Add-In #09: Hoo Doo Lady

If you take the haunted waterways through the bug infested, hot, miserable swamp, and if she wishes you to find her, you just may find the cabin of Monette Levow, the local hoo doo lady and witch doctor of these parts. During the day, this stretch of swamp is dark, the sunlight chocked to death by the twisted canopy of moss and trees, and at night the place is lit by billions of fireflys, and most unnerving, the lovers of Monette, tall hulks of men whom stand in the filthy muddy waters holding lanterns to guide the way, they say that to look into the eyes of a lover is to steal a peek into the great void itself, for their eyes are as empty and as vacant as the eyes of a dead man.

The cabin itself is lit by greasy, bursting candles, light peaking out of the shack in sheets which illuminate and intensify the blanket of fog which always seems to cling to this area. Even the monsters and powerful creatures leave this area alone, as if terrified of it . . . . like they know something!

Creeper moss hangs from the metal roof, boards seem to be nailed into place haphazardly. Boats can be tied right to the front porch, strange skulls and metal tools hang upon the walls, as do a few mobiles of bones, feathers, and other unhealthy things which floods one soul with dread.

Curious folks have realized that Monette has good strong tie-downs for boats, yet doesn’t seem to have one herself, nor has it ever been reported that she leaves this place.


Monette runs an odd business, she sells potions, charms, and fortunes; however money is meaningless to her. The currency of the shack is magic items (especially of the cursed variety) or favors taken at a later time.

No sign is needed, folks don’t come this way for nothing, and it is said that if you just sit in your boat, the current itself will take you directly to the shack! Those who are welcome will make it without any problems, however those who ain’t are never seen again.

This place is surrounded by mystery, on the way to the shack folks pass the old abandoned cemetery, and if one stops to take a gander at the headstones, the tomb of Monette Levay can be found. Strange lights and grim noises are heard from this place at night, nobodies been brave enough to explore this place when the suns down . . . at least nobody whose ever made it back to tell the tale, anyhow.

LAYOUT

A. Porch: The porch is constructed of the same thick and knotted wood as the rest of the shack, if judged by appearance alone, one wonders if it is safe to walk upon, however despite how it looks, it is strong and sturdy. The porch is large enough to support up to two boats, and two rusty tie-down hooks are available for visitors. A rocking chair and a wooden bench is provided incase one wants to wait a spell, or for those who either don’t wish to enter, and simply provided transport.

Large square crab nets hang from the awning, with one or two in the water catching crawfish and crabs for Monettes dinner. A boat hook and other tools hang on hooks and attached to the shack itself, including a machete which appears to have been used for other things besides cutting weeds. A few grim mobiles made of bones and bits and pieces of sticks and other things hang from the rafters, these serve as wind-chimes. While the swamp don’t normally have no wind, Monette says that some of her best customers be the spirits, and when the bones rattle, that’s them, but they’ve got to wait their turn like everybody else does.

The windows are boarded up, yet enough light vents out from the cracks and loose boards in the shack itself to illuminate porch/dock area sufficiently. The door leading into the place is always open, and candles and lanterns are always lit no matter what time of night one comes to visit.

B. Display Room: This large room is, typically, the only thing that people ever get to see. A curtain of beads and shells cover a doorway which leads to the living area of the cabin.

Every square inch of available wall space is used. Several tables and shelves line the outside of the room, they are covered in bottles, jars, and flasks full of unmarked powders and liquids. Most of the products look like junk to the untrained eye, but to her, they are her treasures. A few cages hang from the rafters, many are empty but others keep birds, the largest holds Monette’s pet raven “Tardy”, on a counter is a stand with an ancient balding parrot, the pet of a pirate who died long ago. Usually the bird just sits motionless and silent, but sometimes the devil comes over it, and it speaks of nothing but wickedness and murder for days on end without stop.

Soaps, herbs, satchels, insane maps of imaginary places, books filled with ravings and gibberish, odd bits and pieces of jewelry, poppets of nightmarish forms, a filthy worktable covered with powders and plants, jars of noxious pieces of things once alive, skulls and totems of creatures both known and unknown, toxic mushrooms, bundles of weed and plants tied and hung to dry and cure from the rafters, all these things form a smell which is unhealthy for the soul, and burns ones nose, no matter how hard you try to stop, you can’t help but take it in in large deep breaths. This smell is a mixture of organic plant life and death.

