Supplement #7 First Distribution: June 1, 1990 This supplement: Heroquest Scenario: Black Fang's Temptation (Steve Maurer) -------------------- From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Steve Maurer) Subject: Heroquest Scenario: Black Fang's Temptation Heroquest Scenario This is an example scenario for Heroquest. It is not the scenario promised, as I haven't had the time to complete it. However, it does show an example cult path (though not well known one). Much of the danger in following this path is due to the secretive nature of the Cult of Black Fang. Heroquest paths of more well known gods entail far greater dangers, but are far better mapped (so allowing for greater preparation). The original plot for this scenario was gleaned from the writings of Mike Mittmann (with permission), whose help in clarifying rules issues has been indispensable. Thanks Mike! Steve Maurer email@example.com - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Black Fang's Temptation This is the first Heroquest of Black Fang, the legendary assassin of Pavis. His Heroquesting carrier was short, as he called it quits after his third quest (called "The Unnamed Spirit" by the cult). The cult's knowledge of Black Fang's Temptation are contained in quotes at the start of each header. GM notes are written in normal text following. It is considered a heroquest of rather easy difficulty, but failure usually spells doom for the quester. 1] The Entrance "It is written, Incisor of the Fang, that Our Master first entered Hell from the Puzzle Canal, by entering the deep mouth grate, and taking the very last passage. He was escaping from an army of bodyguards of Tzanthur, ex-High Learner of the Wyrm's friends' empire, whose ex-living body had just been left to feed fishes at the bottom of said canal." GM's Notes: Black Fang entered the heroplane (a portion of hell) from the last of the three tunnels which enter the Truestone walls of Pavis. The tunnels have been labelled by Pavis himself, with a saying chiseled over each: "Here Lies Friends", "Here Lies The Enemy", and "Here Lies Certain Death". Black Fang was forced to take the last of these, because he was literally dodging arrow fire as he entered the tunnel. (Note: these tunnels are also starting points for Pavis Heroquests, and sometimes guards are sent to patrol them) The entrance is a perfectly chiseled 4" by 3" tunnel into granite; it goes for 1/2 a mile, and becomes pitch black. Then a soft bluish dweomer can be seen; these are the Truestone walls, which the tunnel enters (the walls become Truestone). Just as with the Block, whenever anyone touches these walls, all Rune Magic is immediately drained. All spells with duration (including sorcery) are also absorbed, but permanently enchanted objects do not loose their dweomer. Also, like the Block, those who touch these walls instantly roll any pending POW increase checks. 2] First Trial: Hell's Guardian "Not much is known of his passage, but it is said if you desire the greatest chances of success, it would be best to follow the footsteps of the Master by also being chased by enemies, fleeing for your very life. For by escaping death one can defeat it as well." GM's Notes: The Truestone tunnel leads on for several miles, and starts a steep descent. There is a curious disorientation as this occurs. Time is weakening. The tunnel tends to amplify sound, so that voices far away sound like they are close by. This makes pursuers sound like they are only a few melee rounds behind. Black Fang was chased even here. Because of this, when he met his first challenge, he attacked immediately fearing that he might be taken from behind. This is the only advantage that fleeing for your life gives, but it is an important one. The tunnel opens suddenly, into a larger room 20x20 feet (3x3 m), carved from obsidian. It has an well chiseled open portal on the other side, which is 4 feet (1.5 m) deep itself. There is a warrior who stands in the portal, and a bleak landscape lays beyond him. Nothing else is in the room. This is a Shadow of Humakt guarding an entrance to hell. The room is beyond time, so Divine Intervention is useless. The shadow is not a particularly strong one (for Humakt), and anyone following BF's path has an advantage because BF overcame this shadow. However, the Humakti can kill any who are too weak. All percentages given as specials: "Death" (Guardian of Humakt) STR 20 HP 25 CON 30 SIZ 20 DEX 20 POW 15 WIL 20 Runes: 50% Death, 30% Truth, 5% Air, 5% Illusion Great Sword: 20% (or 2/3 cultists attack, whichever greater) Spirit