Part Two of Three, this article goes into detail about the dread dungeon complex of the Northern Wastes - the Dungeon of Bleeding Walls, its denizens, and those who seek to exploit the terrors within.
The Dungeon of
Bleeding Walls and the Book of Horrors
The Dungeon of Bleeding Walls is a multi-leveled dungeon
located in the Northern Wastes.
Dominated by a large tribe of wererats in the upper levels and lizards,
worms, and carrion crawlers in the depths, it is thought to be the resting
place of three drow vampire mages. The
mages are in a stasis tomb, guarding rare magical tomes, one of which is the
Book of Horrors, Cryptichronos. The mage Olmoroth inherited the dread tome from his evil master and used it
to become the tyrannical ruler of a dying city some 500 years ago, but lost the
book when he was defeated in a magical duel.
The legend of
the vampire mages is only partly true, the lead mage is in fact Olmoroth
himself (a human), who became a vampire after losing his necromantic duel with
a superior opponent. Becoming insane and obsessed with the book, Olmoroth
dedicated his undead life to regaining the book. He eventually did so, and was forced to flee
the city he once ruled in order to create a perfect place to study the tome and
use the spells within. He travelled to
the far northern wastelands with his two drow vampire apprentices and a band of
wererat servants. They carved out a
dungeon to be his vast laboratory and house his greatest creation, the
The amorphous blob is a
dangerous, amoeboid life-form that resembles an ochre jelly. It was created using a spell from the Cryptichronos. It has the following initial base statistics:
AC 6, MV 6, HD 3, hp 24, #AT 1, Dmg 3-12, AL N. The monster feeds in order to
grow, and it can grow extremely fast. The blob has a volume of four cubic feet
upon its release, but on a killing attack, the amoeboid creature engulfs its
prey and gains 1 hp for each hit die of the dead victim. Every 8 hp gained by
the blob endows it with an additional hit die (in terms of fighting ability)
and results in not only an increase in volume of four cubic feet, but also a
cumulative bonus of + 1 on damage rolls (modified results cannot exceed 12 hp
damage per round). It can regenerate 1
hit point per round. The creature can
flow through narrow openings and can ooze along walls and ceilings. The blob
secretes a digestive acid that dissolves wood and metal; stone and glass remain
unaffected. Magical cold does no damage to the blob, but slows the monster (as
the spell) for 2-8 rounds. Fire harms the creature normally, but lightning
actually imbues the blob with an extra hit point for every hit die of damage
that might have been inflicted. Mind-influencing spells have no effect upon
this unintelligent creation, and all forms of magical control are useless
against it. It is unknown how large the
blob is that currently resides within the Dungeon of Bleeding Walls.
If one had an accurate
map of the dungeon, they would find that there is a great area in the center of
the dungeon that contains nothing but apparently solid space. The maze is actually a prison for the
amorphous blob. Olmoroth and his vampire
apprentices regarded this monster as
their greatest creation, and are poised to use it to enact a devastating
revenge on the civilized world. What they
did not count on was the fact that the cold weather would slow the creature
down. Concerned that his creation need
to get larger in order to become a more suitable threat, Olmoroth and his
companions imprisoned the beast in the middle of the dungeon and constructed
traps and passages that would funnel creatures in to the beast for it to feed
on, without allowing it to move out.
Olmoroth and his assistants then
sealed off their laboratories, set guardians on their treasures, and put
themselves in a stasis tomb, with orders to be awoken when their creation is
finally ready. The wererat followers
were ordered to maintain the dungeon's traps and keep feeding the beast, a task
in which the wererats have neglected in the centuries that followed. Currently, the tribe of wererats has mostly
lost their memory of the vampire master and largely just go through the motions
of setting up the various slide traps, pits, and one-way passages that leads
the local fauna in to the chamber of the blob for feeding. They do not know how big the blob has gotten
or at what point would they have to conduct the (mostly forgotten) rituals to
The bleeding walls that give the dungeon its name are secretions
of this blob, slowly leaking through miniscule cracks in the decaying dungeon
walls. In time, the cracks will get
large enough that the blob can start to move its mass through in earnest, and
thus escape its prison. The only thing
keeping the blob from currently escaping is the cold weather of its
location. While only magical cold can
effectively slow the beast, the deep cold of the northern wastes makes the blob
sluggish to the point that it does not actively seek to break free. There is a party of followers of Incabulos questing to release the blob. They are led by a visionary high priest
who do not know or care that the blob is
uncontrollable. The high priest has
theorized on his own that the blob would need to be warmed up in order for it
to travel across the barren tundra, and has constructed a magical stone that
can warm the blob should it be cast into its center (much like a ring of warmth). Obviously, the priest would need to be
stopped from doing this.
