Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Swamp of Many Eyes

The Swamp of Many Eyes is fed by overflow from the tainted Yex River, which issues from the dubious waters of Lake Wooling. From the swamp's stagnant ponds and still waters, this taint produces unwholesome growths of swaying red grass, frilled fungus, and black fleshy plants. To the north, the river is brackish with an infusion of seawater. These mixed waters feed a dense and forbidding mangrove forest, its twisting bowers and dark recesses home to the beastmen, bastard sibling and sworn enemy of man. To the northwest, the swamp touches on the Screaming Hyena Jungle. Here the vine choked marble ruins of ancient Ghinor can be glimpsed protruding now and again from their watery graves. The swamp's more exotic flora and fauna have migrated there from the Jungle's teeming thickets and emerald pools in the past. To the southwest, the swamp runs in a narrow spur far south. Here the terrain is forlorn with blackened trees rising straight from murky waters. Among black stagnant pools, and desolate rocky outcroppings, a few dilapidated structures still stand. They are remnants of a disastrous attempt to drain the southern spur near the village of Loktole. Here the outcast and the lost--pariahs and lepers, cutthroats and cultists--find perilous refuge from the constraints of lawful community.

The origin of the swamp's name is a matter of some dispute. Respectable scholars trace the name to the ocular moth, a species peculiar to the Swamp of Many Eyes, the pattern on whose folded wings peer from the darkness like a single glowing eye. The moth is highly poisonous to eat, but otherwise harmless. Those with more experience of the swamp like to tell an older tale: that somewhere in its stinking fens and dank mangrove forests dwells its namesake and spiritual father, the Beast of a Many Eyes, an ancient horror nourished by the sight of suffering and despair.

Swamp of Many Eyes Encounters (d20):

(1) Barge Tree: A lush glen of massive barge trees floats here. The leaves can be fashioned into sturdy boats. From the tree depend luscious melons. The glen is home to a dozen mischievous Gill Monkeys who will abscond with possessions and pelt PCs with fruit. 1 in 6 of the ripest melons are infested with Ikshada, a predatory worm. Ikshada HP1 AC7 Dam 1+poison (save or go blind within 24 hours). Gill Monkey HD1 AC5 Dam Bite 1d3.

(2) 1d6 Giant Mosquitoes HD2 (10) AC6 Fly12 Attk 1 blood drain (1d6 + on a successful hit damage is automatic in subsequent rounds + save vs. poison or contract malaria within 1 week.)

(3) Beastman Shaman:  A fetish adorned figure collects herbs for his witchery. He has the head of a lion and is covered in weeping eyes. He is accompanied by two charmed wolves. Beastman Shaman HD3 (14) AC8 Mv12 Attk: Bite 1d8 or by spell Darkness, Cause Light Wounds, Phantasmal Force. Once per day he may also cause everyone within a 100' radius to save vs. spells or fall to their knees sobbing for 1d4 rounds in soul crushing sorrow. Wolves HD2 (11) (7) AC6 Bite 1d6 Mv15.

(4) Dubious HorticulturalistDr. Lazlo Maines, a dubious horticulturalist, traveling with his thuggish assistant Romilo. They are transporting a live assassin vine in a tightly sealed case. Maines knows the locations of the Red Lotus Caves and the White Hive, but will not share information absent suitable enticement. Lazlo Maines HD2 (12) AC 9 Move 12 Atk knife (1d4+poison) or by assassin vine. Romilo HD1 (8) AC 5 Attk Sword 1d8. Assassin Vine HD5 (30) AC6 Attk 3 vines (1d6) Mv 1.

(5) 1d6 Albino Crocodiles HD3 AC5 Bite 1d10 Mv9/12. 

(6) Yellow Musk Creeper: Here grows a massive, green vined plant bearing beautiful yellow flowers. It is tended by five Yellow Musk Zombies, former knights of the Grim Duke. These zombies are dressed in elegant tarnished armor that will be recognizable to anyone from the region. They will seek to parlay, or with enough warning, arrange a scene to entice the PCs close to the Creeper's flowers. (For example, four naked mud caked zombies attack a lone armored knight who calls out for help.) Anyone who comes within 10 feet of the flowers must save vs. spell or be entranced by their delicate fragrance. Those entranced will stop at nothing to walk into plant where in 1 round, tendrils will drill into their head and begin feeding on their brains. The victim permanently loses 1-4 intelligence points per round thereafter. At 2 Intelligence a new yellow flower unfolds, and the victim become Yellow Musk Zombies under the control of the plant. Yellow Musk Creeper HD3 (18) AC7 Attk: pollen spore hypnosis. Yellow Musk Zombies HD2 (24), (20), (18), (14), (10) AC4 (if armored) AC10 (if not) Sword 1d8

(6) Tentacle Horror: Just below the surface of shallow water an alien horror lurks. It will burst forth and attack if it senses anyone passing above it. Tentacle Horror HD7 (31) AC5 Tentacles x 5 1d6. It will attempt to pull people underwater to drown them.

