Friday, March 6, 2009

Q32 - The Forgotten Shrine to Hastur the Unspeakable

Q 32 The Forgotten Chapel to the Elder Elemental God Hastur

This chapel was constructed in time before memory to worship the Elder Elemental Gods – specifically the One Who Must Not Be Named – Hastur, the Lord of the Air. Even in the long distant past, the Elder Elemental Gods was feared and htheir worshipers were shunned, so this chapel (and rumor and legend suggest that there were others, each dedicated to particular elemental gods) was hidden away in the depths of the earth where the priests could tend to the day to day worship of the Elder Elemental Gods. Worshippers, who were also driven underground, would have come into the Chapel of Air on high unholy days.

When the forces of good united to destroy the worship of the Elder Elemental Gods, the chapel was abandoned by the faithful leaving only the priests to tend the rites. The final high priest, Arashaam, knowing that he would be the last high priest of this chapel, poured his energies into sustaining his life into unlife and has become a lich. The other priests had become specters after their deaths, though most have been destroyed in the ensuing centuries. A single Spectre underpriest remains.

Parts of the chapel have succumbed to the instability of the region and collapsed, though the primary worship areas are completely intact. Occasionally, the High Priest will still offer sacrifices to the Elder Elemental God when unwary denizens of the underworld wander into the temple. The undead in this chapel will attempt in every way they can to subdue and capture the party (especially good aligned beings) for sacrifice to their slumbering god.

Only the areas that pertain to this encounter are detailed, the others are left for DMs to flesh out, or are simply empty. Note there is a fairly significant secret tunnel complex throughout which primarily connect the “undetailed” rooms but also provides possible access to a portal to the Plane of Air.

1. Antechamber of the Shrine

This very secret cavern is the antechamber of a chapel dedicated to the Elder Elemental God. This particular chapel was dedicated to his worship via the element of air. There is some whispering that such chapels are hidden throughout the Flanaess, though most are completely abandoned and have fallen to ruin. Since the death of the priests and the abandonment of this chapel, this cavern has been used by smugglers and runaway slaves. Most recently, it has become the lair of a Califan (see New Monsters). The Califan has disrupted the trade from the Kuo-Toan town (N38-39) for some time now, though the fish men do not know this cavern exists. Recently, a survivor has returned to the town and the fish men are likely to send an expeditionary force to try to remove this troublesome creature.

The main chamber has three exits – all are secret passages to other tunnels. The Svartjet (a) also runs through here, 60’ below the northern part of the cavern and about 120’ below the southern entrance (b) to the cavern. The North and West entrances are at roughly the same level with each other.

Near the center of the cavern (c) is a raised dais, perfectly circular, roughly 160 feet in diameter. A fairly strong breeze blows through this cavern upward toward a 10’ diameter hole in the center of the roof. The Califan’s nest is on the dais.

The Once the PCs are in the cavern, or if the Califan feels threatened, the creature moves toward the edge of the dais, setting off the trap.

The Trap: Any living being that approaches the edge of the dais in the center of the cavern sets off a trap (unless the command word is spoken). Whenever any creature comes within 5’ of the edge of the dais, the hole in the ceiling closes (a stone rolls across it) and the wind begins to swirl around the room, buffeting anything not in the eye (the dais) for 3-10 rounds (damage 1d6 hp per round/save vs. dexterity on d20 for half damage) unless the PC manages to anchor him/herself to something (DM discretion). Each round the PCs are blown about by the wind, they will have a %age chance equal to their dexterity to grab something and hold on and anchor themselves. Anchored PCs must make a strength check (on d20) each round or be picked up by the wind and bounced around the room. PCs buffeted about the room must make a check versus CONSTITUTION (on d20) or be stunned for 1-4 rounds. Note that it doesn’t matter which direction the edge is approached from (inside, outside or above), if any living creature comes within 5’ of the edge, the trap is sprung. The trap takes a single round to reset.

If any of the PCs are stunned, the Califan will leap over the edge of the dais (avoiding setting off the trap again) and attack. If the battle goes poorly for THE CREATURE, it will leap back onto the dais and set off the trap again. If severely threatened, THE CREATURE will attempt to flee down one of the tunnels.

