Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Apollo Encounters, Part III

Quests of Apollo
The Main Emphasis of the Apollan (or even Apollo himself, depending on the situation) can determine which sort of quest is bestowed. Examples are provided, which can then be used in campaigns for all characters, or even as alternate divine tests for cleric-types who follow him. The number of individual targets, their HD or level, and the distance and perils to reach the quest's destination can all factor into their degree of difficulty. Roll 1d20.

1-2. Light (Lyceus): bring light to a subterranean foe (and defeat them).
3-4. Protection from Evil (Apotropaios): protect the good (by defeating evil).
5-6. Smiting Evil (Apellon): expose one who is evil (and defeat them if possible).
7-8. Prophecy (Iatromantis): be at a certain place, at a certain time, doing a certain thing in the service of Fate.
9-10. Healing (Iama): heal another.
11-12. Music (Musagetes): play a song well to a certain individual or group.
13. Wolves (Lycegenes): protect a group of wolves and emulate them.
14-15. Protection of Flocks and/or Crops: drive wolves or other perils away.
16-18. Self-Perfection: improve a random ability score via magic or mettle.
19-20. No special focus: reroll twice.

Against Python
an Apollo Scenario
Background: A series of caves are said to lie below. A great foe of Apollo (and most other Greek deities for that matter) is rumored to dwell within. 

Location 1
The manner of entrance can be selected by the Referee or determined at random. It's also important since the party might need to make a quick escape back to the surface. Roll 1d3. [1] stairs, [2] sloping passage, [3] pit.

Once in the entryway, the party enters here, gaining a feel of the caves (shown below). Note that in the far-eastern portion of this cave, a very well-concealed secret door covers a short passage leading directly to Location 8. 

The Caves: dark and menacing, a sense of doom is palpable. 
Scale: 1 square = 5'.
Ceiling height: usually 5 + 1d8' tall, relative to the ground, which dips at times too.

Each turn, the party has a 1 in 3 chance of a random occurrence happening to 1d3 unlucky party members (roll 1d4):
1. A feeling of being watched.
2. Must save vs. paralysis/ make a Reflex save DC 15 or slip and take 1d2 damage.
3. A strange hissing sound is heard in the distance.
4. The walls themselves seem to adjust slightly.

Location 2
1d6 humanoid forms are spotted here. At first, the party might think that they're lying in wait, but they are actually slain followers of Apollo. See Part I for their traits, though nearly all valuables that they might have had will now be held at Location 6. Further study can suggest the manner of each of their deaths. Roll 1d4. [1] severe cuts, [2] bite/ claw marks, [3] dismemberment, [4] unknown. Those who examine the bodies will find a small lyre that was overlooked. Its use can be quite helpful at Location 4.

Location 3
Whether via a subtle shift in the breeze, one's sense of direction is strange here. Unless they save vs. spell/ make a Will save DC 15, any who move through this location will mistake north for south and vice versa until either they reach a wall or go to another location.

Location 4
The cavern opens wide and the ceiling lofts to a height of 10 + 2d8'. Depending on the party's mode of illumination, some of its furthest extent may not even be visible.

Those who venture within 10' of the southern wall have a 25% chance of being set upon by snakeman every 1d3 minutes. These can be stopped by playing music (to which they must save or dance), or fought normally. Followers of Apollo can make Intelligence checks (DC 15) to know this helpful bit of trivia.

Snakeman Align: C, MV: 40’, AC: 6, HD: 3, Atk: 1, Dmg: 1d6 bite or by weapon, SP: can stretch 5’ to make a bite attack, those hit by bite must save vs. poison or take 2d6 extra damage, snakemen must save vs. spell/ make a Will save DC 15 or dance to any music they hear, SV: F3, Mor: 9.

Location 5
The ceiling lowers again, revealing an intersectional cave.

Location 6
In the western portion of this area, 1d3 small tents are arranged. Each bears a symbol of a hideous snake. Within and about them are 2d3 cultists, debased serpent-admirers of Python. Any loot of the slain at Location 2 will be here as well, since what dwells at Location 8 doesn't seem overly found of it. Leading this aberrant group is a foul priestess of Python, Serophia. She does not take kindly to strangers, especially those who follow Apollo!

Python CultistsAlign: C, MV: 40’, AC: 7, HD: 1, Atk: 1 (curved dagger), Dmg: 1d4, SV: F1, Mor: 7, 4 if  Serophia is defeated, Items: robes, curved dagger, 1d20 copper pieces. 

SerophiaLvl 1 priestess of Python (for magical side-effects, etc., see Apep in Volume III), Align: C, MV: 40’, AC: 7, HD: 1, Atk: 1 (curved dagger), Dmg: 1d4, SP: spells prepared (1st: Remove Fear (reverse), Charm Person* (requires eye contact), Sleep* (-4 to save if target is bitten by the cleric), SV: C1, Mor: 9, Items: unholy symbol, robes, curved dagger, serpent codpiece, 2d10 gold pieces. 

Location 7
Bizarre 'ribbits' can be heard ahead. 1d3 frogmen pollute a nearby pool (10' deep) in memory of trying to stop Leto (Apollo's mother) from drinking. They are similarly rude to the party.

Frogmen Align: C, MV: 30’, AC: 8, HD: 1+2, Atk: 1, Dmg: 1d4 bite, SP: can breathe both water and air, can jump up to 1d4 x 10’ (in addition to their normal movement) every 1d3 rounds, SV: F1, Mor: 6.

Location 8
Something very large looms at the far end of the cavern. Those who don't flee will discover it to be a 20' long giant python! The cultists worship the thing, seeing it as a representative of Python itself. It simply enjoys the food offerings they give, indifferent to their reverence.

Giant Python Align: N, MV: 50’, AC: 4, HD: 5, Atk: 1, Dmg: 4d6 bite, SP: immune to poison; can constrict another that it hits rather than biting them, causing them to be held immobile and take 2d4 damage per round unless they make a Strength check (DC 15) to break free, SV: F5, Mor: 11.

Next week: our series on divinity encounters continues with Artemis!