Thursday, October 30, 2014

New Pantheon 2: Jailbreak, or an Interview Gone Wrong




Our heroes discuss a few things over fish stew during lunch in the cafeteria. They consider ways to get out of prison, and realign their objectives to include Gallowhall as a prize to be taken. They picture the grounds, and consider possible escape routes. But they are interrupted by four large guards who suddenly loom over them.

"Gentlemen. May I have a word?"

"Certainly," replies Jephthah "There is plenty of room at the table." When this is met with a stern smack on the head, our heroes obediently follow the guards. They go through Cell Block A, through a storage room, into the corridor surrounding the prison, then into an all-purpose room. Our heroes sit on one side of a table, while the guards stand on the other.

"At about 11:30am yesterday, you and a guard were sucked into a sinkhole while mining. You emerged from a hill nearly 24 hours later. Care to fill in the gap?"

Aislyn tells the story, mentioning the guard disappearing, the Grindylows, and the restless sleep. However, she leaves out the Gods.

"Anything else? Anything you are not telling us?"

"Nothing" replies Aislyn, starting to sweat.

"Are you absolutely sure?" A sickly smile crosses the guard's face.

"Well," says Rache after a deafening silence, "There were the Gods."

The guards exchange looks. "Go on..." says the interrogator, confused.

"Yeah, the Gods. They spoke to us, and told us that we would be their redemption. We are their vessels now."

"And did the rest of you hear these voices?"

Jephthah begins to sweat. "Well, I mean, maybe." Aislyn shrugs. "Sure, there were voices I guess."
The Guards look at one another. "Alright, let's put you guys in solitary for now."

Aislyn decides to take the nuclear option. She casts freezing hands under the table, hitting three of the four guards. Our heroes rush forward doing their best without weapons and, several of Layric's Acid Splashes later, the guards are downed. Keys are taken, and clubs and armor are donned.

After much discussion, our heroes make their way south to the storage room outside the kitchen. The gather a bag of supplies and convince a few very dull cooks that they are part of the staff. When a guard strolls by, they take him down before he can scream.

Our heroes then quickly make their way south and wind up at the office. They ambush the guard, use the key to automatically open Cell block A, then rush to the adjacent armory as 7 guards run into the office. Only finding more hide armor and clubs (as well as a few bows and arrows and, upon inspection, a wand of cure light wounds) they head back out again. A fight commences, and again Aislyn's freezing hands reign supreme.

Moments after the guards are downed, a large man in full plate kicks down the door and enters the room: Balthazar Corinthian, the Paladin warden of Gallowhall.

It is January 2nd, and our heroes played this session at character level 2, ascension level 1.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

New Pantheon 1: First Ascension and a Bad Night's Sleep

"Wake up you mongrels!" The guard walks down cell block, hitting his club loudly on the bars. "Cell block 10, you have thirty seconds to be out and on your feet, standing at attention."

Repeating a process they have performed a hundred times before, our heroes, and the rest of Cell Block 10, scramble out of bed and stand at attention in the damp and dark hallway. They are led to the first containment zone, where they are chained together in pairs. They are next led outside and given pickaxes. It's a mining day.

And it's a glorious morning. The sun in shining, the sea is lively, and Gallowhall has docked with a seemingly unspoiled jungle island with a few cliffs and crags peeking above the lush canopy.

20 prisoners are led by five guards through the jungle towards a rocky hill. For a time, our heroes dig out the rock wall, searching for bits of iron. It is backbreaking work, but a pile of ore begins to accumulate.

After an hour of mining, a guard brings a wheelbarrow full of ore to our heroes to collect. This added weight breaks the ground beneath our heroes' feet, and the lot of them plummet into a fast moving underground river.

After being hit against rocks and thrown about, our heroes are deposited in a large underground cavern. Bioluminescent algae is everywhere, casting the room into a dim green light. Without so much as an introduction, our heroes begin working to free themselves from their shackles. Semprona the anti-paladin take a pickaxes and hacks at the ankle bindings until each pair is separated. The guard and his wheelbarrow appear to be gone.

