Tuesday, December 3, 2013

What Lurks Below the Purple Glow? (Wermspittle)

Then, nearer, I perceived a strange light, a pale, violet- purple fluorescent glow, quivering under the night breeze. For a space I could not understand it, and then I knew that it must be the red weed from which this faint irradiation proceeded. With that realisation my dormant sense of wonder, my sense of the proportion of things, awoke again...
The War of the Worlds, by H. G. Wells

Encounters Within the Purple Gloom
(Areas Overgrown by the Red Weeds...)
  1. You've just discovered the dimly-lit niche where a swarm of bats have taken-up residence.
    Bats (10d10) [AL N, MV 120' (40'), AC 6, HD 1 hp, #AT 1, DG Confuse, SV Zero-Level human, ML 6. Special: These bats are infested with a peculiar green-speckled mold. If exposed to open flame, they explode for 2d4 damage in a 10' radius, each.]
  2. A few not-so-good Morlocks are hunting rats and other easy-meat in the Gloom.
    Morlocks (3d4) [AL C, MV 120' (40'), AC 7 (Riveted Leather), HD 1 (9 hp each), #AT 1, DG 1d4x2 (Steely Knives), SV F1, ML 9. Special: Each carries a bone whistle that can be used to signal their main group (5d10). One of the Morlocks is possessed by a Gloomshadow.]
  3. That stinking, vile mess of putrid flesh and ichor? It's the skinned and mutilated corpse of a Gloomswallow. Foragers or Gloomhunters have killed and stripped the thing for the leather that can be made from it. Examining the rapidly putrrifying flesh will reveal (1d4) unborn young still writhing within the murksome gore.
  4. Huudrin the Marmoset has entered into the Purple Gloom looking for adventure. Now she lies bleeding and battered, hoping against hope for someone to help her back to her troop's encampment back in an Abandoned Property in the Burned Over District. They are searching for the Brazen Tomb of Gargantua...
    Huudrin the Marmoset Knightess (1) [AL L, MV 120' (40'), AC 4 (Cocoon-linked Chain-Mail), HD 5 (42 hp/currently 12 hp), #AT 1, DG 1d6+1 (+1 Battle Axe), SV F5, ML 9. Anyone rescuing fair Huudrin will be richly rewarded in mustard, musk-wax and at least a passable meal...her troop are not rich folk, but they are honorable and will seek to repay a debt as best they might.]
  5. A cloud of Flidder-spawn have found a small, undocumented Weak Point. It looks dark and stormy on the other side. Cold mud tinged with flakes of rust, though that red stuff could be pollen and the like blown across from the Red Weeds.
    Flidder-spawn (4d4) [AL C, MV 120' (60'), AC 6, HD 1+1 (ave. 4 hp each), #AT 1, DG 1d4 (special), SV F1, ML 10. Special: These immature spawnlings can inflict an involuntary Phaseshift on one target once per day, if they all work together. They will use this ability to remove the most obvious threat, once attacked, then they will attempt to flee, half going through the Weak Point, the rest scattering.]
  6. Something is moving under the leaf-litter. These Ferropedes have been stalking you for the last little bit. You'd best attend to them, one way or another, before they attack. They may not be especially good at stalking prey, they are very tough, very nasty things.
    Lesser Ferropedes (3d4) [AL N, MV 90' (30'), AC 5, HD 2 (12 hp each), #AT 1 (bite), DG 1d4 + poison (Save or become seriously ill for next 6 days, and can only move at half normal rate, with no other physical activity possible.) The dark, swirly chitin of these insects contains a form of allotropic iron that may or may not be workable. If anyone knows how to use the stuff, it would be a Morlock armorer.]
  7. The ground gives way. Those failing a DEX check or Save slide 3d6 feet down a muddy incline obscured by red leaves. You find yourself at the very rim of a most precipitous drop. Some sort of pit extending more than 30' and more than half-filled with rusty, oily-looking water that doesn't quite obscure a mid-sized Corpuscular Sludge that is trapped down there.
    Corpuscular Sludge (1) [AL N, MV 3', AC 6, HD 3 (12 hp), #AT 1, DG (Special), SV F3, ML 3. Special: On a successful attack the victim must make a Save or become infected with the creature's terrible blood-borne toxins. A second Save is then attempted, success means that the victim is incapacitated with a raging fever for the next 3d6 hours and they suffer the loss of 1 point of STR for the next 3 weeks. Failing this Save results in the victim losing 1 point of STR every hour until either they reach zero and die or the infection is halted or removed by medicine, potions, or other curatives. Each hour, before losing the point of STR, the victim is entitled to roll another Save. If they succeed they can lose one point of STR permanently and be cured, or they can fight the infection, retain the point of STR and have to endure another full hour of debilitating fever followed by another Save/potential STR loss.]
  8. (1d4) Wretches slashing and burning their way through the Red Weeds. They are looking for a fight.
    Wretches (2d6) [AL C, MV 90' (30'), AC 3 (Chain-mail and Shield), HD 4+4 (Regenerate 1 hp/3 turns unless burned), #AT 1, DG 1d6+3 (Broadswords or Battle-Axes, gain bonus for 18 STR), SV F6, ML 9 (3 if confronted with fire). Special: These Wretches have deserted Bairini's Big Top, several of them still carry tickets, tokens, or other small items from the Circus. Each one you return to the Ringmaster might be worth a small consideration.]
