Thursday, May 19, 2016

Purple Lightning People

The Purple Cloud King rules over the sunken cavern of Lethlygon (rhymes with "meth begone") and the mechanical city whose name has long been forgotten.  He is tormented and diffuse.  His mind is fragmented in a thousand different directions, and each fragment knows this and seeks the others in vain.  This is what forms his ripples and ghastly winds--it is pieces of a singular mind trying to reconnect.

The city is littered dessicated mummies, their bodies frozen at the moment of their death, their poses still unchanged.  A violet salt rims their sunken eyesockets, and flecks the corners of their shriveled mouths.  Many of them are out in the streets, shading their their eyes as they gaze upon a now-darkened spire at the center of the city.  Others are in their homes, forks still lifted to their mouths, with the crumbled ruins of books caking their fingertips.

The most popular theory is that the city was once the site of some ancient disaster.  Perhaps they sought immortality for themselves, or perhaps they were victims of some terrible demonic atrocity.

It is believed that the same calamity that killed the population also bound up their souls into a single mass, creating the Purple Cloud King.

And Powermen are created from the people who occasionally survive the lightning bolts that the Purple Cloud King throws.  They are also crazy, but a very different kind of crazy.  No one is quite sure how they fit into the soul-jambalaya theory, but they're working on it.

Adventuring in Lethygon

It's a ruined, industrial city.  Waterfalls fall from the ceiling.  Moss covers large patches of brutalist architecture.  Purple liquid pools inside cracked concrete.  Like a subterranean Chernobyl.

There is a metal spire at the center of the city.  Prism golems guard the base of the spire.  They cannot shoot lasers, but they can redirect lasers fired by the laser golems, atop the spire.

There are three unique adventuring conditions you should know about.
  1. The false sun flickers.  Every 10 minutes, there is a 1-in-6 chance that it turns itself off (if on) or on (if off).  It illuminates the whole cavern when it is on.
  2. You must not let the Purple Cloud King see you.  Everyone must travel under umbrellas.  Those killed by the Purple Cloud King's lightning bolts rise immediately as powermen.
  3. Don't fuck with the mummies.  Although they wear tempting jewelry, taking even a button off their faded jumpsuits attracts the wrong kind of attention.  Parties that are carrying loot from a mummy roll on a slightly different wandering monster table.
from here
Wandering Monster Table [d6]

Parties that are carrying mummy jewelry roll [d6+3] until they return the stuff.
  1. Sullen amberino seeking oblivion.
  2. 3d6 goblins led by a vandalism shaman (HD 3).  50% of a graffiti familiar.
  3. 2d4 cannon lizards.
  4. 2d6 powermen.
  5. 1 false golems, like cracked golems that stink of rot.  They are not golems; a blood-filled undead controls the stone from inside.
  6. 1 necrotic dracoplasm, seeking food and gold.  It sleeps in a gold urn beneath the mint.
  7. 1d3 shades.  1 wields the dagger of extinction.
  8. 1d3 zombie giants (HD 12, attack as HD 8).  They wear faded tabards and blinders.  There is a hole in the back of their head that leads to a small room, containing the necessary things to pilot the zombie giant.
  9. The Hungering Eye (HD 9 ioun beholder that steals traits/abilities that it is jealous of)
Loot Worth Dying For

The Mechanism of Lethlygon is a fully functioning marine chronometer, the only one in the world.  It weighs 200 lbs and is worth a fortune to anyone who recognizes it for what it is.

The Spider Armor is plate +1.  If you grind your teeth, eight steel spider legs sprout from the crown of the helmet, and you gain the effects of spider climb for 10 minutes.  Usable 1/day.

The Hell Train Ticket is a ticket, but on the back of it is a scroll that can summon the helltrain.  You can ride it to any major location (basically anything that is labeled on the map).  The ticket grants you free passage, but the trains 1d6-2 other passengers will all want something from you (merely combat, if you are lazy).  Each other passenger is a random type of demon.

