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Koskatep level 8 - Mokrath, Serpent Eyeby Francesco Defferrari from Threshold Magazine issue 10
Mokrath, Serpent Eye
Secrets of Koskatep, Level 8
by Francesco Defferrari (Sturm)1
Akrash the victorious has conquered the sacred city of the fairy queen, and kept it from her grasp for thirty cycles of the sun. For this great deed the Sorcerer King, in his eternal wisdom, has pardoned his rebellion. Mokrath will send to Mogreth gems and slaves. Mogreth will send to Mokrath cloth and tools. A portal will be opened, as the road is infested with human bandits and other filthy creatures of Grondheim and Taymora.
Written on an ancient Mogrethian tablet, circa 2050 BC.
Koskatep, Level 8
This level can be reached going down from the trapdoor in area 5B or even through the chasm in area 1 in Level 7 (Kosmoteiros, published in Issue 9 of Threshold magazine). The PCs will find themselves in Level 8, Mokrath, once a city of living lizardmen and troglodytes, now inhabited only by the dead.
The text below repeats the original description of this level in issue 1 of Threshold Magazine (Mirror of Eternal Night article). Read on to discover more on this level of Koskatep!
Level EIGHT, SERPENT EYE
Lizardmen and troglodytes lived here for a century in ancient times, and they made scaly decorations, serpent heads, and eyes drawn and sculpted on the walls, giving this level a slightly disquieting look. Gems were inlaid everywhere, but were long ago plundered by Taymorans and only empty sockets remain now. Just for fun, The Last One has awakened a hundred remains of ancient lizardmen and troglodytes to infest this level. Most of them are zombies, many of them are mummies, and some are vampires with magical abilities. They would gladly turn against him if given the chance.
The secret: One of the lizardmen, once a shaman, knows how to open a portal to the Blight Swamp. He would like to search for the descendants of his people there, and proposes an alliance to anyone working against The Last One.
When the Darkers arrive, they will strike a bargain with the lizardman shaman, so this level will be full of lizardmen and troglodytes alive and undead, busy opening portals to contact all of their kind living in western Karameikos in order to win them over to the cause of Nyx.
Relevant history (expanded from issue 1 of Threshold)2
2.379 BC: The Queen of Grondheim conquers the city, renaming it Krystallac. Just a few years later sidhe priests discover the existence of the inner temple and begin a century long negotiation with the Sollux and the Brutemen below to gain access to the artifact.
2.282 BC: As the Queen grows impatient about the unwillingness of Ixion to compromise, she sends her best troops to open the temple. Inti troops soon attack the place, and Taymora intervenes shortly thereafter. This is the beginning of the War of the Empires, or the War of Southern Grondheim, that will last decades and will devastate the region. Mogreth intervenes as well a few years later. During this time all the major powers occupy the city for a while. Mogrethian general Akrash conquers the city in 2091 BC but is forced to leave it two years later due to insufficient support from his homeland.
2.080 BC: In a time of crisis in Grondheim, Taymora, and Intua, lizardmen and troglodytes, under the leadership of the lizardman general Akrash, occupy Krystallac and keep it for a hundred years.
2.050 BC: A permanent portal, the Verdant Pool, is opened between Mokrath and Mogreth. Other magical properties of the Verdant Pool are soon discovered.
2.000 BC: The Mogrethian flood devastates the reptilian empire, cutting any support to Mokrath. Reptilian refugees however reach the city, bolstering its defence for a while but soon creating an overpopulation problem that will contribute to the fall of the city.
1.976 BC: After a long siege Taymora conquers Mokrath and renames it Kosmoteiros. Nyx knows about Ixion’s artifact but rather than try to steal or destroy it she decides to exploit the magical aura of the place to build her own, stronger, artifact that will bring fulfillment of her Dream. Mokrath is sacked, sealed and abandoned, but many inhabitants escape through the Verdant Pool and scatter into the world.
1.777 BC: To prevent Kosmoteiros from falling into the hands of Thanatos, the priests of Nyx destroy the city with a terrible earthquake. Thousands die and the place is abandoned for many years as seismic activity increases in the area. The chasm awakens the ghosts of the lizardman shaman Kirish and of general Akrash, who feeds on Taymoran souls.
