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Sanguine Chalice

Sanguine Chalice preppedSanguine Chalice
Aura moderate conjuration; CL 9th
Slot none; Weight 5 lbs.

This small stone chalice is inscribed with strange markings of a creature breathing forth some kind of creature breathing forth a red mist. When filled with any kind of liquid (a full-round action), the contents change to what appears to be a potion of cure critical wounds and heals 4d8+9 hit points to any creature that drinks it before making a DC 20 Will save. Creatures that fail this save are cursed until they receive a regeneration spell; any time that they are made fatigued or eat food that is not bloody (a very rare stake qualifies) they must make a DC 20 Fortitude save or vomit forth blood, taking 1d4 Constitution damage.
Dhampir, vampire and vampire spawn that drink from a sanguine chalice treat its contents as a potion of inflict critical wounds and heal 4d8+9 hit points.

CREATION
Magic Items any cup or chalice suitable for drinking from 

A character that makes a Knowledge (religion) check to learn about the sanguine chalice identifies the following fragments of lore:
DC 15¬† ¬† ¬†This cup was the second calling card of Valthior the Valorous‚ÄĒevery tavern he drank in fell silent when this cup appeared at the bar. None but he was ever seen to drink from it and after witnessing its healing properties, countless brawls were said to have broken out because of it.
DC 20     The etchings and style of carvings indicate that the item is no less than 700 years old, though they are otherworldly and difficult to discern easily.
DC 25¬† ¬† ¬†Last seen somewhere in the Klavek Kingdom, the thief Gallro’rk the Reckless made off with the sanguine chalice to parts unknown‚ÄĒthe rogue was last seen entering the Underworld over a decade ago.
DC 30¬† ¬† ¬†An ancient horror, the Exsanguinator, is depicted on this cup. It once belonged to a noble in the terrifying daemon’s bloody court.

 

 

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Sanguine Mace

Sanguine Mace croppedSanguine Mace
Aura
moderate necromancy; CL 6th
Slot none; Price 28,600 gp; Weight 10 lbs.

DESCRIPTION
The head of this regal mace is covered in flowing, floral designs wrought from silver. Crimson metal caps the weapon and is wrapped around the upper haft in more noble designs and a gravitas seems to emanate from it, as though it hungers for combat.

This +1 silver heavy mace is normally just that, but in the hands of a wielder with the the undeath domain its true properties come to the fore‚ÄĒon a successful critical hit, the head of the weapon opens into vicious spikes that automatically succeed with a bite attack that deals 1d4 points of Constitution damage. The wielder gains 5 temporary hit points per point of Constitution damage dealt this way.
In the hands of a dhampir, vampire or vampire spawn, a sanguine mace automatically confirms critical hits.

HISTORY
A character that makes a Knowledge (religion) check to learn more about the sanguine mace reveals some of the unique weapon’s lore:
DC 10     Valthior the Valorous was a fighter of the undead and is still celebrated widely across the land. His mace felled beasts of the night and countless monsters that threatened smaller communities in the wilds.
DC 15¬† ¬† ¬†While a hero of the people, holy knights and paladins chased Valthior everywhere he went and this mace quickly became his calling card. It is still sought by their orders and they’ll pay a finder’s fee to anyone that locates it.
DC 20¬† ¬† ¬†It’s said that the sanguine mace originally belonged to a vampire king that Valthior slain singlehandedly, though the warrior is said to have disappeared decades ago in the same keep the undead lord once occupied.
DC 25¬† ¬† ¬† Valthior the Valorous was in fact a dhampir and is said to live still‚ÄĒhe is believed to exist in the keep, kept there by the slain vampire king’s spirit to save the surrounding communities from tyrrany.

CONSTRUCTION
Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, vampiric touch; Cost 14,300 gp 572 xp

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 ‚ÄėArmory of Adventures submission‚Äô 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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Sangue Malar

AWW_Blog_Blood_Vat_Map_Justin_Mason_Draft_002 jpegThe paranoia and chaos reaches a fevered pitch as midnight nears before Countess Veresovich enacts the final portion of her plan‚ÄĒthe large floor of the ballroom suddenly drops out from under the attendees of the masquerade, dumping all of them onto a steep slope that slides each into an unremarkable hewn stone chamber hundreds of feet below.

If the PCs fall with the nobles, read the following:

The muffled panicking of the crowds of lords and ladies has grown as every member of the masquerade suddenly understands the excruciating experience of being locked in a cage with portent of only doom. Then, in a moment that immediately draws silence from everyone present, a loud, ominous clockwork gear can be hear turning somewhere along the wall.

Before anyone can react, however, the floor drops out from underneath! The crowds of nobles fall a few feet (or in some cases, a few more feet) and slam into a pitched slope that funnels them all down into a pile of frantic limbs in a nondescript cavern roughly hewn from the stone.

If the PCs are in another room when the nobles fall, read the following

A loud grinding of gears reverberates through the walls as the consternation in the main hall suddenly quiets in response. A moment later scores of crying voices ring out briefly before disappearing‚ÄĒthe floor of the entire room dropped out from under the masquerade’s guests, funneling them directly into a large chute that goes down for hundreds of feet into the darkness. Their cries for help are easily heard and whatever uncertainty about what troubles Veresovich Manor that remains is sure to be brought to an end below.

sangue malar caveThe nobles are all too cowardly to venture farther down the cavern until the party arrives, at which point all of them assure the PCs that they are clearly better suited for danger. A good thing too; the only exit from the chamber is a narrow, 200 foot long hallway that leads down a small motley of miniature bluffs inside of a larger chamber and at its end are a dozen of the Countesses’ most fanatical acolytes. They lie in ambush, waiting to massacre anyone that’s fallen into their master’s trap, filling the sloping rooms with blood that pool in the final area.

