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AaWBlog Adventures: Maddening May, Macabre Manses, Wonders of NaeraCull

cover-naeracull2The craziness of the AaWBlog could not be contained within the month of May, and thus insanity abounds throughout Maddening May! Fight off strange slugs, explore a sunken insane asylum, and traverse the Dar’spelun Slugmarsh—if you’re brave enough for it.

Read up on Maddening May here and here!

 

In case you somehow missed it, we collected all of the amazing content from the Hungering Jungle of NaeraCull in FOUR FREE PDFs you can get right here on AdventureAWeek.com!

 

Of course, regular readers already know what happened in October: we got spooky with Macabre Manses. There are several haunted houses to explore, written by Rory Toma, Justin Andrew Mason, and RPG Superstar Steve Helt!

Explore the Macabre Manses here and here!

 

Stay tuned! More is coming down the line for Remember in December, and if you check in next week, details on the AaWBlog Adventure Path!

 

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Wonders of NaeraCull Brochure #4: The Stone Sentinels

If you’d like to download a copy of this FREE PDF head on over to the Store page, but AaWBlog Presents: Wonders of NaeraCull Brochures are available on RPGNow.com, DriveThruRPG.com, Paizo.com, and d20pfsrd.com as well!

We’re keeping it short and sweet again today; enjoy your free PDF, and keep an eye out for more AaWBlog Presents in the future!

[The Snow White Kickstarter continues explode through more and more stretch goals! Check it out! -MM]

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Wonders of NaeraCull: The Stone Sentinels

The Stone Sentinels of NaeraCull are several immense figures, each standing over 50-feet tall, that appear to be large humanoids carved from the stone of the Stepping Mountain. The mountain itself draws its name from the fact that several of the Sentinels stand with heavy stone vistas hoisted upon their shoulders. These extend behind them to brace the mountainside, creating a series of outcroppings that from the distance appear to be steps up the side of the towering mountain.

stone sentinelsRepresenting both male and female humanoids, the Stone Sentinels are depicted unclothed and without accoutrements. While several elevate the stone vistas, others seem to be in various states of pose; some sitting, lying, or kneeling. One of the gigantic figures even supports an elaborate, now abandoned, structure that was long ago built upon one particularly large vista. The one thing that all of the titanic figures have in common is that each and every one of them is turned to face southwest towards the distant valley that extends from the storm-wreathed Drakesdown Mountain.

The origin and history of the Stone sentinels has been forgotten to time, and even the oldest of creatures in NaeraCull cannot recall a time before their existence. For those learned whom do delve into such historical mysteries, the Stone Sentinels of NaeraCull offer a note of interest, but little more. It seems that scholars cannot agree on the origin or purpose of the Sentinels and pursuing the matter further than, “no one really knows,” is taboo.

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Wonders of NaeraCull: Spirits of the Sentinel

Shout of the Sentinels     CR 2

shout of sentinelsXP 600
CN haunt (all Stone Sentinels)
Caster Level 5th
Notice obvious (no check required)
Trigger removal of the earthbound gem from the Stone Sentinel at Grimstark Stoneturner’s excavation site.
Reset never (though it repeats for each of the sentinels if their “hearts” are ever removed).

When Grimstark’s excavation of the Stone Sentinel reaches its core, he discovers the earthbound gem and promptly removes it.

Effect When the “heart” is removed from the Stone Sentinel, the statue suddenly seems to come to life. The figure stands straight up, sending light debris falling down all around it. Outstretching its arms, palms-down, to the sides, it speaks with a near deafening, booming voice. In the Giant language the Sentinel loudly shouts, “To the earth I commend my spirit. Before my brethren, I return from whence I was wrought.
After the sentinel speaks the words, countless cracks emerge and crawl across the surface of its body—in an instant it collapses into a pile of featureless rubble.

Shout of the Sentinels
In the moments after the Sentinel is destroyed, the dust cloud it left lingering behind dissipates. One of the other Stone Sentinels suddenly opens its mouth and a booming, deep hum-like harmonic resonates from within it. After a few seconds a dozen other sentinels join the first, each emitting a baritone drone in various octaves that generates a tingling sensation upon the bodies of all creatures in the surrounding area.
The drone of the sentinels is unimaginably loud and can be clearly heard as far as 25 miles away from the site. All creatures on the mountainside must make a DC 15 Fortitude save or be deafened for 2d6 hours as their ears trickle of blood and constantly ring with a sound similar to the resonating alarm being emitted by the Stone Sentinels. Any creature affected by this deafness for more than 6 hours must make a DC 20 Will save or be driven insane (a psychosis that lingers for 1d4 days) by the unending drone.
After a one round all of the remaining sentinels join the chorus, and the resonance causes the ground to shake upon the entire mountainside, triggering the wrath of the effigy landslide trap. As the debris and boulders tumble down, all of the sentinels stop their shout in unison, close their mouths, and return to the state they were in before the haunt activated.

