Apr 16, 2013

Nyagam Worm-Smokers - Chaotic Sorcerers of the Sun King Barbarians

Deep in the far southlands, where the chaotic worshipers of the Sun King spread terror and horrors, some of the most terrible and horrible are a group of chaos sorcerers known as the Nyagam Worm-Smokers.

Nyagam is the name of one of the abandoned temples of the Old Ones, thought that at one time it was constructed to serve the worship of their elemental god, the Earth Weaver.

The temple is actually a large compound, similar to our real world temple sites in South America.  The structures at Nyagam are in alignment to predict and observe certain astronomical phenomena - the rising of the Three Moons, the alignment of the Spheres, and the Summer Apogee of the Sun.  But where Nyagam differs from the sites in our own world, rather than being massive stone step pyramids raised high up over the plains, the structures at Nyagam are like inverse step pyramids, each layer dug down into the earth.  The whole structure is lined with stone, and there are doors into the earth at each layer, revealing tunnels and structures going deep underground.  In all there are 13 such structures ranging from the tiniest, nicknamed "The Little Bird" all the way up to the largest, which is called "Temple of the Moons".

Dwelling in the earth surrounding the structure, are a peculiar species of large worms.  They are large, growing to 30 or 40 feet in length, but retaining a body diameter of only 4-5 feet.  They have a light green body that gives off a faint luminescent glow, and are completely legless.  They have a hard chitinous plate over their head, and huge mandibles, reaching out as far as 9 feet wide, pulling victims into their mouth.  There are no sensory organs apparent, other than the vast array of tiny tentacles, forming a cloud of feelers out 3 feet in every direction around the head.  The Archivists at Parn Tandalorn have discovered that the Old Ones referred to these as Infinite Worms, but most simply call them Nyagam Worms.  It is thought that these might be related to purple worms, for their size approaches that of those hideous monsters.  But the worms of Nyagam are a bit smaller, and different. Time around one of these creatures is magically altered, sped up, so that those in the vicinity of of a fully grown Nyagam worm experience reality at a rate sped up to approximately five times normal time.  Physical effects, such as those that require exposure (magic cast outside their time-warping field, any fire, any acid, and so on) do not seem to have an effect on Infinite Worms, they are immune to all of those.

The earth surrounding the Nyagam site is, as mentioned, full of these worms.  Unfortunately, it is also the site of a massive number of Sun King barbarians.  They come because they believe that this is a holy site.  Some of the priest-leaders of the barbarians come here and hold court, and seek oracles and inspiration from the weird things in the temple structures.  But mostly, throngs and mobs of sun king peasants come here.  The ecology is a grisly and sickening one - the weak, slow, infirm or elderly are killed and eaten.  Overall the population is quite ill not very well fed on this horrible cannibalistic diet.

A type of sorcerer that lives among the Sun King Barbarians are known simply as the Nyagam Worm-Smokers.  These individuals almost always appear as tall gaunt men, with their heads completely clean-shaven.  They, as an order, share spells and knowledge with each other, and seem to practice a sort of telepathic communication.  It is not known if that telepathy extends to any other outside their order.   They are immediately apparent, for wearing rich red robes, among the Sun King barbarians which are normally barely dressed.

The order of sorcerers, which refer to themselves as the Brothers of Hazerun (Hazerun is the demon prince son of Photoss, the Sun King, who is the god that these barbarians worship), have a curious relationship with the Nyagam Worms.  They protect the worms, and even help to create new habitats for them.  In return, they steal some of the young born to the worms, and these are ritually killed and their bodies are left to dry out.  Once the bodies are dried out, the sorcerers retain certain parts (the details of this grisly practice are vague), and then smoke them in braziers, while breathing in the smoke, and participating in rites to the Earth Weaver.  (note that the Church does not recognize that the cult of the Earth Weaver is still alive, even in this fashion, so it is only by the word of the Archivists or other sages, that this story is true).  This practice grants the Worm-Smokers (the Brothers of Hazerun) a very strange and peculiar ability.  Up to three times a day, the regular Worm-Smoker, has the ability to warp reality.  He can change one attribute of reality at a time, for upt to a number of hours equal to half his level.  So a sixth level Worm-Smoker sorcerer, could change one attribute of reality (for instance, making his surroundings Hot, or changing the sky to Cloudy, or making Iron soft, etc) for up to three hours at a time, but he could do this three times per day.  This is dangerous enough, but the real horror for those who hunt and fight against the evils of the Sun King Barbarians, is that the Brothers of Hazerun almost never travel singly, but always in groups.   So imagine a group of five or six such sorcerers, each with the ability to change three attributes of reality (either one at a time, or all three at once).  Reality around this group would be completely shifting and unpredictable.

The ability that they can use three times per day can be done all at once, with overlapping time durations, or it can be done at three different times.  In order to consider the ability and its limits, word the change in such a way so that there is a noun that is part of reality (Elves, Sky, Iron, Cheese) and then some modifying word that changes an attribute of that (all Elves are Small; the Sky is Cloudy; the Temperature is Hot; Cheese is Ubiquitous).

The Sunguard rangers are always on the lookout for Nyagam Worm-Smokers, and hunt them down whenever they have word of them being found, they are just too dangerous.  In addition to their grisly cannibal habits, and their ability to warp reality, they are, after all, experienced spell casters.  And they are often accompanied by adult Nyagam Worms, as well as armed bands of Sun King barbarians.  A horrific encounter for any crusading warrior trying to make the south a safer place.

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