Dagger: 20% (special) Sense Assassin: 10% (50% normal) Geases: Wear no Armor Never Ambush Armor: 4 pts Shield/4 pts Protection (and loincloth) Magic: All Humakti cult special Rune Magic (as many as needed) The guardian will speak. "I am DEATH, the Sword of Humakt. Only the Dead may enter here. Submit to me, and I shall let you pass." The Shadow will raise his sword and wait for a response. It is important for anyone of the Black Fang cult to attack quickly, before the Shadow can sense the cultist's "assassin" nature. Every round, until combat has begun, the Humakti has a 50% chance of Sensing Assassin (if the PC attacks immediately, there is no chance). Once in combat, the Shadow will not use his Sense Assassin ability. If combat is begun without the Shadow sensing assassin, the combat proceeds normally. If the Shadow notices the assassin, he will say: "You offend me, creature of Illusion and Death" ...and, in addition to normal combat, cast a Sever Spirit every other round. Note: the portal is so shaped that only one person may attack at a time. Any magic attacks cast by someone other than the direct challenger results in a Sever Spirit being cast back instantly from the Shadow. If the Shadow "kills" the PC, and has sensed assassin, he now wills Death on him. If he succeeds, the character is now dead, and not resurrectable. If the Shadow "kills" the PC, and has NOT sensed assassin, he now says the following: "Dost thou still wish to enter Hell?". If the character says yes, then the Shadow wills Death on him, part his spirit, and sends him off to the halls of Judgement. If the character says no, then the Shadow says: "You have no choice, mortal one, for ALL paths lead here. But you have fought well, and now is not your time. Swear you shall never again attempt to violate the rule of Time and Death, and I shall leave you go." Doing so is an Oath, and because of the character's condition when sworn, any violation of the Oath only allows the character to resist at 1/2 POW; also, if killed by Oathbreaking, Chalana Arroys will feel the link to Humakt, and not violate his will by Resurrecting the oathbreaker, unless given a very good reason. The PC is then allowed to heal himself, leave back by the tunnel he came, to face whatever dangers were chasing him. If the PC "kills" the Shadow, he has won. The Shadow wills Death on himself, and a spirit parts from the corpse. The Shadow says: "You have briefly overcome Death, mortal one, but it shall eventually overcome you." The spirit leaves to the halls of Judgement. If the PC is known to be an assassin, or starts looking to loot the body before the spirit leaves, the spirit will try to take the two Spirit Daggers from the body. Otherwise, the daggers will be on the body for the PC to loot, if he so chooses. Loot: Iron Greatsword 2 Spirit Daggers The blades of these daggers are normally invisible. On the hero plane they are not. When struck against a foe they do 1d6 "Magic Points" damage: Spirit Shield and Spirit Block protect. If the user wishes, on a successful strike, they may instead generate an automatic success of any Spirit Magic spell against a target without POW vs POW, but doing so destroys the dagger. 3] Second Trial: Rapid Descent "After the Master defeated death at his own game, he found himself on a black spire. The texts say little, but it is thought that he must have suffered some humiliating defeat here, for he always spoke at great length about his triumphs (which were many), but was not willing to say much about this part of his journey." The portal opens onto a cliff face, which descends several miles to a black valley below. Everything is dark here, with a threatening black sky, streaks of blood red piercing throughout. There is barely light enough to see. The cliff is a smooth sheer obsidian, utterly unbreakable. A Spot Hidden (spcl) will reveal tiny, fingernail-sized holes in the obsidian. The character is on the Pillar of Obsidian, one of the Seven Pillars of Stone, and a major component of the broken World Machine. On a Pavis heroquest, the quester must climb down (trivial for them), and find the sequence into the central corridor of the Pillar. A BF cultist must either climb down or leave, there are no other choices. With proper equipment (pitons worked on the spot to fit the holes in the Obsidian pillar), it takes only a Simple Climb roll to walk the face. Using only your fingers (as someone who is not a master artificer), it takes 20 Normal Climb rolls (spcls) to descend without falling. Black Fang didn't make it, neither should the character. Note: is is perfectly possible for PCs to (if they know how) invoke the Air rune to fly; this assumes the PC both knows something about Flying (former Orlanthi?), and has a strong WILL. Doing so goes off the Path of Black Fang, however. The earth below is Krarsht country, and VERY dangerous. Go to Krarsht Country following. 