The Blinding Claw of Torremor is a D&D adventure designed for resourceful players who are interested in campaigns against demonic evil. Six to eight characters of levels 14-18 are required, and there are seven pre-generated ones provided at the end. For reasons that will become apparent, three characters should be lawful good clerics (or two clerics and a paladin) who follow Osiris; this trio would be well supported by a mage (or two), a warrior (or two), and a thief. Holy skills and spells will be constantly on demand as the characters are pitted against a mighty demon lord who delights in crushing the souls of harmless innocents.
The adventure is divided into three parts. First is The Crippled Village, in which the characters attempt to exorcise a possessed girl and investigate a local chapel dedicated to Osiris. The investigation uncovers The Buried Temple which was used in decades past by a sacrificial cult of Pazuzu, and which in turn leads to Torremor, the 503rd layer of the Abyss. Here the characters ascend The Lord’s Rook and attempt to destroy Pazuzu’s throne. Characters can be expected to die, and only the most shrewd and experienced players stand a chance of completing the goal.
I follow the rules for old-fashioned, 1st edition, Advanced D&D from the ’70s and ’80s, though bastardized with later influences. Spells have become more sophisticated since those days (clerics and druids get up to 9th level spells, just like mages) and readers will notice other 3rd edition features. In particular, I made heavy use of The Book of Vile Darkness published in ’02, which is an invaluable (and disgustingly creative) source for campaigns involving demons. But I abhor the mega hit point system and deplore armor classes that ascend positively; for me, negative armor classes will always be the best. So if the module seems a bit schizophrenic in terms of the rules, that’s why.
The plot steals shamelessly from The Exorcist and its prequel Dominion, and the dungeons are reminiscent of TSR classics like The Tomb of Horrors, The Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun, and even The Ghost Tower of Inverness. It’s situated, moreover, in The Village of Hommlet, but DM’s who have run Hommlet for other adventures may want to use a different setting. I never got a chance to use it in my gaming years, and found that it worked perfect in a context of demonic menace. As for Pazuzu and The Blinding Claw, they are detailed heavily in Dragon Magazine #329 (March ’05) (see the image above from Jeff Carlisle), though Pazuzu got brief treatment in the Monster Manual II from the ’80s. Finally, fans of Doctor Who will recognize the nasty surprise lurking in one particular room. But around all of this comes material straight out of my own demented head, so blame me if the adventure is too hard and vile. I should note too that biblical scholars familiar with the debate over πίστις Χριστοῦ (“faith in Christ”? or “faithfulness of Christ”?) may be wryly amused at the way I’ve incorporated the controversy in the context of exorcisms, though of course pagan (πίστις Ὀσίρεως), as monotheistic religions are rather incompatible with D&D.
In essence this is a campaign that offers a bit of everything: a horrifying ritual in a village setting, a dungeon layered with traps and suffocating evil, and finally a showdown on the Abyss where the stakes are as high as they get. I have tried to make it as exciting, disturbing, and thought provoking as possible, by putting in the sorts of things I like to be challenged by as a player. Whether or not I succeeded is something for others to judge.
I. THE CRIPPLED VILLAGE
The Village of Hommlet is used for two reasons. (Click on the map to the left. The source is Deviant Art.) One is that I was never able to get any use out of this classic, either as a DM or player, and thus don’t have pre-conceived ideas about it. And I didn’t like the sequel-module, The Temple of Elemental Evil, so it’s only fitting to use this opportunity to inflict Hommlet with a different threat. In this case the cult is a demonic one that gained a foothold in the village decades ago, until the Church of Osiris from a distant city sent priests and warriors to crush the sect. The Osirans then established a chapel in the village, which should be substituted for the Church of St. Cuthbert in Gygax’s module. Osiris turns out to be perfect for Hommlet: a farmer’s deity above all, but also the god of the dead, and second only to Ra in the Egyptian pantheon, a logical foe of the demon Pazuzu. The druid grove still exists too: Hommlet’s religion was exclusively druidic before the coming of the Osirans, and the majority of the villagers (about 60%) retain dedication to the Celtic god Silvanus, even if the Grove was powerless against the Pazuzu cultists.
As for the second reason, I found Hommlet’s general atmosphere of impending doom ideal for my scenario. James Maliszewski has eloquently noted how the village evokes Tolkien’s theme of the “long defeat”, with each generation of its simple folk required to stare evil in the face and stand up to it, in a valiant but hopeless effort, knowing that any triumph is at best a holding action until the evil comes back. The menace plaguing Hommlet is a terrifying demon lord, Pazuzu, who destroys crops through pestilence, and souls through possession.
[Note: Hommlet was designed for the world of Greyhawk, and if this is your setting, then Verbobonc will be the city where the characters are recruited, in place of Daj. If you run adventures in Mystara (my preferred sandbox), Hommlet is ideally situated in the Emir of Nithia in Ylaruam, the only place where Egyptian influence from the ancient Nithian empire lingers in hidden pockets alongside the religion of Al-Kalim. Daj is located inland to the west of Surra-Man-Ra, and Hommlet a bit northwest of Daj. In this case, substitute the desert druid faith of Al-Kalim for the druid faith of Silvanus.]
Hommlet has a history with Pazuzu, stemming from the days when his cultists gained a strong enough foothold to build a temple on the northwest hill, a base for human sacrifice. As mentioned, the villagers were finally rescued by a group of Osirans from the distant city of Daj, who slew the cultists, buried their obscene temple, and built a chapel over it to seal away the evil below. Intent on destroying any gates to the Abyss, they were frustrated at not being able to find any (they couldn’t locate the lower depths) and so took other measures, consecrating four huge statues in the chapel to repel any demonic approaches. As for Pazuzu, he abandoned the depths and layered it with traps against possible intruders. This was 53 years ago, and Hommlet’s people have enjoyed a peaceful existence since. Until now.
Pazuzu is now in possession of an artifact that grants him immeasurably terrifying power. He’s had it for some time, having completed it 17 years ago: The Blinding Claw, a throne made of a giant roc’s talon and studded with rubies and emeralds. The throne grants Pazuzu many abilities, the worst of which is to plane shift himself or his soul at will — and to effectively allow the throne to function as the magic jar back on Torremor in the case of the latter. As he doesn’t have to bother going through any gates in the buried temple, he is no longer barred from Hommlet by the inability to pass through (or teleport past) the church; he, or his incorporeal form, can simply materialize in Hommlet as long as it’s at least 500 feet distant from the church.
This he has done, starting close to a year ago (sixteen years after his completion of The Blinding Claw; he had many other things on his plate before finally getting around to taking his revenge on this village that did him so much harm). He resumed his old tactic of sending locust plagues against Hommlet, and possessed a 10-year old boy from one of the southwest homes that lay outside the 500-foot radius of the chapel’s repulsion power: the woodcutter’s cottage at (3) on the map. The priest of Osiris (Hafsah), and his assistant attempted to exorcise the boy and died for it. Two higher level priests were sent from Daj and likewise perished, after which Pazuzu mindraped the boy and left him insane. These rituals were unspeakable (on par with Regan McNeil’s in The Exorcist), and the deaths of the priests were devastating. Hommlet was demoralized, and to this day the woodcutter’s boy remains a gibbering lunatic.
About eight months later (the present time), as the villagers were finally beginning to put the past behind them, the demon struck again. Pazuzu had bided his time for precisely this reason, to lull Hommlet into thinking he was gone for good. This time he invaded a 12-year old girl at the wealthy farm cottage at (1) on the map. The player characters are summoned by the High Priest in Daj (Roth-Omar) to save the girl. They are given the keys to the Chapel of the Seal (still unsupervised since the death of Hafsah and his assistant) and encouraged to look wherever they want and use all holy symbols and water at their disposal. Roth-Omar knows the church was built over a demonic temple and infused with powerful wardings to keep Pazuzu and his demons at bay, but that apparently Pazuzu has found a way to plane shift from the Abyss without going through the special gates in the old temple; that the demon seems to be out for revenge in Hommlet for the defeat of him and his cultists 53 years ago. Roth-Omar can supply nothing beyond this vague information. The priest Hafsah who had presided over the chapel for 52 years probably knew more details, as he devoted his life to research on the demon. The players are charged with exorcising the girl and finding out whatever they can about how Pazuzu is deriving his incredible powers and even, if possible, destroying the source of that power.
If the players ask Roth-Omar why the boy was left uncured, the high priest will tell them they offered, but the woodcutter has banned all clerics from setting foot on his property again. The family blames the Osirans for doing more harm than good, and are probably frightened that any attempts to cure their son might bring back the demon. Adding to the problem is that the woodcutter family is of druidical faith. They turned to the Osirans only in desperation, and barely with their druid’s blessing, just as the little girl’s family is doing now.
Roth-Omar is a lead proponent of new-wave Osiranism (see the appendix), and will not pass up an opportunity to shove his doctrine down the characters’ throats. In particular, he will urge clerics and/or paladins to use the rewritten ritual of exorcism, which appeals to the faithfulness of Osiris in place of a cleric’s faith in Osiris. He will give them a copy, and encourage them to look into the chapel library in Hommlet, where the deceased priest Hafsah kept a tome describing other revamped rituals. He will relate astounding success rates using the “improved” exorcism ritual, and will appeal to scholarly exegesis of sacred Osiran texts which “proves” that the runes πίστις Ὀσίρεως are better translated with the subjective genitive, “faithfulness of Osiris” or “fidelity of Osiris”, than the objective genitive, “faith in Osiris” — despite the fact that the latter has been the sacred interpretation for centuries. He will rhapsodize over the remarkable efficacy of abjuration spells which rely on the deity as the subject of faith rather than its object, explaining that the anthropomorphic view (“faith in Osiris”), for all its appeal to divine aid like any clerical spell, ultimately rests on mortal confidence. The deific view (“faithfulness of Osiris”) taps into pure divinity, channeled through a believer, to be sure, but unfiltered through the limitations of his mortal faith.
If the characters are suspicious of this new-wave Osiranism (as they should be), and dispute with Roth-Omar, he will collegially argue (and never back down: the subjective-genitive translation of πίστις Ὀσίρεως is his life’s mission), but ultimately leave the decision theirs. For all his crusading evangelism, he doesn’t literally force controversial doctrine on anyone. And it should be said that the new-wave Osirans are progressive scholars with integrity. They are neither sensationalists nor cranks, and the basis of their doctrine derives from a legitimate translation of the ambiguous phrase πίστις Ὀσίρεως. They do have a faddish streak, however, and have not yet appreciated the devastating consequences of particular spells and rituals which have been rewritten in favor of this “fidelity fad”, particularly that of exorcism.
The Exorcism of Syndi
The possessed girl, Syndi, is currently being tormented hideously and used to terrorize Hommlet, and the characters will need to take action against the demon soon after reaching the village. They will arrive from the eastern road and be hailed as saviors by any villagers devoted to Osiris. Villagers subscribing to druidical faith will be more wary, some even hostile, but no one will attempt to challenge the party or make them leave.
Roth-Omar will have advised them to stop at the house of the village elder at (27), who will greet them cordially though none too warmly. He is of druidical religion and tolerant of other faiths, but the disastrous exorcism of Jarome eight months ago has called Osiran credibility into question. He will declare that the chapel was supposed to keep away demonic forces and demand to know why it isn’t doing so. He and others are particularly distressed that the last two pairs of exorcists seemed to make the demon angry more than anything else, though they boasted an improved ritual.
If the party comes knocking at the woodcutter’s cottage (3), they will be denied entry and rudely dismissed. There is a 60% chance the characters will see the mad boy Jarome in the yard gibbering madly, but his parents won’t permit any cleric to heal him.
At the rich villa (1), the characters will be greeted by Syndi’s mother, who looks wasted from loss of sleep and eating, but who will go out of her way to be hospitable. The house hasn’t been cleaned in some time, and one of Syndi’s two older brothers, or her mother, is always sitting outside her closed room. Syndi has been possessed for about a month now, and the family’s farm has been ruined by the demon’s locust swarms. The barn adjacent to the house has been destroyed by lightning. Some days are worse than others for the family.
When the characters enter the house, Pazuzu will instantly sense the presence of high-level clerics and/or paladins, and become frightened. There is a 60% chance that he will retreat into lurker mode (see Rules for Possession in the appendix) and mask his evil presence, allowing Syndi control over herself. Of course, this is the oldest trick in the book to any exorcist worth his salt. The characters will surely proceed with an exorcism anyway, at which point Pazuzu will revert to controller mode, become obscenely aggressive, and ready for “battle”. If he doesn’t retreat into lurker mode (40% chance), he will use detect thoughts as soon as characters are within 60 feet of Syndi’s bedroom, and invoke their names, calling down fierce curses on them, readying, again, for “battle”.
Syndi is AC 10, hp 1, and it should go without saying that killing her in order to expel Pazuzu, then resurrecting her, would be viewed as completely immoral by good-aligned characters. (Not to mention running the risk of resurrection failure.) Besides, Pazuzu would just possess her again.
Whether from natural spell-like abilities or from The Blinding Claw (see the appendix), Pazuzu can do the following:
At will — blasphemy, blindness, call lightning storm, clairvoyance, clairaudience, control weather, deeper darkness, desecrate, detect good, detect law, detect thoughts, detect lies, dispel magic, fly, locust swarm, prying eyes, reverse gravity, statue (unusable during the rite of exorcism), stinking cloud, telekinesis, teleport (unusable in Hommlet, or within a mile of the Chapel of the Holy Seal), tongues, true seeing, unhallow, unholy aura, unnerving gaze
Once/day — abyssal ant swarm, acid fog, heartclutch, incendiary cloud, mindrape, shapechange, symbol of death, symbol of discord, symbol of fear, wish
During the exorcism, the exorcist and his two assistants can do nothing but enact the ritual. DM’s should familiarize themselves with the full description of the exorcise spell in the appendix, but some of that is repeated in what follows. There is a percentile roll at the end of every turn (every 10 rounds) to determine if the exorcism is successful. The other characters are free to take action each round, but they can’t do anything offensive without interrupting the ritual and spoiling it (and they can’t do anything that would physically harm the girl Syndi anyway). At best they can perhaps defend against Pazuzu’s spell-like attacks, depending on what magic items and spells they have at their disposal.
Meanwhile, for at least one turn, and for every subsequent turn the exorcism ritual fails, Pazuzu gets 10 rounds of attacks or actions, which he won’t hesitate to use. (If the exorcist has drunk a vial of abyssal repulsion from the chapel (see room 4), then Pazuzu gets only 5 rounds of attacks or actions.) He will start by attacking the exorcist, then the assistants, with blindness (failure to save means that an assistant cleric or paladin contributes a -5% to the group’s base chance each turn instead of +5%; if the actual exorcist is blinded, he or she contributes a -15% modifier), and also intersperse these with attacks effecting the entire party, like stinking cloud, telekinesis, and reverse gravity. He will hold heartclutch in reserve for the exorcist or an assistant when things really start to look bad, and judiciously use his other once/day abilities which effect many people, like acid fog, abyssal ant swarm, incendiary cloud, any of the three symbols, and wish. But in between these attacks he will inject vicious heapings of verbal abuse, often in various tongues, and will work in unnerving gazes to mess with people’s minds. The DM should make this more than a dice-rolling ritual; it should terrify. While Pazuzu will be on the lethal offensive against high level characters, he will also taunt them with mind games, and degrade them with full rounds of filthy insults. He will read their thoughts. And around all of this, he will summon lightning storms and locust swarms to terrorize the entire farm as much as the party. This cycle could go on for 2-8 more turns depending on when (and if) the exorcism finally works. If the exorcism is still going on by the fifth turn, there is a 5% chance that Pazuzu will simply mindrape Syndi and then abandon her. (The chance increases by 5% per turn, to 25% by the ninth turn.) If he does this, that means he’s decided he’s done with this particular victim for good.
