Saturday, October 2, 2021

Glacial Cave Encounters

Glacial Cave Encounters
An otherwise boring hallway which hides a crevasse past a dip in the floor. If you aren't paying attention or your party has a light source weaker then a torch or Light spell- you won't see it. Anyone who falls through falls 1d4 floors down deeper into the ice dungeon.

[2] This room is the lair of a Bloodwind. The walls are streaked with light pink, light scratches and erosion on the stalagmites of ice giving a hint. There is a 1 in 4 chance it will return if you delay here; treat any wandering monster encountered here as (1).

[3] The party walks onto something dark and mildly softer then the compacted ice in this cavern- if examined closely, they will find it is a giant upturned whale, beached and well preserved onto this glacier many eons ago.

You can dig into and thaw the whale meat- it is still edible, requiring a fire and one turn to melt a ration of meat. For each ration you dig out, roll a 1d20 and if you ever roll equal to or under the number of rations taken from the whale, the next one you cut some giant whale parasite corpse worms that have been feeding on the corpse for all this time pop out and attacks you.

Whale Corpse Worm (5+2 HD, +2 To-Hit, +2 AC, 1d6+2 worm teeth, Blood Coating)
Morale- 11
Numbers- 1d4

These giant white worms are gastrointestinal parasites that have grown to huge sizes over the centuries. Each worm is coated in a bit of blood that has been kept warm for all this time; once they exit the body to fight the party, after 3 rounds the blood on their bodies freeze and turn to icy armor, granting +3 AC unless they are hit with something warm enough to melt it.

[4] The massive fur-coat of a giant. Looks like a pond of fur at first. If you riffle through its pockets you find 2d2 massive gold coins. Each gold coin is almost as big as a standard shield and weighs an absurd amount- takes a crew of people to carry just one of these coins, but worth a fortune. Each coin is worth 20,000c each. The fur coat itself is very difficult to carry unless chopped up into pieces, which would diminish its value. If delivered to a giant; 1000c or he'll crush a castle for you. If chopped up and sold at market price, 400c total.

[5] The heated hand. It looks like a severed hand, in a small "bowl" of ice and water that it has melted since it fell. The hand is always just about room temperature, but to the ice of this glacier, it is only very slowly melting it away. The hand feels like it was just cut off a few seconds ago from body heat and anyone who carries it feels a very bad feeling when they hold it, like it's about to come alive and try to strangle them. However, it is always warm and could help stave off the bitter cold.

The heated hand has two properties. Firstly, it is considered sacred by the Hot Shamans (2), and can be used as a holy symbol by their order. Also, treat any reaction check with the Hot Shamans as the highest possible result; they view whoever finds the heated hand as a blessed person, as they themselves cannot find it. The second property is magic. Whenever you cast an Endure Elements spell or a Fire-Based spell, you can boost your caster level by +1. Each time you do this, one finger on the hot hand is burnt black down one joint. This allows for fourteen (3 on each finger, 2 on thumb) empowered casts. Once all fingers are burnt off, the hot hand loses its heat and begins to rot away like any other chunk of dead flesh.

[6] You find a wall of carvings made into the ice. The carvings were made with a hot knife, and depict (roll 1d6)

  1. The end of an ancient eskimo-like civilization as they are overrun by yeti.
  2. Humorous depiction of a dragon eating a bunch of snow and farting out a steam cloud
  3. Woolly mammoth fighting for its life against several giant saber-cats.
  4. Food, trees, grass, flowers, and the sun. Whoever drew it was pining for better days.
  5. Symbol that roughly means "safe" in draconic. Resting place of local kobolds (2)
  6. Very rough cave map depicting a sleeping giant in a coat. Shows location of [4]

[7] Lair of a giant leopard seal. There is a black hole in the floor that leads to the water underneath the glacier ice. 1 in 6 chance of the seal being here when you visit. The seal is scary but still just a wild animal and will only fight if threatened; instead preferring to just swim out through the floor if you surprise it. The lair also contains a small golden penguin statuette with bite marks all over it. (6000c)

Giant Leopard Seal (6+1 HD, +1 To-Hit, +3 AC, 2d8 bite, slow on land, Blubber, Cold Resistance)
Morale- 9

The Giant Leopard Seal is built for freezing cold water, not land. It is very slow and easy to avoid. It's body is coated by a thick layer of blubber that makes it take half damage from blunt weapons, and it also takes half damage from cold spells and attacks. The leopard seal's blubber can be turned into ~100 units of lantern oil if processed.

[8] Chamber with a high, cavernous ceiling. The icicles that hang down tinkle and sway with each motion. If you speak above a whisper here- save or an icicle falls and stabs you for 1d6+1 damage. This also works on monsters; the louder the enemy the better.

