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Weird Wednesday: Death’s Enabler

Death’s Enabler     CR 6demon-clip-art-5
XP 
2,400
NE haunt (20 ft. by 10 ft. cliff’s peak)
Caster Level 7th
Notice Perception DC 23 (to hear the wails of tortured souls)
hp 12; Trigger proximity; Reset 1 hour
Effect When this haunt is triggered anyone within its area is compelled to hurl themselves off the cliff if they fail a DC 16 Will save, screeched at by a horde of phantasmal demons that sling the vilest of insults until they are obeyed. On a successful save the compulsion to leap off the cliff (80 feet down onto the water, taking 8d6 points of damage) is resisted, but the wicked brayings of the demons deal 3d6 points of damage. This is a mind-affecting fear effect.

Destruction No less than four true holy tomes must be thrown into a bonfire in the area of death’s enabler (unless these books are devoted to a god of evil or necromancy, this act begets no ill will for the owners.)

Adventure Hook The mad priest Cavraszen traveled across the land, spreading his insanity wherever he went. Droves of suicides followed his passing; for an entire decade he terrorized the coastline, appearing in different guises to succor the foolish to early, self-inflicted deaths. Eventually Cavraszen’s foul deeds came back to haunt him, and the children of a town he nearly destroyed banded together to ensure his demise. They flung his body from the peak after battering him senseless, killing the insane preacher on impact.

 

Do you have a chilling idea for a haunt or cursed item? Send it along to us at submit (at) adventureaweek.com, but please, bear the following in mind before you submit anything for review:

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Trap Tuesday (Banlan Backlash): Automatic Eviscerator

Automatic Eviscerator      CR 13

Type magical; Perception DC 37; Disable Device DC 38
Trigger location; Reset automatic
Effect spell effect (elemental magic missile; 1d4+1 acid, 1d4+1 cold, 1d4+1 electric, 1d4+1 fire, 1d4+1 force; 10% chance to become sickened [acid], fatigued [cold], confused [electric], lit on fire [fire], or deafened [force] for 1d6+2 rounds, DC 21 Fort negates); multiple targets (all targets within line of sight)

automatic evisceratorThe 5 barrels of an automatic eviscerator drip an unknown, slimy orange substance. Originally designed to agitate alligotonium in engines, it quickly became known as the automatic eviscerator after tinkerers modified automatic agitators into weapons. The creator of the device added the additional effects to make it more entertaining when trespassers stumbled into the deadly trap and since then, both the Banlan Brotherhood and the Orders of Timeaus have been disabling these contraptions rather than destroying them. More often than not, an automatic eviscerator is re-purposed (likely at great physical cost) rather than built from scratch.

They are a common (and quite deadly) deterrent found in the sewers of Nyamo and the homes of the more powerful (and less friendly) mages there, but are ubiquitous in the Timeaus Production Yards. With the abundance of parts available there, any damaged automatic agitators are scrapped to be remade into accurate, dangerous automatic eviscerators.

 

[Submitted by Tim Snow!]

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Magic Item Monday: Lute of Friendship

Harp-Lute

Lute of Friendship
Aura moderate enchantment; CL 10th
Slot none; Price 18,000 gp; Weight 4 lbs.

DESCRIPTION
This beautifully crafted lute has a stout, polished brass handle parallel to the bridge, and the metal continues around the entire frame of the instrument. Unique designs chase the front of the lacquered wooden drum, marking it unique among its peers.

Twice per day, the wielder of this weapon (which operates as a +1 club) may trigger the instrument’s enchantment (Will DC 16) as an immediate action after connecting with a successful attack roll.  On a failed save, the victim suddenly forgets everything that happened to them in the past five minutes (the wielder of the lute of friendship cannot imbue or modify any memories, or remove any memories more than five minutes old.) Any time that a character wielding this instrument as a weapon rolls a natural 1 on their attack roll, they accidentally activate the enchantment (even if there were no previous charges) against themselves.

