posted by Simian_Prime Original SA post

So I'm looking at the F&F archive, and realized... there's no "Q" entry! Let's fix that, shall we?


Two barely conceivable beings have fought a war for a generation over Sajavedra, a barely legendary land far to the southeast. They wish to claim its rich harvests of souls and fields, its intricate network of ley lines and temples, for their own.

They have devastated it utterly.

A forgotten weapon in their war, a neglected sorcery fallen from a distracted archon's attention, lies in the Qelong River valley at the edge of this near-cosmic battlefield.

Qelong is Kenneth Hite's hellish southeast Asian setting inspired by fantasy quest drama and war stories like Valhalla Rising, Apocalypse Now, and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Suitable for characters level 4-6, usable with Lamentations of the Flame Princess Weird Fantasy Role-Playing and other traditional role-playing games


Qelong, by Kenneth Hite (Trail of Cthulhu, Night's Black Agents) is a sandbox setting written for Lamentations of the Flame Princess, a B/X D&D retroclone with a focus on weird horror. Early D&D was often criticized in later years by players who disliked the high mortality rate of low-level characters that was the default of the setting, and so it was often derided on the Internet as "fantasy Vietnam."

Hite cleverly decided to play on that stereotype and design a setting based around medieval Southeast Asia. Qelong is a land whose culture is modeled after ancient Cambodia, in the Khmer period. It is also the backdrop for a supernatural war that is a metaphor for the Vietnam War, and in general the many proxy wars fought in the Cold War for southeast Asia. The PC's are assumed to be foreigners who find themselves in a ravaged, supernaturally tainted land, beset on all sides by the horrors of war. They face danger from both the natives struggling to survive, and the foreign mercenaries who have come to this land like vultures to a fresh carcass. Cannibalism is rife, battle magic runs out of control, and perhaps even the great and terrible Qelong River itself may unfurl its coils and swallow the land whole. Will the PC's become this land's saviors, or will they become another Colonel Kurtz and carve out a twisted fiefdom for themselves?

Next: An Introduction to Sajavedra and the Qelong River Valley

The Introduction, or "Apocalypse How?"

posted by Simian_Prime Original SA post

Kellsterik posted:

I take refuge in my faith in Ken Hite. The LotFP modules covered in this thread have usually been fascinating to read about, anyway, even when they sound terrible to play.

I think you'll be pleased. James Raggi pretty much gave Hite free reign to write what he wanted, so Qelong is largely free of most of the flaws that plague LoFP supplements, like Raggi's editorializing and excessive shock-value tactics. Though not with its flaws, Hite presents us a bleak and terrifying setting with an appropriate sense of restraint, and it's also fun to play.


Qelong, Part 1: The Introduction, or "Apocalypse How?"

Kenneth Hite posted:

Referee's Introduction

Two elder beings, Levh and Tilia , fight an incomprehensible war over the once-rich land of Sajavedra, a war of mighty spells and magics beyond human knowledge, for all that it brings mortal magi and warlords in its train. Their war covers the land in immensity and madness: sky and water and land whirling and blending, geography warping, reality itself plastic, shelled and torn. One minor cantrip from this war misfired and fell to earth in the Qelong River Valley, on the west end of Sajavedra. Think of it as a jammed shell from a gunfight, ejected and forgotten as the battle rages on.

It is the Cylinder.

LEVH: "I tap my swampland for two Black Mana - I mean, aakom - and summon the Cylinder!"

TILIA: "Blue Counterspell! Put that Cylinder in the graveyard, along with your swamp!"

LEVH: "Crap! I should have brought my red deck! Hmm... I got three swamps, guess I'll get rid of this one marked Qelong."

TILIA: "So long, Qelong!"


And the Cylinder's sorcery has, in its minor way, begun to deform the Qelong Valley.

The Cylinder leaks aakom , a magical power contaminant.

It poisons the beasts and the plants, the water and the grayish loess soil. Food grows short, famine comes even where war had left pockets of health and fertility. The people of the valley have changed, the aakom turning them selfish, inhuman, and cruel. Actually, the war and famine have done that - the aakom gives them power to act on this change.

Myrmidons deranged and misdirected chew through the land, laying eggs in the river dwellers to hatch out more warriors.

Greedy Varangian mercenaries have deserted the war and seek to fill their lich-garuda with aakom - most easily done by feeding it the livers and lights of the river folk. Then they can fly out of Sajavedra with plenty of aakom to sell in peaceful lands, and aakom-spells to use in those lands' new wars.