Our group slowly proceed down a natural hallway to another large cavern. This one has three small shapes and, when Layric gets closer, he determines they are sleeping Grindylows. Barely containing his excitement, the rogue coup-de-gras one of the aquatic goblins, and the rest of the group rushes in to murder the other two before they can finish yawning. Around the room our heroes find 9 small spears, a pile of junk, medium leather armor, enough cloth and stones to make a sling, and a small box with 6 spoiled cure light wound potions (which must be choked down to have any effect, at risk of vomiting).

A man-made stone hallway protrudes incongruously down this hallway. Aislyn the sorcerer cautiously blasts some strange goo on the wall, then freezes it altogether when it turns out to be an Ooze Swarm.

The hallway ends with a closed stone door. There are three large mechanical men (same stats as a Hippocampus), all in serious disrepair. When Layric somersaults into the room, he trips and falls at their feet as the constructs slowly whir to life. Although they once clearly were dangerous guardians, these metal creatures are falling apart, and no are no match for our heroes. Semprona pushes the stone door open.

Our heroes enter a medium size hexagonal room, with 6 pedestals and 6 immense soulstones on each. The largest soulstone Rache the Inquisitor has ever seen is about the size of a fist. These are the size of a chair, large lumps of crystal that glow with the colors of the 6 elements: Yellow (Positive), Purple (Negative), Blue (Water), Red (Fire), Brown (Earth), and Grey (Air). It is dim in here, but a massive crack in the back wall appears to be letting in sunlight from above.

Our heroes sense that they are entering a council chamber, and that there is a heated discussion taking place.

They catch phrases like "Just criminals" "weak" "imprisoned" and "unworthy" but then these exclamations are drowned out by a stronger voice. This stronger voice is at the same time loud and quiet, male and female, gravely, airy, rageful and calm, fluctuating between staccato punctuation and flowing verse. As it speaks, our heroes realize that this voice is an overlap of 6 very different voices.

This voice says "We have waited long enough. They are weak now, petty, disunited and mortal. But I sense in each of them a great desire for power." There is a short pause, and then the voice says "No more discussion. It is decided."

They feel the hair on their neck stand up, and they are aware that the invisible presences in the room turn towards them.

"You stand before the gods of the old world. Cast down and broken in the cataclysm, our powers were lost but our spirits were not killed. This temple was build in a bygone era, a last resort in case of such a failing. You stand before the elemental spirits, the creators of the universe, and a Pantheon marked for death."

"We seek revenge upon those who broke us. We seek the recognition above all the powers of the multiverse. We seek worship in the hearts of man. But above all, we seek the power to take back all creation."

"We stand at a crossroads of events, a precipice of history, and if we do not act now we are surely lost. We can wait no longer. You shall be our vessels, and we shall be your weapons. In the end, we shall be as one."

"We offer you great power, unimaginable power, the power to conquer worlds and obliterate your enemies. We offer you power beyond your imagining, power beyond what any mortal has ever held, power beyond even what the new Gods hold now. But, in return, we require a covenent."

"Step forward and claim your God."

Our heroes eagerly step forward. Rache the inquisitor races for the Positive stone, cackling with glee. Semprona the anti-paladin strides toward the Negative stone, declaring "No more games!" Jephthah the fighter walks forward, trips over his own feet, and winds up face first in the Fire stone. Layric the rogue dances from stone to stone, before finally determining that the Earth stone is his. Aislyn the sorcerer approaches the water stone (as if there was any doubt).

The voice speaks again.

"Covenant the first: Your desires shall be my desires, your needs as my needs, your enemies as my enemies, your friends as my friends. We are one mind, one heart, one soul. Do you swear?"

Aislyn hesitates. Is she about to give away her free will? Become a slave? But the promise of power is too alluring. The heroes swear.

"Covenant the second: As a Pantheon we are whole, divided we doom ourselves. There shall be no lies, no secret, no betrayal between god (and on the word betrayal you hear one voice break in anger, a voice as dry and dark as death). Do you swear?"

"Of course" Says Rache, "No secrets. I, by the way, am a half-orc, and not a human as I appear." Our heroes swear.

"Covenant the third: We shall seek power over all other values, unblemished by morality or other false ideals. We shall gain dominion over the world through fear or love, and we shall crush those who will not bow. Do you swear?"

Our heroes make uneasy eye contact from across the room. They swear.

