Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Skull Baron of Hexenbracken

(Hex 0212)

On either end of a long mountain pass sit two archways, both marble and once splendid, now smashed to near bits. All that remains is a foundation for what could have been. These wounded, melancholy structures are the only warning travelers receive of the Skull Baron.

The Baron sits silently in the center of the pass. The road and scenery about has been stamped down and crushed, thanks to any number of his many tantrums. He is a rare, single-headed ettin; his second head was born with a strange wasting disease which caused it to rot away in the Baron's adolescence. On the stump that remains, sits a mammoth skull stolen from the Ratmen's (Hex 0206) macabre idol. The skull normally lulls about, otherwise motionless - but someone studying it may spot a flicker of malevolent intelligence in it's empty eye sockets.

The maimed ettin does not move in till the players are in sight and within 60 feet of his person. He reacts then immediately, even if otherwise unprovoked. His complete insanity means that his actions are not influenced by players save in very rare exceptions.

The Skull Baron himself has the stats of a normal ettin or stone giant, but with maximum hit points. The Mammoth Skull is actually possessed by the malign soul of one of the Ratmen's former priests. It can speak telepathically to the Skull Baron and does so near constantly; it is the reason he has gone mad.

The Skull Baron's initial reactions are decided by rolling a d6. Any falsehoods the ettin speaks are whispered to him by the awful mammoth skull and he believes they are entirely true. In this sense he isn't actually lying.
  1. The Baron is terrified of the players and will scurry away from them. He will promise to tell them of treasures in another random hex if they leave him be. These are always fabrications.
  2. A great cry is followed by unashamed weeping, the giant will place his head in his hands and tell the players, sobbing, a great tale of woe. This is usually how he's been cursed with this monstrous form and that he's married to the imprisoned nymph in the woodlands of Hex 0206. Again, he thinks he is telling the truth in spite of this being another lie told to him by the skull.
  3. The Baron shouts accusations at the PC's; strangely enough, everything he says is true - but they aren't things that happened to him. Anything he shouts at them is based on a wrong the players committed against another living creature, though he acts as if it were preformed against him. Unless the players make an overt display of remorse and offer of recompense, he attacks.
  4. Without a word, the Skull Baron stands and marches towards the PC's with the intent to kill every last one of them. He cannot be dissuaded from this task or routed.
  5. The Skull Baron foams at the mouth and falls unconscious. At this point, the Mammoth Skull takes over, moving the Baron's body like a puppet master as well as being able to cast spells as a 9th level chaotic/evil cleric.
  6. A combination of both 4 and 6; the Skull Baron and Mammoth skull work in unison. The Skull Baron attacks in relentless, silent fury, while the Mammoth Skull casts spells as a 9th level cleric. 
If the Mammoth Skull is smashed, the Skull Baron regains his sanity; this does not change the fact that he was pretty much an awful person to begin with.

1 comment:

  1. Oh yeah, in case you didn't already know: