Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Chton and d12 Horrible Places To Find One

A Chton from the outside
Indistinguishable from cracked walls and statues, veins of glaze on pottery, flaking paint, perhaps even a tattoo, their vile nature can be revealed if their host 'armor' is cracked open, revealing the pus and alkali within. They exist as a pattern of cracks unique to each Chton, which spreads like a blight, allowing them to exist simultaneously in every iteration of their patterns. They dwell in long lost ruins, as the natural earth rejects their pattern and grinds them to nothingness. But upon manmade structures, or even on the shattered bones of wounded men...

Just imagine the insides of the walls being like this and smelling like bleach
 The Chton isn't the meaty stuff. It's not even the hard substance the cracks have corrupted. It's the pattern itself, it's what's missing. You can't get rid of it with a hammer, entropy is their ally. Damaging the pattern just makes them replicate from the force of the blow, endless fractal repetition of themselves splintering and cracking off. Admittedly, you could grind and smash them into dust until the manifestations were too tiny to matter. But perhaps whatever was used to hit it will acquire some hairline fractures as well. And even if you do get rid of one instance of the crack pattern, there might be more of the same elsewhere, and it will remember you because it's the same entity, just in more than one place at once.

The pus within is bad. It could burn like acid, it could attract monsters. It could taste like milk and honey and heroin and feed a whole cult of addict worshippers just, licking and sucking on some cracks in a dungeon wall. Maybe it heals them, keeps them strong. It's probably mutagenic too.

Chton prefer being in the biggest, most solid structures they can, trying to convert entire buildings into crack-riddled ruins, where the pus drips from every corner and the eyes watch from everywhere. Such a lair is likely beyond the powers of men to undo. But without followers, they can't do this quickly. They could be limited to a single brick or cobblestone for decades, waiting for someone to drop a pot or break a hip on them so they can crack the pot to replicate their pattern. Cracked masks can poison and corrupt anyone who puts them on. Cracked porcelain dollies prey on children who pick them from the midden-heaps. Cracked cups deliver pus to anyone who drinks out of them. The worst is when someone fractures their skull on a Chton, because then the Chton is literally inside their head, dripping poison into their brain, whispering madness into their ears. Not that Chton actually talk.

Chton are more like hauntings or curses or entire cultish organizations than individual monsters. You don't fight them, you imprison them, cut off their means of influencing the world, and you hope there isn't some brick 200 miles away plotting revenge even as you bury the Chtonized mountain temple in an artificial avalanche you called down with the help of 3 goats and 500 feet of rope. They don't have any statblock or defined powers, but they should lean towards inducing paranoia, slow poisons, corruption, alerting minions, spying.

Horrible places to find a Chton, though some are more horrible if you don't know what a Chton is and some are more horrible if you do
1- In a mirror hanging in a house or shop. The mirror shows what the Chton wants it to, now. Maybe it'll trick the players by not reflecting someone. Or maybe by not reflecting them. Maybe reflecting the party with one of them as a doppelganger.
2-A ruined, cracked, tower built on the edges of great canyons and ravines. Only at the top of the infested tower can you look around and see the rifts in the earth for their true shape.
3-a dry lakebed of cracked mud. So many square meters of cracked mud, all alike. The dam that let the lake dry out is vital to irrigating nearby villages in times of drought.
4-An iceberg, drifting along the sea. It gouged your ship, not enough to sink it immediately. No, you've plenty of time to take refuge on the iceberg.
5-In the bricks of a market square of a city. How long has it been there? Is it too late?
6- In the lid of the giant clay pot your camels are hauling water in, with a week of desert in every location.
7-Upon the skulls of an ancient burial mound that was looted before you got here. What few skulls remain, anyway.
8- Fine spiderweb cracks on the lens of the spyglass that's been navigating you through the high seas these last weeks.
9- On the bottle of the potion you just drank. You had been so relieved when it didn't shatter from your fall down the pit trap.
10- Glimmering in the heart of the almost flawless gemstone you just recovered. You can still sell it.
11-The boiled eggs you brought for rations. Or rather, their shells. Too similar to the potion and water? Okay, howsabout on the hatching monster eggs?
12-Every single vial of holy water from the local church is cracked in exactly the same way. And their stained glass windows. Maybe the bell.

What happens if a Chton is so big you fall in?
If you thought this post sucked, you know what doesn't suck? The Enigma of Amigara Fault

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