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Weird Wednesday (Banlan Backlash!): Zombie Mules

Stormdrainrunoff

Zombie Mules – CR 9
XP 6,400
CE haunt (10 ft. by 10 ft. area centered on a blocked sewer grate)
Caster Level 9th
Notice Perception DC 18 (to notice the body moving)
HP 40; Trigger midnight; Reset 1 day
A bloated body floats in the sewage.
Effect This haunt automatically triggers every day at the stroke of midnight. Any dead bodies floating in the pool of sewage becomes animated as a juju zombie. These undead walk towards Nyamo’s cemetery and only attack those that get within 15 ft. of them. The zombies shamble all the way to the other side of the city, directly underneath the cemetery, where they collapse and become normal corpses again.

Destruction A body must be properly buried in Nyamo’s cemetery before it animates, and the area must then be consecrated.

Adventure Hook In Timeaus’ busiest port city, dead bodies end up in the sewers for a variety of reasons. Of course, those that are murdered are often deposited there, as well as those who die penniless. However, the underground makes use of this haunt to smuggle goods across the Nyamo Wall (or under it…). Certain well placed  contacts divert some bodies meant for the cemetery into the sewers after they place the items inside the lifeless carcasses. A few junctions in the sewers have been blocked off; bodies tend to collect in these spots. The smugglers, spies, and thieves under Nyamo seek out these bodies as well for their own operations, using unmarked corpses to place their own goods, and then they are transported to the haunted areas if they already are not there. Once these bodies arise, they give them a clear berth; upon reaching the other side, goods can be claimed. Marked bodies are then dragged to the surface to be interred in the cemetery, while the unmarked bodies are taken away. The Order of the Staff is aware that zombies often walk the sewers at night, and tend to avoid them, as they do not seem to be a threat when left alone. Nyamo officials also look the other way to body dumping in the sewers, as most of these disappear without incident.

Destroying this haunt and informing the Order earns favor for the party with the Order of the Staff while making them enemies of the Banlan Brotherhood, as well as the other underground organizations that utilize the zombie mules.

 

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Trap Tuesday (Banlan Backlash!): Sewer Strife Trap

AAW-Moonshard-color-02Sewer Strife Trap – CR 7 (mechanical) / CR 10 (magical)

Sewer water pours into the room.

Type: mechanical / magical; Perception DC 22 (mechanical) / DC 34 (magical); Disable Device DC 32 (mechanical) / DC 34 (magical)

Trigger touch; Reset repair (mechanical) / none (magical)

Effect

When an attempt is made to open the door, the room fills up with sewer water at the rate of 1 ft. per round. After 10 rounds, the room is completely filled to its 10 ft. height. A DC 10 Swim check is required each round to stay afloat; once the room fills up, all characters are subject to drowning.
Once the mechanical trap is set off, the magical trap springs. A small rune on the wall flashes brightly and then trails off smoke. Everyone in the room must make a DC 23 Will save or attack the nearest conscious creature, as per the symbol of strife spell. The duration of this effect is 18 rounds.

Since the party knows that the Order of the Staff is coming, the PCs can use the sewer strife trap against their foes if they are helping the Banlan Brotherhood.

If the adventurers decide to help the Order of the Staff, they can disarm the trap or otherwise warn the mages (who proceed into the room unheeded if not alerted to the danger).

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Magic Item Monday (Banlan Backlash): Thieves’ Token

Thieves’ TokenHollow_copper_coin_1_Satang_(front)
Aura faint conjuration; CL 1st
Slot none; Price 1,000 gp; Weight —

DESCRIPTION
This copper coin is slightly worn, just like every other trinket of currency common throughout Timeaus.

A thieves’ token is a Timerian copper coin that has been subtly modified with almost undetectable indentations and symbols. Each guild has their own unique pattern and any two thieves’ tokens can be placed face to face to fit smoothly together. A DC 20 Disable Device check is required to put the coins together and determine if there is a fit (and no other coins are able to make a seamless connection). The means of their construction is a closely guarded secret. A thieves’ token has a magic aura of conjuration and anyone that attempts to identify its magical properties believes it to grant a luck bonus to saving throws, but a DC 25 Spellcraft check reveals that this is merely the effects of a magic aura and nothing more.

