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  • Writer's pictureMac Boyle

The College of Grotesque Arts -- Week Five

First, my apologies for this being a day later than usual. Life’s been a mess the past week or two.

So maybe it’s my imagination, but I swear Appendix A decided to get weirder with Level Two than it did with Level One. (I do the base map for the level all in one go at the beginning of the month in order to deal with passages that cross pages.) This whole level is a couple notches up on the “labyrinthine” scale; Week Eight is particularly bad. Or maybe it’s just that I’ve gotten used to the maps from last month and so the new ones look weird. Let’s get started.

Room 1: f.28v

Not a lot on here except floral borders and the like, so this room is another one with a soil floor, and is thickly planted with vines that climb up the wall and pillars on trellises.

Some of those vines bite. Honestly, I think that speaks for itself. Here’s some stats:

Biting Vine: CR 1; XP 400; N Medium Plant; Init -3; Senses Low-Light Vision; Perception +8

DEFENSE: AC 14, touch 7, flat-footed 14 (-3 Dex, +7 natural); hp 13 (2d8+4); Saves Fort +5, Ref -3, Will +1

OFFENSE: Speed 5 ft., climb 5 ft.; Melee bite +3 (1d6+2 plus poison); Space 5 ft.; Reach 10 ft.; Special Attacks Constrict, Poison

STATISTICS: Str 14, Dex 3, Con 14, Int 1, Wis 12, Cha 10; Base Atk +1; CMB +3; CMD 10; Feats Alertness; Skills Perception +8


Constrict (Ex): A Biting Vine can crush an opponent, dealing 1d6+2 bludgeoning damage, when it makes a successful grapple check (in addition to any other effects caused by a successful check, including additional damage).

Poison (Ex): A Biting Vine can poison those it attacks. A Biting Vine's bite attack will inflict a poison on its victims that has a fortitude save DC of 13, a frequency of 1/round for 6 rounds, causes 1d3 con damage, and takes two consecutive saves to cure.

Biting vines can’t actually move from where they’re rooted; the speed listed is how quickly they can uncoil from their spot and move their head towards their prey. They’re more of an environmental hazard than anything; if the PCs get too close, they strike.

In the middle of the room, there’s a 10-foot-deep pit for some reason. It’s covered over with vines, so it’s easy to miss. If PCs fall in, the biting vines will constrict around them, trapping them to be devoured.

Room 2: f.29r

Another high-ceilinged room filled with naddermice (Room 1.30). It’s cluttered with rotten wood, remnants of furniture that’s been damaged more by naddermice than time.

This one is also inhabited by a Naddermus Lord. Physical stats as Dire Bat, with the additions that it exhibits a level of mental control over smaller naddermice and is Part Plant. This is the adult form of a naddermus, which only a handful actually metamorphose into — they’re a bit like hive insects, really. Naddermice are produced by budding off of a Naddermus Lord.

In one of the piles of wood is a hidden magical item: the Phoenix Mirror. This is a polished brass mirror that, when you look into it, shows you what you would look like if you were a phoenix. Not an anthropomorphic phoenix, mind. Regular one. So unless you’re really good at telling individual birds apart, everyone kind of looks the same. It’s always quite hot to the touch; you could probably cook food on it. Carrying it gives you mild fire resistance.

Room 3: f.29v

This room is largely empty; its only notable feature is an extensive number of crude tally marks scratched into the wall.

Oh, and there’s also a lion wearing a crown. PCs might notice that the lion doesn’t act quite like a normal animal — this is Arnewic, a solo explorer who came down here several years ago. (Rogue, slightly higher level than the PCs.) He put on a crown that he found in the secret room off of Room 2.17, and it turned out to be cursed. He’s trapped as a lion until the crown can be removed — and it seems someone put a security enchantment on the crown itself that keeps it from being brought out of the dungeon, so as long as it’s stuck on his head, he’s stuck down here. He would love it if one or both of these enchantments could be removed (preferably both). It’s going to be difficult to communicate this to the PCs, as he can’t actually speak in lion form. Also, his mental health has suffered a lot as a result of being stuck like this for so long, which is going to be another communication barrier.

Room 4: f.30r

The door into this room is supposed to be operated by a lever on the wall nearby. However, the lever is broken, so the door has to be forced. There’s another lever inside the room; that one still works. The north portion of this room is occupied by a particularly deep artificial pond.

Within the pond are a few olfarae. An olfara is a bit like a hippocampus (the mythological kind) in concept, but with a worse execution. It’s an amphibious creature with the hooves of a camel, the ears of a rabbit, and a fan-like tail that appears to aid it in swimming despite the whole thing not seeming to make hydrodynamic sense. The front half is pink and the back half is blue. They were apparently meant to be a sort of steed or beast of burden, but the wizards hadn’t managed to get them big enough — a halfling could ride one, but not an adult human. They’re skittish and bad-tempered. May spit impressive gouts of water at you.

Olfara: CR 1, XP 400; N Medium Magical Beast; Init +0; Senses Low-Light Vision, Darkvision 60ft; Perception +0

DEFENSE: AC 12, touch 10, flat-footed 12 (+2 natural); hp 13 (2d10+2); Fort +4, Ref +3, Will +0

OFFENSE: Speed 40 ft., swim 40 ft.; Melee 2 hooves +4 (1d6+2); Ranged spit water (20ft) +2 (1d6+2)

STATISTICS: Str 14, Dex 10, Con 12, Int 2, Wis 10, Cha 10; Base Atk +2; CMB +4; CMD 14 (18 vs. trip); Feats Run; Skills Swim +7; Special Qualities Amphibious

Bam. Week Five. Level Two has begun.

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