Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Cleric Encounters: Set

18th in the Divinities and Cults: Volume III series (one more to go!), we have Set, Egyptian dark god of the desert, foreigners, & storms.

1.  For the next 1d8 quarter miles, all becomes dry and desiccated thanks to the machinations of Set. If already desert, then it becomes worse! All Lawful beings and lovers of moisture suffer a -2 to all rolls while there. See also Desert Encounters (in Volume III) to determine what else Set might now have in store.

2.  Who’s snakier? Apep might be the patron of serpents, but Set can conquer them too! 4d4 followers of Set are attacking either (roll 1d5): 
[1] 2d4 followers of Apep, [2] a giant snake, [3] 1d3 snake men, [4]1d2 clerics of Apep, [5] 2d3 cultists of a combined Apep-Set cult, determined to rule the world! [6] reroll twice. The party would likely celebrate the conflict of such evil cults regardless of who wins.

3.  Unfortunately for one unlucky party member, Set seeks to abuse him terribly like he did Horus. The party member must save vs. wand or take 1d6 damage along with a -1d6 penalty to all his rolls for the next 24 hours, due to severe humiliation. Still, if he makes the save by 10 or more (or rolls a natural 20), then it is Set who is bested and the party member gains 1d6 hit points and a +1d6 bonus to all his rolls for the next 24 hours thanks to Horus.

4. Foreigners are everywhere, or at least they seem to be! All whom the party encounters for the next 2d4 hours will speak an unknown language and have a strange look to them. Those who see the party will experience the same, though magical attempts at communication and discernment do have a base 50% chance of success. In any case, Set will be pleased at the resulting conflict that will most likely ensue from such a loss of familiarity.

5. A number of Set’s minions have overrun this place. Roll 1d8 to see how serious the incursion is: [1] 1d4 giant scorpions, [2] 4d4 scorpion men, [3] 1d3 chaotic griffons, [4] 1d3 hippopotamuses, [5] 2d2 crocodiles, [6] 1d2 giant spitting cobras (HD 5), [7] 2d4 Set cultists, [8] reroll twice. In any case, the stage will be set for great peril!

6. All in the party must save vs. spell or suddenly give into rampant urges, selfishness, and megalomaniacal tirades. The situation lasts for the next 2d4 rounds, likely causing severe intra-party conflict, though followers of Lawful deities are immune. Followers of Set of course act this way all the time, so a save for them is unnecessary.

7. Unfortunately for the nearest individual in a random direction, Set seeks to do unto them what he did to Osiris! For the next 6 rounds, one of their body parts gets hacked off unless they save vs. death each round. Such an event will also cause the loss of 25% of their remaining hit points, while the loss of another extremity will cause 1d20 damage and the loss of the head will likely cause instant death: [Round 1] left arm, [Round 2] right arm, [Round 3] left leg, [Round 4] right leg, [Round 5] other extremity, [Round 6] head.

8. The party stumbles upon a cult of Set! Since they are so diabolical, it could be anyone, even misleading the party into some sort of set up (roll 1d6): [1] 1d4 clerics of Set, [2] 1d3 priests of Set, [3] 1d3 anti-paladins of Set, [4] 1d4+3 cultists of Set, [5] 2d6 scorpion men, [6] reroll twice.

9. The sky grows dark and the winds rise, bringing destruction to the area for the next 1d3 turns. All must take cover or suffer 1d3 damage per round from the dry winds, whirling maelstrom, and blinding sands of Set’s wrath.

10. Set is the Foe of Ra (though that wasn’t always the case)! The party comes upon a follower of Set who is actually working with some of the Sun Pharaoh’s faithful, but there’s only a 50% chance of his motivations being pure. The Setian will calmly insist that Apep is the main threat- that total annihilation of the world is far worse than Set’s striving for mastery of it. Nevertheless, he will definitely slip into a vicious frenzy if asked what animal his mask actually is.

11. A great orgy is revealed, replete with 4d20 participants. Though led by followers of Set (see #8 above), they actually care little for the participants (or orgies for that matter) and are only sponsoring it to later blackmail them. The Setians will therefore attempt to flee at the earliest opportunity if the event is disrupted.

