Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Dionysus Encounters, Part III

Quests of Dionysus
When the cups are flowing, adventure begins. Each can be used as alternate divine tests for his cleric types and/ or even as escapades for others. Roll 1d12.

1. Live a wild life (Agrios): A random party member becomes Chaotic for the next 1d6 hours. If already so, he becomes especially Chaotic, acting erratically in any case. Followers of Dionysus may know how to relieve the issue sooner, but can't understand why anyone would want to.

2. Don’t let yourself be held back by Authority, man! (Liber): A tyrant has taken over a nearby village, forcing the locals to abide by his pronouncements. There's a good 50% base chance of this being true, otherwise he's just a normal ruler who Dionysus would see toppled.

3. Lose yourself in wine (Akratophoros): The next drink a lucky party member takes whisks him away on a katabasis of his own, returning from the underworld 1d20 hours later (hopefully). Now that's some strong stuff!

4. Lose yourself in music & dance (Enorches): With strange chords, odd rhythms, and far too many interpretive movements, an epidemic of dancing sweeps the area. Any who witness it must save vs. death/ make a Will save DC 10 or begin dancing too! The only way to break the spell is to make a sufficient offering to Dionysus; that is, if they've danced enough.

5. Lose yourself in theatre (Ekstasis): A mask is found by a lucky party member, one that is of a (roll 1d4): [1] bull, [2] serpent, [3] leopard, or [4] goat. Donning it grants the speed and attack of such a creature, but also its animalistic ways. Oh, and the mask can't be removed, except via a Remove Curse spell or the blessing of cleric of Dionysus- but why would he do that?

6. Lose yourself in passion (Auxites): Maenads roam the area, drawing local women into their orgies. Any men who wish to join risk dismemberment, especially of their member if they're not careful.

7. Help others to lose themselves too! (Eleutherios): Signs (actual, physical ones) are noticed everywhere, blocking the scenery, enraging any faithful of Dionysus and other Chaotics too. For the next 4d6 hours, they will do their best to tear them down for fear of them "breaking their mind".

8. Mystery tradition (son of Zeus, rebirth, old age/ youth, Orpheus): Strange music is heard, causing all to set aside their grief and rest (save vs. spell/ Will save DC 15 negates). The lyrist who plays it is one of renown, though some followers of Dionysus feel it's causing less wild carousing to happen than usual.

9. Totemic tradition (bulls, serpents, leopards, or goats, and their mythic beings): A leopard strides into view. A courageous one can step up and it will be his mount; that is, if he's Chaotic enough. If not, then the would-be rider will get a bit instead (for 1d6 damage)!

10-12(No emphasis- why would you push it, man??): reroll twice.

Pentheus' Folly
a Dionysus Encounter

Local women have gone mad, throwing off their usual duties in the name of drunken and animalistic debauchery. It is rumored that a local magistrate has even been abducted! Followers of Law will seek to put an end to this of course. The more moderate faithful of Dionysus may even feel this may have gone too far too, but they're not sure...

Approach to the area is hilly. The women seem to congregate at the top of one in particular. It is verdant, yet rugged, with a palpable sense of licentiousness in the air. 

Map © John Godsland - licensed under CC BY 4.0
(Each square = 5') 

Location 1
The road crests, shoring the hilltop splayed about. A strong scent of wine is upon the air. The sound of drunken laughter can be heard up ahead (at Location 2) and also moaning (Location 3).

Location 2
Here laugh 3d6 celebrants. They will offer the party drinks of their plentiful wine in the name of Dionysus, becoming quite "freaked out" if refused. Prolonged interaction will incur random Tavern Encounters (as described in Volume I). Though outdoors, the celebrants will happily engage no matter where they are (and likely be oblivious to any difference about it too). 

Celebrants AL: C, Mve: 40’, AC 9, HD 1, Attk: 1 (annoy); Dmg: none; SP: +1d4 bonus to resist fear, Sve: T1

Prolonged interaction with the group will reveal that 1d3 satyrs are actually amongst their number. They make merry too, but enterprising characters might find a way to have them help disperse the maenads (at Location 3).

Satyrs  AL: C, Mve: 60’, AC 6, HD 3, Attk: 1 (gore); Dmg: 2d4; SP: satyr abilities (but they don't have magic pipes), can drive away/ quiet 1 maenad per 4d6 rounds, Sve: F3

Location 3
2d3 maenads lie together here. Wild, nude, and primal, their orgy tempts men with its pleasures, but might give the wise pause for fear of vivisection.

(unclassed) Maenads AL: C, Mve: 40’, AC 9, HD 1+1, Attk: 2 (clawings); Dmg: 1d2/1d2; SP: hitting with both clawings allows them to rip their target for an additional 1d4+1 damage, Sve: F1

They are led by one Axiothea, a true maenad with greater powers, along with a greater contrast of attraction and fear that her exquisite body might arouse.

Axiothea Lvl 3 Greek maenad of Dionysus, Align: C, MV: 40’, AC: 9, HD: 3, Atk: 2 (clawings), Dmg: 1d2+2/ 1d2+2, SP: cleric abilities at 1/2 normal use per day, spells prepared (1st: Remove Fear (reversed), 2nd: Auditory Illusion), hitting with both clawings allows her to rip for 2d3+2 dmg, can ignore up to 2d2 damage per round, SV: C3, Mor: 11, Items: holy symbol, fawn skin. Main Emphasis: Lose yourself in passion (Auxites). Appearance: fair complexion, black hair. 

Location 4
The sounds of revelry reach a crescendo here. A masked man overlooks yet another group of maenads (3d4 of them, same stats as above) engaged in wild carnality with 2d4 (lucky?) celebrants. At the center appears to be a clothed woman, tied up, with a look of terror.  Careful examination will show its actually a man- the very magistrate the party may have been sent to rescue! If that is the case, then they must act fast: the poorly disguised interloper will be attacked and ripped to pieces sometime within the next 5d6 rounds.

Masked man: Lvl 3 Greek iatromantis (shaman) of Dionysus, Align: C, MV: 40’, AC: 8, HD: 3, Atk: 1 (staff or sling), Dmg: 1d6 or 1d4, SP: iatromantis abilities & restrictions (see Part I), spells prepared (1st: Remove Fear (reverse), Sanctuary (requires ample libations), Charm Person* (if wine is available), Sleep*, 2nd Level: Levitate* (requires getting really intoxicated), Mirror Image*), SV: C3, Mor: 8, Items: holy symbol, hide, staff, sling w/ 8 stones, 12 gold pieces. Main Emphasis: Live a wild life (Agrios). Appearance: unknown! (once the mask is removed:  medium complexion, brown hair).

A thyiad (Dionysian nymph) also dwells near the tree to the northeast. If the Masked man runs into trouble, she may assist, using one of the following powers each round: Charm Person, Bless, or Entangle. She otherwise follows the general rules for spirits (see Volume IV) and appears as a gorgeous nymph astride a leopard.

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