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The Purifiers

September 05, 2015

demoIn the Millennium of Purification, a group of Elves and Dwarves join forces to purge the world of the dark magicks they themselves once helped unleash. Is there a chance to make up for their sins of the past and restore order to the world? Find out in the serial fan fic: The Purifiers.

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May 05, 2015

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September 05, 2015

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Tomb: Eye of the Beholder

Puzzle Room


Note: No adventure is included how to reach this tomb, only the room itself. This area can be included at the end of a dungeon, ancient ruins, or other adventure, either as a climax and final reward or just one more puzzle amongst a labyrinth of others.

The player group enters into a large room with a thick layer of dust over the floor and musty smell. This place looks like it hasn't been used in a very long time. The room has a 30 foot (9 m) tall ceiling that contains a mosaic, a picture crafted by using several pieces of small colored glass. The image depicts a bright blue sea with green hills off in the distance. On the top of the distant hill there's a red hot fire burning, as if a signal or perhaps for some type of ceremony or celebration going on that can't be seen. A swarm of unknown mud brown monsters, possibly some sort of demon, cover the sky. Their numbers so great they nearly blot out the image of the warm yellow sun in the background.

In the center of the room there's a black altar 1 1/2 feet by 4 feet (0.5 m x 1.2 m) in front of a rectangular pool 4 feet by 8 feet (1.2 m x 2.4 m). Along the top edge of the alter there are symbols etched in gold of the Ankh, a bird of prey that looks to be a falcon or hawk, and a disk with what appears to be a snake coiled around it. These same three symbols are repeated along the edge of the altar. Close observation of the floor around the altar will notice a few needles that look like they may have been dropped long ago, perhaps in a hurry or someone just didn't notice. The needles have rusted over time and are no longer usable.

On the other side of the altar there are a few steps leading to the bottom of a 3 foot (0.9 m) deep pool. Along the pool floor there's a scattering of red, blue, green, yellow, and brown colored glass, as if left over or discarded from the mosaic above, or just added for some additional color and flavor. The water itself looks clean. Either someone must attend to it, or somehow it's been magically guarded so it stays fresh. The pool looks as if it may have once been used in some type of ceremonies, probably in connection with the altar, but what type of ceremony is hard to tell.

At the far end of the room opposite of where the group entered, there's a podium with a statue atop of a man on his knees. Closer inspection of the statue shows the man has had his eyes torn out, leaving empty holes in their place. The detail is so fine that it even shows the claw marks, as if clawed out by one of the monsters above. In one hand he holds a paintbrush and in the other a sewing needle. The podium below the statue has an inscription in Elven. Those who can translate it will read:

No land, fire, or waves shall I see,

Cast in darkness as I now be.

Still my spirit shines like the sun,

Casting out the evil I shun.

Return the windows to my soul,

And once again I become whole.

Only then I'll cry for the dead,

Just one Tear of Blood, crimson red.


The Danger

Time is important here. Two minutes after anyone enters into the room (whether it's just one person or an entire group), the instant anyone disturbs the water in the pool, or the moment the group attempts to defile the place (such as looting it), some of the monsters on the ceiling will begin to come to life! One monster for every person in the room will become animated. That means a party of five people will summon five monsters. These monsters appear to be made up of several pieces of glass that are magically held together and animated. They are the guardians of this room and will attack anyone within it. Every additional two minutes the characters remain in the room the number of monsters will double! That means in just two more minutes the monsters will have twice the numbers of the player group, and after four minutes the monsters will outnumber the group four to one.

Depleting the monsters' S.D.C. may give the group a brief reprieve, but victory is short lived as these monsters can completely regenerate within a minute (four melee rounds) and there's endless more remaining on the ceiling waiting to be animated next. There are only two ways to stop these monsters from attacking. The first is to flee from the room. These monsters cannot leave the room and are limited to its boundaries. Once the room is clear, the monsters will return to the mosaic in the ceiling. If the group, or anyone else for that matter, re-enter within an hour, all the monsters will return in full fury. Only by waiting an hour or more will the magic reset.