1.664 BC: After the destruction of Taymora, fairies of the Unseelie court take possession of the place and try to use the Starlake, but do not know of the hidden temple of Ixion below. Kirish tries to attack them but is banished. Akrash hides among them for a while, but is eventually discovered and likewise banished.
1.597 BC: Lord Keiros, a Tal nosferatu and follower of Nyx, conquers Koskatep from the dark fairies. Vampiric followers of Thanatos attack several times but are defeated. Kirish sends some ghostly minions against Lord Keiros, but they are defeated and he is forced to hide. Level 8 is sealed again.
1.412 BC: Hutaakans conquer the site for Ixion and Pflarr, a seriously wounded Lord Keiros is forced to hide, and his followers are exterminated. The dead of Mokrath sleep undisturbed in their sealed level.
1.021 BC: Orcs sack Koskatep, some hutaakan priests survive hiding in the lower levels, and will become more guardians for the hidden temple of Ixion. Kirish and the lizardmen are awakened by their passage, and capture some hutaakans.
954 BC: After several battles a dwarven army defeats the orcs and conquers Koskatep, but are soon in constant warfare with the gnolls that rule over the region. Levels 5 and below are sealed again.
912 BC: The dwarves are finally defeated by the gnolls, who build their own city over the ruins. Shamans of Ranivorus and Thanatos begin to study the Starlake. Gnoll explorers reach Level 8 and are attacked by ghostly lizardmen, so Level 8 is closed again.
841 BC: Followers of Nyx, aided by ogres and giants, attack Koskatep but are unable to conquer the gnolls; yet they succeed in killing the most powerful shamans of Thanatos and burning their notes.
603 BC: The ogre king Kulfan conquers Koskatep in the name of Nyx and ogres rule over the area for centuries. Human priests of the Lady of the Night live in the city along with them. Kirish tries to contact the followers of Nyx, but Akrash attacks them and the lizardmen ghosts are banished.
95 AC: The Darkers almost complete the ritual to use the Starlake and bring forth the Eternal Night, but are stopped at the last moment by priests of Ixion, who drive out the ogres and occupy Koskatep for years. Cleansing of all the Levels down to the 10th by the priests insures that the lizardmen ghosts maintain their deep slumber.
227 AC: The priests of Ixion have repelled several attempts by ogres, giants and followers of Nyx trying to reclaim the ruins, but are destroyed at last by The Last One, a very powerful and ancient vampire sent by Thanatos. Some of them escape to the lowest level and become defenders of the inner temple. In the following centuries ogres, giants, followers of Nyx and even adventurers sent by Ixion try to reclaim Koskatep, but The Last One destroys them all. The Last One awakens the lizardmen ghosts and gives bodies to them, establishing an alliance with Akrash. Kirish hides from Akrash and The Last One.
998 AC (or later if the DM prefers): Lady Sonya, the Granddaughter of the Night, a powerful priestess of Nyx, and her followers, are able to defeat The Last One and reclaim Koskatep.
1031 AC: The next alignment. On this date the Starlake could be used to bring forth The Eternal Night.
The Random Critters table of level 2B (in issue 3 of Threshold magazine) and the Wandering Parties table may apply here if the DM wishes so. In this case there is a 1% chance in each room that a Wandering Party will be encountered. There is also a 30% chance that such creatures or people are already under The Last One’s control, and will therefore try to capture or trick the party.
The Followers of The Last One encounter table of level 1 (in issue 2 of Threshold magazine, page 122), can also still be used here if the DM wishes so. One such follower could try to join the PCs to explore this level, with the final purpose of bringing them in the presence of The Last One himself (in Level 7). After the Darkers take control (see issue 1) any Follower of The Last One will obviously keep a much lower profile and maybe even aid the party against the Darkers to use them or lead them to their deaths.
Spells that provide magical transportation, such as teleport, passwall, dimensional door, magic door, travel, gate and spells such as clairvoyance and find the path do not work on this level as on Levels 5, 6 and 7 due to powerful wards placed by The Last One and others before him. The DM could decide to apply the same rule to the levels above the 5th, at least from Level 2 and below, particularly if the PCs are of high level.
There is also a magical alarm in place all over this level: whenever a clerical or magical spell is cast3, Akrash will sense it and the general direction of the caster. Secretly, Kirish has his own alarm too, and will try to warn any caster as soon as he senses them.
