The God in the Bowl
"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."
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.
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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