Saturday, October 19, 2013

Frisland: The County of Orzafeth

Continued from "Frisland: County of Hosseta"

Bone-eaters, jack-o-lanterns, scarecrows, mandragora. . . Orzafeth is a land of many mysteries and dangers. There, risen from ancient times, two sinister willpowers fight to revive their realms. Though supremely deadly, neither are what they seem to be.

Mystara Alphatia Frisland Hex Map
County of Orzafeth -- Map Scale: 8 Miles Per Hex
History: The County of Orzafeth once was a kingdom allied with the Ogam. The original monarchy had accepted mountain tribes and their shamans in its realm in a bid to improve land fertility. It succeeded, but it also led the population to become followers of the Outer Beings. Emanations of chaos engulfed the old kingdom and spilled over into the neighboring realms, prompting them to go on a crusade. Horrors summoned by the shamans defeated the crusaders, which compelled Emperor Alphas III to intervene. The Outer Being worshipers were defeated at great cost. Besieged in their capital city, the last Orzafethians self-destructed during a lurid ritual, their souls departing to feed their outer world patrons. Since then, the capital city’s twisted ruins have remained cursed and prone to permanent emanations of chaos. The old monarchy having vanished during the self-immolation, Sundsvall appointed a family to administrate the new county, now a dominion of the Kingdom of Greater Frisland. Save for the mountains themselves, Orzafeth is the next most dangerous place in the realm, with unexplained phenomena, poisonous flora cropping up unexpectedly, and bestial incursions spawning from unseen gates. Despite a high military presence and repressive laws, Orzafeth remains a treacherous place to live.

Lay of the Land: The county spreads east to west between the Fris and Malfati Rivers. The shallow and muddy Baalti slowly meanders across its mid-section. Except for monster-infested hills along the Fris River, Orzafeth is essentially a great plain stretching about 100 miles north-south and 230 miles east-west. An ancient paved highway known by some as the Old Argonath Road runs from the only entry point into Ar to the kingdom’s capital, Shiell, passing through the eastern town of Imaroth. The seat of the county rests in Okadia, near the border with Wyllareth. Although several trails crisscross the county, the only two that are regularly traveled run from Imaroth to Tolorad, and from Okadia to Witival. The others see some rare traffic, and armed protection is advised there. Most of this dominion is a wilderness starting as little as sixteen miles outside villages (80% of Orzafeth’s total surface). A ring of walls and towers surrounds the old capital city’s ruins, locking an area 12 miles radius known as the Tainted Lands. A garrison exists here, its mission to prevent anyone or anything coming in or out. Climate is similar to Wyllareth’s, except that conditions are overcast most of the time, with either snow in winter or fog in summer. The particularly gloomy character of Orzafeth’s weather is thought to stem from the curse still afflicting the old ruins.

Population: Out of 155,000 inhabitants, just under 11% live in towns and villages. Another 1,800 serve in Orzafeth’s military, or barely more than 1% of the total population. The two main towns are Okadia and Imaroth, with 8,800 and 6,900 people respectively. Population density is less than 7 inhabitants per square mile, not counting monstrous life forms.

Current day Orzafethians are quite different from the county’s original folk and from typical Frislandic stock. Though Yanifey and Antalian ancestry survives in the area, the remainder is a motley crowd of immigrants and indentured workers. Due to the dominion’s abysmal reputation and harsh living conditions, maintaining or growing its population has been a thorny challenge, as the above numbers suggest.

Mystara Alphatia Frisland Population DiagramThe successive counts and local nobility long ago adopted a policy to attract population from other regions of Alphatia. Part of the strategy relies on providing farmland and cash to would-be immigrants in exchange for them effectively becoming serfs for a period of ten to fifteen years. During that term, settling families are not permitted to leave lands rented to them. Orzafethian aristocracy also "purchases" convicted criminals from other imperial provinces for the same purpose, either to work the land or to provide labor in urban areas. Realms such as Arogansa, Haven, Theranderol, and the Imperial District of Vertiloch, as well as Bellissarian kingdoms, are happy to stay executions and collect instead small cash payments from Orzafeth. Extradited criminals are then teleported to Okadia for whatever purpose, in perpetuity. The newcomers are geased, and immediately put to good use.

Mystara Alphatia Frisland Population Density Diagram
Life expectancy is the lowest in Greater Frisland, not only as the result of the inherent dangers lurking in the county, but also because of the indentured or convicted status of what is fast becoming the majority of the population. Added to inclement weather and marginal farmland, the poorest folk typically pass away while in their thirties (humans at least). Infant mortality exceeds 50%. As everywhere else in Orzafeth, aristocracy remains exclusively Alphatian. Demi-humans, although welcome, are very rare in this part of Greater Frisland.

Economy: It is mostly an agrarian society which, despite adverse climatic conditions, produces enough food to survive. Livestock consists largely of sheep and goats, many of which had been brought by the Ogam of ancient Orzafeth. Local farmers also grow tubers. These fat, brown root-like vegetables are notorious for their twisted shapes reminding one of various creatures, but once peeled and properly cooked, they provide good nourishment. Mandragora is not rare, and makes the object of lucrative businesses. Much of that crop is traded in the southern provinces as well as Sundsvall.

This land is also notorious for its pumpkins. Although untainted, these vegetables acquired unusual properties during the time of the Ogam presence in Orzafeth. Most bear some random magical properties, mostly of use to wizards. A few can become sentient and capable of uprooting themselves—they’re called Jack-o-Lanterns. They sometimes cause mischief in their territories, such as animating their common vegetable cousins and going on a rampage. Scarecrows are another concern—not the sort one sticks on a field to frighten the birds. These troublesome creatures are leafy leftovers from crops which tangle together and take a vaguely human-like form. They’re another nuisance of the same nature as animated pumpkins, and sometimes work with Jack-o-Lanterns. Common folks occasionally come to terms with these creatures, offering them a live sacrifice during the mid-fall’s hallows when they are strongest, in exchange for which they protect the farmers' fields. A magical geas will achieve the same result. One or more of these creatures often guard mandragora plantations or harvest the arcane roots. Scarecrows and jack-o-lanterns serving on a farm or a plantation are usually dressed in old rags. Farming products sold in markets must be checked for poison and other unwanted effects. Like neighboring Frisia, toxic plants do grow in the area and can contaminate normal foods. Trafficking in forbidden substances are as much a problem in Orzafeth as it has been in the neighboring Grand Duchy.

Animated Pumpkins: AC 8, HD1*, MV 60’(20’), #AT 1-3 roots, Dmg 1d4/1d4/1d4, Save F1, ML12, Int 1, AL Neutral. Special Abilities: a root can entangle (as the spell) a victim with an attack roll of 18 or better; entangled victims sustain 1d4 automatic damage per round until freed.

Jack-o-Lantern: AC 3, HD6**, MV 150’(50’), #AT 1 bite, Dmg 1d8, Save F5, ML9, Int 6, AL Chaotic. Special Abilities: 30% chance of animating 1d4 pumpkins per round; controls up to 12 animated pumpkins (two per undamaged HD) within a 100-yard radius; immune to sleep, charm, fear, hold, and entangle spells; electrical attacks heal jack-o-lanterns, and any HD of electrical damage above 6 are actually gained by the creature; jack-o-lanterns must save against cold-based attacks or go dormant for 1 game Turn.

Scarecrow: AC 5, HD6*, MV 120’(40’), #AT 1 billhook (farmer’s flail or pitchfork), Dmg 1d6, Save F6, ML7, Int 4, AL Neutral. Special Abilities: causes fear (as the spell) within a 30’ radius; immune to sleep, charm, fear, and hold spells; immune to cold-based attacks; sustains double-damage from fire-based attacks; if near a source of hay or in a wheat- or cornfield, regenerates 1d6 points of damage per round.

Another and more sinister crop consists of bones dug from the ground. They belong to all those who’d fallen during the crusades, ancient denizens of Argonath, the mysterious Yanifey of old, as well as countless monsters from this world and beyond. Something in the Orzafeth’s soil prevents bones from decaying, and it takes a long time for flesh to rot away. Most bodies become mummified despite the region’s generally humid conditions. Some of these remains are tainted and must be destroyed by law—when they unearth such bones, most people hide them in hopes of selling them to adventurous wizards and alchemists. Though highly profitable, it is treacherous business, and many a family has perished in unspeakable ways as a result of their greed. A local tradition is to carve bones into flutes and other instruments, which are reputed to tell the stories of their previous owners when played. The Okadian Opera features bone-concerts, retelling the great battles of the crusades. These symphonies-macabres range from the hauntingly divine to the ineffably chilling, enough to attract throngs of wealthy southerners in search of strong emotions. Many among the audience swear being able to see in their minds the stories evoked by such masterpieces.