Remember that abjuration spells like dispel evil, dispel chaos, dismissal, and banishment constitute an interference with the exorcise spell as much as any other direct attack on the demon/girl. And the clerics in the party are experienced enough to know that such spells are pitiful holding measures in cases of relentless possession (the demon may simply attempt possession again). They are especially useless in the case at hand, since Pazuzu can not only try possession again, but he can do so immediately with his limitless plane shift ability.
The characters will have probably visited the Chapel of the Holy Seal before starting the exorcism, at Roth-Omar’s urging to avail themselves whatever they need to help in the exorcism rite. They will have decided by this point whether to follow the traditional ritual which leans on the cleric’s faith in Osiris, or the new-wave ritual which leans on Osiris’ faithfulness. (Hereafter designated the faith ritual and the fidelity fad.) What people like Roth-Omar and Hafsah haven’t grasped is that while the fidelity fad invokes hard-hitting power, it does so for a dramatically short duration, and leaves the cleric nakedly exposed while the power is funneled against the foe at the expense of shielding the cleric. In most exorcisms this won’t matter much, since demons can’t normally attack through possessed victims. But with a demon lord like Pazuzu enhanced by an artifact like The Blinding Claw, the consequences of the fidelity fad are devastating: clerics get no saving throws against any of Pazuzu’s spell-like abilities, unable to rely on the shielding bulwark of their own faith. And while the base chance of a successful exorcism admittedly increases for the first four turns, all that really does is cancel the stiff penalties of these turns owing to a powerful demon lord; in the last four turns, the base chance actually decreases under the fidelity ritual (deities have better things to do with their time besides devoting the full force of themselves to the material plane over long durations). In short, the fidelity fad invokes a strong but brief power, causing immense fury and pain to the demon; if not immediately successful, it does little more than anger the demon twice as much as the faith ritual would, and leaves the “faithless” exorcists, so to speak, entirely at the mercy of lethal spells. That’s why Hafsah and the other clerics died so swiftly.
The characters don’t know this, of course, though they are capable of some deductions. They will have to weigh the enthusiasm of Roth-Omar against the observations of the village elder, and also hopefully read the debate section found in The Fidelity of Osiris tome in the chapel library, in order to decide which ritual they will follow.
If the exorcism is successful, or if Pazuzu decides to mindrape Syndi and leave her body, the characters will see a vision in the air of the demon sitting on The Blinding Claw. There is a base 50% chance, at this point, that Pazuzu will attempt to possess an exorcist in retaliation, -5%/turn spent in the exorcism ritual. (See Rules of Demonic Possession in the appendix for attempted possession.)
If Syndi is exorcised, and/or healed from a mindrape, then her family will be eternally grateful to the characters, and there is even a 30% chance that the parents will convert to Osiranism. When word gets out, the woodcutter’s family will also have a change of heart, and beg the party to heal their mad son. They will be grateful, but they won’t convert.
The village elder will thank the party sincerely and ask them to relate everything that happened. When he hears the description of the vision of the taloned throne, he will affirm what Hafsah has documented in the Demon of the Lower Arials tome (see the Chapel, room 5). The elder recalls rumors five decades back from cult survivors that a throne like the one described was used in the temple before it was sealed underground by the Osirans.
As a final note, DM’s should flesh out the village drama as they see fit. The Village of Hommlet is a classic for good reason, and in the hands of a good DM can set an excellent preliminary tone for the rest of the adventure which gets progressively vile. If the villagers are run well, then players will feel the stakes as they should. These are simple people being terrorized and broken, with no means of defense.
Investigating the Chapel
(Click on the map to enlarge.) The Chapel of the Holy Seal was founded 53 years ago and supervised by the priest Hafsah until his death eight months ago exorcising Jarome. He was 21 years old and 5th level when he arrived, and 73 years old and and 11th level when he died. He devoted his life’s work to research on Pazuzu, and was a convert to new-wave Osiranism about 15 years ago. Characters have been charged with investigating the church and turning up any evidence about the source of Pazuzu’s recent power. They will probably come here prior to the exorcism for holy water, elixirs, and some of Hafsah’s research, but a full investigation and search for the buried temple should obviously wait until the girl has been saved.
1. Entrance. The entrance door is kept locked, though Roth-Omar will have given the characters a key to it back in Daj. Characters walk a 20-foot foyer before entering the chapel.
2. Chapel of the Seal. This 50-foot diameter chapel is a curiosity, as it doesn’t look like a place of worship. There is an altar to Osiris, but no seats or pews, and four giant statues forming a circle and facing inwards, with their weapons pointing down. Statue A holds a scimitar clutched to its breast, as if about to backswipe an opponent downwards. Statue B has a sword drawn sideways at its hip, slightly angled downwards. Statue C has a pole-axe pointing down, its tip against the floor. And statue D clutches a spear aiming straight down.
The statues function as a powerful forbidding against demonkind. Any demon entering the church suffers the effects of a holy word at quadruple effect. Any demon coming within a 500-foot radius of the church must save every hour or be repelled. (Save at -4 within 100 feet; at -8 within 20 feet.) Even if the save is made, the demon will automatically experience extreme discomfort (-4 on attacks, -4 to morale) and will be unable to use any teleport ability. Any demon (except lords and princes) coming within a mile of the church will also automatically experience that same discomfort and stifled teleport ability. For each statue dispelled, these effects are reduced by a quarter. What this means is that any demon trying to enter Hommlet from either of the two gates below the temple (see temple depths, rooms 6 and 10) must pass through this chapel (they can’t teleport past it), assuming they can even get close to it (if they save vs. the repulsion effect), which, per holy word at quadruple effect, would instantly banish them back to the Abyss if they fail a save at -4, and if not that, kill them on this plane (no save) if their hit dice is 16 or less, paralyze/blind/deafen them (no save) if their hit dice is 32 or less. Put simply, this isn’t a place any demon is going to dare come near.
3. Sarcophagus. The key to the lid is in Hafsah’s desk drawer (5), but it can be opened by knock or a thief who successfully picks locks. It will then take a combined strength of at least 52 (4-5 characters, on average) to lift the cover off. A steep staircase leads down to the temple of Pazuzu. Although some of the villagers retain vague hand-down knowledge of an evil buried beneath the church, none of them know that this sarcophagus guards the entrance. Hafsah and his assistant alone knew this.
4. Holy Font. Any water added to the font is instantly blessed and becomes holy water. Hafsah always kept it full, but in the past year it’s gone dry. There are eight vials of holy water kept on a counter near the wall, and of course, priests can use the font to bless their own water. They’ll need lots of it trying to exorcise Pazuzu. There are also three vials of abyssal repulsion elixir, which makes the drinker secrete a foul stench from his or her body, noticeable only by beings from the Abyss, who will be at -5 to hit the imbiber for 1 turn; if the being is being exorcised by the imbiber, it can act only every other round (i.e. it gets 5 actions per turn instead of 10). And there are two vials of undead protection elixir.
5. Priest’s Quarters & Library. This was Hafsah’s residence for 52 years. Now it’s vacant. Characters will have been given leave to explore the library and investigate whatever has been left in Hafsah’s room. A few items will be of immediate interest:
* A set of five keys to the chapel: the front entrance (1), the sarcophagus lid (3), the cabinet containing holy water and vials of abyssal repulsion (4), the safe in the wall above Hafsah’s desk (5), and the chest beneath his bed (5).
* A book called Demon of the Lower Arials. It reflects Hafsah’s painstaking research on Pazuzu, and contains a special section of testimonies collected from assistant clerics who traveled abroad and interviewed witnesses to Pazuzu’s activity. On one page there is a sketch of The Blinding Claw (show players the image at the beginning of this module). The testimonies indicate that Pazuzu has been alarmingly active in the world for the past 17 years, often materializing out of nowhere on a taloned throne studded with rubies and emeralds. One Pazuzu cultist from a distant country was heard referring to this throne as “The Blinding Claw”, claiming that it exalted his lord with mighty powers unavailable to other demon lords (even Demogorgon). In particular, Pazuzu seems able to enter the Prime Material Plane with extreme ease, and able to work his deadly spell-like abilities through possessed victims. According to a cult survivor from Hommlet, a throne fitting this description was seen in the temple of Pazuzu before the Osirans came and wiped out the cultists. A search was made for the throne before sealing away the temple but could not be found.
* A tome entitled The Fidelity of Osiris, which Roth-Omar will have encouraged the characters to look for. It contains new-wave versions of the following spells for Osiran clerics: three abjurations, (1) exorcism (the characters already have a copy of this one, given by Roth-Omar), (2) dispel evil and (3) dispel chaos; two evocations, (1) holy word, and (2) holy smite (see New-Wave Osiranism in the appendix for full details). Hopefully the characters will not succumb to the lure of the fidelity fad where exorcism is concerned. Divination and commune spells are useless in determining the merits and demerits of the faith vs. fidelity rituals. (After all, how is a god supposed to objectively mediate in judgment between fervent belief in him and an appeal to his supreme deific loyalty?) The rewritten prayers for the three abjurations have been in practice for some time (about 15 years). The two evocations are less clear, since the fidelity versions do nothing to alter their effect on the Prime Material Plane, but according to a testimonial from a priest Aetus, who traveled to the Abyss, these evocations — holy smite and holy word, which normally don’t work at all on the outer planes — do deathly damage to outer-plane natives (demons, devils, etc.) when the “faithfulness of Osiris” is invoked in place of one’s “faith in Osiris”, though at great cost to the cleric. This “cost” is left unspecified.
There is a section in this tome summarizing the opposing theologies of faith and fidelity. According to the former, exorcism is not a formula which confers grace by the action itself. Its efficacy has always depended on the unwavering faith of the exorcist. A cleric who casts an exorcism without a strong faith in Osiris risks disaster for both himself and the possessed victim. In this light alone, one can imagine the hazards of shifting the emphasis on faith away from the believer and onto the deity. The new-wave Osiran would respond that a deity’s fidelity is more reliable and mighty than the faith of mere mortals. The traditionalist would retort that it is “mere mortals” who do the dirty work on material planes; deities are heavily occupied on their own planes, and to impose on their unbridled power is risky and presumptuous. The new-wave practitioner counters that relying on oneself is in fact the ultimate presumption, indeed an insufferable hubris. And so on. The characters will have to make up their own minds.
* Note: The Rod of Demonic Woe (see temple depths, room 9) will NOT be found here (or anywhere in the present, for that matter). This artifact will only be obtainable if the characters are banished to the past by the weeping demon in room 9. Who knows where the rod went after Hafsah’s death. It could have been taken by Osirans from Daj; but it also could have been taken by the very characters investigating this room 39 years in the past.
II. THE BURIED TEMPLE
(Click on the map to enlarge.) The temple cavern under the church is about 60 feet wide and 80 feet long, and it falls well within the 500-foot repulsion-forbidding of the chapel’s statues. Demons will not enter from the depths below; this top layer of the temple has been vacant for 53 years. DM’s should take particular note of the statue of Pazuzu (2), which holds a strong evil essence that has been masked to make it virtually undetectable. This statue will go out of its way to effect a character, whose actions must be closely monitored. If a character is effected and the others are unable to break the enchantment, he or she will break out unexpectedly in peculiar, disgusting, and violent behavior. This character could also end up undergoing a vile transformation process in the depths below the temple.
In particular, when such an effected character is finally under enough stress to call on Pazuzu’s name three times (see below), an unholy link will be established between the character and the demon, and Pazuzu will be aware of the party’s intrusion. He will be moderately alarmed yet excited. When forced to abandon the Hommlet area 53 years ago, he put safety nets and traps in place, and on his home plane designed an alternate dimension to The Lord’s Rook, precisely as a challenge to high-level mortals who might one day come after him. Against exorcists in particular who have wounded him, he is always craving revenge. And he knows that he’s near invincible on his home turf in Torremor.
Mages who cast a wish spell, or anyone using magic items with wishes, will be in for some rude surprises. Pazuzu hates wishes unless they are gifted by him (he loathes clerical miracles too, but isn’t as effective in stopping those). One of his strategies in corrupting innocents on the Prime Material Plane is to grant them wishes before sucking them in more directly and turning them into cult followers. Those who have the perfidy to wish outside his approval often pay a nasty price. While not all wishes will produce bad side effects here, many will, and the module key tries to anticipate the most obvious cases. DM’s should use discretion when it comes to other wishes, and not be afraid to be creatively nasty in line with Pazuzu’s vicious sense of humor.
1. Stairway Down. These lead down to wide temple cavern.
2. Statue of Pazuzu. The statue in this alcove is powerfully enchanted but has been masked so that spells like detect magic, detect chaos, and detect evil reveal nothing. If it is touched (assume so if it is investigated without a player specifically saying he or she is avoiding any physical contact), the character doing so will hear buzzing flies and vicious growling for a few seconds, and he or she must save versus spells at -6 or become effected by the statue. The DM should make this saving throw for the character so as not to give anything away, because aside from the brief noises, the effect won’t be remotely noticeable. That is, until any of the following occur. The effected character will automatically:
* become enraged in the presence of any lawful good priest who attempts to pray, use a holy symbol, cast a spell, turn undead/demons/etc., and will either verbally (1-4) or physically (5-6) assault the cleric
* become withdrawn when nothing stressful is occurring, while murderous and erotic desires begin to flood his or her mind
* feel compelled to call out the name of Pazuzu three times when under especial stress or difficulty
The effect of the statue can be removed with prayer plus either remove curse or break enchantment cast within one round of each other. Alternatively, a miracle will do the trick. So will a wish, but a contingency trap will simply transfer the effect to another random character with no save.
The statue is intelligent, and will choose to effect only one character. If no one touches the statue, it will exercise a powerfully telepathic suggestion to a random character to touch it. This save should be made by the character rather than the DM (at no penalty vs. spells), for the compulsive feeling will be obvious. The statue may exercise three suggestions per day (on anyone in the temple cavern), which it will do until one character is effected. Dispel evil (or chaos) and other abjuration type spells will have no effect on the statue, for its essence has taken foothold on the Prime Material Plane, in a complicated ritual performed back in the days of the Pazuzu cultists.
3. Sacrificial Altar. Human sacrifice was regularly conducted here in the days of the cultists. There is a huge red-orange gem welded into the front of the altar which radiates powerful evil and magic. Anyone touching the gem will hear faint agonizing cries as if coming from over one’s shoulder. If the stone is destroyed (AC 0, hp 21), the souls of four villagers who were sacrificed on this altar are finally liberated and are transferred to their appropriate outer planes to finally rest in peace.
There is a secret compartment on the side of the altar, and a box inside containing four rings: a ring of contrariness (also bestowing a 21 strength on the wearer), a ring of vampiric regeneration, a ring of free action, and a ring of three wishes. The first is a cursed ring, of course, and the second is anathema to good aligned characters. The third is useful, but the fourth is a double-edged sword if used in the temple areas or on Torremor (see beginning of this section on wishes). Each ring is studded with a ruby worth 1000 gp.