[9] Five carved ice sculptures are fit along this hallway. The ice sculptures each have a bowl and tracks that let melted water travel between them. If you fill all five sculpture bowls with water, they unlock a secret passage to a treasure room that contains unbreakable ice tools used for ice/mason work (worth 10,000c to a dwarf) and a collection of water from ancient, secret hot springs.

[10] Witch's Ice Cream. Several metal tubs are placed neatly in this room, each filled with an unusual, very sweet smelling substance. It's ice cream and tastes amazing. If you eat only a spoonful, there are no averse effects. If a character eats enough to count as one ration, they suffer the following effect based on whatever flavor they ate.

Vanilla: Infected with a Random Disease 1d4 turns after eating.

Chocolate: Get drained by 1d2 levels. After being drained, a "chocolate" ghost appears of your drained levels, taunting you. If you can turn undead on this ghost, it will be stunned and you can stuff it back in your mouth and regain the lost levels. Otherwise it phases through a wall and you can't retrieve it.

Strawberry: Your skin starts to turn red or pink. You develop Darkvision, but find yourself getting angry at the smallest things. In combat, you deal +1 damage from pure rage but have a 1 in 6 chance to attack an ally instead of an enemy. The next time you venture directly into sunlight, you take 1d6 damage as the sun burns you and destroys the strawberry's effect in your body.

If you take any of the icecream away for later, you now have a 1 in 6 chance to encounter the Dairy Witch whenever you roll a wandering monster encounter until you get rid of it or kill her.

Dairy Witch (3+3 HD, +1 AC, 1d4 butter hammer, spells, Dairy Items)
Morale- 10
Number- Just one, with 1d4 Lesser Ice Golems

The Dairy Witch is a woman who moved to the icy wastes to practice her magic in the cold- where her milks and cheeses remain unspoiled from the heat. She gets her milk from her snow white goat familiar, random polar bears, and herself.

The Dairy Witch carries around a few magic items in the form of her foodstuffs. The first are pieces of Hard Cheese which grants the consumer +1d6 AC for three rounds and restores the same amount of hit points. The second are small bottles of milk, which consumed grant +2 To-Hit and restore 2 hit points. The Dairy Witch carries around 2d4 units of each which can be looted from her corpse and used if she is slain. The cheese lasts basically forever but the milk bottles remain warm right until they spoil and the magic is lost in 3 days after you take them from her body.

[11] Extremely light, powdery snow has piled up in this chamber from a crack in the top of their glacier. After many years, it has become a great hill. It's just a hill of very light snow, but makes excellent material if you want to roll a giant snowball down it at a monster or maybe make a big slide. You could also dig into it and make a warm igloo shelter but it would take at least 3d3 turns of effort even with a big group unless you use magic. Ice wizards can also take a pinch of the stuff and throw it with any spell cast to grant +1 to the difficulty of their spells saving throws.

[12] Floating in a crack in the ice above you is a strangely rotating blue cube. It has eyes along its sides that make a very rough impression of a face- a cubit cube. If the cube is attacked, spoken to, or if a spell is in effect within its presence (like a Light spell) it will come down and start to boss you around.

Cubist Dominator (2 HD, +2 AC, Command, Must make save to attack)
Morale- 12
Number- Just One

The Cubist Dominator is a strange creature appearing as a cube with a face inspired by cubist art. It speaks in a whiny, multifaceted voice that echoes strangely in the icy caverns. It cannot attack and isn't very strong- but its words carry great power. Its alien voice and circular logic make it capable of commanding others to obey it. It can say STOP to make you stop in place, BLEED to make you take 1d4 damage, or more if you have a weapon in your hand, RUN to make you save or run away, etc. The Cube can issue up to two commands a round, and its unusual commanding presence makes attacking it difficult. You must succeed on a saving throw to attack it for the first time, but once you've succeeded you can attack it as much as you want.

The Cubist Dominator is not aggressive at first and doesn't want to kill anyone; it mostly is just an annoying control freak. Make the wizard carry the pack so he can bulk up, put your potions in this order, keep your sword on the right side so you're symmetrical, and so on. If you let it boss you around for 1d4 turns, it will eventually get bored and go back to where it was. During this time, its commands will give you at least one important roll that will be made at disadvantage. However, in combat, it will generally try to help you over your enemy- causing confusion and damage among the enemy ranks that make it a powerful ally.