The Level and its inhabitants
The original lizardmen city was sacked by the Taymorans in 1976 BC and most of its stones were eventually plundered to build Kosmoteiros above. In a few years, Mokrath was completely buried, however the earthquake of 1777 BC, subsequent collapses, and wandering creatures eventually cleared some of the rubble. Now the city, which had thousands of living inhabitants at its height, is inhabited only by undead lizardmen and troglodytes, some corporeal and some not. Their exact number and power should be left to the DM’s discretion depending on the PC’s levels. All the indicated levels are indeed just suggestions to be weakened or augmented by the DM as they see fit. Not all the areas of the city nor all its inhabitants will be detailed, as there are too many, so each DM may add many more as he or she prefers.
Some of the undead may have magical lights, otherwise the level is completely dark.
Three great magical fires burn over the still standing temples, upon Akrash’s order, and are visible from many areas of the city. The light yellow areas however should not be considered clear, but a labyrinth of rubble and huge rocks, with an average visibility of under 10 feet.
About the map
The Green path is the main road of Mokrath, covered in green tiles still in a surprisingly good condition. In dark grey is the solid stone of the Koskatep hill that encases the city. The light brown lines are the former external and internal walls of the city, partially collapsed or now buried in the hill. In dark brown the structures that the undead lizardmen rebuilt or repaired in the last few centuries. In light blue the waterways that have survived the destruction of the city, maintained by waters falling from the levels above and small springs in this level. Some of the waterways are relatively clear, others are stagnant and fetid.
As said above, most areas are dark or only partially illuminated by magical lights, if PCs do not bring their own light. If they do bring light, of course, it makes the party quite visible.
The Black area is the Chasm opened by the Kosmoteiros earthquake of 1777 BC, which goes all the way down to Level 12.
Map of Mokrath, Level 8
Koskatep, Level 8
[mage: The Levels of Koskatep
1 - Frogfolk Temple
This great temple, now mostly ruined, was once dedicated to the Cult of the Frog or Way of Irrub4, the religion that many frogfolk followed at the time of Mogreth. The religion was considered blasphemous by the dominant Outer Beings’ faith5, but King Akrash (see area 8 for his description) allowed it openly in Mokrath. In the last centuries however he has forbidden the undead frogfolk to gather here. They do that anyway in secret, practicing their religion in the lower levels of the temple, which is a pyramid five stories high. 2d20+5 undead frogfolk6 (HD 2-5) may be encountered in the two lower levels at any time. They have a pale, sickly appearance but their bodies are whole. They have a paralysis ability similar to ghouls. The surface area of the temple’s complex is roamed instead by an undead tyrannosaur (20 HD). The creature has normal attacks similar to a living one, but all the undead immunities and weaknesses. It can be damaged by holy water and turned as a phantom. It was placed here by Akrash to keep the frogfolk away from their former temple, but they have learned to distract it enough to pass.
The great green paved road passes to the left of the temple and leads to the interior of the city. Once it began with a grand double bronze door in the upper west corner of Mokrath, long collapsed and destroyed.
1 - There is a treasure trove of religious objects and weapons in the two lower levels of the pyramid, some of them magical, but anyone touching them will soon hear the Outer Beings’ voices, and risk madness. Devious DM’s may find more information about the use of Outer Beings in several unspeakable places, unholy books and other dark corners of the Vaults of Pandius, or elsewhere. Clues and history about the ancient Temple of the Frog of Blackmoor may also be found here if the DM wished so.
Some time after the arrival of the Darkers, when Kirish (see area 13 for his description) strikes a deal with them and takes control of this level, the undead tyrannosaur will be eliminated. Frogfolk will be able to freely attend the temple, but Kirish eventually will try to sway them away from the Outer Beings and convert them to his faith in Ka. 3d20+7 undead frogfolk will be in the area at any time.
2 - Frogfolk Quarter
The whole south eastern area of Mokrath was the frogfolk quarter at the height of the city. The area is now a massive pile of rubble and ruins, with few walls and buildings still standing. A relevant number of undead frogfolk dwells here. There is a 5% chance every turn (10 minutes) that the PCs encounter 1d6+2 normal undead frogfolk (HD 2 with paralysis touch) and a 1% chance every two turns that they encounter 1d4 superior undead frogfolk (as nosferatus, with clerical or magical abilities). It may take from 3 to 9 turns, at least, to cross this area walking outside the green road, more if the PCs are searching for treasure.
