A lone turning carousal can be heard through swirling mists, it’s off key music haunting. Red eerie incandescent diffused lights indicate the carnival just beyond.
The midways, and roller-coaster of the Xolthique attracts one and all. Here there are riches to be won through enticing games of chance and skill. Stroll the catwalks and wonder at the menageries of strange beasts and exotic creatures upon display. Exciting rides and an alluring fun-house elicit dreadful screams in exchange for coin. Will you dare a ride on the old wooden roller-coaster. This is a place of civic celebration, fortunes, and bizarre entertainment.
Here the ringleader brothers Grimz and Toil operate. Conjoined halfling twins who have learned to ever adapt in a harsh and uncaring world. Never welcome within any walls and often chased away due to their deformity, they have forged another path. The wonders of imagination keep the crowds coming and the brothers purses full.
This is a Carnival bar none. Populated and operated by the brothers clan of juvenile orphans. Castaways one and all. A rag tag group of the unwanted, collected by the brothers. Traveling from town to town, from castled keeps to citied walls. The curious are never in short supply. No one is really sure how many of the juvenile halflings skulk in the shadows between tents and side-shows along the midway. Their clown painted faces glimpsed out of the corner of the eye.
Roller-coaster: At midnight once the Carnival has closed the halfling juveniles enjoy taunting the caged creatures and riding the roller-coaster or drinking on the carousal. At any given time there are 2d6 Juvenile halflings riding the roller-coaster. The roller coaster presents a great ambush point for PC’s should they wait until nightfall and utilize stealth.
*In my campaign combat broke out while the PC’s were riding the roller-coaster making for an exciting battle.
Carousal:1d6+1 halflings can be found drunk, riding the carousal.
Menagarie: The barred cages contain all sorts of strange and exotic creatures from throughout the land, some of which are humanoid and intelligent. One cage contains a large, naked, muscular man. He has large yellow feral eyes, long wild hair and talons for finger nails. He is a Formulkin. A dire Hyena like creature that can take human form. He understands basic speech and forms simple sentences in a guttural voice, composed mainly of grunts. Formulkin require the moons light for transformation between forms.
Formulkin HD: 6 (d8) Move: 50 ft (animal form) 30 ft. (human) AC: 16 Attacks: 2 claw (1d6) Bite (1d6) Saves: P Treasure: 6 XP: 310+6 Special: Rake, Regeneration 3, Alternate Form, Twilight Vision
The halflings are Glibs one and all. Pilferers of a most important commodity. Information. Even more enticing then the midways themselves are the Ale Gardens where the most fantastical brews and honey rose mead’s are served. A taste superbly exquisite and without equal, famous throughout the lands. The recipes are of course a heavily guarded secret known only to the halfling ring leaders. The truth serum that is added at no extra cost ensures that information is very forthcoming and falls liberally from the tongues of patrons. The Halfling Glibs stay current on all happenings in the land.
The Clan spike their wonderful refreshments with a truth serum they manufacture from the milk of a Gigantic Beetle. They also sell and trade Chitta Boom. A black, egg shaped chitin grenade. The Eggs contain two chambers each housing a different color of resin that is excreted from a Gigantic Beetle the halflings keep. The Beetle excretes a milky white substance at night (used to spike the drinks) while during the midday it excretes a black resin immediately after a feed.
The halflings form the Eggs from Chitin Scales, harvested from the Gigantic Beetle while it sleeps. They use a tree sap to seal a chamber divider into place within the chitin egg. Once tossed the inner chamber breaks and the two resins mix causing an explosion that sends chitin shrapnel flying. A wick fuse can also be used to light the Chitta Booms. The heat form the fuse melting the inner divider causing the resins to mix. Lighting the fuse causes a delay in the explosion.
Having an uncanny knack for tinkering some of the youngsters have even shown a talent as Picks and have managed to obtain an Orbix. The ancient relic stolen from a once proud Wizard, more often than not given to the drink and a highly regarded patron who keeps the the carnival coffers full.
The Orbix core is symbiotically attached to a third brother who’s body lies hidden within a heavily guarded tent. The brother Spook unwittingly awakened the Orbix and what remains of his body is encased within a large Mercurial plated coffin to contain the power he emanates, it’s gravity crushing. His limbless body, and barely recognizable features consumed and transformed by the power of the Orbix that even now attempts to form writhing tendril limbs from a multitude of silver silk like threads. Know-one dares go near the Orbix due to the frightening power it omits. Only the brothers alone, Grimz and Toil brave go near so they may gently sooth what remains of their younger brother into following their instructions. They understand that the power of the Orb requires a host and also that their brother is slowly being transformed into something else, and they fear what is to come.
Gigantic Beetle (Conjunction Infant): The Gigantic Beetle is actually a conjunction infant. It is attracted to and captivated by the Orbix relic the halfling Brothers Grimz and Toil have in their possession and thus it chooses to serve them for the time being. Ever in their company, it follows them as it matures and experiences the world around it. It follows any order dictated by the halfling Brothers as it wishes to maintain close proximity to the Orbix drawn to the inherent power it possesses. The Beetle is used like a pack mule to ferry the carnival components around the land.