12. The followers of Set have been busy! They are working to hatch a nefarious scheme which will come to fruition sometime in the next 1d20 hours (roll 1d6): [1] get dupes to funnel their money into a pyramid, 
[2] achieve mind control via barber-dentistry, [3] enlist the service of a doppelganger and his barbarian gang, [4] build a massive dome that will terrorize people, replete with 6 war chariots and mounted ballista, [5] refine a mass teleportation spell, allowing followers of Set to transport armies past their foes’ defenses, among other things, [6] unleash an enormous Setian pylon device that can control the weather.

Sample 6th Level Cleric of Set
Align: C
AC: 4
HD: 6
Atk: 1
Dmg: 1d6+3 (+1 was scepter) or 1d6+2 (mace)
SP: Set turn ability, mysteries, Brutal Strength, Desert Touch (divine tests), 40% chance of becoming enraged for one round whenever he experiences a setback.
Spells prepared:
1st level: (3+2) Cure Light Wounds (x2), Remove Fear (reverse), Jarring Hand*, Setian Missile*
2nd level: (3+2) Bless, Bless (reverse), Hold Person, Snake Charm, Ray of Enfeeblement*
3rd level: (2+1) Hieroglyph of Warding, Remove Curse (reverse), Sand ShapeD
SV: C6
Mor: 8
Possessions: +1 Scale mail, +1 was scepter, mace, 128 gold pieces, 1 random magic item, letters to use as blackmail, two Set cultists.

Next week: cleric encounters concludes with Tiamat!

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Cleric Encounters: Nergal

17th in the Divinities and Cults: Volume III series (two more to go!), we have Nergal, Mesopotamian arch-devil of the deep state and corruption.

1. The presence of Nergal is felt with a violent death. Depending on the situation, the party either stumbles across the corpse or receives news of it soon. Roll 1d4: [1] a random NPC the party knows, [2] an unknown man, [3] a monster or other potential threat to the party, [4] an NPC in the party (if any).

2. With a disturbing roar, an evil black lion leaps out to attack! Roll 1d4+3 to determine its HD and it only has a base 25% chance of being cowardly.

3. Ever given to subterfuge, Nergal tricks one of the party’s clerics into thinking that his clothing is not up to par, like he once deceived Marduk. As a result, he or she cannot use any cleric spells or abilities for the next 4d4 hours, even if such comments are only in Erra.

4. 2d4 lion men have taken over the area, doing their malevolent best to slay any potential rivals as they are wont to do. Even followers of Nergal aren’t immune, unless such followers can find a way to corrupt the lion men (a base 66% chance).

5. Plague and famine have afflicted here. All those encountered for the next 2d4 hours are sick and weak, having only 1/2 their normal hit points and suffering a -4 penalty to all rolls. And though the party will find it hard to find food and comfort, followers of Nergal and other Fell Lords that deal with such tragedies are immune.

6.  Like Ereshkigal did with Nergal, a female NPC ends up with a diabolic, underworldly type. He is either a (roll 1d6): [1] lion man, [2] orc, [3] fighter who follows Nergal, [4] cleric of Nergal, [5] sorcerer of Nergal, 
[6] reroll twice to generate a multiclass adversary. Whoever it is, the party will have to be the ones to rescue her from such a bĂȘte noire.

7. Fire! Whether from devilish machination, scorching sun, or insidious hellfire, the closest target in a random direction from the center of the party ignites, causing it 2d6 damage and 1d6 damage to all within 5’ of it. If the target happens to be a party member, then Nergal only cackles more loudly.

8. What looks to be a black cockerel crows at the party from upon its own dunghill. It is actually a/an (roll 1d6): [1-2] arrogant rooster, [3] black cockatrice, [4] polymorphed lion, [5] polymorphed lion man, 
[6] polymorphed cleric of Nergal. In any case, this rooster just might snuff them.

9. A nearby official has been corrupted, but Nergal’s minions remain paranoid over ‘slavic trolls’. The official is a (roll 1d6): [1] watchman, [2] toll keeper, [3] tax collector, [4] royal agent, [5] cleric, [6] noble, though the ‘trolls’ only have a 33% chance of being real. If so, then they are simply citizens attempting to fight the corruption. Otherwise, they’re only the minions’ paranoid delusions.