CONSTRUCTION
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, modify memory; Cost 9,000 gp (360 xp)

History    With a successful Knowledge (local) check, bits of lore relating to the lute of friendship are revealed to the PCs; how much is determined by the following DCs:
 DC 10     The first appearance of this unique instrument was in the traveling comedic show, Bankwizzle and Zankizzle. One of the two would be continuously humiliated, smacked with the lute of friendship, humiliated again and then smacked with the weaponized lute a second time.
DC 15      Whom exactly was going to be the humiliated clown every evening was a point of great contention, and the pair quickly developed a vicious rivalry. While they might have become popular much earlier, neither would part with the designs for the lute of friendship out of spite for the other.
DC 20      The real argument wasn’t at all about the act – it was about Lucretia, a halfling of exquisite beauty and grace that charmed both comedians. Enraptured, they eventually parted ways over the notoriously gorgeous woman.
DC 25     The real end of the Bankwizzle and Zankizzle stage act was the discovery that Lucretia was not as she appeared – one night both comedians realized that she was actually a (very ugly) goblin. Neither could deal with being the butt of the joke – they sold the designs to a bard college and “left for pastures less green”.

 

Do you have an idea for an enchanted sword, arcane-empowered armor or unique magic item? Take a look at the submission rules and send a brief summary of your proposed enchanted item titled ‘Armory of Adventures submission’ to submit(at)adventureaweek.com with the following:

  • the nature of the item (weapon, armor or wondrous)
  • one or two sentences about its appearance
  • what the item in question does
  • the components and spell(s) used in its construction
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Statblock Sunday (Tribal Troubles): Ollphéist

ollpheistSwirling 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

ECOLOGY
Environment badlands, desert, savannas
Organization solitary
Treasure double

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.

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Sidequest Saturday (Maddening May): Sunken Asylum

As the PCs are exploring the swamp, they come across a strange looking tree. It is larger than all the rest and twisted, with much of the bark ravaged. The whole of it appears to ever so slightly slip in and out of focus.


Adventure Location: The Sunken Asylum
Dangers: madness, mosaic, orderlies, teleport trap, fainting couch trap, coven of witches
Lighting: none
Environment: underground stone passageways and natural cave with flooded areas and extra-planar areas

One side of the tree opens up, creating an entrance large enough to ride a horse through one moment, and then small enough so that a Medium-sized humanoid would find it a tight squeeze the next.


A DC 20 Knowledge (planes) check reveals that this is likely the entrance to an extraplanar portal, while a DC 20 Knowledge (history) or Knowledge (local) check suggests that the PCs may have found an entrance to The Sunken Asylum.

Sunken Asylum Map - justin andrew mason [reduced]Once inside the tree, a stone staircase leads down about 60 feet into the Atrium. The Atrium has dirt floors, with patches of stone floor that is broken and worn. The far wall is convex and covered with an aged mosaic depicting a Rod of Asclepius, a serpent-entwined rod. However, a large corner of the mosaic has been defaced and appears to be covered in an amber slime. The amber slime is residue from a karz slug. Touching it poisons the PC for 4 rounds. For the first 2 rounds, the slime causes Amnesia (Will DC 20) and for the last two rounds the slime causes Paranoia (Will DC 17).

For each hour spent in The Asylum or before each encounter, the GM rolls on the following table and apply the specific madness effect.

d100    Madness Effect
0-15       —
16-30    auditory patch of madness
31-45    visual patch of madness
46-65    echoes of the asylum
66-75    both auditory and visual patches of madness
76-85    auditory patch of madness, and echoes of the asylum
86-95    visual patch of madness, and echoes of the asylum
96-99    visual and auditory patches of madness, and echoes of the asylum
100        The asylum writhes as a wave of raw madness energy rolls through the hallways. All characters must make a DC 25 Will save or immediately gain a random insanity (see the “Sanity and Madness” section in Chapter 8 of Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Gamemastery Guide).

Each side of the Atrium has three passageways leading away. The first passageway on each side, closest to the stairs, spirals downwards. The western one leads down a long way, and eventually leads to the Plane of Madness. Characters that continue down that path must make a DC 20 Will Save each round or gain the confused condition for 1d6 rounds.

