Sunday, May 23, 2010

Eat Me, Drink Me

If you’ve had the opportunity to check out Stonehell Dungeon or anything else I’ve put out there in the recent past, you no doubt noticed that I enjoy conjuring up themes and then riffing off them in my adventures. Some of these themes are more concrete than others, but they almost always pervade the scenario or location, giving the adventure a central support upon which to hang ideas. It doesn’t matter to me whether the players pick up on these themes or not. Their presence serves to entertain me and help guide my design choices.

Yesterday, the party finally put the Temple of the Goat behind them (although the possibility always remains that they may one day return to deal with the chamber of ambulatory, character-smiting statues). Having done so, I can now reveal that the theme of that location was “mutation” in all its negative forms. From the bizarre toadhemoths to the fungal dead to the weird murals that decorated the site, the temple pointed to things not being as they should.

This theme led to thoughts of physically altering the characters as well, so I inserted two substances that could lead to strange mutations if sampled. My players did not let me down.

As an aside, Maggu Mani is a corruption of Magna Mater or “Great Mother”, a term that refers to the god/dess, Ishnigarrab, which was who the Temple of the Goat was dedicated too. Some of you may know Ishnigarrab by another name: Shub-Niggurath.

Fruit of the Maggu Mani: This strange life resembles gooey yellow-purple polyps the size of cantaloupes. They grow in grape-like clusters and are covered with a slick, sticky film. This material is a plant native to Nihil and was brought down by the Overpriest to serve his nutritional needs. The strange fruit can be either profoundly stimulating to the human body—or a nasty toxin. Anyone eating one of the polyps must make a CON check. If they succeed in the roll, their body shrugs off the alien matter, but they become horrible sick in the process (equal to the bite of a giant centipede). If the roll fails, however, the alien fruit causes their body to undergone a slight and visually unnoticeable change, resulting in the gain of 1 point of CON permanently. There are enough fruits here for ten (10) such meals. They rot quickly after being plucked (within 4 hours).

Milk of the Maggu Mani:This grey fluid is the milk of Ishnigarrab him/herself and produces strange effects on living tissue. Anyone who samples this liquid must make a save vs. poison. If successful, the drinker immediately gains the benefits of a full day’s food and heals 1d3 points of damage. If the save is failed, they undergo a spontaneous transformation. Roll on the table below:


1d4 sightless eyes grow on the drinker’s hands


A second mouth sprouts from the drinker’s throat. This mouth can only make whimpers and horrid smacking sounds.


Hair follicles secrete urine regularly


Drinker’s mouth fills with puss-containing blisters and boils. Drinker can breathe through nose but cannot eat or drink.


Wormlike tendrils sprout from the drinkers nostrils.


Drinker’s body absorbs a random body part – 1: left arm; 2: right arm; 3: left leg; 4: right leg; 5: reproductive organs; 6: head (this is fatal).

Roll each time the liquid is drunk, rerolling on duplicated results. If the character is afflicted by all six effects and continues to consume the liquid, each additional failed save results in the PC losing 1d4 points from a random ability score. Any score reduced to 0, the character is reduced to a viscous puddle of proto matter and is slain.

NOTE: the need for rules for what happens if a character continues to sample the milk may seem strange to some people, but not if you've spent a lot of time on the other side of the referee screen. As it was, the milk was drank by the same character not once but twice in my campaign, demonstrating that it's never a good idea to underestimate the rashness of players.

1 comment:

grodog said...

Great stuff, Michael: you can never have too much Lovecraftian Mythos in your D&D :D