The ancient guardian demon-mother of the land, for millenia held imprisoned by its stupas and canals, has awakened. The Naga Qelong wishes to return her children to her, turn the people of the valley into snake-humans.

The keepers of the stupas, monks once sword to peace and meditation, have chosen older sorceries to contain her, returning to the lotus cults spread by spores in the previous world.

In this chapter we get a basic summary of the sandbox that is the Qelong River valley. The PC's are assumed to be outsiders, foreigners from distant lands that more closely match European medieval fantasy. Mercenaries, like the Varangians, will be the only familiar sorts of people (this will highlight the horror of their corruption even more). While The Cylinder makes a convenient focus for a PC adventuring party, the Referee (GM) encouraged to allow encounters to build organically as the players explore the region. Players should not expect to see EVERY encounter in a single campaign, and Qelong is so chock full of interesting stuff that there's always plenty more to go back to.

The mood of the setting is mean to be reminiscent of war stories as well as fantasy adventure. Hite refers specifically to the movies Valhalla Rising, Apocalypse Now, and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (particular the "war over the bridge" sequence). I'd also recommend Full Metal Jacket, Platoon, and The Thin Red Line.

(Though knowing most gamers, it will sometimes end up more like Tropic Thunder)

The short chapter ends with some recommended hooks for PC's to travel to the valley. A Lawful party might be hired by a sage to deactivate the Cylinder. A Chaotic party might jump at the chance to sell the Cylinder's secrets to the highest bidder, or become warlords and carve out their own kingdom. A Neutral party might do one of the above, or just pursue a lucrative venture like raiding the legendary Mine of the Elephant. Finally, there is a list of rumors going around the valley that serve as adventure hooks, ranging from useful ("Do not deal violence lightly, as in these troubled times the spirits of the angry dead will linger on Earth") to vague but intriguing ("Seeing the Gaja Simha is an ill omen!"), with a few red herrings ("Dwarves are evil! Trust no dwarf that you meet!") PC's start with one random rumor each, and can pay off people to find out more.

For now, I'll leave you with Hite's description of the "feel" of the setting.


I see the Qelong valley as a land of steam, smoke, mist, fog - high grasses and low mangroves, like the Dead Marshes or Beowulf's fen country. All of this grows not in a placid pastoral Olden Tyme, or even a gently corroded Dark Age, but in the path - or technically on the sidelines- of a great and incomprehensible war. Houses and farms are burned, villagers gaunt and feral. Dogs whine over the carcasses of their masters, then tear out the intestines to feed themselves. Men kill each other for a handful of rice, or for a woman who can be beaten into cooking it. All around, sorcerous echoes and explosions ripple the skies, but as a constant drumbeat of vile thunder, not as anything aimed at anyone in the same country. The Qelong Valley has been poisoned by accident and forgotten by its killers. Only the scavengers remain, and the worms that grow in the corpse.

Next: Exploration

Exploration, or "The Ho Chi Mihn Trail of Cthulhu"

posted by Simian_Prime Original SA post


Part 3: Exploration, or "The Ho Chi Mihn Trail of Cthulhu"

The Exploration chapter covers the general environment of Sajavedra and the Qelong area, particularly its natural and manmade hazards.

Sajavedra is a subtropical land in the monsoon belt. It has two seasons, rainy/warm and sticky/hot, and flash floods can occur at nearly any time of the year. This would be it's normal weather pattern, were the land not being constantly bombarded by violent magic. The land is littered with contingency spells and lingering effects, the magical equivalent of land mines, so you can basically justify any sort of spell effect manifesting at random to cause trouble for adventurers.

There's a variety of diseases in the countryside. Rules for contracting Fever, Bubonic Plague, and Typhus are briefly included.

The primary danger to PC's however, is aakom , the toxic magical substance that leaks from the Cylinder and has poisoned the entire valley. Aakom is described as "a substance somewhere between mana, azoth, and plutonium" that manifests as a sickly green radiance. It's useful raw material for powering the most destructive magic, but though of as so dangerous that even demons don't use it with impunity. The Cylinder was a aakom-powered weapon intended to be used by one of the warring archmages. But it is now since discarded and forgotten, and its toxins have polluted the land, both physically and spiritually.

The Referee is intended to secretly keep track of each PC's level of aakom poisoning during their time in Qelong. Generally, characters slowly acquire points of aakom just by living in the Valley and eating any food or water from there (Purify Food and Drink is only 1/4 effective here - one casting purifies enough food/drink for 3 people). Aakom is acquired more quickly if you are wounded in the valley, particularly if the wounds are caused by naga-kin or other mutated creatures.