Other uses for bones come in the form of powders for spell components and alchemical ingredients. Bone Lore is a peculiar skill in the region, which enables one to determine the nature of bones, whether they are tainted, and the manner in which their owners perished. In fact, many sages in search of knowledge about the dead come to Orzafeth to seek the assistance of expert ossuarians. These experts rely on their wisdom and a natural affinity for the dead, which manifests itself among those closest to this afflicted land, such as the progeny of indentured farmers. It isn’t uncommon for a family harboring an expert to be able to repurchase their freedom. They generally remain in the region, not far from a place of desolation such as the site of a past massacre. The most talented ossuarians can unveil the identities and circumstances surrounding the original owners. Some work as cemetery guardians. Their services are often well paid.

The Tainted Lands [reprinted here from the lead article]: Although old Orzafeth was obliterated, the effects of Ogam summonings survive to this day. The old barrier that prevented teleportation and scrying from outside Orzafeth borders still exists, although its has weakened. It now only lingers around an area 12 miles in radius from the ruins of the old capital city, which is now referred as the Tainted Lands. One cannot use instantaneous transportation spells or divination magic through that barrier without incurring dangerous secondary effects. Spellcasting is also altered in various ways. Fauna and flora are toxic and bear odd deformities. This area’s evil magic imbued both wildlife and vegetation with a feral cunning and a craving to devour all that enters their domain. Water is equally poisonous, and any fluids brought in become unfit for consumption within a day. The city’s ruins are even worse, with twisting streets, shifting buildings, an overwhelming feeling of oppression, lingering evil spirits, and a few monstrous beings which seem to come to life inexplicably. The Outer Beings’ dark magic lies at the source of the Tainted Lands, and remains beyond the ability of Mystaran wizards, clerics, and their immortal patrons to remove. Time is the best remedy, provided nothing rouses Orzafeth’s sleeping horrors along the way.

Encounters in Orzafeth [GG]: The County of Orzafeth is a land marked by the Taint of the Outer Beings and their servants, of which the Ogam are only the best-known. However, the mark of other-dimensional horror is strongest and deepest in the Tainted Lands. Although the authorities have done what they can to cordon off the cursed site, creatures can, and do, manage to get through. The following table provides the DM with ideas of what kinds of creatures adventurers may encounter. It is suggested that a d6 roll be made once per day during regular overland travel in the County of Orzafeth, and every six hours when journeying in the Tainted Lands themselves. A roll of 1-2 indicates that the party has encountered something. New monsters are described after the table or linked to the original design posted on Pandius.

d20 RollEncounter
1-41d8 Tainted Dead
5-81d4 Tainted Fauna
9-111d6 Tainted Plants
12-131d6 Blessed Ones 
(roll 1d6: 1-2: Armored, 3-4: Tentacled, 5-6: Infested)
14-151d4 Minions of Rasthz the Many-Mouthed
16-171d2 Lesser Servitors of Yurrgh-Thal
181d4 Soul Renders
19Greater Servitor of Yurrgh-Thal (50% chance of being accompanied by 1d4 lesser servitors of Yurrgh-Thal)
20Emissary of the One

Tainted Dead: These are the remains of people who have died inside the Tainted Lands. Their corpses have become animated by the malevolent energies leaking through the dimensional rifts created by the destruction of Old Orzafeth. They resemble blackened skeletons, with sharp, bony tumors projecting from many locations. At night, ten-foot-radius sickly green halos shine around the tainted undead. If the optional insanity rules are being used, tainted dead have a Horror Rating of 4.

Tainted Dead: AC 4, HD1-4*, MV 60’(20’), #AT 2 claws, Dmg 1d4/1d4 + special, Save F1-4, ML12, Int 2, AL Chaotic. Special Abilities: cause fear (as the spell) within a 30’ radius; immune to sleep, charm, fear, and hold spells. The touch of a tainted dead will cause a festering rash to erupt where the victim was touched, which reduces Strength and Charisma by 1 each. This effect is cumulative, and anyone whose Strength is reduced to 0 will become immobile and die in 24 hours unless treated with a cure disease spell. Anyone killed by the tainted dead will rot quickly and rise in 3 days.

Tainted Fauna: Generations of wildlife have lived in the Tainted Lands, and have become affected by the unwholesome magical effects over the centuries. While most fauna seem no different than specimens found in unaffected regions, they are far more cunning than would normally be expected. What is more, they are all poisonous—anyone foolish enough to eat whatever they catch here must save vs. Poison at -4 or suffer an agonizing death in 1d6 turns. Animals that live close to the ruins of Old Orzafeth are visibly different from their untainted cousins; many possess large tumors and half-formed additional appendages or eyes in odd places. Particularly vile specimens have a Horror Rating of 5.

Note: Due to the wide range of wildlife that may be encountered, rough statistics have been provided. The DM should look up the original animal, and modify accordingly.

Tainted Fauna: AC, MV, #AT, Save unchanged; +1 to HD and Dmg; ML10, Int 10, AL Chaotic. Special Abilities: cause fear (as the spell), immunity to sleep, charm, fear, and hold spells.

Tainted Plants: In addition to being poisonous, the plant life that surrounds Old Orzafeth has also grown actively malevolent to the point where it will try to trap and kill trespassers. As with animal life, plants become increasingly corrupted-looking as one draws near the ruins, complete with odd growths and strange, foul-smelling fruits. The combat statistics given below are for specimens that grow near the ruins themselves, which are capable of uprooting themselves and moving.

Tainted Plants: AC 5, HD 1-4, MV 30’ (10’), #AT 1 bash or special, Dmg 1d6, Save F1-4, ML10, Int 5, AL Chaotic. Special Abilities: specimens possessing thorns are capable of shooting them (treat as a normal area attack covering as cone 5’ wide at the point, 20’ wide at the base, and 10’ long); those possessing vines can whip opponents (any victim hit must save vs. Death Ray or be entangled, as the spell).

Emissary of The One: Although He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Seen prefers to make His mark on Mystara through His fanatically combative worshippers, He does have personal servants. Emissaries of The One are His eyes, ears, and "hands" on the Prime Plane. In their natural state, they are black protoplasmic blobs, measuring 10’ to 20’ across, from which various appendages, eyes, and mouths periodically emerge and retract. Because of their plastic nature, emissaries can assume any shape they wish, and can give themselves any number of appendages or sensory organs they desire (although they can only attack six times per round). Being intelligent creatures, emissaries are capable of speech and are often sent by The One as messengers, and occasionally to lead His followers into battle. Emissaries have a Horror Rating of 13.

Emissary of The One: AC 5, HD15*, MV 90’(30’), #AT 6 strikes or 1 envelop, Dmg 2d6 or 3d4/round, Save F15, ML10, Int 16, AL Chaotic. Special Abilities: emissaries produce a 40’-wide aura of fear (treat as spell), are immune to sleep, charm, fear, and hold spells, and can only be hit by +1 weapons or better. Once per round, an emissary may opt to envelop a foe; should a hit be successful the victim is absorbed and takes 3d4 damage per round. The victim can escape by inflicting at least 20 points of damage in one blow (attack against AC 9); otherwise the victim’s companions can force the emissary to relinquish its prize by inflicting at least 40 points of cumulative damage, or by negotiating (depending on the circumstances).

Armed Forces of Orzafeth: Being landlocked, Orzafeth neither possesses a navy, riverine or airborne, nor can it afford one. However, the Grand Duchy of Frisia maintains at its own cost one skyship above the Tainted Lands. Another patrols the border with Foresthome, which includes the Newnayth area as well. A large galley hailing from Naugwayne commonly plies the Fris River up to Dovefell Bridge, east of Imaroth. A handful of other galleys from Shiell may also show up.

The county’s entire army consists of 1,819 troops, 430 of whom control Okadia, 850 holding Imaroth and patrolling the eastern border. The balance largely garrisons Newnayth and the fortifications around the Tainted Lands. The other borders are essentially unguarded, following the long-established inkling than no one really wants to invade Orzafeth, which is seen as a liability by everyone else. New developments in Hosseta and Wyllareth, however, are challenging this dogma—especially the growing presence of the Order of the Light at Ubdazi. A conflict with Wyllareth would probably involve Ogam raids from the mountains, which Orzafeth would be desperate to hold off at the river. Some troops may be shifted from Imaroth to Okadia or to reinforce the banks of the Malfati, but this implies setting up outdoor camps since Tolorad has little or no long-term troop facilities. Orzafeth does not have the financial means for the construction of a new castle in the area.

Mystara Alphatia Frisland Heraldry
To make up for the general weakness of Orzafeth’s military, Okadia employs private town guards, paid by the guilds to secure the streets from smugglers, thieves, and other unsavory characters, and look for signs of the Taint. They also watch the markets and fairs for corrupted goods. The military concern themselves more with securing the count’s palace, patrolling the trails, and dispatching monsters wandering into the borderlands or drifting down the Baalti River. It isn’t rare when something escapes from the Tainted Lands and swims downstream, seeking to enter Okadia. A heavy iron gate filters out the largest creatures dwelling in the muddy waters, but smaller ones occasionally get through and can cause havoc at night. Due to the common lack of moonlight, hunting these beasts requires a town-wide effort. The only bridge across the Baalti in Orzafeth lies at Okadia—no one in the county ever dares wading through these treacherous waters, armed or not.

