OG 2011 Lost Temple of Tharizdun

  1. Introduction
  2. Clearing the Temple
  3. Side Tunnel of Madness
  4. The Broken Seal
  5. The Altar
  6. Props
  7. Stat Blocks

1. Introduction

The church of Boccob (Riggby’s church) have heard of the PC’s exploits (use Altamaic since the PCs saved him). There is a church nearby that is having a recurring problem – it seems to turn into a mad cult! They eventually pour into the streets and attack the citizens of Greyhawk. It appears it is happening again. Clear out church and find out why it is happening!

  • Why aren’t we doing it? Riggby’s body is about to enter Greyhawk. This cult business was unexpected and is too close to the church. Simply not enough manpower given all the other possible threats (Riggby had many enemies).
  • Previous and current religions in that church?
    • First were the Alliturians – Allitur oversees Ethics and Propriety, and value knowledge highly (who knows, they may have uncovered something)
    • The Dalt – Portals, Doors, Enclosures, Locks and Keys. Perhaps they helped unlock something
    • Current is Berei, the Hearth Mother. She may be an aspect of Boery, the Oerth Mother).

2. Clearing the Temple

Before you is a amorphous, gray mist with many eyes that peer from within. The mist fills the street before you. You see forms moving within the mist, and hear shouts of anger and wails of madness. The mist expands, and several of the eyes focuses upon you!

The Fog

  • Fear check -2 as the Fog wall rolls forward (the weird “eyes”, the yells and screams)
  • 3 Crazed Townfolk per PC.
  • If the PCs enter the mist, they must make a Spirit check or be Shaken (maddening images run through their minds – rape, torture, eating of another’s flesh, etc). Crit Fail means they join the crowd.
  • Range Attacks into the mist for the PCs is at -2 due to obscurement (but not the Crazed Townsfolk).
  • Changing non-adjacent targets requires a Notice Check (this is both those inside the fog and out, unless ranged person is elevated)
    • Raise – can attack that round no penalty
    • Success – can get to target, but attack at -2 (fog is very thick around this target as you approach)
    • Fail – you see shapes in the fog and hear yells, but are not sure which way to go
    • Crit Fail – Opps! Sorry (attack PC)




  • If the PCs think to get at elevation, they can see the mist emanates from the temple. (award bennie). With a Notice check, they see strands of purple in the mist that seems to link the moving forms back to the temple. These strands originate from the priest and his followers inside.
  • Within the mist are normal people that have been taken by the Madness. All are extras d6s in their skills (parry 5, toughness 5), but d10 Strength from their madness. They are immune to mind control, and have +2 to come off Shaken due to their Maddened state.
  • Also emphasize that while the people in the mist are trying to hurt the PCs, they are normal looking towns folk other than their mad appearance. Can hit with flat of weapon using -1 to hit.
  • Drawing a Club on Initiative:
    1. Another citizen is drawn into the mist and attacks!
    2. You discover your target has moved on to attack something else (this is a “smarts” trick d8 WC)
    3. You get caught up in a cart/stand/refuse (“agility” trick d8 WC)
    4. You recognize the person attacking you (randome roll on starting attitude towards NPC)
    5. Roll Agility -2 (due to mist) or fail into open sewer grate (1d6 damage and fall prone)
    6. Make a Notice Check or accidently attack nearby ally!
    7. Mist is very cold. PC has been in a very cold pocket for too long – Vigor check or Level of Fatigue (need to be in heat about 15 minutes to lift).
    8. Notice -2 vs. Lockpick d8 (extra) – Pickpocket! There is always an opportunity!

Inside the temple, the pews have been scattered haphazardly (movement costs x2 squares, running requires Agility check or fall prone). If someone thinks to get to an elevated height, they see there is a pattern – that of Tharizdun! (Knowledge Rel-2 or Common Knowledge -4)

There are a couple of worshippers in the mist. There is chanting and those near the back of the church (or up high) can see the purple stands originate from a priest. There is mist in the room, and PCs fight at -2 and do not forget the Cold! His followers attack, and he casts spells (at -2, since trying to maintain his chant). The trappings have been corrupted. The followers are all d8 and fight to the death. There are 1 per 2 PCs. The Priest is a WC. The Priest calls on the Black Rock. He thinks it is an Avatar of Berei, but it really is of the Evil Elemental Eye, an aspect of Tharizdun. Knowledge Religion does reveal this fact

After defeating the cult, the mist basically dissipates. There are some clues. A key one is anyone checks out the Altar, a Notice reveals that it is cracked and there is cold and mist coming out of the crack at the base (but not enough to account for what occurred). The holy symbols in the church have been perverted. A book bound of human (black) skin has words of madness (the words gyrate when you first look at them. Any attempt to read them results in a d8 WC, 2d12 Insanity Damage).