If a PC's levels of aakom exceed his current HP, he must make a save or suffer numerous side effects (Halflings are resistant, tripling the HP for the purposes of aakom poisoning calculation). A failed save means the victim has succumed to aakom poisoning, with terrible effects on the body, mind, and soul. These include:

- a tendency to become nihilistic and self-destructive, reflected in a Wisdom penalty
- loss of coordination and motor control (penalties to missle attacks and some Saving Throws)
- night terrors and fever dreams: PC requires more sleep to avoid the effects of Sleep Deprivation
- a chance of spell failure for casters. Spells can be altered by aakom to hit the wrong target, or have catastrophic effects

If a character dies while suffering the effects of the poison, there's a 1 in 6 chance he will rise as an aakom zombie to attack the PC's (2 in 6 if Chaotic in alignment. The book outright recommends waiting for the most dramatic moment for the zombie to rise and attack)

There is also a chance that any character afflicted with aakom poisoning can acquire a curse - a reverse Midas touch. The PC will develop a touch-based spell attack can never be turned off. This attack is usually a negative status effect (Cause Disease, Feeblemind, Cause Poison) or an area effect centered around the target (Insect Plague, Stinking Cloud). One of the powers that can be activated is The Serpents Touch, a new spell that lets the caster turn Sticks into Snakes like Moses (snakes created by the cursed version do not obey the caster). Chopping off the character's hands will end the condition. If the cursed character is zombified, he will retain this power. If the zombie's hands are chopped off, you then have an animate hand with touch spells!

Cure Disease merely masks the symptoms of aakom poisoning by storing it in the recipient's kidneys and liver. The sufferer appears to lose 1d6 aakom points per caster level, but the points simply reappear once HP gets low enough. Permanently removing aakom taint requires a Remove Curse spell from a caster that has spend days studying runes on the Cylinder casing.

Thoughts: So, in the form of aakom, we have a system that reinforces the toxic nature of the land and setting itself. One one hand, it's very atmospheric, and reminds me of the Fallout games in that it resembles magical radiation poisoning. It also acts as "the stick" to encourage PC's to track down the Cylinder.

On the other hand, it's all too granular for me, and tracking aakom poisoning as a Ref seems like a huge pain in the ass, especially when you have to track it against HP damage and factor in the little Cure Disease "switcheroo". I like the concept, but I myself would have chosen a less tables-heavy way to represent it. Oh well.

Next: Lotuses and Leeches!

General Features

posted by Simian_Prime Original SA post


Part 4: General Features

This chapter outlines some of the unique terrain you will find in Qelong, both natural and manmade, as well as possibilities for encounter seeds.


The canals of the Qelong valley not only served as an irrigation and transportation network, but also as a network of ley lines to bind the river Naga and channel her supernatural power into the valley. The destruction of the war has broken most of these canal lines, which is isolating the villages, causing flooding, and destroying harvests. Many of the stagnant canals are infested with swarms of leeches, as well as drowned corpses (some of which are undead creatures set up for an ambush)

Lotus Fields

Vast fields of Golden Lotus flowers dot the valley, growing on the surface of ponds and pools. These magical plants are attuned to the powers of Law. If they are consumed (by eating, smoking, or even just inhaling the scent of a fresh flower), they provide a +1 to HP restored through healing spells, a +2 to Poison saves, and they double the amount of HP recovered through convalescence. It also temporarily halts the spread of aakom poisoning. Too much lotus use causes the user's eyes to turn a golden color, and the user must make saves or suffer a slow reduction in Intelligence. If Intelligence reaches 0, the users Intelligence is restored, but he becomes a permanent servant of the lotus. An entire cult of Golden Lotus Monks has formed in the valley, devoted to using the lotus' power to restore arcane order to the Qelong valley at any cost. Notable counters include:

- Swarms of giant bees that pollinate the lotus blossoms. In one of my favorite bits of imagery, they fly around in rhythmic, unfolding patterns reminiscent of the Lotus itself.

- sinkholes within the lotus pond

- schools of carnivorous fish

- a monk (level 1d4 Cleric) getting high on lotus. He'll answer a few of the PC's questions, but will eventually attack or flee because, you're like, totally harshing his buzz, maaaaaaaaaan...