2 - There are objects and weapons dating back to the times of Mokrath in this area. Some of them can be useful, or even magical, and even free from the Outer Beings touch. Several of them however are still in the unliving hands of undead frogfolk.
After the Darkers’ conquest the frogfolk could start to receive materials to slowly repair and rebuild their quarter, a course of action Kirish will encourage. Kirish also plans to find living frogfolk to help rebuild the city, bringing them here through the Verdant Pool (area 8) from the Blight Swamp, the Malpheggi Swamp or elsewhere.
3 - Wall of Glory and access to Level 7
This area has statues and trophies that celebrate the glories and the victories of general and King Akrash. They were partially destroyed or decayed during the centuries, but Akrash had them repaired, mostly, in the last few centuries. 2d10 undead lizardmen guards (HD3 and paralysis attack as ghouls) and a undead lizardman captain (9 HD vampire) are always posted here, guarding Akrash’s monuments. This area is quite smelly as the northern river is muddy and stagnant.
The stairs coming down from the Starlake in Level 7 (area 5B) arrive in this area, behind an inconspicuous pile of rubble. The lizardmen guards should check them too, but often forget about it as they know the level above is controlled by The Last One. If they spot or capture some intruders, however, they will deliver them to the undead guards of the level above.
Small undead aquatic dinosaurs (HD 2-7 with undead immunities and weaknesses) also live in the river.
3 - The statues and trophies mounted by Akrash in this area include bronze, silver and gold objects, magical weapons and gems. Besides the guards however there is also a magical alarm in place, which alerts more guards in areas 4 and 8, and a magical trap which hits anyone touching the treasures with a chain lightning bolt.
After the Darkers’ arrival and Kirish’s takeover of this level the trophies will be taken down and brought to the treasury in the Palace (area 8). Eventually Kirish plans to put some statues of Ka and other Immortals here.
4 - Soldiers House
One of the few repaired buildings of Mokrath, once a barracks for the guards of the northern gate (which collapsed long ago and is now buried), now even a bigger building which houses 4d10+4 undead lizardmen guards (HD3 and paralysis attack as ghouls) and 2 undead lizardman captain (9 HD vampires), stands here. Around the building more undead lizardmen soldiers live (or at least roam) as this was in the past the Soldiers Quarter of the city.
The guards here will take any captured intruders to the Palace in area 8, where Akrash will decide if they have to be sacrificed to the Outer Beings or to Thanatos.
4 - There are a lot of weapons and armor in the hands of the undead lizardmen guards and in the armory of the building. None of them is cursed by evil deities and some of them are magical, but the armory’s door has two traps, one mundane (a poison needle) and one magical (a fireball).
When The Darkers arrive and Kirish takes control of this level, nothing will change for the soldiers here. They will still follow orders and obey the ruler of the city. Eventually Kirish plans to post living guards here too, after they start to arrive through the Verdant Pool.
5 - Slaves Pen
This huge area once housed the slaves of Mokrath, mostly humans, beastmen and some fairy folk. Now it is infested with Wraiths (HD 5) and Spectres (HD 7) of former slaves or adventurers, raised by The Last One or Akrash in the last centuries. They roam a vast area attacking anyone who gets near.
5 - There are objects and weapons of any kind in this area, mostly former possessions of adventurers slain by the undead during the centuries. The DM may also decide that some magical objects lay here too.
When The Darkers arrive and Kirish takes control, he will ask their help in dealing with the incorporeal undead. The Darkers will happily oblige, offering to the wraiths and the spectres the chance to join them and become Uncorporeals7.
6 - Bureaucracy Quarter
This area was once the bureaucrats quarter of Mokrath. It still houses a relevant number of undead lizardmen (HD2 and paralysis attack as ghouls). Akrash has put them to work as they did in their former lives, even if what they do now has little meaning. The lizardmen of this area will not be automatically hostile and will speak calmly to any intruders in their language. They will not attack unless forced to defend themselves. As soon as the intruders leave however, they will send someone to the Palace (area 8) to warn the guards.
6 - There are buildings still standing here and others being repaired by the undead lizardmen. Items, money, gems and weapons are also present in this quarter, mostly behind closed doors or in possession of the undead lizardmen.