The actions of a party of adventurers in this dungeon has the
possibility of awakening the vampires, the blob, or both. Reintroducing the Cryptichronos to the world would likewise have great evil
repercussions. The forces of Iuz and
Incabulos would both attempt to control the blob or steal the spellbooks, or
even awaken the vampires in order to ally with them. Iuz's lands would be the logical first place
to be threatened by a rampaging blob, so adventurers may be able to reach an
agreement with them in order to prevent the blob from escaping. Olmoroth and his followers have some magical
treasure and tomes that make this dungeon a tempting place for adventurers, but
this may be a sleeping evil best left alone.
This party of evil doers is guided by an unholy vision. The priest and the witch of Incabulos have
both been granted prophetic dreams in which they were granted power over a
massive, famine causing blob and a book of malign spells. Through the control of this creature and the
spellbook, they could cause great suffering and famines as an offering to
Incabulos. Through their research, they
have determined that the blob is a creation from the tome Cryptichronos,
that its resting place is the Dungeon of Bleeding Walls. Each of these villains can be tailored to
suit the individual campaign, but should be suitably high enough in levels and
magic to be able to use the dread tome and master the spells within. They may pass through or close to Trollbar on
their way to the Dungeon of Bleeding Walls.
They might seek Drazen's map of the dungeon's location or other
assistance from the fortress, or be rivals to Drazen's own expedition to the
The High Priest of Incabulos. Wanting to get his hands on a crimson scourge
spell and attempt to control the horrid amorphous blob that is trapped
there. Terribly paranoid, he never
reveals his real name and just refers to himself in the third person. His goal is to see the fulfillment of his
vision and have the blob create great famines by destroying valuable cropland
throughout the Flannaess.
Gasper, a Druid of Obad-Hai.
A feral, half insane druid who sees orc society as an ideal "return
to primitive state" for humanity to emulate, making the perfect addition
for a party travelling through the lands of Iuz. He provides the party with healing spells and
can help the party survive in the harsh northern climes.
Twin brother warriors, Subo and Tuluk. Wolf Nomad mercenaries
who are simple hired muscle. They know and care little of the party mission and
are loyal only to each other.
Consequently, the priest of Incabulos intends to send them on some sort
of suicide mission while on this adventure.
Skinner, a freelance halfling thief. He travels disguised as a goblin through the
lands of Iuz so as to not draw attention to himself. This character may be a source of tension
once the party reaches Trollbar if he is discovered by Bvarnak (evidence of the
"hidden dens of halflings" he is convinced are scattered about the
northern plains). He is a vile little
wretch, but is suitably impressed by the evil priest's skills that he is
reasonably loyal to him, so long as there are opportunities for loot.
Rolf, a barbarian warrior.
This exile from the Snow Barbarians converted to Incabulos out of an
extreme fear of disease. He follows the
priest out of this morbid fear and is completely dominated by him. He is the priest's strong right hand man.
Vitrun, Witch of Incabulos.
An advisor to the priest, this old crone has studied the dark history of
the Book of Horrors and is eager to
attempt to master the horrid spells within.
While not the leader of the expedition, she is the most valuable person
in the party, as she is a high level mage who could expect to fathom the
mysteries of the Cryptichronos. Her relationship with the high priest is
typical of this religion: paranoid, self seeking, and ultimately one will
betray the other.
SOURCES: See Dragon Magazine Issue # 162,
"Bazaar of the Bizarre" by Christian Bok for further details of the Cryptichronos and the amorphous
blob. See Iuz the Evil by Carl Sargent, page 64 for the Dungeon of Bleeding