|Girard - I think it's from the Incal|
Looming from the cracked reddish umber Certopsian earth, several miles East of the Dry Steps stands a rusting artifact of ancient times. The Timeless Pillar is a twisted black metal spire of ancient make. It rises lonely above the dry earth and is visible from miles away. While it is appreciated as a landmark, its shunned as a dangerous place by the caravans of traders and herdsmen who use the steps to transport goods a stock between the upper and lower Certopsian Plains.
The pillar is in fact the tower of an ancient rail station, with the station's ground floor buried beneath the earth but still accessible from the pillar itself. It has long been home to Stahleno, a powerful winged gorgon, who enjoys the pillar for the views it offers, and because its black metal angles are easy for her to hide amongst. Stahleno is a dangerous predator, but because she feeds specifically on the emotions of fear and terror, she often seeks to harry her prey, and will draw out its destruction to increase the amount of energy she can siphon before using her breath to transform
Rumors in the caravansaries of Denethix and cattle camps of the Certopsian speak of the Pillar with fear and awe. A successful roll under INT will remember one of the following rumors upon sighting the pillar.
|D8||Vaguely remembered rumors about the Timeless Pillar|
|1||The Pillar marks secret underground catacombs, they are the home to a race of inbred humans that have become monstrous in the dark – they raid caravans on moonless nights. (T/F)|
|2||The Pillar is a marker of the gods, to touch it grants divine power (F)|
|3||The Pillar haunted by a giant ghost made of black steel (T/F)|
|4||Wyverns roost in The Pillar and hunt along the stair, they are afraid of smoke and large fires can drive them off. (F)|
|5||The Pillar is home to a tribe of iron men (T)|
|6||Caravans that move quickly up the stair are rarely attacked, but those that linger are destroyed by some power from the Pillar (T)|
|7||There are great treasures within the pillar, but they are protected by a family of medusa. (T/F)|
|8||The pillar has a clock on top of it, it shows the number of years left in the life of anyone who looks at it while praying to the Ticktock Man.|
The five miles between the pillar and the stair might require a random encounter check or two, below are some random encounters that will set the scene for the adventure ahead
|D10||Random Creatures unwise enough to be within five miles of the Timeless Pillar|
|1||Lost Merchant Caravan – Suspicious
caravan of 1D4 wagons out of Denethix, each wagon contains 2D6x100
GP worth of bulky trade goods (machine parts, chemical fertilizer,
cloth and iron sheeting). Each wagon has 1 merchant and 1D6
guards. The entire wagon train is worried, thirsty and has (50%)
already caught Stahleno's attention and will be attacked in 1D10
Merchant: HD 1, HP 6 each AC 7, ATK 1, DAM 1D6, MV 40' SV F1, M8. Leather Armor, Short Sword
Guard: HD 2, HP 14 each AC 3, ATK 1, DAM 1D8/1D6, MV 40' SV F2, M8. Banded Mail, Shield, Light Crossbow, 30 bolts, Scimitar
|2||Stahleno's Shadow – Stahleno has spotted the party and decides to check them out and hopefully frighten them a bit. Her huge winged shape will come winging towards them, too high to really get a good look at, but creating a large enough shadow to completely cover the party. Stahleno will let out a deep bellowing laugh as she flies overhead, with the intent of creating fear.|
|3||Iron Statutes – Deck specks soon reveal themselves to be a small group of iron statutes. They appear to be a typical Certopsian merchant and 1D6-1 guards in mid stride, obviously fleeing from the something.|
|4||Skeleton Hoard– The cracked earth have
ripped open and revealed an ancient grave of unquiet dead. 5D20
Skeletons pour from the earth clad in ancient finery or rotted
armor. The skeletons will mill about, but aren't especially
observant and may be bypassed simply by backtracking and staying
more than 200' from them. If destroyed the mass grave will
contain 1D4 x 1000 SP worth of grave goods and coinage.
Skeleton: HD 1, HP 4 each AC 7, ATK 1, DAM 1D6, MV 40' SV F1, M12.
|5||Giant Snake – Sunning itself on the
plain, and far too fearless to interest Stahleno, a 10' long
rattlesnake bars the party's path. It will attack if disturbed.
Giant Rattlesnake: HD 4, HP 21 each AC 5, ATK 2, DAM 1D4+Poison, MV 40' SV F2, M8.
|6||Stahleno Bombing – Stahleno flies high above the party, with an old iron statue (pitted, rusted and unidentifiable) and drops it towards the party – 1D4 random characters must save vs. paralysis or be struck by the statute while Stahleno laughs above. The statute does 1D20 points of damage if it hits.|
|7||Restless Spirit – A wraith like entity
that will loom from the sand, appearing as a rather rotund
merchant wearing clothes that went out of style twenty years
before. If the wraith is not attacked immediately it will speak
to the party. The wraith does not remember its name, but has no
hatred for the living, it wants to see Sthaleno destroyed and will
tell the party a lie about a giant Sapphire that its caravan was
delivering to the Vizier when Stahleno stole it. Furthermore he
can identify the gorgon as “A giant winged iron statute that
breaths deadly smoke” and knows she inhabits the tower.
Wraith: HD 4, HP 18 each AC 3 (magic only/ ½ silver), ATK 1, DAM 1D6+Drain, MV 40' SV F4, M9.
|8||Raptors – A pack of 1D6+2 hunting raptors
burst from the sand, with a 1-3 chance of surprise. The raptor
pack has a low moral because Sthaleno frequently hunts their
species, and they are smart enough to be afraid of the tower, even
if hunger has driven them to hunt near it.
Raptor (dinosaur) HD 5, HP 20 each AC 6, ATK 2, DAM 1D8/1D8, MV 50' SV F5, M7.
|9||Snakemen Special Ops – Moving in single
file in camouflaged robes 1D6 Snakemen special operatives, led by
a Snakeman sniper are making their way through this area. They
have strict orders to avoid detection and unless the party gets
surprise and chooses to hide or flee they will attack.
Snakeman Special Operative – HD 3, HP 16 each AC 3, ATK 1, DAM 1D8+2/1D8 (+1Hit), MV 40' SV CL4 M12. Scale Mail (AC5), desert robes, buckler, heavy crossbow, sickle sword.
Snakeman Sniper - HD 3, HP 20 AC 2, ATK 2, DAM 1D8/1D12+Poison (+2 Hit), MV 40' SV CL4 M12
Scale Mail (AC5), desert robes, buckler, great bow (deadly poison attack) 20 living serpent arrows, sickle sword.
|10||Stahleno Swoops – Stahleno decides to swoop down and attack the party, roll initiative normally, Stahleno will make one horn and hoof attack and then flap off bellowing in victory. If the party manages to harm her before she is able to attack she will use her breath weapon.|