Written by: James S.
A Galeb Duhr is a creature composed entirely of stone and earth. It resembles a massive, roughly humanoid figure with rugged, rocky skin. They are reclusive and earthy creatures often encountered in fantasy tabletop role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder. When encountering a Galeb Duhr on the "Mountaintop Altar - Day Sword" Czepeku battlemap, consider these elements of the encounter:
- A Galeb Duhr guards a magical sword—the Mind Razor—with a simple riddle.
- It has animated another nearby rock to help.
- Players must simply grab and twist the sword to release it from the altar.
- Deadly lightning and rockslides strike if someone twists it the wrong way.
A chill breeze whips sporadically across the mountainside, fluttering capes and nipping cheeks to a rosy hue. Between gusts, fat snowflakes drift languidly, dusting the players with frosty halos. After a gruelling trek up this forbidding peak, the players have finally found the altar of the legendary Mind Razor, a sword forged by mages of old which channels the pure power of the wielder’s intellect. Before them stand two large boulders flanking the sword embedded in an altar. The lichen-encrusted rocks sit there obtrusively, though they do not completely block the way.
Gripping the hilt of the sword are the blackened charcoal remains of a previous challenger, two charred and severed arms clinging pathetically. The remnants of a heart-shaped shoulder tattoo say ‘mum.’
As the players approach, the boulders scrape and grind into life. A small, misshapen face appears in each one, rock dust falling from their craggy features, lichen flaking away like chapped skin. One boulder’s features slope down, the other up. Mirrored masks of melancholy and mirth.
The boulders are Gobert and Rorge. Gobert is a serious and stoic Galeb Duhr summoned and bound to guide intrepid adventurers to the altar. It is also Gobert’s duty to faithfully explain the puzzle to the players. Rorge isn’t a Galeb Duhr. Rorge is just a rock that Gobert brought along to keep him company.
The puzzle is as follows: players can twist the sword with or against the procession of the sun (clockwise or anti-clockwise). If they twist the sword the right way (clockwise), it will come loose, and the players may claim the prize. However, if they twist it the wrong way (anti-clockwise), they receive a deadly charge of electricity, and the ground will tip and trigger a rockslide to jostle the players down the mountain. Gobert and Rorge roll after the players too, crushing and smashing them to a pulp. Gobert apologises while Rorge laughs gleefully.
Gobert truthfully tells explorers that twisting the sword sunwise will release the fabled Mind Razor. The problem is that Rorge, being a mere animated rock, isn’t bound by any magical geas, and always lies about the sword. He thinks it’s funny.
Both Gobert and Rorge will always say that they tell the truth about the sword, and the other always lies. They argue about this almost constantly.
- Gobert will say sunwise is correct (truth) and that Rorge will mislead them (truth).
- Rorge will say that anti-sunwise is correct (a lie) and that Gobert will mislead them (a lie).
- From this, the players must uncover who is telling them the truth.
- The solution lies in asking one what the other will say.
- Gobert will say that Rorge will tell them to twist the sword anti-clockwise (true).
- Rorge will say that Gobert will tell them to twist the sword anti-clockwise (a lie).
- From this, the players may deduce that Gobert is the liar and that twisting the sword clockwise will release the sword without unleashing any lightning.
The key to pulling this riddle off in a satisfying way is to allow Gobert and Rorge to only answer questions about which direction to twist the sword and about their truthfulness. None of this ‘is the sky blue?’ nonsense. That would make the puzzle far too easy. Both Gobert and Rorge will consider that cheating. If the players solve the riddle, the rocks continue to argue, even as the players walk away. If they are struck by lightning (and survive), the sword is locked in the altar. Gobert and Rorge will commiserate and mock, respectively, before the ground tips and the rocks come crashing down from the slopes above.
The treasure, the Mind Razor, is a longsword with an enchantment level equal to the wielder’s intelligence modifier (including negative). Additionally, when holding the blade, the wielder must also add their intelligence modifier to their initiative roll. Its appearance changes subtly to reflect its wielder:
- In the hands of someone with a dull intellect (negative INT modifier), the sword feels heavy. Its blade seems to be made of blunted lead. It is unbalanced and frustrating to use.
- In the hands of someone with average brain power (zero INT modifier), the blade is unremarkable. Other than being obviously well-made, its steady steel blade confers no advantage.
- In the hands of a sparkling mind (positive INT modifier), the sword feels elegant, light, and easy, quick as a whip. Its cutting edge glitters, rainbow-hued in the sunlight.
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