Thursday, April 2, 2015

A to Zpace Dungeon: B is for Barrow

No reason not to keep on with my theme of choice, namely low-fantasy, tomb-robbing, post-apocalyptic Ice Pirates in the Barrowmaze thing that grabs my own attention, these days.  Tell me if you grow weary, O Reader!

Using the handy Dungeon World flavored on-the-fly generator by the ezsteemed +Jason Lutes (See his awesome blog and stuff OVER HERE NOW) I discovered in some musty scroll-case in the hands of a dead Tcho-Tcho, I made this for you, today.  Themes were: Transformation, Criminal Activity, Divination/Scrying, Chaos/Destruction, Tricks and Traps, and ALL IS LOST.

It was built by some cult and functions not just as a burial site, but also as a Portal!

The Barrow of the Pyrocaustic Eye

When the party arrives, they find that Rocket-Bikes are parked outside the entrance way, 1d4+1 of them to be exact (these may be worth money in and of themselves!).  This represents the number of tomb-robbers present in the complex, give or take an extra rider on one of the bikes as needed. In Space Dungeon games, the one-shot dungeons are generally claims so that means that these folks are claim-jumpers and fair game for harsh extermination but YMMV.  A funny twist could be that they are distant descendants of the inhabitants of the tomb, and are there on legitimate business.  No matter, all but one are dead in convenient fashion.

The place has strange topology.  The corridors near 6 and 4 are linked, and 9 and 4 as well - meaning travelling the length of these corridors will take one in an almost Moebius-strip fashion to the opposite point but on the ceiling.  The decor is such that the transition is seamless and without interruption, and no one can tell what has happened without a landmark of some kind.  Ought to be easy enough to sort out but possibly disorienting and who knows what kinds of metaphysical effects occur when these things happen - does your left hand become your right?

Alcoves in the walls are similar to Barrowmaze. Between any two points (with the below admonition) determine how many alcoves there are with a d100 - round up to the nearest 10.  Each PC or meatshield can search 10 alcoves per turn.  Each turn the random monster check is a 1d6, and a 5 or 6 incurs a random encounter.  Each turn spent searching, or any noise or party squabbling or discussion, incurs a +1 penalty to the roll.  It starts over again after each encounter.

Random Search Results, per 10 alcoves: (d12)
1. Ultrabronze Axe Money - money shaped as partial Ultrabronze ingots, hacked by laser or waterjet into crude rectangular chips, threaded in 5's or 10's.  Worth 1 credit each (1d20)
2. Jade Skull Tokens - self-explanatory.  Maybe the size of a marshmallow.  Worth 50 credits, each.
3. Ivory and Turquoise tablet - prayers to the Pyrocaust and glimpses into the End of All Things.  Reading too many of these (with magic or computer assist) will incur a minor corruption in that the reader will have terrible nocturnal visions of bleeding eyes, scorched landscapes, and supernovae. Worth 200+1d4x25 each.
4. Opal Amulet - Opal gives prophetic visions.  In this case, some ominous writing and worth 100 credits
5.  Peridot wristband - Peridot gives glimpses of alternate possible futures, in which the seller receives 200 credits
6. Fluorite Earrings or Noseplug (1d2 for either) - Fluorite channels energy, and these are worth 50 credits
7. Amethyst and silver facial jewelry - extra holes needed to accommodate these piercing jewelries.  100 gp each.  Amethyst will provide visions under the right circumstances.
8. Amber-encased insect or subcreature - 25 gold each.  Possibly sound genetic sample lies deep inside, awaiting the chance to cause ecological havok.  Amber generates light and heat.
9. Bronze or Silver Torc - weighty and could be used as a weapon in a pinch.  75 credits.
10. Liftwood club (a macahuitl), with meteorological obsidian chips for blades.  Wicked deadly, causes fantastic wounds and 1d14 damage OR 1d6 damage and the opportunity to re-roll initiative for that PC.  The crit range is 19 or 20.  Only find this one once.  It is light, drilled with holes for speed, and an ominous prophecy is carved on the sides in relief, depicting demons devouring the stars and planets.  You may go mad if you read this too many times.  Possibly priceless.  I suggest 2000 credits as a lump sum but the Gods will chortle if you give this up.  Maybe not so effective against Robots at the judge's discretion.
11.  A singed scroll with a level 1 Wizard OR Cleric spell, usable as normal but not easy to decipher.
12.  A prophetic coin - Leering Quantum Jaguar Who Devours Quasars is depicted on the obverse.  The instructions on the reverse, in a long-dead language.  Offer it to the undead things here, and they will answer your query with full knowledge but the thing will come to pass irrevocably damaged by burning, withering, or ionizing radiation.  They will speak to the user telepathically.  If used on the Pyrocaustic Eye, a dangerous Phlogiston Disturbance will occur and the topology of the structure will rationalize instantaneously (for starters) and then resolve the disturbance as per the text, or if you're brave use the Purple Planet charts!