(12) Sanguineus Acolytes; CR 4 (XP 1,200)

Sanguine AcolyteMale or Female human (Klavek) fighter 4/sorcerer 1
HP 44 (4d10+1d6+19); AC 18, touch 14, flat-footed 14 (+6 armor, +3 Dex, +1 dodge)
Init +3; Speed 30 ft.; Atk mwk rapier +6 (1d6+3, Crit 18-20/x2) or mwk light crossbow +8 (1d8, Crit 19-20/x2, Range 80 ft.)
Base Atk+4; CMB +5; CMD 18
AL Neutral Evil; SV Fort +3, Ref +6, Will +3; Str 12, Dex 16, Con 15, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 14
Skills Bluff +8, Intimidate +7, Knowledge (religion) +4, Perception +5; Feats Combat Casting, Dodge, Greater Spell Focus (necromancy), Spell Focus (necromancy); Eschew Materials, Toughness, Weapon Focus (rapier), Weapon Specialization (rapier)
Sorcerer Spells Known (CL 1st; concentration +3, +7 defensive; spell chance failure 25%)
1st (3/day)‚ÄĒray of enfeeblement (DC 15; CL 2nd), ray of sickening (DC 15; CL 2nd)
0th‚ÄĒacid splash, detect magic, mage hand, touch of fatigue (DC 14; CL 2nd)
Bloodline undead (sanguine)
Gear masterwork breastplate, masterwork rapier, masterwork light crossbow, 78 gold
The Blood Is the Life (Su) Sanguineus Acolytes can gain sustenance from the blood of the recently dead 5 times a day. As a standard action, they can drink the blood of a creature that died within the past minute. The creature must be corporeal, must be at least the same size as them, and must have blood. This ability heals the Sanguineus Acolyte 1d6 hit points and nourishes them as if they’d had a full meal.

After the cultists have been bested, Countess Veresovich makes her second attack: she orders her corpse companion and a second squad of 8 acolytes to assault the party.

With the blood of the fallen acolytes spilling onto the floor, you notice this entire cavern slopes towards another chamber. Inside of the next area you can clearly see Countess Darah Veresovich‚ÄĒher dress gown is gone, replaced by a set of vicious looking full-plate armor. She gestures at you and screams, “Kraujas, loyal followers, attack the interlopers! Coat the walls in blood! Sate your hunger for the crimson wine and drink your fill from the fallen!”

Once the battle seems to be going the adventurers’ way, the Countess decides to use one of her last cards: she enacts the binding rituals placed to affect the Items Sanguineus, conjuring forth whomever wore the vampiric amulet, mask and cloak (under her mental control, although it is not complete).

sangue malar 3Countess Darah takes a brief instant to survey the battle and makes a split decision, screaming, “MORTUUS VIVENS!” Wards and spiritual markings flare along the walls and roof of the ceiling in spurts that become more and more frequent before they all pop with darkness that coalesces in the center of the main cavern. In the matter of a moment, a pallid, familiar figure emerges from the inky black cloud, prominent fangs jutting from their mouth…

Vampire Dominated

Should one of the PCs have worn all three of the Items Sanguineus, they must make a DC 20 Will save each round or are under a dominate person effect controlled by Countess Darah Veresovich. If a member of the cult wears them (like Count Krev Ragata) they automatically fail their save each round unless they roll a natural 20.
Vampire Template

vampire aaaaugh‚ÄúVampire‚ÄĚ is an acquired template that can be added to any living creature with 5 or more Hit Dice (referred to hereafter as the base creature). Most vampires were once humanoids, fey, or monstrous humanoids. A vampire uses the base creature’s stats and abilities except as noted here.
CR: Same as the base creature + 2.
AL: Any evil.
Type: The creature’s type changes to undead (augmented). Do not recalculate class Hit Dice, BAB, or saves.
Senses: A vampire gains darkvision 60 ft.
Armor Class: Natural armor improves by +6.
Hit Dice: Change all racial Hit Dice to d8s. Class Hit Dice are unaffected. As undead, vampires use their Charisma modifier to determine bonus hit points (instead of Constitution).
Defensive Abilities: A vampire gains channel resistance +4, DR 10/magic and silver, and resistance to cold 10 and electricity 10, in addition to all of the defensive abilities granted by the undead type. A vampire also gains fast healing 5. If reduced to 0 hit points in combat, a vampire assumes gaseous form (see below) and attempts to escape. It must reach its coffin home within 2 hours or be utterly destroyed. (It can normally travel up to 9 miles in 2 hours.) Additional damage dealt to a vampire forced into gaseous form has no effect. Once at rest, the vampire is helpless. It regains 1 hit point after 1 hour, then is no longer helpless and resumes healing at the rate of 5 hit points per round.

Weaknesses: Vampires cannot tolerate the strong odor of garlic and will not enter an area laced with it. Similarly, they recoil from mirrors or strongly presented holy symbols. These things don’t harm the vampire‚ÄĒthey merely keep it at bay. A recoiling vampire must stay at least 5 feet away from the mirror or holy symbol and cannot touch or make melee attacks against that creature. Holding a vampire at bay takes a standard action. After 1 round, a vampire can overcome its revulsion of the object and function normally each round it makes a DC 25 Will save.

Vampires cannot enter a private home or dwelling unless invited in by someone with the authority to do so.

