The Bog of Sacrifices
CE persistent haunt (30 ft. radius)
Caster Level 8th
Notice Perception DC 24 (to notice the faint sobbing of doomed sacrifices)
Hp 36; Trigger proximity, (within 5 ft. of the inscribed stone); Reset 1 day
Effect Upon nearing the stone inscribed with prayers to the Bogmother, the haunt triggers and ghostly hands and spectral roots rise from the ground to grab at anyone within the haunt’s radius. Every creature within the area of the haunt is the target of a combat maneuver check made to grapple each round. Creatures that enter the area of effect are also automatically attacked. The ghostly hands and spectral roots do not provoke attacks of opportunity. The ghostly hands and spectral roots have a CMB of +16, and each grapple is resolved individually on creatures in the haunt’s area.
If the ghostly hands and spectral roots succeed in grappling a creature, that creature takes 1d6+4 points of damage on each round it is being grappled, and furthermore gains the grappled condition. Grappled creatures cannot move without first breaking the grapple. All other movement is prohibited unless the creature breaks the grapple first. The ghostly hands and spectral roots receive a +5 bonus on grapple checks made against creatures they are already grappling, but cannot move or pin creatures. Grappled creatures are pulled down into the swampy ground, on the third round of having the grappled condition the creature must also avoid suffocating as it is pulled under the earth.
After three rounds the ghostly hands and spectral roots dissipate and no new grapples will be initiated, but any ongoing grapples are maintained. For those first three rounds, the haunt’s area counts as difficult terrain. The ghostly hands and spectral roots’ CMD is 26 for the purpose of escaping the grapple.
Destruction A series of six icons of the Bogmother stands around the haunt in a distance of one mile, these icons mark the ancient site for the sacrificial rituals of the Bogmother’s worshipers, and must all be destroyed to release the souls from the bottom of the swamp. These icons are all hidden from view by centuries of plant growth or submerged in the swamp, or even protected by a tribe that knows nothing of the icon’s original purpose.
Adventure Hook Centuries ago the swamp was home to several tribes that venerated an evil diety, the Bogmother. The tribes heeded her call for human sacrifice, and many criminals, prisoners of war, and unlucky travelers ended up on the bottom of the swamp honoring the fetid queen. The paladin order of The Righteous Flame cleared the swamp of the Bogmother’s influence and with time she was forgotten. On the bottom of the bogs the sacrifices did not forget, however, and when a recent earthquake pushed a holy relic of the Bogmother to the surface, they seized the opportunity to exact their vengeance in the area around the inscribed prayerstone. The pathways through a vast swamp shift occasionally as the dynamic landscape releases built-up gas, or the soft ground causes whole passages to disappear into the watery parts of the swamp—for every path that disappears, another path appears. Recently a minor earthquake destroyed the most stable route through the swamp and soon after travelers started to go missing in the area (more travelers than usual, that is). Rumors of the swamp punishing trespassers quickly surfaced—the drowned body of a local hunter has been found, and now the village elder of nearby Crannolang wants to find out why, if he drowned, the hunter’s face was frozen in fear.
[Submitted by Brian Wiborg Monster though I only included it after this guy because I realize how mean jack-in-a-box-zombies are 😉 -MM]
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