Monday, February 15, 2021

Stone-Box Temple

In the olden days, mysteries existed in every nook and cranny. One day, a hungry family put their last last loaf of bread in a basket and covered it with a wicker lid and a basket to keep it out of the prying eyes of the many hungry children. The next day, they opened the basket and the loaf was gone. Only a fat rat remained. The basket was closed- how did the rat get inside?

This tale inspired an entire order of monks. The holy men talked at length about the truth of the universe- and how that when any basket is closed, anything could be inside. They knew, of course, that the rat had simply bite a hole in the basket while the family slept- this story is not a literal tale. But the idea had weight. This order of monks began to meditate upon the truth; and that every stone unturned and every basket closed and hidden could hold anything- including the truth. They began to build containers in their order halls- covered pits and stone caskets that they filled with random items, water, or nothing at all. To simply guess and consider what was inside was a path towards enlightenment.

The order grew. Eventually, they built the greatest temple of the ancient world- The Stone-Box Temple. It is built into a burial mound, appearing as a mighty hill from all directions, much like it itself was a great box waiting to be opened. The inside of the Temple embody the orders ideas; stairways that lead down into mysterious darkness, doors which do not open, built flush into walls. The architects of the place had themselves buried alive, so the mysteries would be lost and as mysterious as an unopened box. You know what else is in the Temple? Boxes. Way too many fucking boxes- everywhere. The place is filled with the brim with stone cubes- hollow and with heavy lids. Some rooms are so thickly packed with them you have to walk across the lids. These monks literally believed that any box can contain the Truth- and so every single box is worth the floor space in their temple. They are all holy.

Each box in the temple requires either two men to open, or a prybar and a strong arm (+1 strength man). You can only open a maximum number of boxes each exploration turn equal to the number of boxes your party can open as above times three. So for every two men, or every +1 Strength man with a prybar, you can open three boxes per turn. Each Box is about the size of a treasure chest, Big Boxes are the size of coffins and much heavier- they take twice the effort to open.

Stone-Box Temple Room Generator
Roll once for each category to generate a room in the Stone-Box Temple.

Room Shape & Size – 1d8
[1] Basically a closet. Shelves may be carved into the wall to store a few boxes.
[2] Standard square dungeon room. Boxes are stacked along edges with no entrances.
[3] Staircase. Boxes of various sizes on all the steps. Save or fall if you move here without light.
[4] Longroom- more like a hallway, may bend at a 90 degree angle once. Boxes are shelved or spread along the floor making it hard to walk.
[5] Cubed room- same exact height to width to length. Kind of weird being inside it- like you're inside a big box. Either has a bunch of boxes all around or one big one in the middle.
[6] Temple Room. Large room with a high curved ceiling- probably near the top of the Temple's mound. Has several raised podiums you can pass under with boxes stacked on them.
[7] Tall Room. Several unreachable steps of stone, or huge "shelves" carved into the rock. May make up the central shaft of the temple. These huge shelves contain the boxes.
[8] Sprawl Room. The biggest room. Seems to be carved partially into natural chambers- only found deeper in the temple. Weird organic curves & dips in the floor = more places to put fucking boxes.

Number of Boxes – 1d8
[1] Just 1d3 Boxes.
[2] About 1d6 Boxes.
[3] Modest 3d6 Boxes.
[4] Crowded 4d8 Boxes. If the room is a Cubed Room- change to Big Box.
[5] Either 2d10 Boxes or 1 Big Box
[6] Lottery of Boxes- 1d100 Boxes OR 2 Big Boxes
[7] 4d50 Regular Boxes or 2d6 Big Boxes. This room could be a tomb.
[8] No Boxes- this room was storage. For things other then Boxes. Boxes are the main attraction, obviously, they don't go in store rooms.

Trap – 1d8
[1] About 20% of the boxes have a spike trap; save or take 1d6 damage.
[2] About 50% of the boxes have a 2 HD zombie inside. The zombie will roar and all the other zombies in the boxes will start to shuffle out; 2d6 per round until the number of boxes
[3] All of the boxes have miasmic gas- toxic ancient fumes from decaying food. You can safely open them with a piece of cloth over your face; else you take 1d4 if you're around it when it opens.
[4] One box has corrosive gas in it. Save to run out of the room in time, else take 2d6 damage and lose your armor. People opening the box get no save.
[5] One Box is a pressure plate. If you put anything heavier then a slice of bread on this box (like your hands), it sinks into the floor and the doors close for 1d4 turns. Every wandering encounter you roll in this time all attack you at once when it ends- this trap set off an alarm.
[6] Two Boxes are teleporters. The first box is a teleporter that seems to lead to another room with no exit- but in reality it is the blown up image of the inside of another box. Going in through this box means you are now tiny in the other box; remove curse or Potion of Giant Strength to cure it.
[7] No trap. The Boxes are safe here. The next room you explore is safe too.
[8] The walls are carved with box-symbols all over it, reliefs of squares carved in ancient, dedicated but unrefined hands. These boxes are punch-pillars, shooting out of the walls to give people a square wallop that pass. They can be rearmed simply by pushing them back in. Anyone who tries to rest here leans on the wall (or tries to do that tracing the outer wall thing for a maze) and gets punched.