The dais is covered in filth and debris. A quick search of the debris will reveal the following items: 812 gp, 1654 sp, 3 swords, pieces of 2 sets of platemail, a sword +2, +3 vs. demons, a potion of giant strength and drow chainmail +1. Bones, scat, stones and bits of less identifiable debris cover the dais. A careful search will reveal a small concave area completely covered by scat within which is an ioun stone and a small bone scroll case (containing a MU scroll with a 12th level fireball spell inscribed on it). A careful search will also reveal that the dais is covered in carved runes. If the debris is cleared off, the runes might be read (DM discretion – ancient tongue favored by Elder Elemental God cultists). Legend/Lore spell or similar ability, or contact higher plane or the like, will certainly reveal that the runes have something to do with air and evil and will reveal the name of the god – Hastur – who is revered here. Note that speaking the god’s name has a 25%chance of attracting his attention. If Hashur is disturbed in his imprisonment/slumber, he will send 1-4 byakhee to attack the blasphemers.

To enter the chapel proper, the cultists would use a censer of controlling air elementals to summon an air elemental to carry them up to the shrine. The PCs will have to find their own way up to the shrine entrance.

AC 4; MV: 100’; HD 7+2; hp 41; THAC0 13; #AT claws/bite; D 4-32/1-12; SA Leaping SD immune to poise, sleep, hold, charm; SZ L (25’long + antennae); Int Average; AL N; XP 1,685 (MM)

2. Shrine Entry.
This 40’ diameter chamber seems empty. The walls are painted in murals depicting horrendous scenes of torture and brutality. A gigantic, lizard headed god wreaks havoc on the landscape. The god’s body is covered with tiny tentacles, and its great claws tear apart the sky. The god is surrounded by small flying ape-like creatures.

Spaced along the walls are bronze torch sconces. The floor around the opening is carved with the same runes surrounding the dais below. The doorway to the NORTH leads off into the darkness. The sconces on either side of the doorway are damaged. One of the bronze torch sconces holds a censer of controlling air elementals.

Two air elementals, summoned by censers some eons ago, have remained here after the priests’ deaths. They will attack anything living that enters the room.

Whenever a living being crosses the threshold of the opening in the floor, two things happen. First, the two air elementals begin to move, second the undead in the rest of the complex become immediately aware that something alive is in the complex and prepare their ambushes.

The elementals will take 2 rounds to become fully active at which time they will attack but will not pursue deeper into the temple, nor beyond the edge of the dais in the Antechamber (area 1).

Air Elemental (2): AC 2; MV 360’; MC: A; HD 12; hp 56,71; THAC0 9; #AT 1; D 2-20; SA Whirlwind, +1/+2 in aerial melee; SD +2 wpn to-hit; SZ L; Int Low; AL N; XP 3,465; 3,570. (MM)

The runes on the floor are very similar to the ones on the floor in antechamber, though if studied, some differences will be noted. If the DM desires, hours of study of the runes could reveal a new spell: Command Air (see new spells).

3. Beginning of the Darkness
The hallway ends here with more runes on the floor. The doorway is completely dark (permanent darkness, 10’ radius cast here). The runes are readable by anyone who can read magic. After 30 minutes of study, the runes say, Above Wind Air Power Truth Path Safety – one translation would be “Power over the air is the true path to safety.”

The runes refer to the method priests of this chapel would use to cross the Hall of the Winds – either the new spell Control Air or the 5th level Druid spell Control Winds which creates a safe “eye” surrounding the caster. Priests of sufficient level in this chapel could cast the Control Air at will. Doubtless there are many other ways to cross the Hall.

4. The Hall of the Winds
As soon as a PC crosses the threshold of this room, still in the sphere of darkness if they haven’t dispelled it, he or she is caught by hurricane force winds which tear through this room silently at 100+3d20 miles per hour (roll every round if desired). In the darkness it will seem to the PC immediately behind as if the person in front has simply vanished (though they will feel air moving on their hands if they reach out).

PCs caught by the wind will be bounced around randomly, striking the walls, striking each other. Any objects held will be torn from their hands (optional strength check to hold on to items) which then become missiles travelling over a hundred miles an hour, randomly bouncing throughout the room. The room “attacks” the PCs each round as a 12 HD monster (thus THAC0 is 9) and successful attacks result in 4d6 damage – the result of being bashed against the walls of the room. Additionally there is a 5% chance per round (noncumulative) of being hit by any items that escaped the PCs grasp or one of the hundreds of bones and bits of equipment of previous victims which were violently torn apart by the unceasing wind.

Note there is a secret door in this room that leads to the High Priest’s chambers. It is left to the DM to determine if/how the PCs might find this door. It is highly unlikely that they will discover the door while being buffeted about by the wind.