The eastern passageway spirals downwards for many miles, but it is flooded after about 100 yards.

The middle passageways both lead to The Cells, while the last passageways lead to The Examining Rooms.

The Cells were used as holding blocks for the insane inmates of the Asylum. Inmates would be locked in each individual cell, only to be taken out to visit the Examining Rooms for treatment. The already maddened inmates scribbled on the walls at times, channeling madness. In their pathological scrawls, they wrote down the key words to the ritual that opens up travel to a special place in the Plane of Madness where creatures from this plane could journey and be protected from most of the adverse effects.

SpiritFor The Cells, each hallway contains 22 individual cells, each closed off by a locked (DC 25 Disable Device check) stout wooden door. (DC 25 Break, Hardness 5, 20 HP). Whenever a door is opened, there is a 10% chance that an orderly materializes right outside the cell and attacks the party.

Orderly CR 5

Orderly     CR 5
XP 1,600
LE Medium undead (incorporeal)
Init +7;  Senses darkvision 60 ft., lifesense; Perception +10
Aura unnatural aura (30 ft.)
DEFENSE
AC 18, touch 18, flat-footed 14 (+5 deflection, +3 Dex)
hp 47 (5d8+25)
Fort +6, Ref +4, Will +6
Defensive Abilities channel resistance +2, incorporeal; Immune undead traits
Weaknesses sunlight powerlessness
OFFENSE
Speed fly 60 ft. (good)
Melee incorporeal touch +6 (1d6 negative energy plus 1d6 Con drain)
Special Attack create spawn
TACTICS
During Combat The orderly attacks the biggest and most powerful looking enemy.
Morale The ghost attacks until the enemy dies or it is destroyed; it does not think in terms of survivability.
STATISTICS
Str —, Dex 16, Con —, Int 14, Wis 14, Cha 21
Base Atk +3; CMB +6; CMD 21
Feats Blind-Fight, Combat Reflexes, Improved Initiative
Skills Diplomacy +10, Fly +7, Intimidate +13, Knowledge (planes) +7, Perception +10, Sense Motive +10, Stealth +11
Languages Common, Infernal
SPECIAL ABILITIES
Create Spawn (Su) A humanoid slain by a wraith becomes a wraith in 1d4 rounds. These spawn are less powerful than typical wraiths, and suffer a –2 penalty on all d20 rolls and checks, receive –2 hp per HD, and only drain 1d2 points of Constitution on a touch. Spawn are under the command of the wraith that created them until its death, at which point they lose their spawn penalties and become free-willed wraiths. They do not possess any of the abilities they had in life.

Constitution Drain (Su) Creatures hit by a wraith’s touch attack must succeed on a DC 17 Fortitude save or take 1d6 points of Constitution drain. On each successful attack, the wraith gains 5 temporary hit points. The save DC is Charisma-based.

Lifesense (Su) A wraith notices and locates living creatures within 60 feet, just as if it possessed the blindsight ability.

Sunlight Powerlessness (Ex) A wraith caught in sunlight cannot attack and is staggered.

Unnatural Aura (Su) Animals, whether wild or domesticated, can sense the unnatural presence of the wraith at a distance of 30 feet. They do not willingly approach nearer than that and panic if forced to do so unless a master succeeds at a DC 25 Handle Animal, Ride, or wild empathy check. A panicked animal remains so as long as it is within 30 feet of the wraith.

The walls of each cell are covered in writings. Some are painted and some are etched into the stone itself. The writings are in the native language of the Plane of Madness, and are unintelligible even with spells. If they are inspected for more than 2 rounds, a random result from the Madness Effect table materializes.


However, if a DC 22 Perception check is made the PCs find that a single phrase has been hidden in the scrawl, scribbled in Draconic—a DC 30 Spellcraft check shows these to be pieces of a spell. Each phrase is different.

There are twelve examining rooms labeled A through L. Each contains a small desk, a chair and a fainting couch. The fainting couch is trapped and the small desk contains a journal in one of the drawers.


