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The Crawler Below, the Evil One

Intermediate Power of the Abyss CE

PORTFOLIO: Greed, bloodlust, blood, evil, hatred, uncontrolled impulse, spriggans
DOMAIN NAME: 399th level of the Abyss/the Worm Realm
ALLIES: Zuggtmoy
FOES: Gaknulak, Grumbar, Kuraulyek, Kurtulmak, the dwarven pantheon, the gnome pantheon, the halfling pantheon, Psilofyr
SYMBOL: White mole

Urdlen (URD-len), a neuter and sexless being, is the epitome of the evil impulse that rules some gnomes and is feared by the rest. A mindless force of malicious evil and destruction, Urdlen serves as a warning for every gnome to beware the taint of greed that lies within the gnomish delight in gems and jewelry. It is telling that gnomes have no myths of how this evil arose, but that they simply fear Urdlen's vicious, life-hating evil and bloodlust. Just as the Crawler Below can burrow into the earth of the Abyss, so it hopes evil will burrow into the hearts and souls of gnomes everywhere. Urdlen thrives on trickery that harms the innocent and the good. It is commonly venerated by evil thieves and fighters, although gnomes from all walks of life have succumbed to its evil taint. Spriggans are said to be the twisted offspring of gnomes who succumbed to Urdlen's taint early in the history of the Forgotten Folk, and they honor their god and patron by perpetuating its reign of terror.

Urdlen's place in the gnome pantheon is oddly unquestioned, though the god is greatly feared and secretly reviled by nearly all the Forgotten Folk. Urdlen hates all the other gods of the gnomes with a passion, and they in turn war against it. Further, the Crawler Below has garnered the enmity of dwarven and halfling powers as well. Urdlen contests with Flandal Steelskin, Garl Glittergold, Segojan Earthcaller, Callarduran Smoothhands, and Urogalan, for those gnomes and halflings under their protection are most often the target of Urdlen's attacks. Although it may be more of a rivalry, the Crawler Below and Zuggtmoy, the Demoness Lady of Fungi, are supposed to have an understanding of some sorts, an alliance that allows isolated followers of the Crawler Below to eke out a living on the wild fungi and lichens of the Underdark.

The Crawler Below crushes all life without regard. It wants to spoil or destroy everything. Urdlen is a half-mad, blindly destructive impulse; the blindness of its chosen avatar form is very tellingly symbolic. No one can predict where it will strike or what its plans are to further the cause of evil among the Forgotten Folk. The nature of its plans to bring evil into the hearts of gnomes is not understood even by the other gnome deities. It is said that Urdlen lusts for precious metals, jewels, and the blood of any human, humanoid, or demihuman.

Other Manifestations

Urdlen almost never uses manifestations, preferring to ignore its followers and appear in avatar form. On occasion the Crawler Below has manifested in a worshiper as the effects of a blur spell. However, if the worshiper is slain anyway, Urdlen dines on the gnome's soul in the Abyss. Even more rarely, it is sometimes known to manifest as an earthquake spell, and tremors in the earth are commonly attributed by the Forgotten Folk to Urdlen's destructive impulse.

Urdlen is served by ankhegs, brain moles, bulettes, crysmals, dao, earth elementals, earth elemental vermin (crawlers), earth grues (chaggrins), earth mephits, earth weirds, garmorm, giant white moles, gnome vampires, imps, incarnates of covetousness, envy, gluttony, lust, and sloth, khargra, larvae, metal masters, white moles, nightshades, osquips, purple worms, spriggans, thoqqua, tieflings, vargouilles, werebadgers, weremoles, will o' deeps, and yeth hounds. The Crawler Below largely ignores its followers, but it occasionally gives cryptic omens in the form of blood bubbling from the earth, claw marks in rock, foul odors of blood or sulfur, and sudden severe nosebleeds (inflicting ld2 points of damage) suffered by its faithful worshipers.

Lycanthrope, Weremole:AC 3; MV 6, Br 3; HD 4; THAC0 17; #AT 3 or 1; Dmg 1d3 (claw)/1d3 (claw)/1d6 (bite) or by weapon; SA command burrowing creatures, summon a host of burrowing creatures; SD hit only by silver or +1 or better magical weapon, standard gnome racial abilities; SW effective blindness vs. flying opponents; SZ S (3' long); ML very steady (13- 14); Int very (11-12); AL CE; XP 650.

Notes: Only gnomes are believed to be susceptible to this form of lycan-thropy. Weremoles can assume their original form or the form of a large, blind, furless, dead-white mole with massive claws. Although blind in giant mole form, while underground weremoles can sense any creature within 90 feet as effectively as a gnome can see in full daylight. While on the surface weremoles can sense any creature touching the ground within 50 feet. Weremoles first appeared during the Time of Troubles in rural gnome communities that were attacked by the avatar of Urdlen.