5. Unstable Tunnel
As the party exits the Hall of the Winds, they find themselves in a long corridor. Rubble, stone blocks, bones and other debris make footing uncertain. To the north, the corridor has collapsed completely. Every word the PCs utter in this corridor causes dust to sift down on them from above. Shouting is 50% likely to cause enough rubble to fall to cause 1-8 PCs 1-6 pts damage (Dex or less on d20 for half damage).

Two rounds after the PCs enter this corridor a spectral form rises out of the rubble to the north. This is the last remaining underpriest – who is now a Spectre who will attack the party. Melee in this corridor will cause the roof to collapse completely. PCs who are caught in the cave in will be trapped under tons of stone and earth and will be dead, unless extreme measures are taken. The roof takes 3 rounds to completely fall in (so unconscious or otherwise immobile PCs are the only ones likely to be caught in the cave in). The Spectre will fly out of the collapsing tunnel past the characters, ignoring any attacks.

SPECTRE: AC 2; MV 120’; HD 7+3; hp 38; THAC0 13; #AT 1; D 1-8; SA Energy drain (2 lvls); SD +1 wpn to-hit, Immune to some magic; SZ M; Int High; AL LE; XP 2,030 (MM)

6. The Sanctuary
This corridor opens to a large trapezoidal room. A smooth, jet black pillar divides the entry area. Beyond are rows of pews facing a large black altar. Beyond the altar, the corner of the room is shadowed in inky darkness.

The Pillar
The pillar is polished black obsidian. It is smooth and cool to the touch. On the side facing the altar is a single rune – a square inside a circle inside a square. If the rune is traced, Continual Darkness (at 20th level) will descend on a 100’ radius of the pillar.

The Altar
The altar is jet black obsidian with runes covering the sides. Two huge winged forms carved of the same inky black stone rise from the ends of the altar and curve over the top. Evil, misshapen faces leer down on the sacrifice area as carved claws seem to reach for the platform, ready to snatch the victim.

This very unholy place is where the rites of the Elder Elemental God were performed. The sense of evil here is palpable. If any good creature comes within 5’ of the altar, the top row of the runes begins to glow blue and all good characters within 20’ radius of the altar must save vs. magic or temporarily be reduced to Strength of 3 and a Constitution of 3. The effect of this reduction may cause the character to collapse unconscious for 2-8 rounds (system shock roll). Weakened characters will be able to hold very little and may collapse under the weight of armor, packs, etc.

Those who make their initial saves feel an intense sense of dread in this place. The save must be made every round that a good character is within 5’ of the altar. Paladins and devout followers of good faiths should feel compelled to destroy this altar and the wickedness that it represents.

It has been more than a hundred years since anything but evil creatures have been sacrificed on this altar, and decades since a sacrifice at all. The high priest is eager to capture the attention of the He Who Must Not Be Named with a proper sacrifice.

Any captured characters or henchmen will be sacrificed on this altar (see above for the undead tactics concerning capturing the party) in order to summon the Elder Elemental God. If a good human or demi-human is sacrificed on the altar there is a 50% chance it will attract the attention of either the Old One living in the Dark Air (95%) or the Unspeakable One himself(5%). The Old One is a servant of the Elder Elemental God but knows the nameless one sleeps in his prison and has been impersonating the deity for centuries, hungering for the sacrifices brought by the high priest. If the Old One enters the chamber it will demand more sacrifices, more blood shed to feed the hungering of the nameless one.

The Unspeakable One cannot answer this summons directly (the proper rites have not been accomplished…yet), but he will send 1-6 Byakhee to attack anyone so brash as to speak the god’s name. The Byakhee will attack the high priest and anyone else in the room. The melee is likely to attract the attention of the Old One in the Dark Air (see below).

The Ambush
If the party is rushing to this room from the collapsing tunnel, the High Priest (who is now a lich) will be waiting to ambush the party from behind the huge black pillar. The High Priest Arashaam’s desire is to capture the PCs to offer them on the altar and summon He Who Must Not Be Named, the Lord of the Air. His tactics, therefore, will be to stun or otherwise subdue the PCs, bind them and take them to the Sanctuary, where the power of the altar will keep the PCs in a weakened state while the Lich prepares the rites to contact his god.

First, the High Priest will trace the continual darkness rune on the pillar. This will take a round to accomplish, but he will do so while the party is in the corridor (possibly as soon as they enter the corridor). He will then prepare spells and engage in melee. If the Spectre survives the corridor, it will also attack, though without as much regard for not harming the PCs.