  9. A small herd of Graylings snuffling and digging about for tasty roots. One in four has a serrated spade, the rest use their tiny hands to pluck forth the bulging tubers that grow parasitically at certain junctures of the root-system of the Red Weeds.
    Graylings (3d4) [AL C, MV 30', AC 9, HD 1d4 hp, #AT 1, DG 1d2 or 1d4 (spade), SV T1, ML 3.]
  10. (3d12) Recently hatched Flutter Worms are crawling about the leaf-litter. Their tiny membranous winglets have not fully formed in some cases, in others their winglets appear to be missing. Something has affected them, causing these birth defects. But what could it be?
    Flutter Worms (3d12) [AL N, MV 10' (60'*), AC 9, HD (1d4 hp each), #AT 1, DG 1 hp (blood drain), SV MU 1, ML 4. Special: Each worm 'flutters' (a limited form of Blink), 1d6' in a random direction every few minutes.]
  11. The bloody remnants of a Bruthem. From all appearances the clumsy brute blundered into the Red Weeds while wounded. The Red Weeds have grown through the carcass. The bones gleam wetly from behind a veil of twisted creepers, tendrils and fronds. The hide looks to have been carefully removed in sections.
  12. (3d4) Murkim stalking a tusker-bear cub that they claim is theirs. They accidentally released the newly-acquired Tusker-Bear cub from its cage while looting the camp of a travelling menagerie that was ambushed by a band of heavily-armed Wretches as it was returning to the Big Top. The Murkim are duly spooked and are moving at maximum stealth. They will attempt to arrange for the Wretches to run afoul of others, so they can continue their search for the missing cub.
    Murkim (2d4) [AL N, MV 90' (30'), AC 6 (Disc-Mail cut from specially-cured stalks of ancient fungi), HD 2 (8 hp each), #AT 1, DG 1d6+poison (Short bows and short swords), SV F2, ML 9. Special: Murkim weapons are infested with fungal spores, all wounds inflicted require a Save or the victim suffers infection, most commonly a delirious fever for 1d4 hours, followed by 1d4 days of unpleasant dysentery and half movement, though they can fight at a -1 to hit penalty.]
  13. A cluster of Shrieking White Moths were surprised by your almost stepping on them. They scream madly for 1d4 turns, then fly off to go perch somewhere less traveled. If provoked, they will certainly attack.
    Shrieking White Moths (2d4) [AL C, MV 60' (20'), AC 6 (small shields), HD 2+1 (12 each), #AT 1 (Shriek or Weapon), DG Save or Stunned for 1d4 turns or 1d4+1 (javelin), SV T2, ML 7. Special: Examining these moths reveals disturbing things, like their very human-like hands, and yes, they bleed red and are warm-blooded.]
  14. Heavy iron nails have been driven into the denser, larger stalks and stems of the Red Weeds, each one anchors a chain sunk into the writhing, cursing, madly babbling Blatherer that some apprentice named Frenidall has oh so rudely and crudely left behind, after summoning the thing to serve as a familiar in the first place. Anyone coming within 100' of the constantly kvetching and complaining Blatherer will need to beware the almost constant Wandering Monster checks. If the Blatherer notices them (and they do this without eyes), the creature will holler, yell, and call out for help until it receives succor or grows tired and takes a break from its tirades for 1d4 turns before launching into a scathing analysis of all the shortcomings and failures of everyone who has passed it by and opted to leave it here.
    Blatherer (1) [AL C, MV 120' (90'), AC 9, HD 3 (20 hp), #AT 1, DG 1d4/turn, SV F2, ML 12. Special: Their only real attack is the constant babble and chatter that they create, an unholy racket that gnaws away at a person's brain, mind and soul until at last they either expire or go stark raving mad. In desperation they can bite for 1d4, once. They'll stop after the first bite as it interferes with their preferred onslaught of verbal harangues.]
  15. An especially argumentative group of Tsalalian Refugees have gotten themselves lost. They are very loudly blaming one another for their current predicament. They were hunting after carnivorous black penguins. Now they'd be happy to find their way back to the shanty town they call home.
    Tsalalian Penguin-Hunters (3d4) [AL C, MV 120' (40'), AC 5 (Cheap Splint-Mail), #AT 1, DG 1d6 (Barbed-Spears of Seal-Clubs), SV F2, ML 5. Special: Cast Confusion once per day, per HD.]
  16. A pair of Morlock Weed-workers gathering choice leaves, shoots, tendrils and other parts of the Red Weed to use in their crafting for armor, weapons and other items. The old master is limping. They were accosted by a gang of Feral Children who may still be following them. They would like to parley. Perhaps you might see your way clear to help them get back to their cellar door? The apprentice offers you a Pruztian Five-Pence piece.
    Morlock Weed-Worker (1) [AL N, MV 90' (30'), AC 4 (Untermail), HD 6 (45 hp), #AT 1, DG 1d4x3 (Modified Bec-de-corbin), SV T6, ML 9. Special: Lurk in Shadows, Move Silently, Climb as Thief of level equal to HD.]

