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Subj:	Hellmouth
Date:	97-03-18 21:11:24 EST
From:	ilium@juno.com (Stephen P Martin)
To:	Ethesis@aol.com


HELLMOUTH
Originally presented in The Wild Hunt 38


This specific heroquest takes place south of Cragspider's domain and near
the walktapi breeding grounds, though similar quests can take place
anywhere an appropriate Hellmouth can be found. It is tainted by the
cliffs of chaos nearby and is a hellmouth that was abandoned by the
trolls.


It can only be attempted once a year, when Truth Week gives way to
Disorder Week as the Dark Season breaks loose. This is either at the end
of Fire Season or the beginning of Storm Season (the unlawful season),
depending on the questor and his ties. It must be completed before the
day of death (the last day of the week or the day associated with the death
rune, depending on the way that week days are named and used in the hero-
questor's culture) locks the door, unless one is specifically attempting
a rebirth.


Initiating the Quest

To begin, the questor must enter the Hellmouth through a narrow crevasse
that shifts and is unstable. This requires rolling over SIZ on 4d6 or
losing all but three items from among one's armor and equipment (questor
may choose, noting that clothing counts as one of the items).


Next, one must pick a way through the Teeth, the "falling and rising
guardians". These are great columns of yellow blood-stained rock that
rise to the cavern ceiling and drop back to the floor. They become active
only during the time that the trip may be attempted.


To pass these guardians requires a successful DEX x5 roll; failure means
that the Teeth may grind you (1d20 damage, divided evenly among all hit
locations). Coordination has no effect on this roll, though each point of
Mobility (or equivalent) gives +5% chance of success. If a preparation
has been made to slow the teeth (such as placing obstacles above/below
them), treat them as having a STR of 21. Note any use of runic
affiliations in attempts to slow or avoid the teeth: appropriate uses
(such as an Orlanth cultist using Air or Mobility) will increase success
chances, while an anti-rune pattern (such as a Stasis-rune cultist using
Mobility) will halve chances, and cause double damage if failed.


Entering the Main Body of the Quest

After this point, the quest has truly begun, and any use of power may
draw attention. Roll for appearance every time a use of magic or other
abilities results in a chance for a POW gain roll. There are three types
of perils:


1) The Winds of Madness. Each Wind has a POW of 1d6, and 1d4+1 winds will
blow at any one target. They make a MPs vs. INT attack as they blow,
modified down for Orate or Sing skills used: Ruach defeated them with
chant and rhyme, Victor mastered them with song. If a Wind overcome's the
target, roll for results:


01-05     Lose 1d6 INT, permanently Befuddled (as the spell)
06-50     Lose 1d6 INT for Wind's POW in hours, Befuddled for 10 rounds
51-95     Lose 1d6 INT and Befuddled for one round
96-00     Befuddled only, for one round.


Once they have weakened and confused a target, the Winds will drive him
mad (roll a final attack versus new INT -- success means madness). Those
they drive mad will be drained of power by the Wind (lose 1d6 magic points
and 1d6
INT for each additional successful attack). They can be driven off in one
of two ways: by their failure to drain magic points from any target for 2d6
rounds, or by the use of proper magics or skills (i.e., successful Orate
or Sing rolls).


2) The Whips of Darkness. Darkness is the first power against chaos, and
the strongest; so claim the trolls, who know the Darkness best. It is
also the first to be seduced by chaos, and the one that is nearest to it;
so claim humans. The Whips of Darkness are of the latter type. They
appear as eight black whips joined together, much like an octopus. 1d4
will appear, and they attack with each of their tentacles, each round.
Anyone entangled by two or more tentacles in a given round will be
affected by a shade's Fearshock attack one SR 1 of the next round.


The Whips of Darkness can fly; they take double damage from Fire. Use
statistics from RuneQuest for Giant Octopus.


3) The Storm Sons. These wild demi-gods also haunt this area, slaying
chaos in the pattern of their kind. They are tied to Air/Storm and
Disorder. 1d4 will appear, taking the forms of sylphs (treat as 5 cubic
meters each). Each has an INT of 3d6, and fights with an endless supply
of lightning spears (2d6 damage each successful hit, can be Thrown or
used as spears).


The Storm Sons have the ability to take power from the chaos monsters
they defeat. Any creature with a Chaos Feature which is attacked is also
attacked in MPs vs. MPs combat. The first success removes a chaos feature
(randomly) and gives 1d6 POW to the Storm Son. Each additional success
drains 1d6 POW and 1d6 STR from the chaos creature.  Lunar heroquestors are
especially at risk from the Storm Sons who drop to earth from the great 
waterfall and prowl through hell, slaying what chaos they meet.