When The Darkers arrive and Kirish rules, the bureaucracy will continue business as usual with a new purpose, as the undead shaman will assign them many tasks to prepare the city to return to its former glory, and with many more living inhabitants.
7 - Artisans Quarter
This area was inhabited by artisans during the height of Mokrath. Now some of them still live and work here as undead lizardmen and some rare undead troglodytes (both HD 2 and paralysis attack as ghouls). The buildings of the area are mostly ruined and the repairwork goes slow, as any other work here, for the lack of supplies from the external world.
As in the previous area, the inhabitants of this quarter will not attack intruders automatically, but will warn the guards in area 8 of their presence as soon as possible.
7 - There are objects and weapons of any kind in this quarter, some quite precious and magical, but guarded normally or behind closed doors, as in the previous area. Thieves, if caught, will be pursued and attacked by the undead inhabitants, who will also call the guards in area 8.
When Kirish takes control the Artisans Quarter will be slowly renovated and eventually, if Kirish’s plan succeeds, new living inhabitants and new artisans will come to live and work here.
8 - Akrash Palace and the Verdant Pool
This huge and majestic building was the main palace of King Akrash at the height of Mokrath and now it is again. Despite that the building is not in perfect condition as it was abandoned for many centuries. Even if Akrash has a new body since shortly after The Last One’s arrival in 227 AC, the lack of labourers and material has made a full restoration difficult. Many internal walls do not exist anymore or are under construction. The palace inhabitants include at least 100 undead troglodyte servants (HD 2), 100 undead lizardmen commoners (mostly females, HD 2), 100 undead lizardmen guards (HD 3-7) and 10 undead lizardmen captains (HD 9-15). The palace also houses the private chambers of general King Akrash (HD 20 nosferatu warrior) and his now undead family (a wife, a son, two daughters, a mother, an aunt, four cousins with spouses and 12 sons); all lizardmen (HD 1-10). When he founded Mokrath, Akrash was in search of a place far away from Mogreth, as his tenuous faith in the Outer Beings had put him in bad standing. However, in the face of his success and his domination of the region, the Sorcerer King of his home city8 had to forgive him, and the power of Mokrath grew and grew for years. After the flood destroyed Mogreth in 2000 BC, Mokrath was also flooded by refugees. The overpopulation contributed to the fall of the city in 1976 BC, in part because many Mogrethian refugees felt no loyalty toward a heretic such as the King of Mokrath. Akrash died fighting the Taymorans with all his family, here in the Palace. Unable to rest, he awakened again as a ghost in 1777 BC and feasted on the souls of defeated Taymorans. By this time, his hatred of Taymorans and humans in general had pushed him toward worship of the Outer Beings, and he started competing with Kirish for the control of the city. In 1651 BC Akrash was discovered by the dark fairies, while trying to steal some of their magic, and was banished for centuries by their magic. He regained conscience only around 600 BC, when Kirish was trying to cooperate with the followers of Nyx at the court of the ogre King Kulfan. Akrash’s hatred awakened him again, he caused the failure of Kirish’s negotiation and was banished once more. Only in 227 AC The Last One’s magic brought him back into a physical body. Since then Akrash has been wholeheartedly dedicated to the service of The Last One and the cause of Thanatos, considering it fully compatible with the Outer Beings’ faith. His true purpose however, after The Last One succeeds in using the Starlake to open a permanent portal to the home plane of Thanatos (in 1031 AC, see Level 7, Kosmoteiros, in Threshold issue #9), is to use the portal to create a foothold in Mystara for the Outer Beings. It’s hard to say if The Last One (and Thanatos) are aware of Akrash’s true plan.
Akrash’s wife and some of his family (two daughters and a cousin) have decided to oppose him, allying with Kirish once a favorable circumstance arises. Others (his son and two cousins) are instead fanatically loyal to him and the Outer Beings.
If PC’s are brought to the presence of Akrash, he will decide to sacrifice them to Thanatos or to the Outer Beings, depending on the stars’ alignments (a calculation will be made by one of his loyal cousins, who is also a wizard and an astronomer).
The bottom left corner of the Palace is dominated by The Verdant Pool, a small, green, body of water which was also a permanent portal to Isshum, the capital of Mogreth. As the city is now under the Dawn Sea, Akrash and most of the clerics and wizards among his kin and captains, are trying to modify it to make it open to another location where lizardmen are common, such as the Blight or Malpheggi Swamps. Should they succeed, they could repopulate Mokrath with living lizardmen, but also risk catching the attention of powerful beings such as black dragons, or even Thalkor9.