4. Throne of the High Priest. The cult leader presided from this throne, commanding subordinates as they did the dirty work below on the sacrificial altar. The throne radiates chaos and evil, and anyone sitting on it for an extended period of time will become increasingly physically attractive and charismatic (+1 charisma point per turn, up to a maximum of 25). For lawful and/or good aligned characters who sit on it, there is a 10% chance cumulative per charisma point each turn of angering one’s deity, and in the case of clerics and paladins that means losing one’s spells and holy capabilities until atonement is cast. The atonement spell will remove the heightened comeliness and charisma as well.
5. Chamber of Self-Loathing. Anyone entering this room must save versus paralysis at -3 or fall asleep and get strange nightmares in which the sleeper relives horrible events from his or her past and with feelings of accentuated guilt. Waking up (after 5-8 hours), the dreamer will not want to leave the room, and will want to inflict physical punishment on himself. Doing 1-3 points of self-damage will temporarily alleviate negative feelings (for 1-12 hours) and make the character feel euphoric. The effect can be removed with break enchantment. But thereafter, if the cured character leaves the temple area, he or she will be horrendously assaulted by a plague of nightmares whenever going to sleep, requiring yet another break enchantment.
If anyone sleeping in this room is woken up forcibly before a break enchantment can be cast, the poor character will be soul-shocked, scream as if in eternal torment, and lose 3-6 points of intelligence, wisdom, and charisma each.
6. Secret Passage. The secret door can only be opened by a knock cast by at least a 12th level mage. From this point onwards, and down into the depths, no spells functioning like fly, levitate, telekinesis, or teleport, word of recall (even by use of miracle or wish) will work. Neither will anything like polymorph or shapechange. This anticipates the plane of Torremor, where Pazuzu jealously guards demonic rights to the air and insists on everyone’s true form. (Of course, demonic teleport is stifled as well on account of the chapel’s warding’s, though demons can fly, shapechange, and use their telekinetic abilities perfectly fine in this area and the depths below.)
The chasm is 40 feet long 100 feet deep, plummeting down to a pit full of spikes. The far side of the chasm looks like a dead-end wall of rock but in fact is an illusion. The way to bridge the chasm is to call on the name of Pazuzu three times (which is exactly what anyone effected by the statue at (2) will do), which will also dispel the illusion and reveal the continuing hallway. Otherwise it will be necessary to climb down into the pit (a thief could scale, a mage could spider climb, etc) and then around up the other side. A dispel magic cast against 28th level magic will break the illusion of the wall — but characters can just walk through the illusion without dispelling it.
The staircase descends for about an eighth of a mile before switching back in the opposite direction for the same distance. At the switchback point, gravity suddenly turns at a 45 degree angle. Characters who fail dexterity checks will fall about 660 feet. Within the first 50 feet of tumbling, players have a 4 in 6 chance to stop their fall, in the next 50 feet a 2 in 6 chance and thereafter none at all. (Strength scores of 15+ allow to subtract 1 on the d6 roll.) Those who break their fall take 2d6 hit points of damage (per 50 feet of staircase); those who can’t break their fall are of course killed at the bottom of a 660 foot drop.
Bypassing the secret door takes one down a passageway that used to lead to a secret exit of the temple. The Osirans took care of that. Now it’s a complete dead end.
The Temple Depths
(Click on the map to enlarge.) Since these caverns are well over 500 feet beneath the church, demons can operate in the depths without being repelled by church’s statues. These depths, however, are still within a mile’s distance (the switchback of the staircase puts them almost directly below the church about a quarter of a mile, or 1320 feet), and so feelings of general unease and discomfort do apply (except to lords like Lamashtu and Pazuzu), and will stifle any demon’s ability to teleport (including lords like Lamashtu and Pazuzu).
1. Demon’s Run. The enchantments on the four idols add up to a permanent antipathy effect on lawful good people who enter this cavern. Failure to save causes the effected to flee out of the temple depths and up the stairs; successful saves leave the remaining lawful good characters extremely uncomfortable (-3 to both strength and dexterity) while in the depths.
A. Babau Idol. In a tight scabbard around the hip of this idol is a dagger which may be pried loose. In the hands of a chaotic evil person, it allows the wielder to assassinate whenever he attacks, at his own level. In the hands of a lawful good person, it will cause the wielder to slit his own throat unless a save at -4 is made. In the hands of anyone else, it will cause the wielder to attack the nearest lawful good entity, with a chance to assassinate made at half his level, unless a save at -2 is made.
B. Chasme Idol. On the floor between the lower legs (and underneath the rectum) of this idol is an offal bag (see Book of Vile Darkness, p 117), perpetually filled with feces, and which will call forth a swarm of chasmes (d6+4) from the pool in (6). The chasmes (AC -1, HD 7, hp 39 each, # of attacks/round 3, damage/attack 1-8/1-8/1-4; at will: darkness 5-foot radius, detect invisibility, telekinesis 1500 gp weight) will attack unless there is a chaotic evil cleric or mage of high power who can command them. The stench has the same effect as a stinking cloud. The chasmes, of course, suffer the penalties for discomfort from the church above (-4 on attacks and morale, unable to teleport), and will flee back through the gate to Pazunia as soon as things go badly for them.
C. Anzu Idol. Inside the mouth of this idol is an emerald (worth 5000 gp) that when placed in the northern wall (at the X point) causes the 15-foot thick wall to slide away (it sounds like an earthquake is approaching) and reveal the hallway beyond. Unfortunately, anyone of lawful good alignment who grabs the gem must save at -4 or lose half of his/her charisma points permanently, with the skin all over his/her face breaking out in hideous warts and sores, and acquiring a raspy, hoarse voice that sounds like the lead singer of the modern gothic rock band Skinny Puppy. Anyone else of non-chaotic evil alignment must save at -2 or lose a quarter of his/her charisma with a milder version of the facial outbreak and undead-sounding voice. Remember that spells like levitate or telekinesis do not work in the depths, so the gem cannot be moved this way. There is a pair of safety tongs in the torture chamber (4) that can be used to pick up the gem without being cursed. The wall will not close as long as the gem is in the slot, and it will stay open for a turn if the gem is removed.
D. Vrock Idol. In the left claw of this idol is a scroll written in magic, that if read (per read magic spell) will make the wall covering room (3) vanish for one hour, after which point it seals up again. The writing from the scroll does not disappear when read, and can be read from either side of the wall, from any distance as long as the portion of the wall is in sight.
2. Audience Hall. The throne looks like the sketch of the taloned throne from Hafsah’s book, except there are no gems welded into it. This is actually the first “Blinding Claw”, a model of the perfected one created much later, and has no special powers. It doesn’t even radiate evil. Characters who attempt to destroy the throne will have an easy enough time of it, which in itself should raise suspicions: it is armor class 6, requires no magic weapons to it, and will be destroyed when it takes 30 hit points of damage. A commune or contact other plane will reveal it is not the real Blinding Claw, if a spell is really needed to convince the party.
3. Lamashtu’s Cage. This room is completely sealed off, though reading the scroll from the vrock idol allows passage (see above). (Passwall and other such spells will also work.) Inside, a six-foot diameter clear cylindrical vessel imprisons Lamashtu, Pazuzu’s former consort and now arch-enemy. Legends have it that Pazuzu either banished her to an unknown plane of the Abyss or kept her on Torremor at Onstrakker’s Nest, and both of these of legends are partly true. But the fact is that his hatred for her is so deep that he doesn’t consider her worthy of any Abyssal honor, even in torment. (He also doesn’t want Lamashtu within easy reach of Abyssal natives to whom she could reveal his most vulnerable secret, on which see further.) When his temple at Hommlet was sealed underground 53 years ago, he decided, as an amusement, to move her there, thereby heaping insult upon torment, by consignment to the Prime Material Plane in a sealed off place where no one could help her… and where he could visit anytime he wanted to relish her suffering.
Various D&D manuals allude to the nasty history between the two demons. When they were lovers, Lamashtu had gained Pazuzu’s trust to the extent that he told her his true name, which she promptly used against him. Pazuzu eventually (and only barely) got the upper hand, tore out and ate her eyes, cursing her with eternal blindness, and imprisoning her in various places. This particular cage has powerful dweomers that keep her alive and unable to invoke any of her magical abilities. She can be freed by a successful dispel magic (base 50% chance, -2%/level of difference between the caster’s and Pazuzu’s 28 HD) or greater dispel magic (base 90% chance, -2%/level of difference) cast on the cage, or by a miracle. A good aligned cleric casting miracle should obviously have damn good cause to invoke divine intervention to free such a despicable demon — which will definitely be the case. A wish will not free Lamashtu; in fact, it will trigger a contingency trap to explode a fireball on everyone in the room (28d6 or half damage).
As for why anyone in their right mind would want to free Lamashtu, what she can offer in return is priceless. When the characters enter the room, she will have taken on her sensous form (taloned hair, a scarred face, and black clothing; see stats at the end), as she knows her true form is completely repulsive to prime material mortals. (Her eyes are just for show, for she remains blind.) She will beg and plead with anyone to free her by dispelling the magic of the cage, and she will ask if they are enemies of Pazuzu. If she senses that they are, or if they candidly admit they are out to get him, or destroy his throne, she will laugh hysterically and tell them that to have even a prayer of hope they will need immense power over him. She can provide exactly that, his true name, which she promises to tell them in return for freedom and healing her blindness. (Note: if the characters believe the “Blinding Claw” in the audience hall is the real one — or was real, if they destroyed it — then Lamashtu won’t hesitate to point out their error.) She can be freed as described above, and her eyes & sight can be given back by (a) regenerate and remove blindness, (b) regenerate and heal, or (c) miracle. A wish will give her back a bloated pair of cursed cross-eyes that reduce her charisma by 12 and inflict her with cross-eyed vision (better than being blind, perhaps, but not much).
Lamashtu, however, has no intention of telling anyone Pazuzu’s true name unless she really has to. If successfully freed and given back her eyes & sight, she will vanish at once into the astral plane. If the characters demand Pazuzu’s true name before freeing her — which is of course the only sane course of action — she will supply a bogus name, which can be flagged by a detect lies spell. If that happens, she will finally reveal his true name to save her skin. At this point, the characters would perhaps be wise to keep her caged and blinded and not live up to their end of the bargain, though that probably won’t sit well with holy lawful types, even in dealing with a demon. If freed and cured after being forced to give up Pazuzu’s true name, she will vanish to the astral plane, though not before attempting to demonically impregnate a female character with a parting touch, or, in the absence of a female, gutwrench a male character (see her stats at the end). She won’t inflict either of these on the one who dispelled the magic of the cage or the cleric who cured her sight; she’s at least that magnanimous.
A demonically impregnated character probably won’t know she’s pregnant until it’s too late. The character will have felt Lamashtu’s touch but nothing more. If divination spells are used to ascertain the pregancy, a dispel evil or dispel chaos will kill the fetus. It takes nine hours for the demon to be born, and its “birth” is a hideous stomach-bursting process out of Ridley Scott’s Alien. (The effects of which should be treated as the equivalent of the 8th level spell gutwrench from the Book of Vile Darkness: instant death, or 6-60 hp of damage). The baby demon will be easy enough to kill by high-level characters. The DM should monitor the time factor. Nine hours later in game time will probably occur when the characters have either been banished back in time (see room 9) or sleeping to recover spells and hit points before venturing through the gate (room 10) to Torremor.
Pazuzu’s truename is Grashnak Ariol Yurkulough. (See Invoking a Demon’s True Name in the appendix.)
Freeing and curing Lamashtu will earn the characters the absolute eternal enmity of Pazuzu when he learns of this (as if they haven’t earned that already, but this makes things far worse). And he’s no fool. He will wonder what could possibly motivate lawful good exorcists to free a demon lord, and will be terrified that his true name was the barter chip. If he has been made aware of the party’s intrusion by a statue-effected character calling out his name three times, then there is a 1 in 8 chance per turn that he will plane shift his soul to the temple depths to “check in” on how things are going. If Lamashtu is gone, he will be in a towering fury and the party will hear a bone-chilling “Die! I’ll swallow you!”, before his soul returns to Torremor.
It’s of course possible that the characters will have no interest in discussing anything with Lamashtu and leave her caged. But she will probably assume they are Pazuzu’s foes and dangle the carrot of his true name, which any cleric or mage worth his salt will have trouble dismissing.
4. Torture Chamber. The foulest devices are to be found here, including almost every torture instrument listed on pp 38-39 of Book of Vile Darkness, plus a master ring & slave ring (p 113), a hook of dissolution (p 115), a pain extractor (p 115), and a rack of irresistible torture (p 116). Choke pears are in particular abundance, as the Pazuzu cultists took special pleasure in injecting them in any and all orifices of their victims’ bodies. Needless to say, good aligned characters will want nothing to do with these devices. They might very well end up on the receiving end of one of them, however, since a multiply taloned whip will jump up and dance (as per a dancing sword) and attack a random character who comes within 5 feet of it. It attacks as a 10 hit dice creature. On a successful hit, roll 1d10 to determine how many talons hit (if 10, roll again); each hook does only 1 hp of damage, but each requires a save vs. paralysis, or the victim becomes masochistic, acquiring a +1 bonus on all saving throws for every 10 hit points of damage taken (up to +6). The victim craves at least 20 hit points of damage, and will not want to be healed above this threshold. He will wound himself to keep at least 20 hit points of damage inflicted on his person. (Beings with 20 hit points or under will simply kill themselves.) There is also a pair of safety tongs hanging on the wall that allows one to pick up cursed and/or trapped magic items without triggering the adverse effects.
5. Transformation Chamber. There is a mirror on the northern wall. A character who has been effected by the statue of Pazuzu in the temple above will be automatically drawn to this mirror, which functions as a mirror of sending (Book of Vile Darkness, p 99) for an anzu demon, and also a hideous transforming device. If the anzu idol in Demon’s Run has been touched/investigated, then the anzu demon will be alert and replace the reflection of a character looking into the mirror after one round. At that point the character will suddenly go rigid, scream horribly, and begin transforming into the anzu demon. This process is a frighteningly accelerated version of transformer possession (see Rules of Possession, #6, in the appendix), and is automatic for a character under the statue’s influence. If not, then the character gets two saving throws: the first vs. petrification against possession, the second vs. petrification against losing his/her body and mind to the anzu demon, adjusted by whatever constitution bonus/penalty applies. The transformation process will take 4 rounds. The anzu retains all memories of the character and will attack his or her previous colleagues. If reduced to less than 20 hit points, the demon will flee through the mirror, which functions as a gate to Torremor (for the transformed only), at which point the mirror shatters.
If the anzu idol hasn’t been touched/investigated, then the anzu demon will appear in the mirror only after a character stares into it for 10 rounds. A character who has been effected by the statue will do exactly this, seemingly hypnotized, and if any of the other characters try to “snap him out of it” in any way, he will become enraged and attack his colleagues.
When it gets back to Torremor, the anzu will share everything the character knew with Pazuzu, which will make the demon lord even more prepared, and he will then station the anzu in tier 5 of The Lord’s Rook to await the party.
6. Gate to Pazunia. What appears to be a huge pool of black liquid fills most of the cavern. It is a two-way gate to Pazunia (1st layer of the Abyss), which of course is where Pazuzu spends most of his time. The gate doesn’t lead to Pazuzu himself, however, and it’s not where the party wants to go in any case. They need to get to Torremor (503rd layer of the Abyss), Pazuzu’s special home, where The Blinding Claw resides.