4] Third Trial: Wash and Rinse "In the years of his life, and the Divinations after his death, all that any have been able to pry out from him is a cryptic saying: 'Never had I so envied women'. Make of it what you will." When (if) the PC falls, the darkness will appear to rush up and reach hungrily for the character. This has one benefit, and many drawbacks. The benefit is that the character is largely uninjured. The PC is hit by a freezing splash of water, and tumbled madly around. Things will be pulled off the character by the swirling waters, and unless the character resists, he will be stripped naked by the roaring tumbling black waters. This is the path of Ahlno ("Riptide"), the greedy one, a lesser water god who loves treasure. This is a shadow of Ahlno before his avarice extended to spirits, so he will not use his Will to drown the character. If the character attempts to resist, he may select as many items he wishes to try to keep. Name an object (start with armor), if the PC resists with STR, allow him to for one round. Next round, he must roll STR x 3 to hang on, then STR x 2, then STR x 1, continuing until the character has lost the object. Then the next object is selected. Non-water magic items are the last to go; Spirit Daggers the very last. The character will loose every object, unless he realizes that the water is intelligent, and will steal everything it sees. The only way to keep any object is to CONCEAL (Hide Item) it from the waters. Do not give the player any hints or INT rolls about this. It is much more difficult to reason, while being tossed around underwater, than as a player. Even Black Fang didn't realize this until he lost nearly everything. Ahlno has a 25% Ransack "Spot Hidden" (spcl). If the PC makes his Hide Item (spcl), Ahlno still has a good chance of noticing the attempt. (Let's face it, it's hard to conceal something from someone that's touching you all over.) Even so, the player cannot hide anything larger than SIZ 1, and if male, can hide at most two objects (mouth, and elsewhere); women can hide three (mouth, elsewhere, and elsewhere). This is the cause of Black Fang's cryptic comment. Because Black Fang hid a Spirit Dagger, his path "wants" this to happen, and the PC gets special aid. The shadow of Ahlno cannot make (special) his Ransack against either Spirit Dagger. 5] Fourth Trial: The Krarshtkid "After he suffered, our Master was left only to his most elemental resources, bereft of nearly all but his keen wit. Here he met soon to be friend. Yet he remembered his own first rule here, and was the better for it." ( Black Fang's first rule: Trust little in your enemies; trust your friends even less. ) The character is thrown naked and shivering onto the shore. Any Companions are nowhere to be found. They arrive earlier, later, or some other time at the same spot. But they will probably never meet each other until after the quest is finished. There is a Great Krarshtkid progressing along the shore, moving in great haste. Given the size of the Great Krarshtkid (Size 50), some mistake it for Krarsht. The character must hide from this waiting mouth lest he be eaten: BF is not yet friends with this demon's mother. If the PC Hides (spcl.), the thing walks by. If he is seen, he will have one round to do something before being eaten. He may either run, or hop back into the water. (Any webbing will be ripped off by Ahlno, and the PC thrown back on shore further down). Any attempts to talk will result in immediate attack by the waiting mouth; most likely this will result in his being eaten. Great Krarshtkid STR 50 HP 50 CON 50 SIZ 50 DEX 20 POW 20 WIL 50 Runes: 40% Chaos, 40% Fate, 40% Illusion, Bite: SR 1 40% (spcl) 8d8 Spit: SR 1 20% (spcl) 4d6 Acid Tongue: SR 1 25% (spcl) 1d6 Permanent POW (on POW vs POW) The Giant Krarshtkid makes two attacks per round. Spot Visually: 15% Move 5" If the PC is seen by the Great Krarshtkid, and runs tangentially away, the demon will leave him alone. It may or may not be obvious, but the thing is running from something. 