Random Leads to Awesome

Tome of Adventure Design
Tome of Adventure Design

I really, really don’t want to see this lost. Grey Knight went through some of the places I posted yesterday and described them. It looks like adding ‘small gods’ as an option when naming a place leads to some pretty inspiring thought.Creepy thought, some of it, but I can very much see using these. In fact, I can almost see these being places in the Seekers of Lore campaign setting, or Jesophs, or places associated with Jesophs.

I had a script randomly generate names, GreyKnight made them awesome, so I’m posting this in his name. He deserves the credit.

— kjd

Here are some entries I did manage to write up. Some of them went to Creepytown: consider this your only warning, faint-hearted readers!

Grey Monastery of Tholzakles, The Echo in the Pathways Below: The corridors of the Grey Pathways are cut perfectly square, three metres across. They twist and turn at exact right angles throughout the bedrock of the plains; the network of tunnels stretches for uncounted miles in every direction away from the Monastery. This building was constructed over the only known entrance to the Pathways, acting as a base of exploration for the scholar Tholzakles. One day he did not return from his investigations, and gradually his building fell into disrepair. But when certain opportunistic wanderers entered to try and find valuables, they discovered the scholar’s echoing voice still roaming the corridors below. Frightened, they fled to the nearest town to relate their tale. Gradually it became apparent that the scholar had found something in the depths; or that something had found him. Although physically he seems to be only a voice, Tholzakles has the all-seeing powers of a god, and a small cult of monks has moved into his old base to commune with him.

Waterborne Cairn of Toleshtua, The Prince of Sorrow: This heap of stones mysteriously floats on the surface of a great swamp. The air is close and unpleasant, and trees covered in dank green moss lean at precarious angles. Here is the place where Toleshtua cut out his heart and threw it away, to escape the fears and worries of a mortal’s life. Some dark power in that foetid place entered where his heart should be and made him into the undying Prince of Sorrow. Feeling no emotion himself, his disturbing presence makes the bravest warrior quail. It is said that he could be laid to rest if someone could recover his discarded heart from beneath the cairn, but the swamp has claimed all who attempted this deed.

Horrid Asylum of Tseer, The Caller in the Eye of the Mind: Training one’s imagination to see things with the mind’s eye is a useful skill, but one not without risk. If a mortal becomes too enamoured of his visions and spends too long staring into the inner depths, the call of Tseer may come to him. The symbol of the Fallen Square becomes more and more vivid in the mortal’s imagination as the days and weeks wear on, until at last the sign of Tseer consumes his mind utterly. Of the broken and empty body left behind, there is nothing to do but to hand it over to the priests of the Asylum of Tseer. The conditions are squalid and the priests dressed in rags, but only in the tarnished sanctum of the Asylum is there a thread of hope: once a year, a single inmate of the Asylum is released from the grip of Tseer. Those pardoned in this way rarely recover fully, and never speak of their experiences. They refuse all art, creativity, and literature. Most commit suicide before long.

Three-Part Abbey of Ishta-at, The Master who is Blind: Ishta-at is the Master of Dimensions, and moves from one plane to another as easily as a human takes a single step. In his sacred Abbey, the blue-robed Master strolls between its three extensions on the physical, ethereal, and shadow planes. Supposedly he was once mortal, a blind monk who studied geometry extensively. Somehow his blindness enabled him to visualise things not discovered before or since, and he stepped into other dimensions, some unknown to scholars to this day. In one of these strange outer places he somehow obtained divine power and immortality.

Insane Golem of Herta, The Prince of the Full Moon: During the day, this seems to be a strange sort of titanic sculpture, a huge stone humanoid lying inert on the ground as if in the middle of writhing in pain. When the light of the full moon rises over the horizon, the Golem of Herta comes to life. Utterly mad, this creation of the god of lunacy spasms and moans for the three nights of the full moon, before freezing in place as the sun rises once more.

Sea-Worm of Hulhoggos, The Prince of the Proud: Hulhoggos is the great sea-serpent of the Northern Ocean. It is said he is the most prideful of all creatures on earth, adorning himself with a tiara of coral. Any who sail their ships through his domain may be faced with an unexpected and unwanted audience with the Prince of the World. If they have any sense whatsoever, they will profess their unworthiness to stand before Hulhoggos’ superior power and wisdom; if they do this, they may be allowed to depart peacefully. Those who do not acknowledge their place in things but stand proud before him will find the Sea-Worm’s wrath terrible indeed.

Feral Hunters of Tshoggos, The Dreamer of the Midnight Dark: None of the worshippers of Tshoggos are even aware this is what they are, at least not during waking hours. When these people sleep, their dream-selves willingly hand over control to the violent spirits of hate that serve Tshoggos. The worshippers rise silently from their beds in the dead of night, stealing out into the streets and alleys to find a victim to kill and mutilate. In the morning, he may discuss with the neighbours the terrible news about how a local murderer has struck again, and wish the town guard would catch the serial killer. But he will never suspect that his own hand held the knife that carved a ragged gash in the victim’s belly, or that his own teeth tore out their throat.

Snake-King of Jenzoa, The Worm who is Blind: Jenzoa the King of Snakes broods in his underground sanctum. In the early days of creation, the two chief dwarvish gods cut out his brilliantly faceted emerald eyes, leaving Jenzoa with only empty sockets. Jenzoa and his minions would like nothing better than to seize the golden crown and breastplate of the two dwarvish gods, and tear the emeralds from them to restore the King’s sight. Then, with his full power regained, the dwarves would begin to know true fear.

