Help us torment Marlon


I've run 3 sessions of my Conan campaign (Vultures of the Eastern Desert, The Lost Garrison and Cold Blood). I'm going to be running another adventure in a week or so, then our friend Wyerdo is going to take a turn behind the screen for a bit, eventually we'll let Dragonspire have a turn too, if he behaves himself.

One of our players, Marlon, is playing a southern islander Barbarian. During the Lost Garrison adventure for very little reason he desecrated the statue of the Zamoran spider god in a small shrine in a mountain village. Later he stabbed the priest, and still later he set the building on fire and burned it down.

So this week he slowly discovered he was under the curse of the Spider God. First he woke up with unidentified bite marks on his back, then a spider bit him on the hand, causing him a -2 to hit for one battle. Later he discovered his ration bag was full of disgusting spiders.

I asking the good people of this board to think up some creative ways we can continue to torment Marlon.
1. Have him take a drink from his tankard/wineskin/waterskin/cup and find a spider in his mouth.

2. Have him run into a web with newly hatched spiders from an egg sack. They can't hurt him but there will be hundreds or thousands and they are very small and move really fast and can get all over him in seconds causeing really disgusting feeling.

3. Have him notice webs more and more often in places where there shouldn't be webs as the game goes on. Then start letting him see spiders in all sorts of places just sitting still and watching him. Stress that they are watching him.

4. Have him dream about spiders.
Have him begin to dream.

On the first night, he dreams that he wakes up from a deep sleep. Everything appears as it did when he went to sleep. Then he hears a noise in the dark.

Some distance away, a shadow moves slightly. To his horror, he realizes that a great, horse sized spider is crouched, watching him. As his breath catches in his throat, he can hear his heart pounding and the drip of saliva on the ground.

Utterly paralyzed, he can only watch in horror as the spider slowly moves a single leg forward, It's eyes glittering in the dark.

Then he wakes up bathed in sweat.

The next time he sleeps, the spider takes two steps before he wakes up.

The next night, three steps. He can also see the mandibles flexing, and the saliva hissing as it burns the floor.

The next night... well, you get the idea.

What's even better, is when he stops sleeping, you can penalize him for that too...

* * * * * *

More later.
wyerdo said:
I guess we should have warned him that humping the statue of the spider god was a bad idea.

There ya go.

Next time he bends over, have a giant spider come along lookin for some lovin!


After he is bitten by the mysterious spiders (which, by the way, he should never actually see), he could get very ill (-2 to all rolls until he seeks atonement from a high priest of Zath). As his illness progresses over several days (culminating at -4 on all rolls), he begins to vomit forth actual spider webs....including dozens of tiny skittering spiders (which bite him and continue to infect him).

Yummy! :twisted:
Better yet, have him very slowly start to turn into a spider, a very large spider untill he makes amends with the spider god. Starts to grow patches of course ichy hair on his back, legs, and face. Have all his normal body hair start to fall out. Then 6 little nubs apears and very slowly start to develop into extra legs. well you get the picture.

Oh and also have it so every Priest of the spider god knows him by sight and attacks him. Or have him beset by large hoards of spider worshipers.

Have him drink his wine and its spider poison

a Large sore appears on his back, in 2 weeks it turns out to be a spider egg laying under the skin which busrts free, in a very public display of course. Spewing forths hundreds of baby spiders.

actual spiders start to hunt him down where ever he goes

randomly once a year one of aspect of him changes into a spider
1-hand turns into a leg joint of a spider
2-loses all mouth functions and now can only eat liquified food
and so on and so on

and the only way he can repent is by becoming a spider priest himself and starting a new church on the site of the burnt down one.

hmm sounds good to me
Would this stuff happen to Conan if he desecrated a Spider-god temple? Maybe, but he'd definitely find some way to deal with it - eg find the Zath-priest sending the afflictions, and cut his head off.

In Conan, every supernatural occurrence should have a determinate cause and a way to be dealt with, given sufficient ingenuity and courage.

I kinda agree with S'mon there. I think retribution for desecrating a temple should either take a very direct and immediate from (attack by a demon, giant spider, host of venomous spiders etc.) or a subtle, indirect and differed one like the character being lured in some trap by dreams/omens, stalked by cultists, manipulated by a priest/sorcerer into unwittingly serve the god... Whatever vengeance is chosen, the character should always have the option of solving the problem by quick and bloody action.
I second S'mon and Hyena here.

If he cannot fight his way out of this state, then it is not a very Conan-ish curse.

Here is probably what I'd do, have him encounter spiders and/or halucinations in the manner described and have them all lead up to an encounter with a spider fiend/demon. If he beats this monster let the curse end. If he doesn't... well... I guess the curse end any way but not in the manner a PC would like.

I'll point out that Dr. Skull gave Vagita a perfect opportunity to remove the curse last adventure, but instead the South Islander chose to knock the healer Otto One-Eye down the stairs and beat him senseless in his hut.

I'm sure if Marlon has Vagita start taking magic and curses seriously rather than knocking the teeth out of the head of anyone who looks like they might mumble a spell Dr. Skull will see to it that the curse is lifted.

Or maybe not. The good Doctor can be pretty vindictive.
Of course Conan would never have done what Marlon did either. He never would have desecrated a temple with no real reason to do so. Heck, the priest was even trying to be helpful until he did so.

I don't want to actually destroy his character, turniing him into a spider is not the way I want to go.

I like the idea of dreams, waking up with spiders in th emouth etc.

I don't want to actually hurt or destroy his character, I just want to constantly badger him, for the greater amusement of the rest of the group.

If he goes to a the Spider Temple in Zamora, and atones to the upper level priests there, it'll be all over, but of course, I have no intention of letting the party get anywhere near Zamora for quite some time.
wyerdo said:
I guess we should have warned him that humping the statue of the spider god was a bad idea.

Come on, he's a big boy, there's no way to make it seem like it was an achievement.
Ah... All of this sounds like AD&D barbarian behavior to me. It should be discouraged, to say the least. How about having the character's shadow look like a giant spider's ? Let's see how NPC and fellow PC like him after that...
Let him wake up in a web-cocoon from time to time...

That has to suck. Especialy at critical moments when another (more mundane?) enemy is nearby and you want to grab your sword as fast as possible, but hey?... wait? The sword is entangled in a webb high up in that tree over there....darn!

Remember that at least some spiders have tendency to crawl into dark spaces like boots. Next time the character takes off his boots (when going to sleep for example) a spider crawls to his boot. When he puts his foot to the boot ... <outch> the spider bites him.

After all these occurances I would probably give him arachnophobia because spiders really seem to haunt him....

I'm with S'Mon and Hyena, I like direct and simple. I would have a neighbouring Temple learn of the desecration and then send an assassin to deal with the infidel. A knife, or arrow covered in spider venom will certainly make the character think twice before repeating such actions. The character could have to suffer repeated attempts until he can think of a way to halt them, i.e. kill everyone that knows about the desecration.

If you want to be subtle, you could have the assassin use a venom that will cause the character to slowly sicken and die unless an antidote is found. Maybe the antidote can only be obtained by suplicating to the priests of the Spider God.

Grim Wanderer