Monday, August 31, 2020

12 Sorcerer-Corpse Hazards

You've killed the Sorcerer. The evil witch lies dead at your feet. Now you're going to loot the corpse; except something still manages to kill or maim you. It could be a trap or final posthumous curse laid by the Wizard in spite, or it could be just a natural result of the Sorcerer's vile biological meddling with their own body.

Roll on the table for what hazard awaits within the Wizard's body, which usually only activates if they are looted or you attempt to burn them (cremating Wizards is common practice, so they can't try to come back from the dead). Apprentice Wizards only have a 1 in 6 chance of having a booby-trapped body, regular Wizards have one, Archmages and Sorcerer Lords may have 2 or more.

12 Sorcerer-Corpse Hazards
[1] The Sorcerer's mouth suddenly starts to spew a massive cloud of black-green smoke. The smoke deals 2d6 damage per round you breathe it in, no save if you were the one to touch the corpse. Every roll of a one deals one damage and also reduces your maximum hit pitons by one, permanently. The smoke clears in one round if you're outside and one exploration turn in an enclosed space.

The mouth and throat of the Sorcerer is stained bright green all the way down to the lungs. Both lungs in the body will be bloated and leathery, with extra gas-sac chambers growing like pustules on the sides. This Sorcerer was probably trying to acclimate themselves to an arcane atmosphere.

[2] You hear a tinny screeching coming from the Sorcerer's ears. Many years worth of “saved” conversations come billowing out of their ear holes, loudly stacking on top of each other and building the volume to a crescendo. Every round, roll a wandering encounter check. Those with sensitive ears, like Elves, must cover their ears with their hands and can't do anything else. Every round, all magic items in your possession have a 1 in 6 chance to fire off as a magic word or phrase is replayed from the irritating static of noises.

The noise will end after 1 exploration turn for a normally aged (old) Wizard, but may last for an hour or more for a truly ancient immortal spellcaster. You can also muffle the noise by stuffing the earholes shut or covering the dead corpse's head with pillows and blankets to stifle the racket.

[3] One of the Sorcerer's hands randomly shoots up and tries to grab and claw at you. It's not a zombie, the limb if just firing wildly. If it manages to scratch you (attack roll at +2), your matching hand on your body will start to act strangely every night, and the Wizard's hand goes inanimate again. This hand will try to scratch arcane symbols into any nearby objects when you sleep, or in your flesh if no objects are available. The hand also compulsively (saving throw to resist) touches, opens, and clutches spell books or arcane artifacts. Your hand seems to be trying to spread knowledge of magic through the drawing of runes and esoteric diagrams of things you don't want to understand.

If you cut off the Sorcerer's hand while it is flailing, it turns into a 1 HD monster that puppets the hand as its body, though in truth it is a mass of tentacles inside from an extradimensional monster, puppeting the Wizard's hand and granting enhanced dexterity for lapping at the caster's soul. If you cut off the Sorcerer's hand after it has already scratched somebody, the tentacles are already dead and it slides out like a snail boiled in its shell.

[4] The Sorcerer's body lies still, until the moment something burning or red hot touches it. It poofs into white powder, which, after one round, ignites and explodes as a 4d6 damage fireball in the containing area. Those who have managed to survive this booby trap attest to the fact that the Wizard's body smells like bread, as the white powder is in fact their entire body turned into very fine flour.

It is also possible to use a grind stone to change the Wizard who cast this spell into flesh and bone into bread. Eating this bread makes any normal human sick, but gives Wizards an easy feeling of nostalgia and comfort; you can make 30 Wizard rations from a bread-wizard corpse.

[5] The Wizard's eyeballs retain a shimmering quality after death, eyes wide open in death, as though staring right at you. If you touch one of the eyeballs at all, cover the face with a cloth, or try to close the eyelids of the corpse the eyeballs explode and squirt metal-burning acid at you. Make a saving throw; on failure you take 4d4 acid damage. The acid can burn through anything except stone and has a 1 in 6 chance to ruin your armor if you were exposed to it while wearing armor.

The acid in the eyes is a very common enhancement Sorcerers put into themselves. Injection of the acid causes early blindness, cataracts, and hallucinations, as well as a permanent “sunken in” look to the eyes that many magic users share. The acid has the beneficial property of “melting” any malignant text or trapped runes; the image is essentially burned away within the Wizard's eye before it reaches their brain to process it. This is a required surgery for any Sorcerer who wishes to read books made by other paranoid and possessive magicians.