10. Perhaps not a king of lions, a giant lumbers into view that will certainly scare the heck out of humans- a humbaba! If they have somehow defiled his forest or otherwise angered him (a base 66% chance), then he will attack with roars, claws, fiery breath, and his dreaded snake phallus!

11. War! Factions in the area have given in to Nergal’s machinations and are now fighting to the death. Roll 1d6 twice to determine what the sides are: [1] Nergal followers, [2] Marduk followers, [3] other humans, [4] lion men, [5] black lions, [6] black cockerels (see #8 above), [7] ‘slavic trolls’, [8] roll again- a third side is fighting. There will be at least 4d6 of each side in the immediate area; 2d6 if the side is comprised of animals or monsters. In any case, the party has a base 50% chance of getting caught up in the fighting, if not all the accompanying arguments too.

12. Nergal’s realm is deep below, hidden from illumination, hope, and accountability. The party encounters such a deep state as well in the form of a (roll 1d6): [1] series of tunnels, [2] cavern, [3] thieves guild, [4] secret police enclave, [5] cultist hideout, [6] official’s quarters.

Sample 8th Level Cleric of Nergal
Align: C
MV: 35’
AC: 2
HD: 8
Atk: 1
Dmg: 1d6+1 (+1 mace) or 1d8 (battle axe)
SP: Nergal turn ability, mysteries, Fearful Visage, Corrupting Message (divine tests), 50% chance of being seen as an obvious monster
Spells prepared:
1st level: (4+2) Command, Create Water (reverse), Cure Light Wounds (reverse), Light (reverse), Remove Fear (reverse), Manipulate Fire*
2nd level: (3+2) Bless (reverse), Find Traps, Hold Person, Fire TrapD, Invisibility*
3rd level: (3+1) Animate Dead, Cure Disease (reverse), Shadow Silence, Striking
4th Level: (2) Divination, Darkball*
SV: C8
Mor: 10
Possessions: +1 Plate mail, +1 mace, 181 gold pieces, 1 random magic item, plans for discrediting a local official, one 1st level Nergal priest disciple, two Nergal cultists.

Next week: cleric encounters, Set!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Cleric Encounters: Dagon

16th in the Divinities and Cults: Volume III series, we have Dagon, Mesopotamian demon lord of sea people and invasion.

1. The tide comes in. Ocean waters flood the immediate area, rising for 1d3 rounds at a rate of 1d3 feet per round (double if near the sea), likely making those caught within salty at best.

2. A giant crab skitters forth, being 3 HD larger if within range of the ocean! It will ignore any followers of Dagon and happily attempt to crush all others.

3. Arrrr! Like pirates, 4d4 sea raiders have descended upon the area, terrorizing the local populace, likely given to much drinking, plunder, and pillage. Will the party stop or help them? The local lords will certainly be in favor of the former.

4. Ahhh! Like locusts, 4d8 fish men have descended upon the area, either planning (if their numbers are less than), being in the process of replacing (if their numbers are about the same), or finishing off (if their numbers are greater than) the local populace. In any case, any locals who remain will know that something very fishy is going on.

5. The area within 60’ becomes overly moist and stinking, causing all to save vs. paralysis or slip and fall. Even followers of Dagon aren’t immune to this effect, though they’ll savor this manifestation of their fell lord regardless.

6. Suddenly, a large fish leaps out and attacks the party! It is a (roll 1d6): [1] giant catfish, [2] giant piranha, [3] bull shark, [4] great white shark, [5] giant rockfish, [6] giant sturgeon. If encountered on land, halve its HD and it will only last 2d4 rounds without water. If encountered deep in the ocean or in the presence of a cleric of Dagon, increase its numbers by 1d3 instead.

7. Dagon comes to you! All water in a 1/4 mile area becomes vile and dead fish-ridden, preventing its consumption and enjoyment by all normal folk. Followers of Dagon aren’t normal folk of course and actually find it to be quite delicious and pleasant.

8. Worshippers of the sea are in the area. Unfortunately, they follow Dagon! They are (roll 1d6): [1] 1d4 clerics of Dagon, [2] 1d3 priests of Dagon, [3] 1d3 witches of Dagon, [4] 1d4+2 cultists of Dagon, [5] 1d4+2 fish men, [6] reroll twice. They are especially interested in slaying followers of sea gods, though they’re also happy to weaken any other human institutional resistance to invasion as well.