Fainting Couch Trap     CR 7
Type magical; Perception DC 31; Disable Device 31
Trigger touch; Reset none
Effect Anyone that touches the couch is compelled to lay down on it (DC 24 Will Save to resist). Once the PC is resting, they must make a DC 24 Fortitude save or take a -4 penalty on saves for 11 hours.
Journals of Madness CR 10
aaw-website - madness journal
There are twelve journals. Once all twelve are acquired, a DC 25 Spellcraft check reveals that there are 4 spells contained within the books, and that the words in The Cells are needed to activate them.

Each spell has a code by it that corresponds to a room in The Cells. Starting from the bottom (south) and working up, each room is numbered, 1-22. The west rooms are labeled “L” while the east rooms are labeled “R”. The words on the walls of the cells listed must be collected with the journals. As they are collected, they write themselves in the back of the journal from Examination Room A.

Collecting a word requires a DC 25 Spellcraft check. If it fails, it is still written and appears to have succeeded. Once the words are collected, the spell may be cast without any check. However, there is a chance that instead of the spell intended, one of the other spells is cast at random (depending on how many successful entries are written for that spell):

0 entries     A random spell is cast
1 entry          10% chance the correct spell is cast
2 entries     40% chance the correct spell is cast
3 entries     60% chance the correct spell is cast
4 entries     80% chance the correct spell is cast
5 entries     The correct spell is cast

The spells are as follows:

Activate Teleporter to Plane of Madness: (18L, 4R, 13R, 21R, 22L) This spell is required to activate the teleporter to the Plane of Madness. Doing so exposes the teleporter. In game terms, when this spell is cast, the secret doors on either side of the teleporter open up. There is no way to otherwise open or even find these doors.

Touch of the Eldritch: (1R, 8R, 4L, 11L, 19L) Target PC (or random if not targeted) gains the Eldritch Template. However, each day, they lose 1 point of Wisdom. When their Wisdom score reaches zero, they give up their soul and travel to the Plane of Madness. A restoration spell of any strength removes this condition.

Madness Link: (2L, 6L, 13L, 5R, 17R) Target PC (or random if not targeted) must make a DC 18 Will save or gain one of the Touching of Minds conditions. The telepathic link is with a random creature from the Plane of Madness.

Comatose: (3R, 16R, 7L, 15L, 22L) Target PC (or random if not targeted) must make a DC 18 Fortitude save or fall comatose for 1d6 days. A restoration spell is required to wake the PC any earlier than that.

Once the proper spell is cast from the journals of madness, secret doors to the teleporter open up and the teleporter is active. Stepping into the teleporter activates the teleport trap.


Teleport Trap     CR 5
Type magical; Perception DC 29; Disable Device DC 29
Trigger touch; Reset auto
Effect The teleport into the Witch’s Coven travels through an energy tunnel that splits through the Plane of Madness. It is not an instantaneous trip (it takes 1d4 rounds to complete), and the sights and sounds are enough to drive one mad. Unless a DC 20 Will Save is made, each PC becomes confused (as the condition) for 1d2+1 rounds. Note that actions can be taken to prepare while teleporting, and it may be that confused adventurers are no longer confused on arrival.

The Witch’s Coven is a small, protected area on the Plane of Madness. PCs in this area are protected somewhat from the madness effects that would normally assault them. There are no rolls for madness effects while in the Witch’s Coven.

On the far side, the PCs arrive in the Witch’s Coven. Arranged along the north wall near the eastern light source are 5 very strange looking drow.

Five female drow, wearing flowing robes covered in what seems to be moving embroidery, stand near the wall as if each of their locations is set. The light from three glowing wall sconces cast dark shadows, hiding their faces.

drow_woman_wizard__ryan_sumoThe witch in the middle is Nogth Ma’klurl’uth in drow form, flanked by 4 other drow witches. Nogth initially casts black tentacles on the party as they exit the teleporter (as a readied action). Once combat begins, one or more of the witches tries to use the misfortune hex on a spellcaster, and if one of the hexes succeeds, Nogth casts hold person. After that tactic, the witches concentrate their abilities to disable or kill the rest of the party, saving the hold person victim to feed the madness. The quasits run interference and also attempt to disrupt spellcasting.