6] Fifth Trial: The Spider "Then he came upon a spider, but realized that, in his condition, he could not hurt it before it hurt him. So he used the second rule to his advantage." ( Black Fang's second rule: Conceal yourself; conceal your nature. ) As the PC is walking away from the Krarshtkid, he may see a 2 inch spider walking down the same trail. To see the spider requires a Spot roll (spcl). If this is missed, the character continues into the Krarsht country (see below). Players who know to look for something, or are specifically looking for a spider here, may get additional chances, but only after suffering an encounter in Krarsht country (See below). The Spider is not attempting to hide. (Those who progress into Krarsht country may see the tracks of the spider with a Critical Tracking roll) If the PC sees the spider, he may examine it. It is small and white, and looks soft. It has tiny glittering eyes, and appears to be choosing it's way quite carefully among the rocks, and moving at very fast pace (especially for a 2 inch creature). If the PC gets closer than about 6 feet, the spider wil stop, and address the character in a very high, very tiny voice: "Have you seen any prey around here?" Talking with the Spider will reveal the following: it hunts "demons"; it has poison which "stops" (kills) anything; it hunts Krarshtkids but would not mind the PC's help; and it cannot help the PC in any other way. Any question on how to get out or back will bring a slow wave of it's head (like it is examining the PC), a soft tisking, followed by the statement "I see no strand for you". The spider is a shadow of the original that Black Fang met: a "Mender of the Web", a lesser angel of Arachne Solarae, one of the deadliest creatures save a god one can meet. The original was sent here to be a victim of Black Fang, to aid him in his quest of becoming a non-Chaotic assassin hero. (The ways of the Spider are complex). As this is only a shadow, it is not as powerful as the original. The original Spider's Venom incapacitated instantly, no matter what the size of the creature. Only a master of the Infinity rune (a god or superhero) may resist these effects. ( The original spear was lost upon Black Fang's death; great will be the hero who recovers it for the cult. ) The shadow Spider's Venom is less powerful. It rolls d100 vs the average of the target's SIZ and CON. If the roll is greater, the venom causes complete paralysis. On the mundane plane, without instant Treat Poison or a CONx1 roll, breathing stops and the character suffocates. On the Heroplane, breathing can stop without necessarily killing the PC. The Spider ("Mender of the Web") STR 50 Hits: 8 DEX 80 Defense: 40% (spcl) SIZ 1/2 Armor: 0 CON 30 INT 30 POW 60 WIL 60 Leap+Bite: 200% (spcl) 1d4 + instant incapacitation SR/1 Spin Thread: 50% (spcl) Move 6"/Hop 12" If the PC attacks, the spider bites the cultist, binds him in it's unbreakable webs, drains him of blood, and will (eventually) take his spirit off to be reincarnated (i.e. character is dead). If the PC offers friendship, the spider will trust the PC in relation to how harmless the PC appears. Those who flew down from the Obsidian Spire are looked upon warily by the spider. The spider will offer a reward for helping lead the way to its escaping prey: "My thread is a very delicate and fine material, and I would gift you with some". 7] Sixth Trial: The Combat "And finally, he overcame them both, and bound them into his service. This is the key to gaining a Spear of Poison, my son. Incisor that you may be, you are nothing against the creatures on the Plane of Gods. It is of greatest importance to remember the third rule here, and strike neither too soon or too late." (Black Fang's third rule: Only the strong and foolish attack a wary opponent.) Slowly, the Spider will catch up to the Great Krarshtkid, and will do battle with it. There may be a number of encounters on the way in Krarsht Country (See Below), but the Spider will easily handle them all. This should not be underemphasized: the Spider must act in most all ways friendly to the PC, so that if the PC attacks the Spider, he is aware of how much he owes the creature, how much a betrayal it is. When the Spider reaches the Great Krarshtkid, the Spider will ask for the PC's aid in fighting the Krarshtkid, distracting it, and perhaps even asking some kinds of advice (for even the Spider is vulnerable to the Giant Krarshtkid's acid spray). If the PC wishes to stay back out of the fight, and is completely stripped of all clothing, he must make a BASIC Oratory roll to convince the spider he is incapable of doing anything. A PC who shows a weapon must roll a Normal Oratory (special), and a PC completely armed and armored (because he didn't fall) must Crit. If the PC