The High Priest Arashaam
LICH: AC 0; MV 60’; HD 11; hp 65; THAC0 10; #AT 1; D 1-10; SA Spells as C20, Paralyzing Touch, Cause Fear; SD +1 wpn to-hit, Immune to Sleep/Charm/Enfeeblement/Polymorph, cold, electricity, insanity or death magics; SZ M; Int S-Gen; AL NE; XP 11,540 (MM)

Arashaam attacks with a mace +2 in melee and wears a gold and gem wrought ceremonial torc – worth 12,000 gp (the primary gem in it is a 5,000 gp orange jacinth – along with other lesser stones). A ring on his finger will radiate magic if detected, but it is not a magical ring per se – the 1,000 gp ruby in it contains a magic jarred demon. Arashaam has no idea how to recall the demon.

In addition to standard lich immunities (sleep, cold, etc), this creature is immune to any spells of an air or wind nature. Air Walk and Wind Walk are usable at will, Command Air (new spell) 3x per day, Summon/Conjure Air Elemental 1x week.

This lich was a 20th level Cleric in life.
Level 1: Ceremony, Curse(x3), Detect Good, Darkness, Cause Fear(x2), Protection from Good(x2)

Level 2: Augury, Chant, Enthrall, Hold Person(x2), Holy Symbol, Resist Fire, Silence 15' Radius (x2)

Level 3: Animate Dead, Cause Paralysis(x2), Continual Darkness, Cause Blindness, Dispel Magic, Glyph of Warding, Meld Into Stone, Prayer

Level 4: Cause Serious Wounds(x3), Cloak of Fear, Divination, Protection from Good 10' Radius, Spell Immunity(x2)

Level 5: Commune, Cause Critical Wounds, Dispel Good, Flamestrike, Plane Shift, Slay Living, True Seeing

Level 6: Aerial Servant, Blade Barrier, Harm, Stone Tell, Word of Recall

Level 7 Symbol, Wind Walk

7. The Dark Air (The Deep Darkness)
This crevasse runs 2000’ long and is a mile deep. Water rushes down into the abyss somewhere far away. If the PCs try to enter this area, it is so dark that normal light does not penetrate it and magical light only reaches a 5’ radius. Infravision and Ultravision work at ½ range. Darkvision functions normally. Deep in this crevasse lairs an Old One. If the rite of sacrifice is accomplished, the Old One (a Shoggoth) might stir to receive the sacrifice. It has been in stasis for some time as the temple’s sacrifices have suffered both in quality and quantity over the past several decades. Melee in the Sanctuary is likely to attract the Old One’s attention.

The Old One’s lair is 1000’ feet down and 1000’ out from the opening in the Sanctuary. It dwells with servant jellies and oozes and has a huge treasure hoard (drawing from millennia of sacrifices). Such a lair is beyond the scope of this adventure but the DM is encouraged to create such.

The Dark Air is home to thousands of bats, hundreds of gloomwings and a vargouille which has escaped the attention of the Old One. Occasionally, Cloakers and Cave Fishers wander into the cave to feed on the prey. Somewhere, high overhead, a crevice becomes a chimney that leads to the surface.

The Old One (Shoggoth) AC 1; MV 90’; HD 20; hp 113; THAC0 7; #AT 2; D 3-30/3-30; SA Nil; SD +1 wpn to-hit, Immune to weakness, paralysis and charm, magic resistance 30%; SZ L (15’ tall); Int Low; AL CE; XP 9, 890 (D&DG)

8. The High Priest’s Antechamber
The furniture in this room has moldered – water drips from the ceiling to a small pool in the southeast corner.

9. The High Priest’s Inner Chamber
This was the high priest’s bedroom. Normal items (bed, wardrobe, table, desk, chest, etc). The chest is locked and trapped (poison gas save or die). Inside is 3214 gp, 4111 cp, a gem encrusted chalice (1,200 gp) two gem encrusted daggers (1250 gp each) several worthless scrolls (damaged), a potion of heroism, a decanter of endless water, 35 gems (values: 5x2, 10, 20, 35, 50x3, 60,75,100x2, 400, 450, 500x4, 650, 1000x2 gp), 14 pieces of jewelry (200, 300, 600, 800x2, 1400, 3000x2, 4000x2, 5000x2, 8000, 12000 gp).