SA-Weremoles can speak with any burrowing animal up to the size of an osquip and once per day can command them via a natural ability akin to suggestion. Once per day, a weremole can raise a host of burrowing creatures through a power similar to the 2nd-level wizard spell 'summon swarm'.

SD-Weremoles have all of the standard gnome detection abilities, resistance to magic, and combat bonuses vs. humanoids and giants.

SW-In giant mole form, weremoles are effectively blind to airborne opponents, suffering the standard -4 attack penalty for blindness.

The Church

CLERGY: Clerics, specialty priests
CMND. UNDEAD: C: Yes, SP: Yes, at priest level -2

All clerics (including fighter/clerics, cleric/illusionists, and cleric/ thieves) and specialty priests of Urdlen receive religion (gnome) as a bonus nonweapon proficiency. Clerics of Urdlen are allowed to use and become proficient in claws of Urdlen (see below), a type of slashing weapon. Those who follow Urdlen are despised and feared by the Forgotten Folk. Its cult is a particular threat to rock gnomes and deep gnomes, but even forest gnomes suffer from its followers' depredations. Spriggans both venerate and fear the Crawler Below, and most are members of its cult. Urdlen's cult is opposed by good-aligned dwarves, gnomes, and halflings, and tales of the god's hunger for blood and destruction are a growing part of the mythology of the Small Folk. Other surface races have little knowledge of this obscure cult, typically merging tales of the god's rampages into stories of a wide range of horrors from below. Subterranean races are more likely to have been assaulted by Urdlen's avatar or that of its followers, and as such, its cult is a more credible threat.

Temples of the Crawler Below are few and far between, for rarely do its followers set aside their proclivities for destruction long enough to build a house of worship. Those few temples that do exist are typically little more than blood-spattered shrines, always located underground in lightless natural caverns dominated by a crude stone altar stained with the lifeblood of countless sacrifices.

Novices of Urdlen are known as the Unblooded. Full priests of the Crawler Below are known as Deep Crawlers. Individual priests have their own unique titles. Specialty priests are known as bloodstalkers. The clergy of Urdlen includes rock gnomes (60%), deep gnomes (18%), forest gnomes (12%), and Spriggans (10%). Males make up the majority of its priesthood (70%). Urdlen's clergy includes specialty priests (60%), cleric/ thieves (15%), clerics (12%), fighter/clerics (10%), and cleric/ illusionists (3%).

Dogma: Succumb to bloodlust. Seize power-directly. Hate, covet, crush, despoil, and kill. Revel and exult in orgies of death and destruction. That which is living or created by life must be murdered or destroyed because that is the ultimate end of all and to deny it is to deny the truth of all existence. The strong survive and the weak are their cattle. Do what Urdlen wants first; second, do whatever you want. Give in to every evil impulse, for what use is there in covering over the truth of your nature? Propitiate the Crawler Below with sacrifice so that it does not come for you. Existence is a cosmic joke before death, the truth behind it all, comes at Urdlen's claws. Sharing the cruel ironies and harsh humor of existence with others is only kind, for it helps to toughen them for what is coming in the end.

Day-to-Day Activities: From their subterranean warrens, Urdlen's priests wage an unending war on communities of the Forgotten Folk, particularly the clergies of the other gnome gods. When not hunting other creatures, members of the priesthood work to steal, deface, or destroy objects of value, particularly gems and works of art. They share their lord's love for evil and deadly pranks directed against all creatures, including gnomes.

Holy Days/Important Ceremonies : In a regular ritual known as the Feeding, Urdlen's priests appease their god by spilling the blood of their prey on the ground and burying it. Jewels and valuable metal goods are also sacrificed to him by ruining, breaking, tarnishing, or melting them and then burying them. On Midwinter night, followers of the Crawler Below gather in subterranean caverns to offer blood sacrifices to the god to appease its wrath. If Urdlen is displeased by the volume of blood or the value of the despoiled goods offered on the Night of Blood, it may appear and slay all the assembled worshipers in an orgy of unbridled destruction.

Major Centers of Worship: All manner of beasts wander the Bandit Wastes north of Halruaa, including a pack of bloodcrazed gnome weremoles with priest abilities led by a gnome vampire priest known only as the Blood-Curdling Scream. The Blood Screamers, as the greatly feared hand is known, hunt all manner of living creatures from the Shaar to the Nathaghal, as the mountain range that forms the North Wall of Halruaa is known. The band is a recurring foe of Forgotten Folk who dwell in the mountain valley of northeastern Halruaa known as the Nath, as well as the well-entrenched communities of gnomes in the Rathgaunt Hills, located due east of Lake Lhespen on the road between Shaarmid and Scbben. If the Blood Screamers have constructed a temple to their god or even a warren in which to retreat, its existence has survived undetected for decades, despite the efforts of brave gnome adventurers seeking to end the reign of terror.

