Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Tomb of the Rocketmen - AREA XIII (SAMPLE AREA)

XIII – Satellite Zeta Mu
Dim light from various instrument panels and searing unfiltered sunlight from portholes.
Sterility and ozone
Uplift of party member to Orbital God Hood or die of starvation and thirst.
Grave Goods worth 5,200 GP

When the shimmering, nausea inducing matter transportation effect wears off the party will find themselves on an extremely cold grated metal floor.  The room is a small round cornered rectangle, with a high roof that vanishes above in a mass of fluted conduits.  At the center each wall is a 7’ diameter dome made of different materials.  The Northern dome is especially notable as it is made of cut crystal, while the others are metal.  Small screens, dials, buttons and other instrumentation cover the walls between domes.  Searing natural light pours through randomly spaced porthole like windows of thick smoked and unbreakable endura glass. Looking out the windows the viewer will quickly realize that they are at the peak of a large ovoid metallic structure that appears to float amongst an ocean of stars.  A scientist or the more intelligent sort of cleric will be able to identify their location as “in orbit” likely on a “god’s star”.  Looking out all the portholes will eventually spot the world floating in the distance, its dry continents and the still glowing death wastes clearly visible.   The only other item of note in the chamber is a small pile of human bones, brittle with age and wrapped in scraps of orange cloth, that rest near the crystal dome.  The domes are as follows:

A) East Wall: Blued Steel – The face of this dome is worked so that it resembles a map of the Earth’s Northern Hemisphere pre cataclysm, the dome shows a clear center seam.  If examined the investigator will find that the site of cities (Paris, New York, Moscow, Tokyo etc.) are inlaid with small discs of silver.  If the city of Moscow if pressed firmly it will click and the seam will open, revealing a sarcophagus made of blued steel and elegantly worked into the shape of a pleasant square faced man wearing a bubble helmet.  This tomb of the first human to entered space and contains a crumbling mummy.  Next to the sarcophagus is a gold plaque describing the deeds of this man, known only as “The Yuri”, the plaque is worth 1,000 GP and may be easily pried from the brackets holding it.  

B) South Wall: Black Iron – Carved to show the pocked lunar surface in great detail, with a crater that turns to cause the entire orb to swing upward on gimbals. Within is a jar of ashes, containing the remains of the first human to walk on the surface of the moon.  The jar is made of battered meteoric iron, and is magical.  The spirit of the dead astronaut it contains is trapped within the jar.  If opened the jar will release a wraith made of swirling ashes, which will attack the nearest living creature and then dissipate if it succeeds in killing.  The jar may be used as a weapon, and will create a wraith 1D6 more times if new ashes are placed within after each use.  Within this tomb there are also four beautifully crafted small reliquaries made of platinum and crystal in the form of rockets.  Each reliquary contains a fragment of bone, and is worth 500 GP

C) West Wall:  Copper – Relief and carefully inset gems show the surface of Mars with gems embedded (12 large pearls worth 200GP each). If all twelve gems are pressed the tomb will open and reveal a nest of coiled wire and conduit.  A human shaped impression has been molded into the center of this pile, but the tomb is empty.  If the wire is torn at by hand or cut with a metal weapon it will inflict a shock doing 2D6 points of damage, or 3D6 to a character in metal armor.

D) North Wall: Crystal – Like a giant cut crystal this dome bulges from the wall and faint lights can be seen moving deep within.  When approached a calm and distant voice will begin speaking from the crystal and brighter lights will play across its face.  It of will repeat the message: “We are on the cusp of becoming, we need only the right mind to be complete, please touch the crystal, and you will have power and immortality”.  Knowing that it has an infinite amount time, and of the frailty of biological life, the voice will simply repeat its message whenever asked a question, unless queried about very specific things.  It will confirm that there are no exits to this “greater memorial” and that it “lacks sufficient power, until becoming, to effect matter transport to the surface.”
The crystal dome is a machine intelligence of the ancients, it is almost an orbital god, but lacks the actual mind of human to direct it.  It will attempt to absorb the mind of any human who touches it (demi-humans will be rejected with a terse comment about “debased alien DNA”.  Non-Clerics who press a fair amount of bare skin to the crystal dome will die in convulsions (unless they make a save vs. Spells at a -2, in which case they are drained for 1D4 levels).  If one potential consciousness is rejected the machine intelligence will say “Mind unsuitable for contact with orbital intelligence – gracious apologies for any inconvenience.”

