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The Serpent Ring of Set, Thoth-Amon, & Child of Set


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The Serpent Ring of Set

A magic artifact for Call of Cthulhu 7e

 

Mentioned in the Robert E Howard stories The Phoenix on the Sword and The Haunter of the Ring, The Serpent Ring of Set is the magical artifact that allowed the Stygian Wizard Thoth-Amon to become one of the greatest sorcerers of his time. In both of these stories, the Ring is described exactly the same: a copper ring made in the form of a serpent, coiled three times with tail in mouth. The eyes are evil yellow gems.

How, exactly, did Thoth-Amon use the ring to achieve this? Well, first he found the Ring in a deep tomb that was of pre-human origin. Probably the serpent-folk created the ring and eventually it was entombed in the land that became Stygia. Thoth-Amon says he “did dark and terrible magic with the Serpent Ring of Set”, and from all instances of the Ring’s power shown in the stories, this terrible magic was the summoning of demons from the outer dark. Besides the demon we see in The Phoenix on the Sword, he mentions “They hated me, but they feared me, for I controlled beings from outside which came at my call and did my bidding. By Set, mine enemy knew not the hour when he might awake at midnight to feel the taloned fingers of a nameless horror at his throat!” So we can assume Thoth-Amon gained power by fear, through sending demons after his rivals.

To use the Ring, Thoth-Amon rubs the blood of the freshly killed Dion over the serpent’s eyes and chants “Blind your eyes, mystic serpent,... Blind your eyes to the moonlight and open them on darker gulfs! What do you see, oh serpent of Set? Whom do you call from the gulfs of the Night? Whose shadow falls on the waning Light? Call him to me, oh serpent of Set!” The summoned being always appears first as a shadow, and coalesces into existence. The creature called forth in The Phoenix on the Sword is a large humanoid thing, like a mummy and a baboon, and it’s only harmed by blessed or magical weapons (thus the Phoenix on the Sword). However, the text makes it pretty clear that many types of demons could be called by the Ring.

In the story The Haunter of the Ring, we learn that the Ring was “handed down by foul cults of sorcerers since the days of forgotten Stygia.” It is finally found in Hungary. The Ring in that story is used to allow one of the demons of the ring to possess the wearer for short instances. The Ring itself is only mentioned as having been used to summon the possessing demon. The evil sorcerer of the story, Vrolok, used other black magic to pull Evelyn’s soul from her body and allow the demon to control her. During the time period of the story, Evelyn cannot take the ring off, and describes the demon as “A black thing,... a horrible faceless black thing that mows and mumbles and paws over me with apish hands. I dream of it every night. And in the daytime I try to kill the only man I ever loved.” When the demon thinks it’s task is done, it turns on Vrolok.

While at first glance the Ring in the second story seems to have different powers, it actually seems to have the same power, that of summoning beings of the Outer Dark, and it is Vrolok who uses it in a different way, combined with further magic.

 

The Serpent Ring of Set (Unique) - A copper ring made in the form of a serpent, coiled three times with tail in mouth. The eyes are evil yellow gems.

The Ring gives a Bonus Die on all POW rolls if the bearer is a servant of Set.

When fresh blood (at least 1 HP worth) is rubbed over the eyes of this ring, it allows the user to summon a creature from the black gulfs. Each Magic Point expended gives a cumulative 20% chance for the summoning to succeed. Each use costs 1d4 SAN plus any cost for encountering the being summoned. The spell takes 5 minutes, and the creature arrives 1d4 minutes later via a gate. The creature may be tasked with one command once summoned.

The creature summoned is either a “Demon of the Ring”, (see Below) or another that the Keeper deems appropriate. Examples would be a Byakhee or Dimensional Shambler for travel, etc.

Demon’s of the Ring may, at the Keeper’s discretion, become free after their task is finished. This chance is higher if the user sacrificed their own blood for the casting, and is much lower if a sacrifice was performed for the blood. If the creature is free, the user must win an opposed POW roll versus the creature or it attacks either the user or someone with them before returning to the black gulfs.

The user may also use the ring to cast Contact Set spell (which is exactly like the Contact Yig spell in the Grand Grimoire, except the ring negates the 5 POW cost.)

