Saturday, December 26, 2009

Encounter - Gorradons

This encounter was a lot of fun when I ran my 3.5 group through it last year. The Gorradon are a race of winged gorilla demons, the result of the the devil progenitors mating with the jungle apes that lived in the shadow of the great cliffs. The Gorradon disappeared thousands of years ago along with most of the other races of devil progeny (the devil progeny are also known as "old ones" as the Gorradon are referred to on sheet 1 below) as the bloodlines began to thin, but the more powerful early generations sequestered themselves within domes equipped with life support systems that kept them in a state of stasis, awaiting the return of the comet. When the black gates were opened in the dam and the flood waters spilled from the upper plateau over the cliffs and scoured the lowlands below, one of these Gorradon life support domes was exposed, the top of the dome poking out above the muddy jumble that remained when the flood waters subsided.

I may never get around to fully explaining the world that my 3.5 campaign occurred in (I have hundreds of pages of material), but I will post pieces of it here that I think would be useful taken out of context. Here are the two sheets that I used to run this encounter:
Sheet 1:

Sheet 2:

While these sheets make perfect sense to me, I could see how other people might have trouble deciphering my scribbles.

Notes on Sheet 1:  The flood has uncovered a dome that rests on a disc of solid stone.  The disc is 5' tall, but 3' is still buried in the sediment.  The dome has a 55' diameter and is 25' tall at its apex.  It is made of a nearly perfectly transparent, thin but extremely durable material.  For game purposes, the dome should be more or less indestructible, unless some truly extraordinary measures are brought to bear against it.  There are four entrances at the four cardinal directions - these are 12' tall arches (see sketch) which appear to be completely open but are blocked by a mild force field.  This force field keeps out dirt and water, and any other non-living substances.  Living organic tissue can pass through, so if a PC wants to enter they will have to remove all clothing and equipment.

Inside the dome, a score of unresponsive Gorradons lie in a ring on beds, covered in organic looking webbing that turns into a solid covering over their faces; thick tubes connect this face covering with a 10' diameter globe of steel which radiates energy and a faint hint of evil or chaos (the device is a soul battery, a device that stores captured souls and uses their energy).  The beds are made of a soft, squishy black material (foam cushioning with black vinyl exterior).  A chest lies at the foot of each bed.  Directly above and to the left of the sketch of the dome entrance, there is a top view sketch showing the 20 Gorradons connected to the central globe.  One Gorradon is awake, but he is gathering his strength and appears as motionless as the others.

Chest Stats:  The chests are made of a burnished black steel, 5' long, unmarked except for a large hand shaped indent  on the side facing the bed.  Each indent is keyed to the hand of its owner and the chest will open for no other. The chest has 200 HP (and a hardness of 10, which I forgot to mention on the sheet, so 10 damage is subtracted from each blow that hits the chest) and is protected by a forcefield that grants the chest an effective AC of 22.  See sheet 2 notes for chest contents.

Gorradon Quick Stats (using ascending AC and other 3e conventions):
Movement: 40, Flight: 60 (good maneuverability)
AC:20 (while covered in webbing, which is extremely durable and rubbery) or 16 (normal unarmored AC)
Attacks: +15 / +15 (bare hands)
Damage: 1d8+5 / 1d8+5
If both attacks hit, the Gorradon gets a free grapple using its legs as well with a +18 to the grapple check.

Gorradon are extremely intelligent and had an advanced high-tech society.  They are very disciplined and war-like, and will use sound tactics in combat.

Notes on sheet 2:  While the more powerful older generations of the Gorradon slept in their domes and waited in a dreamless state for the comet to return, the vast majority of the Gorradon devolved as the devil genes in each successive generation became more diluted.  The large, semi-intelligent gorilla-like apes which populate the forest today are their descendants - they still sport vestigial wings, boneless flaps of skin and cartilage on their back.  They can be encountered in the forests and muddy plains surrounding the dome.
Quick Stats for the Gorradon descendants:
Attack: +10 / +10
Damage: 1d6+5 / 1d6+5
A quick sketch of one of the Gorradon descendants can be seen to the left of their stats, showing the vestigial wings.  On the upper left of the sheet, there is a quick sketch of a Gorradon on its bed, chest at its feet, covered in webbing and connected with a tube to its face covering.