9. Thus unto seamen. The next NPC that a party member lies with turns out to be a fish man or woman! Apart from the tainted offspring, the party member only has a base 50% chance of getting out alive, modified by how well they did this time in Love and War (see Volume III).

10. Ice is awful! Ice freezes Dagon’s people! Ice must be abolished! A mob of Dagon followers (roll twice on #8 above) are attacking another group because of their association with ‘ice’. The other group is only about half their size- it seems that Dagon’s forces are always many- and are (roll 1d4): [1] Thrym cultists, [2] Skadi worshippers, [3] watchmen tasked with removing invaders, [4] Krampus devotees.  The Dagonites have a base 66% chance of winning; that is, unless the party intervenes.

11.  The party uncovers a valuable-looking but somehow unpleasant horn. It actually fits into a statue that some fools believe will bring about a golden age. Of course, it will instead transform into a Lesser Avatar of Dagon (1/2 AC bonus, HD, Dmg, & special abilities)! It will likely take some sort of mighty barbarian to defeat it by ripping the horn out again.

12.  Look out! The disciples of Dagon have been busy. A minor invasion of the demon lord’s children occurs (sea people: whether fish men, sea raiders, or both), swarming the area at a rate of 3d6 per turn for the next 2d4 turns, likely making use of a Chain Teleportation spell to begin to replace the local folk forever. They might then say that it’s over, for such sea children seem no longer lost.

Sample 10th Level Cleric of Dagon
Align: C
MV: 40’ (swim 80’ w/ mask)
AC: 5
HD: 10
Atk: 1
Dmg: 1d6+2 (+1 harpoon- as spear) or 1d4+2 (+1 fish knife- as dagger)
SP: Dagon turn ability, mysteries, Foul Water Gout, Sea Seed, Refuge (divine tests), 25% chance of being seen as an obvious monster
Spells prepared:
1st level: (5+2) Create Water, Cure Light Wounds (x2), Protection from Humans, Remove Fear, Sanctuary, 
Divine WeatherD
2nd level: (4+2) Delay Poison, Hold Person (x2), Speak with Animal (fish), Spiritual Weapon, Warp WoodD
3rd level: (3+1) Animal Growth (fish), Locate Object, Prayer, Water BreathingD (reverse)
4th Level: (3) Cure Serious Wounds, Confusion*, Polymorph Self (fish)
5th level: (2) Chain Teleportation*, Feeblemind*
SV: C10

Mor: 8
Possessions: +1 Scale mail, +1 harpoon, +1 fish knife, 165 gold pieces, 1 random magic item, plans for replacing the population of a nearby castle with fish men, two 1st level Dagon priest disciples, four Dagon cultists, pet bull shark (with a reversed Water Breathing spell cast on it if need be).

Next week: cleric encounters, Nergal!

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Cleric Encounters: Apep

15th in the encounter series for Divinities and Cults: Volume III, we have Apep, Egyptian titan of darkness, serpents, & apocalypse.

1. Serpent in the grass. All who pass through an area of tall grass ahead have a 1 in 4 chance of being bitten by a snake (1 in 2 if followers of Ra) for 1d3 damage and must also save vs. poison or take 4d6 additional damage.

2. The sky darkens, almost as if some fell, enormous, serpent is passing above. Not only is it harder to see (for diurnal types) for the next 1d6 hours, but all followers of Apep (and similar divinities) gain a +2 to all rolls during this time.

3. Serpent under one’s loincloth. For the next 24 hours, a random male member of the party will have his own member (roll 1d3): [1] become quite large and unwieldy, [2] become an actual snake (like that of Humbaba), [3] appear to become a snake but is really an illusion- likely caused by vampire tricks. In any case, if the member lies with a woman during this time, he will most certainly father a snake man child!

4. A great offspring of Apep slithers forth! It is a (roll 1d4): [1-2] giant python, [3] giant rattler, [4] wingless, legless wyvern. The party is free to negotiate with it, though it will only bite them in return.

