Mar 16, 2012

Places to Go: The Labyrinth of the Sklen

Hex 0410 on the Cauldron and Hinterland Map: The Labyrinth of the Sklen

The sklen are a race of dog-sized labyrinth-building beetles from the dream world. They were summoned long ago by a shaman to construct a catacombs in which he could hide the treasures gathered on his many adventures, and they have remained in place ever since. The massive labyrinth extends for kilometres underground, and is built out of large rounded tunnels and chambers. The sklen themselves have continued to dig deeper and move the treasures as they go. The upper levels have become infested with all manner of weird and horrific monsters that have found refuge there from the Hill of Release.

The sklen look like large silvery weevils with jet-coloured carapaces that are about the size of a mastiff. They are normally peaceful, but will attack if approached or attacked. They have two defenses. The first is a toxic spray that causes insanity, mainly the delusion that one is trapped in an infinitely complex labyrinth from which escape is impossible. The second is a fearsome bite that drains blood.

Their eggs contain highly psychoactive chemicals in high demand in Dwer Tor as a recreational drug, though they must be ground up thoroughly before using. Otherwise, the person who snorts, smokes or eats them will hallucinate and dream constantly as the egg migrates to his dream life, gestates and hatches there. The young sklen will eat the person's dreams and then leave for the dream world using the victim's mind as a portal, which may allow other creatures like horror-ants to come back through. The whole process from consumption to hatching takes about a month, and makes more than an hour or two of sleep a night impossible.