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  • Writer's pictureMac Boyle

The College of Grotesque Arts -- Week Six

I don't have anything to add at the start here; let's just go:



Room 2.5: f.30v

Had a bit of trouble working out what to do with this page. Spent a while trying to figure out what this woman is holding; the only explanation I was able to find online is that this is St. Catherine holding a representation of the wheel she was tortured on. Hm.



The floor of this empty and perfectly circular room is in constant rotation like a wheel for some reason. (Appendix A actually made this one circular, which I see as serendipity.) The floor is uneven, apparently by design — the floor is constructed out of stone blocks, which seem to form steps up or down apparently at random. Walking across the floor will require a Balance check. Falling does a small amount of damage. Entering or exiting likewise requires a check to move through the door without falling.



Broken mechanisms scattered about the room resemble distaffs, spindles, and other sewing tools. Was this some kind of textile-related device? The world will never know.


Room 2.6: f.31r

The eastern portion of this room is occupied by an artificial pond.



The pond is filled with small blue-gold minnows.



There are also geese, being hunted by a fox.



Sunk into the mud at the bottom of the pond are the remains of Ilger, a previous explorer of the dungeon. Ilger was a cleric who held some rank in his former church, and may have some good items on him. (That crozier looks pretty fancy…) If anyone uses speak with dead, Ilger is from a sect that practices burial at sea, and he’s pretty sure his former party would have tossed his body in the pond as a gesture towards that. He suspects that, had they survived, they would have retrieved him to either resurrect him or take him to a proper sea.


Room 2.7: f.31v

Appendix A originally had this room connected to 2.8 and 2.10, also by secret doors, but I’ve decided that’s silly. Anyway. That hallway to the east there appears to end in an empty storage closet, but a bit of examination will reveal that the back wall will swing open with a good enough push.



When the door is opened, a fungal stench wafts out, followed by a handful of flegatters. The room has an unfinished dirt floor, and fungus of some kind has been encouraged to grow over the walls. It is inhabited by a seemingly endless quantity of these flegatters. A flegatter is, essentially, a bright orange slug that has been granted wings. It’s extremely venomous. These creatures have escaped to the outside world, so a Knowledge(Nature) check would warn you about them — probably too late for anyone who was in the closet when the door was opened, though.


Flegatter: CR 2, XP 600; N Fine Magical Beast; Init +2; Senses Low-Light Vision, Darkvision 60ft; Perception +0

DEFENSE: AC 20, touch 20, flat-footed 18 (+8 size, +2 Dex); hp 26 (3d10+9); Saves Fort +6, Ref +5, Will +1; Immunities Poison

OFFENSE: Speed 5 ft., fly 10 ft.; Melee contact +7 (0 damage + poison); Space 0 ft.; Reach 0 ft.; Special Attacks Poison (Ex)

STATISTICS: Str 2, Dex 14, Con 17, Int 2, Wis 10, Cha 10; Base Atk +3; CMB -9; CMD 3; Feats Acrobatic, Athletic; Skills Fly +10; Special Qualities Magical Beast Traits

SPECIAL ABILITIES:

Poison (Ex): Anyone who comes into contact with a flegatter has been exposed to a venom that has a Fortitude save DC of 14, a frequency of 1/round for 10 rounds, causes 1d2 Con damage, and takes two saves to cure.


Flegatters don’t so much attack as they just stick to you and then you’re poisoned. They may do this on purpose; they’re carnivorous, and just landing on something then waiting for it to die is basically a hunting behavior for them.


If you leave the door open, more flegatters keep coming out.


Room 2.8: f.32r

This page is not great for my purposes. There are some grotesques, but two of them are just “some kind of worm thing with a human face”, which isn’t helpful, and the third is this one, which I just can’t parse in any kind of way I want to engage with:



That leaves us with a human figure, so sure, whatever, there’s a guy here.



This is Hagin, a member of the Gatekeepers, doing a little amateur exploring. (If you’ve really been keeping track, you may remember that the Gatekeepers have Februaria’s keyring and therefore can teleport to this level — the key goes to Room 2.26, though, so Hagin’s wandered some way from where he came in. He does not have the keyring on him.) He’s a sorcerer a couple levels higher than the PCs, and he just happens to be wandering through this room, which is otherwise empty but for two rows of pillars. (I’m also going to put him on the random encounters table for this level, so if the PCs have already run into him, you can choose to not have him in this room.)

Hagin is cheerfully overconfident. He’s of course happy to give the PCs tips or even travel with them, but of course that’ll cost them. The other Gatekeepers would frown on one of their members offering services to explorers free of charge, after all. (Hagin uses that as an excuse, and it’s not untrue, but he doesn’t have any kind of problem with profit-motivated behavior, and would probably charge them for his services regardless.) The fees are exorbitant, but you can haggle. Hagin has a pretty good idea of the contents of this level, but is cagey about sharing unless you pay him.


