Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Stocking the ruined temple city

My home group is exploring the ruined metropolis of Pra'xi'rek. Pra'xirek? Praxirek? Fuck it. The city is described briefly in the Explorer's Handbook. I'm not linking you there, it's not worth it - as published in the book, the area is not too much to go on. Hill Giants and Drow fighting over jungle-covered ruined metropolis, water beasties in the old harbor, bunch of Cloud Giants in a flying hall - and that takes pages to explain.

I took much more inspiration from MightyBakuDan in his Dreams of Xen'drik log. City of many shrines and temples, ideas on how to play players and Drow and Giants against each other - sold, with thanks. I'll add to that industrialized religion: not faith to appease a divine overlord, but a series of mantras to leach power from a handy source. What else would you expect from the civilization that includes a handy 'please insert Drow' rune for when their magical forge needs a soul for some oomph?

Jungle-ruined metropolis crawl

Below is a bunch of tables to crawl through shrine-infested Pra'xirek.
  • Add complications between the local factions of Drow and Giants? Check it.
  • Add some scenery or add random beasties? Check out my Junglebox and its follow-up post of wandering loons.
Encounter check (d6)
Stolen/adapted from Necropraxis' overloaded encounter die. Every hour of exploration, when heading into the next area of town, or in case of excessive noise or loitering, roll d6:
  1. Encounter
  2. Trail of encounter
  3. Obstacle
  4. Shrine
  5. Building
  6. Resource depletion

Encounters (d30 when above ground, d20 when underground, roll that 20, I dare you.)
  1. Parley between (2d30, reroll doubles)
  2. Fight between (2d30, reroll doubles)
  3. Farmer / gatherer collecting fruits of garden or fungal patch
  4. Trader from distant tribe with rare herbs, medicine, tools
  5. Dino raptor pack (3 HD, 5 bitey/harrying), directed by Songraa handler (Hill Giant ranger 2, dino taming tribe)
  6. Drow scouting party (3x rogues, 3x wizards) investigating shrine
  7. Drow raiding party (d4: 1-3 4x ranger 3; 4 plus Drow Mistress of Ambush Sorrla)
  8. Drow courier headed for dead drop with package (d4: 1-3 cleric or rogue 'bringing offering', 4 Drow Master of Scorpions Vorruul on personal mission)
  9. Crab men (4x barbarian 3, 1x sorcerer 4) clearing canal / tunnel for better access to central ruins
  10. 1d4+1 Carrion Crawlers hunting or guarding a shrine
  11. Chuul harvester clearing tunnels of scouts, headed for package dead drop
  12. Drow scorpion walker Cleric 5, 4x rogue 3 scouts, dousing for Vulkoor’s favor with a bone white ultra deadly giant scorpion (5HD)
  13. Giants filling in Drow tunnels, contemplating sending in kids (ogres), fire (risks forest fire), Dinos or water
  14. 2d4 Scorrow on pilgrimage. Holier and definitely more poisonous than thou.
  15. 2d10 Spellgorged zombies guarding treasure trove, uncovered after cave-in of hidden vault
  16. Hill Giant teenagers trying to get a Drow with a broken leg out of a narrow crawl way
  17. Fungal Garden with uppity patches of Violet Fungus infests chamber
  18. Patch of udoroot + 2d2 assassin vine, psionic illusion of a hurt Drow/Giant with foot caught in a crack.
  19. 2d3 Skin Stitchers investigating a shrine
  20. Weird telepathic/spellcasting lizard folk, psionic tattoos and crystal baubles, lightheaded from all the oxygen and plant life. Spells leave behind black ash, ruined vegetation. Frantically looking for "Dregoth's Mirror". Will offer powerful psionic items for help.
  21. Dire flytrap on dry land between ponds with Kawa Akogo lily pads. Flytrap is wound around water nymph statue/fountain that gives fire resistance 10, 1 hour for those who drink of the fountain.
  22. Dinosaur nest - eggs and mother. 1d4: 1 Triceratops, 2 Velociraptor, 3 Pteranodon, 4 T Rex.
  23. 3 Songraa Hill Giants playing hide&seek to train velociraptor pack of 5. Pack developing its own language of clicks and rattles, testing awareness of their masters.
  24. 5 Urgruk hill giants (2x brawler/grabber, 3x rock tosser) with loot just excavated - boisterous but hurt, inattentive
  25. Dorraan hill giant meditating in small garden - walking high-concentration path between
  26. Cloud Giant spying on 3 hill giants bathing, or surveying city from on high
  27. Drow druid 5 or wizard 5 meeting with Dorraan giant ascetic in cautious parley
  28. Wild triceratops, tracked by exhausted Songraa tamer
  29. City of Druxis trade party - bring exquisite drugs, come for access to magic garden or fountain. 2 snake men handlers (ranger, wizard 5) and 2d6 slaves (ogre porters, drow horticulturists)
  30. Skyfather (1d8: 1-3 with Whisper, 4-5 with son, 6-8 alone) exploring temple