Random Encounter (d10 - determine 1d2 if the encounter is on the floor or relative ceiling!)
1) A pyrocaust cultist, re-animated.  He/she trudges down the hall, empty sockets blazing with fire, burial shroud singed and smoking.  Relatively wimpy, but two touch attacks will burn with Aether Fire for 1d4 points additional damage with no save - if both hand attacks hit, then the victim has a bleak and searing vision of his/her/its homeworld reduced to cinders.
2) Dead Looter (up to the number determined).  Eye sockets burned into hollow ragged holes.  Surrounded by 2 loot items as per the chart above.
3) Ghostly voices whispering about pyromaniacal events
4) A radiation hot zone erupts, causing 1d10 burn damage or half on a succesful DC 14 Fort save.  A geiger counter will detect the spike before it occurs and the party can move to safety without harm if they have one (indicators on radsuits and vac-suits will ping or turn color suddenly)
5) A looter runs past, oriented on the relative ceiling, fleeing screaming and on fire.  He takes a round and falls to the ground, smoking and sputtering until his corpse erupts into white flame and disappears.  This only happens if there are sufficient remaining looters - else reroll.
6)  A sound TOK TOK TOK TOK TOK erupts in some far-off hall some distance from the party
7)  The wall begins to glow white hot and emit strange radiation that allows viewing through it - see some unexplored area the party has not yet explored within the complex.
8)  An ashen demonthing, Level 1 in the DCC text on page 401.  It is subject to the prophecy coins, and will attack otherwise and seek to carry off some PC to an extradimensional zone and flay and brand and worse.  If not destroyed or successful in kidnapping, it may be encountered again.
9)  A floating skull-drone.  Harmless.  Will tell the story of whomever is nearest in an alcove and move down the hall.  The prophecy coin can be used to over-ride its programming and it will answer in the same manner
10)  A ceiling-mounted (possibly the floor) laser swings out and delivers a warning blast to d4 party members, for 1d8 damage, but a DC 15 Reflex save will negate it.

The numbered areas are these:

1) Trinkets.  Ultrabronze and bone/shell hairpins (maybe a nose-pin).  Discarded in haste.  Footprints in the dust go further down the hall.  Signs of crowbar damage.  Some looted alcoves have the remains strewn disrespectfully on the hallway floor.  A long-bone is somehow on the ceiling, here.
2) Supplies. A small pick, made of plasteel.  The handle is cracked and it ought not be trusted for hard use.
3) Chopping Trap - a macahuitl mechanism erupts from the floor AND the ceiling - these 2 rows of 3 are synthoak and silver-inset blades, covered with dried blood.  They will hit any character who fails a DC 9 Reflex Save for 2d10 points.  TOK TOK TOK TOK TOK
4) Pit Trap - a hole opens wide below. Suddenly the floor is no longer there, in a quantum sense.  Some long-ago determinate state has collapsed and you hang in mid-air for a moment.  If you are unable to grab the edge, or are not tied to a friend and also fail a DC 16 Reflex Save, then fall into a randomly determined Phlogiston Disturbance.  (note: try not to make it instantly lethal, your Judge-ship)
5) Oddity - The Pyrocaustic Globe-Eye:  It sees all things, and is a local manifestation of the Jaguar That Will Come at The End of Time.  It will gleefully take Prophecy Coins, manifest the Phlogiston Event in the most damaging way possible, and the wink out with a thunderclap. Don't touch it, or else you are burned to cinders and what comes back is like you, but without a tongue, and it's bonded to Obitu-Que in addition to whatever Patrons your previous incarnation had.
6) Blasted skeletons in a loose circle
7) An oracle.  You must be an unmutated Aerethian, possibly descended from the lords of ancient Aereth that commisioned this place (Halflings, Humans, Elves or Dwarves only).  A 3 point Sta loss of blood manifests if you touch this Ultra-bronze scorpion-like device; it quivers for a moment, and a graceful pedipalp whips out to take a blood sample.  If you pass the genetic test (automatic for the character types described), then you are offered some vision of yourself; burned and scarred but powerful and vengeful, atop a stone pyramid with a solar eclipse behind you.  You toss a head down the stairs of the pyramid and see that it is ...
8) A dying looter, poisoned, bleeding, and scorched.  He has 3 loot rolls worth of goods.  He won't last long unless healed of 3 points of damage.  If the party wishes, they may acquire a untrustworthy but absolutely loyal (to the character that saves him) 1st level Chaotic thief as a follower or backup character.  His look matches the flattened foreheads and filed-down teeth of those in the pictoglyphs that surround you, here.  He also has a dataslate that offers the coordinates for this Barrow but no other information.
9) Texts/Prophecies - 2 Level 3 spell scrolls, either one of which (and only one) may be copied by a Wizard into her spellbook
10) An Ultrabronze Statue - The outstretched arm of a muscular warrior defiantly gestures to the approaching party to retreat.  He appears to be wildly dangerous and his head-wear suggests a crackling pre-supernova sun, somehow.  His pierced nose has an adamantium spike through it.  There is an actual skeleton interred within this thing, and it will radiate evil and chaotic magic, but will not interact with the party in any manner except to warn it away. This may be a long-dead god, or some depiction of one yet to be
11)  The abode of 12.5 Quicksilver Panther - he is a cyclopean skeletal high priest, an Eye of Fear and Flame, without the Flame.  He yearns for discussion and news from outside.  He will answer honestly any questions put to him with the prophecy coin, but will resent it, and will do his best to obfuscate otherwise.  Any attacks or transgressions will generate a teleport attack, with the offender being teleported away d100 miles unless they save vs magic.  He is not above teleporting the offender UP if they are also rude.  He will propose a walk down the hall for a while, and it will be hard to put him off.  He will offer a Patron Bond to this area's local manifestation of some evil Patron (whatever the player might desire, but an evil and/or chaotic version of it) - this is a one-time offer and only open to those one will stroll a complete circuit of the complex with him and discuss teleological philosophy and end-times.  He lets on that he knows the End is Nigh - but will gleefully withhold concrete details.

I don't think I can keep up this pace for the whole A to Z Challenge!

Tomorrow: Cairn Golems!

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