Myrmidon Track

This terrain is the barren wasteland left behind by the Myrmidons, an army of super-soldiers created by one of the warring archmages. They are literal army ants; a swarm of finger-sized ants who infest the bodies of men, turning them into monstrous soldiers, and use them to consume and destroy anything in their path (they'll be described in more detail in the Creatures section). These Myrmidons have strayed from their original path, cutting a swath of destruction through the valley. The track is mostly devoid of life. Some notable encounter seeds include:

- a cluster of egg-hosts, helpless men infested with the ants. They beg for death, but killing them means the ants pour forth from their bloated bodies to infest any male PCs

- a cannibal tribe. They have imprisoned a wounded Myrmidon, and now worship it as a bizarre idol

- a destroyed village, now inhabited only by the angry ghosts of the dead villagers

New Lake

A pool of eldritch energy created by the magical bombardment of the valley and the destruction of the canals. These "new lakes" are basically there as an excuse for the Referee to introduce any sort of bizarre or extradimensional encounter into Qelong - a portal to another realm, a dimensional anomaly, or...

Ken Hite posted:

... she can just put in a blobby, tentacled horror. People like those.

You can also find...

- under the water, the illusion of a magical, golden spear, seen by the most powerful Lawful character. If the character takes the spear (she must make a save vs. Magic in order to decline taking it), she will become convinced that she is a hero destined to save Sajavedra from its foes. (The spear turns completely ordinary and provide no bonuses.)

- in a shout-out to the movie Don't Look Now , a PC sees an image of himself guiding a boat across the water. His double bears a fatal would that is destined to kill him. If the PC talks to the double, or otherwise engages him, all blows that could deal the wound to him are at a +1 to hit until he gets a Remove Curse spell

- some new lakes might connect, tesseract-style, to another new lake. Entering the lake transports the character into an extradimensional Great Maze (same effect as a Maze spell, but with a duration lasting Hours and Days, instead of Turns and Rounds). When the character escapes, she emerges from one of the other lakes scattered across the hex map

Qelong River

The river is the lifeblood of the Qelong Valley, and it is now the primary means of travel now the the roads are destroyed. It is fairly reliable, though a monsoon can wreck havoc on a boat's course or cause a shipwreck. Worse yet, the now-awakened Naga Qelong can use a monsoon to alter a boat's course at her whim. The PC's can encounter:

- boats full of desperate refugees seeking aid. Many of these refugees are tainted with the aakom curse, which can lead to further complications

- a character with low HP or Chaotic tendencies can receive a feverish vision of the Naga in all her terrible glory. The Naga can attempt to seduce the character, bargain with him, or otherwise corrupt him. The character receives a penalty to resist illusions in the valley thereafter, but also gains insight into the river's awakened spirit

- a bird swoops by and attempts to steal something shiny from the PC. What a dick!


The stupas are ancient, domed structures that dot the landscape, sacred shrines meant to tame the magical geometry of the river valley. There are generally two kinds of stupas. The first kind are abandoned, still damaged by the war. The second kind have been occupied and restored by the Lotus Monks in an attempt to restore the sacred geometry. Any character taking part in the destruction of a stupa - Lotus-occupied or not - is hit with a Bestow Curse spell. Some unique stupa encounters include...

- a stupa that seems burned from the outside, but whose inner chamber remains intact. Inside is a magical scroll which reads itself aloud in a sonorous tone, accompanied by the sound of bells and the smell of incense. The language of the scroll is ancient and the text deals with the nature of Time, "a god who slowly smothers the other gods to death and drowns their bodies." The scroll takes four hours to read itself in its entirety. Any character inside the stupa who steps outside emerges at a different time then when they entered (anywhere from centuries to days, backward or forward, it's up to the Ref). If the scroll is touched, the reading ceases immediately.

- the stupa has been animated by the magic of the valley! It lures travelers in with food and warm and then tries to eat them. The stupa-monster has Armor 20, 200 structural HP(!), and can make one attack for every PC inside it as it tries to chew them apart. It can be destroyed from within (it's essence it tied to the eye-tooth of a sacred statue inside), but doing so will cause the structure to collapse on anyone inside. It's a very nasty encounter.

- a stupa that shelters a (non-Lotus) monk Vhao Uora (1d4 level Cleric) who will aid the PC's with info and healing if they are not desecrators. A nice break for a tired party, and at least it's not a house that's trying to eat you.

The rest of the chapter includes lists of random encounters made of things detailed in the Creatures chapter, which we will go over next post.

