This scenario is based at Agape, but could be relocated to another oasis with some modification. The scenario assumes that the PCs are Praxian nomads, but with a little work, it could be adapted for non-Praxians.
A Myth with Two Sides
The Praxians tell a myth about Agape:
“Long ago, before Waha gave us his yassa, before Tada hid Eiritha from death, before we knew how to tell what evil was, Thed, the Mother of Goats, lived here, lurking in one of the caves. One day, one of Grandfather Jerboa’s children heard her moaning, as if in pain. ‘What is wrong, Thed?’ the tiny creature asked.
“ ‘I am sick. I am too weak to go and find food for myself.’
“The jerboa felt sorry for Thed, and promised to bring her something to eat. He went and gathered some chatsargana berries for her, and as he went, he told all the other animals about her misfortune. For several days, many animals came to visit Thed, bringing her food, or medicine, or just company.
“After six days, Raven came to visit Thed. But being a cunning bird, he looked around outside her cave, and noticed that there were many tracks leading into the cave, but none coming back out. It was then that he realized that Thed was eating very well indeed. He told all the animals what was happening, and they told Eiritha, and that is how we came to realize that Thed is evil and must be avoided."
But the broo tell their own version of this story:
“ “Listen up, spawn, and hear the story of our mother’s cunning. A long time ago, Thed lived in this here cave. She was not the strongest, nor was she the fastest, nor did she have the sharpest teeth. But she was the most clever. One day, as the silly little jerboa was hopping past her cave, she began to moan, pretending to be sick. The jerboa stopped and asked her what was the matter. ‘I am sick, little one. I cannot hunt for food because I am weak. Can you help me?' The jerboa went away and told everyone that Thed was sick and needed help. Then he came back, bringing with him a bunch of small berries. But there were not enough berries to make a meal, so Thed ate the jerboa instead. He tried to leap away, but could not jump far enough to escape her.
“The next night, a manul brought her an ui to eat. But Thed was hungrier for more than the ui, so she ate the manul as well. He tried to claw her, but her claws were sharper. The next night, a hyena brought her a hyrax to eat, but by this point, she had learned well, and she ate the hyena. He bit her, but her skin was too thick. The next night she ate an impala, which tried to run, but was not fast enough. The night after that she ate a sable, which sought to gore her, but she broke its horns. On the sixth night, she ate a morokanth. It fought with claw and tooth, and hurt her, but it was still not strong enough to defeat her. After that, the animals finally wised up and understood what she was doing, but by then she was well-fed and much stronger, and did not have to resort to trickery. She left the cave and went prowling for a better class of prey. Now go out and get me something good to eat."
The Ambitious Broo
There are always feral broo around Agape. The large number of animals that come to the oasis mean there is also good food to be had and it is easy for the broo to reproduce. When Storm Bull cultists come through Agape, they generally spend some time hunting down these feral broo, who are mostly too unsophisticated to avoid being tracked down and killed.
But recently a more clever broo has come to Agape, a shaman of Thed named Grubsucker. He sought out Thed’s shrine and found the right cave. He searched for the feral broo and beat them into submission, then taught them both fighting skills and magic. The result is a modest force of relatively sophisticated broo that follow him both out of fear and because he is making them strong.
Grubsucker has decided to perform the Thed Eats the Animals quest, performing it as a Practice Quest in the middle world, rather than crossing into the Heroplane. Grubsucker hopes that doing it as a practice quest will help him become powerful enough to do it as a full heroquest. This quest requires him to spend 6 successive nights eating increasingly powerful animals that come to his cave. So his band of broo go out and catch prey and bring it back alive for him to kill and eat (everything except the bones and skin). He is halfway through the quest when the PCs arrive at Agape.
The Pacification Effect
Grubsucker’s ritual produces a strange side-effect, because he is performing the quest in the exact place where Thed enacted the original myth. Animals in the region gradually become more pacified and less capable of resisting the broo threat. This effect works on both regular Fixed-INT animals and Free-INT creatures, a category that includes awakened mounts, familiars in animal bodies, and persons with a strong animal nature. This last category includes anyone who belongs to a Beast-rune cult (if using earlier editions of Runequest) or those who are rune-touched with the Beast rune (if using MRQ). At the GM’s discretion, this category may also include morokanth, baboons, durulz, and beast men. Thus worshippers of Waha, Storm Bull, Eiritha, and Basmoli may all be affected, but not Foundchild or Daka Fal cultists. However, broo are not touched by the effect.
If Fixed-INT creatures are questioned, using spells such as Speak with Beasts or the like, they explain that they feel safe and relaxed. Even pointing out predators to them does not alarm them.
