I was in the home of Agathosaster looking for the Kurrn Golem Primer. A curious book, designed for novice wizards to learn the craft and art of making golems, where the instructions are patently wrong. Agathosaster's copy was supposedly annotated by Gadeon. I hoped it would give me some insight into where he may currently be hiding.
As we checked the shelves for the tome we had an interesting conversation about zombies.
Agathosaster said, "Do you realize the total sum of zombies that have attacked the living far exceeds the number of humans that have ever existed."
"How do you figure that?", I asked.
"We started keeping census records in Orsborough 400 years ago. In that time we have grown from 5600 people to 9000 people. Yet we are attacked yearly by zombies from the southern wastelands that number in the tens of thousands. In fact we are predicting an early attack this year, probably twenty seven thousand strong."
"That will be good for the crops."
I finally located the book I was searching for and skimmed it. It was either a fake or a different Gadeon, because the handwriting was not from the Gadeon I know.
"Sorry the book was not the one you were looking for. It is true we depend on the undead to keep our fields fertile, and our undead killing techniques are second to none. With the excess some of the more enterprising citizens have started a fertilizer export concern. The mystery remains though. Where do they come from?", said Agathosaster
"You truly don't know?"
"Let me show you where they come from."
The twenty fifth day of Foculchstar in the fourth year of Gostul the Just
Enveloping Agathosaster in my shroud I carried him deep into the southern wastelands full of ice and snow. I quickly found the signs I was looking for, and came in close to the zombie pit.
Agathosaster let out a cry of shock and horror upon realizing the mechanisms at work. A faint music could be heard as four ice golems each with two sets of arms, one of ice and one of flesh, the flesh smaller and lower on the torso, pulled newborns from a second levitation passage in the south. With their arms of flesh they placed the newborn in a creche, where in a matter seconds they grew into adults. Once full grown the golems used their ice arms to pin them down and the flesh arms to suffocate them. Activating the creche a second time to turn the newly dead human into a zombie. Then the golem released them and they wondered up the the levitation passage to the pen outside.
Agathosaster wanted to stop this, but if I let him out of my shroud he would have been detected and killed. I let him know there was more to see. We went down the passage where the infants were coming from. The birthing chamber.
Agathosaster lost conciousness in the birthing chamber. It was too horrific. The center of the room was taken up by an undulating pulsating mass, tendrils thin and thick reached into the neck, chest and arms of women attached to creches similar to those in the golem chamber above. The room was hot and damp smelling strongly of birth and death. Discharge from the creches, thick and heavy, flowed to the southern end of the chamber. The mass and tendrils somehow forcing the women to impregnate and gestate in a matter of minutes. Their faces hollow and gaunt. Dazed by whatever the tendrils were doing.
To the east side of the chamber was a section of cages holding women prisoners. Guards were placed around the room, and the tentacles of the mass would deliver the babies to the levitation passage. The music was louder here.
After going through various chambers of no import, we found the choir room. Two groups of singers powering this enormity with a blasphemous hymn. Attached to the ceiling of this chamber was a stone dracolich apparently in slumber. The singers always nervously glancing up at it.
What's Going on Behind the Scenes
Let's go in reverse.
The choir is lulling the stone dracolich. The music lulls the dracolich and draws out his energy powering the entire operation. A small crawlspace/conduit connects all the important rooms. The music is deafening in the choir room and never stops. A small sampling. The dragon is so still the players may think it is just carved into the rock, a tough DC to detect it is alive, but should the music ever stop it will awaken and kill everything. The choir members rotate in staggered two hour shifts.
The raiders head north, pillage villages, and bring back women prisoners to continue the cycle. The raiders and guards can be any villain you choose. Orcs and goblins are always a good choice. Mix it up.
The ice golems who make the zombies have limited volition. If the PCs don't interfere with their tasks, they will leave the PCs alone. If for any reason they notice the PCs, meddling PCs, the golems will try to pin them in the creche as they were designed to do. A baby comes up the levitation passage about once every 3 rounds. They'll gently and safely float in the top of the passage until someone or something removes them.Odds and Ends
- If your PCs are normal make a medium fortitude save entering the golem chamber or they become nauseous.
- Make a difficult fortitude save entering the birthing chamber or they become nauseous. -2 penalty if they missed the first fortitude save.
- Cutting a woman free of the mass and tendrils leaves her physically unharmed.
- The prisoners are full of information, some of it accurate.
- Moving through the barriers and down levitation passages is an easy will save/check.
- This can be run stand alone or dropped into a larger dungeon. Just hook whatever you like into the main hallway.
Where They Come From by Rogue Prismatic Golem is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://rogueprismaticgolem.blogspot.com.