(7) Spore Tree: A massive twisted mangrove tree grows here. It has been infected with a virulent fungus. From thin brown stalks 1d20 baseball sized puce globes hang from violet tendrils. If gently cut free they may be gathered. Any jostling causes them to violently explode spreading their spores over a 10’ radius. 50% chance that d10 additional globes are floating in water. If caught in the radius of the blast, save vs. poison or begin hacking up your lungs 1d4 rounds later. At that point, one is debilitated for 1d6 rounds of violent and uncontrollable coughing, and suffers -2 to constitution permanently.

(8) 2d6 Child Wights: These children were drowned by a hag decades ago. Their grave, and permanent home, is a deep algae covered pool nearby. They feast on the strength of adults, and delight in causing them fear, but can be placated with toys or sweets. HD3 AC5 Claws 1d4 + level drain. 

(9) 1d6 Amphibious Spiders: These amphibious spiders are mottled green and brown. They are great hunters, equally comfortable swimming and hanging from a web. While they have no mercy or sympathy, they intelligent, able to speak a clicking and stilted Ghinorian. Amphibious Spiders HD4 AC4 Bite 1d8 or Web, To see what's stuck in the webs of their nearby lair, roll here.

(10) 1d10 Manta Bats HD2 AC7 Bite d6 Mv18

(11) Swamp Demon: 8' tall, mossy, blooming, fungus infested, wooden man. Although the demon has no head per se, numerous twisted faces peer from knots and whorls in the wood. It seeks blood to feed its strange growth. Swamp Demon HD8 (36) AC0 Fist/Fist 2-16/2-16 + entangle. If both fists land a blow against a single target, then mossy, fungal tendrils surge from the Mound into the mouth and nose of the target, eventually engulfing and absorbing him. During this process helpless and will suffocate in 2d4 rounds unless the Mound is slain or driven off. The Swamp Demon takes only 1/2 damage from nonmagical weapons.

(12) Pixies: These malicious spirits receive a +2 on their surprise roll. If they surprise the group, then they will use their invisibility to follow the party, and employ their spell-like powers to lead them into danger. If they are surprised, then the PCs come upon them struggling to fit an elaborate saddle onto a giant white bee. Pixies HD1/2 (2) (3) (4) AC5 MV5/12 Tiny Bow 1hp + save vs. spells or sleep. Once per day they may use the following powers: invisibility, dancing lights, audible glamor, ESP and confusion. Giant Bee HD3 (12) AC5 Sting 1d6+poison.

(13) Red Leeches: This area of the swamp is infested with fat red leeches. If traveling by boat, the leeches will cling to the exterior of the boat. If wading through the muck, a character is bitten by numerous leeches on a 1-2 out of 6. These bites do 1-2 hp damage, but anyone bit must save vs. disease or contract a horrible infection on the bitten limbs. 

(14) 2d4 Razor Eels HD1 AC5 Slice 1d6 MV15. They can only attack in the water, so PCs in boats will be safe. 

(15) Convicts: Four starving men in ragged clothes, with remnants of iron-manacles. They are convicted pirates, recently having avoided a rendezvous with the gallows in Wolsdag. They will be grateful for food or water, and will attempt to cajole their way into the party. They are full of rumors concerning the port-city. They are untrustworthy and capable of the worst.  Boatswain Dake F2 Ac9 Hp10 Attk sword (d8+1); Shaddrack F1 Ac 9 Hp 6 Attk Chain (d6-1); Prex T1 Ac 9 Hp5 knife (d4); Lutz T1 Ac 9 Hp8 club (d6-1).

(16) Violet Shrieker: A strange fungal cyst, give feet in height, floats on the dank water, like a sickly violet dome. If approached within 10', the dome peels back to reveal fleshy growths that begin to scream. Unless destroyed, it will continue to scream for 5 rounds, even if the PCs move away from it. Violet Shrieker HD3 (13) AC7 MV0 Scream 1hp dam. For each round of screaming check for an additional encounter.    

(17) Cyclops Cobra: These massive snakes have one large eye, set in the crown of their head. The eye has arcane properties, pulsating red when the cobra is angered, and acting at all times as an anti-magic shell. Cyclops Cobra HD5 (23) AC4 MV15 Bite 1d8 + poison (save or die). If extracted intact, although the eye no longer functions, it is worth 500gp to wizard types for alchemical purposes. 

