Trollbar Part II
Date: Fri, June 23, 2017
Topic: Mysterious Places

Part Two of Three, this article goes into detail about the dread dungeon complex of the Northern Wastes - the Dungeon of Bleeding Walls, its denizens, and those who seek to exploit the terrors within.

The Dungeon of Bleeding Walls and the Book of Horrors

The Dungeon of Bleeding Walls is a multi-leveled dungeon located in the Northern Wastes.  Dominated by a large tribe of wererats in the upper levels and lizards, worms, and carrion crawlers in the depths, it is thought to be the resting place of three drow vampire mages.  The mages are in a stasis tomb, guarding rare magical tomes, one of which is the Book of Horrors, Cryptichronos.  The mage Olmoroth inherited the dread tome from his evil master and used it to become the tyrannical ruler of a dying city some 500 years ago, but lost the book when he was defeated in a magical duel. 

The legend of the vampire mages is only partly true, the lead mage is in fact Olmoroth himself (a human), who became a vampire after losing his necromantic duel with a superior opponent.  Becoming  insane and obsessed with the book, Olmoroth dedicated his undead life to regaining the book.  He eventually did so, and was forced to flee the city he once ruled in order to create a perfect place to study the tome and use the spells within.  He travelled to the far northern wastelands with his two drow vampire apprentices and a band of wererat servants.  They carved out a dungeon to be his vast laboratory and house his greatest creation, the amorphous blob.

The amorphous blob  is a dangerous, amoeboid life-form that resembles an ochre jelly.  It was created using a spell from the Cryptichronos.  It has the following initial base statistics: AC 6, MV 6, HD 3, hp 24, #AT 1, Dmg 3-12, AL N. The monster feeds in order to grow, and it can grow extremely fast. The blob has a volume of four cubic feet upon its release, but on a killing attack, the amoeboid creature engulfs its prey and gains 1 hp for each hit die of the dead victim. Every 8 hp gained by the blob endows it with an additional hit die (in terms of fighting ability) and results in not only an increase in volume of four cubic feet, but also a cumulative bonus of + 1 on damage rolls (modified results cannot exceed 12 hp damage per round).  It can regenerate 1 hit point per round.  The creature can flow through narrow openings and can ooze along walls and ceilings. The blob secretes a digestive acid that dissolves wood and metal; stone and glass remain unaffected. Magical cold does no damage to the blob, but slows the monster (as the spell) for 2-8 rounds. Fire harms the creature normally, but lightning actually imbues the blob with an extra hit point for every hit die of damage that might have been inflicted. Mind-influencing spells have no effect upon this unintelligent creation, and all forms of magical control are useless against it.  It is unknown how large the blob is that currently resides within the Dungeon of Bleeding Walls.   

If one had an accurate map of the dungeon, they would find that there is a great area in the center of the dungeon that contains nothing but apparently solid space.  The maze is actually a prison for the amorphous blob.  Olmoroth and his vampire apprentices regarded this monster  as their greatest creation, and are poised to use it to enact a devastating revenge on the civilized world.  What they did not count on was the fact that the cold weather would slow the creature down.  Concerned that his creation need to get larger in order to become a more suitable threat, Olmoroth and his companions imprisoned the beast in the middle of the dungeon and constructed traps and passages that would funnel creatures in to the beast for it to feed on, without allowing it to move out. 

Olmoroth and his assistants then sealed off their laboratories, set guardians on their treasures, and put themselves in a stasis tomb, with orders to be awoken when their creation is finally ready.  The wererat followers were ordered to maintain the dungeon's traps and keep feeding the beast, a task in which the wererats have neglected in the centuries that followed.  Currently, the tribe of wererats has mostly lost their memory of the vampire master and largely just go through the motions of setting up the various slide traps, pits, and one-way passages that leads the local fauna in to the chamber of the blob for feeding.  They do not know how big the blob has gotten or at what point would they have to conduct the (mostly forgotten) rituals to awaken Olmoroth.

