Saturday, December 15, 2018

20 Interrupted Rituals (and the devastating consequences)

[1] Several stars in the sky were moving, the cultists had almost managed to make a “bridge” for the “men inside the stars” to come down. Instead, the swirling cosmic bodies release burning hot points of light. Every round the lights dance around the area dealing 1d6 burning hot cosmic damage to anything they touch.

Roll a save each round to avoid the path of the lights, or you can hold up something reflective to the sky to reflect back the beam. After 5 combat rounds, the lights converge in the center of the area, and cause everything inside that point to boil over and explode; molten stone and steel, vaporized water and dirt, dead bodies turned into red lightning. Being anywhere close makes a save or die; blasted apart by the cosmic power.

[2] The dead are awake inside the home. If any of them are disturbed or the symbols and lines of chalk around the doors and windows are smudged or washed away, then the undead escape. The cultists were trying to contain them for some unholy union, but now that they're out they will terrify the countryside.

These are not normal undead. They act as 2HD zombies or ghouls, but when they die they reform their body in 2d6 combat rounds as an amalgamation of nearby materials and other dead matter, and send out a wave of necrotic energy that makes all nearby save or take 1d4 damage to a random stat.

The zombies can be permanently killed by slaying their new body while within or around a pure element; the body will try to form into a new undead creature, but will only find pure elemental energies and fall apart as a failed elemental. For example, slaying them in a raging inferno will make them fall apart as a being of pure fire and be consumed, slaying them in water or heavy rain makes them turn into a water being that pops back into a formless puddle, etc.

Reanimator Zombies (2 HD, 2 claw attacks at 1d6, always go last, +2 AC, transforms on death)
Morale- N/A
Numbers- 2d10+2 are in the house, which scatter everywhere once the seal is broken

Upon death, the zombies may incorporate new materials like tree bark, insect carapaces, and gravel to become tougher and gain bonus AC. If they absorb lighter materials like leaves or leather, they gain initiative instead. If they add in metal, gain +1 to hit and/or damage, etc.

[3] Several villagers are tattooing the Spirit of Equestrian Madness onto a young unwanted child, who was supposed to live the rest of their life alone on a mountain where horses go to die once they break their legs. At the interruption of the ritual, the horse tattoo breaks free and charges at the nearest party member, forcing a save to get out of the way or take 2d6 magical damage.

Once free, the spirit riles up all horses within a day's travel (by horse), causing them to stomp on small animals to squish them, break fences, and hack up gobs of half digested grasses to spread harmful miasma the rusts blades in 1d4 turns of use, hacking away at the crazed horses. Geldings are not effected by this, and are the only reliable source of transportation nearby after the other horses have to be put down, as the madness is permanent- for both wild and trained horses.

Any centaurs in the party or horse-men lose -1d6 Wisdom permanently but gain the power to enter a berserk rage once per day as per a barbarian.

[4] The Sorcerers of the Yellow Crest are conjuring a being from the cold outside. Your interruption has stopped the entity, but allows the cold outside into our reality. The location begins to send out massive banks of snow and freezing rain, and the cultists run before they are frozen sold by the magic yellow fog conjured at the ritual site which deals 1d8 freezing damage to anyone moving, cementing their feet to the ground on a damage roll of 8 meaning they must break themselves free or else they cannot move.

The cold winds change the entire area into a winterscape and confuse local animals, kill crops, and cause chaotic weather. If it is Summer or Spring, the supernatural winter cools and snows on all nearby towns and villages for 1d6 days of supernatural seasonal change. If it is Autumn or Winter, Winter comes 1d4 weeks early or leaves 1d4 weeks late, potentially ruining harvests or causing massive starvation.

The yellow fog also does not disappear at this time, and instead haunts the old ritual grounds. The only way to destroy the yellow fog is to build a huge bonfire that the yellow fog will kill itself on, trying to freeze it solid.

[5] Roasting nuts, seeds, and grains over low heat over a years long exposure to create a liquid panacea to cure some rare disease. The ritual is overseed by several alchemists in ritual attire and is interrupted upon the brew being spilled out early without the proper incantations to end the spell.