Obstacle (d10)
  1. Canal, no bridge or guarded bridge
  2. Central square with lots of movement and activity, very exposed
  3. Giant workplace (leather, rope, wood, stone, food prep)
  4. Overgrowth - detour or hack through (extra encounter check)
  5. Collapsed buildings, climb or detour
  6. Cleared road, wall rigged to collapse, 1d4 Giants in hiding nearby
  7. Giants digging into building for treasure, few outside on break
  8. Marketplace - Urgruk giants trading magic baubles with Dorraan for food & tools
  9. Fallen sky bridge - climb (roll resource depletion) or detour for new encounter check
  10. Drow tunnel rigged to collapse, nasty fall (dex14/19/23 for med/large/huge, 3d8 dmg and Covered with rock, str dc 25 to clear, or  str dc 20 and 3 checks)

Shrine (d8)
  1. Maw of the black, 5ft wide carved stone face looking upwards from still black pool. Eats everything put inside, CMB +10/CMD 22 or 5d6 slashing/bludgeoning each round. Used as garbage dump, mouth looks disgusted. Gift live sacrifice 3x (or 1 sentient) to receive blessing: mouth on left palm, can chew through almost anything (full round action, 1d6+Str dmg, 2lb/round, ignores hardness up to 15)
  2. Glistening library. Entrance is carved mouth of a cobra, inside are 3 round chambers on in/downward spiralling corridor, each filled with snakes. Clear out the snakes to earn displeasure of snake spirit, cursed to fail saves against next poison. On dais in central/deepest room, illuminated from ceiling holes: serpent reader to decypher the code in serpent's skins. Decode skin to gain random Druid or Wizard scrolls, spell level (d8) 1,1,2,2,3,3,4,5, minimum caster level. Snake has to have 2x HD of spell level.
  3. Demon throne, sit and receive vision of someone who will betray you. Usable 1/month, more for Will 15 +5 per extra use. Failure = beset by Nightmare spell (will 20 nightly until successful save. Demon shows how bad betrayal will be and offers you a way to outwit your betrayer. Iron dagger with ruby pommel will appear in your backpack. Kill betrayer and gain death knell-effect for 6 days.)
  4. Square with blood altars for micro blessings. Pinprick of blood (for a giant - 1d4 damage) gives a +1 bonus to (1d6) 1 dex, 2 fort, 3 will, 4 attack, 5 specific physical skill, 6 specific mental skill.
  5. Moon temple with open roof, colored lenses mounted on thin, white metal arms that focus light onto mosaic floor. Offers boon to skill checks related to whatever of Eberron's 12 moons is primary for the month. Perform proper ritual dance in the right spot of light and gain +5 bonus to related skill check, usable once or until a new moon becomes primary. d12: 1 intimidate, 2 diplomacy, 3 heal, 4 craft, 5 handle animal, 6 gather information, 7 perception, 8 perform, 9 bluff, 10 survival, 11 knowledge, 12 stealth
  6. Pillared hall around half empty pool. Waters wash away curses and mutations. Still do, now also add dysentery (Fort 16, 2 saves to cure, fatigued & staggered, 1d6 nonlethal)
  7. Garden with gazebos around magical trees (Wormwood, Ebon apple tree, Acanthus superior (sovereign glue), Heroism (+4 all d20 rolls for 1d6 rounds), Love, Simulacrum potion)
  8. Megalith henge surrounding a peaceful glade, 100x70 m oval. The Unicorn trapped inside resurrects one week after its death. Acts controlled but is quite insane. Horn creates continuous protection vs evil, 3/day purify water, 1/day cure spell (1d8+5 hp), 1/week neutralize poison. Oval's two nodes hold 1) altar to butcher unicorn and retain some power in the horn for 1 month. Other node used to imprison the Unicorn's mate, which got free ages ago. A killer of the unicorn is pursued by its raging mate - a Nightmare - for a week. http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/bestiary/nightmare.html
  9. Hall of Planar Melodies - oval amphitheatre with floating crystal spheres (astral, ethereal, shadow, Daanvi, Dal Quor, Dolurrh, Fernia, Irian, Kythri, Lamannia, Mabar, Risia, Shavarath, Syrania, Thelanis, Xoriat, Khyber, Syberis). Playing correct melodies on the spheres allows for Contact other Plane, 7 questions.
  10. Water nymph statue/fountain that gives fire resistance 10, 1 hour for those who drink of the fountain.

