Adventure! Excitement! These things and more await you in Journeys to the West, a Kickstarter project by Open Design. The project, which you can help fund as of this writing, will have six adventures for the Pathfinder system, and it plans to give adventurers of levels 1 to 12 plenty of opportunities to explore and tackle the dangers in Midgard’s Western Ocean. To kick off this Kickstarter (groan if you must!), designers Brandon and Christina present you with the Isle of Morphoi and statistics for the lamia Mnemosynian matriarch. (Our lamia here was illustrated by Chris McFann.)
The Isle of Morphoi
When the rage of Nethus failed to quench the divine fires of Kammae Straboli’s empowered soldiers, it was not without consequence. The battle that enslaved and chained the sea god inflicted other casualties more subtle but no less earth shattering. The wife of Nethus, a deified siren queen named Mnemosyne who holds dominion over memory and time, was also assaulted. Failing to kill the goddess, the Kammaen inquisitors’ bindings removed from her mind any trace of their crime or the methods they used to capture Nethus. So Mnemosyne—the very embodiment of memory—suffers a memory gap. She cannot recall the events or any thoughts of Nethus, but she knows something is missing. The handmaidens who sought to protect her were cursed into horrid forms: the first lamias to walk Midgard. No one knows how they came from those events to the Isle of Morphoi.
The isle is a lush land, but tall cliffs and no ports mean most consider it uninhabitable and nigh unapproachable by sea. Monstrous creatures guard its waters, with chuuls, charybdises, dire sharks, and even scyllas reported by those brave enough to venture close. These same sailors describe cliffside homes and dangling canoes that hang like swallows nests along the coast, and beautiful women are among these homes. Such sightings give rise to improbable tales of an island of amazonian, enchanting seductresses, but such tales are closer to the truth than most know.
Farther from the coast, monasteries and lush gardens punctuate the island, and a central temple built in classical columned style stands proudly at the isle’s center. Within, Mnemosyne holds court among her lamia handmaidens and devoted servants. The goddess is consumed with reclaiming the memories she knows she has lost. As a result of this obsession, her dominion over time has slipped, and this causes instability on the island. Each new morning, explorers are as likely to encounter ancient extinct beasts, from dinosaurs to mega-fauna, as they are strange metal constructs, primitive cavemen, Cyclopes, and unusually dressed men wielding strange, vril riflelike weapons that loudly discharge hot slugs of metal. Those who have the goddess’s favor remain stuck in time, even as it shifts around them, and although buildings and geography are typically unaffected, lush patches of jungle can spring up overnight, only to be dry desert the next day.
Servants of Mnemosyne include the lamia, the lamia matriarchs, and the Mnemosynian matriarchs—once beautiful nymphs now twisted in mind and body—that serve her every need. Her worshipers also include the island’s original inhabitants, the morphoi. These latter creatures are also erroneously called ugothols (another race entirely) or faceless stalkers, and entire tribes of these strange, shapeshifting creatures are enthralled by the goddess and devote their lives to her service. Most take the forms of beautiful humanoid women, since this pleases Mnemosyne, and all strive to retrieve her lost memories and restore her to her rightful place as the unblemished goddess of memory.
To accomplish this, her handmaidens and morphoi servants disperse throughout Midgard, infiltrating courts and whorehouses alike, in hopes of capturing those with some knowledge of the true nature of events that led to Nethus’s capture and the mental damage done to their goddess. The Wisdom damage inflicted by the lamia matriarchs (both types) also causes memory drain. Many servants and nobility among the Seven Cities forget entire spans of days after keeping company with a strange visitor.
Mnemosyne’s servants also employee terrible crablike creatures known as Neh-Thalggu, powerful sorcerers who rip memories from the harvested brains of those they suspect know something of the events that waylaid their queen. When such agents return to the island, they sit with the goddess and recount all they know in meticulous detail. Should the goddess ever discover the secrets behind the imprisonment of Nethus, Mnemosyne would move immediately to free her husband, and the wrath of the sea god toward his captors will be mighty indeed.
Lamia Mnemosynian Matriarch CR 12
CE Medium monstrous humanoid (shapechanger)
Init +10; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +23
AC 31, touch 21, flat-footed 31 (+6 Dex, +10 natural, +5 Insight; 50% miss chance)
hp 157 (15d10+75)
Fort +6, Ref +15, Will +14
Defensive Abilities displacement, foresight; Immune mind-affecting effects, temporal effects; SR 23
Speed 40 ft.