Reducing a vampire’s hit points to 0 or lower incapacitates it but doesn’t always destroy it (see fast healing). However, certain attacks can slay vampires. Exposing any vampire to direct sunlight staggers it on the first round of exposure and destroys it utterly on the second consecutive round of exposure if it does not escape. Each round of immersion in running water inflicts damage on a vampire equal to one-third of its maximum hit points‚ÄĒa vampire reduced to 0 hit points in this manner is destroyed. Driving a wooden stake through a helpless vampire’s heart instantly slays it (this is a full-round action). However, it returns to life if the stake is removed, unless the head is also severed and anointed with holy water.

Speed: Same as the base creature. If the base creature has a swim speed, the vampire is not unduly harmed by running water.
Melee: A vampire gains a slam attack if the base creature didn’t have one. Damage for the slam depends on the vampire’s size (see Natural Attacks). Its slam also causes energy drain (see below). Its natural weapons are treated as magic weapons for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.

Special Attacks: A vampire gains several special attacks. Save DCs are equal to 10 + 1/2 vampire’s HD + vampire’s Cha modifier unless otherwise noted.
Blood Drain (Su): A vampire can suck blood from a grappled opponent; if the vampire establishes or maintains a pin, it drains blood, dealing 1d4 points of Constitution damage. The vampire heals 5 hit points or gains 5 temporary hit points for 1 hour (up to a maximum number of temporary hit points equal to its full normal hit points) each round it drains blood.
Children of the Night (Su): Once per day, a vampire can call forth 1d6+1 rat swarms, 1d4+1 bat swarms, or 2d6 wolves as a standard action. (If the base creature is not terrestrial, this power might summon other creatures of similar power.) These creatures arrive in 2d6 rounds and serve the vampire for up to 1 hour.
Create Spawn (Su): A vampire can create spawn out of those it slays with blood drain or energy drain, provided that the slain creature is of the same creature type as the vampire’s base creature type. The victim rises from death as a vampire in 1d4 days. This vampire is under the command of the vampire that created it, and remains enslaved until its master’s destruction. A vampire may have enslaved spawn totaling no more than twice its own Hit Dice; any spawn it creates that would exceed this limit become free-willed undead. A vampire may free an enslaved spawn in order to enslave a new spawn, but once freed, a vampire or vampire spawn cannot be enslaved again.
Dominate (Su): A vampire can crush a humanoid opponent’s will as a standard action. Anyone the vampire targets must succeed on a Will save or fall instantly under the vampire’s influence, as though by a dominate person spell (caster level 12th). The ability has a range of 30 feet. At the GM’s discretion, some vampires might be able to affect different creature types with this power.
Energy Drain (Su): A creature hit by a vampire’s slam (or other natural weapon) gains two negative levels. This ability only triggers once per round, regardless of the number of attacks a vampire makes.

Special Qualities: A vampire gains the following.
Change Shape (Su): A vampire can use change shape to assume the form of a dire bat or wolf, as beast shape II.
Gaseous Form (Su): As a standard action, a vampire can assume gaseous form at will (caster level 5th), but it can remain gaseous indefinitely and has a fly speed of 20 feet with perfect maneuverability.
Shadowless (Ex): A vampire casts no shadows and shows no reflection in a mirror.
Spider Climb (Ex): A vampire can climb sheer surfaces as though under the effects of a spider climb spell.

Ability Scores Str +6, Dex +4, Int +2, Wis +2, Cha +4. As an undead creature, a vampire has no Constitution score.
Skills Vampires gain a +8 racial bonus on Bluff, Perception, Sense Motive, and Stealth checks.
Feats Vampires gain Alertness, Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Improved Initiative, Lightning Reflexes, and Toughness as bonus feats.

As the vampire appears and some of the wards around the chamber fizzle away, a second wave of acolytes pours in from behind the nobles and a true slaughter commences as the PCs fight against the leader of Cultus Sanguineus and her vampire thrall: either a fiendish Krev Ragata now with the vampire template, a Sanguineus Acolyte (use their statblock above) with the vampire template or a turned member of the party!

 

Blood Sucking Leech Pits

Each of the pools in the main chamber is only a few feet deep but hides a greater danger than slipping down; a DC 20 Perception check reveals that leech swarms occupy the blood ponds. These creatures have been specially prepared by Countess Veresovich and are a rare breed from exotic lands that instantly latch on to anyone that steps into one of the slough‚ÄĒtraveling through these squares requires a DC 15 Reflex save for each 5 ft.-square entered. On a failed save, creatures are subjected to one swarm attack ¬†from the vermin as they eat their fill. Otherwise the creatures are content to stay in their confines and lap up the wave of crimson nourishment sure to pour their way.

LEECH SWARM CR 4

XP 1,200
N Diminutive vermin (aquatic, swarm)
Init +4; Senses blindsight 30 ft.; Perception +0
DEFENSE
AC 18, touch 18, flat-footed 14 (+4 Dex, +4 size)
hp 39 (6d8+12)
Fort +7, Ref +6, Will +2
Immune mind-affecting effects, swarm traits, weapon damage
Weaknesses susceptible to salt (see giant leech)
OFFENSE
Speed 5 ft., swim 30 ft.
Melee swarm (2d6 plus poison)
Space 10 ft.; Reach0 ft.
Special Attacks blood drain, distraction (DC 15)
STATISTICS
Str¬†1, Dex¬†18, Con¬†15, Int ‚ÄĒ, Wis¬†10, Cha¬†2
Base¬†Atk¬†+4; CMB ‚ÄĒ; CMD ‚ÄĒ
Skills Stealth +16 (+24 in swamps), Swim +12; Racial Modifiers +8 Stealth in swamps, uses Dexterity to modify Swim checks
SPECIAL ABILITIES
Blood Drain (Ex) Any living creature that begins its turn with a leech swarm in its space is drained of its blood and takes 1d3 points of Str and Con damage.
Poison (Ex)¬†Swarm‚ÄĒinjury; save¬†Fort DC 15; frequency¬†1/round for 2 rounds; effect¬†1d4 Dexterity drain; cure¬†1 save.