Creatures, or "Born on the 1d4th of July"

posted by Simian_Prime Original SA post

Qelong, Part 5: Creatures, or "Born on the 1d4th of July"

In previous chapters, we were introduced to the skeleton setting of Sajavedra, with only hints as to the forces that players will encounter in the war-torn land. But Creatures (and the next chapter, "Encounter Areas") are what flesh out the setting. This chapter is the "bestiary" of Qelong, but it is more than a mere "monster manual" - Unique NPC's, the movers and shakers of the setting, are included along with more incidental monsters. Yet even "mundane" threats, like soldiers and animals, are described in this book with interesting details. Most of the monsters borrow as much from Southeast Asian folklore as they do from D&D fantasy tropes.

Angry Ghosts : Unlife During Wartime

The widespread death and destruction within the valley has created a number of undead from the souls of those not buried with the proper rituals. Four unique types of undead, each based off of ghosts from East Asian folklore, present a threat to hapless travelers. In general, all these ghosts are insubstantial, and can only be harmed by magic. They move very quickly (twice as fast as an unencumbered character), and have a Morale of 12 (basically fearless) that can only be lowered by Turn Undead. Araq, beisaq, and qmoc praj ghosts treat Turn Undead attempts by anybody other than a Sajavedran monk as if they had 4 HD higher than normal. It is noted, however, that some angry ghosts can exorcised with proper offerings, or even the death of their foes.


Araq ghosts are ancestral ghosts of family homes, driven to madness when their homes or shines are destroyed. They're basically poltergeists, invisible spirits that attack intruders by flinging debris at them. Some Araq can also cast Cause Fear in a radius around them


Beisaq are hungry ghosts, spirits of improperly buried murder victims. They roam invisibly, looking to eat the rations of travelers in a vain attempt to feed their gnawing hunger. They turn visible, though not material, while eating. They attack with a chilling touch that bypasses armor and can inflict anything from paralysis to Constitution drain depending on their Hit Dice: however, they will only attack if they are disturbed while eating.


The ghosts of villagers who were forced to flee into the wilderness to die. The daereqlan possesses the body of a warm-blooded forest animal, adding to its Hit Dice, Armor, and damage, and it adds the animals Hit Dice to its own for the purposes of resisting Turn Undead. Basically a template you can add to any mundane animal to make it nastier.

Qmoc Praj

The ghosts of women who died in childbirth. They can fly, and their primary attack involves throwing stones (1 attack/Hit Die). Some qmoc praj have a sidekick in the form of a qon praj: a floating, vampiric fetus(!). In addition to granting a Hit Dice and save bonus to Mommy, the qon praj can cast spells ("usually hateful, creepy ones") as a Magic-User of level equivalent to its Hit Dice. The good news is that a human Magic-User can capture a qon praj and gain its benefits by feeding it 1HP worth of blood each night (If you consider having a creepy undead fetus hover around you like The Great Gazoo to be "good news")


Armor-Stealers are a type of bandit unique to the Qelong Valley. A few desperate villages stumbled upon a racket that involved stealing weapons and armor from heavily-armed travelers and selling it for coin. Most armor stealers prefer to lure their prey into a false sense of security, sedating them with poisoned food or restraining them while asleep, before stripping them of gear. Some more desperate groups just ambush travelers like typical bandits. Most tend to leave their victims alive, though some are not so cautious.

A few armor-stealers use an unusual part of the environment, such as a lethal trap or a hungry monster, to do their, dirty work and then they take the gear left behind. One enterprising group lures victims into a pit full of flesh-eating gas, then fishes out the armor with a grappling hook.


Your usual band of thugs that crop up in war-ravaged areas to prey on the weak. Nothing really remarkable, but a decent threat to a low-level party.


Famine, aakom poisoning, and sheer desperation has lead a number of villagers to feast on human flesh, and once you get a taste for the good stuff there's no going back, baby. There are two general groups of cannibals. The first is a group of people (sometimes an entire village) that has gone all "Cannibal Holocaust": they are individually weak, and rely on numbers and stealth to hunt for victims. Then you have single cannibals that have gone the backwood serial-killer route. These lone hunters have levels in Specialist (the LotFP version of the Thief/Rogue) with a focus on Stealth and Sneak Attack. They carry daggers, garrotes, and blowguns with poisoned darts. Lone cannibals also carry a protective amulet made from the preserved ear of a murdered monk (grants +3 to Armor, but only if you killed and ate the monk yourself)

Carrion Beasts

A short summary of a few mutated scavengers willing to attack PC's: Dholes (wild dogs), Giant Beetles, Giant Catfish, and Vultures. The aakom-tainted vultures can vomit stomach acid onto enemies, which I'm pretty sure is a shout-out to "Birdemic."


Can't have a jungle adventure setting without crocodiles! Om nom nom!!!