HISTORY
DC 15     The various thieves’ guilds that operate underneath Nyamo have a foolproof way of identifying their own members.
DC 20     The Order of the Staff would pay dearly for information on how to infiltrate the underground criminals, something that they have been unable to do.
DC 25     Most underground thieves’ guilds employ at least one expert counterfeiter.

CONSTRUCTION
Requirements 1 cp, DC 30 Profession (jewelsmith) check, magic aura; Cost 500 gp

The guilds needed a foolproof way to identify themselves to each other that is difficult to magically locate; to disguise the true purpose of the coin, a permanent magic aura is cast on it. Lower level operatives are told that the thieves’ token grants them magical luck, while higher level operatives are told to tell anyone examining the coin that it provides magical luck. The enchantment is pure subterfuge, meant to deflect attention away from the real (mechanical) purpose of the coin.

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Statblock Sunday (Banlan Backlash!): Kelsaola, Commander turned Saboteur

Final-Amalgam galvo sorcererKELSAOLA      CR 10
XP 9,600
Galvo sorcerer 2
CE Medium magical beast (aquatic)
Init +4; Senses blindsense 60 ft., darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +14

DEFENSE
AC 25, touch 17, flat-footed 18 (+6 Dex, +1 dodge, +8 natural)
hp 179 (15d10+2d6+90)
Fort +13, Ref +15, Will +9
Defensive Abilities swarmlike; DR 10/slashing; Immune electricity

OFFENSE
Speed 30 ft., swim 30 ft.
Melee bite +22 (1d6+2 plus 2d6 electricity), 2 slams +22 (1d6+2 plus 2d6 electricity)
Ranged eel dart +22 touch (1d6+2 plus 1d6 electricity) or acidic ray +22 touch (1d6+1 acid; 4/day)
Sorcerer Spells Known (CL 2nd; concentration +3)
1st (5/day)—grease (DC 12), comprehend languages
0 (at will)—dancing lights, mage hand, mending, read magic, touch of fatigue (DC 11)
Bloodline aberrant
Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft. (10 ft. with slam)

STATISTICS
Str 15, Dex 23, Con 18, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 13
Base Atk +16; CMB +18; CMD 35 (can’t be tripped)
Feats Blind-Fight, Combat Casting, Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Eschew Materials, Point-Blank Shot, Power Attack, Precise Shot, Vital Strike, Weapon Finesse
Skills Perception +14, Stealth +17, Spellcraft+19, Swim +17, Use Magic Device +19
Languages Aquan (can’t speak)
SQ amphibious, bloodline arcana (polymorph spells are Extended), compression, varied attack
Treasure Kelsaola has swallowed a necklace of adaptation, and gains its benefits. A PC searching his body finds it only with a DC 25 Perceptioncheck.
Kelsaola has always been a commander, ever since it was created by it’s masters in the deepest sea trenches. He was to wage war against the undead skum so plentiful about the cape, but as he approached, his army was absolutely destroyed by Chum. In shame, he refused to abandon his goal and has worked tirelessly to claim control of the colossus with the goals of turning it first against its creators, then against the targets of his original invasion.

 

 

[By Michael McCarthy]

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Sidequest Saturday (Banlan Backlash!): Colossus Chum!

Having learned that the Order of the Staff is spying on them through a Nyamo scribe orb, the PCs decide to take a different route back to the northern side of the city—by means of an airship piloted by Banlan captain Il-Kai’am. He has all the papers required to transport a shipment of “treated” wood north into the shipyards, a delivery that would be virtually impossible to pass through the Nyamo Wall.

