How Rukhsamun interacts will largely depend on which form the party finds him in.
When encountered as the God-King (hybrid form), he regularly employs the help of whichever minions are readily available. He opts to stand his ground, taking on all attackers for Robilar's Gambit. He generally employs tactics such as using thunderclap, dust cloud, grappling (while possible), and utilizing his SLAs to either buff himself or get allies. He prioritizes taking out the weakest ones first, but would gladly accept surrender provided you pledge loyalty and worship to him. He talks trash during combat to intimidate and throw people off their game. If combat stalls enough and he gets impatient, or if he suffers enough (~300HP), Samoon will take over and switch to vermin form.
When encoutered off-guard as Rukhses (humanoid form), he tries to keep the interaction from escalating to physical violence (e.g. explaining why he's right, diplomacy, distractingly talking about his fascination for history, using charm/compulsion, etc.). If it can't be helped, he goes for straightforward powerful, wild swings with no tactic than to loudly charging/full-attacking and power attack at -70 minimum. Once he gets damaged enough (~50HP), Samoon will take over and switch to vermin form.
As Samoon (vermin form), he unleashes his full arsenal and tries to end combat as fast as possible, preferably using Tornado Throw and Dust Cloud for a quick slaughter. He fights to the utmost of his abilities, but he won't hesitate to escape if the situation calls for it.
Rukhsamun combines the physicality of a Huge Animated Object with smart combat brought about by the awakening. Being made out of actual supernatural black sand, Rukhsamun will get more bang out of his engulf attack--suffocating and trapping creatures, as well as additional automatic 1d4 damage just from being in contact with his body.
Even in defeat, he is smart and capable enough to escape by digging deeper under the desert sands.
Spoiler: click the image for a bigger view
"Shukaku Awakens", original art by catandcrown, ©2018
The good thing about experimentations involving awakened animated sand is that there's no trace in the desert in case anything goes south. The young high priest of Set had a plan in mind, and after hundreds of failed creations, has finally synthesized a highly-intelligent construct out of his deity's divine power. It must have been his usage of black sand, whose destructive and shadowy nature synchronized so perfectly with his patron's essence.
The creature was surprisingly inquisitive and receptive of the things around it. It had particular fondness for seeking knowledge, its curiosity even leading him into the young priest's forbidden tomes.
With his attention focused on his successful experiment, the young priest prepared Rukhsamun for the next few months, hoping that it will survive the next excruciating phase of the transformation. Rukhsamun had an understandble alienation to the idea of pain despite knowing what the concept was, because its physical construct kept it from feeling anything remotely similar. That's about to change.
|CR11 Encounter (Sweet Spot)
Rukhsamun suddenly becomes a massive 128HD werescorpion beatstick with massive numbers: hit points, ability scores, saves, armor class, DR, SR, attack, damage, poison DC, land speed, SR, skill ranks (and synergy bonus) where applicable. He also has darkvision to 600ft, mindsight, greater invisibility, tactical teleport, taking 11., and fast healing.
Epic Destiny (Demigod) gives him bonuses, unlimited healing, greater restoration, and a terribly powerful/versatile Miracle 1/day. CL137 Miracle is pretty bonkers, as it allows Rukhsamun to do things like:
- use Improvisation to gain massive momentary skill bonuses
- use Legend Lore or Hindsight to get more information about a certain place, person, or thing, of the past months/years/decades/century/millenia
- use Resurrection on corpses of legendary warriors who lived within the last millenia
- use Create Undead to turn corpses (who refuse Resurrection) into bone/corpse creatures
- use Animate Dead repeatedly to control 548HD of skeleton/zombie minions
- use Body Outside Body to create 27 clones of him
- use Heroics to gain any fighter feat, including Martial Study
- use Geas or Dominate Person to manipulate someone
- use Awaken Sand for permanent friendly "servants" that can special in niche skills (Skill Focus + Knowledge Devotion)
Resurrected legends will be given the privilege to form a symbiosis (as the template) with Rukhsamun's commanded monstrous scorpions (he scours the Sunken City of Pazaar or anywhere in the desert for scorpions to command), vastly augmenting their physical prowess and in a way becoming half-scorpions themselves. Technically, any Devastation Scorpion he manage to find can also be used for this.
