Friday, October 28, 2011

Exclusive: Clockwork Gnome is Rotten to the Core!

FREE CONTENT from the publisher below!

By: blondieb38
It all goes back to my childhood.  I was given an allowance and made Chief Disposal Engineer of the Household.  Dealing with the garbage gave me a little cash, responsibility, and let me start being outside for a little while late at night twice a week.  Above all, it exposed me to all sorts of things I had been sheltered from in my youth and innocence.  The first time I opened up a garbage can on a hot summer day and found it crawling with maggots shocked and disgusted me.  There was something about those pudgy white worms eating rotten meat that reached down deep into my gut and made me want to hurl.  I didn’t, but I can still feel myself gagging.  Since that day, I have always found them really revolting.

That is why when Allen Taliesin announced Morithal the Maggot God in his Campaign Cogs product line, I was filled with revulsion.  And excitement: when imagining evil powers that would give your players nightmares and unite them in iron-willed hatred, it is hard for me to come up with a concept more fitting than the Lord of Unceasing Hunger.

I knew the Clockwork Gnome had been hard at work, tinkering with multiple projects.  But I am thrilled to hear that one of my favorites – which just happens to be the one most appropriate to this time of the year, is coming out soon, and that he had primo exclusive content to offer us Mythopoeic Ramblers.  Like an evil race tied to Morithal.  What’s that?  You're worried about what game system it’s being offered for?  Well, how about Labyrinth Lord and  Pathfinder!?

So consider this not only a fine freebie that will probably cover most gamers round-hereabouts, but a heads-up that The Virtuous and the Vile: Morithal, Lord of Unceasing Hunger will appear in two versions, one designed for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game (published in the Campaign Cogs line) and one designed for the Labyrinth Lord Roleplaying Game. Both versions will provide a detailed religion for use in any fantasy campaign.

Previewed here is the walking hunger, a new race of creatures that appear in Morithal, Lord of Unceasing Hunger. These abominations are born from the indirect influence of the Morithal, the Maggot God. As a result, they inherit some of that foul god's traits, including a hunger that can never be satisfied.  This preview includes statistics for both game systems.

Morithal, Lord of Unceasing Hunger contains a wealth of information on The Feasting Worm, including myths, an origin story, and details on his cult.  As a part of this preview Morithal's origin story and a myth surrounding his part in the creation of the Underworld are featured below.  

Walking Hunger
No. Enc.: 1 (1)
Alignment: Chaotic (evil)
Movement: 90' (30')
Armor Class: 2
Hit Dice: 12
Attacks: 3 (2 claws/bite)
Damage: 1d8/1d8/2d6
Save: F12
Morale: 10
Hoard Class: XVII
XP: 2,800

Due to their lack of skeleton, the walking hunger are impossible to restrain. They may also squeeze into spaces many times smaller than their size. A cloying smell of rotting flesh clings to these beasts at all times, sickening those who come too close. Anyone within 30 feet of a walking hunger must make a save vs. poison or be subjected to nausea and vomiting (-2 to attack rolls) for 1d4 turns.  Walking hunger feel a constant need to feed, an impulse that impedes their senses. Illusions are particularly potent against walking hunger (-4 to saves) but can they also be easily tricked, especially if carrion is involved.  If a walking hunger rolls a 20 or exceeds the number it needs to hit by 4 when using its bite attack, it may swallow its opponent.  A walking hunger can only swallow a creature that is roughly the size of a human or smaller and may only swallow one creature at a time.  While in its gullet, an individual takes 1d8 points of damage each round.  At the Labyrinth Lord's discretion, a swallowed creature may attempt to cut their way free.

Walking hunger look like giant maggots with two, spindly legs and humanoid arms that end in wicked claws.
Instead of a skeleton, the body of a walking hunger is composed of thick, powerful muscles that provide support while remaining flexible.They stand 10 feet tall but weigh very little in comparison.  The walking hunger are genderless creatures and incapable of procreation on their own.  Their birth is still somewhat of a mystery, but it is clear that they only arise in locations with a high density of morthacite (a rare mineral found only in the Underworld) and an unusual amount of carrion. Even when both of these elements are in abundance the creation of a walking hunger is rare, perhaps taking place once every twenty years.  Walking hunger emerge fully grown, both physically and mentally.

By their nature walking hunger are solitary. They consider all other creatures as food and feel threatened by others of their kind.  Combat is always the result when two walking hungers meet, with the winner cannibalizing the loser.  The only thing a walking hunger respects is strength and they will serve more powerful individuals, so long as a steady supply of meat is provided.  A walking hunger's unending appetite means it quickly depletes an area of potential food, forcing it to move its lair in search of new sources of sustenance on a regular basis.