Elephants were commonly used as beasts of burden in peacetime Sajavedra, and though used less frequently, they still maintain a presence during the war. The bad news is that a number are running wild, and they have 10 HD, multiple attacks that inflict heavy damage, and the ability to ignore any wound that does less than 4 HP!

The good news is that they generally don't attack unless provoked by loud noise or violence. But if PC's are greedy, they can net a few thousand coin (silver pieces, the standard currency in LotFP), for a male elephant's ivory tusks.

Forest Folk

Members of hunter-gatherer tribes driven deep into the jungle by the "civilized" folk of Sajavedra, the forest folk go about their existence despite the war. They are extremely isolationist and protective of their homes, and will do whatever they can to drive out intruders. Only braves will be encountered, if they are encountered at all.

They are extremely difficult to ambush (only a 1 in 12 chance in the forests), and have very high Stealth ratings. In addition, ambushes by forest folk grant them an Aiming Bonus and double damage on all attacks in addition to the normal benefit of an ambush (one free round of attacks). A forest folk party consists of a mix of Fighters level 0-6, accompanied by a shaman (Cleric lvl 1-6). Their weapons are coated with a poison from the purple lotus that causes unconsciousness on a failed save. So intruding into their territory is very dangerous, but they will generally leave unconsicous PC's unharmed, unless they continue to intrude. If a third ambush is necessary, the folk will be armed with the lethal poison of the black lotus.

I like these guys: a really dangerous encounter, but not one with simply the intent to murder characters. They're an unfamiliar, but not alien, threat, and a tribe can even be turned into an unlikely ally if diplomatic PC's play their cards right. (They're meant to be human tribesmen, but you can repurpose them as a wood-elf variant if you want to give Qelong even more of a fantasy flavor)

The Gaja Simha

There's a pic in the book, but I couldn't find a scan. It's a lot scarier than this, I promise...

The Gaja Simha is a unique monster based on Cambodian folklore. It resembles a giant lion with a head of an elephant, covered in black, green, gold, and purple scales. Only one is ever seen, and it's appearance it said to be a sign of oncoming doom. Needless to say, it's been seen a lot in Sajavedra these past 20 years...

It's a good thing there's only one, because it's got high armor, 8 HD, and multiple claw and trunk garrote techniques. In addition, it has a number of spell-like abilities it can cast as an 8th level Magic User: Magic Missle (6 times/day), Change Self (disguised as monk), Invisibility, Wall of Fog, Gust of Wind, Dimension Door, and Shadow Monsters. It has Morale 10; if forced to flee, it will return when PC's are next at half their HP or lower. For some reason, it will not return in the sight of the Varangians or Myrmidons, or near the Cylinder.

The Gaja Simha is something of an x-factor for Referees to use in their game; it's origins are vague enough to be fit into any ongoing plot. It can play a greater role as either friend or foe in any conflict. Or it could simply be a unique magical beast that the PC's can hunt to sell its parts to a wizard.

Insect Cloud
A cloud of stinging insects that distracts PC's, causing penalties and interrupting spellcasting. What it says on the tin: a huge pain in the ass.

Lotus Monks

One of the major NPC factions in Sajavedra. The Cult of the Lotus is what remains of the monks that maintained the geomantic network of holy sites that kept the Naga Qelong in a state of quiescence. The aakom-pollution of the Cylinder and the destruction of multiple stupas by the war has disrupted the network, and the Naga's corrupt power of Chaos grows stronger every day. In desperation, the monks have formed a cult around the Golden Lotus, a living manifestation of Law which is said to predate even the gods.

Ken Hite posted:

The Lotus cult plans to "hard reboot" the Valley, using high-level geomantic sorceries. This major re-consecration of the Valley to Law will, ideally, return the Naga to somnolescence as the land's fundamental polarity reverses.

Well, that's good! We should probably help these monks...


It will, admitted, drain the life-energies of every living thing in the Qelong Valley. Or possibly, in Sajavedra.

... ok, that's not so good.

So the monks of the Lotus focus on recapturing stupas, as well as press-ganging villagers into repairing them, in between huffing Lotus blossoms and practicing kung-fu. They're easily spotted by their shaved heads, saffron robes, and eyes turned a golden color (from Lotus abuse). They are always organized symmetrically, appearing only in even-numbered groups set by a strict hierarchy based on level.

Lotus monks can do melee weapon damage with their unarmed attacks, rising in damage die depending on their level. They gain extra attacks and an unarmored bonus to the Armor level as they increase in level. They can ignore falling damage, scale sheer walls, and jump at incredible heights and distances. They also gain spell-like abilities as they increase in level, including Light, Breaking Blow (as Knock), Confusion, Blink, and Telekinesis. They make saving throws as elves; all other values are as clerics.