 

sangue malar 2The Battle Behind Them!
The Countesses’ grand plan has led both the nobles and the acolytes (of which, there are about 50 each) to fall into states of adrenaline borne of bloodlust, fear, magic and exotic spices. During this side encounter (which occurs in the cavern the adventurers were fist ambushed in), both sorties receive the advanced template though once the PCs engage them and their master is gone, the cultists lose their fervor and cease to be a unified force (if they were an army, they aren’t anymore and disperse: see below for details).

Mass Combat in Cultus Sanguineus

There are a number of ways to incorporate this enormous melee combat into your game, but the AaWBlog recommends using this opportunity to try out Paizo’s excellent Mass Combat Rules.
Because of the space restriction and build of the map however, their movement and space rules differ slightly.
1) Each army always occupies 10 contiguous squares until reduced to ¬Ĺ the unit‚Äôs hit points, at which point its DV and OM are both reduced by 2 and it only occupies 5 contiguous squares.
2) When reduced to ¬ľ hit points, the army disperses, reverting to single creatures; take the total number of the army‚Äôs remaining hit points and divide it by its maximum hit points; multiply this by 25 and round down for the total number of remaining units (which are too ineffectual to engage an army unit and are sure to die soon).
Klavekian Noble Army

N Small (50) army of humans (klavek aristocrat 6)
hp 13; ACR 3, ranged
DV 14; OM3
Special ferocity
Speed 1 (on this map, 4 squares); Consumption 1
Note Due to their hardy survival instinct, the Klavek nobles benefit from the Ferocity special ability if demoralized or routed. It may continue to act for one more Melee phase, and its OM and DV are reduced by 4 for that phase.
Adrenal Klavekian Noble CR 5 (XP 1,600)

Male human [Klavek] aristocrat 6 (temporarily advanced)
HP 39 (6d8+12); AC 16 (+4 Dex, +2 natural)
Init +4; Speed 30 ft.; Atk unarmed +2 (1d3+2, provokes attack of opportunity), rock +4 (1d4, range 10 ft.)
Base Atk +4; CMB +6; CMD 20
AL Neutral; SV Fort +4, Ref +6, Will +7; Str 14, Dex 18, Con 14, Int 17, Wis 15, Cha 19
Skills Appraise +15, Bluff +13, Diplomacy +15, Intimidate +11, Knowledge (geography) +8, Knowledge (local) +8, Knowledge (nobility) +8, Perception +8, Profession (merchant) +11, Sense Motive +11; Feats Deceitful, Persuasive, Skill Focus (Appraise), Skill Focus (Diplomacy)
Cultist Army

NE Small (50) army of humans (fighter 4/sorcerer 1)
hp 16; ACR 3, ranged
DV 15; OM 5, ranged
Special armor training, bravery, cannibalize, spellcasting 1, weapon specialization
Speed 1; Consumption 1
Notes¬†Once per battle, increase the army’s OM for either ranged or melee attacks by 2.
Adrenal Sanguineus Acolyte CR 5 (XP 1,600)

Male or Female human (Klavek) fighter 4/sorcerer 1 (temporarily advanced)
HP 54 (4d10+1d6+29); AC 20, touch 14, flat-footed 16 (+6 armor, +3 Dex, +1 dodge, +2 natural)
Init+3; Speed 30 ft.; Atk mwk rapier +8 (1d6+5, Crit 18-20/x2) or mwk light crossbow +8 (1d8, Crit 19-20/x2, Range 80 ft.)
Base Atk +4; CMB +7; CMD 20
AL Neutral Evil; SV Fort +5, Ref +6, Will +5; Str 16, Dex 16 (20 restricted by armor), Con 19, Int 12, Wis 14, Cha 18
Skills Bluff +10, Intimidate +9, Knowledge (religion) +6, Perception +7; Feats Combat Casting, Dodge, Greater Spell Focus (necromancy), Spell Focus (necromancy); Eschew Materials, Toughness, Weapon Focus (rapier), Weapon Specialization (rapier)
Sorcerer Spells Known (CL 1st; concentration +5, +9 defensive; spell chance failure 25%)
1st (3/day)‚ÄĒray of enfeeblement (DC 17; CL 2nd), ray of sickening (DC 17; CL 2nd)
0th‚ÄĒacid splash, detect magic, mage hand, touch of fatigue (DC 16; CL 2nd)
Bloodline undead (sanguine)
Gear masterwork breastplate, masterwork rapier, masterwork light crossbow, 78 gold
The Blood Is the Life (Su) Sanguineus Acolytes can gain sustenance from the blood of the recently dead 5 times a day. As a standard action, they can drink the blood of a creature that died within the past minute. The creature must be corporeal, must be at least the same size as them, and must have blood. This ability heals the Sanguineus Acolyte 1d6 hit points and nourishes them as if they’d had a full meal.

With Countess Darah defeated, the acolytes broken and perhaps with a few nobles left alive to tell of their deeds, the party might feel victorious as the conflict draws to a close‚ÄĒtheir moment of triumph is brief, however, as the pooled blood that now fills the main chamber begins to steam‚Ķ.

[Stay tuned to the AaWBlog for the FINALE of Cultus Sanguineus as the prime evil behind this debacle in Mohkba is revealed in tomorrow’s Statblock Sunday!]

Also, today’s beautiful cartography is brought to us today by Justin Andrew Mason! We cannot thank him enough and are absolutely beside ourselves to add yet another new contributor to the AaWBlog crew!