The bleeding walls that give the dungeon its name are secretions of this blob, slowly leaking through miniscule cracks in the decaying dungeon walls.  In time, the cracks will get large enough that the blob can start to move its mass through in earnest, and thus escape its prison.  The only thing keeping the blob from currently escaping is the cold weather of its location.  While only magical cold can effectively slow the beast, the deep cold of the northern wastes makes the blob sluggish to the point that it does not actively seek to break free.  There is a party of  followers of Incabulos  questing to release the blob.  They are led by a visionary high priest who  do not know or care that the blob is uncontrollable.  The high priest has theorized on his own that the blob would need to be warmed up in order for it to travel across the barren tundra, and has constructed a magical stone that can warm the blob should it be cast into its center (much like a ring of warmth).  Obviously, the priest would need to be stopped from doing this. 

The actions of a party of adventurers in this dungeon has the possibility of awakening the vampires, the blob, or both.  Reintroducing the Cryptichronos to the world would likewise have great evil repercussions.  The forces of Iuz and Incabulos would both attempt to control the blob or steal the spellbooks, or even awaken the vampires in order to ally with them.  Iuz's lands would be the logical first place to be threatened by a rampaging blob, so adventurers may be able to reach an agreement with them in order to prevent the blob from escaping.  Olmoroth and his followers have some magical treasure and tomes that make this dungeon a tempting place for adventurers, but this may be a sleeping evil best left alone.


The Party of Incabulos

This party of evil doers is guided by an unholy vision.  The priest and the witch of Incabulos have both been granted prophetic dreams in which they were granted power over a massive, famine causing blob and a book of malign spells.  Through the control of this creature and the spellbook, they could cause great suffering and famines as an offering to Incabulos.  Through their research, they have determined that the blob is a creation from the tome Cryptichronos, and that its resting place is the Dungeon of Bleeding Walls.  Each of these villains can be tailored to suit the individual campaign, but should be suitably high enough in levels and magic to be able to use the dread tome and master the spells within.  They may pass through or close to Trollbar on their way to the Dungeon of Bleeding Walls.  They might seek Drazen's map of the dungeon's location or other assistance from the fortress, or be rivals to Drazen's own expedition to the dungeon.      

The High Priest of Incabulos.  Wanting to get his hands on a crimson scourge spell and attempt to control the horrid amorphous blob that is trapped there.  Terribly paranoid, he never reveals his real name and just refers to himself in the third person.  His goal is to see the fulfillment of his vision and have the blob create great famines by destroying valuable cropland throughout the Flannaess. 

Gasper, a Druid of Obad-Hai.  A feral, half insane druid who sees orc society as an ideal "return to primitive state" for humanity to emulate, making the perfect addition for a party travelling through the lands of Iuz.  He provides the party with healing spells and can help the party survive in the harsh northern climes.

Twin brother warriors, Subo and Tuluk. Wolf Nomad mercenaries who are simple hired muscle. They know and care little of the party mission and are loyal only to each other.  Consequently, the priest of Incabulos intends to send them on some sort of suicide mission while on this adventure.

Skinner, a freelance halfling thief.  He travels disguised as a goblin through the lands of Iuz so as to not draw attention to himself.  This character may be a source of tension once the party reaches Trollbar if he is discovered by Bvarnak (evidence of the "hidden dens of halflings" he is convinced are scattered about the northern plains).  He is a vile little wretch, but is suitably impressed by the evil priest's skills that he is reasonably loyal to him, so long as there are opportunities for loot. 

Rolf, a barbarian warrior.  This exile from the Snow Barbarians converted to Incabulos out of an extreme fear of disease.  He follows the priest out of this morbid fear and is completely dominated by him.  He is the priest's strong right hand man.

Vitrun, Witch of Incabulos.  An advisor to the priest, this old crone has studied the dark history of the Book of Horrors and is eager to attempt to master the horrid spells within.  While not the leader of the expedition, she is the most valuable person in the party, as she is a high level mage who could expect to fathom the mysteries of the Cryptichronos.  Her relationship with the high priest is typical of this religion: paranoid, self seeking, and ultimately one will betray the other.


SOURCES:  See Dragon Magazine Issue # 162, "Bazaar of the Bizarre" by Christian Bok for further details of the Cryptichronos and the amorphous blob.  See Iuz the Evil by Carl Sargent, page 64 for the Dungeon of Bleeding Walls details.

This article comes from Canonfire!

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