The exact consequences of the Pacification Effect are laid out below in the Events of the Quest section, but in general, Fixed-INT beasts will become lazy, docile, and complacent, even when confronted with danger, while Free-INT creatures, including some player characters, will suffer a penalty to offensive skills. This second element of the Pacification Effect is designed to provide a challenge to more powerful PCs; if it is too much of a hindrance, either drop the effect on Free-INT creatures or use the Dream of Raven event.
The Events of the Quest
This section explains what will happen as each day of the quest goes on, assuming that the PCs fail to intervene. Each stage Grubsucker completes grants him a new power, although he will not keep all of these at the end of the quest. If Grubsucker is killed at any point, the quest ends. If he completes the quest, it also ends. The Pacification Effect terminates immediately when the quest ends,.
Grubsucker performs the quest by sending out minions to capture a victim for him. Each victim must be larger and more dangerous than the preceding day’s victim, and must be relatively uninjured. Grubsucker then fights, slays, and devours the animal in the Thed Shrine without assistance. Grubsucker and his minions perform the stations at night, so each ‘day’ of the quest begins late in the evening when Grubsucker completes the next station. If he ever fails to kill and completely consume his victim in the space of 24 hours, he fails the quest.
Listed below are the days of the quest. Grubsucker’s quest activity is laid out, and the effects of the growing Pacification Effect are explained. The GM will need to decide on what day of the quest the scenario begins. It is suggested that the scenario start on day 3.
Day 1: Grubsucker completes the first station when his best minion, Rotspittle, catches a small lizard for him. He kills it. He gains the ability to cling to sheer surfaces (such as the walls and ceiling of the shrine cave).
Pacification Effect: Fixed-INT creatures become more relaxed.
Day 2: Grubsucker kills and consumes a jackrabbit and gains the ability to leap up to 20 meters as a movement action.
Pacification Effect: Fixed-INT creatures become much more relaxed and docile. Predators are more easily spotted because they are less careful about sneaking. Free-INT creatures begin to be affected as well. They suffer a -5% penalty to all offensive actions (this includes attack rolls, offensive spell-casting, berserking rolls, and so on. They feel very relaxed.
Day 3: Rotspittle brings home a vulture. Grubsucker kills and eats it, and gains +20% to all perception tests.
Pacification Effect: The behavior of Fixed-INT creatures begins to be noticeable. Herd animals are no long looking around for predators, and cowpeckers do not seem alarmed by predators. Predators stop stalking and just watch the other animals; they allow humans to get quite close to them before attacking. Mounts suffer a penalty of -1 Movement. Free-INT creatures suffer a penalty of -10% to offensive actions. They begin to sleep late and some begin daydreaming.
Day 4: Rotspittle brings back a hyena, which Grubsucker defeats. He gains +2 points of armor and hyena-mottled fur.
Pacification Effect: Fixed-INT creatures move slowly, as if sleepy. They are easily led by anyone grabbing them. Predators just sun themselves, and only fight if they are attacked. Mounts suffer a penalty of -2 Movement. Free-INT creatures suffer a penalty of -15% to offensive actions and -1 to their Movement. At night, they have trouble staying awake.
Day 5: Rotspittle brings back a herd animal, most likely an impala (or a bison calf, if the Brokenhorn are Bison Riders). Grubsucker kills it but only barely manages to consume all of it in one sitting. If he eats an impala, he gains +4 Movement; if he eats a Bison, he gains +3 STR.
Pacification Effect: Fixed-INT creatures spend much of their time sleeping, though they wake when prodded. Predators lose nearly all aggressiveness and can be petted. Mounts refuse to move faster than a walk. Free-INT creatures suffer a penalty of -20% to offensive actions and -2 to Movement; they find themselves drowsing in slow moments.
Day 6: Rotspittle and several other broo kidnap a human. Grubsucker kills and eats him. The consumption process takes him much of the day, because he has been gorging for so long. The quest ends when he finishes consuming the victim and gains +2 CON. At this point, he must sacrifice 1 POW for each of the special abilities he wishes to keep permanently.
Pacification Effect: Until he completes the final meal, Fixed-INT creatures sleep heavily and only rouse briefly when disturbed. Free-INT creatures suffer a penalty of -25% to all offensive actions. They must occasionally make a POW x3% to stay awake, except when being attacked. However the Pacification Effect terminates as soon as the quest ends. At that point, sleeping animals and characters wake with a start. Hungry predators will probably seek fast kills.
The Greeting Contest
The PCs arrive at Agape, either on their own or as part of a clan migrating. Waha’s yassa forbids Praxians to fight within a quarter-day’s ride of a sacred place (such as Eiritha’s Snout), so instead, the newcomers must prove that they have a right to be at the oasis. The clan that currently controls Agape is the Brokenhorn Impalas (unless the PCs are Impala Riders, in which case the Brokenhorn are Bison Riders).
