Runequest #208 - Magical Location: Draugar Stone!

Clint Staples

Here is a set piece that can be placed just about anywhere beyond the reach of established civilization. It could easily go into any given corner of the Big Rubble, Somewhere in the River of Cradles or an isolated portion of Prax. It may even lie in the path of my Brightwater Company.

This jagged oblong of granite projects more than a dozen feet from the surrounding landscape – like the broken blade of a stone dagger. It has the look of something extremely old, and the closer one gets to it, the more uneasy one feels. The foliage surrounding the base is dry and dead, but occludes a number of rocks and skulls piled haphazardly there. No runes or other signs mark the weathered surface of the stone, but any of Rune Level, can sense the power of the place with a Magic Skill success or a POWx5%. Those who roll a special (or POWx1%), or who are bound to the runes of Life, Death, or Earth, know that this is a potent manifestation of the Undead Rune.

 

Effects:

Zombification Aura: Within 5 yards of the Draugar Stone, anything that dies has a chance (100-SIZ) of returning as an uncontrolled zombie. Indeed, there are thousands of undead flies, beetles and other vermin roaming the region, and though they are no more deadly than any living version, an encounter with a swarm of undead flies or beetles that crumble to dust when destroyed might be a good opening encounter to draw the player here.

 

If the result of the Zombification roll is a special success, the undead created is instead a Wight, that retains is former faculties, gains affiliation with the Rune: Undeath, and a hatred and hunger for the living. At any given time, there is a 20% chance of a wight of some variety existing within earshot of the Draugar Stone. I will post a template for creating Wights from creatures so unfortunate as to fall prey to the Draugar Stone next week.

 

Undeath Unchallenged: Within 20 yards of Draugar Stone, the power of the Undeath Rune is so great that it blocks the Runic connection of users of Life, Death and Earth Runes to them. Rune Magic associated with these runes is only accessible by paying double the Runepower normally required (2 Runepower for a 1 point Runespell, etc).

 

Rumor and Lore:

A Successful check can provide one piece of information from those below.

Rumor: A local Zorak Zoran priest has begun sacrificing trollkin and other slaves here to build up an army of zombies.

Rumor: Humakti in the region have heard of the Draugar Stone and want to destroy it. They will pay well for information leading to the Stone, but will likely expect those with such information to accompany them to the stone before paying them off.

Lore: A cult of wights calling themselves the Covenant of the Stone has sprung up from those that have been created here. They roam the area, creating new zombies to wander as guards and sacrifice to the Stone to keep it strong. It is said that the Draugar Stone speaks to them.

Lore: Something about the Draugar Stone is so offensive to the cult of Vivamort, that vampires will have nothing to do with the place. Some vampires have even surreptitiously directed others in attempts to topple the Stone, which have thus far been unsuccessful.