With great effort, the Altar can be moved (they are in a city, they can get a block and tackle, otherwise need a Str vs. TN 10). Moving the Alter reveals a dark, natural shaft with a cold mist rising up from it.

3. Side Tunnel of Madness

Mental Damage and Insanity

  • Mental Toughness(MT) is 2 + Spirit/2
  • Works like normal wounds in that Equal to MT+3 is shaken, MT+4+ is a Wound (or second Shaken is a wound, regardless of the cause of the first shaken). This is different from RoC in that there is only one pool of “wounds” – real ones and Madness
  • Soaking Madness requires a Smarts roll instead of a Spirit Roll.
  • Healing works as normal to remove Madness (the Skill is calming the person down, the Power helps fix the damaged mind)
  • If the 4th Wound is Madness, regardless of types of the other 3 Wounds, Insanity results
  • Insanity (like Incapacitation) – roll an immediate Spirit check with all applicable modifiers (note things like Hard to Kill only apply to Physical wounds)
    • Raise – Shaken, and Insanity fades after encounter. Roll on the Mental Disorder (page 26, RoC)
    • Success – Shaken and suffers Insanity until all Wounds and Madness are healed (the physical wounds serve as a reminder of the horror)
    • Failure – Shaken and indefinite Insanity
    • Crit Fail – Stared into the Abyss and the Abyss stared back. Unconscious for d6 hours, permanently loss one die of Spirit. Indefinite Insanity. If Spirit falls below d4, there is no hope of recovery
  • Mental Disorder Table (see RoC page 27+ for details)
    1. Amnesia
    2-4 Depression and Hallucinations
    5 Depression
    6-7 General Anxiety Disorder
    8 Mania
    9-10 Night Terrors
    11 Obsession
    12 Obsessive Compulsive
    13-14 Paranoia
    15 Phobia
    16 Psychotic Episodes
    17 Sociopath Tendencies
    18-20 Weak Mind




The side tunnel is about 60’ down. Once this tunnel is located, it becomes very obvious that someone took great care to decorate it. The smooth stone walls of the passage lead back 60 feet, and every inch of them are detailed with strange runes, glyphs and pictographs. A glint off of metal can be seen from the main tunnel.

  • The original symbols appear to be of a natural cult. As one progresses, the symbols appear corrupted, distorted. About 2/3rds of the way back, the glint is off a gold statue (too far to make out details). However, the glyphs now move in sickening manner out of the corner of your eye!
  • At the 2/3 point, the PC hears “Only the Chosen may approach” Attack d8(WC) TN 4, 2d6 damage vs Mental Toughness (see sidebar).
  • There is small gold statue of Beory’s holy symbol. This was placed there in hope people would take it and leave. However, the power of Tharizdun has grown. If person was able to continue to this point, take the player outside of the room.
    • “Reach beyond the statue for the true treasure.”
    • Beyond is pure, bitter cold. Vigor check or level of Fatigue. There is a floating miniature obelisk. You pull out an object about a foot long, smooth, and rectangular. The top is square, about 3" a side. It narrows to about 2" square, then ends in a pyramid-like point. It is solid black that seems to absorb the light of your torch, all except the veins of purple. When you are not looking directly at the veins, they appear to writhe slowly. Thinking about it, the obelisk shaped item was point down in the darkness… It will try to bend the PC to his will – Puppet d12 WC. Command will be to present that statue to the group and keep the obelisk hidden
  • Common Knowledge (religious character) or Knowledge (religion):
    • Success = Symbols are an ancient version of Beory
    • Raise = Corruption is by Tharizdun

4. The Broken Seal

This level was an ancient seal against an evil cult/altar of Tharizdun. Either a siesmic event or just the wearing of the rising COLD mist pressure has broken the seal (this is evil magic, doing the opposite of normal). If the mist can be cleared, there clearly is the mad symbol of Tharizdun on the floor (all the crevasses). There is enough mist here that for every 5 minutes of time at the table, the PCs make a Vigor check or Fatigue.