Killing the Cubist Dominator will drop a blue cubist key; which looks like a key but is bent at a 90 degree angle and is blue. This key doesn't open anything in this dimension, but a Wizard (or Sage) of 7th level or higher can use this key in place of a spell component for any blink, teleport, or summoning spell; with anything brought there or back being forced to make a save or look like it is a cubist painting. This is permanent unless you get a remove curse cast on you/it. You can also just sell the key for 350c.

[13] Crystal Flowers. Small chamber with an uneven floor with small red and blue crystalline flowers poking up from the snow. They are obviously magical and somehow "grow" from the cold, possibly feeding off magical energy over light and heat from the sun. Each flower is made of crystal; very lightweight but razor sharp like glass. The flowers are highly anomalous however; each one seems surrounded by a slight haze of a distortion field, and the smell of burnt ozone is strong as you come close.

Whenever you put your hand near a flower, you will see it disappears. Somewhere else in the room is another flower with your hand next to it- the flowers are surrounded by distorting teleportation fields. Your only clue is that red flowers only connect to blue flowers, and vice versa. If you try to uproot a distant flower, the flower will pull up but your hand will return to your wrist once out of the first flowers bubble, causing the flower across the room to fly up and then shatter against the floor, dealing 1d3+1 magic damage to anyone standing nearby. Each flower must be very carefully wiggled free remotely (takes 3 turns) and left gently on the snow or all flowers of one color destroyed to remove the distortion for the remaining flowers. Each flower sells for 200c and are incredibly fragile.

[14] Gruesome Gittern. This instrument is caught between a few ice-pillars in this side chamber. The ice pillars are magically enchanted to cause anyone to touch one to fly backwards. If you're nearby another pillar, you slam back into it, but take no damage and can stay standing. If you're on the outside of the pillars, you fly back and slip across the floor. The pillars magic refuels every few seconds, meaning you can only retrieve the instrument by standing with your back to a pillar and moving quickly after the bump- if you get thrown away from the pillars you can't reach it in time before it resets. This feat requires at least a Dexterity score of +1 to get into position.

The Gruesome Gittern is a magic item. With a few pickings of the strings, small holes open in the instrument that release small metal spikes in a spray. These do little damage to man-sized creatures and bigger- 1d4 damage, but do massive damage to hoards of small creatures like rats or insects. The music it produces is scratchy and gives a haunting feeling, and counts as a +1 magic item for any bardic or rogueish feats that use it. It can also be sold for 800c

[15] Spankblaster. It's basically a magical crack in the ice, about waist level, that fires out a blast of kinetic energy. If it hits, leaves a painful red welt through clothing and thin armor but deals no damage. Since people are usually walking away from it when it fires, it tends to hit them on the ass, hence a Spankblast. It goes off once every two or three minutes- so if you try to study it it might hit you in the crotch instead.

The Spankblaster's magic can be drained by sticking a wand or staff inside. The spankblaster becomes inert permanently and the magic implement restores 2d6 charges.

[16] Airy chasm in the glacier that reflects torchlight beautifully. Light tinkling sounds from the wind give it an almost musical quality. This is a beautiful place. Meditating here will restore one sanity, or let an elf recover a 1st level spell slot.

[17] Frozen Foam. This sticky mass of white foam looks like very, very soft snow in the dim light of a torch or lantern. When touched, it will stick to whatever was used to touch it and begin to rapidly cool and freeze the point of contact. If you jump in you'll probably die. Every party "action" used in a situation where the foam is stuck to someone or something causes 1d6 damage of cold damage. If you try to scrap off the foam with an object, that object will start to freeze, if you scrap it off on a wall, ice will grow out of it, etc. You can contain some of this in glass for a minor magic item or treasure to be sold; worth 200c per jar of foam.

[18] You come across a Heatwhore. She's a fat, heavily-wrapped-up woman who trades her body heat for food or coin in this desolate place. She got separated from a different traveling group, and has almost run out of supplies. She'll cling to party members and grant heat whenever you make camp with cuddles in exchange for food and protection; but she doesn't give it for free. Oh and absolutely zero sex by the way, she's not a whore whore.

[19] Cramped side area with holes in the wall and little mounds of some kind of biological material. This is a nest of flightless midges- big black ones about as large as your thumb. These ice-midges excrete antifreeze-jelly from their butts; if you spend time squeezing some you can gather enough jelly to rub over the skin, an item, mix into a potion, etc. preventing them from being frozen into ice in combat. If you spend a turn gathering enough goop, you can slather yourself up and become resistant to cold damage, taking half damage. If more then one person does this however you will carry a gross smell that makes random encounters +1 in 6 more likely.

