Dungeons & Dragons Forgotten Realms
Elminster Speaks
Wrapup Compilation
Part 66: Kholtar, Part 17
Part 65: Kholtar, Part 16
Part 64: Kholtar, Part 15
Part 63: Kholtar, Part 14
Part 62: Kholtar, Part 13
Part 61: Kholtar, Part 12
(ARCHIVE)


Elminster Speaks
(Part #12)

The Sage of Shadowdale has something to say about pretty much everything. Despite having pages in Dragon Magazine, Dungeon Adventures, and Polyhedron Newszine, the Old Mage still has more to speak of the Realms. Not wanting to anger an archmage, we decided it would be best to give him a weekly column from which to discuss the finer points.

Listen well, young one...

In The House of Darkness

Some Harpers warn that the temple itself has other powers to reveal intruders and lessen their magics, and to augment the power, duration, and precision of spells of the Dark Blessed while they’re within its walls. Although this seems likely (given that it’s a known feature of other Cyricist temples that began as holy houses of Bane), it’s not yet been investigated and described in any detail by any outside observer.

Behind the sanctum are tall tapestries, through which the Exalted (the patriarch and his two "Hands") can appear; they conceal a wall opening into a rear gallery that in turn descends to the newest part of the temple: a long, low, ugly wing of kitchens and pantries stretching away to the east and joined to the Hallowed Hall by a dining hall.

Helmed horrors are known to stand as silent, motionless guardians at various points around the temple--to be activated either when their conditions are met (usually such commands involve intruders. but the specific commands of these "Silent Watchers" are temple secrets) or when they’re touched and commanded by any priest of Bane resident in this temple.

In recent years, various coerced workers (often faithful seeking to earn their freedom from temple disgrace, or persons owing a debt to the temple) have been impressed into work on a ragged, ongoing series of battlements that are gradually enclosing the temple proper--that is, a stone walkway that winds from buttress to the main wall and so onto the next buttress, around it, and back to the wall again. Thus far, this "lofty walk" traverses the north and east walls of the temple (though sections along the north wall have twice fallen under the weight of winter ice). It is joined to the ground by many rickety support-pillars and stairs, and sports crenellated battlements whose merlons are crowned with the same irregularly-angled dark metal spikes as the outer temple walls. It is a favorite place for the Exalted to bully lay worshippers into undertaking dangerous or demeaning tasks, affording as it does the peril of being hurled off it, and semi-privacy for converse taking place on its heights. When complete, it will be added to the guards’ patrol routes (oh yes, the temple does have temple guards, of whom more later), and will give the priests a means of more easily and often inspecting the roof, and sending workers up to repair leaks.

It should be noted that on no less than four occasions in the last two years, workers have fallen through the roof to their deaths in the Hallowed Hall below--and that a Voonlarren lass (widely thought to have consorted with, and somehow displeased, the Exalted) was recently chained spread-eagled on the roof to die in the sun, her eyes pecked out by vultures--only to fall onto the heads of visiting clergy during a ritual when the birds arriving to feast on her proved too heavy for the decaying roof where she lay.

The lowest part of the holy temple ground is the easternmost end of the new north wing, where the "End Pantry" spends much of its time flooded with ankle-deep water. Molds and mildew grow thickly here, and servants or faithful supplicants who’ve displeased the Exalted have been known to be shut up here to shiver in the water--often held down with stones to keep them half-submerged--for days. In warmer months, live eels are released into this noisome pool for ongoing husbandry by the cooks--and when they’re swimming hungrily about, imprisonment "in the wet" can get really unpleasant.

Monster

Helmed Horrors
Large Construct
Hit Dice: 18d10 (99 hp)
Initiative: -1 (Dex)
Speed: 20 ft. (can’t run)
AC: 30 (-1 size, -1 Dex, +22 natural)
Attacks: 2 slams +23 melee
Damage: Slam 2d10+11
Face/ Reach: 5 ft. by 5 ft./10 ft.
Special Attacks: Breath Weapon
Saves: Fort +6, Ref +5, Will +6
Abilities: Str 33, Dex 9, Con --, Int --, Wis 11, Cha 1
Skills: Listen +5, Spot +5, Swim +5
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always neutral

Notes: Immune to mind-influencing effects, poison, disease, and similar effects. Not subject to critical hits, subdual damage, ability damage, energy drain, or death from massive damage. Immune to all spells, spell-like abilities, and supernatural effects, except as follows. Electricity effects slow it (as the slow spell) for 3 rounds, with no saving throw. Fire effects break any slow effect on the golem and cure 1 point of damage for each 3 points of damage they would otherwise deal.

Breath Weapon: First or second round of combat—cloud of poisonous gas, 10-foot cube directly in front of the golem lasting 1 round, free action every 1d4+1 rounds; Fortitude save (DC 17), initial damage 1d4 temporary Constitution, secondary damage death.

 





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