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The “Oku” (Cynidiceans)

While reading the Maze of the Blue Minotaur I got a Lost City/Cynidiceans vibe from the Oku.  Not sure if that was an inspiration but the Cynidiceans also wear animal masks, live in a dream-like state and believe they are the animals the mask portrays.  The Oku are a bit more aware of their surroundings, but otherwise, they sound very similar.  So I decided to expand on the Oku and use the ideas from the Lost City’s Cynidiceans as well.

The Oku Mask.  The mask is an uncommon magic item that allows its wearer to cast a random wizard cantrip or 1st level spell (determine randomly).  The masks are crafted by the Aelfadred the Glyph Witch to look like an animal, crow being the most common but not the only animal.  The mask has a subtle “flaw” associated with it.  Once the item is attuned the target must make a DC 10 Charisma saving throw each day or become charmed by Aelfadred.  While so charmed the target experiences everything in a dream-like state and has disadvantage on ability and skill checks.  In the context of the adventure, the only Oku who has resisted this effect is the oku leader – Akerstrom.

Unless otherwise noted each oku is a chaotic neutral bandit with the following addition due to the mask:

Stolen Spellcasting. Each has a single spell (see sidebar) which they can cast as a Lvl 1 Magic-User. Like a Magic-User, they must rest 8 hours to recover their spell before they

can cast it again.

Additional Oku Encounter Options

Roll 1d12 or pick an option.

The not-Oku Fox.

This large room is obviously a place of worship. On each side of a broad centre, aisle are rows of high-backed wooden benches. Narrow aisles along the walls run past ornate mosaics to two small fountains set into the walls. Just past the fountains, a large dais fills the southern end of the room. On the dais near a stone, altar lie three large statues that look like the ones on top of the pyramid. The statues have been toppled from their bases. A man and a woman stand near the toppled statues and talk softly to each other. They wear brightly coloured clothing and small bronze fox masks. Both have red hair and there seems to be a resemblance between them.

This brother and sister are actually werefoxes (use werewolves). They are disguised as Cynidiceans to be better able to hunt for treasure and supplies and are looking for Tiktaalik the were-titan to free him. Werefoxes are a new type of lycanthrope. Each werefox can try to charm a person of the opposite sex in one round. This ability is like a charm person spell but lasts only one day. A werefox can charm up to three times per day.

These werefoxes may bargain with the party or try to charm them. They will try to trick the party out of as much treasure and magic as possible. The two will not take risks they can avoid, or fight stronger opponents unless forced to. They rely on their wits to survive. If attacked, the two will turn into foxes to fight or escape. If hard-pressed, they may turn back into human form and surrender. The werefoxes will lie, cheat, and bribe the party if necessary to survive. They are carrying three pieces of jewellery worth a total of 3,000 gp, a sword +1, casts light on command (30′ radius), a helm of alignment change, and a potion. So far, they have been afraid to test the potion and don’t know what it is. It is a potion of levitation. If forced to fight as humans, the female will use the magical sword in combat.

This room was once the main chapel for Cynidicea. It is seldom used now. The fountains are fed by an underground lake. These will provide all the water the party needs to drink or to fill their water skins.

Wolf Oku. One character in a wolf mask is encountered. This Cynidicean believes he is a werewolf. When he sees the party, he will drop to all fours, howl, sniff, circle, and generally behave like a wolf. He may try to bite if approached too closely. He thinks he cannot be harmed, and will only be afraid of magic or silver weapons.

Priestly Oku. Three characters approach the party, dressed in dark robes and devil masks. They carry incense burners. These Cynidiceans think they are powerful clerics. They see the party as demons and will try to drive them off with loud cries and foul-smelling smoke. The leader’s name is Brother Theodeus.

Sparrow Oku. One Cynidicean dressed in bright green robes and a bird mask approaches the party. She will walk slowly up to one party member, hand him or her a small pouch, smile, and walk on. She will not notice any attempt the party makes to talk to her. The pouch contains a strange powder that smells like cloves. The powder has no special properties at all.

Human Oku. This group of five Cynidiceans is dressed in brightly coloured robes and masks with human faces. They will think the party is the same band of barbarian raiders who looted the city centuries ago. They will flee in panic as the party approaches.

Camel Oku. Six Cynidiceans in striped robes and camel masks zig-zag slowly down the hall in single file. They are trying to avoid the invisible snakes on the floor. They will try to show the party the invisible snakes and warn the party to walk around the snakes. There are, of course, no snakes.

Bug Oku. This party of four wear insect masks, carry large clay jars, and hum like bees. They will stop and ask the party to drink from the jars. Everyone who does has 1-4 points of damage cured, as these jars contain honey from the lair of killer bees. If the Cynidicens are attacked, or if someone tries to drink twice the Cynidiceans will smash the jars and attack berserkly.

Doolittle Party. This party of four wears animal masks: Hawk, Fish, Cat, and Fox (these are also the character’s names). They are carrying a stretcher with a gourd on it. These characters are rushing their “sick friend” (the gourd: Dog) to a vet. If the party has a cleric, the Cynidiceans will insist that the cleric cure their friend.

Noble Oku. This group of six in bright yellow robes and human masks will stop and stare at the party. They will “recognize” a party member as the King or Queen of Cynidicea (or, more approprietly, as the Triarchy or members of the Triarchy court if male). They will follow the character, sing songs of praise, and wait on the character hand and foot. In general, they will smother the character with attention. However, they will not fight for their King or Queen. They are more likely to grab the character and try to rush him or her to safety. Their spokesman is Policrates the Herald.

Flock of Birds Oku. A group of four Cynidiceans in feathered robes and bird masks approach. On seeing the party, the Cynidiceans will “fly” (run) forward, flapping their arms and squawking. They will invite the party to fly along and will lead them on a merry chase through the pyramid. If the party refuses to join the Cynidiceans, the Cynidiceans will insult the party as poor creatures who cannot fly (“Thou land-bound slugs!”), circle
three times and “fly” away. If attacked, the Cynidiceans will “fly” away.

Vulture Oku. A group of six Cynidiceans with their bodies painted black and wearing vulture masks walk quietly toward the party. They carry long wooden boards, but seem friendly and normal. They will follow the party, waiting for something to be killed. When it is, they will rush over and start building a coffin to fit the body. When they are done, they will demand a 10 gp payment. They will attack if they are not paid.

Adventuring Oku. These five Cynidiceans are an NPC Party. They each wear an elf, dwarf, halfling and 2 human masks. They will think the player characters are some kind of (randomly determined) monster and attack if they think they are mindless monsters or try and negotiate (depending on reaction roll) if they think the PCs are intelligent monsters.


Posted in 5e, Clash of the Titans, Dungeons & Dragons, Maze of the Blue Medusa, Monstrous Compendium

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