I like it! Some minor edits:
We need to change "manscorpions" to "scorpionfolk," like we talked about before.
Dang it, I was meaning to do that but forgot.
The sentence starting "The recovery process is very slow" is a run-on (comma splice) as written, so we can just change it to "The recovery process is very slow; a minor permanent..."
Fine by me.
I think I like making all scorpion creatures created by the curse both immortal and unable to reproduce. That makes destroying the crown all the more dramatic, I think.
Yes, that works for me. I thought about having the scorpion creatures be able to spawn non-immortal offspring but that seemed contrary to the "they all die if the crown is destroyed" bit.
I think I'd set the "X" for the boundary HD between skorpios and scorpionfolk at 6HD, same as the scorpionfolk racial HD.
As for stingers, I'd make them an alternative to skorpios, but I wouldn't set a separate HD threshold (ie, under 6HD can be either skorpio or stinger).
Eh? The OGL Scorpionfolk
have 12 Hit Dice. Skorpios have 3 HD and are CR 3, while Stingers have 4 HD and are CR 4.
As for class levels, how about they lose class levels equal to the racial HD of the form they become (so total HD remain the same)?
That was my original idea, but upon reflection how about we have it go by CR instead of HD, so a CR 1-6 creature becomes a Skorpio or Stinger and a CR 7+ creature becomes a scorpionfolk, and "excess" CR are converted into class levels?
Anyhow, how's this:
There is only one master scorpion in the World of Greyhawk. Together with all the monarch scorpions of that world, these monsters are the result of a cursed artifact called the scorpion crown
whose history is as follows.
In the forgotten past of the Flan people there existed a mighty kingdom known as Sulm that ruled the center of what would become the Bright Desert. Sulm was a monarchy that suffered from constant unrest and warfare from internal rebels and nomadic tribes. The kingdom's rulers descended into perverse and decadent practices, including the worship of evil deities. Sulm's last king was a sorcerer called Shattados the Cruel, who entreated Tharizdun the God of Entropy to grant him a gift that would make him the unchallenged ruler of Sulm, able to bend his subjects to his will.
To Shattados's delight, a black crown shaped like a scorpion appeared before him in response to his plea. However, this evil artifact, the scorpion crown
, was in fact a perverse joke by the gods of evil. The instant he put it on, Shattados experienced unbelievable pain as he turned into a master scorpion. His subjects were transformed into ghastly hybrids of man and scorpion who immediately began slaughtering any normal humans who remained. The entire kingdom of Sulm was destroyed within a day.
Many centuries passed and the people of the Bright Desert have forgotten that Sulm ever existed, but the curse of the scorpion crown endures, keeping Shattados alive within his scorpion-infested palace and blighting his kingdom into a lifeless desert.
The Scorpion Crown
This evil artifact appears to be a heavy crown crafted in the shape of a scorpion. The scorpion's legs form the circlet with the claws above the wearer's brows and its tail arcing above the head.
The scorpion crown
is an incredibly powerful cursed item that has no useful abilities. If a creature puts on the crown within the borders of what used to be the land of Sulm they are permanently transmuted into a master scorpion. Anyone within Sulm's borders who has made an oath of loyalty to the crown's wearer (i.e. followers, henchmen, subjects to a ruler, troops under an officer and so on) must succeed on a DC X Fortitude save or permanently change into a horrible scorpion-creature of neutral evil alignment with no memory of their former existence. Creatures oath-tied to the crownbearer become skorpios if they have a Challenge Rating of 6 or less and scorpionfolk if they have a Challenge Rating of 7 or more. If you are using the Monsters of Faerûn
sourcebook creatures with Challenge Ratings of 6 or less may become stingers instead of skorpios. The oath-tied have the same CR as they did before the transformation, if this is higher than the basic challenge rating of their monstrous form (skorpios are CR 3, stingers CR 4, scorpionfolk CR 7) they make up the difference with class levels. They gain levels from their original class if this is possible, but may have substitute levels in a similar class or different class abilities if they are ineligible for them in their new evil arachnid form. For example, an 11th-level human paladin is CR 11, so might become a scorpionfolk fallen paladin 2/blackguard 2 with the same Challenge Rating. Similarly, a 9th-level cleric would become a CR 9 skorpio with 6 levels in cleric but may have different clerical domains than in their former lives.
As a secondary effect, the scorpion crown creates monarch scorpions and monstrous scorpions within Sulm by transforming normal-sized scorpions into giant monsters. This effect takes place randomly but continuously. The number and distribution of these scorpions is left to the DM's discretion, but the production rate is slow and thinly distributed.
The scorpion crown
renders its wearer and all scorpion creatures it creates immortal. A being cursed by the crown has no special immunities or resistances and will die normally from damage it receives, but will eventually completely recover from any damage or injury it takes that does not kill it - even energy drain, ability drain, aging effects and the like. The recovery process is very slow; a minor permanent injury such as a point of ability drain would take a few weeks to heal, while the gravest permanent injuries like being energy drained down to one HD would take an entire year to recuperate from. The crown-cursed suffer the pain and impairment of hunger, suffocation, exhaustion and similar effects but cannot be killed by them. Scorpion-creatures created by the crown are incapable of reproduction.
The curse also drains the vitality from the ground within the former borders of Sulm. If the crown is destroyed (see below) natural processes return life to the desert, although it will likely take a century or more for the land to fully recover fully.
The scorpion crown's
curse only takes effect within Sulm. Nothing happens if someone puts on the crown outside the borders of Sulm. Removing the crown from Sulm makes no difference to a creature already cursed by the crown. Similarly, removing a cursed creature from Sulm makes no difference to them.
The scorpion crown
fuses to its wearer and cannot be removed as long as they are alive. If its wearer is killed, the corpse remains that of a master scorpion but rapidly assumes its natural age - the centuries-old Shattados will crumble to dust. Whoever next puts on the crown will become the new master scorpion.
The scorpion crown
is a powerful artifact so can only be destroyed by extraordinary methods. It's left to the DM's discretion what methods may work and whether the crown is a minor artifact that has multiple means of destruction (dropping into a volcano, a gold great wyrm's breath, or whatever) or a major artifact that only one specific means can destroy. Every scorpion creature created by the crown dies immediately if it is destroyed and their remains revert to their natural age.
Overwhelming enchantment and transmutation [evil]; CL 25th; Weight 3 lbs.