10. The High Priest’s Private Chapel
This room contains a statue of Hastur before which is a small altar with a golden bowl (120 gp) on it. Candles and candelabras are scattered about the room. The High Priest would sacrifice his own blood to his god at this altar – occasionally the blood of his lovers as well.

11. Portal to the Plane of Air
The ritual for opening this portal requires the sacrifice of a non-evil flying creature. It will take the opener(s) to a huge palace filled with Byakhees on the Plane of Air.

12. Sloping Corridor
The corridor begins sloping noticeably downward here for about 50’ (it drops 12’ in that 50’, so it’s a pretty steep descent). Between these slopes, the corridor height drops to 7’. The corridor goes under the main corridor. If the main corridor above experiences a cave-in, there is a 40% chance that this corridor will cave in, too.

13. Chambers of the Acolytes and Underpreists
These rooms contain broken furniture, shattered glass, bones and fragments of clothing and armor. 4 Megalo-Centipedes nest here:

Megalo-centipede: AC 5; MV 180’; HD 3; hp 12,13,15,17; THAC0 16; #AT 1; D 1-3; SA Poison; SZ M; Int Anim; AL N; XP 161, 164, 170, 176 (MM2)

Thoroughly searching the area will reveal 1-100 sp, a small brass holy symbol of Hastur (worth 1 gp, but is considered an evil item to have in possession by those who know of the evil elemental gods). Hidden behind a false panel (treat as secret door) is one of the underpriest’s treasure hoards (5,978 gp, a potion of clairvoyance and a girdle of hill giant strength. This belonged to the spectre in area 5 and if it is discovered and disturbed, the spectre will come within one round and attack (if it has not already been destroyed).

14. Sacrifice Cells
The larger room here was the jailer’s quarters, the cells were where sacrifices were held for the rituals performed in homage to the One Who Must Not Be Named. They are empty.

15. To the Dark Air
This winding, sloping corridor leads into the heart of the cavern of Dark Air (see 7 Dark Air above). Alternately, the DM can have the corridor taper off to a caved-in area.

New Spell
Command Air (Alteration)
Level: 6 Components: V, S, M
Range: 0 Casting Time: 5 segments
Duration: 1 Turn/level Saving Throw: None
Area of Effect: 10’ diameter globe
Explanation/Description: This, spell is similar to the Druid spell Control Winds. When the spell is cast, the cleric takes control of the wind, causing it to do his or her bidding in a10’ diameter around the caster, commanding wind speeds up to 10x the caster’s level (i.e. the caster can add up to 10x his or her level to the ambient wind speed – or subtract up to his or her level from the ambient wind speed). The controlled wind does no damage to the caster or anything on his or her person. The effect lasts for a number of rounds equal to the spell caster’s level. The spell requires the dying blood (that is, the creature has to be killed as the spell is being cast) of a non-insect flying creature - birds, dragons, demons, faeries, etc.

New Monster
MOVE: 100’ (leap, see below)
% IN LAIR: 50%
NO. OF ATTACKS: 4-32 claws/1 bite
DAMAGE/ATTACK: 4-32/1-12
SPECIAL DEFENSES: immune to poison, sleep, hold, charm
ALlG N M ENT: Neutral
SIZE: L (25’ long)
Attack/Defense Modes: Nil/nil
Level/X.P. Value: VIII/1275 + 10/hp

The Califan is a huge, centipede –like creature. It has a segmented body and dozens of legs. Its mouth is lined with two huge mandibles and long antennae extend from the front of its head. Califan cannot see well, but sense vibrations in the floor and in the air with their antennae. If the antennae are cut, the creature is effectively blinded and will thrash about, lashing out randomly. If the creature can secure a steady food supply, the antennae will grow back in 1d4 weeks.

The Califan’s primary attack is a leaping attack. The Califan can leap from up to 30’ away, as high as 20’ in the air, landing with 4-32 of its sharp legs (for one point of damage each – armor reduces the damage to half) while simultaneously sinking its mandibles into the victim for 1-12 points of damage. It will then leap off its victim either onto another victim or to a vantage point to make another leaping attack. If the party can keep the Califan from leaping, they reduce it to simply attacking with its bite.

Of only average intelligence, Califan are clever and adapt to their environments. Their favorite prey is cave fisher, though they will attack anything smaller than themselves.

Not-So New Monsters –
Found in the Original Release of Deities and Demi-Gods

Byakhee (Servants of Hastur)
Shoggoth (The Old One)
Hastur the Unspeakable – He Who Must Not Be Named

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