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Cultus Sanguineus (Part 2: Items Sanguineus)

Cultus Sangineus full color

Countess Darah Veresovich first heard of the¬†Items Sanguineus¬†while traveling abroad‚ÄĒwhere none can say (and anyone that might have died long ago). She has since devoted her entire family’s fortune and interests to acquiring the items and has already seen the trio of items lost twice; this time she’s prepared for the contingencies and has riders ready to chase after the dispersed wondrous items as soon as she can divine their location again.

Lore
Characters who have ranks in Knowledge (arcana) or Knowledge (nobility) can research the Cultus Sanguineus to learn more about these individual items. When a character succeeds on a Knowledge check to do so, some of its lore is revealed (including information from the lower DC checks). The facts below are the ‚Äútrue‚ÄĚ lore‚ÄĒthe GM is free to generate false lore to tease players into searching for the items (examples of misleading histories for these items are included in each of their individual entries).

DC 20

Originally created by the necromancer Kasigern the Lord of Bones, this foul individual continually sought novel ways to convert individuals of status and influence into powerful undead that answered only to him. This three-piece outfit set is one such trap that Kasigern used to subjugate and offer souls to his foul god.


Formerly an aspiring scion to a noble family, Kasigern excelled in the politics of the clamouring royal houses, eventually eliminating his father and two older brothers to claim his ducal birthright. However, exposure to the darkest elements of magic had taken its toll on his once-fine features, leading to a very public humiliation at a grand ball.


The debacle pushed Kasigern over the edge and fully into the hands of his dark master, shunning the noble families that had cruelly mocked him at the grand event. He sought to create items that would bend every member of the social elite to his will in permanent service for eternity. However, over time, many of these items have served their fell purpose and have either been discarded or lost.

 
Success at DC 30 or higher reveals 1d3 credible rumours to the location of other parts of this set.

Once all three items (the amulet of the sundered heart, the cloak of the dark servant and the mask of the thirst) are assembled and worn together, a magic mouth effect speaks a spell completion phrase that activates the wearer’s transformation into a vampire.


Possession and wearing two parts of this set grants the abilities of both pieces and the use of comprehend languages as a spell-like ability three times per day and cause fear as a spell-like ability once per day. The wearer is also subjected to the Sanguine Avarice haunt.

vampire aaaaugh


Once the three items have been found, reunited and worn together, the final curse sets in. The enchanted items collectively discharge all of their individual powers in a swirl of necromantic energy‚ÄĒa necromantic version of the baleful polymorph spell, long since lost to the knowledge of mere mortals‚ÄĒthat destroys the wearer and all he carries. At midnight, the unfortunate subject reforms into a free-willed vampire with all the knowledge, equipment and abilities of their previous life.

The actual process forces a DC 22 Fortitude save to resist the necromantic force flowing through the subject’s body, followed by a DC 22 Will save for the subject to retain their mind and skills intact. If either save is failed, the individual is permanently slain, their soul offered up to the god of undeath.

Regardless of the result of the baleful polymorph attempt, the three items immediately disperse into shadow and reappear across a region that includes one or more cities with well-established noble families. 


Wherever the mask of the thirst 
appears a blood thirst box trap is conjured around it, the amulet of the sundered heart is found near a sanguineus mirror trap, and blood sconces manifest wherever the cloak of the dark servant travels to.

[Submitted by Jonathan Ely]
[Edited by Mike Myler]

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Cultus Sanguineus ‚ÄĒ The Sanguine Ball

sanguine ball properCultus Sanguineus‚ÄĒThe Sanguine Ball

Either in a previous encounter (from last week‚Äôs Sidequest Saturday)‚ÄĒor by chance while in the city of Mohkba‚ÄĒthe adventurers acquired an invitation to a masquerade ball and a beautiful mask of diplomacy +1¬†(actually a mask of thirst). The event is being held on the night after the party‚Äôs encounter with the trio of muggers¬†and is lauded as the most grand occasion to come to the city in many months.

Notable persons from all over the realm will be in attendance, and the PCs are sure to meet influential and powerful individuals that hold sway over considerable resources in the Klavek Kingdom while there. Countess Darah Veresovich is the host of the masquerade, and her sizable mansion is located in the affluent area of the city. Adventurers keen to scope out the residence beforehand or wise enough to learn more about the countess may make a Diplomacy check to determine more about the event itself and the property it is being held in.

DC Information Gained
15 The countess is the sole heir to the Veresovich fortune after her older brother tragically died in a hunting accident. She is thought to have distant cousins, but they have scarcely visited Mohkba these past ten years.
25 The whole ward in which the manor is located is one of the oldest parts of Mohkba, and the Veresovich estate is rumored to be coated with small magical enhancements to amplify its presence and grandeur.
35 While not a recluse, after traveling to oversee Veresovich mercantile interests afar, the Countess began to create odd waves in the social climate of Mohkba that has put much of the nobility ill at ease. It’s thought that this upcoming grand masquerade is her way of mending the fences with her elite peers.

Veresovich ManorRead the following as the adventurers approach Countess Veresovich’s mansion to attend the grand ball:

A large iron-wrought gate stands open to accommodate the steady stream of gilded carriages entering the magnificent manor gardens before you. A gravelled boulevard leads up to the mansion where servants greet and assist the guests, lit by lanterns hanging from the lowliest bush to the mightiest oak, suspended on the branches of every plant in the gardens. Amongst the masked uniformed servants, a tall, gaunt man stands and surveys the scene in silence.