The second method to stop the attack is to solve the riddle of the room. This will be tricky with the monsters attacking, but can be accomplished with some teamwork. Solving the puzzle will cause the monsters to return to the mosaic immediately. The monsters will remain dormant no matter how long the group remains, as long as the group doesn't attempt to break, destroy, or loot the place. Any of these actions will cause the monsters to return with twice as many numbers as when they last left. The only items allowed to be taken from the room are the Summoning Eye and the items they entered with. Note: The rusty needles can be taken as well, if the player characters really want, as those are considered foreign objects.


Mosaic Monsters

Attributes: I.Q. 7, P.S. 12, P.P. 10, P.E. 18, P.B. 4, Spd. 15 (flying).

Size: 3 feet (0.9 m)

Horror Factor: 6.

Hit Points/S.D.C.: 35, or M.D.C.: 35 (when applicable).

Attacks Per Melee: Three, plus one additional attack with their tail. The tail is typically used to surprise opponents (their last attack), distracting them with multiple claw strikes first (three attacks), while their tail wraps around a victim's ankle to trip them (or otherwise attack).

Damage: 2D6+2 per claw strike, or 1D4+1 with a tail slash.

Bonuses: +1 to strike and parry, +2 to dodge, and +1 to entangle with tail. Fearless: Impervious to Horror Factor, phobias, fear magic and most psionics (including empathy, telepathy, and bio-manipulation).

Special Abilities: The ability to fly. Also, while they're not alive and cannot heal by normal means, they can completely heal themselves once destroyed (all S.D.C. depleted) or by returning to the mosaic. Either process takes four full melee rounds (one minute). These are not living beings, but magically animated art.


The Answer

To solve the puzzle, a character must take two of the yellow colored glass stones from the pool and place them into the eye sockets of the statue. Figuring out the riddle without help is possible, but understanding Mosaic Magic can be useful. The first part of the riddle mentions "No land" (green) "water" (blue) or "fire" (red) can the character see, all three colors of which are depicted in the mosaic. His spirit shines like the "sun" (yellow), and eyes (to Mosaic Mages) are "windows" (glass) to the soul. The statue is missing eyes, so adding in eyes that let it see will make it "whole." The symbols on the altar are additional clues, as the Ankh indicates the Church of Light & Dark. The bird and the circle with a snake are symbols of Ra, god of the sun with a hawk head who wears the sun disk (symbolized by the sun disk/circle with the snake around it).

Players making clever use of skills (or if the G.M. just wants to give them a helping hand) can also benefit. Skills such as Lore: Religion can give them indications that the symbols on the altar indicate Ra, the Sun God. Lore: Magic can provide clues such as ancient texts indicating Mosaic Mages believed eyes are the windows to the soul, they placed great importance on art (giving further hints towards potential clues in the mosaic above), and/or that the needles on the floor could've been used in a ceremony to make Ezo (a ceremony based on the rising and setting of the sun). The fact the needles have rusted indicates either they've been used or the ceremony was interrupted, and they possess no magical powers.

Once the puzzle is solved, and the monsters retreat, the statue will shed a single tear made of red glass. This is the players' reward for solving the puzzle. The tear is actually a Summoning Eye, made by the Staff of the Crying Demon. See below for stats on Sleep, the supernatural being contained within.


Summoning Eye: Sleep

This supernatural being is only known as Sleep, believed to be based on his ability to cast Cloud of Slumber. He appears in the form of a human, and is said to have been birthed when some unnamed god ripped out his eye (which then regenerated) and used it to create a minion. As such Sleep is possessed with a portion of that god's abilities, and legend tells that the god can see everything Sleep sees as if he were there himself. The god then sent Sleep to the Palladium World as a spy, or at least to observe the people there and see if maybe he could get them to worship him as he had been on other worlds.

With Sleep sealed away the god seems to have forgotten about his existence, or at least felt it not worth his time to hunt for him. However, if Sleep begins to be summoned, this once forgotten god is likely to take notice. Gods are known to be petty and possessive. Even if this god had forgotten about Sleep, he won't like anyone else controlling his minion. A few uses won't be enough to help the god hone in on Sleep's position, but the more Sleep is summoned the closer the god will come. He may allow mortal's to continue summoning Sleep, but only if he believes Sleep can gain valuable information to converting these mortals as new worshippers.

