This is the first of a pair of posts that tie into our Atlantis-rooted products, like Secrets of the Witchkind and Love Witch. The posts stand on their own, however.
THE CODEX OF DOOM: LETHAL LORE
The Codex of Doom is an ancient tome originally created by Atleantean sorcerers as an addition to Atlantis's magical arsenal. It was deemed too dangerous by the Triumpharate of Poseidon to be left in mortal hands, yet it was too imbued with too much magic to be destroyed. Instead, it was hidden away in a cavern, in a region on the far northern shores of Greenland that was then covered by a perpetual storm.
The creators of the Codex and their allies were unhappy with their masterpiece being so consigned to oblivion, and they feared a day would come when their descendants would need the magic contained within it. They hid maps to the Codex's resting place throughout the Atlantis and its far-flung colonies. Several of those maps have survived to modern times, just waiting for those brave enough and power-hungry enough to retrieve the Codex of Doom.
The maps mark two locations on what appears to be a highly stylized map of the Earth with different coastlines on some continents and a large island in the Atlantic Ocean where none exists today--Atlantis.
The first location is that of the Cave of the Codex, where the Codex of Doom has been placed. The second is quite literally at the the other end of the world, as it shows a location on the South Pole where something called the Time Cube can be found. Notations on the maps indicate the Time Cube will transport the person holding it to one of six locations, one of which is the Cave of the Codex.
GETTING TO THE CAVE OF THE CODEX
The Codex is in a cave, located at the end of a fjord between Cape Morris Jessup and North Station. It can be reached by rappelling down a steep cliff-face from the landward side, or sailing int the fjord from the ocean side, and taking the last of the trip. But there's the magical storm to deal with.
Unless there's already bad weather in the area, the area seems safe to approach, but once the characters are within two miles of the cave, a violent ice storm suddenly forms around them. Within moments, the temperature drops to lethal sub-zero levels and the water in the fjord turns to solid ice almost instantaneously, trapping any ships. Even the mightiest of ice breakers will find itself flash-frozen in the fjord. Eventually, the ice will crush any ships so trapped and cause them to sink to the bottom.
Characters exposed to the storm suffer 1d4+1 points of cold damage per round (Fort save for half, round up) until they find shelter. The only natural shelter in the area is the Cave of the Codex). Magical protection from cold negates the damage.
Visibility in the storm is reduced to near-Zero. Characters that aren't tethered to each other must roll Survival skill checks (DC19) to not be separated from each other. Survival skill checks (DC15) are also necessary to continue in the right direction to reach the cave. Attempts to climb down the cliff-face to the cave require the appropriate gear as well as Climb skill checks (DC15).
THE CAVE OF THE CODEX
The mouth of the cave is ten feet wide and seven feet high, and it provides shelter from the raging ice storm. It narrows to a natural tunnel that is roughly six feet wide and six feet high. This tunnel winds its way in total darkness,sloping slightly downward until is opens into a round, obviously carved cave that's 13 feet in circumferance with a dome-shaped ceiling that's 13 feet from the floor at its highest point. The floor, walls, and celling are At the center of the cave, a massive, closed tome rests on a reading stand that is fixed to the cave floor--appearing as if it was carved from the rock itself when the cave was formed. The book is the Codex of Doom.
As soon as the first character enters the cave, they trigger the guardians, who have remained dormant under the snow on the shore outside. These guardians, the frozen and cursed corpses of those who have previously tried and failed to acquire the Codex, come shuffling down the tunnel, intent on adding the party to their number. Use ghoul stats, but all damage inflicted is cold-based, including the paralysis. There are two guardians per party member.
Guardians of the Codex [Ghouls] (OGL Content)
There will be details on the Codex of Doom itself and the Time Cube in "The Codex of Doom (Part Two)", coming soon to this blog! In the meantime, here's the song that inspired this post (and the one to follow.)
Open Game Content: The Guardians of the Codex are Open Game Content and may be reproduced in accordance with the Open Game License. The rest of this post is defined as Product Identity. Copyright 2018 Steve Miller. Special Thanks to Alestorm for the inspiration. (And, yeah, we know where their inspiration for the song came from. I will echo that in the next post, but am also going in a different direction.)