When the PCs arrive, they must undergo the Greeting Challenge (see Rule 1, issue 13 for an explanation of this important Praxian custom). If the PCs are traveling on their own, they simply encounter a Brokenhorn patrol; if they are part of a clan, the GM must stage a more formal challenge. The scenario assumes that the PCs are traveling on their own, and that they win the right to stay at Agape. The leader of the patrol is Jargal Sings-Loud. When they initiate the challenge, he will gladly receive it. He’s cocky, and will challenge them to something that lets him prove his skills, rather than something at which he has an automatic advantage. The GM should decide exactly what the challenge is, but a test of missile skills or a Riding contest might be appropriate if the GM just wants a simple skill roll. If the GM wants something more focused on role-playing, make it a boasting contest or something similar and require the player to role-play it.
The PCs will arrive at Agape later in the day, and will have little opportunity other than to set up their yurts and water their animals. As they are doing so, Nawkaw Shaking-Tree stops by. He is a Foundchild hunter of the Brokenhorn clan, and he mostly wants to get a look at the new arrivals. He will initiate the Greeting Contest, which allows one of the PCs to choose the contest. If he wins, he’ll just ask for a seat at their fire; if he loses, he’ll offer to tell them about Agape. If the Brokenhorn clan has to leave Agape (because it lost the Greeting Challenge to the PC’s clan), he will explain that they couldn’t have stayed too much longer anyway, because their herds have grazed down the best grass in the area.
Nawkaw is an opportunity for the GM to give the PCs necessary information. He’ll gladly tell them the story of how Tada Buried Eiritha (if they don’t already know it), and explain the significance of the Snout to them. He can tell the Praxian version of Thed Eats the Animals, and will tell a fellow cultist that the hunting in the area is good, but that they should be careful about broo. He hasn’t seen any recently, but they must be out there. Should the players need help at some point during the scenario, Nawkaw will be willing to offer his skills as a tracker and the like, for a modest payment.
Running the Scenario
How the scenario plays out depends on when the PCs arrive at Agape. It is recommended that the players arrive on Day 2 and that the action of the scenario starts on Day 3, when the Pacification Effect begins to be noticeable. But the GM may choose to have them arrive at Agape before the scenario starts, or have them arrive later in the quest, depending on whether he wants to emphasize the search for the truth or simply have a fight with Grubsucker’s gang. Listed below are a set of incidents that the GM can drop in as needed to customize the action of the scenario.
If the GM simply wants a fight, allow them to discover Grubsucker’s gang fairly easily. If the GM wants a more of a mystery, force them to work through the strange events.
The Broo Hunt
This event is recommended for Day 3, but may occur on Day 2 or 4 just as easily. It works to alert the players that something strange is happening at Agape.
By long tradition, when Storm Bull cultists arrive at Agape, they organize a hunt for broo. If the PCs include a Storm Bull, he will know that he is obligated to hunt broo, and thus the PCs may do a hunt on their own. If the PCs have no Storm Bull, use Chatima Holds-His-Fist. If the PCs are traveling with their clan, Chatima is a clanmate of theirs, and eager to hunt broo; he invites the PCs to participate. Storm Bull worshippers are obligated to help him, while for other cults, hunting chaos is voluntary (although a Waha cultist who refuses will be shamed). If the PCs are traveling on their own, Chatima is a member of the Brokenhorns, and he invites them to test their skills. Nawkaw may be invited to participate if the players need help.
The GM may make the hunt as simple or complex as he wishes, but the following details should be worked into the hunt, either as facts the players discover on their own or as things they learn from NPCs at the oasis along the way.
- Feral broo are common around Agape. Clans camped at the oasis always patrol the herds aggressively to keep them safe from broo assault.
- However, for the past several seasons, there have been few broo seen. Chatima think this means that previous hunts were unusually successful, while Nawkaw worries it means the broo are simply hiding in one of the caves.
- The hunt may turn up dangerous predators, such as a leaping bear for the PCs to fight, but they do not see any broo. Rockslides, or an encounter with Basmoli or Agimori, are other threats they may encounter. Remember to apply the Pacification Effect to any beast-related enemies they encounter.
- A special success on a Tracking or Spot Hidden roll does uncover recent evidence of broo, such as broo dung or hoof prints. There are definitely broo present, but they cannot be located. Sense Chaos does not help find the broo, although a special success may indicate a vague sense of unease.
- There are numerous caves in the area, and a number of arroyos where broo might be able to hide. The players may choose to make an aggressive search of caves in later days.
- Foundchild hunters and Eirithans who make an Animal Lore roll notice that regular animals are curiously less cautious than normal, as if they feel safe. This suggests the absence of predators. This would seem to contradict items 3 and 4, and should definitely seem odd. This is the first sign the PCs notice of the Pacification Effect.