Imprisoned Mummy of Giles, The Child of the Giants: The birth of a giant is a rare event, so it was with great happiness that Giles was born to his parents many centuries ago. Sadly, a group of elves had taken offence to the giants living in what the elves regarded as “their” mountains, and when the child was five years old the elves captured him and sacrificed him to their gods. The enraged adult giants stormed the elvish stone circle, but too late: all they could regain was Giles’ body. Then the chief elvish druid revealed his master stroke. If the giants ever harmed or touched an elf again, the vicious spirits placed in Giles’ body by the druid would awaken and use him as their puppet to do terrible deeds. The distraught parents fled and embalmed the body, tearfully placing it in a vault of iron, hoping for the day when the curse could be broken.

Bronze Minotaur of Aa-at, The Hawk of Memory: The Library of Aa-at is said to contain a record of every memory ever known by mortals. Guarding its endless halls is a bronze servitor, with the body of a well-muscled man but the head of a hawk. Anyone attempting to take anything into or out of the library will be aggressively intercepted by this being. Even clothes are forbidden; those seeking to enter must come naked.

Jewel Fungus of Jenda, The Mother of Men: People believe the Jewel Fungus to be some sort of disease or infestation. It only infects humans, causing their bodies to break out into colourful transparent growths. If the growths are not cut off they eventually consume the entire body. Unbeknownst to mortals, this is actually part of the natural lifecycle of humans, a growth phase not normally seen but triggered by certain environmental conditions. The final stages of the “disease” are the ultimate form of the human creature, the very image of their ancient matriarch Jenda. Though worship of the long-forgotten Jewelled Mother is virtually unknown, a few tiny cults survive here and there. It’s possible that knowledge of Jenda has been deliberately suppressed for the good of the public.

Death Coops of Jenoteph, The Child of Sin: The dread being known as Jenoteph appears as a small dirty child, seemingly lost and frightened. It lures people back to its hiding-place with its sniffling tears and sad expression. Once they are within the area of its power, it removes their bones and consumes them, before placing what’s left in an open area with other suffering victims. Little more than bags of skin, Jenoteph feeds them with troughs of slop. The victims may painfully crawl around their pen for years before merciful death overtakes them. It’s said that Jenoteph was once a mortal child who was neglected and beaten by its parents, who eventually were killed by bandits. The child, locked by them in a cellar, passed away soon after, only to return as an awful spirit.

Binding-Rods of Nytya, The Speaker of Mercy: The goddess Nytya has the power to heal wounds and sickness with a word. But in ancient times she was sealed in a jade sarcophagus by jealous gods of disease and death. In the circular chamber where the sarcophagus lies, sixty-six rods of granite project from the ground. From the tip of each, a string runs to the sarcophagus, and on each string is a paper token with the symbol of a minor god of disease or plague. Only when all the strings are broken can the sarcophagus be opened. But there are consequences to such an act, for the gods who sealed Nytya away still watch over her tomb.

Perfume-Frame of Tra’ao, The Judge of Nightmares: On a distant hillside, a skeletal framework of fragrant wood rises square against the sky. To either side hang the man-sized masks named Dih and Onh. In the centre is the delicate wooden throne of Tra’ao. Every time a mortal dreams a nightmare, that nightmare must come before Tra’ao to pay its respects before the sun rises. As the Judge of Fear, he determines whether the nightmare is worthy of being granted existence as a spirit which can roam the lands to strike terror into the hearts of mortalkind. Those found wanting vanish like mist before the rising sun.

5 Comments

  1. Binding-Rods of Nytya, The Speaker of Mercy

    Perhaps the sixty-six tokens on the strings represent diseases she has banished. Breaking a string thus either releases a new disease into the world (something sane mortals would not want, but the gods of disease may) but brings closer the day Nytya returns (something mortals might want, especially with five and a half dozen nasty new diseases! and the gods of disease would not).

    Or turn it around, each token is a disease Nytya’s touch cannot remedy. Removing a token means Nytya, or her servants, now can remedy… but that means sane mortals would want to remove the tokens and awaken Nytya, while the gods of disease would presumably want to prevent both. Perhaps a little too clear-cut for me, I like dilemma.

  2. Tholzakles, Toleshtua, and Ishta-at could conceivably be jesophs, since they’re ascended mortals. Tra’ao’s origins aren’t discussed but he could possibly be one too? But which god elevated each one, and what did said deity get out of the deal?

    Did Tholzakles find an imprisoned god deep in the Grey Pathways? Perhaps they extend into non-euclidean places; could it even be the same entity that Ishta-at ran into? What does the dark power of the swamps want? Is Jenoteph just the ghost of a forsaken child, or something worse? If Nytya can be released, how will she be after centuries trapped in that sarcophagus? What are the powers of Dih and Onh; are they just objects or beings in their own right? What do Jenda’s cultists actually do; perhaps they’re actually quite benevolent and nice? What major political figures have fallen prey to the sign of Tseer, and what will happen if they are suddenly released? What are Ishta-at’s goals? Does that Abbey of his extend into more places than he lets on? When will Jenzoa’s next raid be? Is there a way to bring Giles back to life? Which of the citizens in the PCs’ favourite town has become a pawn of Tshoggos? Will Herta’s colossus ever get up and start doing something more purposeful? Is there a limit to how many question marks I can put in a single paragraph?

    • My current feeling is that Tra’ao, together with your version of Athda, and also Wuimai, are a triplet of gods, the Masters of Nightmares. Although individually minor, together they are enough to make even the major gods nervous.

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