 

A note about Thoth-Amon’s loss of power in Phoenix on the Sword when he loses the Ring:

Thoth-Amon's loss of power in The Phoenix on the Sword is one of the quandaries that stumps many game systems. I didn't like Mongoose's explanation, and I really don’t like the Modiphius 2d20 explanation (he's just obsessed with the ring.)

In Call of Cthulhu he can gain nearly all of his sorcerous power from the ring and the “demons” it summons. Simple!

 

Demon of the Ring, Lesser Servitor Race

“Upon him crouched a great black thing which he knew was born in no sane or human world. Its slavering black fangs were near his throat and the glare of its yellow eyes shrivelled his limbs as a killing wind shrivels young corn.

The hideousness of its face transcended mere bestiality. It might have been the face of an ancient, evil mummy, quickened with demoniac life. In those abhorrent features the outlaw's dilated eyes seemed to see, like a shadow in the madness that enveloped him, a faint and terrible resemblance to the slave Thoth-amon. Then Ascalante's cynical and all-sufficient philosophy deserted him, and with a ghastly cry he gave up the ghost before those slavering fangs touched him.

Conan, shaking the blood-drops from his eyes, stared frozen. At first he thought it was a great black hound which stood above Ascalante's distorted body; then as his sight cleared he saw that it was neither a hound nor a baboon.”

Alternate Names: Haunter of the Ring

Demons of the Ring are beings from the black gulfs. They are sometimes faceless black things with apish limbs and hands, and sometimes baboon-like mummies.

Life Drain: Can blast a victim's soul by holding them and staring into their eyes. Each round that the victim is held, if they lose an opposed POW roll they lose 1d6 hp + 1 hp per magic point spent by the Demon of the Ring.

Possession: The Demon of the Ring may attempt to possess someone who is sleeping or otherwise incapacitated. This functions as per Spirit Attacks and Possession in the Grand Grimoire.

Demon of the Ring, Ape-ish thing from the black gulf

Char.        roll           averages

STR      5D6x5*      85-90 

CON      3D6x5*      50-55 

SIZ       5D6x5*       85-90 

DEX    (3D6+6)x5   80-85

INT      (3D6)x5      50-55 

POW     (3D6+6)x5    80-85 

Average Hit Points: 13-14

Average Damage Bonus (DB): +1D6

Average Build: 2

Average Magic Points: 16-17

Move: 8

Combat

Attacks per Round: 2 (Claws, Bite, Grab, or Life Drain)

May attack with both claws, or grab and claw, or bite and life drain a grabbed opponent.

Grab (mnvr): If the maneuver succeeds, the Demon of the Ring has grabbed the victim or pounced on them and is holding them down. The victim is knocked and held prone if the demon wishes. The victim may attempt to escape with their own Maneuver.

Fighting             50%(25/10), damage 1D6 + DB

Grab (mnvr)      50%(25/10),  held (and possibly prone) 

Life Drain          Held Only, Opposed POW, damage 1d6 + 1 per magic point spent

Dodge               40%(20/8)

Skills: 

Climb 55%, Spot Hidden 50%,Stealth 60%, Track Prey 80%

Armor: none, but immune to all mundane weapons

Spells: usually none

Sanity Loss: 0/1d10

 

 

 

Thoth-Amon, Stygian sorcerer and lord of the Black Ring

Thoth-Amon was a great sorcerer in the south during the Hyborian Age. “Men spoke of me as they spoke of Rammon. King Ctesphon of Stygia gave me great honor, casting down the magicians from the high places to exalt me above them. They hated me, but they feared me, for I controlled beings from outside which came at my call and did my bidding. By Set, mine enemy knew not the hour when he might awake at midnight to feel the taloned fingers of a nameless horror at his throat! I did dark and terrible magic with the Serpent Ring of Set, which I found in a nighted tomb a league beneath the earth, forgotten before the first man crawled out of the slimy sea.”

Thoth-Amon, who is the master of all priests of Set, and dwells in Luxur, and the western world knew only as a figure of terror and myth. 