By the end of the hunt, players should have a sense that something slightly odd is going on, but without really knowing what.
A Visit to the Snout
This event is recommended for Day 3 or 4.
Eirithan characters will naturally be interested in visiting the Snout. Eirithans will be welcomed, as will Axe Sisters and worshippers of Helpwoman. Non-Praxian women will be received cautiously, depending on their cult, while male characters will be refused entrance unless they require healing and can persuade Chabi that they are deserving of it. Eirithans will be invited to join the subcult of Sariba Walks-at-Dawn. If the GM needs an excuse to introduce Chabi and the shrine, have Nawkaw or Chatima badly injured during the broo-hunt by a leaping bear or a rock slide, so that he needs to be taken to the Snout for healing.
At some point during the initiation ritual, or during the healing ritual, the character being initiated or healed will experience a vision (a not uncommon event during Praxian rituals). In the vision, the character is grazing at an oasis (not obviously Agape, but not any other oasis the character may have been to either). There are many animals around her and she feels safe and contented. But each time she looks up, there are fewer and fewer other animals around. Finally, she is alone, although she still feels safe. She notices piles of bones scattered around, and a freshly killed animal, covered in flies, but somehow this doesn’t make her anxious. Eventually as she grazes, she becomes aware of a dark presence. It is hard for her to see it, but it walks on two legs, has long claws, and a large mouth filled with sharp teeth. It leaves a trail of blood as it circles around her, but strangely she still feels no fear. Eventually it leaps on her and the vision ends.
The Eiritha Women discuss this vision very intently. They conclude that some sort of hidden menace is threatening either the herds or the Oasis. Chabi feels that the danger is a terrible predator of some sort, but others conclude that it is a warning of a drought or plague that is coming.
This ‘event’ happens as players search for information. These are the sources of guidance they may find at Agape.
Chabi Jumping-Pot knows a great deal about Agape, probably more than anyone except Salu. Although she typically is cautious with her help, once she realizes that something serious is going on, she will provide any reasonable assistance she can. She knows the Praxian myths about Agape, and will tell them if they seem relevant (although, of course, she only knows the Praxian side of Thed Eats the Animals). She has no idea that there is a chaotic shrine anywhere in the area. She can confirm that nothing like this has ever happened at Agape, and she is mystified as to what it means, at least until she performs the divination (see below).
Salu also knows a great deal about Agape and its history, although his stories come from the Oasis Folk viewpoint. He knows the Praxian version of Thed Eats the Animals. He knows that one of the caves on the mesa was Thed’s lair; he doesn’t know which exactly, but he knows it was to the east of the oasis.
Old Jaru also knows the Praxian version of Thed Eats the Animals, but he has also heard the chaotic version, once a long time ago from a Foundchild shaman. If specifically asked where the broo might be hiding, he will suggest the easternmost cave on the mesa, the one that leads far back into the earth. He was in it once several years ago and found it an evil place. This is, in fact, the location of the shrine. The GM should only give Jaru’s information when it is time for the PCs to find the shrine, because learning the location of the shrine will shortcut the Kidnapping (see below). If the players do not think to ask Old Jaru, Nawkaw can provide the same information.
Chatima Shaking-Fist is ready to see chaos in almost anything unusual. But after the broo-hunt, he will be inclined to think that the danger is not broo, but something else. He will gladly come along on an expedition the players suggest to him. He knows a fair amount about broo-chaos, and can offer advice on how to deal with them, although he will always urge characters to be aggressive, to the point of recklessness.
This event can happen at any point after the players realize something strange is going on. Since the herd animals are acting strangely, it may occur to the PCs to ask an Eiritha priestess (either the clan’s Eiritha Woman or Chabi Jumping-Pot) to perform a divination. If no one requests a divination, Chabi may volunteer to perform one on Day 5. Other cults might also perform a divination, in which case the GM will need to re-write the details of the incident somewhat.
The priestess performing the divination drinks a full skin of blessed kumiss and her assistants play animal-hide drums as they dance around a fire. The drums begin quickly but gradually slow down, like a human heartbeat slowing. The priestess drops to all fours and begins to act like a cow. Her eyes roll back in her head and in a low voice she calls out “The Goatmother hungers and is being fed." Then she lowers her head and curls up in a ball. Her assistants cease their drumming and immediately take care of her.
When the priestess returns to awareness, she will meet with the players, although she will be exhausted for much of the day. If Chabi performs the divination, she will immediately understand that the divination refers to Thed Eats the Animals, although another priestess may not recognize the reference right away. It is clear that broo-chaos is threatening Agape somehow, but it will not occur to any of the NPCs that someone might be heroquesting the myth. If players suggest that, the priestess will acknowledge that as a real possibility.