Orzafethian Diplomacy: It is the poor parent of Greater Frisland, somewhat ostracized by the other dominions, seen as one afflicted with a disgraceful disease and treated with utmost suspicion. Orzafeth strenuously objects to the growing Bettellyn presence in Wyllareth, and as a result is most likely to remain on the side of its royal liege. Relations with outside realms aren’t any better. Passage across the Fris River is only permitted on Dovefell Bridge where it is heavily controlled and generally discouraged by Aran authorities. Orzafeth relies on the protection of the imperial powers and of its royal liege. The best way into Orzafeth is from Frisia. A few private skyships provide service between Shiell and Okadia. The majority of connections between Orzafeth’s aristocracy and outside realms concerns the traffic of convicted criminals.

It would stand to reason that some ossuarians are better than others. This elite is known as bone-eaters. It’s what they’re called, but fear not—they don’t actually gnaw at anyone’s tibias, though they do consume ancient bones in an arcane fashion to unveil their secrets. As time goes by, some can been seen traveling the land in search of new osseous trophies, carrying their precious troves in a sack. . . or re-burying them for future use. Those deeply involved in their trade are seen as courting death itself, perhaps necromancy as well. The latter isn’t necessarily true. Bone-eaters aren’t always evil, despite their sinister passion. Many are sages, the investigators of skeletons and skulls who relish with ghoulish delight the carrion of history lain to rest and forgotten in the dimness of time. Some, however, belong to cohorts of undead hunters. A few do give in to the darkest of arts.

Apprenticeship: Any hero native of Orzafeth and with a Wisdom score of at least 13 may become a bone-eater. It requires a master skilled in the profession willing to teach the first two aptitudes. As general skill slots become available (or right from the start when the hero is nothing but the most inexperienced of apprentices), they can be spent on bone-eater abilities. They must be learned in the order they are listed.

Skill Checks: All such skills are Wisdom-based and require a die roll. If a bone’s previous owner had more HD than the bone-eater, the Wisdom check incurs a –1 penalty per HD of difference. If a Wisdom check fails, it cannot be tried again on the same bone or any others from the same skeleton. The first two skills can otherwise be used as many times in a day as there are qualifying bones available. The bone-eating profession is not without its risks. Any skill check resulting in an unmodified roll of 20 incurs a 10% chance the undead spirit of a bone’s owner will appear and confront the bone-eater. The undead will be a wraith or a specter with a number of HD at least equal to the original owner’s.

Bone-Eating: Bone lore and subsequent abilities involve "consuming" a part of a bone as part of the skill check. The bone must be at least 1/12th the previous owner’s actual size—fragments won’t do. A section is cut off and crushed in a mortar, mixed with incense, and ignited. The bone-eater must then breathe the fumes for 1 round, thereby "eating" the bone. The remainder becomes useless, since it no longer is whole. Bone powder can be prepared in advance. As obviously implied, a number of creatures remain entirely out of the bone-eaters’ scope of activity since they do not possess bones (gelatinous cubes, oozes, puddings, slimes, incorporeal beasts, slugs, bugs, elemental beings, most constructs, plant-like creatures, etc.)

Slot #1: Ossuary Apprenticeship: A neophyte can tell the nature of a bone’s previous owner. This includes the race of a man-like creatures (human, elf, halfling, orc, goblin, etc), age, gender, and general ethnic background if the bone eater knows about it (realm, main tribe, etc). If the bone belonged to a monster or an animal, the apprentice can unveil its race (basilisk, red dragon, white dragon, archon, fiend, etc.) If the apprentice isn’t likely to know about an animal breed or a type of monster, an Intelligence check with a –2 penalty should be enough to get a general idea. If the latter check fails, the apprentice should at least be able to tell what a bone is not. Major life diseases and bone-marking accidents can also be detected. Cost: 2 skill slots.

Note: An apprentice can always sense the Orzafeth Taint in a bone on sight, within a three-foot range. This requires no skill check.

Slot #2: Bone Lore: A bone lore attempt requires a successful ossuary apprenticeship check beforehand. It enables a bone-eater to sense the previous owner’s identity, function in society, and cause of death. Such bones can be carved and fashioned into musical instruments. When played, they tell the story of the owners and what led to their demises. This requires the bone-eater to have basic-musical skill in the chosen instrument. These bones can be sold in Okadia at a market price of 10gp per original HD times the number of asterisks (as described in monster statistics). Tainted bones can be sold on the black market for ten times more. Handling/dabbling with tainted bones requires a horror check (HR2).  Cost: 2 skill slots.

Affinity Skills: One of three affinity skills can be chosen next—arcane, body, or combat. Once a path is chosen, skills from the other two are no longer available. Affinity skill checks only require one previously successful bone lore check on bones from the same skeleton. Each of these special skills can only be attempted once per day.

Slot #3A: Arcane Affinity: This skill enables a bone-eater to memorize one random magic-user spell level 1-2 available to the previous owner at the time death occurred. The bone-eater may cast a gained spell any time after it was memorized, regardless of the bone-eater’s actual character class, although relative experience level must be adequate to cast a gained spell. Experience level is the maximum number of combined spell levels that can be accumulated through "bone-eating" at any given time. If the bone-eater is a spellcaster, gained spells come in addition to those available through normal meditation or studying. A gained spell cannot be recopied in a spellbook or duplicated in any other way. Once cast, it is entirely erased/forgotten from the bone-eater’s mind. Cost: 2 skill slots.

Slot #4A: Arcane Affinity II: As above except that it enables bone-eaters to memorize spell levels 3-4. Skill checks must be performed from lower spell levels upward. Slots 5A-7A enable the memorization of higher level spells (5-6, 7-8, and 9). Successive skill checks on bones from the same skeleton cannot yield more spells than those available to its previous owner at the time of death. Cost: 1 skill slot each.

Slot #3B: Body Affinity: This skill enables a bone eater to temporarily gain one natural ability available to the previous owner at the time of death. The gained ability must be one of the following, as described on page 154 of the Rules Cyclopedia: blindness, charm, disease, paralysis, petrification, poison, or any single immunity (to normal weapons, spells, poison, etc.) Simple spell-like abilities are generally acceptable (such as fly, invisibility, etc.) Breath weapons are only available to bone-eaters with as many or more HD as the bones’ previous owner. Level-draining and special abilities exclusively related to the undead are not available to bone-eaters. If multiple special abilities are available from a previous owner, one is chosen randomly. Gained abilities (such as forms of attack) last one combat encounter when triggered. Immunities and other effects (such as invisibility, fly, levitate, water-breathing, etc) last 1d6 game Turns after completing the skill check. Bones from a single skeleton cannot confer the same ability more than once. Cost: 2 skill slots.

Slot #4B: Body Affinity II: As above, except subsequent body affinity skills enable additional affinity checks during the same day. In other words, body affinity II allows a second check, body affinity III a third, and so on. One gained ability can be combined with another for each five experience levels of the bone-eater. Cost: 1 skill slot each.

Slot #3C: Combat Affinity: This skill enables bone-eaters to randomly gain an extra 1-3 Hit Dice. Bones collected from the same skeleton cannot confer more Hit Dice than its previous owner ever had—for example: a bone-eater collects a dozen bones from an ogre’s skeleton (HD4+1); on Day-1, the bone-eater gains 2 HD after consuming one of the bones; on Day-2 another 2 are gained; Day-3 could only yield +1 hp since the ogre only had 4+1 Hit Dice to give (all remaining bones from that ogre’s skeleton are now worthless). Such gains only affect the bone-eaters’ hit points, saving throws, and attack scores, as appropriate to their own character classes. Gains only last for 1d6 game Turn after the skill check was made. Combat damage is subtracted first from extra hit points while they last. Cost: 2 skill slots.

Slot #4C: Combat Affinity II: As above, except subsequent combat affinity skills enable additional checks during the same day. In other words, combat affinity II allows a second check, combat affinity III a third, and so on. Experience level is the maximum number of combined extra Hit Dice that can be accumulated through bone-eating at any given time. Cost: 1 skill slot each.

Bone Mastery: When reaching affinity IV expertise, a bone-eater must decide on a personal philosophy of death. One leads to Undead Hunting (Lawful or Neutral), the other to a form of Necromancy (Neutral or Chaotic). Once made, the choice cannot be changed.

Undead Slayers: These are bounty hunters paid to destroy undead creatures and, to a certain degree, tainted ones. Undead hunters benefit from a permanent protection from evil, and can turn undead monsters like clerics half their experience levels, rounded up. They can also turn skeletons, bone golems, and all bone constructs as undead of the same HD (usually as spectres); they do so like full-strength clerics, turning twice the normal numbers per attempt.

Slayers can construct a seal capable of preventing an undead or a tainted creature from escaping an enclosed area (such as a tomb, a mausoleum, a crypt, etc). The undead cannot touch the seal directly or indirectly, tamper with it magically, or order pawns to do so. The seal requires 1 day per HD to construct and its potency is only limited by the slayer’s own experience level (a tenth-level slayer can construct a seal powerful enough to restrain a 10HD undead and its pawns).  The slayer must know the true name of the undead concerned by the seal.  The area secured by this seal must be no more than a three-foot-large cube per level of the slayer (at tenth level therefore 30’x30’x30’ or any combination thereof).