The Verdant Pool is also an ideal hatching place for lizardmen eggs. Unfortunately the undead lizardmen could not use the pool in such a way for many centuries.
8 - There are wonderful treasures of any kind in Akrash’s palace, mostly guarded by undead lizardmen, wraiths and spectres (mostly victims of past sacrifices whose souls were taken by Akrash’s clerics), mundane (poisonous) and magical traps. The most precious treasures are also often defended by magical alarms which alert the guards if someone other than Akrash or his immediate family touches them. If the DM wishes so, the Verdant Pool could also be modified to open a portal to where some ancient Carnifex sleeps10.
When Kirish takes control of the palace she will destroy Akrash and his loyal followers with the aid of the Darkers (but Akrash and his followers could be able to hide in the basements of the temple in area 10, in area 13 as Kirish did or even in Level 10 where The Last One will escape after his initial defeat, see previous issues of Threshold magazine).
Kirish and his entourage will then live here in the Palace, working relentlessly to modify the Verdant Pool as Akrash was trying to do. They too may risk disturbing some Carnifex resting place or some hideous Outer Being’s location, if the DM wishes so.
9 - Shrine to Thanatos and access to Level 9
This temple was not originally dedicated to Thanatos at the time of Mokrath, but to the Immortals not included in the Temple of the World (area 11), as Ka and others. Akrash rebuilt it in the last centuries as a temple of Thanatos to appease The Last One when he received his new body. 1d4+1 undead lizardmen shamans (HD 9 nosferatu with clerical abilities) are always here with 1d6 undead lizardmen commoners (HD 2 with paralysis ability).
In the basement of the temple there is a hatch which opens into a staircase spiralling down to Level 9 (Krystallac, which will be featured in issue #11 of Threshold magazine). As Akrash feared, and still fears, the magical powers of the fairies (even more so after the dark fairies banished him for centuries in 1651 BC), he has always kept this hatch well closed, trapped and alarmed.
A perpetual flame burns on the last level of the temple on Akrash’s orders, guarded by one of the lizardmen shamans.
9 - In the basement there is also a secret room which contains the treasure of the temple, mostly ritual objects and weapons dedicated to Thanatos (and therefore cursed for anyone who doesn’t belong to the same faith). Remains of past sacrifices also litter the floors (mostly adventurers who managed to arrive this far and were sacrificed by the shamans under Akrash’s orders).
When The Darkers arrive some of The Last One’s minions will probably use this passage to escape with him to Level 10 (even if he and others will be able to do that in mist form), so the hatch will no longer be closed and trapped. Eventually Kirish plans to explore and use the level below, but he will not be able to do that before The Last One strikes back (see The Battle in this Level paragraph here and in previous issues of Threshold Magazine for further details about events after The Last One’s initial defeat). Kirish will immediately destroy any Thanatos objects found here and will rededicate the temple to Nyx. 1d6+1 undead lizardmen shamans of Nyx (HD 9 nosferatu with clerical abilities) will always be here. Some Darkers could also be present occasionally. After some time, if Kirish is able to open the Verdant Pool, some living lizardmen shamans could also be here.
10 - Temple of the Faith
This building was the Temple of the Faith at the height of Mokrath, where Outer Beings were worshipped according to the official Mogrethian faith (see note 3). During Mokrath’s times, not many inhabitants followed the traditional faith, but now Akrash officially permits only the cult of Thanatos and the Faith. The temple is partially ruined by the chasm that cuts into this level from the level above and down to the 12th level. The chasm is wet from water that drips from above and can have random teleportation effects (see area 1 in Level 7, in the previous issue of Threshold). Akrash has arranged for the chasm to be partially covered here and he plans to close it completely. In the meantime 2d10+2 undead lizardmen guards (HD 3 and paralysis ability as ghouls) are always here, together with 2d10+1 undead lizardmen commoners (HD 2 and paralysis ability) and 1d4+1 Outer Beings undead shamans (HD 9-11 nosferatu with clerical abilities).
A perpetual flame burns on the last level of the temple on Akrash’s orders, guarded by one of the lizardman shamans.
