favor. Among them, Gruxm was by far the most talented and respected, and while each sorcerer drew in their own followers to worship and revere Fomalhaut, Gruxm’s adherents have the most loyalty to the cult and its goals.

For years, Gruxm has subscribed to the theory that if he could in some way travel to Fomalhaut’s home plane, he might be able to bring back with him at least a small portion of his dark lord’s glory. Now, ten years after the establishment of the cult, Gruxm has successfully traversed to the demiplane and safely returned, carrying a flask filled with Fomalhaut’s essence. The spell that Gruxm used to travel to the demiplane was far too weak to achieve the entity’s freedom, but its basis paved the way to the goblin’s next experiment—to open a permanent doorway between the two realms, here at the Macabre Manses.

 

[Submitted by Jeremy Kleve]

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Meta Thursday (Macabre Manses): Star Spawn Template

Star Spawn Template

There exist horrors in the universe incomprehensible to man. Sometimes these abominations manifest themselves within other living creatures, warping them into monsters more deadly than their ordinary selves. Creatures of this order are known as star spawn,identifiable only bythe bizarre traits that they possess. It is not uncommon for two statistically identical monsters with the star spawn traits to appear as two completely different creatures altogether.

The following template can be used to adjust the stats of monsters (the base create) that have been touched by forces beyond understanding.



one drive- art- illustratios - please sort me - final-pseudonatural-bwCR
+4
Type
aberration
AC Increase deflection bonus to AC by +4
Size increase one step from original form (+2 Str, +2 Con, -1 Dex)
Immune critical hits, bludgeoning damage, slashing damage, force damage
Unnatural Intelligence (Su) The base creature is granted a +10 bonus to Intelligence and a selection of 1d4 +2 wizard spells (up to 5th level) that it may cast at will as spell-like abilities. Additionally, this increased intelligence allows the base creature to learn any five languages.
Hive Lord (Su) The base creature is granted the innate ability to compel creatures of its own kind to fight for it whether the creatures are intelligent or not.
No Anatomy (Su) The base creature has no anatomical structure and is therefore immune to some weapon damage and spells like magical missile. Attacks from these sources temporarily displace the struck portion of the creature for 1 round hampering it from making an action that relies on the displaced area by incurring a -5 to the AC of that portion of its body or a -5 penalty to attack rolls (as appropriate; a displaced head penalizes the creature’s bite attack, etc.).

 

[Submitted by Jeremy Kleve!]