Alignment: Anarchist, but usually with good or unprincipled intentions.

Attributes: I.Q. 18, M.E. 13, M.A. 14, P.S. 24, P.P. 16, P.E. 12, P.B. 9, Spd. 26.

Hit Points: 51, S.D.C.: 96, or M.D.C.: 93 (when applicable).

Physical Appearance: Sleep appears as a mortal always wearing white armor with golden trimmings. He usually wears a helmet that covers most of his features, except for his mouth which always seems to be exposed and never smiling. The rare times he removes his helmet, he appears as a human male of average beauty with white hair and golden eyes, matching his armor in color.

Disposition: Sleep respects brave warriors of great skill and ability. He may become a willing servant if those who summon him gain his respect by demonstrating prowess in combat and display acts of courage. Cowards and/or those who attempt to take advantage of his power however are destined to become his enemies. He'll attack those he's ordered to, but will do things like try to position those opponents so he can attack them by going through his would-be master. If these attempts fail, he'll use his keen intellect to attempt subversion of his master's will by twisting his commands and implanting subtle doubts within the group. However, he doesn't like this latter method, viewing it as the tactics of a demon (that doesn't mean he's above doing it).

Experience Level: Equivalent of a 4th level Mercenary Fighter.

Natural Abilities: See the Invisible and does not age or need to eat, drink, or breathe.

Magic: Cloud of Slumber and Phantom Horse; both performed at Level 4 proficiency and can be performed twice a day. Spell Strength: 14.

Combat Skills: Hand to Hand: Martial Arts, W.P. Sword, W.P. Spear, W.P. Targeting/Missile Weapons, and W.P. Paired Weapons (sword and sword).

Weapons: Sleep possesses two magical twin swords, which appear linked to him on a spiritual level and vanish when he vanishes. Whether Sleep manifests them as a part of his body or they're created using some foreign type of magic remains unknown. The swords are called Snow and Lightning.

Snow: 3D6 S.D.C. damage (M.D. in settings such as Rifts), double damage to creatures vulnerable to cold attacks. Anyone struck by Snow must make a save vs. magic (14 or higher). Those who fail suffer a numbing cold and lose one melee attack per melee round, -2 on initiative, -1 to strike, parry, and dodge, and speed reduced by 10%. These penalties are not cumulative and last for 1D4 minutes.

Lightning: 2D6 S.D.C. damage (M.D. in settings such as Rifts). The sword crackles with electricity all around it. Any who come in contact with this lightning field find their reflexes momentarily slowed and harder to avoid, giving this weapon an effective +2 to strike. Damage from this weapon also has the ability to bypass any metal armor, such as chain mail or plate. Leather armor, including studded leather, are resistant and take damage as normal. Note: In Rifts, does double damage to Mega-Damage alloys.

Combined: The hilts of Snow and Lightning can be combined to form one weapon, making a long spear. In their combined form, they lose all their special abilities, but inflict 4D6 S.D.C. damage (M.D. in setting such as Rifts) and can be thrown up to 500 feet! This spear can be magically returned to Sleep's hand once per melee round. With his ability to unite his weapons, he's a formidable opponent in both melee and ranged combat.


Difficulty Level: Moderate

This room and the reward are designed for higher level players. However, how the group handles it will depend largely on how easy it is. Some players may figure out the riddle immediately, while others will need several clues before understanding it (if even then). A group may even disturb the pool before making it across the room and reading the riddle on the statue, meaning they'll have to read the clue and figure it out in the middle of combat! Another group may try to fight and defeat all the monsters before solving the puzzle, and by the time they realize the monsters won't stop coming they'll already be greatly outnumbered. While the monsters are designed to only pose a moderate threat, once they get in high enough numbers they can become unstoppable.

Figuring out the riddle quickly will help, but they can't solve the room without disturbing the water and that means summoning the monsters. This will create at least some combat. Teamwork can be a great benefit here. If the other members of the group rally together to take on multiple monsters at once, or at least provide cover for another member, they can free up one character to solve the puzzle while the others fight off the monsters. Fighting as individuals will make completing this challenge more difficult.