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    Horrors of the Hellfurnaces
    Posted on Fri, February 29, 2008 by Dongul
    cwslyclgh writes "What horrors lurk in the smoke shrouded peaks of the Hellfurnaces? Take a journy with Scrivnar Thelt and find out. This article presents four original monsters (plus an update of a classic monster) for use with the D&D 3.x ruleset.

    Horrors of the Hellfurnaces


    By C. Wesley Clough



    From the journal of Scrivnar Thelt:

    5th day of Planting, 589,
    It has been four days since we left the keep of Alderweg, and our trail along the coast of Jeklea Bay has once again turned westward and started climbing into the mountains. Well past the small arm of mountains locally known as the Kampfult range, our trail is taking us directly into the Hellfurnaces. Even from here I can see several plumes of dirty gray smoke rising from various mountains, although the guides have assured me that the trail doesn’t pass too close to any of the smoking giants. I have been told that the way ahead is fraught with danger, but should the weather hold and the trails are clear, we should arrive at the city of Cauldron in 15 days.

    #

    The Hellfurnaces. The very name brings images of fire and brimstone, hellish rivers of lava, and a gray gritty smoking haze. While that image may be accurate if a character wanders into the vicinity of an active volcanic eruption, the truth is that most of the area of the Hellfurnaces is more or less like that of any other mountain range. It is true that there is a surprisingly high concentration of volcanism in the Hellfurneces, but when the entire range is looked at it becomes clear that only a relatively small percentage of the mountains in the range are actively volcanoes. This is not to say that the Hellfurnaces are not dangerous however, they are quite possibly the most dangerous mountain range in eastern Oerik, perhaps on all of Oerth.

    Laying as they do in a somewhat inaccessible region of the Flanaess the Hellfurnaces are a mystery to many people, a place where the current of legends runs strong but the facts are little more then a trickle. For some people, however, legends are not nearly enough, they desire to see the reality that the tales reflect. Scrivnar Thelt, a scholarly cleric of the deity Delleb, is one such person. The dangers encountered in his journal entries below, chronicling a trip through the Hellfurnaces to the semi-fabled city of Cauldron reveal only a small number of the potential terrors that await explorers in the rugged vastness between the Sea of Dust and the Amedio jungle.

    #

    6th day of Planting, 589,
    The dark soil of the lower slopes must have some sort of nutritional imbalance, for in most places only a few more hardy plants can be found growing, and these tend toward being stunted and sickly in appearance. Thus when our trail took us through a small valley along the flanks of a higher peak I was somewhat amazed to find pasture of thick grass of a type I had never before seen, along the banks of a small swift flowing creek. One of the guides, a younger man on his first trip, took his mule toward the creek to water the animal. A more experience guide called out a warning, but by then it was too late. I watched in fascination, as the very grass of the pasture seemed to come alive, moving steadily forward to engulf the guide and his beast. My fascination quickly turned to horror however, as the thick saw-toothed blades of grass began whipping furiously to and fro, opening countless small, and bleeding cuts on man and beast alike. The guide managed to struggle free from the deadly grass but the mule was not so lucky. My healing spells tended to the guides wounds, and we decided to camp well away from the valley this night.

    Death Grass Swarm



    Diminutive Plant (Swarm)
    Hit Dice:
    10d8 (45 hp)
    Initiative:
    +1
    Speed:
    15ft.
    Armor Class:
    15 (+4 size, +1 Dex) touch 15 flat-footed 14
    Base Attack/Grapple:
    +7/--
    Attack:
    Swarm (2d6 plus wounding)
    Full Attack:
    Swarm (2d6 plus wounding)
    Space/Reach:
    10ft./0ft.
    Special Attacks:
    Distraction, wounding
    Special Qualities:
    Immune to weapon damage, low-light vision, plant traits, swarm traits, tremorsense 90ft.
    Saves:
    Fort +7, Ref +4, Will +3
    Abilities:
    Str 2, Dex 13, Con 10, Int -, Wis 10, Cha 1
    Skills:
    Hide +5
    Feats:
    --
    Environment:
    Warm hills and mountains
    Organization:
    Solitary, tangle (2-4 swarms), or thicket (5-9 swarms)
    Challenge Rating:
    4
    Treasure:
    None
    Alignment:
    Always Neutral
    Advancement:
    None
    Level Adjustment:
    --