Room 2.9: f.32v

The room is empty and featureless.



This is the room where Caretaker Three remains when it’s not doing its rounds — if the PCs enter during the day, they will find it here, inactive near the northern wall. It’s a stone construct with a humanoid upper half in bluish stone, and a piscine lower half in reddish stone. Its tail has a little beak on the end, which it uses as a somewhat crude extra hand.


Caretaker Three carries an odd golden staff; one end acts like a set of tongs, and can be used to close around the limb of an escaped creature if needed. This is the Rod of Beaſt Restraint, and will be detailed below the following stats.


Caretaker Three: CR 7, XP 3200; N Medium Construct; Init +2; Senses Low-Light Vision, Darkvision 60ft; Perception +0

DEFENSE: AC 21, touch 12, flat-footed 19 (+2 Dex, +9 natural); hp 70 (9d10+20); Saves Fort +3, Ref +5, Will +3; DR 5/- SR 18

OFFENSE: Speed 20 ft., swim 20 ft.; Melee rod +16 (1d12+7) , tail +11 (2d6+7); Spell-Like Abilities (CL 9; DC 10 + spell level): At Will: Create Food and Water, Daze Monster, Minor Creation; 3/day: Charm Monster, Rainbow Pattern, Telekinesis; 1/day: Fabricate, Wall of Force

STATISTICS: Str 24, Dex 14, Con 0, Int 0, Wis 10, Cha 1; Base Atk +9; CMB +16; CMD 28; Special Qualities: Construct Traits


Rod of Beaſt Restraint: Ten times per day, this rod can cast hold monster. Additionally, this rod can be used to initiate a grapple by seizing a creature with the tong-like end; it confers a +5 bonus to your grapple check when you use it in this way. The rod can also be used as a bludgeoning weapon for 1d12 damage.


Caretaker Three is a little slow and clumsy — the fishtail doesn’t work for movement as well as it might. Like the other Caretakers, it doesn’t interfere with the PCs unless they interfere with it first. If it becomes convinced that they’re a problem, it will attempt to render them unconscious, charmed, or held, then move them to Room 2.26. If it is particularly concerned about them posing a threat, it may begin the combat with a wall of force to cut off escape.


Room 2.10: f. 33r

This room is spacious and high-ceilinged, with a deep soil layer as its floor and two rows of pillars supporting the roof. It has several trees within it, as well as a small pond in the southwest corner.



The pond is stocked with small blue flying fish. That’s exactly what it sounds like. They’re about minnow-size. They don’t go far from the pond, because they can’t breathe out of the water.



The trees contain gold-winged bellbirds. These are standard songbirds, except unusually loud. If agitated, they can deafen anyone within five feet.



The room is also inhabited by unusually friendly squirrels. They seem almost domesticated, even a bit dog-like in the way they react to people.


Room 2.11: f.33v

This is another latrine. The opening to said latrine is located in the southwest corner.



In the southeast corner, there is a rather nice fountain depicting a bird-like grotesque with water coming out of its mouth.



The latrine itself, while clean, is inhabited by a spike-tailed worm. This creature is a blue-and-red serpent with a rabbit-like head and a long, spiked tail. It attacks by constricting, and may well do so if you decide the PCs are having too easy a time of it — if they do not investigate the latrine, feel free to have it emerge and/or grab them.

Spike-Tailed Worm: CR 4, XP 1200; N Medium Magical Beast; Init +2; Senses Low-Light Vision, Darkvision 60ft, Blindsight 30ft; Perception +11

DEFENSE: AC 18, touch 12, flat-footed 16 (+2 Dex, +6 natural); hp 45 (6d10+12); Saves Fort +6, Ref +7, Will +2

OFFENSE: Speed 30 ft., climb 30 ft.; Melee tail lash +11 (1d8+5/x3); Space 5 ft.; Reach 10 ft.; Special Attacks Constrict (1d8+5), Grab (tail lash)

STATISTICS: Str 20, Dex 15, Con 12, Int 2, Wis 10, Cha 10; Base Atk +6; CMB +11 (+15 grapple); CMD 23; Feats Ability Focus (Constrict), Alertness, Toughness; Skills Perception +11; Special Qualities Magical Beast Traits, Blindsight 30ft

SPECIAL ABILITIES:

Constrict (Ex): A Spike-Tailed Worm can crush an opponent, dealing 1d8+5 bludgeoning damage, when it makes a successful grapple check (in addition to any other effects caused by a successful check, including additional damage).

Grab (Ex): If a Spike-Tailed Worm hits with its tail lash attack, it deals normal damage and attempts to start a grapple as a free action without provoking an attack of opportunity. Grab can only be used against targets of a size Medium or smaller.


And there’s Week Six. I think I’ve managed to keep this one a bit shorter.

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