refuses the fight but hasn't convinced the Spider he is incapable of doing anything, the spider will say: "Perhaps then, you are a human worshiper of the Maw?". Agreeing is bad (the spider attacks), disagreeing but not convincing the spider will cause it to say: "Will you agree then to be bound, while I decide about your true nature?" Again, disagreement is bad. (If the PC is bound, he must roll his Escape Bindings (spcl) to get out of the web the spider puts on him before it goes off to fight the Giant Krarshtkid.) The Spider, perhaps accompanied by the PC, attacks the Giant Krarshtkid. If the PC is anywhere close, the Giant Krarshtkid will split its attacks between the Spider and the Krarshtkid. Otherwise, it will concentrate on the spider. If the PC hangs back, or manages to survive the Giant krarshtkid's attack, he will (if he so chooses) get a chance to attack. There are rocks in the area for use as primitive weapons (and perhaps he managed to conceal one from the Water God). What then, does he choose to attack? If the PC fails to attack, or attacks the Krarshtkid, the Spider returns triumphant. It will then lead the character over the Water by means of small threads, sling him in a web, and climb the Pillar of Obsidian, putting the character back. The Spider will thank the PC, and gift him with one silken thread. It will explain that the thread may be used to tie one's fate to anyone elses, but "it is not unbreakable, if you stretch it too far". The spider then leaves. "Consolation Prize" Thread of Fate This acts like the Tie Fate spell from Arenia (the spider goddess), except that it lasts forever. The effect disappears either if one travels into the Heroplane, or either party attempts outrageously suicidal actions. If the PC attacks the Spider, but fails to kill it, or the PC smashes the Spider before it has bitten the Giant Krarshtkid, the PC will die (in one of a number of different ways). If the PC attacks the Spider just as it is biting the Giant Krarshtkid, he will void all but 8% (special) of the Spider's Defense. If the PC merely hits, he must get 8 pts of damage through to incapacitate the spider. The PC may then continue to crush the Spider, to prevent it from healing. 8] Forging the Spear of Poison The PC now has the two things absolutely necessary to forge a Spear of Poison. He may have two other objects as well: the Spirit daggers from the Humakti. These will make the job infinitely easier. First, the assassin will notice that the Teeth of the Giant Krarshtkid are very Spear-like. There is one tooth that is perfectly straight, the rest are slightly crooked; the PC must roll a Spot to see this (spcl). If he takes a crooked tooth, the spear will function in hand to hand combat, but not throw accurately. The assassin must rip the teeth out of the Krarshtkid to obtain his weapon. Next, the assassin must bind the spirit of the Krarshtide (within the Krarshtkid) into the Spear. If he doesn't attempt this, the spear will last only for a few years, and then decompose. Binding the Krarshtide requires a Spirit combat vs the POW 20; as a special incentive, the Krarsht spirit has lost none of its ability to create a chaos wound, to drive the PC insane. (Normally, it requires a use of the Spirit or Magic rune to force spirit combat, but the Krarshtkid is more than willing to fight, under the circumstances). This combat can be avoided by simply stabbing the Krarshtkid with the Spirit Dagger, and using its power to make a Spirit Binding spell (destroying the dagger). The crushed spider must then be bound into the point of the spear. Again, if a dagger is expended, this is automatic. Otherwise, the PC will have to invoke his Spirit or Magic Rune to force spirit combat (invoking the Death rune will release the spider's spirit to run away). Also overcoming the Spider's POW is no mean feat (although the assassin can break off spirit combat any time he wishes, and might be able to steal Magic Points from either the Krarshtkid or from a saved Pow Storage crystal). It is unlikely that the assassin will succeed against the spider without a Spirit dagger, and will eventually have to continue the rest of the quest without it. 9] Krarsht Country "Then he moved across the land, seeking escape, but finding nothing more than tunnels and pieces of the Hungry One, Krarsht the Eater. The land was dangerous, but with the Spear of Poison he easily defeated them all." On the other side of Ahlno is the Chaos land, infested by Krarsht. The ground is pockmarked with pits, slime, and corruption. Curious tunnels delve into the