Bone Necromancers: These ossuarians use the undead to benefit themselves or as a tool in their endeavor to learn more about the Orzafethian Taint. They can control undead like Lieges half their Hit Dice, rounded up (see Undead Lieges and Pawns, Rules Cyclopedia page 217). They can also control skeletons and bone golems as undead of equal HD; they do so like full-strength Lieges. These necromancers also have the ability to construct bone golems (not more than they can control) at the rate of 1 HD per workday. True necromancy remains the realm of chaotic clerics and wizards with the appropriate background.

Lord Carcariel, Seventh Count of Orzafeth

Mystara Alphatia Frisland Hearldry
Carcariel’s line harks back to the District of Vertiloch. A bit too influential, his forefather had become a source of discomfort to rivals at the Grand Council. He was eventually "rewarded" with the County of Orzafeth, a truly rotten gift to be sure. Since Emperor Alphas III endorsed the motion, the early Carcariel could not refuse. The other reason for the endorsement was his skill at hunting monsters. As with all nobility forced upon the dominions of Greater Frisland, his mission was to eradicate all signs of ancient Orzafeth and its hated taint.

The seventh count of the name is no different than his predecessors. He has been successful in prosecuting his seigneurial obligations and became somewhat of a popular figure among lesser aristocracy and freemen, mostly Neo-Orzafethian bourgeoisie. He often attends concerts at the Okadian Opera, occasionally leading the orchestra or performing solo parts as a talented musician. A bone-eater himself, he earned his affinity when his mother gave birth to him during a monster-slaying campaign. He came to this world in a camp at the center of an ancient battle site, known as Saardel. His mother and many of her guards died soon afterward while fighting tainted wraiths. The child, however, was unharmed. Yet, to this day, he still remembers their bone-chilling whispers calling him.

This early experience led him to become an Undead Slayer with combat affinity. In his endeavor to learn more about the horrors of Orzafeth, he unveiled an unusual font lined with mother-of-pearl. When gazing into its crystalline water, he discovered he could send his consciousness to visit faraway places in the county, at little or no danger to himself. It led him to defeat a great many foes. But it was too much of a good thing when Carcariel unwisely decided to explore the depths beneath the twisted ruins of Orzafeth. There, he found a magical jade carving. Though incorporeal, he came in contact with the object’s magical aura. Its power was such that it imprisoned his consciousness, thereby releasing another dwelling inside the jade, sending it back to Carcariel’s physical body.

The soul of Gorgothion the Undying, an Orzafethian priest of Rasthz, now possesses the count’s flesh and bones. This tainted soul dates back to the time preceding the fall of Orzafeth. He now quietly seeks to replace the count’s closest followers with others exposed to his faith, in hopes of freeing all that dwells inside the Tainted Lands and reviving ancient Orzafeth. Soon after reaching Okadia, Gorgothion sensed a mysterious presence deep in the catacombs beneath the streets, a tainted willpower of great strength which will not yield to his commands.

Appearance [JDP]: Lord Carcariel is a brawler with wizardly talents, and never gives up on running down his quarry. He stands at medium height, and his physique is quite muscular. Carcariel’s Alphatian ancestry shows in extremely pale skin, black hair worn short, and dark blue eyes. Square and clean-shaven, his face is lined with scars from former battles on his right temple and a jagged one running most of the way down his left jaw onto his neck. The lobe of his ear on that side is missing. His hands also show multiple scars. The count’s brow is furrowed by a perpetual frown that easily turns into a scowl when he’s thinking or perplexed. His retainers do not want to see that frown change into a snarl, which brings forward the qualities of the savage and uncompromising hunter he is. Carcariel’s voice is raspy and curt. He walks with unusual determination, and is often short-tempered when distracted. Lately, the count has begun to show a disturbing propensity for gluttony.

Carcariel/Gorgothion: C23, AC0, hp55, MV 120’(40’), #AT 1 rod, Dmg 1d8+5 or by spell, Save C23, ML8, AL Chaotic; St14, In15, Wi17, Dx12, Co13, Ch16. Magical Items: rod of the wyrm (blue dragon), robe of the dragonkin, ring of spell turning. Special Abilities: as a faithful priest of Rasthz (see Outer Being listing at the end of this article)—rite of renewal and feast of plenty; senses tainted beings within 300’; can ESP tainted beings within 100’.

Robe of Dragonkin: This loose-fitting outfit is made of fine leather strips taken from a blue dragon’s hide. It is enchanted and provides a basic AC of 0 as well as immunity to electrical attacks.

Font of Azaalzam: It is the lower half of a giant sea shell that can be filled with water. Aside from being a scrying device, it enables one’s consciousness to be projected to the area observed. If so, the visitor can hear sounds and cast magic (one spell per visit, which ends the session). The font, however, bears a 15% chance of the user permanently losing a point of Wisdom anytime consciousness is broadcast to a remote location. The loss is not obvious to the user (hence a DM might conceal the fact from a player until consequences to the character become obvious). This is one of the exceedingly rare magical items capable of penetrating the Tainted Lands’ barrier. Doing so requires a horror check (HR7) and incurs a 3% chance per Turn spent there of unrecoverable death within 1d6 hours after returning.

Gorgothion the Undying

Mystara Alphatia Frisland Heraldry
The flesh which Gorgothion had once inhabited now bears the soul of Alandar I, the former king of ancient Orzafeth murdered in AY1429, shortly before the Ogam overtook his realm. By a twist of fate, he actually survived his assassination. It so happened that his death triggered a magical protection which caused his soul to magic jar into a jade carving hidden beneath the royal palace. Gorgothion discovered the mysterious item a few weeks before the destruction of the capital city in AY1506, causing the two souls to trade places. The consciousness of Gorgothion the Priest remained in the jade carving, until Lord Carcariel so unwisely freed it five centuries later. Surviving in the priest’s body, Alandar left the item in its hiding place. The former king was unable to alter the course of events unfolding in Orzafeth. At the sight of the priesthood manipulating his hopelessly corrupted successor, Alandar left.

Thus began his centuries-spanning ordeal. Gorgothion’s body bore the Taint of Orzafeth—oozing sphincters on his chest and back, and mouths in the palms of his hands. The priest’s body was also unable to perish from lack of food, water, or air, thus his Undying epithet. Radiating evil despite his true alignment, Alandar fled the surface world and its ruthless persecutions. He dwelled in the catacombs, deep beneath Okadia and among countless corpses resting in darkness. There, he cultivated his hatred for the Ogam and all who favored the Outer Beings. He hunted tainted ones hiding from the Alphatian wizards’ onslaught, using his own connection to their kind to avenge a thousand and one times the fall of his realm.

Alandar is an abomination from anyone’s point of view, including the Ogam. They know of the "one-who-stole-from-Rasthz," but haven’t been able to find him. During half a millenium of seething anger and thirst for revenge, the former king augmented the unnatural powers that came with Gorgothion’s body. He also learned to read the bones, unveiling the knowledge of the dead to further his aims. Aside from becoming a bone necromancer, he endeavored to rid his land of the ancient taint. Although no longer quite human or humane in the way he reasons, his goal remains nonetheless the greater good, often using the living as bait to defeat evil. In more recent times, he began prowling the streets of Okadia at night, pursuing the wicked ones who dwell there and coming ever closer to the count’s palace.

Appearance [JDP]: Gorgothion is a tall, skeletal being with ash-gray skin that appears so dry as to flake away. Dark purplish-slate smudges ring his eyes and pool beneath his cheekbones, making those seem exceptionally hollow. Gorgothion’s eyes are scarlet with white veins. His voice sounds like sandpaper rubbed together. His earlobes touch his shoulders and wobble as he moves. His hands appear end in claws, with clearly defined joints and bones, and a mouth with sharp teeth resembling a lamprey’s in each palm. When outside the catacombs, Gorgothion hides his hideous appearance with a long dark gray hooded robe and leather gauntlets. His stride is very long, with an unnatural looseness at the hips and knees.

Gorgothion/Alandar: HD18, AC–1, hp108, MV 120’(40’), #AT 2 hands, Dmg 1d6+2/1d6+2 plus level drain or by spell, Save MU18, ML10, AL Neutral; St16, In20, Wi15, Dx13, Co14, Ch4. Magical Items: dagger of Yurrgh-Thal, ring of telekinesis, wand of secret door detection. Special Abilities: casts spells as a level 18 magic-user; attained body affinity V as a bone necromancer; his hands drain levels as a wraith; crawls along walls and ceilings at MV 60’(20’); hides in shadows 90% chance; +1 or better weapon to hit; immune to sleep, charm, fear, and hold spells as well as cold-based attacks; requires neither sleep, air, food, nor water to survive; senses tainted beings within 300’; can ESP tainted beings within 100’; fights at +2 to hit and damage vs. tainted beings.