The Tree (entry into the area from the shaft)

As they first enter:

The descending tunnel widens into a room, of which you are entering from the ceiling. A cold, foul mist fills this room. Below you, you make out what appears to be the top of a tree!

They can avoid the tree in their decent, or use it to help get down. Once on the floor of the cave, the floor is very slick. Visibility is limited to 5 feet, and the mist smells foul, though the mist consists of sulfur and water, and is in no way toxic. Anyone moving around in the cave without extreme caution (basically looking at their feet) must make an Agility check or fall 1d4-2 × 10 feet. Anyone falling 0 feet is considered to have twisted an ankle and tripped in a small crack, taking a level of fatigue. Anyone falling 10-20 feet has fallen into a larger crack, gotten wedged in, and takes 1d6 damage plus must make a Vigor check per 5 minutes from the cold or take a level of Fatigue.

Close examination of the walls reveals a series of over 50 cut out recesses, each containing a skull of a human or an animal.

A notice check gets:

Most of the skulls are small to medium in size, though one is a from saber-tooth tiger and another is from a mastodon. On the wall above the mastodon skull is some ancient writing.

The writing detects as necromancy magic. A Knowledge (ancient language) or Common Knowledge -4 allows an individual to understand that the skulls are protected by a curse. Nothing of value can be found in the skulls; however, anyone removing a skull from this room or destroying a skull is subjected to a terrible curse.

Curse of Animal Hostility: Subject automatically is treated as an enemy by all natural animals. Animals either shun or attack the individual as if they were automatically hostile towards him. The cursed subject cannot ride a horse or come within 10 feet on any domesticated animal without incurring hostility. Even their companion animal avoids them, though it may follow at a distance, confused, rather than attacking or leaving. A returning the stole skulls removes the curse.

Investigating the Tree

An alien tree has grown up here in the midsts of this room. Its banyon-like roots vary in color from deep green, matallic crimson, indigo blue, and smokey purple. They join together in a multi-color trunk, rising up to form a shiny black bark. The leaves are bright, multi-hued colors, and the fruit is lustrious purple, much like a plumb.

If anyone says they are looking closely about the tree, the learn the following

  • Notice Success – Notice around the heart of the roots finds cold pockets and a tunnel deeper into the earth. Knowledge (nature), or Common Knowledge by Elf/Dwarf indicates the tree likely broke through the floor above. The floor, from the bottom, appears to be worked stone (not evident from the top, only from below).
  • Notice Raise – Entwined in the alien trunk appear to be grotesque face merged into the bark! From there, a face can be found for anyone that has a Success on a Notice Check
    • In a jet black portion of the trunk is a warrior in heavy armor of unfamiliar design. The flanges and fluting are all of foreign, or perhaps even alien, design. He is holding a wicked, curvy sword in one hand and in an outstretched hand is an orb the size of a large pebble.
    • In a dark green area, a warped masked man in flowing robes with long sleeves can be found. He holds a staff in one hand and a small drum hangs from his belt.
    • A third figure is twisted into a large, blood red section of the trunk. He wears high boots, a doublet, and gauntlets that are warped with the twisting wood. A hood is drawn over his head and face. He appears to be holding a wind chime of some sort in one of his gnarled hands.
    • A final figure is discovered in an area of deep indigo. The figure is clothed with many-pleated robe with a sash covered in strange, indecipherable sigils. His head is also cowled and he cradles a scepter in his folder arms. At his feet is a brazier and chunks of incense.

If someone feels along the warped figures, they can pull out the following (bennie):

  • Warrior – Bead of Force
  • Masked Man – The drum
  • Red man – Chime
  • Indigo man – Brazier and incense.

Furthermore, there is risk/reward for the blessings of Tharizdun if one eats the fruit.