"The let the New Pantheon begin."

The power flows through them, to each of them, and the soulstones turn to opal. They feel the gods rooting around in their brains and, at the same time, an immense unlocking of energy. Their skins glow.

"Without our planes to grant us power, we will have to seek Ascension in the new ways. Worship. You shall come to understand more in time. But first, you must find a way to freedom."

There is a large crack in the back of this room, leading to a vertical shaft up to the surface. Rache pokes his head out, only to see the prisoners eating lunch under the watchful eyes of 6 guard. He and the other heroes return to the cave, determined to wait it out.

Night falls, and the prisoners and guards leave. After some deliberation, Layric determines that the Grindylow corpses are indeed edible, if cooked. Without anything burn, Rache heads into the night, quickly gathers some wood and avoids a Venomous Snake. Jephthah uses his new flame aura to light the branches and the horrid Grindylow meat is prepared and cooked.

They set up camp on the cold stone ground of the room of the Gods, and try to sleep.

Jephthah nods off on his watch at about 1am, and our heroes are each awoken by a thrown spear. Five Grindylows attack! Rache gets hit, and begins bleeding on the floor with a spear sticking through his side. Semprona rushes into action. In her zealousness she activates the vicious aspect of her new found power, completely destroying a Grindylow but sacrificing a majority of her health. Aislyn attempts to roll into an advantageous position, but a Grindylow takes advantage of her movement and stabs her before she can get off a spell. The Grindylows attack, and bring Rache down to negative hit points. Jephthah rushes into to distract the Grindylow on Rache, and Layric moves into flanking. After a few rounds of melee the Grindylows are killed. But the night is not nearly over.

An hour later Rache realizes that they are being watched. He wakes the others and the group try and frighten the lurking Grindylows away. They even scatter metal pieces down the hallway. Despite their best efforts, the Grindylows always stay out of range, and spend the rest of the night hooting and screaming. Aislyn, Layric, and Semprona get no sleep after this, and dawn breaks to a hungry and exhausted bunch.

As the sun rises, our heroes begin to make their way out of the underground cavern and up the hill. However, the guards and prisoners return within minutes to begin mining. Exhausted, Layric and Aislyn both fall down the hill and into the middle of the guards. Semprona, sensing battle, charges and then tumbles down the hill, followed by Jephthah. Rache, seeing the jig is up, makes his way slowly down.

"We surrender" protests Aislyn meekly, as the guards rush in. Our heroes fall under an avalanche of club blows, an awake bruised and sore in their cells.

We started on sunrise January 1st and we ended at January 2nd, mid-day. Our heroes played this a Character Level 1, Ascension level 1, and ranked up to Character Level 2 for next session.

Monday, October 27, 2014

New Pantheon Overview


The New Pantheon Campaign was a direct sequel to the Legacy of the Martyr King Campaign.  It took place 15 game years later, after a second earth-shattering cataclysm and after Maven, King of Men, had disappeared from the world.

There were a lot of attributes to this campaign that made it a particularly interesting one to both run.

First, the campaign started at level 1 and went to level 20, with the characters advancing one level every session.  On top of that, they gained bonus powers as they ascended into godhood.  This was a test of Pathfinder at high levels, and also provided a rags-to-riches story.

Second, the characters were evil.  The main focus of the campaign was to secure the worship of the people through any means possible, and to stop at nothing to get their way.

Third, the game was extremely sandboxy.  The would-be-gods traveled wherever they wished with whatever goals they sought.  Given their power and moral status, nothing was out of the question.  This included both leveling disobedient cities, assassinating emperors, and, when the time called for it, doing good in pursuit of greater evil.

Fourth, this game was a sequel, with former characters acting as central NPCs to the global conflict.

It was a blast to run, and an extremely interesting experiment in a lot of ways.  You can read the adventure logs below.

Session 1: First Ascension and a Bad Night's Sleep

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The White Reef


The White Reef
An Naval Horror One-Shot
Zenith Games


The White Reef is a short Pathfinder adventure for 3-4 Level 4 PCs.  The adventure starts on a ship and has a horror feel, and is perfect for either an aquatic campaign or for a Halloween special.  The Floating Reef is easily adjusted for characters of any level, and makes for an enjoyable encounter between one port and another.  Running a pirate campaign?  This fits in perfectly.