Jade of Life Protection: This carving, about the size of a large grapefruit, represents a snake coiling into a skull’s mouth and out through an eye socket. It presently contains life force and mind of Lord Carcariel, Seventh Count of Orzafeth. Anyone touching it must save vs. spells or trade place with its occupant, magic jar style. Killing a possessed victim causes the possessing soul to return to the jade, destroying its former occupant. An exorcism performed on a possessed body or on the jade will switch the two souls back. If the item is exorcised after a victim’s death, its occupant is destroyed; the next person touching the jade receives the benefit of the item’s protection (soul trapped inside at the time of death—and so on). The jade lies underneath the ruins of Orzafeth. It has borne the taint since the destruction of the old capital city. Any soul stored within this item automatically contracts one mental disease; alignment also switches from Good to Neutral, or from Neutral to Chaotic.

Dagger of Yurrgh-Thal: In addition to its +2 enchantment, this black-bladed weapon bears a 10% chance per successful attack of inflicting upon a victim a rotting disease (as a mummy’s—no save). When hit with an unmodified attack score of 20, the victim must save vs. death ray or be killed instantly. If this happens, the dagger disintegrates.

A Cosmology of the Known Outer Beings
By Geoff Gander

"If we see Them, do They exist? If we believe in Them, will They come?" (anon.)

" is folly to conceive of the True Lords, the Ones Beyond All Things. Whosoever has seen them has failed to see them – for what eyes could take in even a shadow of a shadow of the Greatness That Passes Understanding? Man has made himself the measure of all things, but where man cannot tread all such twisting and dissection of creation’s mystery ends..." (from The Precepts of Akh’All)

Mystaran theologians "in the know" have been discussing the Outer Beings discreetly for centuries, almost always looking for ways to ensure the unmentionable can never break free. Their goal is to secretly communicate this knowledge to those in a position to do something about it in order to avert widespread panic. Given the otherworldly nature of the Outer Beings and their effect on people, this information remains sketchy and inconsistent. Nevertheless, covert groups of scholars across Mystara pieced together a rough cosmology of these beings.

Although existing sources often describe the Outer Beings as a single group, detailed study has revealed that they are a loose collective of entities working together out of a common interest to free themselves from their prisons. Some Outer Beings take a more active interest in Mystaran affairs than others, but all of them, to some degree, share a seemingly dispassionate attitude towards the cosmos as a whole—that is, they seem to view creation, and everything in it, as something to be used (and discarded if necessary) to achieve an as-yet-unknown goal. The fate of a single being is inconsequential to them, but an empire or a race may occupy their attention for a time. If they lose their usefulness (as Mystaran history has shown) nations, too, are swept aside or devoured.

. . .the Outer Beings are the circle drawn that leaves no remainder beyond the periphery; they are the transparent eye that moves and sees through rock and flesh. They cannot be living, for they cannot be dead; they cannot be evil, for they cannot conceive good; they cannot be here, for they cannot be kept there—they cannot even be they, for it is only the reflexive self-protective obscuration of sanity that divides the waters from the waters in the unfathomable deep, grasping for the mystical "seven" where none and all are one. . . (from The Precepts of Akh’All)

Akh'All (a.k.a. the Unmentionable, the Festering Infamy, the Black Source)

"Bone for the Black Source, the Unmentionable, for It that Is. Being within being and body within body, you whose inscrutable blackness lies within and beyond all things, IT THAT AM, we honor thee." (fragment from a ritual)

"He is not seen, felt, heard, smelled, or tasted. He is not perceived by the mind. He is the seventh sense, which is no sense. He is, yet He is not. He is beyond all perception and knowledge." (anon.)
  • Nature: Outer Being (Chaotic)
  • Symbol: A black circle split vertically (symbolizing the destruction of reality)
  • Interests: Consumption of creation, propagation of chaos, the Zhochal.
  • Locations: Alphatia, Davania, Minaea, the Known World, Zhochal strongholds.
Mystara Alphatia Frisland Heraldry
Appearance: The only known description portrays Him as a mass of writhing tentacles or tubes radiating from a vaguely planet-sized spherical body, from which thought-waves are constantly emitted. As the Zhochal measurement system still eludes accurate translation, Akh'All could be smaller. Or larger.

History: According to the shunned Precepts of Akh’All, the Outer Beings "were, are, and shall be". More reasoned texts on the subject go as far as to speculate that the Outer Beings may be in some way a counterbalance to reality—such that nothing can exist without Them working to destroy it. Akh’All is credited as being the first Outer Being to make a bid to devour all of creation. Much of the more intelligible literature on the subject accords Him a kind of fatherly status among the "pantheon" of Outer Beings.

Personality: The more readable sources state that Akh'All has very little interest in Mystaran affairs—or the Prime Plane in general—beyond devouring it all. His interactions with the other Outer Beings are not described in any text, and the few recorded messages from Him to His faithful are notably dispassionate. He does not urge His followers to strike down their enemies, nor does He urge them to proselytize. His refrain—"Await my coming"—is repeated by many as a mantra. In truth, Akh’All has little use for His worshippers beyond the psychic energy they provide Him, and He feels no compulsion to give them anything in return. Despite His apathy towards the Prime Plane, many Outer Being cults pay homage to Akh'All out of respect for His perceived seniority.
  • Liege: None
  • Allies: Other Outer Beings
  • Enemies: Everyone else
  • Followers’ Alignment: Chaotic
  • Favored Weapons: Followers of Akh’All may spend proficiency slots in any weapon of their choosing (He really doesn’t care).
Clerics’ Abilities: Because of Akh’All’s profound indifference, His clerics have only a 50% chance of success when casting a spell. If the check fails, a completely random effect of the DM’s choosing results; however, the effect never benefits the cleric’s enemies. Suggested effects include: a random spell of the DM’s choice; a magical discharge inflicting 1d6 damage to the target per level of the desired spell; temporary invulnerability of the cleric to all physical attacks; or spontaneous restoration to full hit points.

Clerics of Akh’All are instantly recognizable to all of His servitor races, and where possible they will provide aid up to and including attacking any enemies. Highly intelligent servitors may decide not to render aid, but they will feel a compulsion to do so.

Rasthz (a.k.a. the Many-Mouthed, the Devourer, the Beast)

"Blood for the Beast, the Many-Mouthed Devourer, for It that Understands. Being that feeds all, body that feeds all, you who embody the truth of the ritual we do here, you who take within yourself and tear asunder the part and the part to mix and make whole in you once more, all content, all possibility, all form, IT THAT KNOWS, we honor thee." (fragment from a ritual)

"It is He that devours all that ye shall praise, for He is the ultimate end of all things. Does not the deer fall to the wolf? Do we not slaughter the lamb and nourish ourselves thereby? In life there is death, and death must occur for life to arise anew. So, too, must all creation be devoured, and from the destruction shall come rebirth!" (anon.)
  • Nature: Outer Being (Chaotic)
  • Symbol: A red vertical mouth on a black background, bracketing a blue dot symbolizing the main orifice of Rasthz devouring the world.
  • Interests: Destruction and renewal.
  • Locations: Alphatia, the Jungle Coast, Minaea, the Steppes of Jen, the Midlands, the Savage Coast, Cestia, the Known World.
Mystara Alphatia Frisland Heraldry
Appearance: Most depictions of Rasthz show a misshapen spherical being covered with mouths of various sizes and shapes. One mouth is much larger than the rest, and opens vertically. The texts wildly disagree as to His size, and there is no record of anyone having seen Him in a dream or drug-induced vision—at least, no one who has lived to talk about it afterwards.

History: As with the other Outer Beings, there is much speculation as to how Rasthz originated. He is described as the embodiment of destruction as a means of creation, and thus is thought to have always existed.

Personality: Rasthz is described in many texts as "the Beast". Unsurprisingly, He is described as being the most animalistic of the Outer Beings—if such a quality could ever be attributed to them. Wherever He is described, He is shown to be working actively towards the destruction of all creation, in the most violent and dramatic manner possible. At first glance, His tactics seem to be at odds with those of the other Outer Beings (who are portrayed as wanting to corrupt or destroy the universe for the purposes of reshaping it in their own image). His followers see Him as the process of destruction and renewal personified: therefore, He does not need any motivation beyond obliterating away the old order. In being swept up in the destruction and thereby being consumed by their master, followers of Rasthz believe that their very bodies and souls will become the structure of the new universe that shall eventually come to be, and in the process they will become immortal.

Unsurprisingly, followers of Rasthz are known to be more chaotic, more violent, and generally more savage than what passes for the norm—being captured by them almost never ends well (see below). Rasthz encourages His faithful to conduct mass sacrifices. He seldom communicates with His followers, but when He does His messages come in violent dreams that drive His followers into even greater frenzies.
  • Liege: None
  • Allies: Other Outer Beings
  • Enemies: Everyone else
  • Followers’ Alignment: Chaotic
  • Favored Weapons: Followers of Rasthz are encouraged to use any bladed weapon. Cultists can also become proficient in the morning star or flail: basically, if the weapon is guaranteed to maim opponents or spill a lot of blood, Rasthz approves of it.
Clerics’ Abilities: At 3rd level, cultists of Rasthz may conduct the rite of renewal—a euphemism for ritualized cannibalism. Any flesh from a sentient creature consumed within an hour after the prayer is uttered will heal any injuries sustained by the cultist (at a rate of 2 hit points restored for every hit point of flesh consumed: thus, a typical normal human with 1d4 hit points would restore up to 8 hit points). Only flesh from a creature killed by a worshipper of Rasthz will confer this benefit. As can be expected, cultists of Rasthz tend to be on the large side, and are prone to gluttony.