7. Demonic Drawings. The walls of this great hall contain some of the most disturbing drawings ever seen on the Prime Material Plane: graphic images of torture, arial beasts, insects, all punctuated with variations of the Pazuzu statue in the above temple. The walls on both sides radiate heavy evil. The door at the end leads to the false gate to Torremor. The secret door leads to a narrow twisting passageway that has damning darkness cast throughout. Anyone who is effected by the statue of Pazuzu will take no damage, however, and be able to see perfectly in the darkness.
8. Door of Bones (False Gate). The door made of children’s bones is a false gate to Torremor, with the name of the plane (a bit too obviously) spelled in magic above the door. Anyone approaching the door will be greeted with a snarling rasp, a demonic sounding voice resembling the one Pazuzu used through the mouth of Syndi: “You want to get me? Come die, you fuckers!” This is a magic mouth spell; Pazuzu is not actually here. Nor is he at the other end of the gate as promised — though the characters’ deaths could well be. See room (9).
Note that divination type spells which aim to discern the dangers/benefits of passing through this gate will be almost worthless. (“Unclear” will a returned answer to most commune questions.) This is because of the nature of the creature lurking on the other side, involving time-travel. Even the gods have trouble penetrating fate when history can be rewritten, and there is the further irony that the time trap could actually play to the characters’ advantage if they obtain an artifact out of the past.
9. The Weeping Demon. This hollowed out room has no exit, but that’s not to say it’s hard to leave. A weeping demon (see appendix) is stationed here, and DM’s who have seen Blink from the new Doctor Who series will appreciate the horror of this creature. As soon as anyone enters (from the teleport gate at 8) at point X, the demon will freeze at a random point in the room, powerless, as long as at least one person has the statue in eyesight (whether by direct or peripheral vision). There are three other statues in this room that resemble weeping demons, but they are actually real statues, decoys to throw intruders off the scent.
After three rounds of being in the room, a programmed illusion will be triggered: the ceiling shaking, rock falling, as if the entire damned room is about to cave in. As this will almost certainly get everyone’s attention and cause them to look upwards, the weeping demon will become mobile and be able to touch 1-3 characters before it’s frozen in observance again, sending them back in time 39 years, displaced on top of the hill above the river at the northeastern end of the Hommlet. The illusion will cancel after another three rounds, at which point the poor banished character(s) will certainly be missed. Each remaining character has a chance of noticing the change in position and appearance of the one statue (the demon), by rolling their intelligence score -4 or less on d20. As the hunt for the missing character(s) begins, characters will likely turn their backs on all statues, as they begin to search for non-existent secret doors along the walls and pit traps on the floor, and the demon will be able to touch another 1-3 characters before again getting caught in someone’s sight.
After this, any remaining characters will definitely notice the one statue’s change in position and appearance, and will no doubt be eyeballing it warily. But they will still blink their eyes, which produces the famous effect of the statue closing in on them in between blinks. If only one character remains in the room, this will be near guaranteed, since a person blinks on average every 4 seconds. Eyeblinks last about a 10th of a second, and so the demon will be able to advance 1 foot (in its mobile form when unobserved, weeping demons move an incredibly fast 10 feet/second). If two characters remain in the room (and are both staring warily at the statue), then there is a 25% every four seconds they will blink at the same time. For three characters, say a 5% chance every 4 seconds, and for more than three characters say a 5% chance every round.
Note: The demon has 63 hit points, a constitution score of 13, and a time-potential of 39 years (see appendix for details). Pazuzu has pre-fixed the distance displacement factor so that instead of a random 1000-4000 feet, characters touched by the demon will automatically be displaced to the hill over the river in the village above. The demon has been consigned to this room for 53 years by Pazuzu and is “starving”, in exceedingly foul temper, and so will certainly try banishing every single character to feed off their potential energy.
The DM should be prepared to have endless fun (and headaches) with time travel paradoxes, depending on what displaced characters decide to do in the past. As for the buried temple: given that it has been sealed for 14 years at this point, and no one has entered it since, what they will find there, and in the depths below, is pretty much an exact repeat of what they have just found in the present. And what they do could well change the “future” (their present). For instance, encountering or freeing (!) Lamashtu, using the emerald-key but not returning it to the anzu idol’s mouth, are just a few obvious examples that could make the present drastically different upon return. And if, for whatever desperate, misguided, or insane reason, they were to go back to the room of the weeping demon, they could well get propelled back in time another 39 years. (Not good.)
But the world above the temple is a different matter. People are different, the boy Jarome and the girl Syndi haven’t been born yet, and the characters are unknowns. And the priest Hafsah lives in the chapel. Once they get over the shock of what’s happened to them, they should realize that this brutal time trap could be turned into an opportunity to meet Hafsah. He is 35 years old and 7th level (he was 73 years old and 11th level when he died eight months ago in the characters’ present time, exorcising the boy), and his clerical assistant (different from the one who died in the present), Korus, is 22 years old and 3rd level. Neither of the priests is aware of the temple depths beyond the chasm at the secret door, and of course Hafsah won’t be able to explain anything about The Blinding Claw since it doesn’t exist yet (and won’t for another 22 years). He is definitely aware of the evil nature of the Pazuzu statue, and will be able to explain the odd behavior of any effected character if the players haven’t figured it out already.
He will also recognize the source of the time trap if the statues in room 9 are described to him. In the days of Pazuzu cultists (and before the intervention and arrival of any Osirans like himself) the village of Hommlet had problems with a weeping demon (the same one imprisoned by Pazuzu in room 9), and Hafsah is aware of this. He is in fact a sage on the obscure subject of weeping demons, and can advise on the usefulness of greater restoration (which will send back one victim to the appropriate time), and wish or miracle (either of which will send back 1-3 victims). The victims are sent back to the exact time points they left, but with no distance displacement this time. For instance, if they use one of these spells to return to the present while standing in the chapel of the statues, that is the room they will return to 39 years in the future.
If the characters are open with Hafsah, treat him respectfully, and inform him that they intend to beard Pazuzu in his den on Torremor — and if he is convinced of their holy intentions — he will give them his prize artifact: The Rod of Demonic Woe. Note that the rod is not available in the characters’ present. They will not have found it searching the chapel, and who knows why, but one reason could well be to fulfill the time paradox of Hafsah giving it to them now in the past, if that’s what he chooses to do. Without this artifact, the characters stand almost no chance of destroying The Blinding Claw, unless they have obtained Pazuzu’s true name from Lamashtu. Hafsah, however, will not simply hand over the rod. The characters need to prove themselves and earn it through some decent role-playing. The DM should allow charisma checks at whatever modifiers deemed appropriate. If the characters tell Hafsah about the mindraped boy he died for (in the future), and that they healed him (if they managed to do this), he will be particularly moved. Of course, they may wish to avoid spelling out the cleric’s fate (so as to protect time events), and that’s fine too. But they will need to be forthcoming about some things, if for no other reason to get back to their present. Hafsah will at the very least allow time displaced characters to set their hands on the rod for the greater restoration effect, which will restore their appropriate potential energy. Whether or not he lets them take the artifact with them is another issue.
Note that new-wave Osiranism doesn’t exist yet. The seeds for it will germinate 11 years later, and it will take about another decade after that for the fervor to catch on. So Hafsah’s tome, The Fidelity of Osiris hasn’t been written; his “conversion” is more than two decades in the future. Any inquiries or suggestions about translating πίστις Ὀσίρεως as the faithfulness of Osiris, or fidelity of Osiris, instead of one’s faith in Osiris, will be greeted with puzzlement, though also curiosity.
This brutal time trap is also an opportunity for characters to recuperate and regain any spells, especially clerics who won’t be able to regain any on the Abyss.
As for any remaining characters in room 9, who succeeded in evading the demon’s touch and either killed or dispelled it, options for escape are limited. Passwall is the best option, though a mage will need many of them to get through 40 feet of wall, and must apply them immediately south back to room 8. And of course, no spells (not even wishes and miracles) can be used to teleport on account of the Torremor-like atmosphere infusing the depths, though a miracle will create a passwall effect if worded that way, and indeed at twice the effect of the normal spell. A wish will also create a passwall at double effect — and then promptly cave in on the fools when they’re halfway down the passage. If spellcasters who can produce these effects were the ones banished to the past, then the remaining characters in the room can only hope to be rescued by them if and when they return. If they return with the Rod of Demonic Woe, they can invoke its pass hostile element function (see appendix) which will solve everything.
10. Door of Flesh (True Gate). The room stinks of feces and is swarming with flies and carrion. Characters are effected by a curse of the putrid husk, but before even this, the door they enter has a symbol of discord effecting all who pass through it. DM’s should exploit everything here in tandem to produce a drama of fear of, and hatred for, one’s fellow characters. The door at the far side of the room is made of human flesh, and is the true gate to Torremor. From the other side, it’s a simple archway of mist to step through. From this side it’s a harrowing punishing device: a 10-year old girl is welded into the door in an eternity of torture, screaming horribly, fully aware of her surroundings and situation, but aside from her face immobile. She’s been trapped like this for over five decades and at the sight of anyone entering the room will beg for death.
* If she is killed (AC 10, hp 1), then the gate to Torremor opens for 24 hours. This is the only way the gate will open from this side, besides using a miracle (but not wish). Anyone who touched the statue of Pazuzu will not attempt to kill the girl.
* If no one kills the girl, then anyone who touched the statue of Pazuzu will call on his name three times, which invites a possession attack; Pazuzu’s spirit will suddenly appear inside the girl, her face will contort horribly, and the demon will bellow forth acid fog while heaping vulgar curses on the party, inciting them, “Kill me! Kill me, you fuckers!” If an exorcism is attempted, Pazuzu’s spirit will vanish — after he casts flesh to stone on the door, which seals the gate from this side. (Stone to flesh will reverse the effects and revivify the girl in her cursed state.)
* A dispel magic (against 28th level) in conjunction with either a remove curse or break enchantment, or a miracle alone will free the girl. But then the gate cannot be opened (save by using another miracle, but not wish). Using a wish to free the girl will also work, but it will juxtapose the wisher for the girl, and that character will now become trapped in the eternity of torture (on which see below).
* If no one is trapped in the door’s design, the gate is useless from this side, and the party will not be able to travel to Torremor. But anyone who touches the door must save at -2 vs. breath weapon or become trapped by the eternity of torture just as the girl was. Note that a character who touched the statue of Pazuzu will not touch the flesh door, but will attempt to persuade others to touch it, under a “hunch” that physical contact triggers the gate in some way. Which, of course, is a half-truth: once a character has become part of the door, the gate may be opened indeed, once that character is killed. Again: aside from a miracle (but not a wish), the only way the gate will open to Torremor is by the death of someone trapped in the door’s curse. If a wish is used to try opening the gate, the gate will explode like a bomb, everyone in the room will take 8d8 points of damage, and the gate is ruined. Thus is Pazuzu’s Amusement.
* As mentioned, if either the girl or a character is killed inside the door’s curse, the door transforms into an archway of mist (for 24 hours) which allows passage to Torremor. The corpse of the girl or the character disappear as well, and will have to be found in The Lord’s Rook to have any hope of being raised or resurrected.
It is recommended that characters rest and pray/study their spells before entering Torremor, especially for the benefit of clerics who will be cut off from their deities and won’t be able to get any spells back after casting them.
III. THE LORD’S ROOK
Torremor, the 503rd layer of the Abyss, is
“…a tangled nest of beams and perches, rooks and pinnacles, bridges and arches, connected by writhing ropes and jangling chains. Those knocked from its perches fall to their eventual deaths below broken and shattered on bridges and pinnacles lower still. Offal and waterfalls frothing from larger solid sections of the realm tumble forever, crumbling to dust or drifting away in vapor long before they finish their plunge. Torremor has no true base, yet it seems to have countless apexes… The most important location in Torremor is the Lord’s Rook, built to accommodate those who can fly and mock those who cannot. It is whispered that something at the core of the Lord’s Rook grants Pazuzu his unique ability to plane shift at will.” (Dragon Magazine, March 05, p 66-67)
The players can count themselves fortunate that they won’t be exposed to the general environment of Torremor, though that turns out to be small comfort. The gate in the temple depths translates them straight to the Lord’s Rook, where a devastating challenge awaits them.
Pazuzu’s cylindrical tower is an imposing 936 feet tall and 260 feet in diameter. The wall is 60 feet thick, the inner tiers 200 feet in diameter, with 104 vertical feet between each of the nine tiers. The Lord’s Rook is built around an extra-planar cylinder that shifts whenever someone enters Torremor through the gate under Hommlet. What greets the invaders is a drastically altered version of The Lord’s Rook, which when taken together with the temple depths themselves constitute the overarching game of Pazuzu’s Amusement. In place of the dining halls, audience chambers, torture pits, and treasure heaps that normally fill Pazuzu’s Rook is a brutal playhouse of traps and nasties aligning with the demon’s sense of humor. Aside from tiers 1 and 9, there are no floors in the Amusement, few areas to walk about safely, a mockery to those who lack the natural ability to fly. Layers of mist four feet thick separate the tiers and serve as “floors” and “ceilings”.
Pazuzu actually wants experienced, high-level mortals to dare him in his lair, especially heroes from Hommlet who have injured him through the rite of exorcism. He’s been waiting decades for it. He is practically invincible on his home turf, and like all cowards at heart, is greatly empowered by a deck stacked overwhelmingly in his favor. He knows nothing about The Rod of Demonic Woe, and would take a considerably less cavalier attitude toward any group that he knew possessed such an artifact. If the characters did not obtain this rod from Hafsah in the past, their goal will be near impossible unless they obtained Pazuzu’s true name from Lamashtu.
If the characters know Pazuzu’s true name, and if they freed Lamashtu from her cage, then Pazuzu will be aware by now of her liberation. He will be livid beyond description, but also frightened of the possibility that she was let loose at the price of revealing his name. His hunger for revenge will be tempered in this case by genuine terror, though all the more reason he wants the characters in his Amusement, to put them to death before they can spread his true name — and in the Abyss where there will be no chance of anyone else raising them back from the dead in the mortal world.
The upshot is that Pazuzu’s Amusement is as much a test as it is a death zone protecting the demon lord, and its architect will be schizophrenically gleeful and chary about finally getting to see it in action.
If the characters have neither the Rod of Demonic Woe nor Pazuzu’s true name to fall back on, then they will in all probability be wiped out when they reach the Cathedral of the Blinding Claw (assuming they get that far and don’t die in the Rook). In that case, they can, as a last-ditch effort, rely on the fidelity version of a holy word, which will probably spell as much disaster for them as Pazuzu.This is not to say that DM’s should fudge, tone things down, or do something to make things more easy for the players in such a case. And it is certainly not to imply that DM’s should run the temple depths by railroading characters into Lamashtu or the weeping demon. On the contrary: let the chips fall where they may. The Rook will still be a lot of fun before the players go down. And sequel missions for a different set of characters are always possible. Destroying the Blinding Claw should be hard, and while I didn’t make the task insanely difficult like Return to the Tomb of Horrors, I subscribe to the view that death and failure should be eternally realistic threats in D&D, regardless of character level, and that nothing should be pre-determined. Lamashtu’s Cage and the Room of the Weeping Demon offered the players a chance along different avenues, but there’s no guarantee either of these avenues will have been taken.