10 - There are all kinds of unholy objects and weapons in the basement of the temple. All are tainted by the Outer Beings’ touch as explained in the area 1 sidebar. A secret room known only to shamans also contains an unanimated Carnifex mummy. The Carnifex were the rulers of the first Mogrethian Empire (5500-3800 BC), extremely powerful in magic. Akrash found the mummy and hopes to use it to gain his magical power, but he doesn’t know how yet. He has not shared this knowledge with The Last One, and only three of his most trusted shamans (including his son and a cousin) know of the mummy. If they can manage to wake the Carnifex, he would be a powerful nosferatu wizard (HD 20) and could be able to take control of Akrash and all this level. In this occurrence the Carnifex, whose name in life was Shak-ikrath, could use his powers to conquer the whole of Koskatep and open a portal for the Outer Beings to Mystara.
When The Darkers arrive and Kirish takes control, he will close the temple, and eventually the chasm too. If Kirish discovers the secret resting place of the Carnifex, he could try to awaken him too with the aid of the Darkers, as they do not know much of his race and his powers.
11 - Temple of the World
This building, once the biggest temple of the city, was dedicated to Protius, Ixion and Ordana (see note 3), once the most revered immortals in Mokrath. The temple is surprisingly well preserved, but Akrash no longer allows the worship of these immortals. Shaga, once a priestess of Ordana, now hides in area 13 with Kirish. 2d10+2 undead lizardmen guards (HD 3 and paralysis ability as ghouls) are always here to keep the rebels of area 13 away from the temple. The moat around the temple is also infested with small undead aquatic dinosaurs (HD 2-7 with undead immunities and weaknesses).
A perpetual flame burns on the last level of the temple on Akrash’s orders, even if the building is not used by the cult anymore.
11 - There are objects and weapons pertaining to the faith of the Immortals once revered here in the basement of the temple. Akrash has used some of them in magical rituals or sacrifices to the Outer Beings and plans to do the same with the rest. A cleric of the immortals mentioned above may be drawn to the location of such magical items in order to save them from their current use.
When Kirish takes control of this level he will reopen this temple to the cult of undead and, hopefully, living lizardmen and other inhabitants of the city. Shaga (see area 13) will be the high priestess of Ordana and 1d10+2 undead lizardmen shamans will also be here with her at any time. Two undead hutaakan priests of Ixion (see area 13) will also be here, probably with some apprentices too, after some time.
12 - Troglodyte Houses
This quarter, and all the southeastern corner of the city, was the quarter inhabited by troglodytes at the height of Mokrath. A relevant number of undead troglodytes dwell here. There is a 5% chance every turn (10 minutes) that the PCs encounter 1d8+1 normal undead troglodytes (HD 2-4 with paralysis touch) and a 1% chance every two turns that they encounter 1d6 superior undead troglodytes (HD 9-12 as nosferatus, with clerical or magical abilities).
Most of the buildings here are in poor repair and the inhabitants are only nominally loyal to Akrash. Some of them will come and obey if lizardmen guards and shamans come here calling for them, but normally they try to avoid Akrash and his minions entirely.
12 - There are many objects and weapons in this area, all belonging to the undead troglodytes. There are however also some abandoned houses which could contain precious objects forgotten centuries ago.
When The Darkers arrive, the troglodytes will soon join Kirish in overthrowing Akrash. Kirish will reward them by providing, eventually, material to rebuild their houses. Also he will work to bring living troglodytes here to rebuilt the area completely.
13 - Rebel Quarter
This huge area, the entire southern quarter of the city, was inhabited by troglodytes and other minor races at the time of Mokrath, including caymen, gatormen, chameleon men, tortles and some free humans, beastmen, fairies and dwarves. Now it is the hideout of the rebels lead by the former shaman of Ka, Kirish (HD 18 nosferatu) and the former shaman of Ordana, Shaga (HD 15 nosferatu with clerical abilities). While Shaga maintained her clerical powers despite her undead status, after she was raised by The Last One along with the others in 227 AC, the story of Kirish is different. The former shaman of Ka died in the fall of Mokrath of 1976 BC like many others, but as Akrash he awakened as a ghost when Kosmoteiros was destroyed in 1777 BC. Shortly after, he discovered the dark fairies of Kundrak and tried to attack them, but was defeated. At the time, he was still subordinate to Akrash, but as his master disappeared for centuries, Kirish was free. He met Lord Keiros in 1595 BC and tried to attack him, considering him a Taymoran enemy, yet was impressed by his opponent’s reasons. Defeated, he was sealed here in level 8 until in 1021 BC hutaakans escaping the orcs passed through this level. He captured two hutaakan priests, turning them into ghosts. With time however, they became more friends than thralls. When the followers of Nyx returned in 603 BC, Kirish was able to speak peacefully with some of them, his former hatred for Taymorans too far away in the past. The awakening of Akrash however destroyed his coming alliance with the followers of Nyx, and both he and Akrash were banished for centuries.