These midges will eat basically anything, but aren't fast or aggressive enough to kill living things. If you throw dead body parts, decaying leather items, bones, feces, etc. onto the nest they will associate you with food and start to mass up when you approach; such as letting you squeeze them for their jellies or even following you a short distance from the nest. You can totally offer these to the Hot Shamans (2) as a meal and treat their reaction as a Friendly result.

[20] The ice here is well carved. Following the carving to a passage that looks almost regal; a headless man will be found sitting on a pillar made of ice. His neck is torn open with a black void down in his torso. He only wears a single blue sheet over his body, with a bare chest, arms, legs, and feet- yet suffers not from the cold. He carries a golden staff with a magic orb floating on the end, which lags to keep up with each motion. This being is a Keeper of Ancient Knowledge, and turns away travelers who are not serious about learning the ancient truths from him.

This being is semi-divine and can bestow powers onto mortals. If any 0 level characters, hirelings, or seriously aimless player-characters approach him, he will offer to grant them guidance and purpose. Accepting this means he will touch their forehead with the floating orb on his staff; causing a galaxy symbol to be burned onto their forehead. This grants the character +1d6 Wisdom and causes them to instantly level up if they have at least 50% of their current exp (or just a 3 in 6 chance). This character still retains their free will and abilities; but they simply can't settle down anymore. Retiring, spending a few years of downtime tending a farm, becoming a lord and tending your lands, etc. all become unavailable to this character- they are caught up in a greater destiny now.

If you pick a fight with him, he'll just like teleport away into a nebula cloud or something. He's a badass wizard too you know.

Wandering Monster Encounters
Bloodwind (4 HD, +2 to hit, 2d6 on hit- armor protects, save to cover, always moving)
Morale- N/A
Number- Just one

The Bloodwind is an invisible creature. It is an animate wind. It does not speak or seem intelligent, but has a certain sense of cruel purpose. The wind cannot be seen but its aftermath can; it blows through sharp icy passages and crevasses while carrying tiny snowflakes and ice-crystals that rend flesh and skin; spraying blood into the wind and leaving a red mist in its wake.

As a wind, it cannot be fought by traditional means. Only magic weapons or spells can harm it. It could be trapped in a magical box or bag of winds; but traditional bags would just rip open from its cutting power. If the wind blows over you, you can make a saving throw to fall to the ground fast enough and cover, meaning it can only deal 1 damage to you. If you fail the save, the wind gets an attack to try and jam its sharpness into you, dealing 2d6 damage on a hit. For each point of AC you get from armor, reduce the damage taken by 1 point from its protection.

The wind is always moving. Once it "attacks" a party member, it then must continue moving and can only attack the next party member in its path, and so on, until it is clear. The wind can turn around and come back around for another pass- this will take a minimum of 3 rounds giving you time to run or prepare for the next attack.

(2) Hot Shamans (1+1 HD, +1 to hit, carved walrus tusk at 1d4+1, +1 AC furs, cast Spells)
Morale- 9
Number- 1d3 with 2d4 Kobolds

The Hot Shamans are a sect of kobold shamans who protect and guide their people through these cold and arctic lands. As kobolds are dependent on heat to survive, their rule is law and the kobolds who fight with them fight with a higher morale of 12. As most of their magic is used to keep their tribe alive in these frozen lands; mostly creating ever-warm stones to carry or magical furs to ward away the winds, they have only limited magic to fight with. Most of their spells are related to fire.

As intelligent creatures; you must roll a reaction check when encountered.

Reaction Table- Roll 2d6

12+: Friendly. Willing to trade and barter, as well as share heat. Ask (politely) to stick their hands into your crotch to share your body's heat- it's not a sex thing, we swear. They won't give you anything for free or help you fight monsters unless if you gave them something valuable from this list or a way to generate more warmth to survive this harsh environment.

11-9: Cautious. The kobolds will willingly trade information for enough fresh linens for three of their kind (one human outfit) or a magic artifact that provides enough heat for their whole group. Under no circumstances will they tell you about anything that grants warmth. They know the location of [16] which is the "pretty place". They can also warn you about the Spankblaster [15] and will also warn you about the Closed Eye Woman (5) - who they say is "very bad for the men-boys and might make your pee pee fall off!". 

8-6: The Shamans threaten and spit curses at you- mostly about getting frozen to death in the near-constant blizzard outside the cave. If you approach, they attack.

5-3: The shamans yelp and assemble their force into a formation. Spears forward, shamans behind, they march towards you- aiming to pin you into a corner. If you run away down a side passage, they'll guard the way for two turns to make sure you've left for good.

2 or less: Instant Attack. The kobolds throw their javelins before charging in to attack with knives made of tusks and polar bear claws. The Shamans will expend their spells on fire spells if they view you as enough of a threat to use them.

