Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Sweetest 20%: Candle of Swarming

The manufacture and use of these candles is a tightly kept secret of the druid circle that inhabits the Karn Slough.

Although nominally included within the boundary of the Halmon Protectorate, (ruled in all but name by the hierarchy of the Orthodox Church of Ahlmin), the peasantry in and near the Elsbec Delta have not embraced the teachings of the church enthusiastically despite waves of proselytization undertaken during the past few decades;  the spires of the Church of St. Selestine are far away, while the crop-blessings and weather-telling of the druids is near to hand.  Inevitably, as inexperienced but fervent bishops transition to positions of greater responsibility, the conversion of the area becomes prioritized.  Typically these efforts have devolved to persecutions of varying intensity.  

At such times, the druids strike against the hierarchy of the church directly but asymmetrically until brethren with a more ecumenical bent rise to leadership.  Candles of Swarming are one weapon used in such circumstances.

Candles of Swarming are similar in many ways to the Creeping Doom spell, although only wasps form the swarm it produces, which contains 40+1d6x10 wasps. The swarm forms in a single segment and attacks the nearest living thing (usually the person that lit the candle), moving in turn to other creatures within a 50' radius of the candle.  The swarm will not, however, move outside of an enclosed room smaller than its maximum area of effect even if spaces such as under doors or ajar windows exist.  Each wasp does 1hp of damage before dying; wasps that survive will feed on any carcasses and mutate into giant wasps in 24 hours.  If large amounts of paper are available, the wasps will create a nest lair which will be defended vigorously.

Such candles are often used to replace other tapers in targeted priests' personal quarters, usually near various holy books or papers which require light to read at night.  Sometimes assassins are hired to place the candles in appropriate areas, other times the druids themselves, using their shapeshifting abilities, will infiltrate church buildings directly.  

The last time the church attempted large-scale conversions in the delta, the druidic circle managed to replace several candles in the library prior to the rites of cleansing undertaken before unrolling an ancient scroll containing an original copy of the Epistle of Selestine.  The large number of resulting vacancies in the hierarchy, and incalculable loss of books and tomes that followed, resulted in the anniversary itself becoming a local day of fasting and darkness.

XP Value: 750
Gold Piece Value: 5,500

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