HD: 13 (d10) Move: 30ft, Burrow 30ft AC: 18 Attacks: Trample (1d12), Stomp (1d12) SR: 4 Saves: M Treasure: 9 XP: 6,900 +18 Special: Strange haze, Altered Reality, Spell deflection (negates spells)
Combat: The Gigantic Beetle is a newly formed Conjunction Infant and is not hostile. As such it is still trying to form an identity and responds to the world much like a child would. It has not yet come into it’s full magical abilities as these are still developing as is it’s awareness off the world. If attacked it will trample creatures in an attempt to flee. If a creature is trampled the creature will be knocked prone (DEX save to stay upright). Once knocked prone the Beetle will Stomp as a secondary attack.
Strange Haze: Anyone coming within 20ft of the Gigantic Beetle suffers a -4 to all rolls due to a strange barely visible haze that slows all movement and speech.
Altered reality: As an action the Gigantic Beetle can eject spores at a target it can see within 20ft. The victim must succeed on a CON save or become immobile for 5 rounds. A save may be attempted at the end of each round. While immobile the victim exists in one or more altered realities that may or may not be real and as such may see things that can really help to drive the story. Perhaps a vision of things to come.
Each morning the Halflings dig up the multitude of eggs the Gigantic Beetle has deposited into the ground. It is from these eggs that those that work the carnival take sustenance. It has also granted the Halflings slight magical abilities. They have enhanced speed, hear noise, and hide in shadow abilities +2. As well as a +2 to initiative.
Halfling Ringleaders: Grimz & Toil. Conjoined twins who have led a very ruff life. They have had to scrape by and suffer far too many abuses. Discarded in the trash as toddlers they were traded from sideshow to side show. Suffering abuse after abuse. They have never known life outside the carnival. After orchestrating the previous owners accidental death and purchasing a forged will naming them sole owners, the brothers now run the show.
HD: 2 (d6) Move: 30ft AC: 17 Attacks: Dagger (1d4) Grenade (3d6) Saves: P Treasure: 3 XP: 13+1 Special: Poison, Invisibility, Dancing lights, Heightened senses
Wants: Information, for information is true power. At their word they are able to seed thoughts, implant ideas and guide events in the world. The right information at the right time has been the undoing of many a great noble and even city state rulers. Not to mention the wars. The brothers have been responsible for the election of many of the leading power figures in the smaller baronies. Their enemies are few.
Roleplaying: The brothers active listeners who ask subtle probing questions with honey laced tongues. They speak in such a way as to inflate ego’s referring to everyone as, liege, lord/lady, hero, strong one, brave one. Always feigning modesty and humility. They are always listening and paying close attention to body language. Adept at recognizing lies. (INT check). The brothers will gladly offer up information in exchange for their lives and know the land very well.
HD: 1 (d6) Move: 30ft AC: 17 Attacks: Dagger (1d4) Grenade (3d6) Saves: P Treasure: 3 XP: 13+1 Special: Poison, Dancing lights, Heightened senses
Combat: Hiding in shadows they will attempt to swarm the PC’s and use blowguns containing darts laced with poison. The darts only do 1 point of damage but the victim must make a CON check (CL 4) or fall into deep sleep. If, after the initial barrage of darts, any opponents are still standing, the Halflings will leap from the shadows and attack with small daggers, doing 1d4 damage. They have enhanced speed, hear noise, and hide in shadow abilities +2. As well as a +2 to initiative.
Grenade: 3d6 damage in a 10ft blast radius (DEX save for half damage). 1d6 damage 15-20 ft.
If the halflings are unsuccessful in subduing the PC’s they will attempt to draw the PC’s away from the carnival and use Chitta Boom grenades on them, caring not for whether the PC’s live or not.
The Orbix core is used to power the carnival and if combat ensues at night the halflings will cut the power, casting the carnival and the battlegrounds into complete darkness. This will awaken the brother Spook and bring events to his awareness, causing him to engage in combat.
Spook: Draped in a tattered tarpaulin. White milky eyes housed within a gaunt face of silver flesh. His limbless body is carried by countess silver threads that erupt and waver from his shoulder and hip sockets, propelling his mobility in a fluid writhing manner.
HD: 7 (d10) Move: 30ft. AC: 20 Attacks: 6 Silver Strands (see below)
Saves: P Treasure: 8 XP: 900+7 Special: Puppet, Gravity blast, Anti gravity, Strands, Drag, Immunity to electricity (full) SR 3, Vulnerability to fire
Combat: Spook attacks with 6 appendages of threadlike silver strands which extend from the shoulder and hip sockets of his body, serving as arms and legs. He engages enemies at range with his strands. Once an enemy is caught he will pull it towards him using his silver strands attempt to cocoon the target. Spook nearly always gains surprise unless magically detected.
Drag: A victim is pulled 2 feet per round towards Spook. Each additional strand attached to a victim doubles this rate. Each round the victim can make a STR save to break the strands hold. Each strand beyond the first cumulatively penalizes this roll by -2. Once a victim has been dragged to spook his silver strands pour into the victims body via open cavities doing 5d4 damage per round.
Puppet: Once dead Spook will use his silver strands to enter into the dead body body and animate it’s limbs like a puppet. The body will be under full control of Spook.
Subduing PC’s: The halflings main goal is to subdue the PC’s whereupon the PC’s will be feed a strong Truth serum so that the Brothers Grimz and Toil can extract as much information as possible before feeding the players to the Giant Beetle. The juvenile halflings then squabble amongst themselves over any items the players were carrying.
(Note: Halflings in Almost are born of human parents and considered human but born abnormally small. They would look like your average 5 year old in terms of height and proportions. They are shunned in society.)