Should the PC who is held be left alone (either by party death or retreat) and Nogth survives, they gain the eldritch template and fall under the control of the madness slug. Every day, the PC must make a DC 25 Will Save or lose 1 point of Wisdom. If their Wisdom score reaches zero, the PC dies and their soul feeds Nogth’s madness.

If Nogth is killed in the battle, the remaining witches attempt to kill the held character.

Nogth Ma’klurl’uth (drow witch 7); CR 11 (XP 12,800)
HP 80 (12d6+36); AC 23 (+4 Dex, +1 dodge, +8 natural)
Init +8; Speed 30 ft.; Atk dagger +7 (1d4+1)Base Atk +6; CMB +7; CMD 21; SA hexes (cackle, coven, evil eye, misfortune); SQ cantrips, darkvision 120 ft., DR 15/magic; Immune acid, cold, mind affecting effects, paralysis, sleep; SR 18; AL Chaotic Evil; SV Fort +7, Ref +10, Will +11; Str 12, Dex 18, Con 16, Int 18, Wis 12, Cha 18
Skills Knowledge (arcana) +19, Knowledge (planes) +19, Perception +16, Sense Motive +16, Spellcraft +19, Stealth +19, Swim +16; Feats Combat Casting, Dodge, Great Fortitude, Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 12th, concentration +16)
at will—glibness
Witch Spells Prepared (CL 7th; concentration +11)
4th—black tentacles, fear
3rd—deep slumber, dispel magic, seek thoughts
2nd—blindness/deafness, detect thoughts, hold person, touch of idiocy
1st—burning hands, chill touch, command, mage armor, ray of enfeeblement,
0th—bleed, detect magic, spark, touch of fatigue
[/stextbox]

(4) Eldritch Drow Witch CR 7

ELDRITCH DROW WITCH     CR 7
XP 3,200
Female or Male drow witch 7 (eldritch template)
CE Medium humanoid (drow, elf)
Init +3; Senses darkvision 120 ft.; Perception +8
DEFENSE
AC 18, touch 14, flat-footed 15 (+4 armor, +1 deflection, +3 Dex)
hp 38 (7d6+14)
Fort +3, Ref +5, Will +4; +2 vs enchantment spells
DR 5/magic; Immune magic sleep effects; Resist acid 10, cold 10; SR 13
Weaknesses light blindness
OFFENSE
Speed 30 ft.
Melee mwk shortsword +4 (1d6, Crit 19-20/x2)
Ranged mwk hand crossbow +7 (1d4 plus quasit poison, Crit 19-20/x2, Range 30 ft.)
Special Attacks hex (standard action, DC 16 Will save; see special abilities)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 7th; concentration +9)
at will—feather fall
1/day—dancing lights, darkness, faerie fire
Witch Spells Prepared (CL 7th; concentration +10)
4th—black tentacles
3rd—bestow curse, cup of dust, silent blindness/deafness; distracting cacophony
2nd—blindness/deafness, cure moderate wounds, silent charm person, touch of idiocy; hideous laughter, levitate
1st—burning hands, command x2, mage armor (already cast), ray of enfeeblement; memory lapse
0th—bleed, detect magic, detect poison, touch of fatigue
Patron insanity
STATISTICS
Str 10, Dex 16, Con 11, Int 16, Wis 8, Cha 14
Base Atk +3; CMB +3; CMD 16
Feats Combat Casting, Improved Familiar (quasit), Silent Spell, Toughness
Skills Bluff +7, Fly +8, Knowledge (planes) +8, Perception +8, Sense Motive +2, Spellcraft +10, Stealth +10, Survival +2, Swim +4, Use Magic Device +7; Racial Modifiers +2 Perception, +4 Swim
Languages Aklo, Elven, Undercommon
SQ Cantrips, ferocity, horrific death, keen senses, poison use, weapon familiarity (hand crossbow, rapier, shortsword), witch’s familiar, voidborn
Gear masterwork hand crossbow (8 poisoned bolts), masterwork shortsword, ring of protection +1, potions of cure moderate wounds (2), potions of invisibility (2)
SPECIAL ABILITIES
Cackle Hex (Su) An eldritch drow witch can cackle madly as a move action. Any creature that is within 30 feet that is under the effects of an agony hex, charm hex, evil eye hex, fortune hex, or misfortune hex caused by the witch has the duration of that hex extended by 1 round.

