Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Obelisk - The Cult Halls


The final redoubt of the cult of Furter - useful if the players wish to know how Frankensteins  get made.

8. The Cult Halls
Patriarch Chax - Is this merely tasteless or terribly offensive?
The Cult of Furter made themselves a rough home within the recesses of Torpo's Masoleum, having converted old storage and ritual chambers into a barracks, small shrine and reanimation lab to build a Franken-zombie death-squad and complete their takeover of the Obelisk grounds.  They have quite a streamline operation going and can create 1D4 zombies or skeletons a day with the parts they have in storage.  This number will be reduced by -1 if the cult has less than six acolytes available to work on reanimation, but even if only Patriarch Chax is working in the lab.  The chambers that the cult has moved into are generally tiled in rough white green marble that has been crudely smoothed with visible tool marks.  The rooms are lit by oil lamps set into alcoves in the walls and all uniformly smell of cooking grease with a sharp undertone of preservative unguents.  All rooms in area 9 are assumed to have 10' ceilings unless mentioned as being otherwise.

Encounters for these areas will be determined by the total number of cult members and undead servitors in the Mausoleum complex, and are largely up to the GM, only the encounter in Area 8c is set.  There are two ways to manage these numbers, the first and likely the best for tactically minded parties, is to use the numbers as described in Area 7 to determine to total size of the cult forces and then have the Gm play the cult as an intelligent enemy, trying to husband its forces against the Party and any allies' attacks.  Skeletons will be sacrificed to preserve zombies, and cult acolytes will always retreat deeper into the complex, leaving traps and barriers for the party to overcome, until the battered party meets the surviving cult members in front of the icon of Furter in area 8c. A simpler way is to simply roll a random number of zombies, skeletons and acolytes per location.  This method is discouraged, as the entire Obelisk is best seen as an adventure of playing factions against each other,  but can do in a pinch, or if as a back up if the GM loses track of the size of the Cult's forces.

 8a.   The Pillared Hall
This long hall is currently used by the Cult as a barracks, kitchen and living chamber.  The hall itself is a gloomy affair.  It contains a series of hammocks strung between the pillars, a portable iron stove (almost always with a pot of stew atop it) and the pitiful possessions of the cult acolytes that live here.  A total of 1D100 each of SP, EP & GP can be found by diligent searching, along with 350 CP and 18 PP. 

If the cult is alert to the presence of intruders this location will be converted into a deathtrap.  The shadowy environment created by the pillars rising 30' to an arched ceiling is prefect for an undead ambush (zombies can stand perfectly still forever, hiding behind a pillar) and will be used for such.  The simplest trap is one where acolytes open the door to Area 8c and quickly retreat.  If the intruders charge forward whatever percentage of remaining undead servitors the cult views as disposable will surprise them from behind.  Embellishments, depending on the amount of time available, include caltrops (save vs. breath weapon or take 1D4 damage), a weighted net drop (traps those in front line who fail to save vs. Wands - requires a roll on D20 of Dex -5 to escape), or even poisoned spiked wooden frames that swing out form behind pillars (save vs. wands or take 1D10 + 2D10 in poison if an additional poison save is not made.)

Once the players traverse the hall they will be faced with a simple bronze door that may be braced from Area 8c but cannot be locked.

 8b.   The Lab
This former storage chamber has been hastily converted into a laboratory for the reanimation of the dead.  The rough stone chamber is now filled with the strange implements of super-science. A large copper table that can rotate from horizontal to vertical is flanked by Telsa coils, its underside covered with conduits leading to strange machines that are little more than a framework of bronze stuffed with dials, gears, levels and bubbling tubes of strange liquids.  Three large glass tubes filled with green preservation fluid, smelling strongly of pine and poisonous if ingested (save or suffer 1D6 HP damage),  stand along the back wall and contain preserved body parts, while crates containing other supplies, including well scrubbed bones, are scattered around the room.  Within these crates there are machine parts, consecrated thread, copper wire ( 20lbs or 20GP worth), and valuable soul clockwork gears.  Each gear is made of platinum and worth 5GP, but on 2D20 gears remain. Several heavy gray aprons and three pairs of thick rubber gauntlets hang on hooks next to the storage tanks.