  • Risk: Make a Vigor and a Spirit check. Failure of either is a permanent loss of one die in the failed attribute (entropy and madness). “Your lack of Faith is Disturbing”
  • Success in both raises permanently the attribute of the PC’s choice. “Your Faith and Purity has been Rewarded!”

The Shaman’s Grave

This small cave contains a small, clear pool and a 2-foot x 2-foot x 7-foot slab of pure obsidian glass (worth 5000 gp if removed, but it weighs over 4000 pounds!). On the slab are the inanimate remains of an ancient shaman. On the body are the rotted remains of the man’s clothing, a stone greataxe (see Ancient Nature Shrine, below), a few dry and brittle feathers of various large birds, and a necklace of red coral, its center section carved in the shape of a cat, worth 400 gp. The axe radiates enchantment and necomantic magic if detected, but seems to have no real effect unless taken to the altar in Ancient Nature Shrine.

The pool itself is clear and cold (40-degrees, Vigor Check or level of Fatigue). This area is not connected to the geothermal coldspots that generate the ever-present steam in other portions of this complex. It is 30 feet deep, and a successful Notice check reveals a subsurface passage leading out of it. Living in the pool are numerous blind cavefish and crustaceans. No signs of habitation are present in this cave, save for the few bats and cave insects that call this area home. In the bottom of the pool can be found (Notice check) several broken stone tools; an adze, a knife, a few needle-like implements, and an ax. A single rune is carved above the subsurface exit to this pool. A Knowledge Religion indicates that the rune is a religious symbol of some sort; comprehend languages indicates only a single word: “Mother”.

The Ancient Nature Shrine

This small cave contains a primitively carved statue of a huge barbaric looking man holding a greataxe. A stone altar sits in front of the statue. If detected for, neither good nor evil can be found. A faint magical aura of conjuration and enchantment can be detected on the altar and statue. The stream flows from a huge waterfall out of a hole on the far wall, creating a misty, wet atmosphere throughout the cave. Runes inscribed on the base of the statue. If they can be read, they are found to be an intonation to a long lost god, known simply as “the Mother”. The prayers beg the Mother for prowess in battle, and for aid in defeating the spirits of the Dark God. If the stone axe is placed upon the altar and the prayer recited, the altar glows brightly. The axe is imbued with the power against Tharizun. The weilder is immune to the Insanity and Assaults from the Altar (see below) Though made of stone, it functions normally as a weapon, though it only functions for the person who recited the incantation.

5. Altar

This cave seems cut at strange angles, creating disturbing shadows and weird, seemingly impossible bends and curves. The stone is a cloudy purple color. There is what appears to be an an ancient altar made of dull, porous, slightly corroded black rock sitting atop a 1’ high platform of black stone speckled and streaked with violet. The room is cold – a soul-numbing chill that grips one’s very heart, as well as one’s sanity. A mist hovers along the floor and seems to emanate from an ancient well beyond the alter. As you move about, you hear the crunch of bones hiding under the mist

Touching the Altar without calling up Tharizdun’s benevolence causes a glowing, golden eye to “swim” in the altar. All seeing this must make a Spirit -2 or the following:

d20 Result
1 Death
2-5 Lose two Advances
5-8 Insanity (see RoC)
9-12 Spirit drops 1 die
13-16 Strength Drops 2 dice (temporary)
17-20 Vigor Drops 2 dice (temporary)

Everyone hears “There is a price for Wisdom” upon this event.

If the drum is struck, the chime rang, and the incense burned (in any order), then the altar becomes transparent heliotrope in color, the black mass center grows larger and swollen veins of purple, and the eye is a fiery red-orange. A tentacle come lashing out of the altar and grabs the closest living being , pulling it into the stone (this is automatic if anyone is lying on the Altar, otherwise Fighting d8 (WC, +4 for the Drop) to hit, and next round is d12 + 2 WC vs. creatures strength or be pulled in). The Tentacle has Toughness of 10 and is Wild Card. The Tentacle goes until such time that it is destroyed or pulled someone into the Altar.

If someone is pulled in, they are immediately destroyed. The remainder will hear _"What Tool do you desire in your Service to Tharizdun?" They can wish for a pretty powerful magic item and get it.