Melee +3 scimitars +22/+22/+17/+17/+12 (1d6+6/15–20 plus 1 Wisdom drain on first hit each round) or touch +22 (1d4 Wisdom drain and memory drain)
Special Attacks memory drain, temporal stasis, two-weapon rend (1d10+10 damage), Wisdom drain
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 15th; concentration +26)
At will—charm monster (DC 21), ventriloquism (DC 18)
3/day—deep slumber (DC 20), dream, major image (DC 20), mirror image, suggestion (DC 20)
1/day—hallucinatory terrain, righteous might, time stop (DC 26)
Spells Known (CL 10th; concentration +21)
5th (4/day)—feeblemind (DC 22)
4th (6/day)—air walk, dimension door( DC 21)
3rd (4/day)—cure serious wounds, dispel magic, haste
2nd (8/day)—death knell (DC 19), invisibility, protection from arrows, resist energy
1st (8/day)—cure light wounds, divine favor, mage armor, magic missile, obscuring mist
0 (at will)—bleed (DC 17), dancing lights, daze (DC 17), detect magic, ghost sound (DC 13), mage hand, mending, prestidigitation, touch of fatigue (DC 17)
Str 24, Dex 23, Con 21, Int 20, Wis 20, Cha 25
Base Atk +15; CMB +22; CMD 38 (42 vs. trip)
Feats Combat Casting, Double Slice, Extend Spell, Improved Critical (scimitar), Improved Initiative[B], Improved Two-Weapon Fighting, Two-Weapon Fighting, Two-Weapon Rend, Weapon Focus (scimitar)
Skills Acrobatics +12 (+16 jump), Bluff +23, Craft (weapons) +23, Diplomacy +13, Disguise +13, Intimidate +22, Knowledge (any one) +17, Knowledge (arcana) +17, Knowledge (nature) +17, Perception +23, Sense Motive +12, Spellcraft +12, Use Magic Device +22; Racial Modifiers +4 Bluff, +4 Use Magic Device
Languages Abyssal, Aquan, Common, Draconic, Sylvan
SQ change shape (fixed Medium humanoid form, alter self)
Environment any land
Organization solitary, pair, or cult (3–12)
Treasure double (two +1 scimitars, other treasure)
Foresight (Su) A lamia Mnemosynian matriarch can see a few seconds into the future. This ability prevents her from being surprised, caught flat-footed, or flanked. It also grants her an insight bonus to AC equal to her Wisdom bonus. This ability can be negated, but the lamia Mnemosynian matriarch can restart it as a free action on her next turn. It also grants her the Improved Initiative feat as a bonus feat.
Immunity to Temporal Effects (Ex) A lamia Mnemosynian matriarch is immune to all time-related spells and effects (including time stop, temporal stasis, and the like).
Spells A lamia Mnemosynian matriarch casts spells as an 8th-level sorcerer, and she can cast spells from the cleric list as well as those normally available to a sorcerer. Cleric spells are considered arcane spells for a lamia Mnemosynian matriarch.
Memory Drain (Su) A lamia Mnemosynian matriarch drains 1d4 days of a target’s memory each time she hits with her melee touch attack. A DC 24 Will save negates the Wisdom drain. The save DC is Charisma-based.
Temporal Stasis (Su) Three times per day, a lamia Mnemosynian matriarch can affect a target with a temporal stasis as a touch attack, as per the spell. A DC 24 Fortitude save negates the effect. The save is Charisma-based.
Wisdom Drain (Su) A lamia Mnemosynian matriarch drains 1d4 points of Wisdom each time she hits with her melee touch attack. The first time each round that she strikes a foe with a melee weapon, she also drains 1 point of Wisdom. A DC 24 Will save negates the Wisdom drain. Unlike with other kinds of ability drain attacks, a lamia Mnemosynian matriarch does not heal damage when she uses her Wisdom drain. The save DC is Charisma-based.
Mnemosyne’s greatest handmaidens, these lamia have received some of their goddess’s abilities over time and memory. After the Kammaen inquisitors cursed them, these beautiful women twisted into forms resembling small centaurs. They have the upper torso of a fey-looking female, and their lower bodies are that of a painted (or spotted) pony-sized horse. When encountered in their natural form, in fact, most individuals believe them to be adolescent centaur females, and the lamia Mnemosynian matriarchs use this fact to their advantage by often pretending to be exactly that: docile centaur youths playing about their island home—but they are truly the deadliest of all the lamia.
The desire to recover their goddess’s memory consumes these matriarchs, and they use subterfuge, including infiltrating other governments and exploring other lands in human form, to uncover clues to unlocking Mnemosyne’s mind. They also seek to regain her mate, by whatever means necessary. Those encountered on Morphoi protect the goddess and her temple, oversee territories or other races on the island, or deal with new arrivals to the island.
Like their lamia matriarch cousins, they can move with shocking ease from silken-tongued temptresses to dervishes, striking with all the deadly precision of vipers. They also enjoy luxuriating in gory feasts, violent trysts, and bloody entertainments, reveling until their playthings are broken or until they tire and move on.
Interested in more locations and creatures of the Western Ocean? Venture over to the Journeys to the West Kickstarter page and join the crew!
Section 15: Copyright Notice
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary 2, © 2010, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Authors Wolfgang Baur, Jason Bulmahn, Adam Daigle, Graeme Davis, Crystal Frasier, Joshua J. Frost, Tim Hitchcock, Brandon Hodge, James Jacobs, Steve Kenson, Hal MacLean, Martin Mason, Rob McCreary, Erik Mona, Jason Nelson, Patrick Renie, Sean K Reynolds, F. Wesley Schneider, Owen K.C. Stephens, James L. Sutter, Russ Taylor, and Greg A. Vaughan, based on material by Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, and Skip Williams.
Time Flayer from the Tome of Horrors Complete, Copyright 2011, Necromancer Games, Inc., published and distributed by Frog God Games; Author Scott Greene.
7 thoughts on “Journeys to the West: The Isle of Morphoi and Its Creatures (Part 1)”
You know what would be cool? Having an Open Design project that was both 3E and 4E. It would be cool to pull design teams with that different expertise together to create the best of both approaches with mechanics for either one.
Awesome. Love the relation to time (history) and memory. Gonna try to save up some cash, maybe I can join this one.
@Alphastream: Well, Dark Roads is both PF and 4e.
Yep, Dark Roads & Golden Hells is the third project that has been both 3E/PF and 4E. Halls of the Mountain King did the same trick, and so did the Imperial Gazetteer.
This one is Pathfinder-only, mostly for focus. Dual-track projects are always a little more awkward.
It’s going to be a strange voyage, I can tell!
Is this a little creepy (a good thing)? Or is it just me?
Todd, creepy is good. :)