Finally, DM’s should be intimately familiar with the Spells on Torremor section in the appendix, as many spells either don’t work or produce seriously altered results. Clerics and druids will not be able to get their spells back by praying for them (since they are cut off from their deities), though mages can by the usual studying. If the players decide they need to rest in between tiers, they won’t be harassed for doing so.
Tier 1: Demon’s Waste. The skulls and bones of various creatures and humanoids from the outer and inner planes are piled here, two feet deep across the entire floor. There are also thousands of gems, jewels, coin, weapons, and magic items, many of which are cursed and radiate evil, some of which, however, are fine. There is also a murder of 12 vrocks here (AC 0, HD 8, hp 44 each, # of attacks 5/round, damage/attack 1-4/1-4/1-8/1-8/1-6; at will: darkness 5-foot radius, detect invisibility, telekinesis 2000 gp weight), who will immediately attack the party.
The corpse of anyone slain in the flesh door in the temple depths (room 10) will be here, and may be raised or resurrected, though there is the chance he or she will come back as a demon (see Spells on Torremor in the appendix). The stairwell at the south pole of the room leads up to tier 2.
Tier 2: Missing Gems. A stone bridge spans the diameter of this tier, arching to its midpoint where a nervous looking hobbit awaits. The hobbit will tell the party that in order to continue across the bridge and ascend to the next tier they must pay 30 gems, each a minimum value of 1000 gp. (Gems from tier 1 may be retrieved if the characters come up short, though characters should take care not to take anything cursed.) If they pay, he puts the gems in a bag of holding, tells them to wait, then walks to other end of the bridge under an overhang. (Anyone who attempts to follow him will be stopped by a wall of force.) He reappears moments later, returns to the middle of the bridge, and gives back 3 gems to three random characters, looking increasingly nervous, saying that “the mistress requires only 27 gems for payment”, apologizing profusely for his error. Two rounds later, a bolt of lighting blasts him to death out of nowhere, and a marilith demon (AC -7, HD 14, hp 91, # of attacks 7/round, damage/attack 1-8(x7); at will: darkness 5-foot radius, detect invisibility, polymorph self, charm person), descends swiftly on everyone. She informs the characters: “The hobbit cheated you. I told him to give you back 5 gems, because the true fee for going up to the next tier is 25 gems, not 27 as he claimed. He short-changed you by pocketing 2 of the gems for himself. But if he pocketed 2 gems, and you have paid 27 gems, where is the missing gem that adds up to the original 30? That is the question you must answer to get to the next tier.”
Of course, this is a classic improper equation. The correct answer to the Marilith’s question is to point out that her question is badly phrased. The 2 gems that the hobbit pocketed are part of the 27 they have paid; added to the 3 gems they got back, it adds up to 30. If presented with this correct answer, the Marilith will chuckle and ask the characters if they think they’re cute and clever. But she will not acknowledge the solution, as it does not answer her question, namely, “Where is the missing gem?” In her demented mind, the correct answer is, “Up the hobbit’s ass.” Which is, in fact, exactly where she has shoved one of the two gems that he pocketed at her command. Should the characters wish to examine his corpse (which is perhaps doubtful), they will indeed find one of the gems there — and destroying this gem is needed to ascend to the next tier. The Marilith will first have to be killed, however, as she attacks the party in a rage for failing to acknowledge the “correct” answer. She wields seven swords and scimitars, one of which is a sword of sharpness.
Removing the gem from the poor dead hobbit’s rectum, and crushing it to powder (easily accomplished by a blunt weapon of +1 or higher) will reveal a slightly inclined wall in the middle of the bridge leading up to the center of tier 3. (A thief may climb walls and then haul others up with rope, or a mage may spider climb and do the same.) The overhang at the other end of the bridge was the hobbit’s lair (cot, table, a few other things), but there’s no way to ascend to the next tier from this end of the bridge, as he was instructed to say. The hobbit was of lawful good alignment, enslaved from the prime material plane to serve in Pazuzu’s Amusement, and his outrageous death should of course upset the characters more than any neurotic cheating on the Marilith’s part. On top of this, the three gems returned by the hobbit are cursed, and these curses kick in once the ninth tier (The Tier of Gems) is reached. (See the ninth tier for details.)
Tier 3: Choosing One’s Path. From the center there are eight paths bridging the wall. The surface of each path is inscribed with certain images for the entire 100-foot walk, and each is geared toward a particular character class, which one character of that class may walk down safely. The path of shields (Sh) can be walked by a paladin. The paths of altars (Al) and prayer beads (Pb) can be walked by clerics or druids, but each by only one character. The paths of staves (St) and wands (Wa) can be walked by mages, but again, each by only one character. The path of swords (Sw) can be walked by a warrior. The path of keys (Ke) can be walked by a thief or assassin. And the path of arrows (Ar) can be walked by a barbarian or ranger. Walking along a path that belongs to another class, or a path that has already been used by a member of the appropriate class, ages the character 10-40 years when he or she reaches the end. Returning to the center will reverse the aging process but cost the character 1 level of experience for every 10 years to be gained back.
Only when everyone has walked at least one path (for better or worse), and only when there is no more than a single person standing at the end of each path, will the party be teleported up to tier 4. (If there are more than eight characters in the party, the extras will be left behind.)
Tier 4: Lewd Limericks. The characters appear on one of the eight ledges depending on where they ascended from tier 3. Each character is confronted by, and must destroy or dispel, a chaotic evil version of him or herself. The shade has the character’s hit points and armor class, and opposite spells and magic items where applicable (i.e. blasphemy instead of holy word), and will vaporize into nothingness after 1 hour. If the shade is killed or dispelled, the character ascends to tier 5. The only way to dispel the shade is as follows.
The chaotic evil shade does not begin by attacking. It speaks an obscene limerick, followed by a demand for a matching limerick. The character has ten rounds to come up with a limerick of similar theme, and which must be lewd and vulgar. Failure to produce a limerick results in the shade doubling its hit points and attacking. A lame limerick will cause the shade to attack contemptuously at normal hit point value. A decent limerick will make the shade wail in fury as it loses half its hit points before attacking. If the limerick is a slam dunk, the shade is dispelled, and the character ascends immediately to tier 5. Whether a limerick is lame, decent, or excellent is entirely the DM’s judgment.
There was a young elf who would piddle,
Whenever she tried to self-diddle,
Her fingers were fast,
But her hole was vast,
Obscuring her clit in the middle.
The character must respond with a limerick involving either urination or masturbation. If one is used decently, the shade is weakened by half. If both are used decently, or if even one is used exceptionally well, the shade is dispelled at once.
A faggot-king told his sons
To drink his cum by the tons,
He raped them good,
When they spurned his wood,
So hard that he gave them the runs.
The character must reply with a limerick that is either homophobic (in other words, that uses at least one offensive slur, like “faggot”, “fag-hag”, “ass-bandit”, “cocksucker”, etc.) or scatological in some way. If one is used decently, the shade is weakened by half. If both are used decently, or if even one is used exceptionally well, the shade is dispelled at once.
A little girl choking on semen,
Was pumped from all ends by a demon,
It shot acid cum
Straight up her bum
Until she dissolved and was screamin’.
This demands a limerick involving either child rape or disfigurement. If one is used decently, the shade is weakened by half. If both are used decently, or if even one is used exceptionally well, the shade is dispelled at once.
An exorcist came down from Daj,
Demanding a groinal massage,
His only true power,
Was shown in the shower,
Where he fucked his whole priest entourage.
The character must respond with a limerick that obscenely mocks exorcists. If done well, the shade is weakened by half. If one of the party’s own exorcists is specifically mocked by name, the shade is dispelled at once.
There once was a monk none too kind,
Who deserved being wholly maligned,
His 95 theses
— some call them feces —
Were pulled out indeed his behind.
This is the only limerick of the eight which doesn’t have a lewd focus. It’s a mockery of the Protestant “Reformer” Martin Luther, whom Pazuzu possessed on an alternate Prime Material Plane (our own) to instigate rebellion against the Catholic Church, which is Pazuzu’s #1 enemy on that plane. Pazuzu is the one responsible for turning Luther into a revolting lawless hate-driven anti-Semite, anti-peasant, and misogynist maniac. The character must respond with a limerick that blasts evil religious reformers.
A priestess who wore a thin halter,
Spread wide her legs on the altar,
Until she would get
Just singing the hymns from her psalter.
The character must reply with a limerick about lewd hymns or lascivious priestesses. If one is used decently, the shade is weakened by half. If both are used decently, or if even one is used exceptionally well, the shade is dispelled at once.
She who is given to smut,
Is an over-impregnated slut,
Feed me your lies
And I’ll tear out your eyes,
Then force you to eat out your gut.
This is obviously a limerick about Lamashtu and Pazuzu’s nasty vengeance on her. If the party didn’t encounter Lamashtu in the Buried Temple, then the character will have no idea what it’s talking about. In that case, the character can respond with a general limerick about vicious vengeance. Otherwise, the character must target Lamashtu specifically as this one does. An especially creative one may be deemed excellent enough to dispel the character’s shade right away. A limerick, however, which either (a) alludes to Pazuzu’s real name that Lamashtu treacherously obtained from him, or (b) comes even remotely close to “taking Lamashtu’s side” against Pazuzu, will be an instant fail and double the shade’s hit points.
Trying to ass-rape a dragon,
Is falling headfirst off the wagon,
You’d have to be drunk,
As the proverbial skunk,
From charms of self-harm in your flagon.
The character must come up with a limerick involving bestiality or drunkenness. If one is used decently, the shade is weakened by half. If both are used decently, or if even one is used exceptionally well, the shade is dispelled at once.
Tier 5: Forest of Repulsion. The characters appear on a six-foot wide ledge running 360 degrees around the wall of the tier. They are in the positions they were on the tier before, but because of the ledge they can get to each other easy enough. Out in the center of the tier lies a floating island with a rotting, hideously smelling forest. An anzu demon (AC -5, HD 16, hp 106, # of attacks/round 7, damage/attack 1-8+ poison breath/1-6/1-6/1-6/1-6/1-8/1-8; at will: telepathy 100-feet, darkness 15-foot radius, detect invisibility, telekinesis 6000 gp weight) lurks in the trees spying on the party the instant they appear. If one of the player characters was transformed into an anzu in room (5) of the temple depths, and if it fled through through the mirror gate, this anzu will be that player character, its face bearing a distorted resemblance.
Amidst the rotting vegetation on the island is a species of plant with a reddish purple hue. 40 of these plants are sporadically placed across the forest; one will be encountered about every 3 square feet. Each plant sprays a stream of acid equivalent to acid arrow from a 12th level mage spell and has 12 hp. At some point the anzu demon will drop out of the trees and attack (surprise attack on a roll of 1-4 on d6).
At F, there is a clearcut with seven floating crystalline spheres, with writing in the common tongue on each: (1) Ar (2) Beg (3) Sisi (4) Siriso (5) Rekes (6) Suroh (7) Pepa. These are names of Egyptian gods or goddesses spelled backwards: Ra, Geb, Isis, Osiris, Seker, Horus, Apep. All of them must be smashed (in any order) except for the “Pepa” sphere. Apep is part of the Egyptian pantheon but not an actual god, rather an evil serpent and deadly enemy of the gods, one whom Pazuzu rather admires for his intense hatred of Osiris (see Deities & Demigods, p 50). Three rounds after the “Pepa” sphere is the only one left intact, a stairwell ascending to the next tier materializes at the south-pole at S, and the characters are instantly teleported onto the ledge next to it.
Tier 6: A Waspy Dilemma. As on the tier below, there is a six-foot wide ledge running 360 degrees around the wall of this tier. The characters ascend the stairwell at S. Two giant wasps lurk on floating islands: a gross bloated yellow jacket at X and a sickening white-faced hornet at Y. Each is about 20 feet long, slow and sluggish looking, buzzing angrily. Against the wall at A are two hideous statues, grotesque mockeries of the god Osiris. A voice explains out of nowhere: “Take this, Osirans: One wasp will carry you safely to the next tier; the other will carry you to death. There are two demons against the wall, and they each know which wasp will transport you safely. One demon tells the truth; the other lies. You may ask one demon one question. When you are ready to pick your wasp, call out either ‘yellow’ or ‘white’ and it will come to you.” The yellow jacket is the safe ticket upwards; the white-faced hornet, if mounted, will begin carrying the party upwards, then near the top ledge will suddenly upend itself and drop everyone down about 700 feet down to the first tier. How to determine the right wasp with a single question?
The solution is to ask either demon what his fellow demon would say. Something like: “If I were to ask your fellow demon which wasp would carry us to the next tier, what would he say?” If the truthteller is being asked, he will truthfully tell the party that the other demon (the liar) would indicate something false. If the liar is being asked, he will falsely tell the party that the other demon (the truthteller) would indicate something false. So the false answer (the white-faced hornet) is guaranteed, regardless which demon is the truthteller and which is the liar.
Now, if the players are feeling their oats because they know the solution, they’re in a for a rude surprise. The problem is that the statues against the wall aren’t really demons. They are animated statues that perhaps look demonic — hideously made over in mockery of Osiris, but not demons, and both are liars. So asking either statue the question “If I were to ask your fellow demon which wasp would carry us to the next tier, what would he say?”, will actually yield a truthful answer: either liar will falsely tell the party that the other “demon” (also a liar) would indicate something true. So the true answer (the yellow jacket) is what will be guaranteed by dealing with the statues, opposite the characters’ expectations of a false answer.
There are two demons against the wall, as the voice said, 15 feet over at point B, but they are invisible. Detect invisibility or dispel magic will show them. (True seeing will do so as well, but will strike the caster insane; see Spells on Torrermor in the appendix.) They are glabrezus, and as the voice promised, one is a truthteller, the other a liar. Of course, it’s completely natural to assume the hideous looking statues are the demons the voice is referring to… An unfair shaft, but perfectly “reasonable” in the context of Pazuzu’s Amusement.
Remember that clerical divination type spells don’t work on Torremor (unless the cleric worships a deity who resides on the Abyss, obviously not the case). A mage’s contact other plane will work fine, and can be used to determine which wasp is which, but there is the 50% chance that the caster will be struck insane (see Spells on Torremor in the appendix).
Note: Either wasp will return to its island after transporting the characters to the next level or dumping them down to tier 1. If for whatever reason any characters remained behind on the ledge to see what would happen to their colleagues, either wasp can be summoned again, for as many times as the insects remain alive. Note that if any thief attempts to scale the walls of this tier, or if any mage attempts spider climbing, or if anyone gets cute ideas with ropes/grappling hooks/iron spikes — then both wasps will immediately attack the offenders. Each wasp: AC 4, HD 8, hp 38, 41, # Attacks 2/round, Damage/Attack 1-12 (bite), 1-4 (sting + poison). Failure to save against the poison of the sting results in paralysis, with death coming in 1-4 hours; delay poison will triple the period of waiting, and remove poison will cure as always. If the wasps are killed, then the characters had better have some good ideas involving scaling, roping, or spider climbing after all.