The Broo Attack
This event happens when Grubsucker realizes that the players are searching the caves for him. It might happen after the Broo Hunt on Day 3, or after the Missing Herd Beast on Day 5. Grubsucker has Dogsbody spying on the oasis to make sure the Praxians don’t interfere in his ritual. He assumes that if they are searching for broo, they will stop searching after they find some. So he orders several of his dumbest, most disposable broo to go out in the middle of day, find a herd beast or a person, take it back to a particular cave (chosen because it’s not near the shrine), and have some fun with it.
The broo have cabin-fever and are only too glad to follow their natural inclinations. So the incident begins with a Brokenhorn brave, Odakoteh Three-Spears, riding up as fast as his mount will move. He is wounded, and explains that he was attacked by a band of broo. He was able to fend them off long enough to get away, but they are still out there. If the players follow his directions to the eastern side of the camp, they will find signs of a fight, including a dead broo. It is not too hard to track them because there are several of them and one is wounded and bleeding. Tracking rolls are made at +20%. If successful, the broo are found in a shallow cave; they have grabbed a couple of wild animals (a fox and a hyena) and busy torturing and sodomizing them.
There are 4-6 of them, depending on how large the PC party is, and one has been wounded (if the party is weaker, then he’s near death and being ignored by his companions). Use the Group 2 broo and adjust their numbers as needed. The fight should not be too difficult. Players may assume, as Grubsucker is hoping, that these are the only broo in the area and that they’ve just been hiding. Smart characters, however, may observe that the cave shows few signs of being lived in, so there may be more broo hiding elsewhere in the area. But nothing in the cave will lead them back to the Shrine.
The Missing Herd Beast
This event occurs the morning of Day 5, after Rotspittle has stolen the herd beast. A Brokenhorn woman reports that one of her herd beasts vanished. One of the Brokenhorn braves, Ahiga Barking-Dog, reports that he saw a man leading the animal away last night. He gave chase on his mount, but lost the man in the darkness. In reality, he became so drowsy that he did not chase very hard, and soon gave up and fell asleep (the Pacification Effect), but he is too ashamed of this to admit it unless he is pressed hard.
He can show the players where the theft happened; it was on the far eastern side of the oasis. A search of the ground finds both impala hoof-prints and the hoof-prints of something with two legs, logically a broo. But Ahiga is very insistent that the thief was a human, not a broo. (At a distance, Rotspittle looks very much like a human, since he has gern features and no horns.) Successful Tracking rolls enable the players to follow the tracks a good distance to the east along the line of the mesa, but the trail is lost on a patch of rocky ground (unless the GM is willing to allow the discovery of the Shrine at this point).
Brokenhorn braves who are unaffected by the Pacification effect (because they are not Rune-touched by the Beast rune) may accuse the PCs of stealing and eating the missing calf. This may become a diversion from the search for the broo if the GM wishes.
A Dream of Raven
As Grubsucker’s quest continues, the chances of Raven becoming involved increase. This event happens if the GM decides the players need help or guidance.
One of the PCs dozes off, and has a dream in which he is walking along the mesa. He sees a cave with a line of animals leading into it. Perched high on a dead acacia tree is a large raven, simply watching. The raven croaks and says “I would be careful about going in there if I were you." Then he preens himself and a black feather drifts slowly down into the dreamer’s hand.
When the PC wakes, he finds a black feather in his hand. If a person holds the feather and spends an MP into it, he or she is rendered immune to the Pacification Effect for 1 hour. The feather can be shared around; it is not ‘attuned’ to the character who receives it. At the GM’s discretion, this feather may have other powers that the PCs discover later, such as making a medicine bundle more powerful or granting a single use of the Rune spell Conceal.
Conceal3 POW points
Ranged, temporal, nonstackable, reuseable
Like Invisibility, this spell makes the user invisible by attracting the enemy’s attention to a spot other than where the character is. He remains unnoticed unless he wishes to draw attention to himself or is detected by magic. If he makes a noise, an enemy could try to attack him by ear, at -50% to his attack chance.
If the character attacks with a spell, missile or melee, he becomes visible in the first strike rank of the round in which he attacks or acts, and disappears again after the last strike rank of the that round unless engaged in melee. In any round in which the character disengages from melee, he disappears at the end of the round of disengagement.
This event triggers the climax of the scenario, early on Day 6. A gang of broo, led by Rotspittle, comes to the camp seeking to seize a human. They find a Waha brave, Mongweh Red-Feathers (or substitute a minor NPC from the PCs’ clan), who is patrolling. They ambush him and drag him away, doing their best not to seriously wound him. The result is a struggle that makes a lot of noise. Players should wake easily, except for those with Beast rune connections, who will require shaking.