Destruction The only way to stop the haunt once it is triggered is to place the earthbound gem back into the core of the Stone Sentinel before it self-destructs.

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Wonders of NaeraCull: Wrath of the Effigy

Wrath of the Effigy     CR 2

wrath of the effigyThe Stone Sentinels of NaeraCull are mounted upon the southwest side of a steeply inclined mountain face. There are several natural outcroppings and ledges that dot the landscape as well as piles of eroded debris and large boulders; trap takes place on that mountain face.

Type magical; Perception —, Disable Device —
Trigger event (shout of the Sentinels haunt); Reset none
This trap is triggered by the shout of the Sentinels haunt [detailed in tomorrow’s post! -JAM]. When the haunt triggers the ground trembles violently for two rounds, causing much of the loose boulders and debris resting upon the incline to come tumbling down. The falling debris strikes the Stone Sentinels, but causes very little damage due to their size and hardness.

Effect A torrent of debris, followed by several large rolling boulders, crashes down the mountainside. To avoid the debris creatures must succeed a DC 12 Reflex save. If failed, the creature takes 1d4 points of bludgeoning damage from tumbling debris and falls prone.

There is a 50% chance that one of the enormous, rolling boulders comes towards any one creature. The boulders—while deadly—are large and highly visible, and thus easily avoided. A creature in the path of one of these massive rolling stones must succeed a DC 6 Reflex save or take 4d6 points of damage and be knocked unconscious for 1d6 rounds.

Note: This trap affects all creatures located at Grimstark Stoneturner’s excavation site.

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Wonders of NaeraCull: Earthbound Gem

Earthbound Gem
Aura faint transmutation; CL 7th
earthbound gemSlot none; Price 5,200 gp; Weight 15 lb.

DESCRIPTION
This multi-faceted gemstone is as large as a human skull, and noticeably heavy for its size. It glows from within with a faint amber light that pulsates rhythmically (similar to a heartbeat), gently vibrating as each pulse reaches its apex of intensity.

Once per day an earthbound gem allows its user to use a number of different spell-like abilities: soften earth and stone (CL 3rd) once per day, stone shape (CL 5th) once per week, and transmute rock to mud (CL 7th) once per month. Each time the earthbound gem is used there is a cumulative 1% chance that the user is turned to stone as flesh to stone (CL 11th). This cumulative chance only dissipates if the earthbound gem is unused for a full. An earthbound gem is activated when the user holds the large jewel in one hand and uses their other hand to touch the target of its spell-like abilities.

 

HISTORY
Success on a Knowledge (history) check to learn more about an earthbound gem reveals some facts about the unique item’s lore:
DC 15     Legends surrounding the creation of the Stone Sentinels of NaeraCull mention that even after the titanic creatures were petrified, their hearts still beat, the life-force within sustaining their existence in a motionless state where they are forced to helplessly gaze out over the land they so loved. [More informationcan be found in Grimstark Stoneturner’s Research!]
DC 20     Some researchers claim that earthbound gems are used to animate the inanimate. The existence of this magic item within the core of one of the Stone Sentinels brings to question whether they are simply statues or instead immobile living constructs.
DC 25     While not exceedingly powerful, earthbound gems are exceptionally rare because they are notoriously difficult to craft. Earthbound gems are highly sought after by artificers as a core component in the construction of many powerful stone-based constructs and golems.