Tier 7: Prismatic Beams. As on tiers 5 and 6, there is a six-foot wide ledge running 360 degrees around the wall of this tier. Spanning the tier are eight solid prismatic beams. The characters are deposited by the yellow jacket at point X, which then leaves. The DM must roll 1d8 for every character, who will turn a color based on that roll: 1=red, 2=orange, 3=yellow, 4=green, 5=blue, 6=indigo, 7=violet, 8=black. The beams are solid enough to walk on, but they will trigger their prismatic effects (per prismatic sphere) on any different-colored character at the midpoints. I.e. The red beam will inflict 10 hp of damage, the orange beam 20 hp of damage, the yellow beam 40 hp of damage, the green beam require a save vs. poison or die, the blue beam a save vs. petrification or turn to stone, the indigo beam a save vs. spells to avoid insanity, and the violet beam a save vs. spells to avoid being banished to a random plane of the Abyss. The black beam requires a save vs. death magic or the character will become chaotic evil in alignment. Anyone may walk along his or her color safely to reach the center.
It may not be obvious, however, which beams each character should walk on, because upon entering, each character will be colorblinded unless a save vs. spells at -4 is made. Those colorblinded will see people and beams as follows: red and green and black will look black, yellow and blue will look grey, orange and indigo and violet will look white. Remove blindness will cure one individual. True seeing will remove the effect too, but also strike the person with insanity (see the Spells on Torremor in the appendix).
Each person who reaches the center (for better or worse) will be teleported up to tier 8 individually.
Tier 8: Creeping Doom. The characters appear individually on a floating island with heavy mist immediately surrounding. A contingency spell is programmed to trigger the birth of a creeping doom inside a random character who fails his/her save vs. spells. The character’s skin will start to bulge obscenely for 3-6 rounds, after which point the saving throw is made. Failure results in 500-1000 locusts bursting from the character’s body, fatal of course, and swarm-attacking the other characters. A successful save means the threat of the creeping doom passes.
When the creeping doom is annihilated (or if the character saved), the mist clears, and the characters will notice an actual stone ceiling 100 feet up instead of the usual fog. A massive pillar also appears in the middle of the island with stairs ascending 70 feet to a 10-foot diameter platform. When at least one person is standing on this platform and utters the words “Blinding Claw”, gravity is suddenly reversed (per the spell), and all characters on the platform fall 30 feet to the ceiling (3d6 damage). Should any characters remain below on the island, they fall a whopping 100 feet to the ceiling, which amounts technically to 10d6 damage, but I don’t care what anyone’s hit point score is: no one survives a 100-foot fall to a stone surface. There is secret door on the ceiling which leads to the ninth tier.
Tier 9: Tier of Gems. A tier with an actual floor (not seen since tier 1), this is the final level in the Amusement. The walls glitter with gems of every size and color welded into it, and it’s virtually impossible to remove any of them. Upon arrival, the curses from the hobbit’s three gems on tier 2 kick in. One character will see everything upside down and suffer -4 penalties on to hit and dexterity rolls; another character will be able to speak only gibberish; and a third character will hear silence but not sound and so will suffer the effects of a confusion spell on top of being effectively deafened. The easiest way to remove each curse is by crushing each of the three gems (easily accomplished with a +1 or better weapon), though it probably won’t be apparent that these gems are the source of the curses, unless players deduce that the three characters effected are the three given the gems from the hobbit.
Each curse can also be removed by remove curse, restoration (lesser or greater). A miracle will remove all three curses at once. All three characters putting their hands on the Rod of Demonic Woe for the mass greater restoration effect will be cured as well. A wish will remove all three curses at once, but it will also slam the wisher with internal fire, the 9th level wu-jen spell from Oriental Adventures: “This spell creates a deadly raging heat within the bowels of the victim, causing him/her to be consumed by flame from inside. Death occurs instantly, There is no saving throw.” If by this point the players haven’t smartened up to the perils of using wishes in Pazuzu’s domains, then the character pretty much deserves to die.
Cathedral: The Blinding Claw
This vast cavern is Pazuzu’s throne hall, completely set in air and tailored to natural fliers. There are no floating islands, no beams, no platforms. The Blinding Claw hangs suspended over 900+ feet of pure air, and Pazuzu will be sitting on it, either alone or surrounded by his elite horde depending on which of the following two scenarios apply:
Scenario A: The characters did not free Lamashtu
Pazuzu will be attended by his elite horde: the primal anzu, three balors, eight babaus, twelve chasmes, and twenty vrocks. That’s not a pretty picture, and without The Rod of Demonic Woe, or Pazuzu’s true name, the characters can count on going down fast, and take pride in the fact that they made it this far.
If they obtained the Rod of Demonic Woe from Hafsah, then they stand a chance. In the hands of a cleric or paladin, the rod can be used to invoke absolute banishment to all demons in a 100-foot radius, for 6 turns (no save). So Pazuzu’s entire horde will be banished like him, leaving the throne by itself and characters one hour to destroy it, if they can figure out a way to reach it. The rod, of course, will allow them to reach it by a bridge (its pass hostile element function). Without the rod, at the very least, spells can be cast from the ledge of the ninth tier, and missile weapons (magical) can also be fired against it.
If the party obtained Pazuzu’s true name, but broke their promise and left Lamashtu caged, then they have another weapon over the demon lord, but which will produce calamitous results if invoked in the presence of his horde. Upon hearing his true name, the primal anzu and balors will also invoke it, and a chaotic mutiny will ensue. Pazuzu will of course vanish, leaving four major demons (the anzu and three balors) who will eventually duke it out for power, but not before teaming up against the party. In which case the characters better have the rod, or they’re probably finished.
Scenario B: The characters freed Lamashtu.
Pazuzu will be alone and extremely wary. He will also be furious, suspecting the truth: that Lamashtu was freed at the cost of his true name. The absolute last thing he wants is for any other demon to hear his name and gain power over him (the dream of any anzu or balor) and become the new lord of Torremor. But the characters had best invoke his name right away. As soon as they come to the edge of the floor on tier 9, he will fly (on his throne) to a 60-foot distance from the party so he can use his detect thoughts ability. On the third round, the spell will pick up his name from the surface thoughts of the characters (if they haven’t invoked it already), and he will instantly vanish. If, on the other hand, the party has somehow taken steps to protect their thoughts with anti-scrying, non-detection, or mindblank spells, then he will assume by the third round that they simply don’t know his name and he was being paranoid for nothing. But that’s not good, because in this case he will summon his demon horde, which will arrive by his side in the next round. If they invoke his name after the arrival of the horde, then the chaotic mutiny described in the first scenario will ensue. At this point, only the Rod of Demonic Woe will likely save them, if they have it.
If the characters invoke Pazuzu’s true name immediately as they should, he isn’t messing around. After the characters get in one round of actions/attacks, he’s gone. In that first round before he can flee, a cleric or paladin will hopefully use the power of command to order him to bring the Blinding Claw onto the solid floor of the ninth tier (so they can try to destroy it in easy reach) but especially to forbid him to take the throne with him if he flees.
If the characters obtained the Rod of Demonic Woe on top of the scenario of liberating Lamashtu by getting Pazuzu’s name, then so much the better. They have an added blanket of security.
Scenario C: The characters invoke a holy word by Osiris’ faithfulness
There is a third line of defense to fall back on, in the absence of the rod or Pazuzu’s true name, but the consequences are a bit drastic. If the characters have read The Fidelity of Osiris from the chapel library, and if they have it with them, a cleric can use the revised prayers to modify a holy word (assuming, of course, that he has the spell to begin with and hasn’t used it up yet). A holy word cast on an outer plane usually doesn’t work at all (see Spells on Torrermor in the appendix). But if the holy word is invoked by the new-wave rituals — that is, by Osiris’ faithfulness instead of by the cleric’s faith — it delivers a devastating miracle: Pazuzu and his horde (all in a 200-foot radius) must save vs. spells at -6 or irrevocably die, permanently (51-150 hp of damage if save). That’s pretty sweet, but unfortunately, the backlash of power ages the cleric 20 years and costs 6 experience levels (no save), neither of which can be restored lest one arouse Osiris’ anger and require an atonement spell. This is the sacrifice of a “faithlessly unshielded” cleric who channels Osiris’ amazing grace on an outer plane. On top of this, a vortex is ripped through time and space, and all characters, including the cleric (and also any demons remaining alive) must save (no penalty) or get sucked into the vortex and spat out in a completely random outer plane, with a 33% chance of instant death for materializing in a hostile or lethal environment. (No one goes to the same place.) To any who remain alive at this point, good luck from there.
Destroying the Blinding Claw
The Blinding Claw is treated as having an armor class of -4 and 160 hit points. Only magic weapons and spells do it damage. It regenerates 2 hp/round. If it is reduced to 0 hp or less, and a dispel magic or dispel evil or dispel chaos is cast on it before it can regenerate to above 0 hit points, it is destroyed for good. Being touched by The Rod of Demonic Woe when it has 0 hit points or less is effectively the same as having any of the dispels cast on it.
If a cleric had the balls to cast a holy word in its subjective-genitive slant, there’s a good chance that Pazuzu himself is dead — that the party has actually succeeded in killing a demon lord on his home plane. This means he’s dead for good, an incredible accomplishment which should earn the characters a complete level advancement in itself, aside from the half-levels gained from any accomplishments listed below. There’s also a good chance they have destroyed themselves under this scenario, and the cleric will hardly be compensated for the experience levels torpedoed by casting the spell. But the destruction of Pazuzu is a glorious deed regardless of the characters’ fates.
DM’s should award experience points as they deem appropriate, but each of the following accomplishments should earn the characters a half level advancement:
* successfully exorcising and/or healing Syndi
* learning Pazuzu’s true name
* obtaining the Rod of Demonic Woe
* getting through the gate to Torremor without killing the girl trapped in the door
* making it to the 9th tier in the Lord’s Rook
* destroying the Blinding Claw
Rules of Demonic Possession
Most of what follows is adapted from Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss, pp 21-24.
(A) The Physical and Incorporeal Forms
A demon with at least 4 hit dice may shuck its physical form to take on an incorporeal form. In this case, the physical body lies senseless, as if in suspended animation — not requiring food or air, though of course direct damage can kill it. The incorporeal form dies if the physical form dies, and a demon will be instantly aware if something bad is happening to his physical body, and can return to it in one round. A successful dispel magic cast on an empty body will return the soul to it immediately. A demon can only move about in its incorporeal state on the plane where its body lies in stasis plus the astral or ethereal planes. (So, for instance, a demon using this ability while its body is on the Abyss cannot possess a creature on the Prime Material Plane.) A demon in incorporeal form is visible, has normal hit point, armor class, and saving throw bonuses, but has no access to supernatural/spell-like abilities, and can only attack by means of normal melee touch attacks (with no strength bonuses). If the incorporeal form is destroyed, the physical body remains in a coma-like state for a week while its incorporeal essence reforms.
* A demon in incorporeal form may attempt to possess another creature. It requires a touch and exertion of will, and if the target fails to save versus petrification, he/she/it is possessed. A protection from evil (or similar) spell automatically protects against possession. A successful save means the demon may not attempt to possess that creature again for 24 hours.
* Once in possession of another creature, the demon essentially becomes part of the victim, experiencing everything its host is through sight, hearing, taste, smell, feeling, etc. It has immediate access to all of the victim’s current thoughts, as though using a detect thoughts spell, and can probe memories as well (though the victim gets a save against memory probing). Physical harm to the victim does not harm the demon in any way. Killing the victim forces the demon back to its physical body.
* A demon in possession of another creature can take on any of the following six roles:
(1) Lurker. The demon attempts to hide its presence within the possessed creature so that it can pass through a magic circle against evil, enter a forbiddence-warded church, or escape detection by detect evil or detect chaos spells or effects. To hide its presence and become a lurker, the demon must make a successful intelligence check, with a -1 penalty for every level of difference between it and the victim if the victim’s is higher.
(2) Mutterer. The demon plants barely perceived whispers or emotions in the victim’s mind in an attempt to influence his or her actions. The victim is allowed a save, and if unsuccessful, he or she must either do as the demon suggests (30%) or spend a round befuddled, as if under a confusion spell (70%). Victims plagued by mutterers are often exhausted from sleep-deprivation, develop tics, and can even be driven insane over extended periods of time.
(3) Ally. The victim is aware of the demon and is a willing host, doing everything the demon wants it to do. He or she is granted a +4 profane bonus to hit and damage and saving throws, and also to one of his or her six ability scores. The demon and victim communicate telepathically with each other. Should the victim at any point become unwilling, the demon can immediately remove the profane bonus and take on the role of an enemy or (even worse) controller.
(4) Enemy. Opposite of ally, the demon takes on this role usually after failing to become a controller or upon becoming angry at a victim who failed to follow directives when acting as an ally. The victim is cursed with a -4 profane penalty instead of bonus (no save), and the demon can remove the penalty after working out any telepathic reconciliations and wishes to revert to an ally.
(5) Controller. The most feared form of possession: the demon completely dominates the victim against his or her will. A successful save means that the victim has resisted control, but the demon may try again the next round, and keep trying on subsequent rounds. The saving throw is vs. petrification, and it is made at +/-1 for every level of difference between the demon and victim, but also at +1 for every round of successful saving. If and when the control is successful, the demon can retreat into lurker mode (or any of the previous four roles) and back to controller at will, with the victim getting no more saves.
(6) Transformer. The demon uses the victim to gain a foothold on the Prime Material Plane, transforming the creature it possesses into its own demonic shape. Transformation takes at least four days, one day for each quarter of the victim’s body. The victim gets a save for each time a quarter-transformation is attempted (at +1 for a Con score of 13-15, +2 for a Con score of 16-17, +3 for a Con score of 18-19, +4 for a Con score of 20+; -1 for a Con score of 6-8, -2 for a Con score of 4-5, -3 for a Con score of 2-3, -4 for a Con score of 1). Once the transformation is complete, the demon has essentially taken the victim’s place and has access to all its normal powers and abilities. The victim is trapped within the demon and becomes effectively a lurker, and can neither communicate nor exercise any power.
Of course, a demon does not have to take on any of these six roles, but that’s unusual. In Pazuzu’s case, he almost always takes the role of a viciously tormenting controller, though occasionally uses the lurker and mutterer roles when it suits his purposes.
Rules of Exorcism
Some of what follows comes from Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss, p 26, except for the exorcise spell itself, which instead of following the lame 1st level spell described on p 92 of the same book, follows the vastly superior 4th level spell from the classic 1st edition Player’s Handbook on p 48. Why this original version of the spell was discontinued I’ve no idea, but it’s the one I will always use, and certainly the one to be followed in this module. I replicate it below with some modifications.
Casting Time: Up to nine turns (90 rounds)
Saving Throw: None
Area of Effect: One creature or object
The spell of exorcism will negate possession of a creature or an object by any outside or supernatural force. This includes magic jar possession, demonic possession, special curses and even charms. The exorcise spell, once begun, cannot be interrupted, or else it is spoiled and useless, and the ritual must be started afresh with a new spell. The base chance for success is a completely random 1-100% for each turn (i.e. every 10 rounds). The ritual starts, and at the end of each turn the DM rolls percentiles, and if that base chance number, or less, is then rolled by the cleric, the spell is successful.
If the possessor is exceptionally powerful (20th level or above, a demon lord like Pazuzu, etc.), then the base chance of success is modified by -40% for the first turn, -20% for the second and third turns, no modifiers for the fourth, fifth, and sixth turns, +20% for the seventh and eighth turns, and +40% for the ninth turn. Otherwise, in “standard” cases, the base chance is modified by -20% for the first turn, -10% for the second turn, no modifiers for the third, fourth and fifth turns, +10% for the sixth, +20% for the seventh, +30% for the eighth, and +40% for the ninth.
