Top 9-16 Locations

RPG Superstar™ 2011 General Discussion

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka JoelF847

Now that voting is over, I thought it would be a good time to share the location I was working on for R4, had I made it. Once the top 8 were announced, I didn't continue working on my entry, but was done with the rough draft. I don't have a good way to share the rough preliminary map I was working on, but think the description should give a general idea of what I had in mind.

I know that while I was fortunate enough to see others further develop Voracek, not everyone got to see how their villains sparked creativity from the rest of the group, so I wanted to let David know that I thought Tamonash Byrraju was the best choice for R4. His methodology was flexible enough that you could use him in so many possible locations. I know when reviewing the villians from R3 that I felt too many of them had too detailed of a backstory, which was somewhat constraining in using them to show creativity for a location, so I really appreciated that Tamonash provided a springboard without being a straightjacket.

Crater of Skulls
Hidden deep within the Sparadyn Jungle in Katapesh, the Crater of Skulls is known for the gruesome structure at its nadir. The mound of skulls rises thirty feet into the air, with a column rising another fifty feet from its center. Capping the column is a concave irregular shaped platform. From the rim of the crater, the spire appears disturbingly like a human femur rising from the mass of skulls.

A DC 12 Knowledge (geography) or DC 15 Knowledge (local) check grants insight to local legends about the Crater of Skulls. These have long focused on the ghul residing there, hunting for fresh prey, and leaving nothing but their severed heads behind as an ever growing trophy monument to his hatred of the living. Between this cursed reputation, and the myriad giant jungle spiders inhabiting the region, few in living memory have sought out the site, and fewer still have returned from their journey.

A cantankerous foreign sage, Tamonash Byrraju (R3), has recently announced that his research indicates that the ghul's ancient tomb actually lies beneath the mound of skulls that gives this location its name. He has begun hiring explorers to accompany him on an expedition to unearth the genie forged treasures of this tomb.
Located 60 miles southwest of the city of Katapesh, the crater itself is over 2,000 feet across, and more than 250 feet deep. It is surrounded by a rim that rises seventy feet above the surrounding jungle. Its floor is covered by loose rubble. A DC 15 knowledge (dungeoneering or engineering) check determines that the crater is not volcanic in origin, but rather was formed by a titanic impact from above, such as from a giant meteor, thousands of years ago. A narrow switchback trail descends the east side of the crater, winding 500 feet to the crater floor.

The floor of the crater consists of light rubble with sporadic patches of dense rubble (Pathfinder Core Rulebook 430) and is haunted by packs of headless ghouls that, by day, lurk hidden in the rubble, ready to ambush intruders. At night, they climb into the jungle to hunt for fresh prey.

Atop the spiral path alongside the column is a hidden entrance to the tomb below. The platform is often used by Juljula Massa as a watch tower to scan the area for intruders or prey. Descending the Marrow Stairs leads to Juljula's tomb. The tomb is guarded by cunning traps and elemental guardians. Juljula has learned how to avoid these dangers when he wants to leave his tomb to hunt.

Legend of the Skull Sucker Sidebar
Tamonash has linked the Crater of Skulls to an ancient genie legend of Juljula Massa, the Skull Sucker. Juljula desired Jamila, the fairest genie in land, but was spurned by her in favor of a romantic rival. Obsessed, Juljula searched far and wide for a way to win her over. Eventually, in despair, he called out to Ahriman, lord of the divs, for a way to win her heart, at any price. Ahriman whispered in Juljula's ear that if he slew his rival, and prepared his flesh into a sumptuous meal and served it to his love, she would see him differently and always carry thoughts of him in her heart. The key to the ritual of preparing the fiendish meal was that Juljula needed to eat the handsome face of his rival.

Juljula blindly accepted Ahriman's advice, and followed the instructions to the letter. After the meal was completed, Jamila began to compliment the feast he had prepared, but was interrupted by a servant bursting into the room, screaming that Juljula had murdered her fiancee. A horrible realization crept across the genies at the banquet, as they comprehended the nature of their feast. Juljula was quickly apprehended, and sentenced to death. He realized that in his obsession, he had ignored the duplicitous nature of the div. Jamila did see him differently, as a monster, and would always carry thoughts of him in her heart, but thoughts of hatred.