 

STR 60     CON 60     SIZ 80     DEX 55     INT 80     APP 60     POW 120     EDU 90

SAN 0   Hit Points 14   Damage Bonus 1d4    Build 1   Move 7   MP 24   Luck 70         

Combat

Fighting (Brawl) 50%, damage 1d3+DB

Dagger 50%, damage 1d4+2+DB

Dodge 30%

Skills

Animal handling 50%, Cthulhu Mythos 40%, Disguise 30%, Drive Horse/Oxen 30%, Insight (Psychology) 60%, Intimidate 90%, Library Use 70%, Natural World 40%, Occult 80%, Oratory/Rhetoric 50%, Own Kingdom (Stygia) 70%, Other Kingdoms (Kush, Shem, Vendhya, Koth) 40%, Read/Write Language 85%, Science (Augury, Religion of Set) 75%, Sleight of Hand 60%, Spot Hidden 75%, Stealth 50%, Status (Infamy) 90%

Languages: Own (Stygian) 95%, Acheron 60%, Kushite 50%, Shemite 50%, Vendhyan 45%, Kothian 50%, Many Others 40%

Pulp Talents

Scary - Bonus Die to Intimidate rolls.

Backstory

Personal Description: He was a somber giant, whose dusky skin revealed his Stygian blood.

Traits: Arrogant and consumed with power. 

Ideology: Servant of Set the Old Serpent.

Significant People: King Ctesphon of Stygia who gave him great honor, and Kalanthes the priest of Ibis whom he hates.

Meaningful Locations: Nighted tombs in Stygia, Luxor.

Treasured Possessions: Serpent Ring of Set which he found in a nighted tomb a league beneath the earth.

Equipment

The Serpent Ring of Set.

 

 

 

 

Child of Set, Lesser Servitor Race.

“A black cable, thicker than a man's arm, and curiously splotched.”

“...over a heavy gilded screen a face looked at the Cimmerian.”

“Conan stared in wonder at the cold classic beauty of that countenance, whose like he had never seen among the sons of men. Neither weakness nor mercy nor cruelty nor kindness, nor any other human emotion was in those features. They might have been the marble mask of a god, carved by a master hand, except for the unmistakable life in them—life cold and strange, such as the Cimmerian had never known and could not understand.” 

“The thought of Set was like a nightmare, and the children of Set who once ruled the earth and who now sleep in their nighted caverns far below the black pyramids. Behind that gilded screen there had been no human body—only the shimmering, headless coils of a gigantic serpent.”

   -The God in the Bowl, Robert E Howard

Alternate Names: God in the Bowl

Children of Set are large serpents with beautiful-featured, emotionless human heads. 

Language: They can speak a pre-human language, of which the basic meaning can be derived by listeners due to some form of primal knowledge. Some can also speak a few human languages.

Child of Set, large snakes with human heads

Char.        roll        averages

STR   (2d6+15)x5      110 

CON   ( 2d6+6)x5       65 

SIZ     (2d6+10)x5       85 

DEX    (2d6+10)x5       85

INT      (3D6+6)x5      80-85 

POW    (2D6+6)x5       65 

Average Hit Points: 15

Average Damage Bonus (DB): +1D6

Average Build: 2

Average Magic Points: 13

Move: 8

Combat

Attacks per Round: 1 (bite,constrict)

Poison from bite is extremely deadly and fast acting. Damage is 4d10 in 1d10 rounds. An Extreme CON roll halves the damage. (Once poisoned, cannot be poisoned again until the initial poison has dealt its damage.)

Constrict (mnvr): Wraps around its prey, crushing the life out of it. With a successful attack the Child of Set has wrapped it’s victim in a crushing hold and the victim suffers a penalty die to any action and automatically takes damage (1d6+DB) each round unless the child of Set is killed or dislodged by an opposed STR roll.

Fighting             50%(25/10), damage 1D6 + DB

Bite                    50%(25/10), damage 1d4 + poison (see above)

Grab (mnvr)      50%(25/10),  held with penalty die to actions, damage 1d6+DB per round 

Dodge               45%(22/9)

Skills: 

Climb 60%, Language (human, varies but often Stygian) 55%, Stealth 65%

Armor: none

Spells: Contact Set (exactly like Contact Yig in the Grand Grimoire), 1d6 spells of the Keeper’s choosing but usually including Dominate or Mental Suggestion from the Grand Grimoire.

Sanity Loss: 0/1d6

Edited by Grimmshade
Formatting, added POW power
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