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SCAP CH 6 Descriptive Text

Page history last edited by Shimrath 10 years, 2 months ago

 

ARRIVING ON OCCIPITUS

The sky seems to be made of flame, bathing everything in a reddish glow. Off in the distance looms a massive skull: a white monolith the size of a small mountain. Clouds of flame stream from the skull’s single exposed eye socket and up into the sky. About a half-mile ahead stands a cluster of gently curving white pillars, almost as if giant rib bones had been stuck in the ground.  In the distance looms a steep mountain ridge whose top seems to touch the fiery sky. It stretches around the entire horizon - as if you were standing inside a vast bowl with a fiery lid. The ground is spongy and wrinkled. It’s more like skin than dirt.

 

THE CATHEDRAL OF FEATHERS

 

NARTHEX

This was once a beautiful cathedral. The remnants of tapestries hang on the cracked stone walls, and broken furniture and fallen stonework cover much of the floor. In the wall opposite is another set of stone doors.

 

SANCTUARY

This room has a vaulted ceiling some sixty feet high at the apex, supported with buttresses but showing several gaping holes in the roof. Most of the floor is a sea of debris – collapsed archways, shattered glass, and broken pews - but a clear path leads down the center of the room. Several large piles of debris still smolder and smoke. Where an altar undoubtedly once stood is now a rough-hewn statue, propped up on stones so it doesn’t tilt like everything else in the cathedral. The statue depicts an obscenely fat biped with the head of a ram. Black silk hanging from nearby pillars gives the statue the appearance of bat wings.

 

LIBRARY

This is a ruined library, with broken shelves lining the walls and sheaves of parchment littering the floor. Strangely, the library’s books float in midair, lazily circling the center of the room. Each book is open, and the pages flap like birds’ wings as they orbit an unseen point.

 

MEDITATION CHAMBER

Frescoes of angels cover the walls of this large, open room, although most have been scraped from the wall or otherwise defaced. The rugs on the floor are stained and torn, and much of the furniture - mostly chairs and end tables - is missing legs or has ruined cushions. In neat rows across the room are a series of empty pedestals. Two piles contain broken statuary, ripped oil paintings, and a lot of wooden debris.

 

ANTECHAMBER

The stone stairway descends about forty feet, ending in a landing that opens into a square room roughly hewn from the granite underneath the cathedral. The heady scent of spices - cloves and cinnamon, among others - fills the air. Sitting at an oak desk in the center of the room is a withered, desiccated corpse covered in a strange mix of funereal wrappings and golden-filigree armor. Both the north and south walls have iron doors in them.

 

The corpse lifts both hands, showing they’re empty, then speaks:

 

“Adimarchus, Most Potent Ruler of Occipitus, bids you welcome to the Test of the Smoking Eye. If you are here, then Occipitus lies fallow, without a strong hand to guide its development. Know then that you are a pretender to Adimarchus’s throne. If you are worthy, step forward and undertake the Test of Judgment.”

 

One withered hand points to the north door. “Behind that door lies Thathnak the bebilith.”

 

The corpse points in the other direction. “Behind that door lies Halalia the avoral guardinal.”

 

“Choose one door, slay the occupant behind it, then pass through the door on the other side. I will meet you there.”

 

NORTH CHAMBER

This chamber contains a series of wooden platforms that form a network of bridges, seemingly connected by fine silken cords. A door is at the far end of the chamber. The ceiling is thirty feet above, and the floor, covered in spikes, is thirty feet below.

 

SOUTH CHAMBER

Hundreds of tin bird cages hang from the ceiling of this chamber. In the end of the otherwise featureless room is a circle of powdered silver. Inside is a forlorn-looking creature with a hawklike face, white bird wings, and taloned feet.

 

CHAMBER OF THE LANTERN

Frescoes depicting a black-feathered angel in battle with hordes of demons and devils cover the walls of this room. Where the wall meets the ceiling is a sentence carved into the granite, repeated over and over again as it encircles the room: “Know who made you.” The room’s only other feature is a tall stairway leading to a dais. On the dais is a lantern attached to a four-foot pole by a short length of chain. A string of red sigils glows in midair, surrounding the dais at a 10-foot distance.