Walking Hunger
What appears to be a massive maggot lies upon the ground, its flesh quivering as it enjoys a putrid feast of rotten meat.  But as it turns its eyeless head towards you the truth is so much more horrifying.  The pallid worm rises upon two legs, pushing itself up from the ground using its thin arms that end in wicked claws.  As the vaguely humanoid creature shambles toward  you the stench of rotten meat assails your nostrils, turning your stomach and making it difficult to breathe. 

Walking Hunger                            CR 8 ( 4,800 XP)
CE Large aberration
Init: +1; Senses blindsight 60 ft.; Perception
Aura stench (DC 22, 10 rounds)
AC 18 touch 10, flat-footed 17 (+1 Dex, +8 natural armor, -1 size)
hp 126 (12d8+6)
Fort +9; Ref +5; Will +9 (+5 versus illusion spells or effects)
Immune disease
Speed 30 ft., burrow 20 ft.
Melee bite +14 (2d6+4), 2 claws +12 (1d6+2)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 10 ft.
Special Attacks rend (2 claws/bite, 2d6+6)
Str 18, Dex 12, Con 22, Int 6, Wis 10, Cha 12
Base Atk +9; CMB +14; CMD 25
Feats Improved Natural Weapon (bite), Improved Sunder, Multiattack, Power Attack, Weapon Focus (bite), Weapon Focus (claw)
Skills Acrobatics +9, Climb +12, Escape Artist +17, Intimidate +9, Perception +7, Sense Motive -10; Racial Modifiers Escape Artist +8, Sense Motive -10
Languages Aklo, Undercommon
SQ compression, driving hunger
Compression (Ex) Walking hunger lack skeletons and can move through an area as small as one-quarter its space without squeezing or one-eighth its space when squeezing.

Driving Hunger (Ex) The need to consume food never fades for the walking hunger.  This unending appetite often impedes judgment and makes it difficult for a walking hunger to determine truth from falsehood. Walking hunger receive a -4 racial modifier to Will saves versus illusion spells or effects and a -10 racial modifier to Sense Motive checks.

Stench (Ex) Walking hunger are surrounded by the cloying smell of rotting meat.  Any living creature that comes within 30 feet of a walking hunger must make a DC 22 Fort save or be sickened for 10 rounds.  Creatures that successfully save cannot be affected by the same walking hunger's stench for 24 hours. A delay poison or neutralize poison spell removes the effect from the sickened creature. Creatures with immunity to poison are unaffected, and creatures resistant to poison receive their normal bonus on their saving throws. The save DC for this ability is Constitution based.
Environment subterranean
Organization solitary
Treasure standard

Society and Habitat
By their nature walking hunger are solitary creatures. They form no bonds within their species, considering them to be competitors for resources, and generally treat other creatures as potential food.  Unless controlled by a more powerful force, a walking hunger will always react negatively to the presence of another of its kind.  Battles between these beasts are violent in the extreme with the victor cannibalizing the loser, sometimes while the creature is still alive.

The only thing a walking hunger truly respects is strength.  When another creature demonstrates its superior power a walking hunger will immediately show deference, even going so far as to offer service in exchange for its life.  Temples of Morithal often take advantage of this instinct for self-preservation to compel walking hungers into their ranks for use as guards and soldiers. So long as food is provided, a walking hunger will serve a more powerful individual or group without question.

Ultimately a walking hunger's primary motivation is the search for food.  Every action they take is devoted to satiating their endless hunger and in this way they closely resemble their creator, Morithal. This drive leads a walking hunger to focus only on the immediate future. Planning head is alien to their way of thinking. It this reason alone that a walking hunger will not serve a creature weaker than it, even when offered an endless supply of food.  They would rather feed the direct need and slay the individual rather than make any kind of deal. Naturally this shortsightedness makes a walking hunger susceptible to trickery and manipulation. 

If left alone, a walking hunger will quickly deplete food sources in an area rather quickly.  They prefer to eat carrion and will never consume anything but the flesh of other creatures.  While their predilection for rotting meat helps slow a walking hunger's depredations upon an area, these beasts find it necessary to move their lair on a fairly regular basis. During these periods a walking hunger will pack the valuable goods it has gleaned from its victims and simply wander until they find a new region more to their liking.  As expected, they will avoid powerful communities, but are not opposed to settling near small subterranean villages and using them as personal source of meat. 

Walking hunger look like giant maggots with two, spindly legs and humanoid arms that end in wicked claws. They stand 10 feet tall but weigh very little in comparison. Instead of a skeleton, the body of a walking hunger is composed of thick, powerful muscles that provide support while remaining flexible.

The walking hunger are genderless creatures and incapable of procreation on their own.  Their birth is still somewhat of a mystery but it is clear that they only arise in locations with a high density of morthacite and an unusual amount of carrion. Even when both of these elements are in abundance the creation of a walking hunger is rare, perhaps taking place once ever twenty years.  Walking hunger emerge from decaying flesh fully grown, both physically and mentally.