At 5th level, followers of Rasthz acquire a mutation where mouths develop in the palms of their hands. Although these mouths are intended to aid in ceremonial feasting, they can be used in combat. Cultists can make two attacks per round with these mouths, and a successful hit inflicts 1d6 damage. At 10th level, a bite from these hands also inflicts an energy drain, as per an attack from a wraith.

Also at 10th level, cultists of Rasthz can partake of the feast of plenty, a cannibalistic frenzy that confers additional hit points beyond the normal maximum, for a limited time. So long as one cultist continually utters the prayer, every hit point of flesh consumed will confer an additional hit point. The task of praying cannot be passed on to another. Since the feast lasts as long as someone intones the prayer, devotees of Rasthz can literally spend days gorging on flesh, until the person praying collapses from exhaustion and is eaten, in turn. At that point, additional hit points are lost at a rate of one per hour. All damage sustained by a cultist is taken from these additional hit points first.

There is theoretically no limit to the number of additional hit points a cultist of Rasthz could gain in this way, but as a practical guideline the prayer can be intoned safely for one hour per Constitution point, after which the cultist must make a Constitution check every hour (with a cumulative penalty of –1). Should this check fail, the cultist collapses from exhaustion and dies. Participants in the feast of plenty acquire 3d4 additional hit points per hour of feasting. They stop gaining hit points in this way if the feast is interrupted, or when the cultist intoning the ritual finally dies, as above. For simplicity’s sake it is assumed that cultists of Rasthz are conditioned to consume far in excess of what a normal person might be capable of doing, but if greater realism is desired the DM may wish to rule that a participant can feast for a number of hours equal to half of his or her Constitution score, rounded down.

Yurrgh-Thal (a.k.a. Yuranos, He Who Changes, Lord of the Worm, the Corruptor)

"Tongue for the Corruptor , the Worm Lord, for It that Speaks. Being that voices all and body that voices all, you who sing and whisper to illuminate for us the words and ways of darkest rapture and burning exultation, IT THAT UTTERS, we honor thee." (fragment of a ritual)

"Oh thou Deceiver, thou Honeyed-Tongue, thou Giver of Gifts That Are Not! We are deaf to thy entreaties and are blind to thy visage. Thou shalt not tempt us!" (obscure invocation against Yurrgh-Thal, c. 2nd century AC)
  • Nature: Outer Being (Chaotic)
  • Symbol: Worshippers of Yurrgh-Thal use a circle of red flames symbolizing the gift of fire, said to have been given by Him in primordial times as a means of leading primitive men down His path. The Cult of Yuranos uses a simple white face as a device, half of which smiles, and the other half frowns.
  • Interests: Propagation of the faith, the subtle perversion of living things.
  • Locations: Alphatia, Hule, the Savage Coast, Cestia, the Known World (especially Thyatis).
Mystara Alphatia Frisland Heraldry
Appearance: Yurrgh-Thal is most commonly depicted as having a perfectly-formed male physique from the neck down, while from the jawline upwards is a gaping, ragged maw from which vaguely fern-like tentacles erupt. A less common representation is a vast pillar resembling a tree stump, riven with cracks through which thousands of eyes or mouths on stalks protrude. All existing accounts of Yurrgh-Thal's voice, whether heard in a dream or from what later turned out to be his temporary avatar on the Prime Plane, describe it as being so melodious and soothing that listeners are moved to joy. In his guise as Yuranos, Yurrgh-Thal is depicted as a physically flawless bald man wearing a simple golden crown.

History: As with the other Outer Beings, Yurrgh-Thal is assumed to have always existed. He embodies corruption and decay (both physical and moral), and thus He is thought to have come into being at the dawn of Time itself. Since before the time of the first Carnifex empire, Yurrgh-Thal has taken an active interest in the affairs of mortals, and has intervened many times in cultures that He has found interesting or useful.

Since the Great Rain of Fire, Yurrgh-Thal has occasionally manifested a fraction of His essence on the Prime Plane as the false Immortal known as Yuranos—first among the Traldar peoples, and subsequently in the Milenian Empire and Thyatis. Yuranos acts with its own free will, although it behaves as its creator would. The spells it grants come directly from its master. Yurrgh-Thal is able to accomplish this feat by consuming enough of His worshippers' psychic energies (often through sacrifice) to bore a small, temporary hole into the Prime Plane, rather than try to break free of His prison entirely. Because of this, the portion of His essence he sends into the Prime Plane is too small to attract the attention of the Immortals, and the manifestation is brief enough that they often do not notice. In the meantime, Yuranos advances Yurrgh-Thal's aims through sporadic visits to the faithful. The Cult of Yuranos exists today in some of the more remote corners of the Malpheggi Swamp, in the city of Athenos, as well as in Thyatis, where it operates openly as the semi-mystical "Fraternal Order of Yuranos".

Personality: Unlike the other Outer Beings, Yurrgh-Thal finds the fragile, ephemeral, easily-manipulated mortals fascinating, especially because their ambition is often what leads them to discover and contact Him despite the barriers put in place against Him and His kind. He delights in subtly guiding selected individuals to make incremental changes that ultimately corrupt entire nations to serve His interests. That such insignificant creatures have the potential to become immortal, and thereby possibly be in a position to sow the seeds of corruption even wider, makes His victories all the sweeter.
  • Liege: None
  • Allies: Other Outer Beings
  • Enemies: Everyone else
  • Followers’ Alignment: Chaotic
  • Favored Weapons: Yurrgh-Thal acts subtly and prefers His followers to do the same. Cultists may only use weapons that can be concealed (basically anything equal to a short sword or smaller). Poisons are condoned. The exception are pistols: though concealable, they lack subtlety.
Clerics’ Abilities: Cultists of Yurrgh-Thal automatically gain the charm person spell as an ability, which they can use a number of times per day equal to their level.

At 3rd level, cultists of Yurrgh-Thal gain the glamour ability three times per day. When used, a pale golden-green glow momentarily surrounds the cultist, and his/her Charisma score increases to 18 for one hour per level. While glamour is in effect, any sentient being within 50’ must save vs. Spells or be awestruck. Awestruck victims will think that the priest is the most beautiful (or handsome) person they have ever met, and that everything they say is perfectly logical. They will violently disagree with anyone who says otherwise. The cultist may also command victims to do his or her bidding as per the geas spell. Victims with an Intelligence of 12 or higher can make another saving throw to overcome the effects every 12 hours. The glamour lasts for one day for creatures with an Intelligence of 12 or less, after which they may make a saving throw every 24 hours to overcome the effects.

At 6th level, priests of Yurrgh-Thal gain the ability to corrupt any living thing they touch. Doing so constitutes an attack, and the cultist must choose whether to inflict physical or moral corruption. In either case, the victim must save vs. Death Ray to avoid the effect. Physical corruption rots flesh (1d10 damage, –1 Charisma if the affected area is visible), and has a 10% chance of inflicting mummy rot. Moral corruption leaves the body unscathed, but the cultist can shift the victim's alignment from Lawful to Neutral, or from Neutral to Chaotic. This form of attack warps the victim's sanity, such that a Horror Check is required against a Horror Rating of 7. Failure could result in insanity.

At 10th level, cultists of Yurrgh-Thal, through the warp reality ability, become able to alter their listeners' realities. This effect is much stronger than the hallucinatory terrain or phantasmal force spells; sensory perceptions are so real that any damage inflicted is actually sustained, up to and including death. Anyone within 30’ must save vs. Spells at –2 (Wisdom modifiers can apply) or fall under the priest's influence. While influenced, victims are susceptible to the cultist's description of their reality: anything he or she describes becomes real. Devotees do not have to speak in full sentences for this effect to occur. The effect lasts for twenty rounds, minus one round per point of victims' Intelligence.

He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Seen (a.k.a. the One, the Renewer)

"Eye for the One, the Renewer, for It that Sees without Being Seen. Being that views all and body that views all, you who see all things and will make the end of all things, IT THAT STARES, we honor thee." (fragment of a ritual)

"He is the beginning and end! He is life and death! He is all and nothing! He brings all to an end and ushers in the new era! Behold Him in His glory, as your last vision!" (fragment of a chant overheard in the sewers of Darokin City)
  • Nature: Outer Being (Chaotic)
  • Symbol: None.
  • Interests: Shattering the current multiverse and ushering in the one to come.
  • Locations: Alphatia, Hule, the Savage Coast, Cestia, Norwold, the Sea of Dread, the Known World.
Mystara Alphatia Frisland Heraldry
Appearance: Unlike the other Outer Beings, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Seen has only been depicted in the Book of the End. It presents Him as a collection of black spheres or bubbles barely concealing a vague man-shaped black form. It is believed that any mortal seeing Him clearly would be stricken dead.