Following the broo will not be hard. Mongweh is shouting, and the broo gang are leaving a substantial trail. If the PCs respond immediately, they may make Tracking or Listen rolls to follow them. The darkness makes it a little harder to see, but the noise cancels any penalty for the darkness.
The finale can be staged in a couple ways, depending on the GM’s intent. The players may find the Shrine just as Grubsucker is preparing to sacrifice his victim. In that case, Mongweh is tied up and vulnerable, but still alive. If the players take their time responding, however, Mongweh will be dead, and Grubsucker will have begun his last meal. For a truly dramatic climax, the PCs might fight their way into the shrine just as Grubsucker is finishing up the meal, but that would require the characters to take their time responding to the kidnapping (or miss a number of Tracking rolls).
The entrance to the cave is unimpressive, with nothing to suggest that it is a shrine to a chaotic god. There is a dead acacia tree not far away, which a character who dreamed of Raven may recognize.
1)The cave entrance is low, and slopes down sharply before opening into a low chamber about 7 feet high. The chamber is empty, other than a few old bones and some scraggly plants.
2) The tunnel slopes downward and to the left. The ceiling is low, so that characters greater than SIZ 13 must crouch slightly. In places, a thin trickle of water runs down the walls. There is some smoke coming up the tunnel, though not enough to cause trouble for those descending. Animal noises can be faintly heard coming from below.
3) About 40 meters down the tunnel, it opens out into a large chamber lit by a fire. A half-dozen broo are lounging, too bored to maintain a guard. If the PCs have made noise coming down the tunnel, the broo will be armed and ready; otherwise they will be caught by surprise. Use the Group C broo. If the PCs are tough, toss in the Group B broo as well.
The chamber is littered with the remains of the broos' meals, as well as a considerable amount of broo dung. The chamber stinks. If Mongweh is still alive, he will probably be shouting for help.
4) This chamber is crudely penned off from 3. Within it are a couple of injured animals, including an impala with a broken leg. The animals move listlessly, moan occasionally, and are generally suffering. Several young broo are also in the chamber, terrorizing a couple of small animals. Worshippers of both Waha and Eiritha should be horrified by this sight. An appropriate skill check, such as Animal Lore or First Aid, will determine that all the animals are pregnant with larval broo. There is no way to cure these animals of their affliction; if left unaddressed, these animals will all die when the larval broo eat their way out. From the Praxian viewpoint, the only appropriate course of action is to give these animals the Peaceful Cut and burn the corpses; nothing can be salvaged here.
5) This chamber is accessed by another downward sloping tunnel, though a very short one. This is a large, roughly circular chamber, illuminated by a firepit. At the back of the chamber is a large dung-smeared semi-rectangular boulder that serves as an altar. This is where Grubsucker and the Group D broo are to be found, as well as Mongweh (or what’s left of him).
Group 'A' Broo
This group of broo are young, and feral, having only recently spawned in the shrine, thanks to Grubsucker. Because to the properties of the cave, though, they are fast growing, so they are larger than their 1-2 months would suggest. They are also more likely to manifest Chaotic Features, but slightly less likely to carry disease, since this shrine is sacred to Thed rather than Malia. They mostly throw rocks or butt with their horns.
Armor: 2 point horns on head
Skills: Dodge 34%, Listen, 32%, Spot Hidden 28%
Broo 1 is entirely average. He carries Creeping Chills
Broo 2 is much stronger and larger than the others, with a STR and SIZ of 12. This gives him a damage bonus of +1d6 on his Headbutt. He also has 9 Hit Points.
Broo 3 glows red in the dark
Broo 4 has no arms, but has razor sharp horns. Its Head Butt is 53% and does 1d8+1.
Group 'B' Broo
These broo are adults, but still largely feral. Some are spawn of the broo at the shrine, while others have wandered in, drawn by the shrine’s power. Grubsucker considers them expendable, although he has taught a couple of them a little bit of magic. These will be the broo he sends out as a diversion in the Broo Attack. They are armed with crude clubs and spears. Broo 8 and 10 are the most promising of this group, in Grubsucker’s opinion, and they serve as the leaders.
Armor: 3 point horns on head
Skills: Dodge 42%, Listen, 41%, Spot Hidden 38%, Move Silently 39%, Hide in Cover 36%
|1h Spear||7||43%||1d6+1d4||20%||12 hp|
Broo 5 is a vulture broo, with a long neck and vulture-like head, and dark brown feathers instead of normal broo hide. He has no horns, and so cannot headbutt and has no armor on its head. Instead, he has a Peck Attack and a Vomit Attack. He may use one or the other in a round, but not both, and may only vomit 3 times before he needs to fill his stomach again. He also carries Black Tongue.
If he hits a target with his vomit, the target must make a CON x3% each round or else be incapacitated from the nausea-inducing stench. This effect lasts until the vomit is washed off.