The White Reef is designed to take 3-4 hours to play, and can be completed in a single session.


Hook

If you are running The White Reef as a stand alone adventure or at the start of a new campaign, then the following hook may be used to get the PCs started.

The PCs have been hired aboard The Mammoth trade ship as combat support, defending a valuable cargo of rare spices from the southern isles.

The Mammoth is a wide-bellied, single masted cargo sloop with 50 crew members.  Slow and ponderous, she has been carrying valuable and non-valuable goods between continents for nearly a quarter century.  Her crew are skilled sailors, average fighters, and dedicated professionals.  Her figurehead is a carved mammoth with iron tusks jutting out into the sea breeze.

“Skinny” Pete Goruuk is the half-orc captain of The Mammoth.  A morbidly obese sailor barely able to fit through his cabin door, Goruuk is none-the-less an extremely capable and experienced captain with a proven history of flawless naval trade.  Stern, intelligent, and distant, Goruuk is highly respected by his crew for his maritime knowledge and ability to react quickly in dangerous situations.

James Goruuk is the first mate, and the captain’s adopted son.  A spoiled human and unforgiving task master, James is completely dedicated to his father and The Mammoth.  Due to his cruel demeanor, golden hair, and obnoxiously handsome looks, James is only tolerated by the crew members because of his relation to Goruuk.

Gilligan Gimroy is the night’s helmsman, charged with steering the ship from sunset to sunrise.  Quiet, uncertain, and lacking any sort of leadership qualities, Gilligan often lets the night crew nap if there are no obvious threats.  A human with a pock-marked face and permanent pained grin, Gilligan is chronically apologetic and guilty about minor offenses.  Despite these flaws, Gilligan is an excellent navigator and responsible enough that Goruuk trusts him with The Mammoth for up to 12 hours a day.


The Fog and Landing
Shortly after midnight near the end of The Mammoth’s journey, the cargo ship enters a dense bank of unseasonable fog.  Slowing her pace, the helmsman presses forward, encouraged by the lack of any hazards on his maps.  If any PCs are prone to nightly walks or keeping watch through the evening, the helmsman will assure them that there is nothing to worry about.  He will let any sleeping PCs continue to doze.

Even if a PC has both darkvision and the ability to both see through fog, the speed of the ship will prevent the PC from warning the helmsman of the approaching danger in time.

A few minutes later, the entire ship is woken by an immense crunching sound.  The front of The Mammoth lifts a few degrees and the ship’s movement is suddenly and violently arrested.  Sailors jump from their hammocks as the alarm is sounded, and the deck of the ship is lit with dozens of torches in a matter of moments.

Up on deck, the fog reduces visibility to 30 feet.  The ship appears to have partially beached itself on a what looks something like a giant white sponge.  A cursory glance reveals no obvious damage to The Mammoth but, before investigations can commence hostile figures lurch out of the gloom and attack.


Skeleton Ambush

Black Fire Skeletons (6)                                     CR ½
The eyes and weapons of this humanoid skeleton glow with eerie black fire.
NE Medium undead
Init +7; Senses darkvision 60ft.; Perception +0
DEFENSE
AC 15, touch 13, flat-footed 12 (+3 Dex, +2 natural)
hp 4 (d8)
Fort +2, Ref +3, Will +2
DR 5/bludgeoning; Immune cold, undead traits
OFFENSE
Speed 30 ft.
Melee 2 claws +2 (1d4+2)
Ranged shortbow +3 (1d6/x3)
STATISTICS
Str 14, Dex 16, Con —, Int —, Wis 10, Cha 10
Base Atk +0; CMB +2; CMD 15
Feats Improved Initiative
Gear shortbow with 30 arrows
SPECIAL ABILITIES
Black Fire (Su)
A black fire skeleton’s arrows glow with an otherworldly black flame.   A creature hit by an arrow must success on a DC 14 Reflex save or become enveloped by the fire, taking d6 negative energy damage for 1d4 rounds at the start of its turn.  A burning creature can attempt a new save as a full-round action.  Positive energy counters and dispels the black fire.