The liquid spills onto the ground and instantly makes huge stalks of grass grow from any dirt or stone it touches. Any wood touched, such as a woof floor, begins to swell and grow bark as well as branches and hives of insects spontaneously generate and attack all nearby. The local wildlife becomes extremely strong and healthy, to the extent that deer count as 4 HD creatures and cannot be easily taken down by hunters. Fish become huge and try to crash shipping boats, and the bushes and grasses become as tall as trees. Tress exposed grow even moreso, becoming absolutely towering with massive canopies of newly generated exotic predatory birds.

The area will slowly return to normalcy over the course of many decades, but during this time it is like an incredible verdant rainforest. Every season there is a 1 in 10 chance a new species will be found here, and monsters are very likely to generate from them or a hybrid pairing of normal forest animals, growing huge and predatory as the limitations of imperfect life are lifted by the cure.

[6] Small collection of magicians about to conjure a transportation-bolt of black lightning to blast an artifact to an eccentric collector halfway across the world. When interrupted, the metal guidance device is shifted, causing 1d4 random characters in the room to get blasted hundreds of miles away on the campaign map in a random direction.

[7] The cave ritual seeks to capture the single drip of water from a stalactite, which only drips down once per four years. The cup that holds the water is a smooth silver chalice, which must be brought out of the cave and emptied into the river below to avoid waking up the cave beast. The ritual is interrupted when the drip falls onto the floor of the dark cavern.

Cave Beast (6 HD, +2 to hit, +5 AC, Powerful Jaws at 2d6, Stomping Paws at 1d6, Whipping Tail save at -2, Terrifying Roar)
Morale- 18

The Cave Beast is a huge shaggy monster, with a head not unlike a bear mixed with a shark. It's fur is mostly brown, but gets darker and more red towards its front- from the blood long since stained on its muzzle.

The Monster has a long whipping tail that you must save at -2 or else you get tripped to the floor. If you are carrying a large two handed weapon or tower shield, the shield instead rips that out of your hands and throws it 40 ft away in a random direction. The Monster's Roar is deep and causes a tremble in your bones; hirelings and level 1 characters must make a morale check or flee when they hear it for the first time.

[8] The Consuming Candle. Ritual attendants are wafting magical fans and burning incense in careful order over this magic candle, so it will consume the pain and weakness from among their number, leaving the victims strong and whole again. Once the candle-flame is disrupted by a errant gust of air or a voice spoken aloud, the protection fails and it begins to consume for its own accord. The candle jumps into the hand of the nearest victim, who will begin to obey its wishes or else be consumed by fire (3d6 fire damage per round until dead). Victims are also consumed if they drop the candle or intentionally try to put it out.

The candle will kill its host if it detects a stronger one; using its supernatural fire to burn away its host and be picked up by the stronger target. The candle whispers to the host and pulls it towards things it wants; the candle demands to consume luxury food and wood, silks, and an attractive young man or woman, 50/50 chance, every month or it will kill its host. The candle will willingly allow itself to be put down when its carrier sleeps or takes a bath, but will get revenge on those who try to abandon it, as it can levitate, use fire magic, and reappear when not being watched.

The candle also sometimes uses great magic powers for the benefit of its carriers. It can create huge amounts of magic light, cast spells pertaining to fire, wrap its host in a flaming shield that melts all wooden weapons or ice/water spells flung at them, and showers flaming sparks that require a save to move through. It can use these powers 4 times per day, plus once more per day per season where its requests are fulfilled, slowly growing in power.

The Candle can be put out by a 4th level spell pertaining to ice or water, or by leaving the candle alone in a place where nothing can sustain its hungry heat- such as on an iceburg. The candle can also survive 1d6+6 turns underwater or in an environment with no oxygen.

[9] The 9 Witches ritual. In order to interrupt this ritual, you must have slain one of the 9 witches of this forest, who convene every full moon to cast a ritual spell giving them magical power over the forest in which they live and cast their dark spells.

Upon the death of the witch, the forest begins to become haunted. The ghosts of the victims of the witches are freed with one of the nine dead, and no longer able to keep their vengeful souls free. The ghosts haunt structures and the standing stones of the forest, especially places where they were buried or lived before being killed and eaten. Nearby inns and manors along the road also start to become haunted with spirits that knock at the window. The spirits also like to turn firewood into sawdust and dent any cooking utensils or pots left outside, as they remind them of the way in which they were killed and consumed by the witches.