Choices

After successful entry through the Hellmouth there are three ways which a
questor may go. The first is a downward branching path. This leads into a
large pool of gorp and chaotic undines. Successfully passing this way
eventually leads through other perils and into Hell.


The second way leads into the Labyrinth of Ishaqua. The Labyrinth is a
large and deadly maze, filled with slime, in the center of which is bound
Ishaqua of the Winds, a chaotic Air Demon. The Winds of Madness are his
spawn, while the Whips of Darkness are the putrid fess (???) of a demon
whom Ishaqua allied with in the Great Dark. This demon was originally a
Mistress Race Troll heroine charged with guarding this place, who was
seduced by chaos, and now festers below the perils of the first path.


The third path is the focus of this quest, and is hard to access. Harmony
can be used to evoke it, Disorder to force it, Truth to see it, Illusion
to create it, Life to generate it, or Death to break it open. In other
words, opening the way requires a successful application of one of these
runic natures. This should be prepared in advance.


Having successfully entered the third path, the quest finally begins.
Somewhere on this level is a heart shattered into a thousand pieces,
which slowly gather together again. The name of the entity whose heart
this is was lost when it was shattered, hence its symbolic designation of
""__"" (or un named heart in darkness)


The goal of this quest is to locate one of these pieces and return with
it to the site where the ritual opening the heroquest was performed 
(note -- this ritual is never described but is orphic in nature), 
reverse the ritual, and leave the Hellmouth. The ritual
may be reversed at any time, but doing so at a place different from where
it was enacted will have some unpleasant side effects. The most direct
one is displacement on the mythic plane, another is loss of the questor's
physical body. Almost any result will mean that the questor must go
through Hell rather than back to the relatively "safe" area of Snake-Pipe
Hollow.


The following guardians/demons are examples of those which guard the
fragments of the heart. Like the entity whose heart this is, the
guardians/demons have been shattered into a thousand pieces; like the
entity, they have lost their names and most of their power. Note that the
POW amounts given below are guidelines for the gamemaster. The guardians
can take spirit or physical form: in physical form, they trade points of
POW for Hit Points, and gain Armor Points equal to their Hit Points (much
like a Hellion; see RuneQuest). In physical form, they can make a
physical attack, in addition to the special abilities listed below.
Attack chance is 95%, and damage done is 1d6 per MP expended.


____ The Thickening Strand. This guardian responds to any movement
through itself. Each Move speed equates to 1/2 d6 of damage to General
Hit Points. Thus, a normal man walking would take 1 1/2 d6 damage. Damage
is automatic, requiring no Attack roll, but no critical damage is
possible. It has a POW of 1d6+28, and cannot move, but is so large that
it takes a human 4 turns of running to go all the way through it (or 2
turns to turn around and escape after the first damage is done).


___* Harmony of the Way. This is a smooth song, which is intensified by
any song, chant, or similar Harmony magic used. It makes an MP vs. MP
attack against any who encounter it, and thos eit overcomes must stay and
dance with it forever. It has a POW of 4d6+3, but resists Disorder magics
with only half that power.


__** Hatred for Life. This is an anti-Life creature -- the stronger the
Life Force which faces it, the more potent its attack. For every 3 HPs of
the target it makes a 1d6 attack in the form of raw energy blasting
against the target (fails only on a roll of 96-00); damage is divided
evenly among 1d6 Hit Locations, rolled randomly. Each 1 point of Spirit
Magic known healing counts as 1 HP; each point of Divine Magic healing
counts as 3 Hps. Armor will not defend against this damage, though spells
such as Protection work normally. Hatred for Life has a POW of 5d6.


Note: the guardians change from fragment to fragment, and from time to
time, and each should be specifically designed for separate runs or
questors. They are chaos-tainted, and will have a chaotic feature for
each full 6 points of POW they possess.


???: **__, ***_, and **** are mirrors of the above, and have the opposite
effect in the quest.


A fragment of the heart can be used to link two owners, to bypass the
guardian whose heart it is, or as a focus for certain high order rune
magics. Expenditure of Will while overcoming a guardian may result in
gaining powers or abilities, if the guardian's power matches your
weakness.




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Subject: Hellmouth
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From: ilium@juno.com (Stephen P Martin)
Date: Tue, 18 Mar 1997 21:07:57 EST



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