 

CONSTRUCTION
Before starting to craft an earthbound gem, the ruby components must be stored together in a stone mold and heated to a red-hot glow once per day for six months (to create the single massive gem); otherwise the gem cracks during the crafting attempt.
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, cluster of rubies with a combined value of at 1,000 gp or more, soften stone and earth, stone shape, transmute rock to mud, dancing lights, permanency; Cost 2,600 gp

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Wonders of NaeraCull: Grimstark Stoneturner

When scholar-meets-profiteer nothing is sacred or forbidden as long as it can offer coin, fame or fortune. One such eager individual is Grimstark Stoneturner, dwarven surveyor. Though considered on the fringe of academia and usually dismissed by professional scholars, the dwarf has managed to become quite popular with the common folk of Aventyr, and accounts of his adventures (often exaggerated or fabricated) are among the most frequently requested tales for storytellers.

dwarf-1Grimstark Stoneturner, Dwarven Surveyor     CR 4
XP 1,200
Male dwarf ranger 2/rogue 3
CG Medium humanoid
Init +3; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +11

DEFENSE
AC 18, touch 13, flat-footed 15 (+4 armor, +3 Dex, +1 shield)
hp 40 (2d10+3d8+13)
Fort +6, Ref +9, Wil +3; +2 vs. poison, spells and spell-like abilities); +2 vs. falling and falling objects; +2 vs. sleep and charm effects
Defensive Abilities evasion

OFFENSE
Speed 20 ft.
Melee masterwork longsword +7 (1d8+2, Crit 19-20/x2), silver dagger +6 (1d4+3, Crit 19-20/x2)
Ranged composite longbow +7 (1d8+2, Crit x3)
Special Attacks favored enemy (giants +2), sneak attack +2d6, +1 on attack rolls against humanoids with the giant subtype

STATISTICS
Str 14, Dex 16, Con 15, Int 18, Wis 14, Cha 6
Base Attack +4; CMB +6; CMD 19 (21 vs. overrun and trip)
Feats Breadth of Experience, Dodge, Mobility, Point-Blank Shot, Uncanny Alertness
Skills Acrobatics +10, Appraise +10 (+12 nonmagical metals or gemstones), Climb +10, Disable Device +10, Knowledge (geography) +7, Knowledge (local) +7, Knowledge (history) +7, Linguistics +5, Perception +11 (+13 unusual stonework), Ride +5, Survival +10
Languages Common, Draconic, Dwarven, Elven, Giant, Nr’Cul, Terran
SQ rogue talents (combat trick), track +1, wild empathy +2
Gear chain shirt, masterwork buckler, silver dagger, composite longbow (+2) with 60 arrows, masterwork longsword, climber’s kit, light horse (combat trained) with military saddle, saddlebags, thieves tools, map case, collection of maps of NaeraCull, adventurer’s logbook, archaeologist tools, surveyor’s tools, and 15 pp; 1,700 gp; 800 sp; 100 cp.

 

grimstarks journalGrimstark Stoneturner’s Adventurer’s Log

In addition to what appears to be a daily log of his journey into and throughout NaeraCull, the book has many pages of notes referencing dozens of historical tomes. Most of the entries are focused on the Stone Sentinels of NaeraCull, and when read it provides the following information:

  • The great stone men of the jungle, though inanimate, are living. Their hearts beat in rhythm with the spirit of the land as they gaze out across the endless valley and great waterfalls to the southwest.
    –Vymil Ghorstin, excerpt from,The Forgotten Lands.
  • From a time when the gods walked the lands and committed great atrocities among the lesser races, the brave lords of stone arose to the defense of mankind. For their bravery, they were punished – cast upon the mountainside and bound to gaze upon the suffering of those they sought to protect.
    Ursal Lanbythem, excerpt from, Times Forgotten.
  • It is said the hearts of the titans bears the blood of ancient gods, though forever sealed within their stone bodies. It is possible that a faint hint of this magic may persist within each of the statues.
    –Thomalon Solbeur, excerpt from, Old Arcanas.
  • The gem, glowing with power, casts an amber light upon the cavity. Once bound within, the energies from this gemstone, bound to the earth, will force the vigorous lot of the living upon the stone figure.
    Xeddick, excerpt from, Grimoire of a Golem Master.

The book also contains various detailed drawing of the Stone Sentinels from various angles, including one that depicts Grimstark’s engineering plans for excavating one of the giant statues.

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Wonders of NaeraCull: The Brothers’ Stone

The Brothers’ Stone     CR 5

I. One Man’s Religion is Another’s Fortune
The famed dwarven surveyor Grimstark Stoneturner [see tomorrow’s blog entry for more information about Grimstark] has turned his attention to the Stone Sentinels of NaeraCull. His research has led him to believe that the great stone monuments at the Stepping Mountain contain ancient magic, and he’s determined to uncover that magic himself.

brochures png 1Grimstark has made the arduous journey to the depths of NaeraCull with a crew of workers (20 human commoner 1) from nearby villages and has set up an excavation site at one of the sentinels. Their survey focuses on one of the giant stone statues posed in a postulated kneeling stance that provides him and his workers with easy access to the main torso of the figure.