For their entire lives these beasts know only one sensation, a desire to feed that can never be satisfied.  Despite being sapient and possessing the ability to communicate through language, walking hunger form no close bonds and only speak when absolutely necessary.  They are incapable of feeling love, compassion, pity, or even anger and despair.  All that matters to them is food, which makes their attacks disturbingly impersonal.  The closest a walking hunger can come to rage is when they meet another of their kind.  Even so, the impulses they feel to destroy each other stem not from any kind of vendetta or grudge but from a longing to hoard resources.

A walking hunger's impressive appetite is believed to come from the two sources. The first of these is most obvious, the walking hunger share a sympathetic connection to Morithal due to their origins.  His unending hunger is encoded upon them at creation, leaving very little room for anything else.  The second has to do with the walking hunger's bodily functions.  Their metabolism is surprisingly high, meaning they burn energy at a remarkable rate.  Walking hunger find it difficult to stay sedentary for long and only enter a sleep state once every week.  Sleep periods can last anywhere between two and six hours, though they rarely exceed four hours.

Morithal's Unholy Maw
Records from the earliest days of civilization speak of Morithal as an ancient god.  Cave paintings depict him as an immense maggot that feeds on the flesh of world. He has been the patron of many dark and ancient empires, now ground into dust by the press of centuries. By all accounts Morithal has always existed, plaguing mortals with his insatiable hunger since the beginning of the multiverse.  There can be no question that the Lord of Unceasing Hunger is one of the oldest deities in existence.  In comparison to the Maggot God, the anthropomorphic gods of the mortal races are mere children.

Morithal's story stretches back far further than many imagine, to a time well before the creation of this reality.  It was in the last days of the previous multiverse that the Lord of Unceasing Hunger began his journey to infamy.  Morithal was once a god of abundance, worshiped by farmers and druids on a world whose name is long forgotten.  When that multiverse began to buckle and come to an end, as all things do, Morithal hid himself within a crack in the fabric of space and time.  There he waited until the cataclysm came to an end.  Cut off from his faithful, who no longer existed, the god became hungry for the power of worship.  As milennia passed and the essence of creation began to reform into something that could develop into a new multiverse, the hunger only grew until it consumed everything that Morithal was, his mind was usurped.  When the current reality rose out of the chaos, Morithal slithered from his hole and into legend.

Creation of the Underworld
When Morithal left his hiding place he immediately came upon the initial act of creation, a single planet and star, newly formed in the young Material Plane.  His hunger was all consuming and his only thought was to feast upon the flesh of this planet.  The Maggot God devoured with impunity and in his wake he left endless tunnels and immense caverns.  He feasted for centuries and honeycombed the world with a subterranean complex of incalculable size.

Sensing that new worlds had come into being on the Material Plane and unable to satisfy his ravenous desires with this place, Morithal folded the essence of space and arrived upon a new planet.  Again he gorged himself upon the soil and rock for centuries, hollowing out a labyrinth of passages and caverns.  Yet, his hunger still raged like an unquenchable fire.  As before, Morithal moved on to a new world in the hope his desires might finally be sated.  So has the Lord of Unceasing Hunger done since the beginning of the multiverse, seeking new worlds and hollowing them out as a worm ravages an apple. 

It is said the tunnels beneath the surface of these worlds are connected by the magic Morithal used to pass between them.  Travelers might pass from planet to planet, never aware that they are jumping across the Material Plane through the folds of space.  Some creatures use these invisible portals to travel to and from various worlds, forming trade networks and establishing outposts on a hundred worlds.  Many of his followers build massive temples at these locations, hoping that someday  the Maggot God will return that way.

The Virtuous and the Vile
Morithal, Lord of Unceasing Hunger
The Final Consumption approaches!

Since the beginning of time, the Maggot God has burrowed his way through the earth, indulging a hunger that can never be satiated. Morithal is an artifact from another time, a being who survived the fall of one multiverse and the birth of another. Cursed with a unending desire to consume, He Who Gnaws has hollowed out vast caverns beneath the earth and these have become the subterranean realm of the dark elves, derro, and other depraved creatures. Despite his repulsive nature, Morithal's followers are powerful and many. His cults are everywhere and each of them is tasked with a single goal: to bring about the reign of their god so that he might consume the stars and cast all the worlds of the Material Plane into eternal night.

The Virtuous and the Vile - Morithal, the Lord of Unceasing Hunger includes:
  •  An in-depth overview of Morithal, his origins, myths, and other important traits.
  •  Information on the cults of the Maggot God, their goals, and the benefits of their faith.
  •  A fully mapped and detailed temple of Morithal including statblocks for the NPCs who worship there.
  • The Famine domain (PFRPG version) and new spells that embody the horrid hunger of the Maggot God. 
  • Three new monsters who embody Morithal's unceasing need to feed.