Trying to destroy the Altar either through physical damage or through Consecration is results in a mental/spiritual assault.

6. Props

  • Probably Dwarven Forge for the church
  • Poster map – town center – stand alone building with barrels is the church, the PCs start at the other end by cannot see the church due to the mist/fog
    • Book – the evil book found in the church
  • Side Tunnel Package
    • Rock side leads to the statue (long tunnel, end tunnel, statue with flame)
    • Water Side is for next area
  • Poster Map
    • The rock side is the Nature Temple – the tree and so forth
      • Coral Figure for the Tree
      • The pond is the water way to the secret shrine
      • From Side Tunnel Package, use the water side to represent the water tunnel.
      • The wooded side is small shrine where plants magically grow
    • Other side is the final area.
      • Add the Shrine piece for the altar.
  • Figs
    • Cultists
    • Commoners
    • Undead
  • Dry Ice?

7. Stat Blocks

Crazed Townfolk
Extra


Agility d6 Smarts d6 Spirit d6
Strength d10 Vigor d6
Notice d6 Taunt d6 Stealth d6
Pace 6" Parry 5 Toughness 5


Fighting d6 Damage 1d4 + 1d10
Throwing d6 Damage 1d4 + 1d10
Magic N/A

Madness
♦ Strength d10
♦ They are immune to mind control
♦ +2 to come off Shaken

Equipment Improvised Weapons d4 + Str Damage




Crazed Follower
Extra


Agility d8 Smarts d8 Spirit d8
Strength d10 Vigor d8
Notice d8 Taunt d8 Stealth d8
Pace 6" Parry 6 Toughness 6


Fighting d8 Damage 1d6 + 1d10 (various farm impliments)
Throwing d8 Damage 1d4 + 1d10
Magic N/A

Madness
♦ Strength d10
♦ They are immune to mind control
♦ +2 to come off Shaken

Equipment
Improvised Weapons d4 + Str Damage
Farm Implements (holy items of the Hearth Mother) d6 + Str


Crazed Priest
WC


Agility d8 Smarts d8 Spirit d12+2
Strength d10 Vigor d8
Fighting d8 Notice d4 Taunt d8 Faith d12+2
Pace 6" Parry 6 + Deflection Toughness 8 (2)


Fighting d8 Damage 1d6 + 1d10 (Club, warped)
Throwing N/A
Magic d12+2

Madness
♦ Strength d10
♦ They are immune to mind control
♦ +2 to come off Shaken

Equipment
Magic
Reality Warp “The world around the priest is very distorted, making it difficult to it him” Deflection – this is already active and is “free” as it is a part of the ceremony
Black Rock of the Dark God “The crazed priest calls upon the Earth Mother to protect him in a foul, dark tongue” This summons the Black Rock, which strikes at his enemies from the floor (see Stat Block)
Madness of the Dark God “The priest prays for clarity of your mind” Confusion see Fantasy Companion 32pg – 1-3 PPs (number of targets). Target makes -2 (-4 if Raise) vs. Smarts or Shaken
The Clarity of Madness“The priest is a blur of action!” Quickness Spell (2 actions, discard init below 8 if a raise)
Wrath of the Earth Mother “Stone tears asunder from the walls and come crashing in” Blast


Black Rock of the Dark God
Special


Agility d12 Smarts d8 Spirit d8
Strength d12 Vigor d8
Stealth d12
Pace 6" Parry 6 (must strike when On Hold) Toughness 9(3)


Fighting d8 Damage 1d8 + 1d12 (AP2) (Adamantine Spike); One per PC
Throwing N/A
Magic N/A

Avatar of Tharizdun via the Elder Elemental Eye
♦ Strikes from the stone floor as Extra
♦ Can only be hit by someone striking from On Hold (opposed Agility checks to strike in time unless Joker)
♦ Exception are Shaken Spikes, which do not withdrawal until the end of the round. They automatically recover from Shaken to attack the next round
♦ Spikes are attacking, Shaken, or Destroyed (wound). The Avatar withdrawals once all Spikes are destroyed


Altar
WC


Agility NA Smarts NA Spirit d12+2
Strength NA Vigor NA
Tharizdun’s Will d12+2
Pace 0" Parry 2 + Deflection Toughness 15 Spirit Defense (2+Spirit/2): 9


Magic d12+2 (see below)

Protection of the Dead The purple veins in the Altar glow and you hear bones of the dead rattle as the rise up This is automatic as the fight starts. The Skeletons are not much of a threat, but they due have purple highlights. As long as they are active, a Deflection spell is in place on the Altar. Their destruction drop the Deflection and it cannot be raised again.