A large circular table sits in the darkest corner, bizarre and terrible things form an obvious altar to a god which no one but Monette is aware of. Fresh fruit, coins, cups of spiced liquor, statuettes carved from wood, and dried flowers surround a human skull which is used to hold a fatty, greasy yellow candle which burns dimly into your soul.

C. Hallway & Stairs: Behind the curtain of beads and shell is a short hallway, another alter sits in the corner, as does a small library of books, if these books are studied, one will find that they are full of magical and natural formulas and facts. Most are written in Monette’s hand, she does not write in common, as she taught herself how to write in a language that only she knows, Those who can desipher this personal script, however, will learn tricks and secrets of many beasts and monsters. Secrets of botany, what is healthy, what is poison, and other eccentric writings both natural and unnatural.

A stairway leads up to the second floor of the shack. It is creaky and groans under the mildest weight. Under the stairs is a hidden room which Monette keeps her cursed weapons. Sometimes she removes the curses and turns them into plus weapons, unless she finds the curse to be interesting, then she keeps it and cares for it as the beautiful thing that it is to her: Daggors of bizarre shapes and histories, swords haunted by evil and misfortune, axes cursed by murders and grizzly crimes which only Monette now knows. These items are the witches greatest treasures!

D. Upstairs Hallway: This tight and dimly lit hall (lit by lanterns hanging from the ceiling) is lined with a filthy rug which at one time was worth a fortune, but here it rots and is never cleaned. This hall connects the stairs to the three rooms.

E. Calling Room: This room is lit by hundreds of candles, a circle is drawn on the floor in salt and some other kind of powder. This is were the witch meditates and calls upon dark forces or otherwise works her magic when called upon to do so.

Bits of cloth, hairs, and pieces of junk and trinkets are nailed to the walls here, property of her Lovers (zombies). A small shelf on the west wall holds special spell components and other grizzly pieces which the witch keeps for herself. A grim and filty bassinette sits in the corner, and a strong bolt is set into the floor, when a sacrifice is needed, Monette keeps the animal “or victim” chained here until it is time to spill its blood. On the top of the shelf are 7 cages, at least three always contain live chickens. The witch has a Wand of Wonder which she keeps stored in this room in a bone scrollcase. A Dagger+2/+5 vs. dimensional creatures is her tool of choice when working her magic.

A lantern with green glass shutters hangs from a hook in the corner. Inside of the lantern is a gemstone (worth 5,000 gp), in the event of her death, her spirit flees to the gem and her zombies prepare a new body for her, typically a comely local girl who is in the witches debt. Monette will steal this body once it is brought to this room. She always has at least 3 girls between the ages of 12 and 19 that she “provides” for. She sends them gifts, keeps them fed and healthy and wanting nothing. This is cut off once they turn 19, none are aware of the witches true motives or designs.

F. Monette Levay’s Room: This is the sleeping chamber of the witch herself. A bed draped in mosquito netting dominates the room. A desk on the north wall contains a book of debts, it is full of names, those whom are in the witches debt and have yet to pay. A journal full of rumors and evil deeds done by others is also here, as the spiritual leader for the cities servant class, Monette has ears all over the place, she uses these rumors to blackmail and control the rich and powerful who rule the city. Some consider her knowledge to be completely magic in nature, but as you can see, this is not always true.

A basket contains the witches most precious companion, a 20’ long albino boa constrictor named Voodoo. A dresser contains books and junk that has been in the witches family for centuries. A chest hidden under her bed contains some money, magical scrolls, 4 spell books, and a human heart that is still pulsing with life. It is unknown whose heart this is, or why it is still alive.

A large chest in against the wall holds the witches ceremonial clothing, “all white”, a tray of memories, papers, deeds, and other mundane items. A dried up human hand is wrapped in a moth-eaten silk dress of much finery.

G. Guest Room: This room has a bed curtained in mosquito net, if the bed is moved a strange rune or symbol has been burned into the floor, this symbol protects the guest from spirits, but it also serves a dual purpose, if the guest takes anything that doesn’t belong to them, they get very ill and sick until the item has been returned.

A wardrobe is provided, as is a trunk with a good padlock which Monette provides a key for. If you leave her stuff alone, then she’ll do the same for you. A desk is available for writing and a comfortable chair for relaxing in. Monette’s guests are people who are hiding from something, or someone. While in Monette’s care, all magical methods of detecting or spying work.