ground at odd angles, and the land seems to stretch on forever. The character really doesn't have a choice about travelling through Krarsht Country, since it stretches in all directions away from the Pillar of Obsidian. If the character is flies or travels long enough, he will eventually realize that he is in an enormous tunnel. The Tunnel of Krarsht. Many things can be met in this land, most of them deadly. Here is a small table of typical encounters: 2d6 2 The travelling Maw 3 The Land Tilts 4 Krarshtide 5 Krarshtkid 6 Cultist 7 Worm of Krarsht 8 Insane Ghosts 9 Sacrificial Altar 10 Broken Tooth 11 Chaos Crystal 12 A Stormbull Hero "A Stormbull hero" The PC meets a SB hero. He is suspicious. The PC must roll Oratory or Fast Talk (spcl) to persuade him he's not Chaotic. ( Everything is around here; he smells Chaos everywhere). If the PC succeeds he will give him one of his weapons. Otherwise he will attack the PC. "A Chaos Crystal" The PC finds a Crystal made of the blood of Krarsht. It is attunable. It has one of the following properties: 1d4 1 Gain a (free) chaos feature 2 Truenet (Pratzim) Spirit magic matrix (may cast free) 3 User's blood becomes acid: Potency 1d8 4 +20% Sense Law skill These crystals may be sold for 10,000L to Krarsht temples. "Broken Tooth" The PC finds a broken tooth. It may be used as a crude club. However, wielding it will make the user seem to be a Krarsht worshiper to the Spider and/or Storm Bull. "Sacrificial Altar" The PC finds a large 6 legged stone alter. The top is made of stone, and there appears to be a tooth-lined tunnel leading down from the center. Anything thrown into the tunnel (or entering it), is eaten by the alter (8d6 damage). Note that if something of value is thrown in, the alter will offer up Krarsht runespells in return. "Insane Ghosts" A number of insane ghosts, victims of Krarshtides, attack. There are 1d4 which each have a POW of 3d6. If the PC is overcome he turns insane and joins them. Note that ghosts are visible on the spirit plane, and these may be a great source of Magic Points. "Worm of Krarsht" A worm of Krarsht is here. It is a small Krarshtide. Roll up a Krarshtide, and halve all resulting numbers (round down). The Worm will attack the PC, although it won't be too difficult for the PC to run away, if he thinks about it. "Cultist" The ghost of a dead cultist is here. He is armed with Pratzim and spells. "Krarshtkid" A Krarshtkid attacks by surprise from under the ground. "Krarshtide" A wandering Krarshtide spirit is here. It will seek to attack the PC by surprise, and drive him insane. "The Land Tilts" The land suddenly tilts 45 degrees (bad if the PC is already on a slope). The PC takes 1d100 damage. If the PC is crushed, roll for runic-train Death to see if the PC voluntarily discorporates. Otherwise, the PC may heal himself with spells or Will/Fertility. "The travelling Maw" A Maw, a great spirit of Krarsht, is here. It opens a pit around the character. Unless the character can fly, he is consumed. Note that while these appear to be "random" encounters, they aren't really. They are static events which exist, and always will exist in this place beyond Time. They lay like a minefield across the PC's path. But if the PC follows the path of Black Fang perfectly, he will not meet anything more dangerous than a Krarshtkid (easily dispatched by the Spear), because Black Fang did not do so either. 10] The Hungry One "Until finally, he came to the Maw of the Hungry one, and looked upon the horror, greatness, and power of her. He fell under her power, and would have been eaten, save that he threatened her, and she became fearful. This is one of his greatest feats, and it is not easy to repeat it, unless you follow his footsteps exactly." No matter what tunnel the PC takes (for everything is a tunnel here) he will end up near the Maw of the Hungry One, for Krarsht is the chaotic counterpart to Arachne Solara. She sits at the center of her woven web of tunnels, which undermine the world (just as the Spider's Webs hold it together), and waits for all she ensnares to come into her power. (The only exception is that it is possible for those who have mastered flying, to reenter the Pillar of Obsidian, and exit. This option is best taken by those who have not completed the other tasks as building the spear.) The Hungry One lives at the bottom of a huge pit, which Krarsht Country eventually turns into. PCs following the path of Black Fang will notice that the ground slopes steeper and steeper down, and that the sky is becoming more visible as a ceiling. Those who walk