Buildings (d6)
  1. Collapsed dome, rows of seats around the edge and central stage for presentations. Decayed, used for big meetings for superior acoustics. 
  2. Septagon pit, 3 storeys deep, three walkways reach out to observation platform - fragile, creak under large load (=4 medium loads), under sudden stress starts to slip. Platforms held moon lenses to focus on floor. At bottom: platform for summoning rites. Filled with brackish water, entrance into elf tunnels. Water holds plant monsters and opportunistic snakes. Summoning circle holds supremely bored Imp.  
  3. Tower 300ft high, 30ft diameter with bulbous swelling halfway, 60ft sphere wide, for floating meditation. Corpse of a cloud giant monk drifting inside. Tower is filled with plants inside, corpse holds minor loot. Assassin vine.
  4. Square block mausoleum of essential salts, high and narrow windows. Haunted by Witchfire ghost of cloud giant (lightning damage). Rooms with decorated pots filled with essence dust of monsters and sages. Reduction room places body / living creature in sarcophagus and reduces to essential salts (fort 20: 1d6/1 Con). Theatre with stone tables, body shaped cavities in tables can hold dust for reanimating. Incantations run around the cavities, which shapeshift to show rough outline of creature. Requires blood offering (HD x d6) to activate (required hd = full cavity; ceremonial knife nearby). Chant incantation at less than required amount of blood: raise as hunting shadow. Shadow or revenant lasts for 1 turn per HD unless it can drain life force (maxed HD worth of blood, level drain, whatever.) Reverse incantation returns revenant to dust immediately - will save 25 to get one more action in.
  5. Connected low buildings house deity production program - configurable shrines and book scrolls on breeding better godlings, tuneable portfolios. References the Chains of Heaven facility for creating, binding, draining fresh godlings.
  6. Hollow facade ziggurat. Cells on the inside hold mummified high priests' heads, stored for version control of older rites and deprecated deities.

Resource depletion (d6)
  1. Nasty fall or collapse - for instance, 3d6 damage, Reflex 15 for half
  2. Fatigued one step
  3. Active spells run out or spend 1 low level spell
  4. Light source runs out
  5. Rope and climbing gear used
  6. Food and drink used