    Death Grass appears as a patch of course grass, each glossy green blade being between five and ten inches in length. Death grass is able to pull up its roots and move about slowly, and swarms often do exactly that when searching for prey. The volcanic soil of the Hellfurnaces is rich in many nutrients, but lacking in certain others, and the death grass adds to its nutritional value with the blood and rotting flash of animals. Bones of various sizes will often be seen mixed in with a patch of death grass, all that remains of previous victims.

    COMBAT

    A death grass swarm seeks to surround any living creature it encounters, the grass slashes with the saw like edges of its blade seeking to create as many small bleeding wounds as it can. A clear glossy fluid secreted by the death grass prevents a victim’s blood from clotting naturally, and many wounded victims eventually succumb to blood loss even if they manage to escape the furiously whipping blades.
    Distraction (Ex): Any living creature that begins its turn with a death grass swarm in its space must succeed on a DC 15 Fortitude save or be nauseated for 1 round. The save DC is Constitution-based.
    Tremorsense (Ex): Death Grass can pinpoint the location of any creature or object with in 90 ft. that is in contact with the ground.
    Wounding (Ex): Any living creature damaged by a death grass swarm continues to bleed, losing 1 hit point per round thereafter. Multiple wounds do not result in cumulative bleeding loss. The bleeding can be stopped by a DC 10 heal check or the application of a cure spell or some other healing magic.
    Skills: A death grass swarm has a +4 racial bonus on Hide checks.
    #

    9th day of Planting, 589
    Today we came to a place where there were fields of bubbling, boiling mud as far as the eye could see, and a noxious smelling haze permeated the air. For most of the day, from morning until nearly an hour before dark, our trail traveled along the rim of this great mud pit. Just before out trail started climbing away from the mud fields I saw creatures sporting in the boiling morass! These creature looked for all the world like great bulls, covered with plate like scales made of molten rock, between the magma-like scales darker, cooled areas could be seen in the cracks. I wanted to investigate these strange animals further, but the mud, and the old guide prevented me from doing so. He said that the creatures were Gorgons, but they are unlike any Gorgons that I have ever read about in my studies, I vow that someday I will come back to the Valley of Mud and investigate further.

    Magma Beast Gorgon



    Large Elemental (Augmented Magical Beast, Extraplanar, Fire)
    Hit Dice:
    9d10+63 (112 HP)
    Initiative:
    +4
    Speed:
    25 ft.
    Armor Class:
    22 (-1 size, +13 natural) Touch 9 Flat-Footed 22
    Base Attack/Grapple:
    +9/+18
    Attack:
    Gore +13 melee (1d8+7 plus 1d6 fire)
    Full Attack:
    Gore +13 melee (1d8+7 plus 1d6 fire)

    Space/Reach:
    10ft./5ft.
    Special Attacks:
    Breath weapon, burn, trample 1d8+7
    Special Qualities:
    Cold vulnerability, darkvision 60ft. damage reduction 10/adamantine, elemental traits, heat dependant, immune to fire, low-light vision, scent
    Saves:
    Fort +13,Ref +5, Will +6
    Abilities:
    Str 21, Dex 10, Con 25, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 9
    Skills:
    Listen +10, Spot +9
    Feats:
    Alertness, Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes
    Environment:
    Para-elemental plane of magma
    Organization:
    Solitary, pair, pack (3-4), or herd (5-13)
    Challenge Rating:
    10
    Treasure:
    None
    Alignment:
    Always Neutral
    Advancement:
    11-15 HD (large) 16-24 HD (Huge)
    Level Adjustment:
    --

    A Magma beast gorgon looks much like any other gorgon, with the appearance of a great bull with spreading horns and plate like scales for skin. Unlike a more normal member of the species, the gorgons native to the para-elemental plane of magma have scales of molten stone, and eyes that blaze like fire. Despite their physical differences, a magma beast gorgon is foul tempered and territorial, just like their more normal cousins.

