Tuesday, 9 October 2012

An Adventure for Every Monster - Manes


Frequency    Rare
No. appearing  4-16
Armour class  7
Move  3” (yes, that’s right – three paltry inches) 
Hit Dice   1
Percentage in lair  Nil   
Treasure type Nil
No. of attacks 3
Damage per attack  1-2/1-2/1-4   
Special attack  Nil  
Special defences  +1 or better weapon to hit
Magic Resistance Standard
Intelligence Semi-
Alignment Chaotic Evil
Size  S (3’ tall) boy, these guys are shrimps; I’d never noticed how small they were. Kind of like the hobbits of the Abyss.
THAC0  19
XP value 18 + 1/hp

The party is contacted by a rich but elderly merchant who has spent his life grasping, squeezing and extorting every penny he could get his hands on. Now however, his health is failing and he is keen to address the question of the afterlife.

Over the past couple of weeks, he has noticed several chilling events which he has interpreted as omens of impending doom. (These can be developed by the DM or might be the usual run of sinister stuff – rooms go cold when he’s in there and nobody else notices, mirrors turn black when he looks into them, blood oozes from chairs in which he’s sat, roses wither just after he’s visited the garden, that sort of thing).

Needless to say, he is now convinced that the forces of darkness are on their way to collect and so he has sent for a priest to carry out the necessary rituals to ensure that he does not go to the demonic realms when he finally passes on. The priest has to travel some considerable distance (the merchant lives in an out-of-the-way manor house in the countryside, away from the riff-raff from whom he’s squeezed his ill-gotten fortune).

The party is therefore given the task of protecting the merchant from whomever is coming to claim his soul until he can obtain his “Get into Heaven Free” pass.

The DM can crank up the occurrence of omens in the time it takes the priest to arrive (perhaps a few days but as we know, a lot can happen in a few days).

The catch is that the demons are in fact uninterested in the merchant – it’s the priest that they’re interested in. The omens relate to his arrival at the manor house. He is a venal, self-centred, greedy and corrupt individual whose only interest in attending the worried merchant is the sizeable bequest that will be made to the church – a windfall he’s looking to pocket himself. 

When the priest arrives, the party will probably think that their task is over but that’s far from true as the demon with the task of collecting (probably a Type IV) will cause havoc when he arrives and will deploy a squad of manes to divert or delay the party whilst he turns his attention to the priest.  Of course, this shift of focus may not necessarily be noticed immediately by the party, who may still be trying to protect the merchant – a few DM-inspired red herrings to convince them he’s still the target, coupled with the fact that the demon will arrive as darkness falls, will cause confusion and chaos on a grand scale.

With the manor being so far out of the way, it will of course be unlikely that there’ll be anybody else about to help the party. Many of the merchant’s servants will have packed their bags and left by the time the priest arrives.

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