A servant quickly looks over your invitations and guides you to the door, where another attendant leads you to the ballroom via dimly lit corridors, finally stopping in front of a massive ornately carved door‚ÄĒas it opens you are overwhelmed by light and the sounds of a full-fledged nobles‚Äô ball in Mohkba. Servants dodge dancing couples while carrying trays with glasses full of different liquors as what seems like a full symphonic orchestra provides the fantastic melodies flowing through the room.

Everywhere you look masked guests meet your gaze, some glancing cursorily in your direction. While a few avert their eyes, others seem to take a greater interest in your presence. On a long table in the back of the ballroom there are a panoply of different foods, the countess‚Äô chefs having prepared well for the masquerade. The countess can easily be made out, a tall lithe woman dressed in a black ballgown with gold accents, her face concealed by a white porcelain mask inlaid with rubies arranged in a heart-shape pattern over the left eye. Only her smile reveals her mood behind the mask. The servant behind you whispers, ‚Äúthe countess wishes to make your acquaintance this eve, and wishes you to know that she expects much of you‚ÄĚ, before closing the doors again.

Before approaching any of the members of the grand ball, the PCs can reduce the DCs for the checks required to ferret out their secrets (by 3 points) with successful DC 18 Perform (dance) checks. Otherwise, the adventurers find it challenging to get in touch with any of the nobles as the Klavek customs in observance that evening do not allow people of lesser rank to address the elite socialites of Mohkba until the unveiling at midnight. Still, the masquerade element presents an opportunity for cunning and mischievous adventurers to rub elbows with nobility‚ÄĒto earn their trust, however, they‚Äôll have to Hopak!

Radimir Vlasputin, Mercantile Entrepreneur
 

Other noble guyMale human [Klavek] aristocrat 6; CR 4 (XP 1,200)
HP 33 (6d8+6); AC 12 (+2 Dex)
Init+2; Speed 30 ft.; Atk unarmed +0 (1d3, provokes attack of opportunity)
Base Atk +4; CMB +4; CMD 16
AL Neutral; SV Fort +2, Ref +4, Will +5; Str 10, Dex 14, Con 10, Int 13, Wis 11, Cha 15
Skills Appraise +13, Bluff +11, Diplomacy +13, Intimidate +9, Knowledge (geography) +6, Knowledge (local) +6, Knowledge (nobility) +6, Perception +6, Profession (merchant) +9, Sense Motive +9; Feats Deceitful, Persuasive, Skill Focus (Appraise), Skill Focus (Diplomacy)


Igor Rastvick, Merchant of the Rastvick Trading Company

RastvickMale human [Klavek] aristocrat 6; CR 4 (XP 1,200)
HP 33 (6d8+6); AC 12 (+2 Dex)
Init+2; Speed 30 ft.; Atk unarmed +0 (1d3, provokes attack of opportunity)
Base Atk +4; CMB +4; CMD 16
AL Neutral; SV Fort +2, Ref +4, Will +5; Str 10, Dex 14, Con 10, Int 13, Wis 11, Cha 15
Skills Appraise +13, Bluff +11, Diplomacy +13, Intimidate +9, Knowledge (geography) +6, Knowledge (local) +6, Knowledge (nobility) +6, Perception +6, Profession (merchant) +9, Sense Motive +9; Feats Deceitful (+2 bluff/disguise), Persuasive (+2 diplomacy/intimidate), Skill Focus (Appraise), Skill Focus (Diplomacy)
 


Frieda Manovitovich, Ensconced Socialite of Mohkba

FriedaFemale human [Klavek] aristocrat 6; CR 4 (XP 1,200)
HP 33 (6d8+6); AC 12 (+2 Dex)
Init+2; Speed 30 ft.; Atk unarmed +0 (1d3, provokes attack of opportunity)
Base Atk +4; CMB +4; CMD 16
AL Neutral; SV Fort +2, Ref +4, Will +5; Str 10, Dex 14, Con 10, Int 13, Wis 11, Cha 15
Skills Appraise +13, Bluff +11, Diplomacy +13, Intimidate +9, Knowledge (geography) +6, Knowledge (local) +6, Knowledge (nobility) +6, Perception +6, Profession (merchant) +9, Sense Motive +9; Feats Deceitful (+2 bluff/disguise), Persuasive (+2 diplomacy/intimidate), Skill Focus (Appraise), Skill Focus (Diplomacy)
 

 

Cultus Sanguineus Secrets!
 

Vlasputin
 
Diplomacy DC 20
The entrepreneur is here in the interests of several other merchants that have heard new and truly exotic (perhaps even illegal) trade will soon be coming into Mohkba, exclusively for Countess Veresovich.

Diplomacy DC 30
Radimir was asked by Count Krev to locate the fastest runners in the land for a very specific courier job; apparently, he did not trust the services available in Mohkba or the use of magic for whatever task he was up to. A DC 24 Sense Motive checkreveals that whatever it was, Radimir doubts it was entirely within the bounds of the law (though he’s smart enough not to pry or say any more on the matter).

Intimidate DC 32
Under duress he recalls that when Krev approached him about the runners, the Count seemed to know Radimir’s thoughts during the conversation and the distinctive black mask he insisted on wearing still gives Vlasputin the chills.
 


Rastvick

Diplomacy DC 25
Countess Veresovich is an esoteric sort that enjoys exotic delicacies. The Veresovich line has been influential to trade for decades and she has enjoyed the life of a debutante‚ÄĒperhaps too much.

Diplomacy DC 32
Rastvick knows for a fact that Countess Veresovich is quite mad and drinks blood in her wine‚ÄĒnot just any blood, but the blood of young women.