 

nyamo harborNot long after the adventurers are in the air, however, an explosion comes from the harbor: an eighty foot tall steel machine bursts from beneath the surface of the water! PCs that make a DC 25 Knowledge (history) check recognize the machine as Chum—a titan crafted a century ago to keep the Nyamo harbor clear of pirates and sea creatures (especially of the undead variety). Any PCs that beat the DC by 5 or more know that it has to undergo annual maintenance to repair the sometimes extensive damage it accumulates from this job. Even a DC 10 Knowledge (arcana) check can identify that is is a colossus (a DC 31 check identifies it specifically as an iron colossus)—a sort of impossible construct designed to crush entire cities, and something far beyond the party’s ability to combat directly on.

If none of the PCs make the check, Kai’am can at least tell the adventurers the titan’s name.

 

This titan begins smashing ships left and right as it plods its way out of the harbor, and unless stopped, will clearly kill hundreds if not thousands. Kai’am mentions now would be a good time to simply flee the city in its entirety.

 

As the PCs make a decision one way or the other, a transparent and rough-bearded wizard suddenly appears on deck, looking rather flustered. “Airship! Can you hear me?” He repeats the message several times until one of the PCs acknowledges that they can, at which point he continues, “I’m sure I don’t have to point out the trouble at the docks. The portside protector seems to have sustained damage to its control circuit. Our fleet is taking longer than expected to mobilize, too many ships undergoing maintenance and—an alligotonium shipment was late—not important. You are nearby, we can reward you handsomely if someone in your ship can teleport or fly over to the protector’s control circuit—in a room on the back of it’s head—and disable it. The emergency code is Palsoptra.” If the PCs seem hesitant, he reminds them that doing so will save hundreds of lives, and that the code will disable all of its security systems: other than the possible risk of falling, there is nothing to worry about.

 

Originally, Kai’am is willing to make one single pass near Chum’s head to let up to two PCs leap from ship to the titan, a maneuver that requires a DC 20 Acrobatics check to avoid missing the platform and falling the 80 ft. to the ground. A DC 20 Diplomacy or Intimidate check convinces Kai’am to make up to two additional passes.

 

PDG-AmalgamEarthElemental-lines-01 chum colossusThere are two sections within the titan; outside, which is a 5 ft. x 15 ft. walkway, and inside, a 15-ft. diameter chamber. Each round the titan advances slowly into the town, requiring all titan-bound PCs to make a DC 10 Acrobatics check or be knocked prone by the motion (which is treated as violent motion for the purposes of casting spells). The door between the walkway and the chamber is locked with a superior arcane lock (DC 50 Disable Device) that opens automatically with the passphrase.

 

Inside, however, adventurers discover that the bulk of the security systems have already been disabled by an enormous humanoid collection of electric eels standing in the center of the room. The creature is Kelsaola, a galvo of uncommon intelligence and ambition [see the upcoming Statblock Sunday -the other MM!] that discovered the titan’s critical weakness by chance during its maintenance period, and has been craving an opportunity to strike back against the surface world since Chum destroyed his army. He has taken six years to infiltrate and understand the creature’s controls, and now finally has the time to strike!

 

Between the party and Kelsaola are two of the colossi’s guardians that it has reprogrammed: clockwork soldiers. They do anything they can to prevent the PCs from reaching Kesaola, who continues to man the controls, overriding any attempts to use the code word until he is struck in combat at least once, at which point he eagerly enters the fray. Speaking the codeword aloud as a standard action staggers both clockwork soldiers for the round, but like the collossus, Kelsaola simply reactivates them the next round so long as he remains at the controls.

 

Once Kesaola is away from the controls, speaking the codeword aloud immediately stops the clockwork soldiers and Chum, negating the need for any further balance checks and making Kai’am confident enough to fly in and let any additional PCs into the combat.

 

Adventurers remaining aboard Kai’am’s airship aren’t helpless, as Kai’am does have a light ballista mounted to each side of the ship, allowing the PCs to alternatingly make attacks against Chum from a distance. The ballista aren’t powerful enough to pierce the colossus’ DR, but each round they successfully make an attack (against AC 20) they prevent Chum from advancing further into the city, saving lives and negating the need for titan-board PCs to make checks to balance that round.
When the party lands (assuming Chum is stopped), the Order of the Staff pay the PCs a reward of 3,500 gold.