History: As with the other Outer Beings, The One is thought to have always existed. He has been described as being inactive for much of recorded history, for His true purpose only concerns the end of Time itself. As the Renewer, He will awaken from His prison (said to be within Mystara itself) when all has been laid to waste, and sing the Final Song, at which time all shall cease to be. Only when there is absolute nothingness will He sing the First Song, and create the new universe.

Personality: If the Outer Beings can be said to be impatient, The One exemplifies this most clearly. His sole purpose, that of destroying the current universe and creating the next one, is contingent on the others of his kind being freed and completing their own appointed tasks. Thus, He communicates often with His minions in dreams, exhorting them to perform quests that at first seem illogical, but which often involve great sacrifice that feeds His otherworldly peers and hastens the time of their eventual release. As such, His followers are likely to serve the Outer Beings as a whole, and can be found wherever cultists gather. As chief strategist among his kind, the One also devises most of the longer-term plots against the Immortals.

Because of this, The One makes no attempt to treat His followers as anything but pawns. The glory His followers gain from being at the forefront of conflict against the Immortals, and the personal power they can gain thereby, more than offsets this hard fact.
  • Liege: None
  • Allies: Other Outer Beings
  • Enemies: Everyone else
  • Followers’ Alignment: Chaotic
  • Favored Weapons: The One's only desire is for His followers to sacrifice themselves (and others) for His benefit. Accordingly, he faithful are permitted to use any weapon they wish in His service. They also start with four Weapon Mastery slots as fighters, ensuring that they will spill even more blood in their master's service. Unlike player characters, followers of The One may stack their Weapon Mastery slots at 1st level, up to Skilled level.
Clerics’ Abilities: Particularly fervent in their devotion, followers of The One believe that dying for their master will actually usher in the new era sooner. Consequently, these combat-oriented priests roll their hit points on a d8, instead of the standard d6 for clerics, and have a Morale of 12.

At 1st level, they are able to sacrifice themselves for their master by uttering the death chant. They die immediately upon doing so, and their souls are consumed. If this happens within a mile of other cultists, the most experienced among them temporarily gains one free spell for every two levels of the ones sacrificing themselves. These extra spells only serve to replace those already cast. If the beneficiary hasn’t cast any (or has too few to restore), the balance of free spells go to the next most experienced priest, and so on. If there is no one to absorb the extra spells, The One consumes them instead. Unsurprisingly, a common tactic among His followers is to sacrifice themselves just prior to falling in battle.

At 10th level, followers of The One can burn up the remainder of their life forces to temporarily boost their attributes and hit points through the rite of consumption. Upon completing the rite, which takes one round, the devotees die and their souls are consumed by The One. However, their bodies remain alive for one round per experience level. During this time they gain as many as half their maximum hit points; their Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution scores increase to 25 each (modify AC, attack, and damage rolls accordingly); they also become immune to sleep, charm, fear, and hold spells. At the end of the effect’s duration, their bodies crumble into dust.

Hrug (a.k.a. the Traveler, the Keeper of the Way)

"Skin for the Traveler, the Wayfarer, for It that Creeps to the Glorious Fall. Being outside all and body outside all, you whose touch will turn all outsides in, IT THAT FEELS, we honor thee" (fragment of a ritual)

"We interrogated the prisoner for four days and nights, subjecting him to all manner of torments. But he, or it, would not speak of aught but the endless voids between the stars, and of worlds no man had ever seen. We silenced him on the fifth day, but as he died he spoke of soaring into the bosom of the night, to ride the aether with the Traveler." (unknown adventurer's journal, c. AC 943)
  • Nature: Outer Being (Chaotic)
  • Symbol: A five-pointed white star on a black background.
  • Interests: Wandering the multiverse, heralding the final coming of the Outer Beings.
  • Locations: Alphatia (notably Ambur), the Known World (especially Glantri).
Mystara Alphatia Frisland Heraldry
Appearance: There is only one depiction of Hrug in any of the known sources—the Precepts of Akh'All describe Him as being a gigantic fleshy cylinder covered with brain-like lumps and other unidentifiable organs, trailing arrays of spindly tentacles for many miles.

History: Hrug receives hardly any mention at all in any of the major texts associated with the Outer Beings. As a result, there are scholars who do not consider Him to be a true Outer Being, but rather an exalted servitor of some kind. According to the Precepts of Akh'All, Hrug is fated to awaken when He finally falls from the stars onto Mystara, at which point He will issue the call that will shatter the barriers holding back the other Outer Beings. Then the multiverse, can then be remade in Their glory. His role beyond that is unknown.

Personality: Hrug is invoked seldom by Outer Being cultists, and He is described as a being that flies forever asleep between the stars, unable to respond to calls from the believers. In recognition of this prophecy the more organized faiths usually have one of their own dedicate themselves to seeking communion with Hrug in order to determine when the appointed time of His awakening is nigh. This effort is particularly draining on a mortal soul. Anyone undertaking this task soon develops unique mutations rendering them less than human.

Prayers to Hrug are never answered, nor does He instruct His followers to do anything. Laymen seeking communion with Him receive nothing but a constant, intense barrage of random images and fragments of cosmic thoughts that stuns the listener for 12 rounds (10% chance of causing insanity).
  • Liege: None
  • Allies: Other Outer Beings
  • Enemies: Everyone else
  • Followers’ Alignment: Chaotic
  • Favored Weapons: Because of their unique role (see below), Hrug's followers do not use weapons. However, armed followers of other Outer Beings are rarely far away.
Clerics’ Abilities: To become attuned to Hrug one must undergo a series of physical and psychological changes leading to a complete transformation. Experience is gained by successfully accessing, interpreting, and transmitting messages.

At 1st level, followers are able to mind link with Hrug. This allows them to access His thoughts without running the risk of becoming stunned or even more insane than they already were. The continual flow of simple impressions and images usually proves of little strategic value.

At 5th level, the faithful can "hear" utterances and see fragments of Hrug's dreams. Many of these impressions are vague, but there is a 50% chance once per day of seeing something that will advance the sect’s plans, such as the location of an intended victim or rival. At this point, cultists are too deeply immersed in Hrug's dreams to be able to move on their own. From this point on, these devotees begin a slow transformation lasting until the 10th level of experience, starting with facial features gradually fading, the loss of hair, wrinkles, fingerprints, and muscle tone.

At 10th level, the faithful have transformed into slug-like, immobile creatures with vestigial limbs and multiple mouths from which Hrug's thoughts are uttered at random intervals. Links to Hrug are strong enough that they have a 75% chance of providing useful insights twice per day, or once per day an accurate prediction concerning a random future event.

At 15th level, the transformations are complete and enable constant contact with Hrug. His thoughts are broadcast constantly to the cultists, who mindlessly repeat them. At all stages of their metamorphoses, priests can sense their surroundings and cast spells as needed.

Rosheg-Kha (a.k.a. She Who Provides, the Father of Lizards)

"Sinew for the Provider, the Egg Mother, for It that Acts. Being that drives all and body that drives all, you who push and twist life to burst the binds and open the way, IT THAT DOES, we honor thee." (fragment of a ritual)

"Mighty Father, Great Mother, Progenitor of All. Thou art the First, and of Thine shall come the last. The blood persists, evermore." (translated inscription found on a tablet unearthed in Ylaruam, author unknown)
  • Nature: Outer Being (Chaotic)
  • Symbol: None. Some human followers use a simple black outline of a lizard's head, its jaws agape.
  • Interests: Reptilian civilizations, the dawning of a new age of reptiles.
  • Locations: Adakkian Sound, Amalur Lowlands, Jungle Coast (Davania), Alphatia (Orzafeth), Malpheggi Swamp, the Bayou (Savage Coast), Kingdom of Nastoreth (Arm of the Immortals), the Sea of Dread, Yavdlom. Also Kingdom of Nithia in the Hollow World.
Mystara Alphatia Frisland Heraldry
Appearance: There are few known depictions of Rosheg-Kha, but those that do exist portray a giant bipedal creature vaguely resembling a lizard man, from whose body numerous tentacles and pseudopods emerge.

History: Rosheg-Kha is credited by Outer Being cultists as being the true creator of all sentient lizardfolk on Mystara. Compared to the other Outer Beings, Rosheg-Kha receives very few mentions in any of the known texts, and where He is mentioned at all it is almost always in connection with His chosen people, the lizard men and their cousins. Rosheg-Kha wielded His greatest influence in the modern era during the heyday of Mogreth (c. BC 2600-2000), where He was one of the key venerated figures in that nation's pantheon. Many of the sorcerer-kings of that empire invoked Him in their attempts to strengthen the lizard man race through experimentation. He did take a personal interest in that work, and through His interference the first lizard man-human hybrids (the ancestors of the Ogam) were created. Rosheg-Kha was also worshipped in Nithia, but His followers were destroyed by the Immortals when that nation was scoured from the world.