    COMBAT

    Like their material plane counterparts Magma Beast Gorgons will generally start an encounter with a devastating charge.

    Breath Weapon (Su): 60-foot cone, once every 1d4 rounds (but no more than five times per day), turn to stone permanently, Fortitude DC 21 negates. The save DC is Constitution-based.
    Burn (Ex): All of a magma beast gorgon’s physical attacks deal an additional 1d6 points of fire damage. Those hit by a magma beast’s physical attacks must make a Reflex save (DC 21) or catch on fire. The flame burns for 1d4 rounds. A burning creature can take a move action to put out the flame. Creatures hitting a magma beast with natural weapons or unarmed strikes take 1d6 points of fire damage as if hit by the magma beasts natural attack, and also catch on fire unless they succeed on a Reflex save. The save DC is constitution based.

    Heat Dependent (Ex): Magma beast gorgons are dependent on the heat generated by their environment, in places where the temperature is below 100 degrees the magma beast will be able to act normally for a number of rounds equal to its constitution score, there after it will become fatigued, and take 1d4 points of damage per minute until it returns to an area with a temperature over 100 degrees.
    Trample (Ex): Reflex DC 19 half. The save DC is Strength-based.
    #

    The Magma Beast Template

    Many creatures are not native to the material plane alone, there are elemental versions of most creatures in the planes, and the Magma Beast is one of the forms that these natural creatures take when they are from the elemental plane of fire (and its associated para-elemental of magma) they appear much like their material plane counter parts, but are made from living, molten rock. They are rarely encountered by inhabitants of the material plane, but are some times brought by spellcasters or released through natural portals located in places of intense heat into the normal world.

    Creating a Magma Beast

    “Magma beast” is an inherited template that can be added to any living creature of the animal or magical beast type that lacks a swim speed and does not possess the cold subtype (referred to hereafter as the “base creature”). It uses all of the base creatures statistics and special abilities except as noted here.

    Size and Type: the creatures type changes to Elemental and it gains the extraplanar and augmented (animal or magical beast) and fire subtypes. Size is unchanged.

    Hit Dice: increase HD by 1 (or to 1 HD if the base creature normally has less then 1 HD). HD type does not change.

    Speed: -5ft to all movement types, unless the base creatures movement is already 15 ft or less, in which case it is unchanged.

    AC: natural armor improves by +2

    Attacks: Same as base creature adjusted for the additional HD

    Damage: Same as base creature

    Special Attacks: A magma beast retains all of the special attacks of the base creature, except those dealing with cold or dealing cold damage, which it loses. In addition it gains the following special attacks.

    Burn (Ex): All of a magma beast's physical attacks deal an additional 1d6 points of fire damage. Those hit by a magma beast’s physical attacks must make a Reflex save (DC 10 + 1/2 HD + constitution modifier) or catch on fire. The flame burns for 1d4 rounds. A burning creature can take a move action to put out the flame. Creatures hitting a magma beast with natural weapons or unarmed strikes take 1d6 points of fire damage as if hit by the magma beasts natural attack, and also catch on fire unless they succeed on a Reflex save.

    Special Qualities: A magma beast retains all of the base creatures special qualities, except those dealing with cold, which it loses. In addition it gains those listed below.

    Damage Reduction (Ex): A magma beast is tougher then a material plane creature of its type, and gains damage reduction based upon its HD: HD 1-6 DR 5/adamantine, HD 7-12 DR 10 adamantine, and HD 13+ DR 15 adamantine

    Dark Vision (60ft.): A magma beast can see in the dark.