through one of the maze of tunnels below Krarsht country, will find it is a side tunnel opening to the Maw. Krarsht herself is the size of a small Dragon: about 1 kilometer across. She is attended by many servants, and her power is obvious to see. Constantly falling into her mouth from side tunnel chutes, are various items, people, spirits, and oddments. These fall screaming into her Maw, and disappear forever. Krarsht herself never chews, but waits patiently, to be fed. She also never speaks. Krarsht is also quite obviously wounded, great open gouges exist all along her sides. These are the wounds of the Bull, and cause continuing and eternal agony to the Hungry One. When the PC sees Krarsht, he must roll a WILL x 1 roll to keep from climbing down towards her. For a terrible curiosity seizes the PC as to what the inside of her mouth looks like. What it would feel like to become the food of a God, one's elemental components becoming part of a true divinity. The PC will realize what this means, but unless the WILL roll is made, he will be unable to break the compulsion. Rerolls are allowed at WILL x 1/2, WILL x 1/4, down to 1%. Krarsht will notice the PC as he approaches. She will eat him unless he threatens to hurt her. While this may sound silly, Krarsht is essentially cowardly. The PC must make an appropriate threat to scare Krarsht into believing he has some (even absurdly slight) chance of hurting her. She doesn't take chances. This can be abstracted to a Fast Talk roll (special). The following modifiers apply: PCs who posses the Intimidation (special Black Fang cult skill) may use that instead at +10% (special) bonus, if the PC is not under compulsion (+10%), if the PC has a functional Spear of Poison (+40%), the Spear without the poison +5%, if the PC has followed the path of Black Fang exactly +10%. Example: Big Louie has made it to Krarsht, having assembled a Spear of Poison, but not exactly following the path of Black Fang (he didn't bind the Krarshtide into the tooth, his spear will eventually fall apart). He has an Intimidate of 120% basic. He is under the compulsion. His chance is: (120 / 5) + 10 (for using Intimidate) + 40 (for the spear) = 74% chance. Note that the above need not be abstracted. Let the player try to think up all sorts of deadly threats, and try to make them sound believable. ( "You got a nice open wound there... want some poison in it?" ) If the PC fails this roll, but had over a 70% chance of making it, Krarsht will send up one of her Great Krarshtkids to fight the PC; to see if he's just bluffing. If the PC wins, he gets a reroll at +10%. Otherwise if he fails, Krarsht will attack. She may be injured by the PC, but the PC will not return. 11] The Gifts of Krarsht "So she released him, and offered him many gifts. But using the first rule, he decided it would be best to take only the very best, and leave the others alone." If Krarsht doesn't attack, this means she has been impressed. This means two things: first she doesn't want to fight, and second she wants the PC to become her servant. The Hungry One is always looking for new and better servants to do her will on the Surface World. She satisfies these desires in order. First, she provides the PC with an exit. Almost immediately, a side tunnel is dug by a Krarshtkid near the PC, which heads away from the body of Krarsht. Whatever compulsion to get near the Waiting Mouth immediately disappears. So far as the PC can see, it is remarkably straight (very unlike most Krarsht tunnels), and seems head up. (Yes, it's an exit to the surface; it appears somewhere within 50 miles/80 km of Pavis). Second, Krarsht offers gifts. Krarshtkids and cultists lay out various gifts: weapons, vials, pratzim, talismans. These are the gifts of Krarsht. They are also all traps. Black Fang took the best gift -- freedom -- and left all the others. Each gift has a spirit within it. When touched, they each impart a simple understanding of the power they give. To accept a gift, all the use must do is allow the spirit to possess him. The spirits will not attempt involuntary possession. Also, unstated, each spirit also brings with it "free" initiation into the cult of Krarsht, the mark of Chaos, and a start of the PC on a slow, unstoppable, transformation into a Krarshtkid. The speed at which this transformation progresses depends on how often the PC uses these abilities. Never using any would bring it about in 100 years. Transformation occurs inside out, so that the PC may first think them a benefit (i.e. the PC gains STR, CON, POW, etc. first). The external