Say... it looks like you have a very rough sketch of a Monk class for LotFP. Why, you could even have a player...

Kenny posted:

This is not a character class. This is a passel of evocative game effects, restricted to slaves of the Lotus with Sajavedran monastic training. Which is, to say, NPC's


Coming up: From Army Ants to Ogre Mages - Creatures M-Y

Creatures M-R, or “Ballad of the Green Bulette”

posted by Simian_Prime Original SA post

It's been a while! Let me recap...

Qelong posted:

Two barely conceivable beings have fought a war for a generation over Sajavedra, a barely legendary land far to the southeast. They wish to claim its rich harvests of souls and fields, its intricate network of ley lines and temples, for their own.

They have devastated it utterly.

A forgotten weapon in their war, a neglected sorcery fallen from a distracted archon's attention, lies in the Qelong River valley at the edge of this near-cosmic battlefield.

Qelong is Kenneth Hite's hellish southeast Asian setting inspired by fantasy quest drama and war stories like Valhalla Rising, Apocalypse Now, and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Suitable for characters level 4-6, usable with Lamentations of the Flame Princess Weird Fantasy Role-Playing and other traditional role-playing games


Qelong, Part 6: Creatures M-R, or “Ballad of the Green Bulette”

As a war-torn tropical environment, the Qelong Valley is lousy with obscuring mist. Normal mist reduces visibility. Travel through the mist obscures vision; any character who ends up in a mist-filled hex is automatically lost, and inhaling the mist increases the rate of aakom poisoning per hour. Some mists are also poisonous, explosive, or can induce madness if inhaled.

A shit-ton of rain; reduces visibility and slows travel. Characters who don’t find shelter will end up with any food that isn’t iron rations ruined. Wet bowstrings can’t fire, and paper goods like scrolls are at serious risk.

Myrmidons are a particularly nasty breed of super-soldier created by one of the warring archmagi; they’ve spread beyond their control, and are now tearing a straight line of destruction across the east valley. They are a swarm of pinkish, finger-length ants that seek out human male hosts to convert into soldiers. The ants invade the bodies of their prey through their orifices and soft tissues, assimilating their minds into a hive mind. Infested victims are filled with a compulsion to eat clay. The clay forms a lacquered armor shell around the hosts, fully transforming them into obedient ant-men.

Myrmidons act like man-sized army ants, eating every organic substance they come across, salvaging whatever weapons they can find. Human men are captured for conversion into egg-hosts; all others, like women and children, get slaughtered for food.
(Only men are converted, but other humanoid males, like elves, can be converted as long as they’re large enough. Dwarves and halflings are too small)

The ant-soldiers are 4HD monsters with natural armor and improvised weapons, so they’re not too tough when found alone. They’re almost never found alone. For every 2 myrmidons attacking a single target, they get a bonus attack between them; so 4 myrmidons attacking a target (the practical maximum) would get 6 attacks(!) among the group. Thanks to their hivemind, they’re immune to most charms, illusions, and mind-altering spells. Funny enough, casting Feeblemind on a single myrmidon grants Haste to 1d6 of its fellows.

(Myrmidon) Egg-Hosts
When it’s time to make more soldiers, the myrmidons regurgitate thousands of tiny eggs into the bodies of human male captives. The hosts’ bodies bloat as the eggs hatch and eat them from the inside and they turn into living ant-bombs. Cure Disease will purge the eggs from their bodies, but the hosts will still die without the aid of healing magic equivalent to a Cure Critical Wounds spell or greater.

The egg-hosts themselves can’t do much beyond crawl and beg for death, but if they’re attacked, swarms of hungry ants will pour from their wounds to infest the nearest living target. A failed save means the ants burrow into the target’s body and try to convert it into a myrmidon. A save vs. poison with cumulative penalties for each day that has passed since infection, is required. Failure means the target’s body succumbs to the hivemind and loses 1 point of Intelligence a day. Until the last point of Intelligence is lost, the target’s mind remains aware, trapped inside a body that will not obey. A Cure Disease spell cast before all Intelligence is lost will cure the target, but the spell cast on an Intelligence 0 victim just leads to brain death.

Like the Lotus Monks, the myrmidon horde is one of the major power players of the setting, but more due to their raw numbers and implacable nature; they have no plan beyond “march, eat, infest, repeat.” They’re essentially a rogue biological weapon that can’t be bribed, intimidated, or reasoned with, topped with a healthy dose of body horror. PC’s would likely have to find powerful allies to prevent them from laying waste to the landscape of Qelong.

