The God in the Bowl
(circa "The God in the Bowl")


Large Aberration

Hit Dice: 9d8 +27 (67 Hit Points)
Initiative: +3 (+3 Dex)
Speed: 40 ft
AC: 15 (-1 size, +3 Dex, +3 Natural)
Attacks: Bite +7 melee
Damage: Bite 2d6 + 6 and poison
Face/Reach: 5 ft by 5 ft (coiled)/10ft
Special Attacks: Poison, Spells, Charming Gaze, Sanity Loss
Saves: Fort +5, Ref +8, Will +8
Abilities: Str 14, Dex 17, Con 16, Int 16, Wis 15, Cha 25
Skills: Bluff +9, Concentration +13, Listen +11, Sense Motive +8, Spellcraft +12, Spot +11
Feats: Alertness, Combat Casting, Dodge, Lightning Reflexes

Climate/Terrain: Stygia
Challenge Rating
: 8
Treasure: Standard
Alignment: Usually Lawful Evil
Advancement: 10-13 HD (large); 14-27 HD (Huge)

"Conan stared in wonder at the cold classic beauty of the 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... he could see only the god-like face, the finely molded head which swayed curiously from side to side.  The full lips opened and spoke a single word in a rich vibrant tone that was like the golden chimes that ring in the jungle-lost temples of Khitai.  It was an unknown tongue... but Conan knew that it meant, 'Come!'
    "Then the full horror of it all rushed over the Cimmerian and he fled... Behind that gilded screen there had been no human body- only the shimmering... coils of a gigantic serpent."

~Robert E. Howard, "The God in the Bowl"

The Children of Set, the inhuman serpent breeds that once ruled the earth, now sleep in nighted caverns far below the black pyramids of Stygia.  This one was sent to Kallian Publico's Temple, a great museum and antique house in Numalia.  It had apparently been meant for Kalanthes of Hanumar, priest of Ibis (Note: L. Sprague de Camp changed this name to Caranthes in most of the available printed versions of this tale). It had been sent by Thoth-Amon, the Stygian sorcerer, Kalanthes's deadly foe. The bowl that hid this ancient monster was round, like a covered metal bowl, something like copper, but much harder, and it was carved in hieroglyphics.  The lid was made fast to the body by carven copper-like bands.  When Kallian Publico freed the the God in the Bowl, it killed him, and, initially, Conan, who had entered the museum to steal, was blamed.
    Apparently these things live an immortal life, only dying by violence, not by aging.


Combat
The God in the Bowl prefers spells over other forms of combat.  Because these 'gods' are almost always found in lairs they guard and know well, they can arrange most encounters to suit their wishes.

Poison (Ex): Bite, Fortitude save (DC 18); initial and secondary damage 1d8 temporary Constitution.

Charming Gaze (Su): As charm person, 30 feet, Will Save (DC 25)

Sanity Loss (Ex): The God in the Bowl is a blasphemous monster from an elder time.  Those viewing now react with unreasoning fear, Will save (DC 18)

Spells: The God in the Bowl casts spells as a 7th level sorcerer and can use spells from the domain of Law and Evil.

Robert E. Howard's story, "The God in the Bowl," was first published in Space Science Fiction in September 1952.  The story can also be found in the Ace/Lancer paperback "Conan"; and the Gnome Press collection "The Coming of Conan".  It suffered a lot of editorial changes by L. Sprague de Camp, both in the writing, as well as numerous character name changes.  I have retained the original Howard spellings.  Most recently, the story can be found in "The Conan Chronicles: Volume 1 - The People of the Black Circle," which is published by Millennium Press.

 

 

 

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