[6] As you examine the corpse, you see several lumps under the skin around the wizard's body, hinting at internal tumors. The lungs start to change color, shift, and smell quite strangely as they mutate post mortem. The tumors are changing into metals, which were otherwise being manufactured or produced by the Sorcerer's body.

After one turn, the Sorcerer's body doubles in weight as some of the lumps turn to iron and lead. After two turns, being touched by water causes a burning stinging cloud to form from the Sorcerer's body; the lithium in their body reacting and exploding violently. After three turns, you can fish through the Wizard's corpse to find 1d3 nuggets of gold, worth 300c each.

[7] As the final blow hits the Sorcerer, their body releases a cloud of spores. These spores only infect dead things; any meat or corpses you are carrying will similarly be infected by the spores. The Sorcerer's corpse and all affected flesh sprouts mushroom heads- they grow from tiny buds into four inch long fruiting bodies in a matter of minutes. After one turn, these spore heads release spores again, infecting all nearby dead things again, spreading the chain of infection.

After one hour, any flesh hosting the mushroom spores will start to turn into putrid slime, pooling together and flowing like water. This will attract all manner of filthy creatures. Slimes will autogenerate from the pool of liquid; 1d6 HD worth of slimes per human sized corpse or amount of meat. If this mushrooming phenomena happened on the site of a great battle or within a large coven of Sorcerers, it's highly likely the entire surrounding countryside would be enveloped by slimes. Sorcerers tend to know the secret words that can control these mindless creatures, hence infecting oneself with these mushroom spores is a useful method to take back territory even after you die.

[8] Upon killing the Sorcerer, their sleeves must be rolled down or their clothes removed to reveal this feature. The corpse has holes along the arms; small nooks which are tiny nestboxes for even tinier sparrows. The bright-blue birds chirp and fly away the moment they are uncovered. For the next three days, the weather in the surrounding area becomes stormy and unpredictable, local wildlife acts strangely, cats wander far away from the houses and farms they are supposed to be ratting. It's as if nature itself is trying to kill these birds as fast as possible, and make sure they do not establish a foothold or create nests outside of the bodies of Sorcerers.

These birds, as with many species created by Sorcerers, has been purposefully designed to fulfill a purpose. These birds have flammable feathers and, if they are incinerated alive under the darkness of a new moon, the ashes will contain an amount of magical energy useful for several arcane practices.

[9] The moment the Sorcerer dies, all light around its corpse grows one level dimmer. Light spells and lanterns become like torches, torches become candles, candles glow like fireflies or not at all. This has the normal effect on vision and corresponding negatives for trying to fight in dark places.

The ability to reduce light is commonly associated with attempts to preserve the physical body after death- light speeds up the decomposition by attracting flies and insects. Lesser magicians have this adaptation to serve as better undead servants after death, powerful sorcerers retain it so they may raise themselves from the dead in a less severe state of undeath afterwards.

[10] Whatever weapon was used to kill the magician is now magnetically attracted to it, if it's made of metal. It is pulled towards their body and sticks to it so hard that only someone with a Strength of 18 or higher could pull it out. Every round you keep the blade away from the body, the magnetic force gets stronger and stronger, soon trying to pull the sword out of the scabbard or from a long distance or even bending the blade if you can hold it back. If the weapon touches the corpse for at least one exploration turn, the magnetic effect wears off.

The purpose of this enchantment is to catch returning arrows or boomerang-style weapons so the user can be disarmed or the weapon identified. Mostly given to Sorcerers who work as low ranking guards for higher powered ones; this enchantment is hard to remove though so most who ascend through the ranks end up keeping it later in life.

[11] After the Sorcerer dies, you feel a faint rumbling in the ground. Make a saving throw to duck for cover. After 1d3 rounds, they explode with iron swords, daggers, arrows, and magic weapons. On a failed save, take three attacks from three random weapons. These require a to-hit roll, and use the magic weapons bonus to modify the to-hit.

Naturally, many wizards are packrats that steal whatever magical gear they can, even if they can't make good use of it with their weak arms and bodies. Regardless, after death, the spells that keep these weapons and items in extradimensional space cease to function, and these tools of destruction must return to the mortal plane with explosive results.

[12] The body disintegrates. If you're touching it on the moment of death (such as with a hand to hand attack), you must save or take 3d6 damage from the disintegration field.

Some Sorcerers don't want to be brought back.

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