Because of the abominable nature of his crimes, Juljula's body was entombed in the Death of Four Elements. Long ago, when a fiery boulder fell from the sky, it struck a lake, and created an enormous crater. Because of the violent destruction mixing air from the sky, the fire surrounding the boulder, fracturing the very earth, and the water of the lake, the crater was known to genies as the Death of Four Elements, and was considered accursed. Juljula's body was interred and guardian traps and magics were put in place to keep all away from his sinful corpse. Once after these wards were in place did Fate transform Juljula into a hideous ghul, doomed to repeat his crimes for all eternity. Over time, he covered his tomb with the thousands of skulls of his victims...and Ahriman smiled.

4. Bone Hill (CR 5 or 8 and CR 9 or 12)
Leering, grinning skulls stare at you as you view the imposing scene before you. This artificial hill is made entirely of skulls from a wide variety of creatures. While some are from local beasts, most are clearly human. At first glance, the skulls all seem yellowed with age, but some are clearly newer, gleaming starkly in the sunlight. A discordant whistling surrounds the site, as the breeze is forced through eye sockets like dozens of macabre flutes.
The tableaux is broken by the clatter of bone on bone, and a single skull bounces down the hill, rolling to a stop nearby. You spot a large rat skitter into the crevasses between the bones high above you, as it retreats from view.

The hill is treacherous terrain, and counts as a steep slope covered in scree (Pathfinder Core Rulebook 428). In addition, the irregular and unstable footing requires a DC 10 Acrobatics check each round a creature moves more than their speed, or makes a melee attack. Failure results in tumbling down the hill, ending at its base and causing 1d3 points of nonlethal damage per 10 feet of elevation fallen. This does not provoke attacks of opportunity. Being knocked prone automatically causes a tumble down to the base of the mound of skulls.

Creatures: The hill is guarded by necrophidii, and provides them with natural camouflage, granting them a +4 circumstance bonus to stealth checks. Once a small or larger creature climbs 15 feet up the hill, the necrophidii attack. They can move along the hill without penalty. Anyone paralyzed by a necrophidius automatically tumbles down the hill (see above).

Tier 5-6 (CR 5):
Necrophidius (2) CR 3
XP 800 each
hp 36 each (Pathfinder Bestiary 2 196)

Tier 8-9 (CR 8):
Advanced Necrophidius (4) CR 4
XP 1,200 each
hp 42 each (Pathfinder Bestiary 2 196, 292)

Tactics: One necrophidius uses its dance of death ability for two rounds while the rest engage in melee. A necrophidius will attack anyone standing on the hill, but will not pursue creatures that reach the ground or that ascend the spiral walkway up the pillar.
Morale: Each necrophidius fights to the death.

Development: When the PCs exit the tomb and reach the top of the hill, Tamonash betrays them. He arranges to be the last one down the spiral path, so he can drink his potions and activate an elemental gem unobserved before attacking the PCs. [Tier 8-9] Tamonash's greater air elemental allies have been circling the crater awaiting his signal. When he attacks the PCs, they dive in to assist him one round later.
If he defeats the PCs, he takes all of the treasure and artifacts looted from the tomb, and contemptuously leaves them unconscious or dying where they fell, unconcerned that such pitiful barbarians pose any further threat.

Tier 5-6 (CR 9):
Tamonash Byrraju CR 9
XP 6,400
hp 83

Tier 8-9 (CR 8):
Tamonash Byrraju CR 9
XP 6,400
hp 83
Greater Air Elemental (2) CR 9
XP 6,400 each
hp 123 each (Pathfinder Bestiary 2 196)

Tactics: Tamonash takes advantage of the terrain, using Punishing Kick to knock opponents down the hill, in addition to his normal tactics. The air elementals make use of Flyby Attack and their reach to keep above the PCs and out of melee range.

Star Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

Nice Joel,

I hope you better than double your ranking next year :)

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka JoelF847

Thanks. I'm still hoping to see some of the other top 16 post what they had been working on for their locations.

Curaigh wrote:

@penalty kick online Nice Joel,

I hope you better than double your ranking next year :)

I'm still holding out hope that some of the other top 16 will post updates regarding the preparations they've made for their respective locations.

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