Stone-Box Monsters
The Stone-Box Temple is a silent, sacred, abandoned place. This means that inevitable it will be filled with dangerous, powerful monsters who stalk the halls. Roll 1d6 for wandering encounters.

[1] Contorted Bones (2-1 HD, +3 to hit, +1 AC, Crooked Claw attack at 1d3, immune to slashing, undead, contortion)
Morale- N/A
Numbers- 1d6 in Box Trap, 2d6+2 Wandering

Contorted bones are the remains of ancient box-temple priests, who bound themselves for long durations or until they died within the stone boxes- not all of them died willingly in the stone cubes. Their bones are twisted and contorted over the many years; they are much shorter then they were in life and their arms hook around your shield or right outside your vision- they move and act erratically, making them difficult to track to defend against, hence they have a high to-hit bonus.

These are skeletons. They are lesser undead, and never rout from combat, but can be turned and are immune to all things undead are immune to. They are also immune to arrows and sharp weapons- swords and spears do a maximum of 1d3 damage to them as improvised weapons. Blunt weapons deal their full damage.

Additionally; these skeletons have an innate urge to hide away in stone boxes. If you escape from a combat with the skeletons nearby open stone boxes, they will close them back up again and hide inside. The box-traps in the dungeon can contain them at a smaller number then the wandering parties. While these skeletons can be within the box-traps, most of those contain well preserved zombie corpses; the skeletons were the corpses who got up and rotted away while wandering the halls.

[2] Ball Men (3 HD, +2 AC, Flail attack 1d6+2, fluid form, quick reconstitution)
Morale- 12
Numbers- 3d6+6

Appearing roughly as humanoids; they come from another dimension with no right angles or corners. Their bodies are made up of many small squishy blob balls, which if separated on taking a hit scatter around the room and turn into tiny smooth orbs of flesh that roll and bounce. The Ball Men are essentially religious extremists from that realm offended by the box temple; this is a jihad to destroy it. They don't really hate your dimension or anything, but this one place has got to go.

If anyone in your party is significantly overweight, get +2 to reaction checks for trying your best to be more like a sphere.

These beings are made of many small orbs and therefore move more like a fluid. They can squeeze through bars and holes big enough to put your hand inside. Their bodies are also made up of tiny balls. If they are hurt, they can gather these balls back up inside themselves to heal up to 1d3 damage they've taken. Inevitably some of the balls get lost under furniture, roll down hills, or get stuck in corners so its not perfect. If a Ball Man dies, all their balls turn gray and turn into glossy marbles permanently.

[3] Mighty Mason (18 Hit Points, +4 AC, +2 to hit, Sledgehammer attack at 1d10, mighty, slow, weak to fire, immune to stun)
Morale- N/A
Numbers- Just one

The Mighty Mason is an artificial creature. They were forced formed into being when the temple mound was being first built, and were created to help with the stone work day and night, as well as to hammer away stone for the creation of the stone boxes that crowd the temple. Then, once the temple was created, they still remained, and became its protectors.

They look roughly humanoid, made of a winding white and blue fabric, with a large red mask made of some unknown metal. The mask looks a bit like an opening flower with no visible facial features. They were masonry tools on their belt that are rusted to uselessness. The only part of their equipment that remains true is their sledgehammer, made of wood with a powerful metal head; the sledgehammer has symbols of longevity and immunity to aging burned within the handle.

Because the Mighty Mason is an artifical creature made with exacting ritual instructions; they are all identical. They all have exactly eighteen (18) hit points. If they are damaged at the start of each round, their fabric furls and they regain all of their lost hit points. Every round when they regain hit points this way, they increase the damage of their attack by +1 as their might grows exponentially. If you disengage from them, they will return to normal strength after one turn. The mighty mason's inexhaustible supply of stamina and strength also means they are immune to being stunned.

Because of their ability to heal themselves, only an adventuring party with at least three standard weapons (d6) rolling perfectly could destroy it. If the maximum potential damage of the party is less then 18, they'll feel the situation is hopeless and be made to run. Thankfully, the Mighty Mason is very slow as it heaves its sledgehammer around, meaning you can escape from it with a brisk walk- there is no contest to escape combat.