 

If the PCs have defeated the Bebilith:

“Heed the words of Adimarchus,” intones the mummy. “You have passed the Test of Judgment. Attend to the wisdom of Adimarchus! Always deal with rivals first, and enemies second. This lantern shall guide you to the second test: the Test of

Resolve.” There’s a flash of light, and the mummy is gone.

 

If the PCs haven’t yet defeated the Bebilith:

With a flash of light the mummy appears. “Fools! Don’t seek a reward you don’t deserve! Return and begin anew!”

 

THE PLAIN OF CYSTS

 

CELESTIAL BATTLEFIELD

Dozens of broken weapons, shields, and the occasional bone litter the ground here. Every twenty feet or so, a translucent ovoid - like a cocoon of some kind - lies on the ground. Each has a black tube on one end that disappears into the ground at the other. Bipedal silhouettes are visible in some of the nearer ovoids.

 

EASY RICHES

A nearby cyst seems to contain a glowing, golden longsword. Deeper into the cyst, the glint of other metallic objects beckons.

 

NOT DEAD YET

A nearby cyst contains a brilliantly colored feathered serpent within it. Its wing makes a feeble twitch.

 

GRAVE ROBBERS

You hear a low muttering coming from ahead and to the right. Between two cysts you spot four human-shaped figures cloaked in black. One of them is holding a skull aloft, while the others look around as they lean on their shovels.

 

END OF THE PATH

“Heed the words of Adimarchus. You have passed the Test of Resolve. Attend to the wisdom of Adimarchus! Let neither riches nor weaponry, neither allies nor enemies, tempt you from your course. Instead, spread such distractions before your rivals. The lantern shall guide you to the final test: the Test of Sacrifice. Your ascension to the throne draws nigh!”

 

SECRETS OF THE SKULL

 

TUBE ENTRANCE

As the ground slopes upward toward the base of the skull, the light from the lantern of guidance shines directly upon a perfectly round ulcer pool. A shadow at the bottom of the pool could be a trick of the light - or it could be a passageway under the caustic fluid.

 

PERISTALTIC TUBE

Though it descends at first, the tube quickly changes course, rising and spiraling clockwise. After walking several hundred feet, it’s apparent that you’re somewhere inside the Skull itself. Every fifty to one hundred feet, there’s another curve to the right.

 

THRONE ROOM

The tube’s upward spiral ends in a round chamber with a doorway in the opposite end leading to a spiral staircase. Furniture in this room is limited to a massive iron throne festooned with spikes. Most of the back of the throne is missing, although the framework of the back remains. Before the throne lies a pile of wood - furniture debris from the looks of it. There are ceramic shards on the floor; it looks as if someone smashed dozens of clay pots here.

 

NEXUS ROOM

A bonfire of utter blackness dominates the center of this room. It crackles as if it were normal flame, but it’s a slick, glossy black rather than the orange-red of a fire. Surrounding the black flames is a pale yellow corona that casts light about the room. A sheaf of papers lies scattered near the base of the black-flame bonfire. More than a dozen passages originate in this room, with at least some of them doubling back on themselves.

 

TEST OF SACRIFICE

The spiral staircase emerges into what can only be the eye socket of the skull itself. The stairway ends in a shallow depression, with curving walls that eventually become the ceiling some sixty feet up. From the center of the eye socket – in midair - a gusher of blinding red light rushes outward and upward, eventually spreading to fill the sky with the fiery clouds above. The origin of the gusher isn’t visible - it’s as if the plasma is being vented from a rip in the fabric of the plane itself. At the opening of the eye socket float a multitude of the fiery clouds. The clouds don’t drift into the eye socket, however.

 

 

“Adimarchus, Most Potent Ruler of Occipitus, bids you welcome to the Final Test of the Smoking Eye. A worthy successor to the throne of Adimarchus must complete only one more task. To rule Occipitus - to grasp its power and use it for good or ill - means to sacrifice everything you hold dear. The final test is this: sacrifice an ally to the plasma, and Occipitus is yours!”

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