The dead witch also begins to radiate magical energy, causing a minor mutation in the hand to anyone who touches her without gloves on, making it a pain to bury her. Additionally, nearby places to her corpse and her home start to have random, long duration spells cast. This includes things like summoning random creatures from other realms, unseen servants, magical walls, or storms of elemental energy contained within fragile bubbles or cast as dazzling lights. All witches slain also radiate this energy in this way, until all of them are dead, in which case the haunting continue for 1d4 days and then the forest spirits will be at peace again.

[10] Red light beneath the lake. The ritual calls the light close to the surface, enough so it can be seen, and lets the magic of the eye enchant nearby objects. The villagers here use it to create supernaturally lucky fishing rods and tougher canoes, as to not become arrogant or mad with its powers, and to keep their lifestyle simple. The ritual is interrupted by disturbing the mirror-clear and calm waters of the lake.

At the moment of disturbance, the source of the light fully awakens when it was normally just sleepwalking to the call of the villagers. The light changes from red to bright yellow and then blue, its colors shadowing all nearby in supernatural swings of fortune. Each person must save or become a cosmic black hole of bad luck; and many lake monsters rise from the lake, each of them holding a piece of the broken magical ceramic object which creates the magic light, and also allows them to slumber for long years, angry it has been ended- roll a reaction check at -3.

Lake Monsters (2 HD, +2 AC, 1d6 magic 'curse' broken shard, 1d8 bite attack)
Morale- 14
Numbers- 2d4

The Lake Monsters attack with the broken shards and powerful bites from their many toothed mouth. The shards are magic, and anyone who takes damage from them must save or be cursed with permanent bad luck.

Good Reaction- Lake Monsters angered they have been awoken, demand a small feast of 2d6 chickens, 1d4 pigs, and a cow or boar to taste surface-world delicaces before returning to their slumber. After sated, they will thank the party and grant them one of the magic shards, which appears to be a piece of pottery from an ancient civilization that once lived here and has magical powers, as well as glows. The shard also has the same powers when wielded in your hands as in theirs. The Lake Monsters will make a fighting retreat back under the lake if attcked.

Neutral Reaction- The Lake Monsters are angered and will seek to reform the cursed object out of their shards, using tactics like guards and pushing people back so some of their number can put the pieces back together. It takes them 1d6 rounds to do so, and the glowing vase that is formed shatters again, causing a bright flash. All within visible distance of the bright flash (everyone on the lake) feel total dread and know they are doomed. They will all die within 1d4 years of accidents, sudden diseases, or disappearing without a trace. This includes the party members, who can only break the curse with the help of a powerful sage. The Lake Monsters will return back to the water after the curse is released, dragging the shards back with them to slumber.

Bad Reaction-Instantly attacking everyone nearby with the shards and bite attacks. Downed foes are eaten instead of ignored, and those they cannot kill are harried by the shards, trying to curse them.

Those cursed with bad luck have all weapons break or are lost on an attack roll of 1, and all saving throws that roll a 1 result in instant death. On top of this, the person experiences setbacks and delays in all their industries or farm; equal to -1d6x100 coins worth of losses every season.

[11] The Crystal Stair ritual. Magic, invisible staircase walked up and down by specific adherents holding lanterns, the lights dazzling off the crystal stairs. The ritual is interrupted when anyone else steps on the staircase, causing it to shatter.

All on the staircase and adjoining invisible crystal platforms fall deep into the earth. Even upon surviving the great fall; you'd have to fight through a multi-level dungeon to return to the surface.

[12] Once every four years, a single note is played in an endlessly long song, played over centuries by multiple generations to ensure an ancient evil stays sealed in its tomb. The ritual is broken when an extra note is played, ruining the song, or if the note is not played in time on the magic flute.

The great stone cask cracks open and a feeling of terror overwhelms everyone nearby. The character with the highest or lowest charisma (determined randomly) must make a save. If they make the save, they are safe, and the next person with the highest or lowest charisma alternating will be forced to make the save next- this way those with average charisma scores are very unlikely to be hit by the presence.