If a Cleric, or possibly other high wisdom holy type human, (monk, shaman or paladin for example) lays bare skin against the crystal, it will subsume his mind, soul and identity – effectively transforming that character into a new orbital god.  This god will have whatever name the player picks, and may be devoted to whatever divine purpose the player desires (though the machine intelligence will encourage naming itself “Gagar the Voice of the Red Star” and suggest that it oversee space exploration, exploration more generally and daring explorers).  The cleric joining with this larval orbital god will die, convulsing on the floor before his much expanded consciousness awakes inside the crystal dome, capable of seeing from thousands of ‘eyes’ both aboard and outside of its satellite.  The sacrifice of a cleric is the only way for anyone trapped on the satellite to return to the planet below, as only the new orbital god has the power to repair and activate the satellite’s matter transmission apparatus.

All is not lost for the Cleric, as the machine intelligence has prepared for the day that it will find mind to complete it.  Once the mind transfer is complete, the crystal dome will sink into the wall and a robotic avatar of crystal and steel will step free.  This creation is the avatar of the new god, and the player who sacrificed their PC may choose to play it as their new PC.  The robot is a paladin of the same level as the sacrificed cleric, with all normal class powers. 

If the trapped characters decide to attack the crystal dome, they will discover that it can be shattered with a blow that causes 10 points of damage after hitting AC 0. However if the crystal is destroyed, the machine intelligence will also die (or at least be injured enough to require several years of self-repair) and the systems aboard the satellite will begin shutting down. Air circulation, oxygen generation and heat will all fail within a few days, reducing the survivability of anyone trapped aboard considerably.  

Orbital Avatar
Paladin                                                              HP (1D10+2/per level) AC 2

STR 15 +1 Damage and Melee Attack              Equipment:  Sword of the Red Star,
DEX 12                                                              Banner, 4 Flasks of Holy Water           
CON 16 +2 HP Per Level                                        
INT 10                                                                Abilities by Level:
WIS 13 +1 Saves                                                Immunity to Disease, Poison, Detect Evil CHR 17 +2 Reaction Rolls                                (1round to to cast), Cure Disease (once per
                                                                            week), Lay on Hands(Once per day, heals 2HP per level of Paladin) 3rd Level: Turn Undead as 1st Level Cleric; 4th Level: Mount (Levitating Orb); 9th Level: Cast Spells as 1st Level Cleric.

The Orbital Avatar is a thin angular robot, covered in dull metal plating (providing a natural AC of 2).  Effectively a paladin of the orbital god created by the sacrifice of a PC cleric, its exact temperament will depend on that of the deity it represents. 

If the Orbital Avatar survives (and the GM does not wish to make the paladin’s player quest for a mount) a levitating ellipse made of plating that matches the avatar’s will be waiting upon the party’s exit from the Tomb of the Rocketmen. This avatar’s legs fit into indentations on the floating robot’s side, and it will serve him (and only him, nothing else can ride it) as a faithful warhorse, identical to a paladin’s warhorse, though it attacks by ramming (or perhaps with short range jets of superheated plasma) and doesn’t need food or water – though it does need rest to do internal repairs and recharge.

Sword of The Red Star
A square bladed two handed sword that requires a minimum strength of 13 to wield.  The blade is made of pitted meteoric metal.  At the base of the blade is a laser etched image of a five pointed star, which will glow red in the presence of demi-humans, goblins and other menaces of extraterrestrial origin.  The blade is magical, doing 1D12 points of damage and striking creatures normally harmed only by magical weapons.  In addition, once per day the weapon may release a burst of light in a 10’ radius blinding all within 10’ who fail a save vs. spells and are not Clerics or other true servants of the orbital gods.   The metal used in this weapon is radioactive, and will cause any wielder who is not immune to disease (such as a robotic paladin) to weaken after a week of close proximity and die within a month from radiation poison.


  1. Cool trap. I like your area statblock, too.

    1. Thanks, AOS, I think I stole that stat-block idea from your minotaur mansion dungeon (which I would love to see finished and PDFified if you ever find yourself nostalgic). I am going to put more rough drafts of this dungeon up in the next few weeks - including the trap that send the poor party to the satellite.