    Heat Dependent (Ex): Magma beasts are dependent on the heat generated by their environment, in places where the temperature is below 100 degrees the magma beast will be able to act normally for a number of rounds equal to its constitution score, there after it will become fatigued, and take 1d4 points of damage per minute until it returns to an area with a temperature over 100 degrees.

    Immune to Fire (Ex): magma beasts are immune to all fire damage.
    Elemental Traits: A magma beast is immune to poison, sleep effects, paralysis, and stunning. Magma beasts are not subject to critical hits or flanking.

    Vulnerable to Cold (Ex): Magma beasts are especially susceptible to cold; they take half again as much (+50%) damage from cold regardless of whether a saving throw is allowed, or if the save is a success of failure.

    Saves: recalculate based upon the magma beasts new HD and ability scores, magma beasts have good Fort saves.

    Abilities: Magma beasts tougher then their material plane counter parts, other wise nearly identical, they get a +4 to constitution.

    Skills: as base creature, adjusted for the additional HD.

    Feats: as base creature, adjusted for additional HD.

    Climate/Terrain: Para-elemental plane of Magma, Plane of fire

    Organization: as base creature

    Challenge Rating: as base creature +2

    Treasure: none

    Alignment: As base creature.

    Advancement: As base creature.

    #

    14th day of Planting, 589
    Today I slew a dragon! Several of them actually. We had been passing through an area of active hot springs when the one of the young guides feet broke through a narrow section of stone, plunging his foot into boiling water. After pulling him to safety I began healing him with my spells only to be taken unawares by a blast of steam from a nearby stone outcropping. Luckily the brunt of the blast missed me, and I was no more then blistered by the hot vapors, the young guide was not so fortunate however, and I could see with a glance that he was beyond my power to help further. Looking at the stone outcropping I could see the aggressor, a dragon… not more then two feet from the tip of its snout to the end of its long whip-like tail. I could see behind it on the outcropping two more tiny drakes just like the first. Fearing that they would inundate me with more of the deadly steam I quickly mouthed the words to a spell that would infuse their bodies with negative energy. With in seconds their tiny forms were writhing in their death throes on the rocky ground.

    Steam Drake



    Tiny dragon (fire)
    Hit Dice:
    1d12+1 (7hp)
    Initiative:
    +2
    Speed:
    30ft., Fly 40ft. (Average)
    Armor Class:
    16 (+2 natural, +2 Dex, +2 Size)
    Base Attack/Grapple:
    +1/-9
    Attack:
    Bite +5 melee (1d4-1)
    Full Attack:
    Bite +5 melee (1d4-1)

    Space/Reach:
    2 ½ ft./0 ft.
    Special Attacks:
    Breath Weapon
    Special Qualities:
    Darkvision 60ft., Low light vision, scent, immune to sleep and paralysis, immune to fire, vulnerability to cold, damage reduction 5/magic
    Saves:
    Fort +3, Ref +4, Will +3
    Abilities:
    Str 8, Dex 15, Con 13, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 11
    Skills:
    Hide +14, listen +5, move silently +6, spot +5
    Feats:
    Weapon finesse
    Environment:
    Temperate to warm land
    Organization:
    Solitary, pair, or clutch (3-5)
    Challenge Rating:
    1
    Treasure:
    None
    Alignment:
    Always Neutral
    Advancement:
    2 HD (tiny) 3HD (small)
    Level Adjustment:


    Steam drakes are tiny relatives of dragons that live around geysers, volcanoes, and other geographic hot spots. In appearance they look very much like a tiny wyvern, although they lack the latter creatures poisonous stinger. They generally have mottled red and green scales, and golden eyes. Teeth and tiny horns and frills are generally ivory colored. Although steam drakes are related some of the wisest and most powerful creatures in existence they are in fact little more then animals themselves.