Personality: Rosheg-K'ha cares little about destroying the multiverse or its inhabitants. His (or Her—Rosheg-Kha is depicted as male, female, and hermaphroditic, sometimes in the same text) sole focus is the advancement of His chosen people, the lizard men and their kin. This has led some scholars to question whether Rosheg-K'ha is actually an Outer Being at all, but rather a fallen Immortal or some other exalted being. Nevertheless, since the destruction of Nithia, Rosheg-K'ha has rarely intervened directly in His charges. Most lizard man tribes view His cult with suspicion and revulsion, and blame Him for the downfall of their race in ancient times. He prefers to send dream messages to His chosen shamans, and on rare occasions will possess one of His worshippers with a small portion of His essence. His messages are largely aimed at driving His followers to strengthen themselves.
  • Liege: None
  • Allies: Other Outer Beings The reason for Ka's reticence is that He is aware of Rosheg-Kha's relatively benign attitude towards the multiverse, and He hopes to convince the Outer Being to stand aside in the coming conflict to better protect their shared interest in the sentient reptiles of Mystara. His attempts at secretive communication have been unsuccessful so far, but He will not give up if it has any chance of preserving the multiverse.
  • Enemies: Everyone else, with the possible exception of Ka the Preserver, who has not explicitly commanded His clerics to oppose or support the works of Rosheg-Kha. This has caused some tension in Pandius, although no one has openly spoken out against Ka yet.
  • Followers’ Alignment: Chaotic
  • Favored Weapons: Rosheg-Kha allows his lizard man followers to use whatever weapons they wish (anything that gives them a competitive advantage). His few human worshippers are permitted to use any hand-held melee weapon.
Clerics’ Abilities: At 3rd level, non-reptilian worshippers of Rosheg-Kha receive the ability to become cold-blooded for as long as they wish. While in this state, they rely on external sources of energy to warm themselves as mundane reptiles do, but they also gain a reptile's slow metabolism (i.e., they can go months without eating).

At 6th level, non-reptilian worshippers gain the ability to dash once per day. With this ability, a cultist can produce a burst of speed lasting 6 rounds (treat as a haste spell). This ability can be used twice per day at 12th level, three times per day at 18th level, and four times per day at 24th level. At this point, cultists develop patches of green or yellow scales on their bodies (–3 Charisma).

At 9th level, non-reptilian worshippers acquire a forked tongue and can "taste" scents in the air with a roll of 1-2 on 1d6 (allowing the ability to track a person, for example). Charisma is further reduced by 1.

Reptilian worshippers of Rosheg-Kha can cast spells starting at 1st level, and gain the dart ability (as above) at 3rd level, with additional darts available at 9th, 15th, 21st, and 27th level (up to a maximum of five per day).

At 10th level, reptilian priests gain a permanent +1 bonus to hit and damage against non-reptilian sentient adversaries, in addition to other combat bonuses from attributes or weapons mastery. This bonus increases to +2 at 20th level, and +3 at 30th level. Cultists also gain the ability of regeneration (2 hit points per round) at 10th level.

Ubbeth (a.k.a. Lord of the Deep, Spawn of the Deep, Bringer of the Wave)

"Gut for the Deep One, the Tide Wave, for It that Loves. Being that transforms all and body that transforms all, you who take us within you and remake us as parts of the deep whispering whole, IT THAT LUSTS, we honor thee." (fragment of a ritual)

"Profound are the depths of the seas and the darkness they hold. For in that primal blackness lies the answer, uttered endlessly by the Lord of the Deep." (The Codex of the Deep, author unknown)
  • Nature: Outer Being (Chaotic)
  • Symbol: Five whirlpools on a black background.
  • Interests: The water element, oceans, engulfing the land.
  • Locations: Adakkian Sound, Jungle Coast (Davania), Malpheggi Swamp, the Bayou (Savage Coast), the Sea of Dread, Yavdlom, the Undersea.
Mystara Alphatia Frisland Heraldry
Appearance: Ubbeth is described variously as an enormous fish-man who lies at the bottom of a deep-sea chasm, or as a massive mound of pulsating, slowly moving coral covered with forests of festering seaweed through which His faithful servants swim, ever whispering to Him to awaken.

History: As with the other Outer Beings, there is no real speculation as to Ubbeth's origin: He "was, is, and shall be". He is unique among the Outer Beings in that He is associated with a specific element—water. Indeed, most Outer Being cultists hail Ubbeth as the undisputed lord of all the world's seas. Some even claim that He created the oceans to be His personal dominion before they were stolen from Him by Protius and other aquatic Immortals during the great battle that led to the imprisonment of the Outer Beings). As written in the Precepts of Akh'All, He is prophesied to scour the world of its current inhabitants as the old universe is devoured by the other Outer Beings.

Due to His focus on water, Ubbeth has managed to avoid attracting the attention of most Immortals. As a result, He has been worshipped—at times openly—by a number of cultures over the centuries. Due to the role of water-based travel in communications and spreading ideas, Ubbeth is among the better-known Outer Beings, although He is seen more often as a sinister legend by those who mercifully do not know too much. Some ancient Makai tribes of the Sea of Dread, for example, worshipped Ubbeth as a father figure who provided sustenance from the sea. Likewise, some Taymoran city-states venerated Him as a vengeful storm god that had to be appeased with blood offerings. Some Traldar clans, perhaps through contact with the Makai or survivors of fallen Taymora, threw treasure into the sea as an offering to Ubbeth before making sea voyages. Even today, pirates have been known to make sacrifices to Ubbeth, and in port cities His name is occasionally invoked as a bogeyman in phrases like, "An' may the Lord o' the Deep take me if I'm lyin'!"

Personality: Ubbeth takes a passing interest in the work of His followers, and He is relatively easy to contact in dreams, particularly if the dreamer is near a large body of water. Although dormant, Ubbeth is able to observe inhabitants of Mystara along sea shores or near the banks of rivers or lakes connecting to the ocean. In the latter cases, several priests need to give Him some of their own energy to focus his vision so far from His marine environment. He regularly gives them instructions in the form of wavering images of underwater scenes filled with film-like sequences showing them carrying out His will.

Ubbeth dreams often of drowning the lands in order to cleanse them of their current inhabitants, and of spreading His seed to create a new race of servitors in the world to come. To advance the latter aim, many of His human followers perform rites that ultimately lead to their physical transformation. Some of these rites involve sacrifice; others require the faithful to mate with various undersea creatures in His service. More recently (i.e. within the last 200 years), Ubbeth has been exhorting His followers to mix more vigorously with aquatic peoples.
  • Liege: None
  • Allies: Other Outer Beings
  • Enemies: Everyone else.
  • Followers’ Alignment: Chaotic
  • Favored Weapons: Most of Ubbeth's followers are the inhuman hresha-rhak, who often rely on their claws and teeth for combat. However, those of Ubbeth's followers who use weapons are limited to spears, tridents, and nets.
Clerics’ Abilities: Of all the Outer Being minions, followers of Ubbeth are noted for the slow, but prominent, physical changes that progress throughout their lives, which ultimately result in their abandoning the land altogether. His followers try to live as close as possible to major bodies of water. Their sacrifices often result in sudden whirlpools, tidal waves, and storms. These events are meant to overwhelm ships and drown their crews, or to weaken them enough that the hresha-rhak will make short work of them.

At 2nd level, the faithful gain the ability to breathe underwater for one hour per experience level, and if they were unable to swim, this ability is gained as a free skill.

At 4th level, a cultist gains the ability to summon a tidal wave once per day near a sea or a lake. This is treated as an instantaneous attack, and inflicts 3d6 damage to everyone within an area 10' high, 10' deep, and 40' wide. If cast against a boat, the same amount of hull point damage is inflicted; small craft are capsized. An additional tidal wave can be summoned every four experience levels afterwards (i.e. at 8th level two tidal waves can be summoned each day).
At 6th level, followers develop webbed fingers and toes. Swimming speed is increased by 50%. Attacks with melee weapons are made at a –1 penalty due to awkwardness. Charisma drops by 1.

At 12th level, the faithful gains the ability to control weather, as per the druidic spell of the same name, when near a sea or a lake.

At 24th level, the cultists’ water-breathing ability becomes permanent, and they are no longer able to breathe air. Furthermore, their skins have changed so that being out of water dries them out. Death results in four hours unless they return to the water. By this time, as well, they more closely resemble a hresha-rhak than a human (further reduction of 6 to Charisma).

. . .thus their dominion is already at hand; no gates will hold back what moves outside of space and time. They come in their own time and in their own space; dimensions stretched and made more vast for entities inconceivably more vast than us. That they should lower themselves and degrade their manifold forms such as to enter the flat and insipid reality we are bound to—tears of burning pitch and joy for those that fall before the presence of these impossibly necessary Beings. . . (from The Precepts of Akh’All)


This concludes the Frisland/Orzafeth series. Special thanks to Geoff Gander for his contribution and gracious permission to use his work on the Ogam and Outer Beings, and to Janet Deaver-Pack for character appearances as well as her editorial and research work.

Coming next: "Flight of the Bumblebee"