Naga Qelong

The Naga Qelong is the unruly demigoddess of the Qelong River. For millennia, she was something of a ‘necessary evil’, her essence bound by the sacred-geometry prison created by the network of canals and stupas built along the river. But with the sacred-geometry shattered by the war’s devastation, and The Cylinder leaking aakom into the river system, The Naga’s chains have loosened, and she is now free to manifest part of herself into the physical realm. Obsessed with taking full control of the river valley, she’s now using her new freedom to drown villages and create more Naga-Kin, monstrous half-breed children that worship her.

The Naga appears as a giant river serpent with four heads. Each head resembles an elvish woman with long, flowing hair in a different color, either black, white, green, or blue. As the setting’s “dragon”, The Naga’s stats are already an impressive challenge for an adventuring party, but Hite highlights that this is only her avatar; a minor manifestation of her continent-size form in the spirit word (he’s basically giving the GM carte blanche to boost her stats as needed). She has 12 HD and four attacks per round with her lethal venomous bite. In addition, each head has its own special attack that it can use 3/day.

The green-haired head can spray poison in a cloud to hit multiple targets, or spit a stream of concentrated venom on a single target.

The black-haired head can make a howl that affects all who hear as a Symbol of Fear, Insanity, or Despair

The blue-haired head can entangle foes with her hair, as a grapple attack. Any target entangled is affected by a Charm Person spell (The effect can’t force the target to make obviously suicidal commands, though a common tactic of The Naga is to say “Kiss Me” to bring a charmed victim close enough for a bite attack).

The white-haired head can shoot lightning from its eyes (treated as a Magic Missile spell).

The Naga Qelong is, in a way, the “Big Bad” of the setting. She wants nothing more than to destroy the remains of the stupa network imprisoning her so that she can drown the river valley and kill or convert all human life. The aakom contamination of the river valley makes her stronger every day, and she’ll eventually become unstoppable if the PC’s don’t find a way to contain The Cylinder. She is served by…

Naga-Kin are the mutant servants of the Naga Qelong, created from the human population by either breeding them with The Naga or Naga-Kin, or by drowning them in the aakom-tainted waters of the Qelong River (They’re the monsters chasing the adventurers on the book’s cover art). The Naga-Kin comes in a variety of forms, but all of them fit the general theme of “drowned corpses with snake-like or fish-like features.” (My favorite description is the one with “four tiny heads on a human-sized neck”). Their stats are identical, regardless of their features. They rely on their claws or on scavenged weapon; some carry nets. They have low armor and 2HD, but have significant Sneak Attack bonuses when in water, so they tend to stay close to the river and ambush tactics. If encountered in a group, there’s a chance for one of them to be a Level 3-8 Magic-User. Any victims drowned by the Naga-Kin must save vs. Magic or be themselves transformed into Naga-Kin.

A larger, more aggressive version of the real-world needlefish. Like the RL needlefish, these critters leap out of the water over any obstacle in their path - like, say, a passing riverboat – and anything standing in their flight path is likely to get impaled by their sharp, bony beaks. Any boat that’s unlucky enough to swim in the path of a school of needlefish is likely to get stabbed by a swarm of fishy knives (Ouch!). They can inflict a lot of damage on an entire party; because they swim away too quickly for any party to seriously attack them in the aftermath, they’re more of an environmental hazard than a proper monster. I think most of the fun will be pointing your players to the Wikipedia link and witnessing their reaction.

A hex containing an outbreak of good, old fashioned bubonic plague. Better have those Cure Disease spells handy!

Starved, shaken people, desperately trying to find safe haven in this war-zone (Spoiler: They won’t find it). They’ll generally just beg for food and supplies; if they greatly outnumber an adventuring party, they may try to overwhelm them and take their gear, but they have low Morale (can you blame them?) and are driven off easily. If given food, they could be a good source of information. They have a 2 in 6 chance of carrying typhus, and a 1 in 12 chance that one of them will carry an aakom curse (an touch-based spell attack that can never be turned off, caused by aakom poisoning). Some have a tiny bit of treasure in the form of looted goods, if an adventurer is callous enough to rob frightened, impoverished refugees.

One of many desolate, war-torn structures that dot the landscape of Sajavedra. Includes two mini-tables to roll for the chance of treasure or monster encounters, respectively, in the ruins. Not much to speak of otherwise.

Next: Creatures S-Y: Snakes, Tigers, and Asshole Vikings, Oh MY!!!