Intimidate DC 32
He has several times observed how the Countess has used an exquisite necklace that beats like a heart to instill envious desires in younger women. These lasses‚ÄĒservants or socialites, but always extremely attractive‚ÄĒare never seen again. Once when Igor got close to see the amulet he himself felt an unearthly desire for it and its wearer. With all his mental might Rastvick tore his eyes from the amulet and promptly left. He will remark that the amulet she wears today does not beat like a heart at the moment, but‚Ķ
 


Manovitovich

Intimidate DC 16
‚ÄúWell no need to be so rude! Let me tell you, the way you lot carry yourselves about, someone might take…no, will definitely take offense and you might find yourself at the wrong end of a Klavek dueling blade. Proper etiquette mind you, know your place. If you want to talk to someone, do impress them with a display of ‚ÄúHopak‚ÄĚ![a traditional Klavek dance, DC 18 Perform (dance) check]

Diplomacy DC 22
Frieda knows nothing of the details of the accident and is more interested in the problems with hiring good staff.
“The Veresovich manor is built in the oldest ward of Mohkba, but there are some rumors that the ward is dangerous. Last year the manor of the Ollianov family fell into a sinkhole and killed half of their staff; considering how horrible it is to get good staff nowadays, can you imagine how hard it is to find so many at the same time. Poor Darah, should it happen here, her servants are so well trained; they are here, but you don’t see them, just like a disciplined dog.
Frieda shows no emotion when comparing servants to dogs and openly declares that dogs would make excellent servants, if they had opposable thumbs. She follows this macabre joke with the high-pitched laughter of the bourgeoisie.

Diplomacy  DC 32
‚ÄúWhy yes, the countess is an avid collector of Klavek historical items and paraphernalia. Lately she has been actively searching for the cloak of Jaroslav Mandatin, the greatest duelist in Klavek history! Rumors say that the cloak was part of a set, consisting of a mask and an amulet as well, but that must be nothing more than an old wives‚Äô tale, typically the fodder of the peasants. Now where were we, Lubov?‚ÄĚ
She gives a wolf-like smile before sipping the last bit of crimson wine from her tall glass goblet and heads to refill her glass.
 

 

If the adventurers are not looking for the remaining enchanted items from the set the¬†mask of thirst¬†belongs to, Krev Ragata is! His agents are seeded throughout the event and as the night drags on, an expert hired specifically for the task approaches the PC wearing the magical masquerade mask, engaging them in a conversation that seems very friendly…

Daineus Guslar, Master of Lore

sandman bardFemale halfling bard (sandman) 7; CR 6 (XP 2,400)
HP31 (7d8+7); AC 22, touch 14, flat-footed 19 (+5 armor, +3 Dex, +3 shield, +1 size)
Init+3; Speed 20 ft.; Atk mwk rapier +4 (1d4-2, Crit 18-20/x2) or mwk light crossbow +9 (1d6, Crit 19-20/x2, Range 80 ft.)
Base Atk +5; CMB +2; CMD 15
AL Neutral Evil; SV Fort +3, Ref +9, Will +7 (+2 vs fear); Str 6, Dex 16, Con 10, Int 13, Wis 12, Cha 18
Skills Acrobatics +9, Bluff +15, Escape Artist +13, Linguistics +9, Perception +7, Perform (oratory) +18, Sense Motive +9, Sleight of Hand +13, Spellcraft +11, Stealth +12; Racial Modifiers+2 Acrobatics, +2 Climb, +2 Perception; Feats Ability Focus (slumber song), Skill Focus (Perform [oratory]), Spellsong, Voice of the Sibil; Languages Common, Halfling, Klavek, Vikmordere, 4 bonus languages (GM’s choice)
SQ Bardic knowledge, bardic performance (move action, 20 rounds/day; countersong, distraction, fascinate [Will DC 17], inspire competence +3, slumber song [Will DC 19; as deep slumber, no HD limit], stealspell [Will DC 17]), cantrips, lore master 1/day, versatile performance (Diplomacy, Sense Motive), well-versed
Gear +1 chain shirt, +1 heavy wooden shield, masterwork light crossbow (15 bolts), masterwork rapier
Bard Spells Known
3rd (2/day)‚ÄĒcharm monster (DC 17), confusion (DC 17)
2nd (4/day)‚ÄĒblindness/deafness(DC 16), hold person (DC 16),suggestion (DC 16), tongues
1st (5/day)‚ÄĒcharm person(DC 15), cure light wounds, disguise self, feather fall, summon monster I
0th‚ÄĒdetect magic, ghost sound, lullaby, mage hand, prestidigitation, read magic
TACTICS
Daineus uses Spellsong (swift action, Perform [oratory] vs observer‚Äôs Perception/Sense Motive to realize a spell is being cast) to hide charm person and lullaby¬†before using suggestion to draw the member of the party with the mask of thirst¬†away into an otherwise empty chamber, where she tries to convince them to give her the item willingly‚ÄĒeven offering another mask of diplomacy +1 in trade.
Anyone that interferes is targeted with blindness/deafness or confusion¬†(hidden by Spellsong). If bartering fails, Count Krev (hiding in the shadows; his statistics will be on the AaWBlog tomorrow, but in the meanwhile use the ‚ÄúFreelance Thief‚ÄĚ entry in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: NPC Codex if need be) loses his patience and assaults the PC, attempting to wrestle away the mask of thirst physically! Five of his most trusted acolytes, scattered throughout the masquerade, come to back him up and ensure none of the guests realize that there is an attack going on in one of the mansion‚Äôs rooms.
 