If the cleric uses any assistant clerics (who must naturally follow the same deity, and assist with additional holy symbols, water, praying, chanting, etc.), the base chance is modified by +5% per assistant. A religious artifact or relic can modify the chance of success by whatever figure the DM deems appropriate.
The modified chance shall in any case never be less than 10% and never greater than 90%. Once the modified chance is determined, a further adjustment of +2% or – 2% for each level of difference between the cleric and the possessor must be applied for the result chance. The result chance can never be less than 5% and never greater than 95%.
If by the end of the ninth turn the exorcism has still failed, the ritual must be closed and another exorcise spell attempted after a “rest” period of at least another nine turns. Material components for this spell are the holy object of the cleric and holy water (or unholy, in the case of evil clerics, with respect to object and water). Only one exorcise spell can be cast on one victim at a time, so regardless how many assistants know the spell, only one priest can be the actual exorcist at a given time.
While exorcise is much more arduous and time consuming than dispel evil, dispel chaos, dismissal, or banishment, it’s the duration of this spell that shows its might, for it is final and absolute. Once someone (or something) has been exorcised, he, she, or it can never be possessed again by the same agent. (Not only that, the agent who has been exorcised must wait an entire month before attempting to possess anyone else.) The other four spells take only a round to cast, and a single saving throw determines the outcome immediately, but there’s no guarantee the possessor won’t simply try again when the duration of the spell is over (which is usually something like 1 round/level of the caster). And while protection from evil automatically protects one from possession/repossession attempts, that spell effect also lasts for only 1 round/level of the caster. These measures (dispels, dismissals, and banishments) are really no protection against demons who won’t go away, short-term solutions at best when dealing with possession, especially relentless possession. Their applicability is geared more towards banishing creatures to “get them out of the way” temporarily so that a certain task can be completed.
New Wave Osiranism
Like another deity (Yeshua Ha’Mashiach) on an alternate Prime Material Plane, Osiris suffered death and mutilation at the hands of evil powers, and after a great struggle with these powers rose again, becoming king of the underworld and judge of the dead. After he died, through the power of birth (Isis), and under the authority and skill of a higher genius (Thoth), he rose again on the Prime Material Plane as the avenger Horus, his son, while remaining the god of the dead and the underworld on many outer planes (the Seven Heavens, for the most part, but linked to others as well, including lower planes where he suffered in death). Like Yeshua in the other universe, Osiris became the god that people strive to “become one with” in order to be saved. More than any other god in the Egyptian pantheon, he is salvifically dynamic. None of this is controversial among followers of Osiris. It’s standard dogma.
More controversial are the implications of becoming one with Osiris and the relationship to faith. The traditional anthropomorphic view which emphasizes the importance of a believer’s faith in Osiris, for all its reliance on divine aid, ultimately rests on mortal confidence. The deific view gives primacy to the faithfulness of Osiris, tapping into unbridled divinity, channeled through a believer to be sure, but unfiltered through the limitations of mortal faith.
Nowhere is this controversy more sharp than in the field of exorcism. Traditionalists insist that exorcism, unlike sacraments, cannot confer grace by the action itself; its efficacy depends on the exorcist’s faith above all. A cleric who exorcises without strong faith risks disaster, for both himself and the possessed victim. In this light, one can imagine the perils of shifting the emphasis on faith away from the believer and onto the deity. The new-wave Osiran responds that a deity’s fidelity is more reliable and mighty than the faith of mere mortals. The traditionalist retorts that it is “mere mortals” who do the dirty work on material planes; deities are heavily occupied on their own planes, and to impose on their unbridled power is risky and presumptuous. The new-wave practitioner counters that relying on oneself is in fact the ultimate presumption, indeed an insufferable hubris. And the debate goes on.
Clerical Abjurations: Exorcism
The new-wave version of the exorcism ritual invokes the faith-power of Osiris himself, though for a short duration. The result is that the base chance of success increases during the first four turns (basically canceling the penalties of the spell’s early turns), though ultimately detrimental if the ritual needs to be extended into later turns. Even worse, it leaves the cleric naked, unable to make any saving throws at all (in every turn), as the cleric is left “faithlessly unshielded”.
The modifiers for the base chance of success for the fidelity ritual are as follows: +40% for the first turn, +20% for the second and third turns, no modifiers for the fourth, fifth, and sixth turns, -20% for the seventh and eighth turns, and -40% for the ninth turn.
So this is how the two rituals compare against a demon lord like Pazuzu, based on the turn sequence alone:
Clerical Abjurations: Dispel Evil and Dispel Chaos
The new-wave versions of these spells are fairly straightforward. The creatures touched must save at -4, and the enchantments are dispelled at 4 levels higher than usual. On the other hand, instead of the cleric getting a +4 deflection bonus, he or she gets a -4 deflection bonus for being left “faithlessly unshielded”. The duration of the spell is also half the normal (1 round/2 levels of the caster).
Clerical/Paladin Evocations: Holy Word and Holy Smite
The new-wave versions of these spells function exactly the same as the traditional versions when cast on the material plane. But when cast on an outer plane — where the traditional versions don’t work at all, lacking a direct conduit to one’s deity — the new versions sledgehammer with tremendous power, opening a miraculous conduit made possible by the mysteries involving Osiris’ special travels throughout many of the outer planes soon after he was slain and resurrected.
* A holy word cast on an outer plane, by invoking the “fidelity of Osiris”, requires any demons/devils/undead/etc. in five times the usual area of effect (5 x 40-foot radius = 200-foot radius) to save vs. spells at -5 or irrevocably die, permanently. Unfortunately, the backlash of power requires the cleric to save (though at no penalty) or also irrevocably die (no resurrections will work), and even if the save is made, the cleric will age 20 years and lose 6 experience levels, neither of which can be restored lest one arouse Osiris’ anger and require an atonement spell. On top of this, a vortex is ripped through the hole of time and space, and everyone in the 200-foot radius, including the cleric and his friends (and also any outer plane beings remaining alive) must save again (no penalty) or get sucked into the vortex and spat out in a completely random outer plane, with a 33% chance of instant death for materializing in a hostile or lethal environment. This is the sacrifice of a “faithlessly unshielded” cleric who channels Osiris’ amazing grace on an outer plane.
* A holy smite cast on an outer plane by invoking the “fidelity of Osiris” deals 1d20 points of damage per two caster levels (half damage if a save at -5 is made), in a 100-foot radius which can be projected at a range of 200 feet. It also causes each creature to be blinded for four rounds (two rounds if the save is made). It also unfortunately stuns the “faithless” caster for ten rounds (five rounds if a save is made).
The Blinding Claw
The Blinding Claw is a throne made of a roc’s talon and studded with rubies and emeralds. It can either rest on the ground, or hang fixed in space unsupported in the air. It can support 10 tons of weight before falling to the ground. It gives Pazuzu astounding powers. Contrast his abilities with those of every other demon:
* Demons (including demon lords and princes) can only enter the Prime Material Plane when summoned, conjured, or by passing through a gate that leads to a specific place. Pazuzu can actually planeshift at will, to whatever plane he desires, and wherever on that plane he desires, while sitting on The Blinding Claw.
* Demons (including demon lords and princes) can only move about in their incorporeal state on the plane where their bodies lie in stasis. Pazuzu can move about in his incorporeal state on any plane if his body is seated on The Blinding Claw. In other words, his soul can effectively plane shift at will, while his body remains safely tucked away home on the Abyss.
* Demons (including demon lords and princes) are prisoners of their possessed victims to a significant extent. While they retain their demonic intelligence, wisdom, and charisma scores, they adopt the strength, dexterity and constitution scores of their victims; Pazuzu retains all six of his demonic scores in a possessed victim while his body sits on The Blinding Claw.
* Demons (including demon lords and princes) cannot work their supernatural and spell-like abilities through possessed victims, but Pazuzu can through The Blinding Claw. In controller mode, he can summon locust swarms, lightning storms, and cast symbols of death and discord, heart-clench people, use his unnerving gaze and telekinetic abilities, etc. — all while possessing the puniest child. This is a truly terrible power.
* The Blinding Claw reduces the base chance for a cleric’s exorcism attempt by 20%, unless the cleric is lawful good.
* The Blinding Claw prevents any quick-and-dirty exorcism attempts through the use of powerful spells like miracle and wish. Only the rite of exorcism, and the spell itself, cast by a cleric or paladin, can hope to exorcise his incorporeal form while his body rests on The Blinding Claw.
* The Blinding Claw allows Pazuzu to mindrape a possessed victim (one attempt/day). See Book of Vile Darkness, p 99, for this hideous 9th-level spell. Basically Pazuzu can erase or add memories to his victim which will remain permanent even after he leaves his victim; and he can leave his victim insane or seemingly unaffected, without any memory of the alterations. He can even alter the victim’s emotions, opinions, and alignment. The victim is allowed a save vs. spells.
* The Blinding Claw allows Pazuzu to cast the following at will, whether in physical form, or at a distance through a possessed victim while his body sits on the throne: blindness, clairvoyance, clairaudience, detect lies, prying eyes, true seeing, reverse gravity.
In other words, The Blinding Claw gives Pazuzu ridiculously easy access to the Prime Material Plane and makes him an unbearable foe to confront, whether in his true form or through a possessed victim. And because he delights in pointless malice — holding in contempt the Abyssal wars that occupy the attention of his fellow demon lords — nothing gives him greater pleasure than corrupting innocent victims through obscene possession attacks, breaking their souls, and leaving their families terrorized, angry, and helpless. Ironically, though he has so much lethal power at his disposal through the Blinding Claw, he will kill only some people (typically relatives or friends of the possessed), and will milk as much terror out of everyone else before finally mindraping his victim, sometimes leaving him/her insane, sometimes with an altered alignment, other times sane but with horrible fake memories which the victim believes real. He always leaves alive at least some, possibly many, family and community members so they can carry scars with them for the rest of their lives. And he adores toying with clerics (especially exorcists) at the low to mid-levels. Powerful high-level clerics are another story: these he won’t hesitate to destroy with little fanfare.
The Rod of Demonic Woe
This mighty artifact is usable only by a cleric or paladin of lawful good alignment of at least 9th level.
— protection from demons: constantly protects the wielder from demons in a 10-foot radius (Prime Material Plane only); at will
— dispel demons: banishes all demons (no save) in a 100-foot radius to their home plane; twice/day
— absolute banishment: banishes all demons (no save) in a 100-foot radius from their home plane to the astral plane for 20 rounds (twice/day)
— mass greater restoration: effects all creatures placing their hands on the rod (twice/day)
— pass hostile element: creates a stone bridge, or parts water, or performs passwall, or shields against fire; the bridge/dry land/tunnel/fire shield is 100 feet long and 10-feet wide (twice/day)
Invoking a Demon’s True Name
If a cleric or paladin (of any level, any alignment) invokes a demon’s true name, the demon had best flee at first opportunity. The cleric or paladin can constantly command the demon per a suggestion spell, every round, short of demanding suicidal and other blatantly outrageous self-harming behavior. The demon never gets a saving throw for the commands, though it is allowed a save if it wants to simply flee. The save is made at -5 at the end of the first round, and -5 thereafter at the end of every tenth round. Again, this save does not allow it to circumvent any orders already given; it only permits flight to prevent further orders. If the demon is attacked at any time, however, or commanded in a blatantly outrageous way, it can automatically flee. A fleeing demon is as if dispelled (if encountered on the Prime Material Plane) or turned (if encountered on its home plane, the Abyss).
Any spellcaster (whether cleric, druid, mage) who invokes a demon’s true name, and prefers to do battle with the demon, will cast spells against it at double effect in all ways (as if double level, double duration, double area of effect, double damage, etc.). Demons being attacked in any way, of course, can automatically flee whenever they want, so if one wants to slay a demon by using its true name, other binding spells will be necessary.
Anyone, of any class, who invokes a demon’s true name cannot be harmed by the demon in any way.
In other words, a demon’s true name gives one near complete dominance over the demon.
Spells on Torremor
Pazuzu jealously guards to rights to his air-space and to travel in general on Torremor. Natural flying, demonic teleporting and telekinesis all work fine, but spells cast by non-demons to the effect of fly, feather fall, levitate, teleport, telekinesis, etc. will not work, not even via wishes and miracles. Blink and vanish won’t work either, for the added reason that they require contact with the ethereal plane.
In a similar vein, non-demonic polymorphing, shapechanging, gaseous form, wind walk, etc. do not work. (Polymorph object works fine.)
As on any level of the Abyss, clerical abjuration spells like protection from chaos/evil, detect chaos/evil, dispel chaos/evil, dismissal, banishment, exorcise, holy aura etc. do not work against natives of the Abyss. (They do work against natives of other planes, like the Nine Hells, Hades, Olympus, though that won’t be of any help in the Lord’s Rook.)
As on any level of the Abyss, clerical evocations like holy word and holy smite will not work, as there is no direct conduit to one’s deity. [Though note: the new-wave Osiran versions of these spells not only work, they work devastating results. See the New Wave Osiranism section of the Appendix.]
Clerics and druids will not be able to regain their spells while on Torremor since they are cut off from their deity. Commune and divination type spells obviously do not work. Contact other plane will work for mages, but because Torremor is so “buried” at the 503rd level, any plane contacted should be treated as “9 or more removed”, which means of course there is a 50% chance the mage will go insane.
Raise dead and resurrection spells are hazardous to cast, as there is a 40% chance (for raise dead) and 20% chance (for resurrection) that the character will come back as either a vrock (70%) or chasme (30%). Regenerate is also hazardous, with a 60% chance of a body part growing back improperly. Reincarnation will automatically return the character in the form of some chaotic evil humanoid (bugbear, gnoll, etc). Other heal, cure, and restoration spells will work fine.
Gods help the fool who casts true seeing. The reality of incarnate chaos and evil is impossible for prime material mortals to withstand, and the caster will be struck insane unless a save vs. spells is made.
Spells requiring contact with the astral or ethereal planes obviously do not work.
Those are the essentials to understand for spell alterations on Torremor. DM’s can use discretion when it comes to other questionable spells.
Constitution Check for Raise Dead/Resurrection Survival
I take the old-fashioned view of 1st edition AD&D that these survival percentages are absolute. If high level clerics can raise the dead and resurrect people on a daily basis, there has to be a chance that the body will not survive the ordeal, and there has to be a limit as to the number of times the body can bear the ordeal. (Otherwise death is trivial.) A character’s constitution score determines both. The following percentages next to constitution scores are the chances a character has of being successfully raised from the dead or resurrected by a cleric. The score of the percentile dice must be equal to or less than the number shown on the table, or the character fails to be revivified and is completely and totally dead forever. On top of this, the character can never be raised from the dead/resurrected a total number of times in excess of his or her constitution score. (The pre-generated characters at the end of this module include in their stats how many times they’ve been raised/resurrected before starting this adventure.)
1 — 30%
2 — 35%
3 — 40%
4 — 45%
5 — 50%
6 — 55%
7 — 60%
8 — 65%
9 — 70%
10 — 75%
11 — 80%
12 — 82%
13 — 84%
14 — 86%
15 — 88%
16 — 90%
17 — 92%
18 — 94%
19 — 96%
20 — 98%
Demons and NPCs
Pazuzu. The following mediates between the 1st edition Pazuzu of Monster Manual II, p 41, and the latter-day Pazuzu of Dragon Magazine, March ’05, #329, pp 57-61.