He takes advantage of 130ft land speed, 50ft. space, and 40ft. threat range by using Spring Attack and/or the Tornado Throw maneuver. He has unlimited AoO that triggers off of movement, spellcasting, and attacks. He also deliberately provokes AoO by running, charging, and/or spring attacking, then returns the AoO. He can substitute 5ft-step or trip for AoO. Sand Snare keeps tripped creatures stuck in the sand until a full-round action to escape, and Great Throw allows can reshuffle tripped creatures anywhere his 65ft-radius of control (e.g. up to 9d6 falling damage).
Lastly, he screws over spellcasting and coordination further via deafening eighth-mile cone Thunderclaps and blinding half-mile radius Dust Clouds.
Spoiler: click the image for a bigger view
"Torment of Venom", original art by Johann Bodin, © Wizards of the Coast 2018
Rukhsamun felt a dreaded sense of danger unlike any. Not fear, mind you, for his kind is absent of such frailties. No, it's the sense of an inevitable threat to his existence, a heightened awareness of your own mortality being chipped away bit by bit, rearranged like pebbles on the ground, and then the simple realization that you have no way at all to help extract yourself out of this situation. "Suffering" would be the most appropriate way to describe it, but that would severely understate what Rukhsamun endured for the next months that followed, trapped in gods know where.
During the last moments of this torturous predicament, something inside Rukhsamun finally broke. Maybe that was the point of this phase? Everything came rushing out like a flood. This time, each torment flooded both his body and mind, afterwards leaving him lying in a puddle of his own secretions--blood, sweat, tears, pus, and all. For the first time in his existence, like a newborn child, Rukhsamun heaved and cried out loud.
For the next few weeks, he was allowed to recuperate and adjust to his new body. He now finds himself bearing the shape of his caretaker, the young high priest of Set, "humanlike" as they call it. It was all too foreign, and never felt like his at all. Additionally, the procedure seems to also have enabled manifestations of new powers reminiscent of Set's.
The last phase of the experiment lead him and the young priest to an obscure location in the middle of the desert, but disaster struck. After vanquishing a couple of monstrous scorpions, an exemplar of Set's destructive power in the form of an entomanothrope devastation scorpion attacked Rukhsamun and impaled him with its stinger, unloading a full massive of poison in his bloodstream. The aggressive young priest provoked the werecreature and got killed, leaving Rukhsamun for dead in the middle of nowhere.
Rukhsamun receives new SLAs, most notably being: 1. Plane Shift; 2. Control Weather; 3. 13-minute, quarter-mile long, eighth-mile high Wind Wall; 4. 22-hr Air Walk; and 5. 22-hr, half-mile radius, Tornado-strength Control Winds. Combo #4 and #5 to be "blown away" for up to 300ft of further movement that provokes AoO from more creatures.
At will Incorporeality gives CHA to AC, protection from nonvisual senses like scent, sound, blindsight, etc., and unusually lets him use normal attacks (even keeping the STR score) and combat maneuvers that don't require prolonged contact. Furthermore, it allows him to be partially inside the ground for cover and even hide underground as a 5ft step. Lastly, it makes building his kingdom in a subterranean world of caverns and winding passages easier, especially considering his size.
Spoiler: click the image for a bigger view
"Hour of Devastation", original art by Daarken, © Wizards of the Coast 2018
Samoon watched in awe as Rukhses finally unlocked the puzzle of the ancient crypt, causing massive walls to shift and spun on all directions and eventually paving the way to the royal sarcophagi. His intellectual growth has been nothing sort of impressive, and even she knows it now easily surpasses most creature's intellect.
Like a carrion waiting for his opportunity to pounce, the God-King shoved the young boy aside, himself eager to get his hands on the remains of millenia-old remains of these warriors. She despised how the God-King has always treated Rukhses as a tool that he easily discards once done with. The God-King forces Rukhses to subservience whenever he needs any sort of information; intel about his enemies, places where he can salvage corpses of ancient legends, construction design of his grand kingdom, navigation especially in his subterranean kingdom, ancient magik and rituals, myths and realities concerning deities, his own identity as both construct and outsider, etc.