Bottled Lightning is a small amphora that shoots a 3d6 lightning bolt when opened.  If left unopened, it sheds light as bright as a candle.  Here is a cache of 3 of them.

The Rocket Hammer is a maul +1.  It is capable of making a single attack that does an extra +1d6 damage when you push a button on the handle.  It must be refilled with oil before each use.

The Golem Key awakens a servant golem with an empty cage for a head. It will obey you in every way, but it will not engage in combat.  (It is not a war-golem; those were taxed too heavily.)  It will do nothing except follow you until a bird is placed into its head.  The type of bird affects its behavior.

The Lethlygon

The caverns share their name with a monster.

A purple-eyed serpent.  White scales, with a white mane.  Ravenous, cheerful.  Attempting to convert to Hesaya, but doesn't know much beyond the basics.  Wants to eat a cleric so that it can learn more about the human religion.  Wants someone to fix whatever is wrong with the Purple Cloud King (he' getting worse).  Refuses to approach the spire.

It sleeps at the tomb of the civil serpents, and weeps while it does, because Lethlygon is sister-city to Lapidir.

HD 6  AC chain  Bite 1d10 + grab
Fly 15  Int 9  Mor 6

*Purple Lightning Bolt - 3d6, usable once every 1d4 rounds.  Those killed by it rise the next round as a powerman.

*Zone of Flight - Everyone within 50' of the Lethlygon gains Fly 9.

*Curse Eater - Eats curses.  Feeding it a tasty curse is pretty much the only way to get on its good size.

*Cursed Blood - Any weapon that gets the killing blow on the Lethlygon becomes a cursed weapon.  (Sort of like an anti-jabberwocky.)

The Powermen

Every powerman believes that they are THE POWERMAN, ultimate and invincible.

Although they work together, and sort of live in a society (barely), they all mantain the delusion that they are THE POWERMAN and all the others are merely their servants.  No one involved will be happy if you take the trouble to point this out.

They all live in tiny garbage houses shaped like castles.  They all sit on kludge-thrones, surrounded by whirring mechanical salvage.  They frequently go out and "levy taxes on the peasants", which is mostly just demanding money in exchange for freedom from violence.

They also do parades, and award each other medals with great frequency.

There are female powermen, too, but they also think that they are THE POWERMAN.

Playing a Powerman

Powermen are basically fighters possessed by insane electric ghosts, who all believe that they are the invincible POWER MAN.  They start play with a bladed staff (stats as glaive).

Powermen believe that they are invincible.  They get +4 Save vs negative emotions, +4 Save vs death effects, and -1 Defense.

At level 1, they replace Parry with Electric Ghosts: Whenever they would take electric damage, they are instead healed 1 HP.  They can power dead electrical devices by grabbing them with both hands and screaming.  (Electrical devices are rare outside of the Bruhok underdark, although the ostrogaunts are known to have a few.  Also try Lapidir.)

At level 3, they replace Tricky with Purple Lightning Bolt: They can fire a purple lightning bolt at will.  This does 1d6 damage to the powerman.  Treat it like a 2d6 lightning bolt.  Humanoids who are killed by it roll a save; those that succeed instantly turn into powermen themselves.

Newborn powermen have a 50% chance of deciding to wander off, and a 50% chance to pledge loyalty to their parent (with starting morale as normal).  This loyalty lasts for 1d6 days.

There may be a way for a powerman to actually become THE POWERMAN, who definitely has better lightning bolts.


  1. What must your mind be like. I've have enjoyed reading your vivid scenarios and descriptions for some time now. I appreciate your commitment to the genre and I am grateful for your excellent word smithing.

  2. I always liked the Powermen. Good to see them getting a whole city of their own!

  3. Have you ever seen The Ruling Class? Peter O'Toole's confrontation with the equally schizophrenic High-Voltage Messiah has a very THE POWERMAN vibe.

  4. The Purple Cloud is a great book, and this is a great use of it as a springboard into realms of awesomeness.