Broo 6 is entirely average
Broo 7 is average except that he is incapable of resisting incoming magic.
Broo 8 has thick, knobby skin that gives him 3 pt armor across his whole body and 6 pts on his head. He knows Bladesharp 2.
Broo 9 is entirely average. He has a dog’s head. He carries the Shakes.
Broo 10 is abnormally agile. He has a DEX of 16, so subtract 2 from its Strike Ranks. He also has a movement of 10 and a Dodge of 50%. He knows Bladesharp 2.
Group 'C' Broo
These broo are much more promising than Group B. Grubsucker has hopes of turning them into a true fighting force. At night, he sends them out to hunt for food away from the mesa, so that the broo can eat without attracting the attention of the nomads at Agape. They are armed with fairly crude weapons, as well as shields, and know a little magic.
Armor: 3 point horns on head
Skills: Dodge 46%, Listen, 41%, Spot Hidden 35%, Move Silently 39%, Hide in Cover 38%
|1h Spear||7||53%||1d6+1d4||24%||12 hp|
Broo 11 is a hyena broo. He has a Bite attack that he can use in place of his Head Butt. He is very good at Tracking (60%) and Hiding in Cover (56%). He knows Protection 2 and Befuddle
Broo 12 has STR 20, and therefore a Damage bonus of +1d6. He is otherwise normal.
Broo 13 is an impala broo. He has a Move of 12 and Dodge of 61%. He carries Creeping Chills.
Broo 14 is entirely average, but he knows Bladesharp 2.
Broo 15 has a POW of 14 and knows Ignite and Demoralize. He will tend to hold back and cast spells.
These are the best broo Grubsucker controls. They are better armed the others, and he has taught them reasonable magic. When the PCs enter the cave, this group are all in chamber 5 watching Grubsucker perform his ritual.
DogsbodyDogsbody is a hyena broo. From a distance, he looks a great deal like a hyena. He has a mottled yellow-brown coat, a hyena’s head and no horns. His front paws are more like hands than paws, while his back feet are hooves. Grubsucker uses him as a spy; he is frequently out around the oasis spying on the nomads. At a distance it requires a Special on a Spot Hidden or other appropriate skill roll to recognize he is anything else than a regular hyena.
Dogsbody can stand upright, but is most comfortable on all fours (he moves 8 upright and 10 on all fours). Consequently, although he can use weapons, in combat he prefers to bite and claw. If he is found outside the shrine, he will have no weapons or armor with him; if found within the shrine he wears a crude leather tunic on his torso (the number in parentheses on his Abdomen and Chest). He carries Thunderlung. He loyal to Grubsucker and will not flee unless the shaman is dead.
Armor: 2 pt fur on all locations
Skills: Dodge 52%, Hide in Cover 65%, Listen 53%, Move Silently 58%, Track 41%
Spells: Ironhand 2, Mobility 3
Chaotic Feature: Looks harmless (his hyena appearance)
RotspittleRotspittle is a gern broo. From the waist up, he looks like a very shaggy human man. He has stunted horns, but they are hidden under a mass of brown hair. From the waist down, though, he has goat legs. He also smells like a wild animal. He wears a long leather robe that obscures his lower body, so that from a distance he appears to be human. He is a skilled hunter, and consequently Grubsucker uses him to acquire the victims for the ritual. The other broo view Rotspittle as Grubsucker’s lieutenant and obey his orders most of the time. He is surprisingly loyal to his shaman and will gladly die to protect him.
Armor: 2 pt leather robe (everywhere except his head), 3 pt skin, 3 pt horns on his head
Skills:Skills: Dodge 42%, Listen, 55%, Spot Hidden 67%, Move Silently 58%, Hide in Cover 60%, Track 61%
Spells: Befuddle, Bladesharp 2, Protection 3, Silence 3
|1h Mace||8||56%||1d8+2+1d4||45%||20 hp|
|1h Spear||7||73%||1d6+3+1d4||44%||15 hp|
ThroatbuggerThroatbugger is a regular broo, but quite stunted, thanks to a Chaotic Feature. He is not very impressive in combat, but he has a distinct talent for magic. He will stand back and cast spells and provide healing. He carries a 7 pt POW crystal on a leather thong around his neck. He recognizes that he is not a very powerful broo on his own, and will only abandon Grubsucker if most of the other broo are already dead or if Crackhorn flees.
Armor: 2 pt skin, 3 point horn on head
Skills: Dodge 53%, Listen, 42%, Spot Hidden 38%, Move Silently 59%, Hide in Cover 66%
Spells: Befuddle, Dullblade 2, Healing 3, Ignite, Protection 2, Dispel Magic 2
Chaotic Feature: -9 SIZ, Absorbs all 1-2 point spells (points go into his MPs)
|Thrown Rock||3/9 47%||1d4+1d4|
|1h Spear||7||52%||1d6+1+1d4||21%||12 hp|
Crackhorn is a rhino broo. He is large, lumbering, and quite dangerous. He is also surprisingly smart. He follows Grubsucker, but may well try to escape if it becomes clear that Grubsucker is going to lose. He wields a very large club.