Evil Eye Hex (Su) The eldritch drow witch can cause doubt to creep into the mind of a foe within 30 feet that she can see. The target takes a –2 penalty on one of the following (witch’s choice): AC, ability checks, attack rolls, saving throws, or skill checks. This hex lasts for 6 rounds. A DC 16 Will save reduces this to just 1 round. This is a mind-affecting effect.

Flight Hex (Su) The eldritch drow witch gains a +4 racial bonus on Swim checks. She can fly, as per the spell, for 7 minutes per day. These minutes do not need to be consecutive, but they must be spent in 1-minute increments. This hex only affects the witch.

Misfortune Hex (Su) The eldritch drow witch can cause a creature within 30 feet to suffer grave misfortune for 1 round. Anytime the creature makes an ability check, attack roll, saving throw, or skill check, it must roll twice and take the worse result. A DC 16 Will save negates this hex. This hex affects all rolls the target must make while it lasts. Whether or not the save is successful, a creature cannot be the target of this hex again for 1 day.

Horrific Death (Ex) When an eldritch drow witch is first reduced to negative hit points, creatures within its reach take 1d6+7 acid damage. While at negative hit points, the eldritch drow witch gains a +2 insight bonus on attack rolls and adds a +7 insight bonus to all damage. When it finally dies, the eldritch creature dissolves into a pool of unidentifiable goo.

Eldritch Quasit Familiar CR —

ELDRITCH QUASIT FAMILIAR     CR —
CE Tiny outsider (chaotic, demon, evil, extraplanar)
Init +6; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +7
DEFENSE
AC 20, touch 14, flat-footed 18 (+2 Dex, +6 natural, +2 size)
hp 17 (7 HD); fast healing 2
Fort +1, Ref +5, Will +9
DR 5/magic cold iron or good; Immune electricity, poison; Resist acid 10, cold 10, fire 10; SR 12
OFFENSE
Speed 20 ft., fly 50 ft. (perfect)
Melee 2 claws +7 (1d3–1 plus poison), bite +7 (1d4–1)
Space 2-1/2 ft.; Reach 0 ft.
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 6th)
At will—detect good, detect magic, invisibility (self only)
1/day—cause fear (30-foot radius, DC 11)
1/week—commune (six questions)
STATISTICS
Str 8, Dex 14, Con 11, Int 11, Wis 12, Cha 11
Base Atk +3; CMB +0; CMD 12
Feats Improved Initiative, Weapon Finesse
Skills Bluff +8, Fly +20, Intimidate +6, Knowledge (planes) +6, Perception +7, Sense Motive +4, Stealth +16
Languages Abyssal, Common; telepathy (touch)
SQ Alertness, change shape (bat, Small centipede; polymorph), deliver touch spells, empathic link, ferocity, horrific death, improved evasion, voidborn
SPECIAL ABILITIES
Horrific Death (Ex) When an eldritch drow witch’s familiar is first reduced to negative hit points, creatures within 5 feet take 1d6+7 acid damage. While at negative hit points, the eldritch drow witch’s familiar gains a +2 insight bonus on attack rolls and adds a +7 insight bonus to all damage. When it finally dies, the eldritch creature dissolves into a pool of unidentifiable goo.

Poison (Ex) Claw—injury; save Fortitude DC 15; frequency 1/round for 6 rounds; effect 1d2 Dexterity; cure 2 consecutive saves. The DC includes a +2 racial bonus.