When The Last One awakened the undead inhabitants of this level in 227 AC and gave them bodies, Kirish awakened too, along with Shaga and the two hutaakan priests (HD 9 as nosferatu with clerical abilities). They soon gathered a sizable group of lizardmen, caymen, gatormen and chameleon men rebels, all unwilling to bow before Akrash and his rekindled faith in the Outer Beings.
Kirish has lost his faith in Ka at this point, and is now rather looking at Nyx as a prospective patroness. Shaga and the two hutaakan priests plan instead to revive the temple in area 11.
They are allied and have several followers between undead lizardmen, caymen, gatormen and chameleon men (HD 1-12 with paralysis ability as ghouls).
There is a 5% chance every turn (10 minutes) that the PCs encounter a patrol 1d10+1 rebels here, with a 10% chance that one of them is a nosferatu (HD 9-12) with clerical or magical abilities.
13 - A great part of the objects and weapons which were in this area has been gathered and hidden by Kirish and his followers in recent centuries. The Quarter is big however, so hidden caches of treasures and weapons may still be around in several ruined houses.
When The Darkers arrive and conquer the level above, Kirish will be aware of the situation as probably some of The Last One’s minions will escape through this level to reach level 10, and Akrash’s minions will be quite agitated too. Kirish will soon try to contact the Darkers and will succeed, staging the rebellion that will overthrown Akrash.
Kirish will then became a priest of Nyx and will do anything he can to promote his newfound faith, even if he will not immediately outlaw the frogfolk cult, nor the Temple of the World. Eventually however he will have to confront both the Outer Being’s cult of the frogfolk and the living cult of the Temple of the World, as neither can easily coexist with Nyx’s philosophy.
THE BATTLE ON THIS LEVEL
There will be no initial battle on this level, as the Darkers will stop when they will conquer Level 7 above from The Last One, as explained in Threshold issue #9. The Last One will escape through this level to hide in Level 10. The undead lizardmen will let him pass, and Akrash will promise him help to strike back at the Darkers.
Yet, some time after the Darkers takeover, Kirish will succeed in contacting them, by-passing Akrash. Then there will be a battle here, and Akrash will be overthrown by the combined forces of the rebels in area 13, the troglodytes in area 12, some dissatisfied lizardmen and frogfolk and the Darkers. Kirish will take control of the city and, after some time, he will open the Verdant Pool to the Blight Swamp. He will fully convert to the cause of Nyx, allowing the existence of other religions but discouraging any Outer Being worship. The new lizardmen city will probably be caught up in intrigue eventually, as Kirish will support the Darkers but Shaga could be willing to support the fairies of level 9 and the hutaakan priests will certainly aid the church of Ixion. The newly liberated Mokrath may well descend again into civil conflict quite soon.
After his defeat, Akrash may hide or be destroyed. If he hides, he will plan to aid The Last One when he comes back, and will try to contact him in secret. He could also escape to level 10 and join The Last One there. The final plan of Akrash however will still be to take control of the Starlake to call the Outer Beings into the world.
1Many ideas for this level come from the work of Geoff Gander about Mogreth that can be seen in the namesake Piazza thread, also collected at the Vaults of Pandius. Further links to Geoff Gander’s work about Mogreth and the Outer Beings will follow in the rest of the article.
2Several details of this history come from my History of Traladara. Other histories may differ, as the one presented in issue 1 of Threshold magazine did (History of Karameikos by Simone Neri, page 37), but this timeline could easily fit into them too.
3Including bard spells, and spell like effects from magical items. Each DM may also decide that the simple presence of a magical item may trigger the alarm, and even psionic powers, if allowed in the campaign.
7More informations about the Uncorporeals, special Nyx’s undead, are in Threshold issue #1, page 146.