Sanguineus Acolyte
 
Sanguine AcolyteCR 4 (XP 1,200)
Male or Female human (Klavek) fighter 4/sorcerer 1
HP 44 (4d10+1d6+19); AC 18, touch 14, flat-footed 14 (+6 armor, +3 Dex, +1 dodge)
Init+3; Speed 30 ft.; Atk mwk rapier +6 (1d6+3, Crit 18-20/x2) or mwk light crossbow +8 (1d8, Crit 19-20/x2, Range 80 ft.)
Base Atk +4; CMB +5; CMD 18
AL Neutral Evil; SV Fort +3, Ref +6, Will +3; Str 12, Dex 16, Con 15, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 14
Skills Bluff +8, Intimidate +7, Knowledge (religion) +4, Perception +5; Feats Combat Casting, Dodge, Greater Spell Focus (necromancy), Spell Focus (necromancy); Eschew Materials, Toughness, Weapon Focus (rapier), Weapon Specialization (rapier)
Sorcerer Spells Known(CL 1st; concentration +3, +7 defensive; spell chance failure 25%)
1st (3/day)‚ÄĒray of enfeeblement (DC 15; CL 2nd), ray of sickening (DC 15; CL 2nd)
0th‚ÄĒacid splash, detect magic, mage hand, touch of fatigue (DC 14; CL 2nd)
Bloodline Undead (Sanguine)
Gear masterwork breastplate, masterwork rapier, masterwork light crossbow, 78 gold
The Blood Is the Life (Su) Sanguineus Acolytes can gain sustenance from the blood of the recently dead 5 times a day. As a standard action, they can drink the blood of a creature that died within the past minute. The creature must be corporeal, must be at least the same size as them, and must have blood. This ability heals the Sanguineus Acolyte 1d6 hit points and nourishes them as if they’d had a full meal.
TACTICS
These cultists have little regard for their own well-being, believing (falsely) that an afterlife of pleasure or existence as an immortal undead awaits them. They will wade into battle, attempting to first weaken and sicken their targets with spells before dashing forward with their rapiers. The instant another of their group falls, however, any adjacent Sanguineus Acolytes are overcome by blood lust‚ÄĒthey drop to the ground and feed on their recently fallen peer without regard to any dangers doing so might present.
 

 

Items Sanguineus 
At this point in the adventure, either Count Krev has the items and dons all three (the
mask of thirst, cloak of the dark servant and amulet of the sundered heart) or one of the PCs does: doing so causes them to disappear entirely until the stroke of midnight! However, Countess Veresovich has been prepared for the arrival of the Cultus Sanguineus items for some time and her entire mansion is warded specifically for their use. If a creature dons all three items while within her home, the entire manor and its surroundings are coated in magical darkness for 3 rounds as they are affected by the items’ rituals.

Countess Veresovich’s preparations protect the creature from the harshest of the Items Sanguineus’ effects: only on a natural 1 will they fail the associated Fortitude and Will saves, though they still disappear until midnight. On the end of the third round, the magical darkness from all around the mansion draws back in on itself and explodes into a vortex of blood that splatters everywhere, coating all squares previously occupied by the disappearing creature in a fifteen-foot radius.

Blood Vortex ‚ÄĒ CR 9
 
XP 6,400
NE persistent haunt (manifestation) (15 ft. radius)
Caster Level 14th
Notice Perception DC 20 (to get a feeling of a centuries old hunger which soon shall be sated)
HP 40; Trigger (special see text); Reset 1 day
Effect When the items transform anyone into a vampire, Exsanguinator’s desire and yearning for blood manifests as a swirling vortex of razor-sharp blood droplets. The manifestation deals 10d6 damage (Reflex DC 22 for half). The vortex remains stationary and lasts for two rounds, after which the vortex harmlessly dissipates.
Destruction:  A manifestation is indestructible permanently unless the entity behind it is slain or banished back to whatever realm they came from.
 

After someone has donned all three of the Items Sanguineus, the nobles and merchants at the grand ball become far more talkative and Countess Veresovich is nowhere to be seen‚ÄĒthe DCs for them to reveal their secrets drop by 10 and may be attempted again if previously failed.

Were that not enough, the Exsanguinator has been waiting, watching his acolyte Veresovich mastermind the bloodbath about to take place. The blood vortex caused by her rituals of protections and the Items Sanguineus draw his hunger; he locks the building down, barring the outsides with walls of force (CL 14th). On the other side of the walls of force are more of the blood vortex haunts, out to a radius of 20 feet from every surface of the building’s outside walls.

The adventurers (possibly missing one of their own) are trapped within Veresovich Manor, surrounded by the extremely-panicked nobles and merchants, utterly bereft of a host or direction! They must try to divine what is going on before the stroke of midnight, when all HEL breaks loose…

[A Myler/Wiborg Projekt]

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Rain of Blood

blood rain maybeRain of Blood     CR 9
XP 6,400

NE haunt (manifestation) (100 ft. radius)
Caster Level 10th
Notice Perception DC 30 (to notice the rolling rain clouds have a blood red hue)
Hp 18; Trigger special (see text); Reset 1 day
Effect     The thunder heralds rain but when the first drops fall, it becomes apparent that the skies are in fact shedding acidic blood. When this haunt manifests the dangerous precipitation lasts for three rounds damaging all organic matter (creatures and plants, but not objects), after which the rain returns to a normal, non-lethal downpour. On the first round the rain deals 6d6 acid damage, on the second round the deluge increases and deals 8d6 acid damage, and on the third round 10d6 acid damage finishes the manifestation (DC 22 Reflex saves to halve damage each round). Full cover entirely negates the damage and a creature wearing the amulet of the sundered heart, cloak of the dark servant or mask of the thirst is immune to the haunt.

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!

Adventure Hook     This manifestation represents the Exsanguinator’s desires to see the world covered in blood. His rage over imprisonment makes the rain acidic and his manifestations are increasing in power as the seals of his interdimensional cage are further weakened by the machinations of his minions.

 

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