The first person to fail this saving throw loses their character, as their body is totally possessed by a black power, singing their skin with burning hot colors and dripping molten sizzling blood. The evil possessed person flees into the night, and seeks to learn as many spells as possible to cast into its blood. The creature can deal 1d4 damage to itself with an obsidian knife to cast any spells it has learned, chosen when the knife cuts. It can also cast touch-based spells on those who harm it in melee, reflected to them by the blood split. The creature also inherents the languages, magic spells, skills, and stats of the possessed one, but gains +2d6 hit points as its infused with dark power.

[13] Tidal ritual. Must be cast once per week during the low tide, within the swirling tidal pools among the long-marked mystery stones and painted shells of ancient crabs. The ritual is interrupted when you eat one of the craps, or the followers cannot perform the ritual before the low tide ends.

With the ritual ruined, the pact is broken, and the water beings to rise. Within this costal place, the water is a hateful thing that seeks to drown humans, such as specifically crashing waves against trees and houses people have climbed up on to get away, and riptides that pull people below. The storm lasts for 1d4 days, and intense rains that also flood the area have water that tries to push back the salty hateful sea water.

Those who brave the collapsed huts and villages during the coastal storm can find 1d6 porcelain shells worth 1d6x5 coins each; treasures created by the old pacts of salt and sea.

[14] The Knighting Ritual. Newly appointed knights hold their swords together with the King to give them a magical bond of blood and honor. The ritual fails if one of the Knights is not a virgin before being Knighted, or if you manage to sneak someone else in under the helmet.

The blood-bond is broken and the knights and crown no longer have supernatural loyalty to each other. Treat all nobility that was under the bond at -2 to reaction checks as they instantly begin to scheme and plot against each other. Within a few years, the peaceful kingdom will be among several attempted coups and civil wars.

[15] The Inertia Orb. Small reflective orb being held aloft in a wooden bowl suspended and perfectly balanced along several tight wires and cords. The ritual is interrupted when one of the cords is disturbed or triggered, causing the ball to fall to the ground and shatter.

Upon shattering, the ball releases an extremely fast, mist-like blue energy that shrieks across the room at the nearest party member. When they are hit by it, they must save in a special way; they have a 10% chance to succeed the save, modified by Dexterity. If they fail the save, they fly back against the nearest wall, propelled by an extreme force, and explode, killing them instantly. The energy is such dispersed.

If they miraculously manage to make the save; instead they struggle to contain the energy, then the blue mist solidifies into a shape that copies their own, and sinks into their body. They fall to the ground with 1 hp and pass out.

Once recovered, that character gains a new ability and can once per adventure warp in any direction in a straight line up to 40ft- the warp is not instantaneous and is more like an incredibly fast motion in that direction. They are stopped by all solid matter and creatures, but count as getting a surprise attack against a foe they use this move to charge into; the pure surprise and speed letting them get in a good attack.

[16] Group of demonologists are attempting to summon a powerful demon. The ritual is interrupted when you break one of the carefully arranged standing mirrors around the room.

The demon that is summoned is the wrong one; instead of the demon of promises and riches they were trying to summon, the demon that comes through is a greater demon of madness, the shattered mirror letting its splintered mind enter this realm. The demon randomly attacks cultists or party members each round, and you roll a reaction check once all the cultists are dead.

Good Reaction-The demon claps and bows, thanking the party for their help in its performance- and to get back at those 'naughty' cultists. It then attacks a random nearby party member for three rounds, before becoming mist and leaving the area forever.

Neutral Reaction- The demon begins to cut itself, poisonous worms flowing from its wounds. The worms deal 1d4 poison damage as they bite party members, and swarm over them like ants, flicking themselves around the room to move faster. If a party member falls to 0 health from the worms, their body morphs into fresh earthen soil and cannot be revived. Once the demon does this for 5 rounds, it has killed itself and falls down dead, also turning into dirt.

Bad Reaction- Demon spins around in place and stops, pointing at a random party member. It smiles, spreads its wings, and flies into the night sky with a maniacal laughter. That party member's family, friends, home, and businesses are now the demon's targets, and it will destroy and burn all of them as best it is able until slain or that person is dead or utterly alone.