 

[By Michael McCarthy!]

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Fiction Friday (Banlan Backlash): Rogue Ruse

aaw-website - witch hunter - storn cook

Rangel motions to the party to follow him around the bend in the sewer up ahead and even though you know it’s guarded, the sentries must be well concealed. These are some serious professionals—you can’t spot any of them. He holds up a hand to bring you to a halt while closely examining the wall, looking for something.

A single splash echoes behind you. Rangel quickly spins around towards the noise, crossbow in hand.

Oh, Marco, it’s you. How did you follow me for so long?

Marco points at a ring as a big smile creeps onto his face. “New toy. Watch.” Marco vanishes, or at least his smile does—it’s hard to tell in the dark. The grin reappears, bigger this time and a foot to the left. “One of those Staffers was following me. Doubled back on him and picked his pocket. He must’ve just confiscated it. Must be ‘cursed’,” Marco says, chuckling as the last word comes out. “Anyway, hand me your copper.

Rangel fishes about the pouch on his belt, his fingers carefully feeling each coin. A few moments later, he procures a single copper piece, slightly worn and unremarkable. He holds it up between his two fingers and carefully feels the surface. Hollow_copper_coin_1_Satang_(front)

Here ya go, Marco,” Rangel says, handing the coin over.

Marco replies, “We’ll see. Where is my coin? Ah, here.

Marco puts the two coins together casually, matching the fronts together. Adjusting them slightly, he raises them up, holding each in the small amount of illumination that creeps into the tunnel.

Satisfied, Marco?“, says Rangel, holding out his palm, expecting the return of his coin.

Marco nods and places the coin back in his hand. “Follow me,” he says, touching a brick on the sewer wall, opening up a small, hidden door. “There’s a small stash back here that we need to identify and fence. You“, pointing at the yourself and your companions, “you can help us identify this batch, right?

Fortunately upon arrival in Nyamo and the difficult delivery of the alligotonium, the Order of the Staff gave you a scribe orb. It’s fitting that you should use this item to help their enemies. You nod and begin to enter the small room.

Wait,” says Marco. He puts his arm across the doorway, blocking the entrance, then reaches up behind the door. An audible click is heard as a trap is presumably disarmed. “Ok, now you can go in.” He notices Rangel’s glare. “Hey, it’s just business. It’s disarmed now, nothing to worry about.

All right. Identify these. Let me know if there’s something cursed or weird about them. We can’t be fencing inferior merchandise now, can we?

powder of detection - justin andrew masonYou pull out the scribe orb and begin to identify the first item, a small dagger, while Rangel collects up a few small bags of coins. As the orb’s power begins to analyze the weapons enchantment, recording it on a piece of parchment, Marco knocks the orb out of your hand.

Where did you get that!? Do you realize what you’ve done?“, he says, backing up to the entrance and clicking the trap back into place. “Explain. Quickly. We have mere minutes before the Order is here, courtesy of that orb you are using.

Seeing your confused expressions, Rangel jumps in. “Marco, what do you mean? These guys are good, we can trust them, they could have betrayed us at anytime, what’s going on?

Rangel, that orb. That’s a trap! Anything identified with that orb is transmitted to the Order: they know exactly where and what we have—we don’t have time to discuss this! Leave the items here. Rangel, come with me. You,” he says, pointing at the party, “stay here. The trap here will make sure you stay, so you might want to stay away from it. Of course once the Order arrives, it could take care of them instead. You have a choice to make, here and now: that trap just might take care of our problem, or it may not. In any case, the Order will be here soon, and that will be YOUR problem. I suggest you destroy that damn orb too, no matter what you do.

With that last piece of advice, Marco yanks Rangel out of the room and darkness falls as he closes the door.