Affiliated Orders: Aside from small family groups of Spriggans, Urdlen's followers are too chaotic and consumed with bloodlust to organize into long-lasting bands, let alone militant orders. At most they gather together in small groups to maximize their opportunity for destruction, but such bandrarely stay together for more than a few raids.

Priestly Vestments: During depraved ceremonies, priests of the Crawler Below wear blood-stained white cloaks made from the pelts of animals such as polar bears, winter wolves, and the like. The holy symbol of the faith is a blood-soaked skull, although most of Urdlen's priests keep a bloodfed white mole as both a pet and a symbol of their god.

Adventuring Garb: Members of Urdlen's clergy employ the best armor and weapons available. Specialty priests of Urdlen prefer edged weapons to maximize the amount of blood shed, and all priests favor weapons that inflict a great deal of pain on their victims. Some members of the priesthood employ magical steel claws similar to that employed by the cult of the Beastlord (see Faiths & Avatars). Claws of Urdlen are metal gauntlets with a row of large, curved knives affixed atop the knuckles. A priest must allocate a weapon proficiency to use them. A priest trained in their use can strike once per round with each hand without disadvantage. Claws of Urdlen weigh 4 pounds total (2 pounds each), have a speed factor of 6, are size S, and inflict ld6+2 points of piercing and slashing (Type P/S) damage to size S or M targets or ld6 points of damage to size L or larger targets. In addition, due to their enchantment, it is possible to burrow through soft earth once a day with a Movement Rate of 1 for as many rounds as the priest has points of Strength or Constitution (pick the minimum) using the claws of Urdlen as crude tools.

Specialty Priests Bloodstalkers

REQUIREMENTS: Strength 11, Wisdom 9
PRIME REQ.: Strength, Wisdom
WEAPONS: Any slashing and piercing (Type S and/or Type P) Weapons
MAJOR SPHERES: All, animal, chaos, combat, elemental (earth), healing, protection, sun (reversed only), war
MINOR SPHERES: Divination, elemental (fire), necromantic, Summoning
BONUS PROFS: Blind-fighting

  • Bloodstalkers must be gnomes. While most bloodstalkers are rock gnomes, gnomes of every subrace including Spriggans can be bloodstalkers.
  • Bloodstalkers are not allowed to multiclass.
  • When casting a reversed form of a healing sphere spell that causes damage in hit points, bloodstalkers gain a bonus to the damage they inflict. This is equal to +1 point per point of their Wisdom ability score equal to or above a Wisdom of 14 (Wisdom score of 15 give a +2 bonus, etc.). If they cast a reversed form of healing spell that does not inflict damage in points, the saving throw of their target, if the spell has one, is made at a -2 penalty.
  • Bloodstalkers can cast cause Light wounds (as the reverse of the 1st-level priest spell cure light wounds) or stinking cloud (as the 2nd-level wizard spell) once per day.
  • At 3rd level, bloodstalkers can cast blindness or blur (as the 2nd-level wizard spells) once per day.
  • At 5th level, bloodstalkers can cast cloak of fear (as the reverse of the 4th-level priest spell cloak of bravery) or soften earth and stone (as the 2nd-level priest spell) once per day.
  • At 7th level, bloodstalkers can cast contusion or dig (as the 4th-level wizard spells) or passwall (as the 5th-level wizard spell) once per day.
  • At 10th level, bloodstalkers can cast conjure earth elemental or creeping doom (as the 7th-level priest spells) once per tenday. • At 13th level, bloodstalkers can cast slay living (as reverse of the the 5th-level priest spell raise dead) once per day.
  • At 13th level, bloodstalkers can cast wither or destruction (as the 7th-level priest spells) three times per tenday.

Urdlenian Spells

In addition to the spells listed below, priests ot the Crawler Below may cast the 2nd-level priest spell burrow detailed in the entry for Segojan Earth-caller.

2nd Level

Soften Earth and Stone (Pr 2; Alteration)
Sphere: Elemental Earth
Range: 10 yards/level
Components: V,S,M
Duration: Permanent
Casting Time: 5
Area of Effect: 10-foot square/level
Saving Throw: None

When this spell is cast, all natural, undressed earth or stone in the area of effect is softened. Wet earth becomes thick mud; dry earth becomes loose sand or dirt; and stone becomes soft clay, easily molded or chopped. The caster affects a 10-foot square area per caster level to a depth of 1 to 4 feet, depending on the toughness or resilience of the ground at that spot (DM option). Magical or enchanted stone cannot be affected by this spell.