5. Serpent in the party. A random member is compelled to do ill against another member, though their alignment will dictate its extent: Lawful- punish them for one of their crimes, Neutral- weaken them, Chaotic- attack them. In all cases, a save vs. spell negates, though Chaotic members might not need much coaxing.

6. Apep is never worshipped? Ha! Some reveal themselves now to prove all the wise men wrong (by trying to kill those present). They are (roll 1d6): [1] 1d3 clerics of Apep, [2] 1d2 priests of Apep, [3] 1d2 mystics of Apep, [4] 1d4+2 cultists of Apep, [5] 1d4 snake men, [6] reroll twice.

7. Serpent on the road. The party encounters a seemingly friendly individual who is in fact a vile worshipper of Apep! The individual appears as a (roll 1d4): [1] wanderer, [2] merchant, [3] innocent child, [4] local fellow. In any case, the individual will happily murder the first party member he or she can get alone in a manner pleasing to Apep (per Divine Test results #5-9).

8. Snaky thoughts infect the entire party, making them suspect that there is a serpent amongst them (per result #5 above). Each must make an INT or WIS check, otherwise they will believe another party member is about to betray them! Their suspicions last for at least the next hour, though the party might not.

9. Serpent in the blood. Whether through venom or other malady, an unlucky party member becomes poisoned, taking 2d4 CON damage. He or she may save to resist it, though there’s only a base 50% chance of determining its cause.

10. Like a snake shedding its skin, a related aspect of Apep is worshipped here, though it will likely bring as much darkness and doom as its Egyptian variety. Roll 1d4: [1] Python, the serpentine foe of Apollo that favors screaming sacrifices being consumed by huge snakes, [2] C’ps, the venomous cult of child-snatching that is done to ‘rescue’ them from their parents, [3] an unnamed, heretical cult of Skadi that enjoys dripping venom on victims like she once did to Loki, [4] Shield Ghul, the medical cult who has a Ghul Serpent as its symbol, a far cry from that of Asclepius- see Wyrd Ways of Walstock.

11. Serpent upon the page. The party comes across a Book of Overwhelming Apep. Not only does it grant its readers excellent advice on defeating Apep and its worshippers- via defiling, smiting, spitting, etc. on wax models and drawings of that serpentine titan - but it will also work against followers of similar cults, granting a +2 bonus to all rolls for the rest of the day to those who perform its 1d3 turn rituals first. Unfortunately, the book does not currently contain pictures of a god to keep Apep in check, so there is also a base 35% chance of the picture of Apep animating to bite anyone reading it for 3d10 damage! Followers of Ra will of course be well aware of such perils, as well as any confusion arising from the book’s title.

12. The next tunnel the party enters turns out to be the inside of an enormous serpent! Though the fanglike stalactites and stalagmites of its entrance have only a base 5% chance of giving it away, the crushing and acid coming from its weird walls, floor, and ceiling for 4d6 damage each round increases those chances greatly (to 100%).

Sample 13th Level Cleric of Apep
Align: C
MV: 40’
AC: 3
HD: 13
Atk: 1
Dmg: 1d3+1 (bite, plus save vs. poison and paralysis), 1d4+2 (+2 whip) or 1d6+1 (+1 short sword)
SP: Apep turn ability, mysteries, Snake Head, Paralytic Bite (divine tests), 50% chance of being confused for an obvious monster
Spells prepared:
1st level: (6+2) Command, Cure Light Wounds (reverse), Light (reverse), Remove Fear (reverse), Charm Person* (x2), Sleep* (x2)
2nd level: (5+2) Bless (reverse), Hold Person (x2), Snake Charm, EntangleD, Detect Invisible*, Magic Mouth*
3rd level: (4+1) Animal Growth (serpents), Remove Curse (reverse), Striking, Infravision*, Suggestion*
4th Level: (4) Cure Serious Wounds, Cure Serious Wounds (reverse), Detect Lie, Polymorph Self (serpent forms)
5th level: (3) Commune, Cloudkill, Transmute Rock to Mud
6th level: (2) Blade Barrier, Heal (reverse)
SV: C13
Mor: 7
Possessions: +3 Scale mail, +2 whip, +1 short sword, 499 gold pieces, 3 random magic items, plans for sacrificing a nearby town, three 1st level Apep cleric disciples, six Apep cultists.

Next week: cleric encounters, Dagon!