Jan 17, 2012

Warren of the Leper Queens Maps and Aboveground

Comfy and cozy

Both of these were made with Isomage's random cave generator
I "made" these caves using Isomage's Random Cave Generator, which is one of those quirky little tools that you wonder about the use of until you have the highly specific need it meets perfectly. It produces PNGs, which I opened in Microsoft Paint thanks to my high level of technical sophistication and artistic ability, saved as JPEGs, and then marked up. The blue is particularly useful should you ever want to print or photocopy them, as it's easier on your ink cartridge. These maps, by the way, are consistently referred to as "Map 1" and Map 2" throughout all the extant text on the Warren of the Leper Queens.

One of my goals when creating the Warrens was to create a plausible underground base. There are airholes, latrines, multiple entrances, water sources, occasionally the roof will change height, etc. If you read closely, I hope you'll see how these are used to allow PCs multiple ways to engage with what would otherwise be too bunker-like. If I were to run the Warren of the Leper Queens, finding the place would probably be a session long adventure involving hunting down cult collaborators, interrogating them, following the wagons, and then probing the area, ending in the discovery and testing of one or more entrances.

Finding and Entering the Warrens

The warrens are not easily found, but there are traces of their existence aboveground.

The warrens are located in an area known as "Sandy Ridge" to ordinary inhabitants of the Leprosarium. No one lives nearby: All hexes within 1km (2 hexes) of the hex marked "D" are uninhabited. However, many people may be able to direct PCs to the warren's location. All members of the cult at the rank of Cultist and higher are brought to the warrens and instructed on how to find the main entrance, and can give directions sufficiently specific to let anyone find the entrances in Area 1. They will not reveal these entrances except under extreme duress or magical compulsion.

The first entrance (leftmost in area 1 on map 1) is a spacious 5m vertical shaft dug next to a distinctive lone pine tree. It is covered by a disguised but unlocked trapdoor and has a crude mounting near the top for crates to be lowered down. PCs with specific directions can make Perception checks at +30% to spot the tree and find the entrance near its base.

The second entrance (rightmost in area 1 on map 1) is a 10m shaft at a 45-degree angle with the entrance covered by canvas and dirt. It is in between two lines of boulders, requiring PCs to clamber down about 3m between the boulders (using Athletics). It is a much narrower fit than the first entrance. It requires a Perception check to spot the entrance. The check is at -20% unless the PC has climbed down amongst the boulders first.

PCs may also find the warrens by following the secret supply wagons from Saffork. This is difficult (-20% to Perception or Track tests) until the PCs get within 2 hexes of the hex marked D, where the wagon tracks become the only marks. Perception or Survival tests at +10% will spot the tracks at that point. The wagons all go to the first entrance.

The third entrance (area 9 on map 1) is known to those of cultist rank or higher, but will not be mentioned by them under any circumstances other than magical compulsion. Cultists are taught to strategically reveal the first two entrances if they must, but to keep knowledge of the third secret at all costs. They are capable of phrasing their responses so that they appear to satisfy truth-discerning magic without mentioning it. (Example: Q: "How many entrances are there into your base?" A: "The first entrance is by the crooked pine tree, the second is in between some boulders. [Silence]")

The third entrance is used for the transport of prisoners into the warrens. The entrance is canvas covered with dirt and is in the middle of an extensive thornbush. PCs must make a Persistence or Resilience check at +10% to clamber through the thorns despite the pain and hindrance of the dense cluster of brush and thorns. Failure means they are Entangled on a random location as if the plant had attacked them, until they can make a Brawn roll to break free. A critical fumble will cause them to take 1d2 points of damage to a random location.

The entrance is a 10m vertical shaft with a ladder on the side. Prisoners are typically thrown down before their captors climb down, and many have broken legs or at least sprained ankles from the fall.

Both Brother Morris and Holy Tom have observed men entering and exiting through this entrance. Holy Tom saw them drag a prisoner down, but Morris saw nothing per se incriminating. The two have not discussed the matter.

The fourth entrance (area 10 in map 1) is known only to Servants of devotee rank or higher. It is a 50m long natural crack in the earth that is covered with rock piles on both sides. It slopes gently towards the surface. Unless the rocks are removed, PCs must make Perception checks at -50% to sense the fresh air that gently flows through the crack, otherwise it simply appears as a pile of rocks. A Brawn test can be made to remove the rocks once the existence of the entrance is determined. This entrance is intended as an emergency escape for high-ranking members in case the warren is ever compromised and is not otherwise used.

The fifth entrance (area 12 on map 2) is more of an airhole than a true entrance. It is a winding, natural tunnel about as thick as a man's leg. It progresses 3m through soft earth and emerges near the base of a tree. PCs can spot this entrance if they are searching the area (about 100m or so east of the main entrances) with a Perception check at -50%. It would require a shovel and a couple of days digging to get down, but it would be possible. The Brides are aware of it but consider it beneath their notice.

The sixth entrance (area 17 on map 2) is known only to devotees and Brides. It is another emergency escape tunnel. It goes for about 100m at a gentle slope. Underground, it is entered by lifting a false boulder that covers a shaft down into the tunnel. The boulder can be lifted with a successful Brawn test. The exit on the surface is hidden in a dried up riverbed under a second false boulder. PCs may only spot either one if their Perception is above 100%, and then only if they make a successful Perception check at -70%.

Aboveground Traps

There are two false entrances aboveground. The first false entrance is near to a large pine tree in the general proximity of entrance 1 and is intended to confuse interlopers who have somehow obtained the directions to find the real entrance. It only requires a regular Perception roll to notice.

The entrance opens onto a shaft that goes down about 15m and dead-ends. There is a wooden ladder hammered into the side of the shaft that goes down 10m. Either can be noticed from the surface with a Perception check at -50%. If a light source can clearly shine down the shaft (a torch held at the entrance will not work), the Perception check is only at -10%.

The rungs of the ladder are smeared with the Spume of Acephax by cultists about once a week. Characters wearing gloves are immune to the poison. It requires a Perception check at -30% to notice the poison.

Spume of Acephax
A mixture of blood and other bodily fluids from the corpses of lepers, mixed with a runny green bile that condenses on the statue of Acephax and the menses of the Brides of Acephax. It is incapacitating to all but the chosen of Acephax. Those above the rank of devotee in the Servants of Acephax are immune to its effects.

Application: Contact
Onset: 1 minute
Duration: 12 hours
Resistance Time: Every 4 hours
Potency: 70
Resistance: Resilience
Conditions: Agony, Confusion, Exhaustion, Nausea
Antidote/Cure: Cure Poison Spell

Cultists check it once a day as part of a routine patrol. They will use hooks and ropes to drag victims out of the shaft for questioning.

The second false entrance is near to the third real entrance. It is a more easily found copy of the third, also in the middle of a thornbush. It requires a Perception check with no modifiers to find it. However, the thornbush is painted with the Spume of Acephax, and any character who touches the thorns without protection must check against the poison. Cultists check it once a day, but victims can be seen by anyone coming and going from entrances 1, 2, 3 and 4.