(3) Wandering Polar Bears (4+2 HD, +2 To-Hit and AC, two claws at 1d6, one bite at 1d8, dumb)
Morale- 13
Number- 1d2+1

Small group of polar bears. Polar bears are very big and scary, but very stupid. Can't expend energy to the brain when their optimal survival strategy is just to charge straight at anything that moves and attack it. The ones that live here are strangely social; perhaps enchanted by the ambient magics.

(4) Werepeng (5 HD, +4 To-Hit, murder beak at 1d10, webbed feet at 1d4, need silver to damage, ice sickness)
Morale- 10
Number- Just one

Looks like a cute, cuddly little rock-hopper penguin from a distance- this is its camouflage to attract would-be predators towards it. Once it is aware of you and you are within 10 paces, it suddenly starts to grow over the course of 1d4 rounds, giving you a moment to prepare, attack, or run away. The penguin turns into a huge werepeng; an evil bipedal murder-bird. As a werecreature, you need silver or magic weapons to actually harm it.

If you surprise this creature, you'll see it at a distance hopping around on some rocks or something. If it surprises you, it just comes around a corner and fully transforms in one round.

Within its decoy form, it only has 1 HD and no special defenses. Meaning if you shoot it with an arrow at a range, it will just die as though it was a normal penguin. These creatures are dying out from intelligent humanoids- though this is less of a problem because nobody uses bows in the artic wilderness where there are no trees.

While this creatures attacks carry a curse, normal people can't catch this form of lycanthropy (only penguins can), instead you can catch the Ice Sickness. After taking at least one hit from the creature, roll a saving throw to see if you catch the disease (only roll once per character at the end of a combat encounter)- if they catch it, the disease causes them to exponentially get more cold if they are exposed to cold. If you step from the glacial caves into the outside air, get dunked in ice water, struck by a cold spell, etc you must save or get even colder- increasing the damage or penalties by 50% of whatever they were normally. If this causes death, the victim will transform into a pile of snow in their shape and be utterly destroyed, leaving no body behind.

(5) Closed Eye Woman (2+2 HD, +5 AC, 50% Magic Resistance, 1d4 Yin Orbs per round)
Morale- N/A
Number- 1d2

These beings look like the head of a beautiful woman, magically severed, floating along with their long hair twisting in the breeze. There is no gore or blood from their stump of a neck; and the women never open their eyes. The Closed Eye Women sense the world around them through energy, and are seemingly monsters created from isolation and powerful yin energy. These monsters are also heavily resistant to magic; and every spell has a 50% chance to be deflected.

Yin energy is the feminine, destructive force. It is also very cold. Every round, the Closed Eye Woman will open her mouth and release 1d4 glowing silver orbs of Yin energy that seek nearby targets. They always hit unnervingly; but these orbs can be deflected with something hot (torch) or Yang enchanted- one orb per object. When struck, take 1d8 cold damage. If a struck character is a male, they must also save or take a level of level drain as the Yin energy saps your masculine essence.

(6) Arctic Jar-Hares (1 HD, +1 To-Hit, +6 AC, fast, Magic Jar, lucky)
Morale- 8
Number- 1d4

These Arctic hares are clothed in all white fur. They walk bipedally and balance a small glass jar on their head, which bounces around with each hopping step- they seem very precarious but never actually fall from the Hare's own accord. The Hares are very fast and cowardly, but are spiteful and aggressive enough to kick snow at people's faces while dancing at the edge of your spear. If all the hares have used up their jars- they run away. You can't catch them on foot, unless if you got dogs.

Each Hare has a magic jar. Each Hare will use their Jar when cornered, when nearly missed (the attack roll being 1 away from a hit), or when injured in some way. When the Hare is slain, the jar falls down with their body and shatters anyway- unless if the slayer is in melee range and catches it with a hard roll modified by Agility. The exception is if you fight the Hares in a place with very soft powdery snow; like after a blizzard or at [11], in which case the jar falls to the ground but doesn't shatter and can be picked up and used.

Finally; the Hares are lucky. This means they can ignore their first failed saving throw.

Whenever a jar is smashed or thrown, it explodes on impact and releases a wave of prismatic energy from the center point in a straight line in all directions. Everything hit by this become kaleidoscopic, making the colors, textures, and patterns random and oscillating at all times along with an unnatural glow. This makes it nearly impossible to sneak around in a snowy place (disadvantage on stealth). This effect fades on living things over the course of one season, and fades on objects over the course of a few years, in which case a random rainbow vomit pattern will be "stained" onto the object permanently after that point. Each recovered jar could be sold for 400c

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