sprouting of legs and other effects of physical transformation happens last. Note: once he accepts a gift, the PC is effectively a krarshtkid, and can be bound as an allied spirit by a runemaster of Krarsht (via POW vs POW); such "disguised-krarshtides" are very lusted after by priests and lords of Krarsht. The Gifts: Tooth of Krarsht Possessor gains a 400% (base) bite attack; bite also does user's CON in poison damage. Claw of Krarsht Possessor gains a 400% (base) fist (claw) attack; can also be used to parry (as unarmed). Tongue of Krarsht Possessor gains the ability to drain permanent POW from a victim. POW goes to the attacker up to species max. Legs of Krarsht Possessor may jump 120 meters in any direction, in one melee round. Soul of Krarsht Whenever the Possessor attacks anything in spirit combat, he may (upon victory) cause the victim to go insane; he may attack with spirit combat instead of weapons, if he can touch the victim. Spit of Krarsht Possessor may spit a Pratzm web of his CON x 2 Strength. He must learn a skill to spit accurately however. Mouth Of Krarsht Possessor may eat anything up to his own size without ill effects, much like a permanent Eurmal Swallow spell. User may tunnel with this ability. Blood of Krarsht Possessor's blood becomes acid potency 20, but it does not harm anything the user is wearing. All weapons which do damage to the wearer are attacked by this acid. Strength of Krarsht Possessor gains +3d6 STR, and +3d6 CON; species maximum on both also increase. Secrets of Krarsht Upon finding any Krarshtide tunnel, the user knows where it starts, ends, and what other tunnels it connects to. This allows a user to transport himself virtually anywhere he wishes (if he doesn't mind walking). If the PC refuses all these gifts, yet still remains, Krarsht will offer one final gift: Heroism. This is a Soul Pact between her and the PC, which will double all his stats, skill percentages, give him all of the lesser abilities (listed above), and grant him automatic Hero status among worshipers of the Maw. The drawback is that the PC must follow the will of Krarsht at all times, and in fact, becomes an extension of her. (i.e. the PC becomes an NPC) If the PC refuses all these temptations, he gains one thing in addition to escape: the "Respect of Krarsht". All Krarshtkids, Krarshtides, and Initiates (or higher) of Krarsht will know that the PC has faced the Hungry One and lived. This gives him a special status in their eyes (chiefly awe and fear), and none will voluntarily attack such a PC even by surprise, unless the PC directly attacks them. 12] Returning to the World Following either triumphant return through the tunnels of Krarsht, or cowardly retreat back through the opening in the Pillar of Obsidian, the PC must come back through the Veils of Time. As the PC turns to reenter the mundane world, he will see wispy sheets woven of soft strands of thread in front of the entrance. The material is not unlike the silk that the Spider produced, except for one thing: with effort, the character can push through them. They do not break, rather the PC actually penetrates them, as if they were not there. The more powerful ("god-like") the PC, the more difficult this penetration is, the more substantial seeming the Veils are. PCs who immediately chicken out of the initial encounter with the Guardian, may not even be aware of them, lost in the glow of the Truestone. PCs who have assembled the Spear will feel it clinging to the weapon, and those who have been seduced by Chaos (accepting the gifts of Krarsht), will have the most difficult time. But for the moment, since the PC is such a minor hero, the veils hardly cling at all. It merely takes a WILL x 5 roll to penetrate them (you may reroll this Will roll as per standard Heroquest rules). There is also a cost of temp-POW Magic Points: 1 for the PC, 10 for each Spirit Dagger, 50 for each Gift of Krarsht, and 100 for the completed Spear of Poison (defective spears only cost 50). PCs without the Magic Points available may either leave various items behind, or expend one permanent POW for 10 Magic Points to get through the barrier. Steve Maurer firstname.lastname@example.org --- The RuneQuest(tm) mailing list is a courtesy of Andrew Bell. All opinions and material above are the responsibility of the originator, and copyrights are held by them. RuneQuest is a trademark of Chaosium, Inc. Send submissions, mailing list changes, requests for old article lists, etc. to: email@example.com ...!mcnc!unc!bell Request old articles by volume number and issue number.