SCALING THE ENCOUNTER
To modify this encounter, apply the following changes:
CR 12 (19,200)    Remove two witches.
CR 11 (12,800)    Remove all witches.
CR 10 (9,600)     Remove Norgth and two witches. Designate one of the witches as Nogth. If Nogth is not killed, any unconscious PC are given the eldritch template as above.

If Nogth is defeated, the teleporter in the Witch’s Coven begins to flicker—the PCs have 1d10+4 rounds to leave or be trapped in the Plane of Madness! Once they are back to their own plane, the madness effects and encounters in the Atrium, The Cells, and the Examining Rooms are no longer active and the routes that connect to the Plane of Madness no longer exist. 1d4 rounds after the party exits the tree, the entrance to the Sunken Asylum closes up for good.

If Nogth is not defeated, the entrance still closes as above but it reappears in 1d6 days. All madness effects and encounters still take place as the PCs exit the Sunken Asylum.

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AaWBlog Adventure Path: Banlan Backlash, Uralicans Uncut

The AaWBlog’s appetite knows no bounds, and the adventure path continues well past the Disputed Territories and Pradja.

Taking a valuable shipment of alligotonium down to Timeaus, the PCs are suddenly and inexplicably transported into an ambush beneath the authoritarian city of Nyamo! Throughout the month they fight off thieves, deceive guards, and either infiltrate or protect the airship production yards of the High Mages there. Whether the adventurers side with the (unjust) rulers or the beleaguered resistance movement, they ultimately leave the conflict on an airship!

Aventyr v4You are encouraged to check out these pieces of content for the adventure path here!

 

Naturally, the PCs don’t get very far in their airborne vessel—a magical mishap sends them tumbling through dimensions to the strange demiplane of Uklonjen in Uralicans Uncut. Here the AaWBlog Adventure Path brings PSIONICS into the mix, as well as space jamming and all kinds of good stuff: portals to HEL, gateways to the Plane of Ooze, and all the cosmic adventure you can shake a stick at!

The summaries for November are here and here.

 

But we aren’t done yet!
The AaWBlog Adventure Path continues in January with Lands of Ludolog—we’ll see you then!

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Meta Thursday: Slapping your Players

As a rule of thumb I’m a kind GM; as I’ve stated previously, I think roleplaying should fundamentally be a positive, empowering experience for the people involved. This motivation comes from a desire to see the storytelling process along and doesn’t force players to invest themselves, it invites them to.

Sometimes, though, you should slap your players in the face.

Not literally, of course (well, maybe if the circumstances truly warrant it) but ultimately in the more metaphorical sense. In my ‘house projects’ the party may as well be superheroes – they have to fight to win, and sometimes it may look like they’ll lose, but they’re the prime motivators of the story and the world exists around them, not separately. Total Party Kills are not part of the agenda.

This week I’ve been designing things for two companies (*cough, fantasyflight, cough, froggod, cough*) and they do not play by my aesthetic rules. One of them specifically says, “This should be really, really hard.”

My box needed to be stepped out of and to that end, his weekend we did our first playtest of some of that material; there were a few things that went down which really stood out to me as important.

Today, we’re going to discuss sowing paranoia among your players; not just making their characters scared, but actually scaring them.

You can see how I prefer to go about that by checking out the upcoming Mysterious Peaks of Baranthar (I promise this is my only plug for that!), but there are ways to do it that do not require you to adhere to any specific story element, setting or theme.

Here’s what I noticed worked very well in that regard:

fantasy-tavern-31) Apologize when they arrive to game.
Keep a grin on your face, explain that there’s a good chance somebody is going to die, and otherwise keep your cool. This is the time to take advantage of meta-gamers; only one of my players didn’t take any bite off that hook and I commend him for it (props to Jack – somebody is getting extra loot). If they seem totally unimpressed by this subtly played ploy (and please, be genial when you go about it, not condescending), you’ve got your work cut out for you.

