Below Are Current Rumors for the HMS APOLLYON Year of the Fallen Star and the month of Brown Crabs.
War & Rumors of War
Within the oily smelling temple of the ship spirits, lit by the incense and candles at a hundred tiny altars, supplicants mill about under the wide glazed eyes of fanatical Ship Spirit Zealots. Upon asking for an audience with the local priestess, Lady Stott, the adventurers are told that she is currently on the street of temples, pleading a case in the Central Shrine there. Her crusade commander and factotum Brazen Gear will meet the party gladly and discuss the needs of the Spirits.
Gear is no longer the frightened drudge he was when the party healed him from the edge of death after a Merrowman ambush. In the past year he has been filled with power by the Ship Spirits, and now overflows with their favor. Still a smallish man, his scarred head seems tiny compared to both an extravagant beard and the heavy enameled bronze plate armor he habitually wears.
Gear is glad to see the party, especially as some of their efforts allowed his forces to break the siege of the so called ‘New Lands’ where the temple now rises in what was formerly a bloodstained chapel to the Cult of the Ravenous’ cannibal god.
1) Gear can offer the following leads on the undead menace beyond the buried vault.
The gate at the end of the vault cannot be forced, the Ship Spirit lay brothers and zealots have barricaded this side, as efforts to pass were met by revenants in decaying steam armor that slaughtered droves of soldiers with necromantic weapons before being driven back by the combined powers of Stott, Gear and a Brother Beedle (along with a circle of his fellow Priests of the Eternal Queen). There may be a way around into the haunted village beyond, a central vault with quaint freestanding buildings and faux – wattle and daub cabin towers. Likely the best bet is to go Port through the supply areas, but this is only Gear’s guess, perhaps going down or up and forward would work better?
2) He’s still interested in acquiring as many crew served weapons as possible – and will pay good money for them. Gear and Stott even have authorization to trade ship relics for battle ready weapons.
Expeditions for the Unclean
A regular trade, or at least message service seems to be running between the Last Station where the bug like devil Malchris (lately styled rail baron) holds sway and the back gate of Sterntown. The marine guards seem grim about the whole thing, but Malchris’ power certainly protects the Starboard flank of the sigil maze, and the devil seems content to no longer send probes of spider centaurs Port towards the Marine fortress.
As always Malchris greets the party with bug-eyed good cheer, chuckling and licking his lips when he sees Clerics amongst them. Malchris has great need for brave souls – not just the souls either. He would certainly be glad to fund the following exploratory or punitive expeditions and could offer limited support in the form of a protected armored train.
1) Punish the Ash Plague. Adventurers are complicit in this, and it seems the Ash Plague is lawyering and hedging about the agreement for upkeep and use rights on the spinal rail, claiming that their treaty prevents ‘living Sterntown humans’ form using the rail. Malchris insists he has not broken it – as no Sterntown humans, only otherworldly flotsam and froglings have used his trains.
The undead are rebuilding a bastion between Malchris’ tracks and the spinal rail itself, maybe cutting him off from trade with other Devil Lords and a certain family of exiles he hopes to marry his ‘grandson’ into. Destroy the Bastion, ‘kill’ it’s undead workers and engineers. Don’t let anyone know who you’re working for.
2)Chastise the Gold Teeth. Malchris has a longstanding feud with the Gold Teeth, another group of devils that control a rail station closer to the bow. They have recently built some sort of magical engine with spells and souls that Malchris insists they could only have gotten from demons. He wants this vehicle wrecked, derailed and smashed. It’s diabolic crew killed in some horrible way (he can’t settle on an exact means of revenge, and his mandibles clatter wildly when he speaks of this idea)
3) Follow the Map! Malchris has a map to the aft armory of the ancients – supposedly unopened since the first days of crisis. While the Apollyon’s rear battery is not of much use, the weapons within would allow Malchris freedom from fear – of the Ash Plague, of the Gold Teeth, of anyone who would “disturb the careful balance of peace in the stern”. Bring him back any Living Crystals, armored suits, power weapons and such that you happen to find – he’ll reward you beyond your dreams, with power that his kind is famous for providing – also wealth and magic if you still want it.
Malchris also has a spell for a certain benefactor and gives Semm the Priest of Lyris an ornate brass set of beads, each engraved with a rather tacky screaming bronze face. He says that should a sorcerer place the beads in their mouth one by one they will impart knowledge of a powerful enchantment. The taste may not be to most human’s liking, but it’s harmless enough.
Indeed they will – the 3rd Level Illusionist Spell – Inner Devils
INNER DEVILS (Charm/Phantasm)
Level: 3 Components: V, Range: 30’ Casting Time: 1d4 rounds Duration: permanent Area of Effect: 1 target Saving Throw: Spells
Calling on the deep knowledge that denizens of the pit have about the baser natures and weak wills of mortal creatures, the illusionist may know the moral failings and repressed appetites of the spell’s target. After this 1st round of effort, the Illusionist may speak to the target (the whole process taking 1-4 rounds) and with sly diabolic subtly bring these forgotten sins and desires to the surface of the target’s conscious mind. At that point the spell takes over, and illusory voices, figures and compulsions will throw the target into a frenzy of desire and gratification seeking behavior.
Note: Spell only works on creatures that have changeable desires and emotions – not golems, many undead or most otherworldly entities.
The target may save against these delusions, and will be unaffected by the spell if sucessful, those perhaps still incensed by their repressed desires.