Finally; as both an ancient construct of magic and being mostly made of self-repairing fabric, they are weak to fire. All fire spells and attacks deal double damage against the Mighty Mason.

[4] Spear Priestess (4+2 HD, +2 to hit, +2 AC, Spears at 1d8+2, dodge, prybars)
Morale- 12
Numbers- 1d6+2

The Spear Priestess are the protectors of the temple, the role filled by women who were not as “worthy” to contemplate the mystery of what was inside the box. Instead, they were clad in funeral garb and cursed with immortality. Their ability to have children was taken from them, curved inwards, their holy feminine Azoth used to instead extend their life into immortality. They are all insane and mute, their only goals to protect the temple.

The Spear Priestesses have a long spear with one end affixed a head, and the other is flattened for use as a prybar. The entire spear is made of metal and is nigh unbreakable. The prybar end can be slotted into a stone box's lid to open it at a distance, helpful for avoiding most of the dungeon traps. These priestesses will use these spears if they suspect anyone hiding in the boxes or to realign the dungeon traps themselves, if need be.

The Spear Priestesses are also very fast. They were trained for evasion over direct conflict, after all. They can give up their attack for a turn to focus on defense; increase their AC by +4 if they spend their whole round just dodging attacks.

[5] Time Waster (6 HD, -4 to hit, +6 AC, twin blade attack at 2d6, stuns on critical strike, immune to stun, predictable)
Morale- 10
Numbers- Just one

The Time Waster is a being of magic and the many souls of the priests- the meditations and endless recitation of mystery verses led to this being. It was not formed with intelligence, and is created from a mass of psychic energies. It's body is like a ghostly specter, with many bored faces staring out of the protoplasm. It has two long blades created roughly shaped from iron supports deep within the caverns. Despite being coated with rust, they are quite deadly, though inaccurate and dull. These blades are very heavy and will stun the victim of its attack on double 6s rolled for damage if they don't kill.

The Time-Waster is a magical spirit formed from the humdrum. It can go through walls but has a set pattern. For the first turn, it appears with a ghostly moan. Then it attacks, the nearest target, then it attacks a different random target, then it disappears. On the fifth round, it reappears with a moan again- giving you a chance to attack it as it reconstitutes itself. This pattern is never broken by the creature; it is so unshakable set to this set of actions that it cannot even be stunned out of it.

While this creature is a ghost it is not ethereal and its magical plasm of a body can be destroyed with any type of standard weapon. It is more like psychic goop set into a routine.

[6] Filavagran (1+1 HD, +1 to hit, Claw at 1d3, arrow immune, spell resistance)
Morale- 9
Numbers- 1d8 in the day, 2d10 in the night

It has a long gray body with a purple, grumpy looking face. It looks like a walking worm; an incredibly skinny torso with two spindly legs leading up to its head. They barely fit in the tall ceilings of the Stone-Box Temple; they are about 9 feet tall on average. The Filavagran is so thin that hitting them with an arrow is basically impossible- even if you did it would only be a grazing hit. As such, arrows deal no damage to them unless you're using a specialist, broad arrow head.

The Filavagran are inextricably tied to the natural magic of the world. Each one knows what time it is outside; and they are more dormant during the day. At night, they travel in larger groups and stand in odd places, sometimes stretching to strange angles, as though to better act as a receptor to the magical energy of the stars and cosmos- all from inside the temple. Because of this, they seem to be resistant to all magic and spells. Count any spell that hits them as though they automatically make their saving throws. For some spells that means they are immune to them totally, for others it means they will always take half damage.

Stone-Box Treasures
Within the temple, beyond traps, monsters, and boxes any given box could contain a great treasure. Whenever any box is opened, assume a 1 in 50 chance of a minor treasure or 1 in 100 of a greater treasure. Otherwise the box is empty/filled with dust/has a zombie inside or whatever. Roll 1d6 on this list for minor, 1d4+6 for greater, or 1d10 for totally random.
Big Boxes have double the chance for treasure, but have a 1 in 4 chance to have a Contorted Bones encounter inside. You could also apply this to any box on a raised place or highlighted somehow.

[1] Sunblot Stone (Minor)
Looks like a smooth, off-red stone. If you hold this stone in both hands and toss it up as hard as you can, it will fly to the sun and appear as a spot on it that astrologers will see for weeks. More practically; it creates shade in your immediate area of 1d3 turns.