2) Sow the seeds of fear.
If you know that there’ll be talk between players prior to game, seed a festering thought in their minds sometime during the week before you sit down to play.  I promise, what they imagine is going to happen to their beloved character is going to be far worse than whatever you have in store.

medieval-people-13) Divide and Conquer.
Take them away from the table to speak with each player exclusively as often as you can justify doing so. This will have the same effect as the previous point; we are playing games of imagination, aren’t we?

4) Avoid maniacal laughter.
Don’t deny it – we all love doing it, and there’s absolutely a time for it, but resist the urge. Cackling is not only unattractive, it’s offensive. This is not to say that you should not laugh – by all means, a well placed chuckle can do far more to incite fear than a dubious booming retort. Just make sure to be considerate about when and how you go about it. Quietly mumbling, “ohohohohoho, I forgot about thaaaaat,” isn’t just more rewarding, it’s more effective.

5) Get graphic.
Don’t shy away from dark, vivid descriptions; don’t say, “the axe head has lots of blood on it,” instead say, “the head of the axe is encrusted with the dried blood of those long dead, making the new bits of flesh adorning the sharp edge all the more vibrant.” Force them to envision it in their heads.

 

Beauty & Blood6) Make it difficult.
Just because the creature they are fighting is an animal does not mean it cannot use tactics – check out wolves or their many cousins. Force them into tough positions and if you notice ‘stop and sleeps’ becoming an all too regular pattern – and this one kind of breaks off my initial goal of avoiding messing with story/character elements – throw something unavoidable at them. Earthquakes, forest fires, animal stampedes; some of these things just happen and have no Snidely Whiplash to blame. Their search for a cause could become a hazard in itself if you like, but play the whole thing out like there really is something awry – don’t just tell them, “it’s obviously a natural effect”, just imply it.

 

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!

 

 

PS: If you celebrate the yuletide holidays (or really, any holiday around now), give the slapping a wee break and have a festive time on behalf of everyone on the AaWBlog and the whole AdventureAWeek.com team!

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Weird Wednesday: Werewidow

werewolf-clipart-1Werewidow     CR 6
XP 2,400
CE haunt (40 ft. by 10 ft. alleyway)
Caster Level 7th
Notice Perception DC 23 (to hear the coughing of an old woman)
hp 12; Trigger proximity; Reset 1 day
Effect When this haunt is triggered, creatures within its area suddenly see an old woman hunched in the shadows. Any interaction (speaking to, looking at or acknowledgement otherwise) with this apparition incurs a gaze attack—creatures that fail a DC 16 Will save are unknowingly stricken with Werewolf Lycanthropy. This affliction can be removed with a break enchantment or remove curse, or by destroying the Werewidow haunt. Afterward the old woman disappears with a mournful howl.
Werewolf Lycanthropy
Type 
curse, injury; Save Fortitude DC 15 negates, Will DC 15 to avoid effects; Onset the next full moon; Frequency on the night of every full moon or whenever the target is injured; Effect target transforms into a wolf under the GM’s control until the next morning.

Destruction While in the haunt’s radius, light aflame a bowl filled with twenty silver and the blood of an alpha wolf mixed with drops from a descendant of the Werewidow

Adventure Hook The Werewidow was once a kindly druid beloved by the settlement that has outgrown the little part of it she still resides in. As the town became a city, natural resources grew scarce and the wildlife began to suffer. She began to placate the wolves in the region, but the older she grew and the larger the settlement became, the more wolves came and the more attentions she garnered from predatory canine spirits. Eventually these spectral beings possessed her charges, killing her—while a rash of adventurers brought low the lycanthropic plagues that soon followed, in her death throes the druid remains, causing werewolves to appear for centuries.

Do you have a chilling idea for a haunt or cursed item? Send it along to us at submit (at) adventureaweek.com, but please, bear the following in mind before you submit anything for review:
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Trap Tuesday (Tribal Troubles): Corruption Blooms

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.

ENVIRONMENT
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.

Corruption_BloomsThe 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.

ACTIVATION
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.

Mutating Effects
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.

The Antidote
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.