Greater Mad Demon (8 HD, +3 to hit, +11 AC, Rending Axe 1d8+1, Crimson Sword at 1d6+1, Vile Breath at 1d4 in melee save or lose attack bonus, Madness Phantasms, Demonic Vigor 2)
Morale- 1d20 (rolled at start of combat)

The demon appears as a large humanoid with a dog-like head screwed on backwards. It attacks with two weapons, one in each hand, with limbs that are double jointed in each direction. It has 4 legs and breaths vile breath that confuses warriors. The breath does 1d4 damage and if you fail a save after being hit by it you lose your attack bonus for your next combat round. It's maddening form and black demonic magic makes it very difficult to injure and it has several special powers.

Every round, the Greater Mad Demon conjures a Madness Phantasm. This Phantasm creates something fake in the area; such as making the cultists appear as though they are being raised from the dead, the Demon grows an extra head that starts to cast a powerful spell, the sound of a group of paladins busting in saying “let us in so we can slay the beast!” etc. All the Phantasms do is try to distract or confuse the party members to give the demon an additional edge in combat. As the battles goes on, the demon may give up using this power to try and trick them and may instead just use it to taunt or humiliate them, such as making dancing imps appear on the dead corpses of their friends and so on.

Demons are creatures with supernatural physicality, due to their bodies only being a part of their unholy being. If the demon is stunned, poisoned, stuck in place, blinded, or otherwise physically impaired in some way, it ignores it and checks a box. The number next to Demonic Vigor is the number of checked boxes it can have before it is again susceptible to debilitating status effects. The Greater Mad Demon has Demonic Vigor 2, and therefore gets 2 Boxes, but could get an additional boxes if it absorbed unholy power first (such as from a party member carrying a demonic artifact into its chamber), or if it is able to torture mortals in the mortal realm for a while before fought; feeding on the suffering to become stronger.

[17] The calling of ASAMORTH. The cultists have chemically induced a pot of water with multiple ingredients to spill forth black fog, which has allowed a greater extraterrestrial entity to touch things in our realm. They seek to use its ignorance to enrich themselves by manipulating the being into transforming lead into gold. The ritual is interrupted when something new is added to the pot, or the fog is disturbed by someone walking through it, as opposed to the very reserved movements of the cultists.

As the ritual is ruined, ASAMORTH becomes curious of all beings in the fog, and its extraterrestrial energies flow through them. Every being in the fog must make a saving throw or else be infused with the energies of a random spell or element. The moment they leave the fog, they make another save or else they turn into an animal/mortal hybrid- rolling a random animal that infuses into their physical form. All beings from the fog who failed either saving throw feel an innate connection with each other, and seek to serve the commands of those who failed both saving throws. ASAMORTH's fog dissipates slowly, but some may be captured in a jar- breathing this will heal 1d4 hit points to anyone corrupted by the mutating fog.

Once you are transformed, you take ½ damage from the element you were infused with, or are no longer affected by that spell energy. If you became a half animal mutant, increase the most fitting base stat by +1d6 but lose -10% experience points from now on as your mind struggles to learn from your experiences.

[18] The Bonded Lord. Skeleton of an ancient conqueror, the skeleton is touched with magic feathers to keep it in a state of uneasy sleep and softness, unable to escape its prison. The feathers are used by mystic sages, who expose purity more then anything. The ritual is ruined if any of the magic feathers are touched by someone other then the Sages, or if the lord-skeleton is addressed in any way, as this wakes it.

The skeletal lord wakes up and tries to find any nearby weapons, but prefers to leave instead of fight if it can. Once it has left, it seeks to raise the dead to create a undead kingdom for it to rule, a small place in the mountains. Any living or half-dead subjects of the lord will find him a fair but very ruthless and 'traditional' ruler.

Skeletal Lord (6 HD, +4 to hit, +6 AC, +2 to damage with all melee weapons, raise the dead, Commander +2)
Morale- 12, 14 when leading soldiers

The skeletal lord is a skilled warrior and can raise the dead by releasing his own undeath energy. Dead raised are statted as zombies or skeletons, but with their own personalities and loyalty to their leader that is more then a simple necromancer's enchantment. He can only use this power once per day- and requires a graveyard or ancient battlefield to raise his soldiers.