Creatures attempting to move through an area softened into mud are reduced to a move of 10 feet per round. Any creatures caught within the mud when the spell takes effect must make a saving throw vs. paralyzation or lose the ability to move, attack, or cast spells for ld2 rounds as they flounder about in the muck. Loose dirt is not as troublesome as mud, and creatures are only reduced to half their normal movement rates, with no chance of being incapacitated for a round or two. However, it is impossible to run, sprint, or charge over either surface.

Stone softened into clay does not hinder movement, but it does allow characters to cut, shape, or excavate areas they may not have been able to affect.

Natural vertical surfaces such as cliff faces or cavern ceilings can be affected by soften earth and stone. Usually, this causes a moderate collapse or landslide as the loosened material peels away from the face or roof and falls. A moderate amount of structural damage can be inflicted to manmade structures by softening the ground beneath a wall or tower, causing it to settle. However, most well-built structures are only damaged by this spell, not destroyed.

The material component is a bit of slip (wet clay) from the wheel of a master potter.

4th Level

Summon Earth Grue (Pr 4; Conjuration/Summoning)
Sphere: Elemental Earth, Summoning
Range: 10 yards
Components: V,S
Duration: 3 rounds/level
Casting Time: 1 round
Area of Effect: Special
Saving Throw: None

The spell opens a gate to the Elemental Plane of Earth, summoning an earth grue, also known as a chaggrin or soil beast, to the spellcaster. The caster need not fear that the summoned grue will turn on him or her. Neither concentration on the activities of the grue nor protection from it is necessary.

The summoned grue helps the caster in whatever manner possible: attacking the caster's foes, tunneling in the general direction desired, and so on. It remains for a maximum of 3 rounds per level of the caster or until it is slain or sent back by a dispel magic spell or similar magic.

The material components for this spell are the priest's holy symbol and unworked raw metals worth at least 50 gp. The latter is offered as a bribe to the creature during the casting and is handed over to the creature before it will enter the Prime Material Plane.

Grue, Earth: AC 4; MV 12, Br 3; HD 5+5; THACO 15; #AT 2; Dmg 1d4+2 (claw)/1d4+2 (claw); SA quills, clinging claws, hide in stone; SD hit only by +1 or better weapon, spell immunity; SZ M (3' long); ML average (8-10); Int average (8-10); AL NE; XP 1,400.

Notes: Earth grues summoned by this spell to the Prime Material Plane can assume the shape of a large mole, a yellowish hedgehog with a skull-like head, or a humanoid of lumpy, wet clay with an asymmetrical, vicious face and small, feral eyes. Although only 3 feet long, earth grues weigh 140-200 lbs. SA-In any form, after a successful hit, an earth grue can dig its razor-sharp foreclaws into its victims and inflict ld4+2 points of damage, and in subsequent rounds it inflicts ld6+6 points of damage per round. (The victim must succeed at a Strength check to dislodge an earth grue.) In hedgehog form, unprotected flesh in contact with an earth grue's quills suffers ld4 points of damage per round. Earth grues in humanoid form can merge with natural soil or a stone surface and be only faintly perceptible to careful observation as a damp, dark outline. They can then emerge suddenly to surprise opponents (-5 penalty to surprise rolls).

SD- Earth grues are immune to earth-based and earth-affecting spells such as earthquake, passwall, transmute rock to mud, stone to flesh, and the like. Their mere presence dispels such magic within a 40-foot radius even if it had been permanent. Magical items are not affected.

6th Level

Curse of the Everbleeding Wounds (Pr 6; Necromancy)
Sphere: Necromantic
Range: Touch
Components: V,S,M
Duration: 1 turn
Casting Time: 9
Area of Effect: Creature touched
Saving Throw: Neg.

This spell inflicts a curse upon a victim similar to the effects of a sword of wounding. If the touched creature fails a saving throw vs. spell, all wounds suffered during the next full turn cannot be regenerated or cured by any sort of potion, spell or other magic short of remove curse, limited wish, or wish. They must heal naturally. The target suffers 1 point of damage each round after a wound is inflicted until the wound is bandaged or the spell expires. Multiple wounds are cumulative. A periapt of wound closure may provide complete immunity to the spell, as may other spells or items that prevent ongoing bleeding. A round of tending to a particular wound with no other actions taken or enemy interference is sufficient to bandage an everbleeding wound and halt ongoing damage from that wound. Those with the healing nonweapon proficiency who succeed at a proficiency check can bandage a second wound in the same round.

The spell requires the priest's holy symbol and a small knife or sharpedged item that is used to nick the creature for 1 point of damage as the priest's hand comes into physical contact with the creature.