    Morlock Apprentice (1) [AL N, MV  90' (30'), AC 6 (Square-Scale Mail), HD 2 (8 hp), #AT 1, DG 1d6 (Axe or Pry-bar), SV T2, ML 9. Special: Lurk in Shadows, Move Silently, Climb as Thief of level equal to HD.]
  17. A Gloomswallow lurks in the deeper violet shadows, whispering softly for its mate.
    Gloomswallow (1) [AL C, MV 90' (30'), AC 7, HD 3+3, #AT 1, DG (Special), SV F4, ML 11. Special: Should the Gloomswallow's tentacles hit their target, the victim must make a Save or have the tentacles infiltrate their flesh and begin to drain away their emotions. It generally takes only 1 turn per level/hit die of the victim to drain it of all emotion. This effect will persist each day that the victim fails a Save. Each day of being devoid of emotion there is a cumulative -1 penalty to the Save. Those victims who fail more than four such Saves are rendered permanently emotionless, requiring them to re-roll their WIS with a -2 penalty, and re-roll their INT on 4D6 with a +1 bonus (discarding the lowest roll), and they become cold, calculating, logical and rational to an extreme--and utterly devoid of all emotion, warmth or affect. Also, the Gloomswallow can cast the following spells: Passwall, True Seeing, Discern Emotion, Locate Dreamer, and ESP at will. Most can also cast Shadow Theft, as well as 1d4 random spells, usually those of an Oneiric, Umbral or Ectoplasmic nature. See more at the Gloomswallow entry.]
  18. Run-away Tusker-Bear Cub. Very confused and scared. It was taught several tricks by its master, including riding a unicycle. None of that seems to be much use.
    Tusker-Bear Cub (1) [AL N, MV 90' (30'), AC 6, HD 2 (11 hp), #AT 3 (claw/claw/bite or tusk-gore), DG 1d3/1d3/1d4, SV T2, ML 4. Special: The cub has the basic idea of how to wield a sword, but isn't fully trained as yet. If it gets the opportunity, it will attempt to pick-up a sword and use it in its defense.]
  19. Rats. Lots of fat, sleek, well-fed rats. They would just as soon ignore you, but will attack if provoked.
    Fat Rats (5d10) [AL N, MV 60' (20'), AC 9, HD 1 hp, #AT 1, DG 1d6+Disease, SV Zero-Level Human, ML 5. Special: If damaged, the rats bleed a thick, metallic-red material more like grease than normal blood. Some strange side-effect brought about by eating a lot of Red Weeds, no doubt.]
  20. A large Unseen Beast is contentedly grazing on the Red Weeds. Until you showed up. Now it's a might peeved. Especially now that you've gotten between it and its young.
    Unseen Mother-Beast (1) [AL N, MV 120' (40'), AC 4, HD 6 (39 hp), #AT 1, DG 2d6 (30% chance of additional 1d6 with Trample), SV F6, ML n/a -- The Mother-Beast will continue to attack until it feels that its young are safe, in this frenzied state she will continue to fight even after reaching -20 hp. Special: Invisible.]

    Unseen Young (1d4) [AL C, MV 60' (20'), AC 4, HD 2 (12 each), #AT 1, DG 1d4 (10% chance to Trample for additional 1d4), SV F2, ML 12 (Oblivious, unless Mother is grunting in warning then 3). Special: Invisible.]

You may also find the Random Swarms Table handy.


  1. The Shrieking White Moths are freaky. If the GM played it well, that slow trickle of information post-defeat could put players off looking too closely at foes for a while - or encourage it...

    1. Yeah...they're a creepy sort of thing. It's amazing what sorts of tings can get a player to act squeamish and what horrific things they'll not bat an eye at. These tings are especially terrifying to the Tsalalians...


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