Pazuzu is the one of the oldest demons in existence, king of the winds, who destroys crops through pestilence and souls through possession. Unlike his fellow demon lords (Demogorgon, Orcus, Graz’zt, Dagon, etc.) he has little interest in the wars and political upheavals that rock the Abyss, preferring instead to focus on the Prime Material Plane where he can ruin mortals. “Innocence, purity, and honesty are sweet enough nectars to harvest. Pazuzu seeks out the noble paladin, the laughing child, and the toiling honest peasant. They are his vineyard. He takes from them what makes them strong, and excretes cruelty back into their shells. Corruption of the spirit is Pazuzu’s finest addiction.” (Dragon Magazine, #329, March ’05, p 60).
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
Str 20, Int 21, Wis 18, Dex 22, Con 24, Cha 22
Hit Dice: 28 (364 hit points)
Armor Class: -9 (+2 or better weapon needed to hit)
# Attacks/Round: 4 (with sword +4 of anarchic speed); 2 (with other weapons); 3 (with talons and bite)
Damage/Round: 1d8+8, +1d6 extra damage against lawful beings, (x4) (with sword of anarchic speed); 1d6+4 (x2) + 1d8 (with talons and bite)
At Will — blasphemy, call lightning storm, control weather, deeper darkness, desecrate, detect good, detect law, detect thoughts, dispel magic, fly, locust swarm, statue, stinking cloud, telekinesis, teleport, tongues, unhallow, unholy aura, unnerving gaze
1x/day — abyssal ant swarm, acid fog, heartclench, incendiary cloud, shapechange, symbol of death, symbol of discord, symbol of fear, wish
Like all demons, Pazuzu can move from the Abyss to Tarterus or Pandemonium, or roam the Astral Plane. But (without the Blinding Claw), he cannot enter the Prime Material Plane without such aid like conjuration, name speaking, or a gate (per Monster Manual, 1st edition, p 16). If he does get to the Prime Material Plane via one of these methods, however, he can easily return to the Abyss via the Astral Plane. Of course, with The Blinding Claw, he can plane shift (himself or his incorporeal form) wherever he wants, whenever he wants, but that’s not his natural ability.
Lamashtu. Neither TSR nor WotC ever came up with stats for this demon-bitch, despite referring to her so often. This is what I came up with.
Lamashtu is the daughter of the Babylonian sky god Anu, a malevolent demon who menaces women during childbirth and corrupts pregnancies. Breastfeeding infants are her favorite prey, whom she kidnaps to suck their blood and eat their bones. She was Pazuzu’s consort until she betrayed him deeply, and he tore out her eyes and imprisoned her.
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
Str 19, Int 24, Wis 15, Dex 20, Con 21, Cha 22
Hit Dice: 19 (228 hit points)
Armor Class: -4 (+1 or better weapon needed to hit)
# Attacks/Round: 2 (with most weapons); 3 (with talons and bite)
Damage/Round: 1d6+4 (x2) + 1d6 (with talons and bite)
At Will — corrupt pregnancy, deeper darkness, detect good, detect law, detect thoughts, dispel magic, plague of nightmares, shriveling (4d12 or half damage), telekinesis, teleport, tongues, unholy aura, wrack
1x/day — demonic impregnation, despoil, gutwrench, shapechange, stillbirth, symbol of hopelessness, symbol of insanity, symbol of pain
Like all demons, Lamashtu can move from the Abyss to Tarterus or Pandemonium, or roam the Astral Plane, though cannot enter the Prime Material Plane without such aid like conjuration, name speaking, or a gate (per Monster Manual, 1st edition, p 16). From the Prime Material Plane, however, she can easily return to the Abyss via the Astral Plane.
Lamashtu appears in one of two forms: (1) her true form, a jackal-headed woman, heavily pregnant, with feathered wings, a snake’s tail, and taloned feet; (2) a sensuous woman with taloned hair and a scarred face, dressed in black.
Weeping Demon. Based on the weeping angels from Steven Moffat’s Doctor Who stories, weeping demons are stone-like statues resembling gargoyle-like winged women when observed. No one knows what they look when not observed, only that they move extremely fast and are among the nastiest creatures spawned in the universe.
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
Hit Dice: 9d8 + Constitution bonus
Armor Class: 0 (statue), special (mobile)
# Attacks/Round: 1
When weeping demons attack in droves, they are as dangerous to themselves as to others, for if they see each other they will be locked in frozen statue-form forever. Hence they cover their eyes with their hands and arms as best they can as to avoid each others’ gazes (and look like they’re weeping). For this reason, unlike the Doctor Who weeping angels, weeping demons are almost always solitary figures, banding together only under extreme circumstances.
The touch of a weeping demon banishes a victim back in time, and there is no saving throw. Every weeping demon has a fixed time potential based on its constitution score (see below), which is never less than 9. Thus, for instance, a demon with a constitution of 15 may have a time potential of 47 years, 48 years, 49 years, 50 years, or 51 years; but whichever it is, it’s always the same time period for that demon. Weeping demons essentially feed on the potential energy of their victims’ “stolen moments”, as it were, killing them “politely” in the present by sending them back to die in the past by growing old naturally. In addition to the forced time travel, the touch of a demon displaces the victim a random distance of 1000-4000 feet.
Casting stone to flesh on a demon’s frozen form is pointless, for the fleshed demon will instantly turn to stone again in anyone’s eyesight, spellcaster’s or otherwise. Spells like transmute rock to mud and repel stone are completely worthless, since the demon’s aspect isn’t natural stone. Dispel evil, dispel chaos, dismissal, or banishment will all function normally if cast on the frozen form, but are worthless if the demon is unobserved. Blunt magic weapons of +1 or greater can be used to kill the demon in its frozen form, as can sharp magic weapons of +3 or greater.
Attacking a demon in its mobile form (i.e. the demon is unobserved by any living creature; attackers are fighting in the dark, or blinded, etc.) is pretty futile, but can be attempted. A magic weapon (+1 or greater) is needed to inflict damage, but because of the demon’s impossibly fast movement (10 feet/second) on top of effective invisibility, only a natural roll of 20 will strike. A successful hit, however, does triple damage, since the mobile form is extremely weak and vulnerable.
Insofar as how to get back to one’s original time, greater restoration will restore the potential energy to one banished victim and bring him/her back. Wish and miracle will do the trick for 1-3 banished victims.
Table: In addition to displacing a victim a random distance of 1000-4000 feet, the victim is sent back to a fixed point in time based on the demon’s constitution score between 9-20.
9 – 21-24 yrs
10 – 25-28 yrs
11 – 29-32 yrs
12 – 33-36 yrs
13 – 37-41 yrs
14 – 42-46 yrs
15 – 47-51 yrs
16 – 52-56 yrs
17 – 57-62 yrs
18 – 63-68 yrs
19 – 69-74 yrs
20 – 75-80 yrs
Hafsah. The Osiran cleric presided over the Chapel of the Seal from its foundation 53 years ago to his death almost one year ago during his attempted exorcism of a young boy. If the characters are banished back in time 39 years by the weeping demon, and encounter Hafsah, he will be 35 years old and 7th level (when he died he was 73 and and 11th level). Hafsah is a sage on the obscure subject of weeping demons, and knows a lot about demonic lore in general. He has devoted his life to research on Pazuzu, the demon who torments Prime Material Plane victims for pure enjoyment.
Alignment: Lawful Good
Str 9, Int 17, Wis 17, Dex 12, Con 13, Cha 15
Hit Points: 41
Armor Class: 10
Damage/Round: 1-4 (staff)
Orisons — create water, cure minor wounds, detect magic, light, purify food & drink, read magic
1st Level — detect secret doors (knowledge domain), bless water, comprehend languages, cure light wounds, detect evil, remove fear, sanctuary
2nd Level — soften earth & stone (earth domain), augury, calm emotions, consecrate, enthrall, zone of truth
3rd Level — stone shape (earth domain), cure serious wounds, find traps, magic circle against evil, remove disease
4th Level — divination (knowledge domain), detect lies, exorcise, neutralize poison
Korus. Hafsah’s assistant at the point in time (39 years ago) the characters could encounter him. He lives in the village, unlike Hafsah who resides in the church itself.
Alignment: Lawful Good
Str 14, Int 12, Wis 15, Dex 13, Con 15, Cha 11
Hit Points: 19
Armor Class: 9
Damage/Round: 1-6 (mace)
Orisons — create water, detect magic, detect poison, light, purify food & drink
1st Level — longstrider (travel domain), bless water, command, detect evil
2nd Level — spiritual weapon (war domain), cure moderate wounds, silence
The following characters are given basic stats, spells, and magic items, but personalities and backgrounds should be fleshed out by the players, with perhaps some DM guidance, depending on the world this adventure is set in. With that in view, the deities can be changed to whatever desired, and the new-wave applications of spells and rituals applied to whatever faith-system one wishes to use. I use the Egyptian mythos from the 1st edition Deities & Demigods, as it’s always been a favorite of mine (second only to the Norse, my very favorite, though chaotic-aligned viking types obviously aren’t appropriate for this adventure). Osiris in particular is a perfect antithesis to Pazuzu. He is worshiped by the clerics and paladin, while “Osiris-friendly” deities, Horus, Ra, Isis, and Seker claim the allegiance of the other four characters.
1. Atsu (Lead Exorcist)
Hit Points: 128
Armor Class: 3
# Attacks/Round: 1
Alignment: Lawful Good
Str 9 Int 16 Wis 18 Dex 11 Con 14 Cha 17
Magic Items: flail +2, +4 against demons, healing potions (3 bottles) (each cures 1d20+5 hit points of damage)
Orisons — create water, detect poison, light (x3), mending, purify food & drink, read magic, virtue
1st Level — protection from evil (good domain), bless, bless water, command, comprehend languages, detect chaos, detect evil, endure elements, remove fear
2nd Level — calm emotions (law domain), augury, consecrate, delay poison, gentle repose, make whole, shield other, silence, zone of truth
3rd Level — magic circle against evil (good domain), create food & water, invisibility purge, prayer, remove blindness/deafness, remove curse, remove disease, searing light, speak with dead
4th Level — order’s wrath (law domain), death ward, detect lies, exorcise (x2), restoration (x2), tongues
5th Level — dispel evil (good domain), atonement, break enchantment, commune, greater command, hallow, raise dead, true seeing
6th Level — hold monster (law domain), find the path, greater dispel magic, heal, heroes’ feast, symbol of persuasion, undeath to death, word of recall
7th Level — holy word (good domain), control weather, greater restoration, mass cure serious wounds, regenerate, repulsion, resurrection
8th Level — shield of law (law domain), dimensional lock, discern location, holy aura (x2), mass cure critical wounds, spell immunity
9th Level — summon (good) monster (IX) (good domain), divine wind, gate, implosion, miracle (x2)
Hit Points: 113
Armor Class: 4
# Attacks/Round: 1
Alignment: Lawful Good
Str 16 Int 12 Wis 15 Dex 12 Con 17 Cha 14
Magic Items: mace of thundering (+3, on a natural roll of 20 delivers a “thunderclap” of sonic damage (3d6) in addition to the normal damage)
Orisons — cure minor wounds, create water, detect poison, light, purify food & drink, read magic, resistance
1st Level — sanctuary (protection domain), bless, bless water, command, cure light wounds, protection from evil, remove fear
2nd Level — aid (luck domain), augury, consecrate, cure moderate wounds, delay poison, find traps, zone of truth
3rd Level — protection from lightning energy (protection domain), cure serious wounds, magic circle against evil, prayer, remove blindness/deafness, remove disease, remove curse
4th Level — freedom of movement (luck domain), cure critical wounds, detect lies, divination, exorcise, restoration
5th Level — spell resistance (protection domain), break enchantment, dispel evil, greater command, raise dead, true seeing
6th Level — mislead (luck domain), blade barrier, greater dispel magic, heal, undeath to death
7th Level — repulsion (protection domain), greater restoration, holy word, resurrection
8th Level — moment of prescience (luck domain), fire storm, holy aura
Armor Class: -4
# Attacks/Round: 2
Hit Points: 162
Alignment: Lawful Good
Str 14 Int 14 Wis 15 Dex 17 Con 16 Cha 17
Magic Items: holy avenger sword (+5, +10 against chaotic evil opponents, greater dispel magic 5′ radius), platemail +2, shield +2
Special Abilities: detect evil (at will), lay on hands (32 hp of damage/day), immune to fear and disease, remove fear (3x/week), remove disease (3x/week)
Hit Points: 151
Armor Class: 1
# Attacks/Round: 2
Alignment: Lawful Neutral
Str 19 Int 9 Wis 11 Dex 15 Con 17 Cha 10
Magic Items: sword of vengeance (+1 against opponents who have struck the wielder once, +2 against opponents who have struck the wielder a twice… up to +10), rope of climbing (120 feet)
Hit Points: 69
Armor Class: -3
# Attacks/Round: 1
Alignment: Neutral Good
Str 9 Int 17 Wis 14 Dex 17 Con 15 Cha 11
Magic Items: ring of armor class 0
Cantrips — detect magic, flare, message, open/close, read magic, touch of fatigue
1st Level — animate rope, color spray, detect secret doors, hypnotism, identify, magic missile
2nd Level — arcane lock, knock, levitate, mirror image, spider climb (x2)
3rd Level — dispel magic, deep slumber, fly, invisibility sphere, nondetection, water breathing
4th Level — black tentacles, charm monster, detect scrying, polymorph, scrying, stoneskin
5th Level — dream, false vision, feeblemind, passwall (x2), telekinesis
6th Level — anti-magic shield, chain lightning, disintegrate, greater dispel magic, legend lore, stone to flesh
7th Level — finger of death, prismatic spray, project image (x2), spell turning
8th Level — irresistible dance (x2), polymorph any object, scintillating pattern
9th Level — wail of the banshee, wish (x2)
Hit Points: 64
Armor Class: 4
# Attacks/Round: 1
Alignment: Neutral Good
Str 13 Int 18 Wis 12 Dex 16 Con 13 Cha 15
Magic Items: pair of dancing daggers +2 (dance and fight whenever the wielder commands), ring of protection +4 (duo-dimension 3x/day), bag of holding
Cantrips — dancing lights, detect magic, flare, light, message, open/close, read magic
1st Level — burning hands, detect secret doors, identify (x2), jump, magic missile, ventriloquism
2nd Level — arcane lock, flaming sphere, hideous laughter, knock, mirror image, pyrotechnics, scorching ray
3rd Level — blink, daylight, dispel magic, fireball (x4)
4th Level — detect scrying, fire shield (x2), fire trap, remove curse, scrying, wall of fire
5th Level — baleful polymorph, contact other plane (x2), hold monster, permanency, telekinesis, telepathic bond
6th Level — disintegrate, greater dispel magic, mislead, repulsion, stone to flesh, true seeing
7th Level — delayed blast fireball (x2), forecage, greater teleport, spell turning
8th Level — iron body, mind blank, sunburst (x2)
Hit Points: 96
Armor Class: 2
# Attacks/Round: 1
Alignment: Neutral Good
Str 13 Int 17 Wis 11 Dex 18 Con 15 Cha 13
Magic Items: sword of sharpness +3, leather armor +3
Thief Abilities — pick pockets, open locks, find/remove traps, move silently, hide in shadows, climb walls