Lake Innis

In the foothills north of the orcish camps, a strange sound can be heard echoing off of the not-too-distant peaks. The noise, a deep and constant thrum, comes from the hills themselves. No living creatures come within miles of the hills if they can avoid it, becoming shaken and ill at ease if forced. Strangely, a few explorers have been drawn to the sound from thousands of miles away, braving the orcish tribes and uninhabited lands to investigate the hills' music.

At their heart, the hills hold a single small lake dotted with small trees. No breeze ever shakes the leaves nor ripples the lake's waters. Unless disturbed by the drawn visitor, everything remains motionless. The hum of the hills is drowned out while near the waters and only the echoes from the mountains can be heard.

Investigating the lake reveals very little information about it. A Knowledge (Local) or (History) check (DC 35) reveals that the lake is capable of very powerful effects, including creating new worlds. Aside from that, the only way to discover the lake's potential is to expend a Bardic Music charge while looking into the water. Doing so allows a character to use the Greater Scrying or Genesis spells. Characters with less than 15 HD do not have to pay the XP for Genesis, but their creations do not last as long: only for one day per HD. Bards looking into the lake after using the Greater Scrying effect may cast any Bard spell or use any Bardic Music ability on any subject perceived (unless they are normally immune to effects.)

While it may seem like the lake is a nice tool for adventurers, scholars and bards in particular, it reveals its true nature at night. Many have sought or been called to Lake Innis over the millenia and a majority have used the lake's powers recklessly, robbing themselves of their humanity and leaving them with nothing but greed for the lake's powers. Whenever creatures of any type approach the lake, they awaken the Grey Thralls. Later that night, the Thralls persue the individual or party who awoke them, intent to kill them and prevent them from spreading the secret of the Lake to the outside world.

Thralls will chase their quarry for up to 25 miles or for a full week before giving up and returning to the lake. Should any offenders ever return to the lake, the Thralls awaken as soon as they step foot within the 25 mile perimeter and will rush to meet him before he can make it to the shores.


Grey Thrall
Medium Undead
HD 10d12 (65 hp)
Speed 30 ft. (6 squares)
Init: +3
AC 25; touch 16; flat-footed 22
(10 + 3 Dex + 6 chainshirt + 3 profane + 3 deflection)
BAB +7; Grp +10
Attack +10 slam attack (1d6+3, 20/x2), Ranged: +10 slam attack (1d6+3, 20/x2)
Full-Attack Four slams: +10/+8/+6/+4 (1d6+3 ea.)
Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Special Attacks Pulse
Special Qualities Thrall of Innis, Musician, Undead Traits
Saves Fort +3 Ref +6 Will +8
Abilities Str 16, Dex 16, Con --, Int 14, Wis 12, Cha 17
Skills Perform (Strings) +19, Spot +14, Diplomacy +16, Sense Motive +14
Feats Skill Focus [Perform (Strings)], Spell Focus (Illusion), Sliver of the Heart*, Multiattack
Environment Lake Innis
Organization Solitary
Challenge Rating 7
Treasure 1d3 minor magical items, masterwork instrument (strings)
Alignment Any, mostly chaotic evil
Advancement by Undead type; Favored Class Bard
Level Adjustment --

A skeletal hand claws itself loose from the dirt and drags a humanoid skeleton with it. As it emerges into the moonlight, its skin regrows, revealing a translucent humanoid. Its attire and the lute it holds makes it look like a ghostly troubadour but its fingers end in frightening crimson points and its face contorts in rage. When it speaks, the humming of the lake resounds in its voice, rattling your bones and splitting the world into a disjointed chaos.

Pulse: A Grey Thrall may use Innis' music to disrupt your perceptions of the world around you. As a standard action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity, it may designate one target. The target must make a Will save (DC 16, Cha-based) or become shaken. If it fails its first save, it must make the save again every round for a number of rounds equal to the Thrall's HD. Each failure causes the pulse's effect to worsen, from shaken to sickened to panicked to insane. Each of these effects last five rounds or until the pulse's progression effect ends, whichever is longer. Should the victim fail its save after becoming insane, it dies. A Remove Curse, Break Enchantment or healing spell of fourth level or higher will end the effect early. If a creature makes its saving throw against pulse's initial effect, it is unaffected by any other pulses for 24 hours. A creature may only be affected by pulse once per day.

Thrall of Innis: Grey Thralls are kept animate by their dependence on Innis' music. Creatures attempting to access the power of Innis in any way threaten the balance of magic and music that keeps them "alive", so they blindly attack anyone doing so. While in direct moonlight, Grey Thralls may Rage as a move action, gaining +6 to Strength. While Raging, Grey Thralls may still cast spells and use its pulse ability.

Musician: A Grey Thrall may make his slam attack as a ranged attack by using his instrument. While playing a stringed instrument, a Grey Thrall may use the Perform roll as the attack roll for a single ranged slam attack each round (range increment 30 feet.) Furthermore, a Thrall may cast spells as a bard with a level equal to his HD.


Alric's Locus
Beneath the lake's western shore lay the bones of Aldric Williams. Once a bard of high repute in his father, King Williams IX's court, Alric set out one day to track down the ellusive song that had been haunting his dreams. When he arrived at Lake Innis, he discovered the Sliver of the Heart ritual and completed it. He returned home and used his new powers to aid his kingdom for many years. One day, he was captured by spies and held in a prison for many years. When a decade had passed, Alric died (though his body was never found.) Upon his transformation into a Grey Thrall, Alric struggled to keep from falling into the same urges and drives as the other Thralls. Instead, he set his mind to harnessing his dependence on the lake's music into a focus. After centuries of work, he managed to transform his own skeleton into such a tool. Finally free of the music's control, his soul passed into the afterlife.What remains now are rune-scarred bones, collectively known as Alric's Locus. Each time the Thralls awaken, they unearth them.

The bones may be used as percussion instruments and grant a +5 compitence bonus to Perform (Percussion) checks. While used by a Bard, all bonuses granted by Bardic Music abilities are improved by +1 for each 5 HD the Bard has. A character capable of using arcane scrolls may read the runes off of the bones to produce magical effects. While using the bones in this manner, the casting character is treated as having the Sliver of the Heart feat without the ritual's drawbacks. A character with the feat already permanently loses the drawbacks if they use the Locus to cast each spell they are capable of casting at least ten times.


Sliver of the Heart (Ritual)

Must offer a small sliver of your own heart to Lake Innis in a special ritual that costs 500gp per HD you possess.

You gain a modicum of power over the music of Lake Innis. You may cast certain spells once per day according to your HD.

2| Gentle Repose, Daze
6| Animate Dead, Hideous Laughter
10| Sound Burst, Summon Undead IV (Summons Grey Thralls only.)
14| Confusion, Summon Undead V (Summons Grey Thralls only.)
20| Trap the Soul, Genesis[/table]

You must return to the Lake every year or lose access to the gained spells until you do. You may not gain spells for a certain HD threshold until you complete the ritual for the new HD total. Failure to return to the Lake for a full decade breaks the ritual. Characters who do so must make a Will save (DC 33) or die and have their remains transported to the Lake to serve as Grey Thralls.