Armor: 4 point skin, 6 on head
Skills: Dodge 32%, Listen, 42%, Spot Hidden 36%, Move Silently 27%, Hide in Cover 38%
Spells: Mobility 2, Protection 2
GrubsuckerGrubsucker looks like a typical broo, although he wears scraps of clothing. Depending on how far into the quest he has gotten, he will have various bonuses to his stats, reflected by the numbers in parentheses.
|Move: 8 (12)|
|1-4||Right Leg||4 (6)/7|
|5-8||Left Leg||4 (6)/7|
|13-15||Right Arm||4 (6)/6|
|16-18||Left Arm||4 (6)/6|
Armor: 3 point horns on head, 4 pts on body from Armoring Enchantment
Skills: Climb, 72%, Dodge 61% (71%), Hide in Cover 66% (76%)%, Listen 48% (68%), Spot Hidden 69% (89%), Move Silently 68%, Ceremony 82%, Enchant 58%, Spirit Combat 74%, Spirit Walking 81%, Summon 71%, Speak Beast Speech 82%, Speak Praxian 41%
Spirit Magic: Befuddle, Healing 3, Ironhand 3, Mobility 3, Protection 3 (known by Robblegrunt): Detect Life, Detect Spirit, Disrupt, Ignite, Silence 2, Spirit Block 2, Visibility
Divine Magic: Fumble, Chaos Spawn, Worship Thed
Chaotic Feature: All melee weapons that strike him affected by cumulative Dullblade 2 (-10% and -2 damage penalty each time he is hit)
|Head Butt||9||51%||1d6+1d4 (+1d6)|
|1h Spear||7||68%||1d6+1+1d4 (+1d6)||23%||12 hp|
|Medium Shield||-||-||-||59%||12 ap|
Fetch: Robblegrunt INT 14 POW 13 7 Manifests as a floating goat skull
Magic Items: Fetishes with the following spirits bound into them:
Power Spirit: POW 11 10
Violence Spirit: POW 14
Thed Spirit: INT 10, MPs 9, target possessed gains +4 APs
2 pt Spell Power Enhancing Crystal, worn in a bag around his neck
Bonuses from Quest:
Day 1: Cling to sheer surfaces
Day 2: Leap up to 20 meters as a movement action
Day 3: +20% to all Perception-based skills
Day 4: +2 pts of Armor, +10% to Hide in Cover
Day 5: +4 Movement, +10% Dodge (if impala) or +3 STR (if Bison)
Day 6: +2 CON (he only gets this bonus if he completely eats Mongweh and completes the quest)
Running the Fight
Unless the PCs are very careful, it is probable that sounds of fighting will reach chamber 5 (remember that starting on Day 3, Grubsucker gets a considerable bonus to his Perception skills). He will dispatch Dogsbody and Throatbugger to investigate. Depending on what they find in chamber 3, they will either join the fight or retreat back to 5 to inform Grubsucker of the danger. It is likely that when the PCs reach 5, the broo will be prepared, with spells cast.
Grubsucker must devote at least 1 combat action to performing the ritual (basically, killing and eating the victim); the ritual fails if he goes more than 1 round without performing the ritual. But he can cast spells, and fight defensively, and his Fetch and spirits can fight. Thus when combat breaks out, he will cast spells to support the other broo or dodge, but he will only resort to actual fighting if the PCs get close enough to attack him directly. If the ritual fails, he loses 1 special ability each round, with the most recent going first. Additionally, the Pacification Effect immediately dissipates.
In most cases, Grubsucker’s first action is to send his Thed Spirit to possess one of his minions to help them fight. The next round, he will cast Chaos Spawn; 1d4 rounds later the Void will disgorge a Medium Acid Gorp (SIZ 17, HP 14, Acid Attack 100%, 8 damage), unless a living being gets thrown into the Void, in which case the GM may decide what emerges. Then he will send his Violence spirit against one of the PCs. Robblegrunt will cast either Befuddle on PCs or support spells on one of the broo.
If Grubsucker realizes that his forces are in danger of defeat, he will try to flee rather than fighting to the last. He is a survivor first and foremost. If he does escape, he will likely shadow the PCs, seeking to get vengeance on them for his defeat. In this way, he can become a recurring villain. If he is slain, his spirit will linger near his body (remember that shamans can autoresurrect unless their body is destroyed). If his body is destroyed, his spirit may return to plague the PCs at a later date.