Hidden under a loose floorboard is a journal and a treasure map, the property of a pirate, both are locked in a box which can only be opened by the parrot downstairs, or by some magical means. Monette is not aware of this item.

THE SECRETS OF MONETTE LEVOW

Business is conducted the same way every time. The visitor ties up their raft or boat, and enters the store. After a few seconds, Monette bursts through the curtain. If it is the visitors first time, she askes who sent them first, and then their name. Once she knows a name, she never forgets it, and she will greet the visitor by name every time they show up. She then asks what the visitor wants and listens to their desires. She repeats their desire and asks what they expect to pay for her aid. “First we discuss de payment.”, she smiles wickedly through black, rotten teeth.

She excepts bizarre objects, creatures, or cursed items. She’ll look at the item, and either except it or give it back and say “Not good e’nooff”. She’ll also except undisclosed favors, ladder on down de road. Favors are usually terrible acts, committing murder, collecting dangerous spell components, delivering bad news to powerful monsters, embarking on deadly quests. Either way, Monette will always get the better end of the deal. Her mind is wicked and crafty, she cannot be lied too, or tricked in any way.

Once payment has been discussed and the price agreed upon, then the witch will aid the visitor. If it is a matter of vengeance against a specific person, Monette believes in an eye for an eye, if justice be what you seek, she can unleash the “servant” upon um, but once unleashed, what’s been done can’t be undone, nomatter how badly you are sorry.
The witch offers protection in the form of charms, or single use items. She sometimes loans out weapons with specific purposes (killing werewolves, ghosts, undead, etc.) that will serve properly once, and no more. Many materials are loaned, and she expects to get them back. If magic they want, she will typically have them go collect the components that she be needin for the gris-gris.

PERSONALITIES

Monette Levow: AC 6; MV 12; HD 0; hp 10/
#AT 1; dmg 1d6 (club); SA magic spells; SD magic jar;
AL CN; SZ M (5’ tall); ML 9; XP 3,000

Monette is unique, because of her solitude, she can work both priest magic (all spheres), and wizard magic (all schools). She is capable of casting any spell that you need her to know, and either creating or possessing a specific magical item which you would find useful to your players to have on a short term basis.

Monette does not engage in melee, however if angered she will always have her zombies attack, but will always take the killing blow herself. This is very rare, for people of Monette’s experience, Death is getting off easy. Monette is an expert at creating powerful curses that may or may not defy the rules of magic. She is her own class of “monster”, and completely a device of the DM to use as he wishes. She is a hero to some and a vile demon to others. Common folks don’t like to talk about her, but she is very helpful to the working class. She provides protection and advice for the rumors and details about conversations that they have heard in the course of their work.

She comes to town but once or twice a year, always to lead the servant class in religious worship which involves much chanting and dance. Debauchery which the decent folk avoid and law tries to stifle unsuccessfully. On these nights it isn’t safe to be outside, for the spirits are excited and prone to commit mischief.

Her business practices are best described as double dealing. She has no moral qualms about selling protection from spells that she herself has cast upon the new client. She will even give advice about escaping the “Servant” if they come and ask for it. While kind to servants and slaves of the area, she is aloof and treacherous with all others.

Monette Levow appears to be a young black woman in her late twenties, however she has had her current body for 80+ years. The old-timers are mystified by this, and try their best to ward others away from seeing her. They know more then anybody else, the dangers of doing business with that witch. Her eyes are dark and piercing, with a knowing an evil stare to them at all times, unless she is thinking, then she squints, and smiles right at you in a way that sends shivers up your spine. Her teeth are black and decayed to the point were they are just nubs, but they still look sharp. Her nails are blachish and long, and she always wears long golden hoops in her ears.

Her every day dress is typically bright colored, loose fitting dresses, her long black hair she keeps tightly wrapped under a handkerchief which she wears at all times, most often this kerchief is red with a strange pattern which protects others from reading her mind. During religion and making her gris-gris, however, she always dresses all in white, the white is spotless and perfectly starched and pressed. When going to town, she always conceals herself in a long black hooded robe. She carries a long staff which she uses as a club if need be. The staff is thickly lacquered wood, and decorated with the carving of a twisting snake. Often, she has her pet Voodoo with her, wrapped around her shoulders. She is a sight to see, and is treated like a queen by those who follow her.