Overgrow Skeletons (2)                                     CR 3
This massive human skeleton staggers forth on creaking limbs, sharpened claws rending the air in search of prey.
NE Huge undead
Init +4; Senses darkvision 60ft.; Perception +0
DEFENSE
AC 11, touch 8, flat-footed 11 (-2 size, +3 natural)
hp 14 (3d8)
Fort +1, Ref +1, Will +3
DR 5/bludgeoning; Immune cold, undead traits
OFFENSE
Speed 30 ft.
Melee 2 claws +10 (3d6+10)
Space 15ft; Reach 15ft.
STATISTICS
Str 31, Dex 10, Con —, Int —, Wis 10, Cha 10
Base Atk +2; CMB +14; CMD 24
Feats Improved Initiative

Combat begins 30 seconds (5 rounds) after The Mammoth has beached itself on the white reef, regardless of if the PCs are above or below deck, buffed or un-buffed, armored or unarmored.

The enemies approach in four waves.  To begin combat, two black fire skeletons approach out of the gloom to the east. On the second round of combat, one black fire skeleton and one overgrown skeleton approach out of the gloom to the west.  On the third round of combat, one black fire skeleton and one overgrown skeleton approach from the east. On the fourth round of combat, a two black fire skeletons enter the field, one from the west and one from the east.

The lanterns from The Mammoth will provide light 30 feet from the ship.

The black fire skeletons will approach to within 20 feet of the ship, then begin firing glowing arrows towards the PCs.  Missed arrows lodge themselves in the wood of the ship, and the sailors struggle in vain to put out the darkly burning shafts.

The overgrown skeletons, which appear to be hunched and massive human skeletons with sharpened teeth and claws, will lumber toward the ship, using their height and reach to attack any on the ship.  Although they hit hard, they lack the health or armor to stay around for long, and will shatter dramatically when destroyed.

The skeletons will fire exclusively at the PCs, ignoring the sailors.  However, the first shot they miss every turn will lodge itself in the side of a sailor.  With positive energy or a DC 14 Reflex save as a full round action, a PC can put this fire out.  If the fire is allowed to burn for two whole rounds, the sailor perishes.
Barrels can provide cover for the PCs on board, though the melee fighters of the group may want to get up close and personal with the archers.


Exploring the Reef
When the combat is over, the PCs will have a chance to examine the ship and reef.  Goruuk will bark out orders to inspect the ship for damages, while James will aggressively berate the sniveling Gilligan. There appears to be no damage to the hull, but the ship is firmly rooted in place. Goruuk will order the PCs to get onto the reef and inspect the ship from the outside.

The reef is a tightly woven briar patch of spongy, bone-white vines that give slightly with weight.  It is remarkably flat for its complexity, and provides no penalties to movement. As they watch, the white vines snake up the sides of The Mammoth, sticking thousands of tiny tendrils into the divots and pock marks in the ship.  These vines adhere to the wood like glue and immediately re-grow if torn off, but seem content to hold the ship firmly in place rather than tear it to pieces.

Although the reef appears somewhat plant-like, it is neither organic nor susceptible to fire.  In fact, it registers with a faint necromancy aura if detected.

There is no damage to the ship.

After making these observations, the adventurers may make a DC 20 Knowledge (planes) or Profession (sailor) check to gather more information.  If either of these checks succeed, the PCs remember stories of giant floating reefs, set as webs by undead monsters to catch prey.  However, given that these webs are so rare, the PCs know nothing else.

When it becomes clear that the vines are impossible to remove, Goruuk enlists the PCs to explore the reef and come back with any information.

The PCs may set off in any direction.  The fog reduces vision to 30 feet, and there is no light except that which is brought. Every minute or so, the PCs come across pieces of decomposing wood stuck into the reef: planks from a ship’s deck, a mast leaning at a crazy angle, even a figurehead of a crying woman.  In some areas, the ocean shows through gaps in the reef.  The fog and silence are oppressive, and there is no movement to be seen.

If the PCs can gain a bird’s eye view, they will be able to determine that the fog bank is approximately 100 feet high, and covers an expanse of about 5 miles in diameter.  However, they will not be able to see the reef underneath, which is only about a mile in diameter at the center of the mist.