The rest of this sheet is dedicated to the contents of the chests - the Gorradon war kit.  Each chest contains: a suit of fibercloth armor (granting the Gorradon an AC of 25 when equipped), a battle helmet, a rations belt, a bracelet of gas grenades and a blast staff.  The armor and helmet are, of course, sized to fit a 10' winged gorilla.

Battle Helmet:  There is a quick sketch of this item under the word "helmet" on sheet 2.  An opaque viscous membrane stretches across the open bottom of the helmet; to don the helmet, the wearer must push his head through this membrane which gives way and reforms an airtight seal around his or her neck.  The helmet has a sophisticated air filtration system which will nullify almost all poisonous gases.  The lenses in the eye holes enable the wearer to see in the infrared and x-ray spectrums, and also function as telescope and microscope.  These modes are activated by clicking a button by the right eye - each click cycles through from infrared to x-ray to normal vision - while in any vision mode, a dial by the left eye serves as a zoom.  The helmet also has a super-imposed crosshairs that appears over the visual display when its wearer is wielding a blast staff - this grants a +2 bonus to hit with the blast staff.

Rations Belt:  This belt has 16 tubes attached to it (see sketch).  Each tube has two indents that separate it into three parts.  You can easily break the tube at an indent.  The first two sections are a condensed, high protein meal (tasteless and powdery) while the last section expands and pulls moisture out of the air, becoming a large, ready to drink cup of water.

Bracelet with Gas Grenades (see sketch):  This bracelet has six gas grenades attached to it.  Twisting a grenade 90 degrees releases it from the bracelet and activates it - once activated, it will explode on impact into a rapidly expanding cloud of green gas.  It expands 10' per round until it fills a 40' diameter sphere.  Gas: fortitude save DC 20, initial damage: 6d6 HP and 1d6 CON, secondary: 2d6 rounds to kick in, blindness for 1d4 hours and extreme nausea for 1d10 rounds.

Blast Staff (see sketches):  This is the primary weapon of the Gorradons.  It collapses down to 4'10", just fitting inside the chest.  It weighs just over 100 pounds, making it an extremely unwieldy weapon for someone of human stature.  The sketches show it collapsed, expanded, and a detail of the middle section with the hand guard, trigger and three way selector switch.  The staff is powered with a small, unscrewable soul battery, containing 3d6 charges.  The three way switch selects between: wide fire - a 25' long cone, 15' wide at the apex which does 6d6 damage; medium fire - a 50' cone, 7' wide at the apex which does 9d6 damage; and narrow fire - a 200' column, 3' in diameter which does 12d6 damage.  All three take the form of a crackling blast of blue energy which ignores AC bonuses granted by armor.  A Gorradon can take two attacks a round with this weapon at +14 to hit, +16 if using the battle helmet.

Notes on running the encounter:
When I ran this thing, the party could not pass up the chests that were in plain view inside the sphere.  They were more than a little unnerved by the realization that they would have to remove all clothing and gear to enter, but after discovering that they could put living plant matter through the entrance, they animated a tree and had it fish out a chest.  Unable to break into the chest, they hauled out a sleeping Gorradon and hacked off its hand, using this to open the chest (!).  The lone conscious Gorradon inside the dome scrambled to its feet and ran to the central sphere, sending the signal through it to awake the rest of the sleeping ape demons.  The party fled and very nearly ended up being killed down to the last man.  The stone disc began to rotate and slowly raised up, revealing that it was just the top of a much larger pillar-like structure that extended hundreds of feet down.  This structure was honeycombed with chambers containing all sorts of ancient technological artifacts, including hover vehicles that the Gorradons used to pursue the fleeing party!

The party had a very guilty conscience about their actions in this incident, and were sure that the Gorradon were going to hunt them down and destroy them for what they had done.  Much later, in a city far away, the party was sitting in a tavern and became convinced that two men were watching them.  One of the party members ate a seed pod of a desert plant that granted an altered state of awareness, and realized that the two men where in fact not men at all but were some other kind of creature entirely wearing the semblance of humanity.  The party instantly assumed it was the Gorradons come back to get their revenge and they ran for the hills!  As it turned out, it was not the Gorradons after all, but that shows how badly they were spooked by the encounter and how disturbed they were with their own actions (cutting the arm of an unconscious being to open a chest is probably not a very good act no matter how you slice it).  Still, the gear they got from the chest proved invaluable and saved their butts on many an occasion.

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