    COMBAT

    Steam drakes are normally peaceable animals, but they can get aggressive if startled or frightened, and will vigorously defend themselves if attacked. They normally prey on small game animals and birds, but a clutch of them will attack a larger target if hungry enough. In any combat against a creature larger then itself a steam drake invariably starts off with a blast of its breath weapon.
    Breath Weapon (Su): A steam drake can breathe out a 15ft. cone of superheated steam every 1d4 minutes (10-40 rounds), any creatures caught in the area take 2d6 points of damage (fire), a successful reflex save (DC 11) will reduce the damage by half. The save DC is constitution based.
    #
    16th day of Planting, 589
    A great storm started late last night, and has continued on unabated through out today. Lightning flashes and thunder rumbles at regular intervals, and I am afraid that we will make no progress what so ever toward our destination until the storm lets up. The remaining guides have told me that storms such as this are not common in the Hellfurnaces, but when they do start up that they can last for days sometimes. In this case I sincerely hope that the storm dies down sooner rather then later. Although I must admit that the storm has given me some time for incredible observations, this afternoon while outside of the tent I saw two great birds of prey winging their way among the storm clouds. These birds looked to be great eagles or hawks, with wingspans of up close to ten feet. They seemed unperturbed by the driving rain and the swirling winds, and even all but ignored the lightning flashing around them. When I told the guides what I had seen I was told that they were Storm Raptors, and that sighting them was considered a good omen by many people, as long as they do not attack at least.
    Storm Raptor


    Medium Magical Beast
    Hit Dice:
    3d10+3 (19 hp)
    Initiative:
    +2
    Speed:
    20ft., fly 60ft. (average)
    Armor Class:
    14 (+2 Dex, +2 Natural) Touch 12 Flat-Footed 12
    Base Attack/Grapple:
    +3/+4
    Attack:
    Claw +4 melee (1d4+1 plus 1d6 electricity)
    Full Attack:
    2 claws +4 melee (1d4+1 plus 1d6 electricity) and 1 bite +2 melee (1d6 plus 1d6 electricity)

    Space/Reach:
    5ft./5ft.
    Special Attacks:
    Electrical touch
    Special Qualities:
    Dark vision 60ft., Low light vision, immune to electricity, immune to wind effects
    Saves:
    Fort +4, Ref +5, Will +1
    Abilities:
    Str 13, Dex 14, Con 13, Int 2, Wis 11, Cha 10
    Skills:
    Spot +9
    Feats:
    Flyby attack, multiattack
    Environment:
    Any mountains where storms are frequent
    Organization:
    Solitary, pair, or flight (3-6)
    Challenge Rating:
    2
    Treasure:
    None
    Alignment:
    Always neutral
    Advancement:
    4-6 HD (medium) 7-9 HD (large)
    Level Adjustment:
    --

    Storm Raptors are magical eagles that live and hunt amidst the clouds and thunder of a storm. They often build their nests on high lightning scarred pinnacles of rock. A storm raptors black-feathered wings spread close to ten feet and its body is nearly as long as a man is tall. Despite it's magical nature, a storm raptor is no more intelligent then a standard eagle or falcon.

    COMBAT

    A hungry Storm Raptor hunts any creature smaller then itself that enters its territory (normally 20 square miles around its nests). Two or more hunting together will often take on prey their own size or slightly larger. In combat they slash with their electrified claws and beak. Because they are slow and ungainly on the ground, a storm raptor prefers to fight on the wing.
    Electrical touch (Su): A Storm Raptors natural attacks each deal an additional 1d6 points of electricity damage with each hit.
    Immune to Wind Effects (Su): A storm raptor can fly, and is unaffected by any adverse affects of the prevailing wind conditions either from natural or magical sources.
    Skills: A storm Raptor gets a +6 racial bonus on spot checks.
    #

    20th day of Planting, 589
    I had hoped to be in Cauldron on this day, but thanks to that accursed storm we are still at least a day and a half away from that fabled city according to my guides. Today for the first time since entering the Hellfurnaces I have seen lava. The guides say that it comes from one of the great smoking mountains, some twenty miles distant from our present location, and that it flows through underground tube like channels until it reaches this point and breaks to the surface in a viscous pool. Around the pool I saw several creatures that could only be Lava Lizards, a monster that I have read about in several volumes of lore, but which has not had a reliable confirmed sighting in recent years. As we camped for lunch I took notes on the lizards, and even sketched one in my other note book, but when the creatures began approaching to close to the camp we packed up and headed out on our way. I have marked this place on my map however, and it like the Muddy Valley is definitely a place to lead an expedition to at some future time.

