Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Scarabs of Hommlet Continued

T1 has this to say about Rannos Davl's famous TZGY scarab:
"The [TZGY scarab] is a pass in an area of the Temple of Elastic Underpants but there is only a 20% chance that even a sage would recognize it as such."

Or, to look at it another way, 20% of sages are likely to know that the ToEE has used these scarabs as passes. Since the rebirth of the temple is still a secret at the time that your characters are wandering through/pillaging Hommlet, it must be assumed that this sagely knowledge is based on the old Temple. Which is to say, the new Templonians have revived the practice of using scarabs as passes as they did in the old Temple.

We want our names on the scarab too!
In my last post I pointed out that the four letters on the scarab--TZGY--are not a misspelled abbreviation of Zuggtmoy but, rather, they indicate Rannos's four co-conspirators in Hommlet: Terjon, Zert, Gremag, and Y'dey. Rannos (10th level thief), as the highest level baddy in all of T1, is head of the Hommlet Task Force. His underlings are the aforementioned Gremag (7th level assassin) and Zert (2nd level fighter) who we already know about, as well as Y'dey, Canoness in absentia of the church of St. Ebert, and Terjon (6th level cleric), who is standing in for her. It is not made explicit in the module that these two are Templers, but it is now apparent that that is the case.

The scarab "pass" is really more of a badge indicating to other Templonians that Rannos is a member of the Black Scarab unit, and also notes his underlings. These four, and only these four, may accompany Rannos to the Temple. Zert, however, does not know that the traders are part of the Temple Conspiracy; clearly he must be taking his orders from Terjon.

Meanwhile Calmert, the rector of the church--for such a small parish, this joint sure commands a lot of hierarchy!--is obviously too low-ranking to know that the Church of Cuddy is really a front for the New Temple. However, he has seen Terjon meeting surreptitiously with Zert and the Traders, who he has determined are unsavory characters.

Knowing that Terjon is up to no good and having uncovered evidence that a band of brigands is forming in the area to, he believes, harass the population, Calmert has decided to put his trust in Rufus and Burne to defend the growing flock here in Hommlet. This is why he's embezzling church funds and sending them to the tower construction fund. Unwisely, he still trusts Y'dey and is looking forward to her return so that he can let her know about Terjon's sinister doings.

Of course, things aren't quite as lawful good as they appear over at the tower either: guess who else has a scarab? Rufus does, that's who. Rufus's scarab is carnelian (a red gemstone) and lacks any glyphs, which suggests that he has no underlings and has not been activated as an agent yet. But we do know that he has, upon achieving 8th level (he's currently a 7th level fighter) been ordered to report for duty to the Viscount of Verbabonc who will indoctrinate him in the Red Scarab Division at that time. He is as yet, a sleeper agent. Note: now the Viscount has been implicated in this plot as well!

Rufus's scarab also confers resistance to poison on him so clearly he gets more love than Rannos. Not surprising when you consider what an A-hole Rannos is.

And yet there is another member of the conspiracy at the tower: a 2nd level fighter hired by Rannos to pose as a laborer and spy for him. This dude is just a hired hand, not actually a Templonian, which is why he doesn't rate a glyph on Rannos's scarab--or even a name for that matter. But his presence their indicates that Rannos is not getting intelligence on the castle project. So either Rannos has taken it upon himself to gather intelligence or he has been ordered to do so by the Black Scarab Division leader--not realizing that its construction is being overseen and funded by another division of the Temple!


The_Myth said...

Rufus is the fighter with the carnelian scarab. I think it is just an amulet of proof against poison, but his attachment to Burne (his lover the Cuthbertling) might be a cunning ruse!


Timrod said...

$%#@ you are correct sir. Rufus it is. Sending this back to the editor