Ju-Ju Zombie: AC 6; MV 9; HD 3+12; hp 33
#AT 1; dmg 3d4; THAC0 15; SA machete (dmg 1d6);
SD spell immunity, fire does ½ dmg; INT 7; AL NE;
MR as undead; SZ M (7’); ML Special; XP 975

Ju-Ju functions as the head Lover. He is smarter then the rest, and has a normal chance of winning initiatives if ordered to engage in combat. He is a hulk of a man, standing 7 foot tall, he wears a straw hat, and a pair of blue overalls. Hanging on his belt is a machete which he can either use to strike with, or hurl it at a target.

Ju-Ju acts as Monette’s runner. He is sometimes seen in the city at night carrying messages, slips of paper requesting “demanding” that the witch wishes to cash in on her favor. He also picks up items that are due to his mistress. If she is required in town, it is Ju-Ju who takes her there, his boat hidden behind the shack. If his services aren’t needed, he stands in the water with the other Lovers, with lanterns and guides the living to her door.

Monette’s Lovers, zombies (13): AC 8; MV 6; HD 2; hp 14, 13, 12 (x2), 10, 9 (x3), 8 (x4), 5;
#AT 1; dmg 1d8; THAC0 19; SD Spell immunity; MR as undead; INT 0; AL N; SZ M-S;
ML special; XP 65 each

Monette’s Lovers are all dressed in blue coveralls, shirtless and wearing a straw hat. The zombie with 5hp is a child, he has special jobs to do, namely catching and preparing meals, and attending to guests if needed, otherwise at night, all of them can be found in the swamp holding lanterns. During the day, there are no signs of them, with the exception of the little boy who generally stays in the upstairs hallway.

Zombies are created by the witch as a refusal of payment, or as punishment for crimes against her. It is preferably the oldest son of the offender. The zombie is created by blowing a poison dust into the face of the victim, the victim must save or die vs. poison, failure means that the victim will get sick and be dead within the hour, success means that the victim has 1d8 hours before falling victim to the toxin.

The victim is buried and in 2 weeks after death, he rises as a zombie loyal to the witch. Zombies are sent to the graveyard at night, led by Ju-Ju, who dig the body up and lead it to his new master.

THE SERVANT

The Servant: AC 2; MV 9; HD 8; hp varies
#AT 3; dmg 1d4/1d4/1d8 (claw,claw,bite); THAC0 13;
SA poison bite (type F) aura of fear; SD regenerate 1hp
per round, +1 or better weapon needed to hit; MR 45%;
SZ L; INT varies; AL CE; ML 20; XP 6,000

The servant is linked to the person whom had the witch call it for (called the Controller) What happens to the Servant, also happens to the controller. The controller falls asleep at dusk, and dreams. His spirit is sent into the conjured body of the Servant, a fearsome creature which stands 9 feet tall, its hands form deadly sharp hooks, if both attacks are successful, the bite is automatic each round thereafter. The Servant’s teeth are long and sharp as daggers dripping with poison slime. Victims of the bite must make a saving throw vs. poison or die instantly (take 0 extra damage if successful).

Seeing a Servant is the equivalent of a fear spell. It is 45% resistant to all magic save those cast by the witch who summoned it, an enchanted weapon is required to injure it, however it regenerates 1 hp per round. Holy Water does double damage and does not regenerate, the controller is permanently scared from such an attack, and if the Servant is slain, so is the controller. The servant and the controller is linked until the Deed which it was called upon is completed, or it is slain.

The material required to summon the Servant is a gallon of the controllers blood, mixed with a poppet constructed of sticks, twine, mud and something belonging to the target who the Servant is supposed to hunt and kill. This poppet is allowed to harden, and cursed every day for three days. Then the poppet is tossed into the swamp and the incantations are uttered as the water bubbles and boils, forming the body of the Servant. The servant rises from the murky swamp and instantly begins hunting the target every night until it is killed. Calling a Servant is, of course, an evil act.

3 comments:

Timeshadows said...

Super Cool, Ripper! :D

St23aM said...

Wow this is damn good. The first few paragraphs do an excellent job of evoking a very eerie mood and the description is just excellent. Well done!

Ripper X said...

Thanks Timeshadows & St23am. This one took me longer then normal, stuff just kept coming to me. I'm glad that you both enjoyed it!

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