Some will have seen my free ‘Carapace‘ procedural adventure (details here).
I thought Carapace would be more interesting if the ‘boss’ encounter with the Giant Queen Ant was made more detailed, and had some links back to the NPC goals. So, I’ve made a one page supplement to accompany this adventure to cover this. Basically, the Queen tries to communicate with the PCs using pheromones. Each PC only gets part of the message (i.e. a single word in the form of a smell). Hopefully, this should provide the players with some quandaries, rather than a simple combat resolution …
Hopefully a .pdf version of the suplement will appear on my DriveThru page in the next few days …
Set up: When encountered, the true Queen will be near an archway excavated from the surrounding earth. The Queen cradles a naked human youth (or the youth is mindlessly licking her free of parasites). Periodically, she dribbles juice from her delicate mandibles into the human’s begging mouth. The human’s sole possession is a glowing beetle-shaped amber broach. The archway is inscribed with worn man-like creatures. Worker ants come out of the Archway and feed something odd to the Queen. Some workers are incinerated as they traverse the unstable portal.
Pheromone messaging: Tapping into its human vassal’s memories, the Queen attempts to send a message to the PCs. It sends them a cocktail of pheromones; these smells to stimulate the PCs thought centres. Each PC perceives one dominant smell from the cocktail of pheromones, and understands this as a ‘word’ (see below). Smart PCs may smell two words. False Queens transmit messages 1 or 2 only.
|D6 – Message 1 (Attack)
||Message 2 (Mission)
||Message 3 (Help)
||Message 4 (Deal)
||Message 5 (Parley)
||Message 6 (Surrender)
Explanation: The Hive was built over an abandoned temple. The temple was sealed off by magics long ago. One of the magical seals is faulty due to the close proximity of a magical amber broach. This has allowed worker ants to enter the temple. The workers have found something unusual and have been feeding it to the Queen.
This unusual feed has given the Queen (the Prime) a heightened sense of consciousness, although her thoughts like shards of glass, are alien to soft-skins (i.e. humanoids). Recently, the One (the ant colony) found a soft-skin intruder (the missing apprentice druid from Tnat’naig). The soft-skin sent the Queen a smell of submission and joining. Curious, and buoyed by her newly acquired consciousness, she assented to this request and allowed the soft-skin to join the One.
But … the soft-skin had impossible thoughts of being part of the One but also a Prime. The Queen’s smell finally dominated the soft-skin, and it became part of the One. The soft-skin’s memories were also joined into the One’s memories.
Most problematical of these memories is a memory of a soft-skin colony made entirely of Queens, entirely of Primes. The Queen battles to purge these dangerous memories from the One’s memories. But, these memories are leaking out of her as unwanted smells, dangerous smells. Some feeders have been acting on these pheromones, and are now making new Queens, False Queens. There can only be one Prime in the Hive. This must end. But, how to unmake the One, the Hive?