The Warlock´s Journal contest is over, the winners are announced. So, I can now name my entry AND am able to post it here, together with rules for Labyrinth Lord. Do you need an evil spider-thing at the center of a bewitched forest? A location to drop into your high-fantasy hexcrawl? Something evil to drop into CARCOSA? Here is my entry, have fun with it!
The Lair of the Witch-Spider
Deep in the woods there is a large clearing where only pale grass grows. In the middle of it, hidden by the high grass, a hole can be found that leads straight down into the ground. It is not big, and so a man can climb down by putting his hands and feet or elbows and knees firmly against the rough earth forming the walls, using old roots as foot- and handholds. The climb is steep, a dozen meters down into the earth it goes, where the surrounding walls get rocky. At the end the tunnel opens into a pitch black cavern. This cavern is only five feet high, but about six yards wide at its narrowest point and nine yards at its widest, with the climb ending roughly at the middle of it. The stony ground of the cave is covered in shallow, stagnant water and a moist smell fills the stale air. To climb back up without help, one could get back into the cored hole above with a pull-up.
Those that brought a light with them will see another tunnel at the far end of the cave, about three steps wide. As impossible as it seems in this depth, worm-like roots hang from the ceiling, halfway down to the floor. Anybody setting a foot into the cave will hear a hoarse voice, like that of an old hag, asking “…why… did you come?” The voice is not coming from the tunnel but forms inside one´s head, speaking directly into the mind while the worm-like roots start to writhe faintly. Those who came to ask for something, being it a curse cast for them, a spell being broken or a foretelling of any kind, will be told to bring a “gift”. The heart of a stag, the womb of a swine or a newborn… always something alive or taken from a fresh kill no older than a few hours. When the “gift” is thrown among the writhing roots, those very roots will grab it and pass it along, further into the darkness. What was asked for will be provided a few moments later, moments during which wet, ugly sounds will be heard from behind the curtain of roots. But those who came “to find and kill the witch” will be met with cruel laughter instead that rings in the head. “Come…! Come then..! COOOMEEE!” The laughter will continue, causing a headache so strong that the vision blurs. Anybody who enters the tunnel will become entangled in the moving roots while the dweller of the place comes forth: An overgrown spider with the head of an old woman, armed with needle-like teeth: a demon-thing that wields magic powers. The root tunnel winds on for about five yards and at its end is the lair of the foul creature, filled with the remains of previous prey and collected “gifts”. The walls and everything in there are covered in thick, sticky webbing under which dozens of tiny black spiders crawl along…
[Rules for Labyrinth Lord]
Alignment: (Neutral) Evil
Armor Class: 7
Hit Dice: 4
Attacks: 2 (Slashing limbs and poison bite)
Damage: 1d6 & Level x Poison
Hoard Class: None or as the LL pleases
Spells: In combat, the Witch-Spider will be able to Curse opponents (reversed Remove Curse, see p. 25); Cause serious wounds (reverse cure serious wounds; p.22) and Hold Person (p.23). For Spell-Casting, the Witch-Spider is considered to be a 5fth level magic-user.
When an attack with the slashing limbs is successful, the Witch-Spider is entitled to a second attack with the poison bite this turn. If this second attack is successful as well the victim will suffer a total of 3d6 damage at a rate of five points of damage per turn, beginning with the next turn. The damage is halved if the character passes a Saving Throw vs. Poison.
The low ceiling imposes a -1 or -3 penalty on every character that cannot stand tall due to it.
The writhing roots will cause an (additional and cumulative) -1 penalty on everyone who is not passing a strength test.