The Northern Explorer

Before long, a shape looms out of the fog.  A small ship with “The Northern Explorer” emblazoned in crimson on the side, this single masted schooner looks almost serviceable if not for large sections of rot on the port bow.  A rope ladder hangs off the stern of the ship, but the PCs may climb any part of the outside of the schooner with a DC 15 Climb check.

The deck of The Northern Explorer is slightly tilted, but otherwise offers no significant obstacles.  Ruined ropes and broken boxes litter the area.  A stairway from the deck leads down to the sailors’ quarters, where thousands of spiders scurry from the adventurers.  Hammocks and articles of clothing lie in tatters on the floor, and the smell of rot is nearly overwhelming.

A small pile of human bones has rolled to the rear of the ship.  As it is approached, large hairy spiders and long limbed white insects flee out of eye sockets and hollowed femurs. If investigated, it can be determined that this pile only represents three individuals, and that the rest of the ship’s crew is unaccounted for.
A peek into the cargo hold of the ship will reveal the source of the overwhelming scent of rot. Immense quantities of wheat, salted pork, and barely recognizable fruit, brown and nearly disintegrated, lie in broken barrels in the hold.  The entire area is covered in a thick layer of millions of clicking insects, and shining spiders and spider webs coat the room.  Insects squirm in the larger webs as fist sized arachnids gorge themselves on their feast.  The PCs watch in horrors as spiders tear open the hard carapaces of beetles, flies, and even other spiders, showering the area in clear liquid.  However, the insects will not harass the PCs.


The Drowned Sailors

The sailor’s shades are unhappy with the presence of the PCs in the Northern Explorer. If the human bones are touched or attacked in any way, they will decide enough is enough and come forth.  The Sailor’s Shades will also appear if the PCs are leaving the sailor’s quarters, or if the PCs are disembarking the ship without exploring the sailor’s quarters at all.

Sailor’s Shades (3)                                                  CR 3
The underwater screams of a drowning man fill the air as a dark, humanoid shape approaches, two ephemeral hands clawing desperately at a bloated throat.
CE Medium undead (incorporeal)
Init +2; Senses darkvision 60ft.; Perception +5
DEFENSE
AC 15, touch 15, flat-footed 12 (+2 deflection +2 Dex, +1 dodge)
hp 19 (3d8+6)
Fort +3, Ref +3, Will +4
Defensive Abilities incorporeal, channel resistance +2; Immune undead traits
OFFENSE
Speed fly 40 ft. (good)
Melee incorporeal touch +5 (1d6 Strength damage plus drowning touch)
STATISTICS
Str —, Dex 14, Con —, Int 6, Wis 12, Cha 14
Base Atk +2; CMB +4; CMD 17
Feats Dodge, Weapon Focus (touch)
Skills Fly +11, Perception +5, Stealth +8
Languages Common
SPECIAL ABILITIES
Drowning Touch (Su)
A creature hit by a Sailor’s Shade must make a DC 16 Fortitude Save or suddenly finds himself unable to breath air (or water).  The creature may hold his breath for a number of rounds equal to his twice his constitution check.  This duration decreases by one for every full round or standard action the creature takes.  After this time has elapsed, the creature must make a DC 10 Constitution check every round. This DC increases by one for every success.  When he fails this check, he is reduced to 0 hp. The subsequent turn, he drops to -1 hp and is dying.  On the third turn, he dies.  This effect ends if the creature moves more than 60 feet away from the Sailor’s Shade, or if the Sailor’s Shade is destroyed.

The sailor’s shades will approach the PCs from three different directions, floating through walls or floors to deliver their touch.  They will focus on enemies not yet under the effect of drowning touch, as well as any enemies who can damage them easily.


The Captain’s Quarters

The captain’s quarters suggests the quarters of a rich and successful tradesman.  Rotting purple curtains drape the walls, and a fine wooden desk and bed provide furnishing among the cobwebs. Amidst the various trinkets, globes, ruined books, and other odds and ends in the room, the gleam of gold catches the PCs’ eyes.  Several one foot tall golden idols sit heavily on the desk and nearby on the floor, the carved shapes of squat and sneering demons. There is one idol for each character.