Unfortunately for Grimstark, the Stone Sentinels are also a sacred site for a sizeable group of stone giants that inhabit the region. The stone giants believe the sentinels to be the resting souls of their ancient ancestors—progenitors to their own gods.

Not long after starting his archeological dig, Grimstark was approached by three angry stone giants who demanded that he cease defiling the sanctuary of their ancestors. Not willing to take on three stone giants himself (and finding none of his workers brave enough to try), he agreed to abide by the giants’ wishes, expressing feinted regret that he was “unaware” of the site’s sacred nature. This temporarily appeased the angry giants and they have returned to their nearby encampment to await the dwarf’s departure.

 

II. Seeking Giantslayers, Will Pay!
Unwilling to give up on the opportunity of fame and fortune that could be gained by such an important archeological find, Grimstark sends several of his workers to various villages in the area offering a reward (1,000 gp) for anyone brave enough and strong enough to slay the giants. The adventurers are approached by one of the surveyor’s workers and informed of the prize being offered. If the PCs are interested, the worker safely guides them back to the dig site on Stepping Mountain where they can meet and negotiate with Grimstark himself.

When the party accepts the job, Grimstark tells the PCs where the giants have set up camp (further down the mountain’s base). He doesn’t’ much care how the situation is taken care of—diplomacy or slaughter, whatever works—and is willing to pay as long as the stone giants stop interfering with his excavation.

 

III. Three Angry Brothers
The three stone giants in question are brothers named Vontu, Vanat, and Volder, young pilgrims who traveled for several days from the home of their people further up the valley. They came to Stepping Mountain to pay homage to the Stone Sentinels, only to discover them being defaced!

The three brothers are stone giants (CR 5) with the young (once) and drunk (twice) templates.

Completely inebriated and highly uncoordinated due to an angry drinking binge after their initial meeting with the dwarf, the three brothers are unwilling to discuss any other outcome to the situation short of Grimstark leaving the mountain. If the PCs insist on continuing discussion of other options, the trio eventually become enraged and attack the party. After meeting the adventurers, the stone giants allow three hours for the excavation site to be cleared out or they attack Grimstark and his workers (and anyone else there), fighting to the death.

[There is no peaceful resolution to the situation; either the PCs kill the three giants and claim the reward from Grimstark, or they do nothing and leave the surveyor and his crew to their demise. Both parties are uncompromising. -JAM]

brochures png 2

 

IV. Unleashing a Curse
After the conflict between Grimstark and the three stone giants has resolved, if the trio has been slain the PCs return to the excavation site to claim their reward. When the adventures get there they find that the dig has already resumed, and the dwarf has discovered something “interesting” inside the Stone Sentinel.

In the presence of the PCs Grimstark removes, from the Stone Sentinel, a massive glowing gemstone [the Heart of the Neolith, truly a magic item—the earthbound gem—to be revealed later this week. -JAM] which triggers the spirit of the Sentinel haunt, then leading to the wrath of the effigy landslide trap [both also available later this week].

If Grimstark survives the haunt and trap, the dwarf gladly pays the PCs but abandons further excavation at the site, convinced that the Sentinels are actually cursed (a threat he’s not willing to assume). He leaves the Heart of the Neolith behind, fearing its possession may also be a curse.

However, if Grimstark is killed by the haunt or trap, the workers (if any survive) all flee in fear, leaving behind the dwarf’s dead body and all of his gear for the PCs to collect.

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Wonders of NaeraCull Brochure #3: The Fire-lit Mountain

If you’d like to download a copy of this FREE PDF head on over to the Store page, but AaWBlog Presents: Wonders of NaeraCull Brochures are available on RPGNow.com, DriveThruRPG.com, Paizo.com, and d20pfsrd.com as well!

We’re keeping it short and sweet again today; enjoy your free PDF!

Oh, and the ENnies Awards are going on and we’re up for Best Blog! Please submit a ballot, and remember – VOTE AAWBLOG!

[The Snow White Kickstarter continues to rocket upwards, unlocking stretch goals along the way, and there’s a DAILY contest with totally free prizes on the Facebook page! -MM]

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