[2] Jumping Seed (Minor)
This tiny seed-grain is animated with a little devil inside. If placed inside a sack or granary of grain; the devil-seed will start jumping and make all the other grains jump too. If they can rip the bag or get out a crack they'll spend all night marching down to whoever tossed this grain into the bag. Grain stolen this way is sickly sweet and gives you a stomach ache out of guilt, but you could steal entire sacks of grain with this. If you make a loaf of bread with flour from even one of these seeds it will disappear the first time you take your eyes off it. You find 2d2 grains.

[3] Demiurge Wand (Minor)
Despite its powerful and imposing name, this wand is a very minor piece of magic. When waved, you can conjure a single item that can fit in the palm of your hand from nothing. The item will be made of clay, wood, or stone and cannot have any moving parts. It will be painted with shoddy, runny paint but you can make it whatever color you want. The wand crumbles after one use, but the item is real and permanent as any other piece of matter.

[4] Scrap of Infamy (Minor)
This is a small piece of black cloth; once taken from the most horrible and infamous pirate captain in the world. Anyone who sees this piece of cloth feels a sense of dread. If you take it and rip it up, you can force a morale check in a group of enemies who have 10 morale or less. Also if you wear this around you'll become very famous in the local area very quickly; but everyone will find small reasons to hate you and run you out of town in 1d3 days.

[5] Cascade Emblem (Minor)
This magical medallion was hung within a flowing river of eight years. When you wear it, you feel an incredible sense of momentum driving you forward. At the start of each adventure, add +1 to every roll you make on a d20 until you fail a roll. Then, the cascade emblem's power ends until your next adventure after at least a little downtime.

[6] Box Puzzle
This is a magical puzzle box made of stone. It has a difficulty of Hard (7). Once it is solved, you can trap a ghost inside of 3 HD or less and lock the puzzle box back up; the ghost is freed the next time the puzzle box is opened or if destroyed. It is neither a Minor or Greater treasure, as what is inside the puzzle is anybody's guess.

[7] Crown of the King of Life (Greater)
The Crown of some ancient king, roughly made of unrefined pale gold (electrum), with the tips of the crown smooshed flat and formed into leaves like it was made of clay. The crown grants dominion over a small river valley in the oldest civilization in the world; the animals there bow to its wearer and the plants grow at their command. The region is now barren and dry, its resources almost all taken from endless wars and the aqueducts set up by far newer, yet still crumbled empires.

The crown is worth 8000c from raw materials alone, not counting the magic.

[8] Diamond Gauntlet (Greater)
This single metal gauntlet is made of a brown, ocher colored metal. It is very smooth and finely made, but probably very old. On the center of the back of the hand is a large diamond, slotted into the glove. This counts as a +1 magic glove granting +1 to AC and being immune to most destructive spells and normal corrosion or rusting effects of various monsters. Also, the glove has the power to Evoke Will once per day. By evoking your will, you deal your level in bonus damage added to any spell or attack, which causes you to shine in a glowing white light from the hand.

The diamond within this gauntlet is worth 12,000c for its size and luster. Removing the gauntlet's gem will remove its ability to Evoke Will, but it's still a +1 magic gauntlet without it.

[9] Apparition Blade (Greater)
This blade of blueish green steel is designed as an ancient sword might be; a gladius or kopesh is a more fitting style for an old blade like this. This counts as a +2 magic sword, and deals 1d6+2 damage on a successful hit. Whenever you wave this sword around, you can create false images of your attack to your opponent; this throws off their guard. You can fire these projections at anyone within the range of a pike, who see you attack them from multiple angles at once. Everyone you do this to had -4 AC from all incoming attacks next round as they struggle to fend off illusory assaults.

If grinded up into powder by a water-powered millstone or a very dedicated dwarven blacksmith; this sword can be made into powdered apparition-metal. This is a powerful ingredient for the creation of invisibility potions. You could easily get 20,000c just for the powdered metal.

[10] Flying Hunters (Greater)
These are a trio of clay falcons. The falcons are each painted with a single dab of ink on the back of their tails to differentiate them, but are otherwise identical. If thrown into the air, the three falcons can be used either separately or together. If used together, they will fly in a circle around a specific target of interest to the falconer- usually a person or location that can be seen from the sky with their incredible vision. They will follow along with a moving object or living thing to let you track it from a great distance, but they can't see underwater or through heavy tree canopies.

They can also be used separately. If you use the falcons one at a time or with a whistled command, they can be used as 1+1 HD constructs with d4+1 claw attacks who will harry anyone the user wishes. However, the falcons are made of clay and can be destroyed, which spoils the magic. If one of them is destroyed, they can only be used as dive bombing attackers and can no longer circle around a target to help you see them from the ground.

The falcons are made of clay, and have no value without their magical properties.

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