These idols are large and heavy, weighing nearly 50 pounds each. Despite their bulging eyes and scowling faces, a DC 15 Appraise check will value each at 2,000gp. However, they give off with a faint Transmutation aura, and a DC 20 Spellcraft check will reveal some primitive, malevolent presence to each of them.   If any character carries two or more idols, their weight suddenly multiplies and the character suffers from heavy encumbrance.


The Aquatic Deathweb
The PCs may choose to keep exploring, or to deposit the golden idols back at their ship.  Either way, a mass of spiders follows them from The Northern Explorer, crawling below and behind them within the tangles of the reef. Within about a minute, the PCs are attacked by the master of the reef.

Aquatic Deathweb                                                  CR 6
N Large undead
Init +6; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +15
Aura Infestation (5ft., 1d6 plus poison)
DEFENSE
AC 19, touch 11, flat-footed 17 (+2 Dex, +8 natural, -1 size)
hp 71 (11d8+22)
Fort +5, Ref +5, Will +8
Immune undead traits
OFFENSE
Speed 30 ft., climb 20 ft, swim 15 ft.
Melee bite +14 (2d8+10 plus poison)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 10 ft.
STATISTICS
Str 22, Dex 14, Con —, Int 7, Wis 12, Cha 14
Base Atk +8; CMB +17; CMD 29 (41 vs. trip)
Feats Awesome Blow, Cleave, Weapon Focus (bite), Improved Initiative, Power Attack, Vital Strike
Skills Climb +14, Perception +15, Stealth +16, Swim +18; Racial Modifiers +4 Stealth
SPECIAL ABILITIES
Poison (Ex)
Infestation and Bite —injury; save Fort DC 17; frequency 1/round for 6 rounds; effect 1d4 Str damage; cure 2 consecutive saves. The save DC is Charisma-based.
Infestation (Su)
A mass of poisonous spiders surrounds the aquatic deathweb to a radius of 5 feet. Any creature within the infestation takes 1d6 points of damage at the end of each round and must make a DC 17 Fortitude save or become nauseated for 1 round. Those damaged by this infestation are poisoned as well. Any area effect attack that deals 10 or more points of damage to an aquatic deathweb destroys the infestation for three rounds, after which a new batch of spiders swarms out of the undead's body to replenish the infestation. The save DC is Charisma-based.
Animate Web (Su)
One per day as a swift action, an aquatic deathweb may cause his floating reef to grab on to enemies within a 40 ft. radius.  This effect is identical to quickened entangle (CL 6), and no damage is dealt from thorns.

The aquatic deathweb will enter into the PCs’ field of view at some speed as a surprise round.  He will use Animate Web as a swift action to begin combat (assuming he can catch at least half of the PCs), then move in close for melee. If opportune, the aquatic deathweb will use his awesome blow to knock opponents into the water, where they will have to make climb DC 10 checks to get back onto the reef.


To the Depths

With the destruction of the Aquatic Deathweb, the reef begins to disintegrate.  Within two rounds, our heroes find themselves in the ocean, the bone-white tendrils disintegrating almost instantaneously upon contact with the water.

A million drowning spiders form a thin layer over the ocean for a hundred feet in each direction.  These crawl over the PCs in search of land, and incur a DC 13 Fortitude save when each character first enters the water.  Failure results in the PC becoming sickened for 2d4 rounds.

For every move and standard action that passes, any PC in the water must make a swim check. A swim check of DC 10 is required to move at quarter speed, either up towards the surface or forward.  If a PC fails this check by five or more, he sinks 15 feet straight down into the water. 

Recognizing their chance, the golden idols grown in weight upon contact with the sea water, threatening to drag the PCs to the ocean floor.  For each golden idol that a character is carrying, he suffers a -10 penalty to his swim check.  A golden idol may be dropped as a free action.  If dropped, it sinks out of sight within seconds and is lost to the depths.

A large wooden section of a long destroyed ship floats 90 feet away from the PCs.  If they can reach this wooden plank, they no longer have to make swim checks.

Make sure to keep track of each character’s distance to the plank and, if applicable, his distance underwater.

After all PCs have either made it to the wood or drowned, the fog slowly lifts.  The Mammoth spots the unhappy PCs and slowly comes around to pick them up.




Purchase a Printable PDF of The White Reef here for 99 cents!