(18) 3d6 Lemures: Their running flesh constantly ripples and flows over their bodies. Faces can be seen to press screaming out, only to be reabsorbed. They are consumed by a mindless hunger to ingest more souls and will attack relentlessly without regard for their own safety. Their source is a nearby weeping willow. Within its twisted roots, there is a strangely carved doorway... Lemures HD1 AC7 Claws 1d3 MV6. They are not affected by mind altering spells, and regenerate 1 hp per round, reconstituting themselves each round if destroyed. They may only be destroyed by holy things; otherwise they may only be contained or delayed.

(19) Green Hag: On a small grassy atoll, a rose garden grows, overgrown and wild. At its center is a bush of the rare ebon rose. Its hips are valued as seasoning by aristocrats, and as material for their Doleful Unguent by necromancers (500 gp). The roses are under the protection of a Green Hag, cursed and exiled to the swamp long ago for her unseemly appetites. She is lonely, but evil, and fiercely protective of her grove. HD2 (10) AC9 Claws 1d6 or spells. Spells: charm person (x2), sleep, obscuring mist, blindness, stinking cloud. She may also pronounce a hex once a day. 

(20) Regional Special Encounter: Consult the relevant region below. 

North East

Beastman Hunt: A man flees through the swamp, his body broken and delirious from torture. His band stumbled on a large Beastman encampment while in search of the City of Sunken Temples.  He is being pursued for sport by a Beastman hunting party. He possesses a fragment of a (true) map, but has not been able to decipher its exact location. Lecto Corbin Th3 Hp2 (9 normally) AC8 Unarmed. Band of Beastmen: 6 Braves HD2 (10) (8) (4) (11) AC6 Attk swords or beast attack (1d8) Mv 12 (swim 9)
1 Mutant Brave HD2 (7) AC5 MV12 (Swim 12) He has the head of a rotting fish and is swarmed by flies who feast on his flesh. Anyone who melees with him must save vs. poison each round or lose their action gagging. Captain HD4 (19) AC4 Longspear 1d10 or horns 1d8 MV12. He has the head of a ram and rides on the back of a large crocodile in a wicker saddle dangling with fetishes. Large Croc HD4 (20) AC4 Bite 1d12 MV9/15. 

North West

Blink Tigers: This pair of Blink Tigers tracked prey from the Screaming Hyena Jungle into the swamp only to lose its scent in the fetid swamp waters. They are hungry and irritable. Blink Tigers HD5+5 (32) (30) AC2 MV15 Attk Claw/Claw/Bite 1d6/1d6/1d10. They blink every round, making it difficult to strike them (hence the low AC). Each round, on a 1-3 they attack from the rear at +4. Their lush pelts are prized by vain aristocrats everywhere. (200gp each)

South East

Zombie Convoy: Twelve mud-caked Zombies swim relentlessly through the mire slowly pulling a small raft on which sits a large ornate chest. They are under the thrall of the necromancer Zalzefer, and are transporting the head of a unicorn preserved in formaldehyde. They will not attack unless disturbed. Zombies HD2 AC8 Attk Fist 1d6 (If in water, they will try to upset boats, and pull people under.) The unicorn's horn is valuable to the right people (300gp).

South West

Chatelaine's Spies: Two strapping barbarian types travel north by canoe. They claim to be fortune seekers from one of the logging villages around lake Wooling who are in the swamp hoping to uncover ancient treasure, or seize plunder from beastmen. They will offer to join the party. If rebuffed they will attempt to exchange information about the swamp. They are spies for the Chatelaine of Storms charged with locating the City of Sunken Temples, and observing the organization of the swamp's beastmen. If they survive, they will report the party's activity, and the Chatelaine is likely thenceforth to take an interest in them. Dolimar F4 Hp20 AC5 Battle Axe 1d8 or Longbow 1d8; Venimir T3 HP10 AC6 Shortsword 1d6 or Shortbow 1d6. Between them they carry 75gp, 10 small gems worth 25gp each, a rough map of the southwest region of the swamp with some interesting destinations marked, and a coded message from the Chatelaine's vizier.


  1. Doyle, you can steal from me any time. ;)

  2. You continue to knock it out of the park, Ben. The feeling and character of this place is palpable and disgustingly repulsive [in a good way!]

  3. So very, very cool. Thanks for continuing to share!

  4. Thanks everyone! I'll keep at it. I've got a few more Swanp of Many Eyes posts in the pipeline.