    Lava Lizard



    Medium Magical Beast (fire)
    Hit Dice:
    4d10+4 (26 HP)
    Initiative:
    +0
    Speed:
    20 ft.
    Armor Class:
    17 (+7 natural) Touch 10 Flat-Footed 17
    Base Attack/Grapple:
    +4/+5
    Attack:
    Bite +5 melee (1d6+1 plus 1d6 fire)
    Full Attack:
    Bite +5 melee (1d6+1 plus 1d6 fire)

    Space/Reach:
    5ft./5ft.
    Special Attacks:
    Fiery bite
    Special Qualities:
    Darkvision 60ft., cold vulnerability, immune to fire, low-light vision, melt metal
    Saves:
    Fort +5, Ref +4, Will +2
    Abilities:
    Str 12, Dex 11, Con 13, Int 2, Wis 13, Cha 6
    Skills:
    Listen +7, Spot +7
    Feats:
    Ability Focus (Melt Metal), Alertness
    Environment:
    Warm mountains
    Organization:
    Solitary or pair
    Challenge Rating:
    3
    Treasure:
    None
    Alignment:
    Always Neutral
    Advancement:
    5-7 HD (Medium) 8-12 HD (Large)
    Level Adjustment:
    --

    The lava lizard is a bizarre magical reptile that dwells in subterranean caverns amid geysers and bubbling magma pools. The creature’s shell-like mottled gray and orange outer scales are rock-like and hard, helping it to maintain the high body temperature that it needs to survive. A lava lizard is about six feet long, not including the short but heavy four-foot long tail. A somewhat oversized head contains large jaws filed with black teeth.

    Although these creature dwell in hot caverns, they have been known to wander up to several miles away from the fires and lava pools that nourish them with heat when searching for food. When they feel their body temperature beginning to cool they will attempt to make their way back to the fires of their home. Unconfirmed reports tell of adventurers finding lava lizards frozen in statue like immobility, presumably having been caught too far from their source of heat.

    COMBAT

    Lava lizards attack just about any thing that they think is edible. They are carnivorous, and their natural environment tends to limit the amount of prey readily available, thus most lava lizards are always hungry. Lava lizards attack by biting with their large, but relatively weak jaws.
    Fiery Bite (Ex): The jaws of a lava lizard are heated by the creature’s internal temperature to nearly as hot as the lava that it dwells around; they inflict an additional 1d6 points of fire damage to any creature that it bites.
    Melt Metal (Su): The lava lizard’s most feared ability. Any metal weapons that hit the lava lizard will melt unless their wielder makes a reflex save (DC 15). A weapon that fails its save will still inflict its damage the round it melts but will be destroyed immediately thereafter. The save is constitution based, and includes a +2 for the lava lizards Ability Focus feat.
    #
    22nd day of Planting, 589,
    This is the final entry into this journal, for today we reached Cauldron. The city, sitting as it does in the crater of a dormant volcano, is as fascinating as any other place I have ventured in my lifetime of travels. Still I find my self already thinking about my return trip through the Hellfurnaces, and what other wonderful creatures and sights I might encounter there. But first some nights in a comfortable inn, and some time to study what I have already learned are at hand, and future adventure will have to wait for a while… Although not for too long I hope.


    Note:
    The preceeding monsters are all of my own creation, save for the Lava Lizard which has been adapted to the D&D 3.5 rules set from module B5, Horror on the Hill)
    "
     
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