For her part, the God-King commands her to fight for him whenever he tires of fighting or he just simply can't overcome his enemies. Referred by him as "The Poison Wind", Samoon is seen by him as an absolute engine of death and destruction.
"Let's get away from here
", Rukhses once whispered to her. The only reason she came here in the first place was to make sure nobody would be able hurt him anymore, so it stung her to tell him that they can't.
Rukhses himself hated his situation--his weaknesses and his fears. "You always end up getting hurt because of him and me. I promise you, I'll fulfill my destiny. I'll be a god, powerful and strong. Nobody will hurt us no more. We will kill everyone who hurt us, and everyone who stood in our way. Everyone else will bow before us gods.
One day, we will seize the throne. Just you wait, Rukhses
Rukhsamun keeps on building his subterranean kingdom within Faerzress-rich areas, making Scry and Die tactics harder.
His awakened sapience further evolved, providing him ML138 Psi-like abilities, most notably: Psionic Teleport, Fission, and a DC90+, 138-day, mass-targeted Psionic Dominate.
He gets to defile the dead further with Create Spectral Spawn, which can also be used on his half-scorpion symbiotic minions to get a Spectral creature with massive HD (higher HP, higher BAB, and more difficult to turn). Spectral creatures also get healed by awakened black sand and even has sun protection via the sand's magical darkness.
Spoiler: click the image for a bigger view
"O, great God-King
", called out an awakened sand minion as it shambled out of the main tunnel.
It informed me that the interlopers finally found their way to the upper chambers, and are on their way here. Despite my orders of letting them in without incident, I've learned, to not much surprise, that these savages repaid my kindness by murdering one of my awakened servants.
I wish I could've handled these interlopers at a more opportune time, but it looks like certain higher powers want me stopped immediately. This party would be the fourth just since today, and the sixty-seventh since the season of inundation started.
Even with the help divine magic to hasten this last vanity project of mine, all these recent interruptions had delayed it long enough. Looking over the slabs of unhewn limestone and unworked adamantine, I again shook my head and gestured my overseer of construction as well as his advisors to follow one of my lieutenants for safety.
The intruders then stepped out of the tunnel in a unique formation, their humanoid leader keeping the shining longspear pointed straight at me. He bellowed, "Prepare for divine justice to be meted out, abominable scion of darkne--
"Whoa. Whoa. Whoa! Stop!
", I interjected after hearing more or less the same lines treaded for the most part today. "Do you think... you impress the God-King, what with your scholarly expertise, on name calling? Or how about your advanced martial technique, of ganging up on an unresponsive pile of sand just a while ago? Or maybe you think you impress the God-King with your perfect memorization of the same cliched speech that's been fed to you when you took on this quest?
"This is where your path of blasphemy and terror ends! And you dared proclaim yourself a god?
", I retorted. "Literally created by Set's own divine dweomer... the sand-awakening, shadow-rising, storm-brewing, poison-stinging, undead-raising, all-devastating, the God-King! And the God-King says, it's his birthright and destiny to walk amongst the deities!
Is it, though? Maybe, maybe not. Truth be told, I really neither cared nor believed in predestination. I am the overseer of my fate. Though, what I DO KNOW is that with the way I live, it'll suck once I bite the proverbial dust! Unless I get VIP accommodations and treatment on the lower planes, which is where the whole "take advantage of my divine heritage to become a full-fledged god" came from in the first place.
But enough about this. I have a kingdom to run, so I let out an exasperated sigh, cracked my knuckles, mentally commanded all nearby servants to aid me, and gave the adventurers an ultimatum:
"Tell you what, the God-King's running late on schedule, so he's gonna give you six seconds. Just...fast forward to the part where you issue threats, probably call names one more time for good measure, strike menacing poses, like this and like that, and then spout another holier-than-thou speech, ironic but whatever. Can you do that for the God-King now, so he can finally layeth the smacketh down on all your humanoid haunches?