If disturbed without first disconnecting them from the table (via conduits underneath) the Tesla coils will shock anyone touching them for 1d6 damage. The machines can likewise generate a shock for 1D4 damage if touched while attached to the table.  Wearing a pair of the rubber gauntlets will make the shocks far less dangerous, by subtracting four points from any shock damage, and allow the reanimation machines to be worked safely.

There is a 3inch thick bronze trap door leading to Area 7b with a simple rope ladder attached to it in this room.  The trapdoor may be sealed by cranking a bronze wheel on its underside and if it is cannot be opened from Area 7b without smashing trough it. The cultists well seal the trapdoor is they are under concerted attack.

When the lab is active, a maximum of six acolytes will be working (35% accompanied by Chax) and if attacked they will immediately attempt to raise the zombie they are currently working on by throwing a series of large knife switches on the table and jolting the corpse with electricity.  There is a 50% the Zombie will rise to attack, but a 10% chance each turn thereafter that it will stop functioning and collapse.

 8c.    Shrine of Furter
An improvised shrine to Furter, with a small, hollow, gold stature of the hand shaped god (Worth 500GP) set on a pillar in an alcove faces several benches and flanked by a podium. The shrine is used for both meditation and preaching, but is also a key to the final element of the zombie animation rituals practiced in Area 8b.  A ragged black curtain may be drawn over the alcove, and another curtained area contains a bed and desk used as quarters by Patriarch Chax.  The desk containing a bound journal of Chax’s mediations on the glory of Furter and the holy work of remembering the dead through reanimation to aid the living.

This chamber will serve as the cult's final redoubt, with all surviving acolytes and constructs retreating here if possible to pray to Furter for deliverance and/or victory.

Patriarch Chax AC 5, HD 5 (HP 32) #AT 1, D 1D6, MV ('40) Save CL5, ML 10. Finely crafted copper scale armor, mace, Lavaliere of Dazzling, 12 platinum gear coins (PP)  Spells: Command, Cure Light Wounds, Protection from Good, Striking, Hold Person, Curse  

Chax is the leader of the fanatic cult of Furter and is himself a militant devotee of the Rememberator.  Despite his fanaticism Chax sees himself as doing the orbital gods' work, and as a great proselytizer.  He will seek to incapacitate and capture opponents if possible and Chax's captives will be subjected to a great deal of religious blather and efforts to convert them to Furter’s cause.  As much as he enjoys religious debate, Chax also feels it’s his duty to personally smite unbelievers with his consecrated mace – a petrified stone hand encased in a steel frame-work that Chax will cast a dramatic glow inducing version of striking on if given the opportunity. Chax wears a magical gem, the Lavaliere of Dazzling on a circlet and in combat this gem radiates distracting flashes that make it harder for to strike the wearer.

He spends much of his time in the reanimation lab personally preparing zombies, but if the cult is under attack he will retreat to Area 8c and to pray and prepare a final defense.  Chax is always accompanied by a bodyguard of two Deacons of Furter, loyal fighters who wear bone armor with masked helms and have taken a vow of silence.

Deacons of Furter (2) AC 2, HD 2 (HP 16, 12) #AT 1, D 1D8, MV ('40) Save F2, ML 10. Longsword, Bone Splint Mail, Shield, 26 EP

Lavaliere of Dazzling 
A strange pale green quartz stone, finished to have innumerable facets and enchanted to beguile and distract viewers.  The pale greenish beams of magical light that constantly scintillate from the heart of the gem and random reflected flashes from any other nearby light sources make it difficult to look directly at the gem's wearer and grant a +1 bonus to armor class.  The distracting effect is not too severe and it's benefit is limited to though who have an armor class over five.  Any armor, magic or other bonus that reduces armor class below 5 will waste the gems magic.

The lavaliere is mounted in an elegantly simple open backed silver setting, would be worth 100GP simply as a jewel (or if disenchanted) for the fine workmanship to create its numerous facets.  Currently Chax has tied the lavaliere to a simple black leather thong and wears it as a headband, but as long as it is worn visibly on the body it will grant the same effect.  The stone was discovered by Chax on the body of an ancient noble woman in the South where he used to ply his trade as a grave robber and reanimator, it has no legends associated with it and was originally made as a decorative bauble for fancy dress balls.

1 comment:

  1. So the internet still refuses to tell me if Jim Jones as an OD&D "Evil Cleric" (tm?) is tasteless and offensive.