The tower is ancient, built no doubt by the Old Ones. Today it is home to a mysterious figure known only as The Necromancer. The tower is peopled with all sorts of undead constructs and creations, and the immediate country side is not contested by anyone.
There is a nearby town (maybe half a day's walk) to the tower, but it is outside of the barren heath. The town is home to a small number of farming peasants who not only tend to their own needs, but also support the nearby monastery known as the Hove of Enlightenment. It is a place of meditation, study and reflection for a community of Kyclos, the consort of Nadene, the Goddess of Fertility. It seems that the Brothers of the order are quite fascinated with the difference between living and dead, and so have made a study of the undead creatures of Gof Annish. The inhabitants of the town know some of the following goings-on at the heath.
The heath itself is kept cursed and freed from most life (no animals live there, and very few plants, other than the Annish vine). This is done by the hand of the Necromancer and his serving hordes of undead. Twice a year, a massive procession of skeletons, led by 12 bone devils, lead the Bell of the Damned in a circle around the edge of the heath, three times, starting at midnight on the Equinox, and taking over three days. The circuit around the edge of the heath is over 30 miles, and the Bell itself is huge. It is a massively large bell, weighting thousands of pounds, and mounted in a tall (25') wooden scaffold, on wheels. Hundreds of skeletons, pulling on ropes and chains, heave the scaffolding out of the Tower of Gof Annish, out to the edge of the heath, and then begin their thrice encirclement of the lifeless land. During this parade of death, the bell is rung continually, and a faint unearthly moaning rises up from the skeletal mouths. The 12 bone devils at the head of the procession are shouting loud shrill blasphemies against life and the three Goddesses and will attack anything living in the path of the procession.
|Procession of the Damned from Gof Annish, around the cursed heath|
The only thing, above the level of lichens and short scrubby grass, that lives on the heath are the Annish vines. These are curious plants, appearing basically as large clumps of massive radial tubers, growing out of a common thick root. The tubers are some 30-40 feet long, and at their base some 8-10 inches around, tapering to only an inch or so across at the end. They react to the presence of life, and if encountered at any time during the year, may attack whatever creature comes near them (these are located, not thickly, but placed fairly randomly all across the heath. Since they tend to lay down, limp, in a radial splayed out pattern when they are not active, they are hard to spot until a traveler is somewhat close). During the procession of the Bell of the Damned, however, they come to life. The Annish Vines wave their horrid tubers in the air, violently and randomly, and unroot themselves. Somehow they can drag their root ball out across the surface of the ground, and will attempt to fall into place behind the procession, before settling down again. An active Annish Vine does not travel too fast, but then again neither does a horde of thousands of undead hauling on a bell that weighs thousands of pounds. The Vines, after following the procession for a short time, will return to a random spot on the heath, and take up root again.
Name: Annish Vines
No. Encountered: 1-3
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
Armor Class: 4
Hit Dice: 10 (65hp)
Attacks: Up to 16 (no more than 4 against any one man sized foe).
Hoard Class: VI
The Annish Vine has many fibrous tubers to attack with, but can not bring any more than 4 at a time against any one foe. It can, however, attack any foes within 30' of its base. The Treasure Hoard that it might have are items that are to be found in the ground, at the base of the root ball that the vines grow out of. These are the remains of any victims that have been slain and eaten previously.
The Annish Vine is immune to normal missile fire, but takes normal damage from fire and acid based attacks. Against magic, it has a 25% magic resistance, but has not concentrated mind so is immune to spells such as Sleep and Charm.
Occasionally, some group or another, typically Knights from the City of Air (Botts), or an order of Errant Paladins (such as the Paladins of the White Lady), will want to take up arms against the Procession, or even against the seat of power at Gof Annish tower itself. They have always been stopped in the past by both the Priests and Monks of Kyclos from the Hove of Enlightenment, or by members of the Silver order of Druids. Occasionally, in recent history, this has been by the Master of the Silver Order himself, from the Star Tower in the Aghanz Hills.