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6. The Weird Temple of the Beast God
Summary: In this temple to an evil god, everyone has the barbarian's ability to rage, and blood spilt upon the altar confers temporary abilities to the priest. Eventually, it will be staffed by an evil priest.
Sights and Sounds: Braziers light this room. Either inside the temple or listening from an adjoining area, characters can hear a distant sound of howling, scraping, and ripping that fades in and out.
The walls of this oddly-shaped temple are partially covered in tattered red and black curtains. You can see an archway leading south despite it being half-covered by one of these curtains. The vaulted ceiling above is painted black. Spattered bloodstains cover the floor, particularly around the plain stone altar resting in front of the deep eastern recess. The place stinks of murder and pain, as well as the musk of some angry beast.
Beast God's Intercession: All creatures in this room gain the ability to rage like a barbarian. The rage lasts 3 rounds or until the creature leaves the room. No one creature can take advantage of this effect more than once per day. A DC 16 Knowledge (religion) check suggests that utilizing this ability gives obeisance to the Beast God and is likely not a good act.
The Walls and Ceiling: Searching behind the curtains (DC 13 Search check. DC 13 Perception check for Pathfinder) reveals extremely faded painted images of cavorting fey creatures in a silvery woodland on the walls themselves, testimony that this wasn't always an evil temple.
Anyone scraping at the black paint on the ceiling would find that it covers a mural of a night sky with a shining moon.
The Altar of Blood: This stone altar appears to be little more than a worn, blood stained slab, but it is in fact very potent. If at least three pints of fresh blood are spilt or splashed upon the altar, the creature doing so may gain some of the abilities of the blood-drained creature. Although the creature whose blood is used does not have to be dead (or even present), it will henceforth be referred to as the sacrifice and the creature splashing the blood as the "priest" (regardless of class, intention or alignment). It is theoretically possible that a single creature could be both priest and sacrifice, but there would be no point.
The priest must make a Fortitude saving throw (DC = 15 + the HD of the sacrifice). Failure means that the priest becomes sickened for 1d6 rounds per HD of the victim. Success, however, means that the priest gains one random ability of the victim. Roll 1d8:
This ability lasts for one hour per level of the priest. The DM, of course, is the final arbiter of what abilities (if any) the priest gains, and should only bestow those that seem fitting and appropriate.
Non-evil characters that make a regular practice of these sacrifices become evil, the taint of the Beast God corrupting them over time.
Note that in area 32, PCs can find vials of vampire blood that could be used on the altar. The previous priest also sought all sorts of creatures to experiment with their blood. For example, he sent some of the host to find and capture Chasmal the werewolf in area 37 to use his blood on the altar to see what would happen.
Background: This temple was originally a shrine to Glarias, Goddess of the Moon (see also area 3), but Glarias was imprisoned by the Dragon Prince near the bottom of the dungeon centuries ago, and this action led to the rise of the Beast God, who usurped most of her temples. Thus, omens and portents led the priests of the Bestial Horde here within the last few years, and they have established and maintained this temple. There is another temple deeper in the dungeon, in areas 198, 199, and 200, but they have not reached it yet.
Inhabitants: None currently. The priest of the temple was a bloodthirsty, degenerate human cleric named Errad, but a group of adventurers killed him about two months ago. No priest has yet arrived to replace him.
Development: Bodor and his bodyguards from area 5 might be here, and if so the guards will make full use of the Beast God's Intercession. If either Bodor or the new priest (see below) are here and seriously challenged, they will attempt to barter the secret of the altar, proposing that if the PCs collect the blood of different creatures and offer it upon the altar, they will gain temporary abilities. But only, they say, if the Beast God's representatives (in this case, Bodor or the new priest) still live. This latter statement, of course, is a lie. It works with them or without them.
Revisit (EL 5)
Eventually, the Bestial Host sends a new priest for the temple. Her name is Klandra, and she is an extremely fat goblin. She has a retinue of six normal goblins with her at all times. Klandra spends all of her time here.
Female Goblin (Chaotic Evil)
Cleric 3 CR 3
HD 3d8+6 hp 20
Init +0 Speed 20 feet
Languages Common, Goblin
AC 17, touch 11, flat-footed 17
Attack/Full Attack +4 melee (1d4, quarterstaff)
SA rebuke undead 4/day and smite (+4 attack, +3 damage) 1/day
SQ darkvision 60 feet
Fort +5 Ref +1 Will +6
Str 11, Dex 10, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 16, Cha 13
Crucial Skills: Heal +7, Hide +6, Move Silently +2, Ride +4.
Other Skills: N/A
Crucial Feats: N/A
Other Feats Brew Potion, Scribe Scroll
Spells: 4/4/3; CL 3, +2 melee touch, +2 ranged touch
2nd--hold person (DC 15/W), inflict moderate wounds (DC 15/W), shatter (DC 15/W or F)
1st--cure light wounds, protection from law, magic stone (DC 14/W), sanctuary (DC 14/W)
0--create water, cure minor wounds (DC 13), purify food and drink (DC 13/W), virtue (DC 13/F)
Deity: Beast God. Domains: Chaos, Destruction
Possessions +1 chain mail, masterwork quarterstaff, potions of cure light wounds, divine favor, and lesser restoration, scroll of detect law, cure moderate wounds, and magic weapon, wooden holy symbol, 14 gp, 9 sp, 13 cp.
Goblins (6): hp 5 each