Concussion Blast An eternal, slumber hate slashes against your mind Bolt, 3 targets, 3d6 damage

Death Urge Ghostly voices whisper in your mind, urging you to join them in the blissful release of death. Their voices are strangely compelling. (make a most effective attack against self (Wild Attack, Bolt 3 Bolt Max Damage, etc, Puppet Power – 1 round only. Power is at +2)

Ego Whip Visions of failures flash through your mind, filling you with dread that your quest is doomed! (Entangle (replace Str/Agi with Smarts/Spirit)- can be area or individual, as desired. Area is MBT – if players stated spread out – then melee plus 1/2 of ranged PCs))

Mind Thrust “It seems you have always been fighting some mad, amorphous horror. It haunts your every memory, its ghostly faces leer from every thought. Can there be any escape?” (Curse (area – MBT – if players stated spread out – then melee plus 1/2 of ranged PCs)) – Lower Trait – Spirit)

Psychic Crush “Your every nightmare seems to come alive in your mind, threatening to swallow you up in their dark embrace” (Single Target. Make a Spirit check. Success, take 3d6 Sanity Damage. Fail – Incapacitated – Roll on able, but the only Wound penalties are those prior to this attack)

Suggestion (puppet power – pull player aside) “A terrible certainty fills your mind – there is a much greater threat than this creature you now face, and it lurks in the nearby pit from which all these cursed steam emanates! Your allies can easily handle this minor beast. You must slay the true horror!” On action, rush to the pit. Basically dead.

Object – No Raise, No Acing Damage. HOWEVER, Consecrate can Raise (vs. Faith vs TN 4) and Ace damage vs. Spirit Defense

COLD On a black card for Init, Vigor check or cold Fatigue unless find Robes?




Purple Skeletons

Extra


Agility d8 Smarts d4 Spirit d4
Strength d6 Vigor d6
Notice d4 Intimidation d6
Pace 7" Parry 5 Toughness 7


Fighting d6 Damage 1d6 + 1d4
Shooting d6 Damage 1d6 + 1d6
Magic N/A

Undead
♦ Immune to Fear and Intimidation
♦ +2 to come off Shaken
♦ +2 Toughness
♦ Called shots do no extra damage

Protection of the Dead Each 2 provides +1 Deflection to the Altar. There are two per PC, minimum 8

Equipment Some have Bows


Inspirations and Design Diary

Inspirations:

  • Prequel to the Exorcist – a church built to cap an ancient evil
  • Lost Temple of Tharizdun – to be consistent with printed information on the enemy. The Tree is basically from the module, as is anything for the altar
  • Lost City of Barakus for the “cap” over the evil
  • The “people keep going evil/mad” at the same site has been bouncing around in my head for quite awhile now.
  • The recent “inspiration” was to put it in the heart of the city. Greyhawk is relatively “new”, and thus many deep, hidden secrets can be placed there.
  • Lankhmar’s god Hate for the Mist critter.
  • RttToEE for Obelisk
  • The Altar is pretty much the Ecaterine Husk in the Ravenloft module (page 84)
  • Madness is a modified version from RoC. The dual pool is just too punitive.

Design Diary

  • Inspired by the Conan stories, there is hack ’n slash against the “mundane”, but Conan has to figure out how to defeat the true enemy. The two main combat scenes are set up in this way. In the first scene, there is a risk that the PCs just keep hacking away not realizing that there will always be more in the mist – they must “kill the source”. In the Altar scene, the skeletons serve both to give the non-Faith based something to do and to weaken the Altar.
  • The middle part of the adventure is for exploration. A chance to find out interesting things. Pace can be an issue here. I did try to give an opportunity for others to “Notice” stuff to help move the scene along.

OG 2011 Lost Temple of Tharizdun

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