Targets may break free from their base needs and delusions, either after month or years of effort (such as those provided by a religious order) or by resisting the spell within the first turn of its effect by making a roll under Wisdom -10 on a D20. An attempt to resist is allowed once per round for the first 10 rounds, but is at a cumulative -1 per attempt after the first.
The particular effect of the spell varies by the deadly sin that animates the target – determined randomly or by the GM.
LUST – Target is filled with unseemly lust and will ignore all other activities in favor of aggressively (though not usually violently – if such is beyond the social norms of its species) pursuing the nearest appropriate object of its affections. If no potential mate or object of lust is present the target will spend its time in lurid fantasies and generally will abandon all duties and goals to fulfill it’s desires.
Under stress (such as in battle) the target will be at -1 to all rolls as it is distracted by daydreams and obsession
GLUTTONY – Target simply must eat, always, constantly. If food is present it will struggle to obtain it and devour it. Target can be distracted from anything with food, stopping in mid battle even to devour anything it deems edible.
Over time (several months) this compulsion will result in the creature becoming enormously obese and unhealthy (a ½ loss of CON, STR and CHR as will as the reducing of DEX to 3 and Movement to 5’)
GREED – Target will seek to collect, flee with and horde any available wealth (likely fleeing immediately from the encounter with its current possessions). It will become a paranoid miser and afraid that everyone and everything seeks to take its wealth. So consumed by avarice, a creature so tormented will kill, steal and betray for any promise of valuables, though it will also become cowardly and reclusive.
Target will have WIS reduced to 3 due to its fixation, and CHR reduced by 10 (to a minimum of 3) as all it meets will quickly be put off by its acquisitiveness and obvious mental disease.
SLOTH – Target falls into a deep sleep and will only wake if it is attacked, and it passes a Save vs. Spells. The target will fall back into sleep once painful stimulus or the terror of battle is removed, and if not constantly prodded or struck will slumber until it dies of starvation and dehydration within a week (if possible).
WRATH – Target will become enraged and violent, sliding quickly into a berserker frenzy and attacking friends and enemies alike in any situation. If the target survives its initial rampage it will begin to wander, attacking anything it encounters that moves.
ENVY – No immediate results of this sin, though the target will fixate on an individual and attempt to supplant them, insinuating themselves into their victim’s life and then taking their wealth, position and friends before ultimately killing them. Of course while under the effects of Inner Demons, even if successful the target will soon find a new object of jealousy.
Usually this object of fixation is a superior or leader of the targets own group, though any powerful figure (such as the caster) may provide an adequate victim.
PRIDE – Target will be filled with deep self-satisfaction and ambition. While this fixation results in no negative immediate effects, the target will certainly feel that its current life is beneath it and push for greater power. The resulting megalomania may not be apparent at first, and while it pushes the target to take risks and put themselves in the forefront of any conflict it also increases their CHR by 1D4 as a result of the target’s new confidence and air of superiority.
The hulking bouncers at the doors of the Gilded Exile Burlesque House doff their matching bowlers to the party and even Bibi’s Merrowman giant “Pox on the Dead” nods a polite acknowledgement. Yet the flustered exile managing the front house of the exile, one of a changing cast of dapper individuals in ludicrous fashions, meekly informs the party that Mistress Bibi, their loyal friend, cannot meet today. She has taken ill, she is unavailable, indisposed and it is unclear when she will be able to meet them. He invites the party to stay a while and hands them each 100 GP worth of house credit as a gesture to show the Madam’s sadness at being unable to entertain some of her favorite people.
Looking around the little exile, his tuxedo slightly askew, and strangely supple looking (as if not made of cloth exactly), rushes back shortly. He must intrude he says, a “notable private party” would like to speak with the adventurers about a business proposition. Indeed Manu Stexx, assassin to the wealthy and important beckons from a curtained booth where he sits with a sad eyed young man in expensive black robes. Stexx is friendly to the party and asks if they would undertake a favor – one he could repay in coin or death.
1) Stexx’s Hunt. Stexx has been informed that the Cult of the ravenous is led by a creature known as the Faceless Queen. He would like to know her whereabouts. He has a debt to pay the Cult, one they will find dear. He asks that the party refrain from killing the Queen if they do find her – for sentimentalism and doomed love he claims. He appears a bit inebriated and his companion nods frequently before politely wishing the adventures a lovely evening.
Claws of the Underworld
Urchins, Frogling waifs still with vestigial tails, Flying Monkey pups with livid brands marking them as outcasts – all follow and dog the party in the last few days. Occasionally one will approach, kneeling deferentially and press a note into any outstretched hand. The notes are all the same, though the hand they are written in and the paper they are on varies from perfumed stationary of the Passenger class to the grey, stained and crumpled fragments of a fish seller’s wrappings.
1) Dear Sirs and Madams,
While our own presence may be odious to you, I would ask that you reconsider in good faith our offer to share with you proper instruction in the acquisition and recovery of ancient artifacts. It is regretful that necessity has driven us apart, and whatever you may think of our fraternal organization please consider that all I do is to better the lot of those such as the youth who delivered this missive.
Think upon the squalid futures of the children my organization seeks to aid should your wounded pride prevent you from taking this step, ponder the distribution of resources in this place and consider not what I would do with the secrets to by pried form beyond the Maze, but what they would do with them. What new outrages and emboldened cruelty that unchecked those in the eves of our town might concoct if they no longer feared the wrath of the men and women who have marked themselves out to stand upright.
If you require edification of wish to reconsider my offer please speak to a certain man of leisure named Charlie Ogg, who currently lodges at the Petit Gris, a home for upright living.