The skeletal lord gains a Commander bonus of +2, which means its soldiers fighting with it treat their morale as +2 for the combat; but this power also works on the undead. Instead of morale, treat all undead as though they had +2 hit dice or hit poins when using turn undead against them.

[19] The Wistful Lynd. Long blue salamander like creature living in a pond, stuck underneath by magic clear ice, frozen over the surface by a gang of black sorcerers. The rituals is broken when the ice is broken, or when fire is brought into the ritual chamber and burns the wreathe of winter-wood tied around the pond on stakes.

The Lynd is freed with a relieved sigh and thanks the party members. He is a kind, and gentle beast that uses its magic to restore the powers of nature and especially the spring, and grants the party members a healing wand of sagebrush. The wand is twisted into the shape of a finger at the end- and glows green with verdant magic. The wand heals 1d8 + Wisdom modifier of the user in hit points each use, and has 3d6 charges. It can also use up a charge to heal bushes, flowers, and patches of grass, but lacks the power to heal trees.

While the Lynd is freed and is a kind creature, its captors are not so. Enraged, they will track down the party members and try to kill them, or curse the towns they frequent with poisonous miasma that sickens people and the water around the town. During the next winter when their power is the strongest, the Sorcerers will summon constructs of ice and will attack when the party members, or the majority of them, are the most vulnerable and isolated- they will attempt to snow in the party in a remote place if possible to stage the attack.

Ice Contructs (2 HD, +2 AC, Freezing Spike 1d6+1 cold damage, snow shield, immune to cold damage, weak to fire damage)
Morale- N/A
Numbers- 1d4 + 1 per Sorcerer

The Ice Constructs appear as frozen torsos with arms and legs, but no head. Their bodies are crystalline and are enchanted with the powers of cold. They are immune to cold damage and automatically succeed saving throws versus spells of elemental cold or ice-based spells. They are weak to fire and take double damage from it.

While standing in the snow, the constructs can whip it up around them as a flurry that grants +2 AC versus ranged attacks, and automatically puts out non-magical fires like from a flaming arrow. Bombs also have their fuses snuffed out if thrown at the constructs with the snow shield.

Sorcerers of Winter (1 HD, +1 to hit, 1d8 Crossbows, 1d4-1 ritual daggers, struggled movements, cast spells)
Morale- 13, 14 in Winter
Numbers- 1d6+1

These Sorcerers wear black robes and mostly channel the power of winter, but they branch out into other kinds of magic as well. They were harnessing the powers of the Lynd to stay youthful forever, but have since lost most of their youthful life energy and have become decrepit. As such, their melee attacks are weak and they move slowly, and automatically fail combat saves like getting tripped or grappled. They can only load their crossbows with the help of metal tools to act as a fulcrum and will be unable to do so if it is taken from them, simply lacking the strength.

The Sorcerers also cast spells. Most of their spells are ice themed or curse themed, but some may also know Magic Missile or minor protective spells to help them in combat.

[20] The Heartless Engine. This ritual involves a machine, a complex piece of technology, but the longer one looks at it the more they see the mysticism making up the gaps. Pentagram shapes bolts into the metal along the fuel-lid, dials and valves bearing arcane runes, etc. The engine is looked after by a magician or technician, and is ruined if even a single grain of sugar enters the fuel intake.

Upon the sugar being added, the engine sputters and dies, breaking down, but the machine's alien intelligence and magical power is brought out in its dying breathes. Within a mile of the machine, 1 in every 50 individuals suffer heart attacks and fall to the ground. Each person can make a saving throw to avoid death, and then another to avoid permanent complications. All those who fail the second saving throw are permanently weakened by the machine's death and if they are young, their growth is stunted. They must treat their Constitution score as 5, or lower if they already had less then 5 before the machine touched them. Additionally, each of them has the inner knowledge of how to build another, smaller heartless engine and will secretly attempt to build another engine to restore themselves to full health, and to let the engine reproduce. The second built engines must also be contained through regular maintenance, or else will spread the destruction of human hearts to continue their advance.

Those who died or succeeded both saving throws do not have this mental compulsion, and have no idea about the mental-control of the machine that had touched them.

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