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The Infinite Maw

A strange, living, realm, a place of unknown dimensions, within the belly of a beast of unknown purpose.

It is a matter of debate for some sages if the so-called Infinite Maw is an entire plane unto itself, or if there is some unknown plane, or planes, through which the creature moves. Since none within the maw have ever managed to burrow "out" of the creature, the answer remains unknown…

The maw appears to be a slime-encrusted, very roughly circular, twisting passage, which ranges from a few feet to perhaps fifty feet in diameter, and which is covered with all manner of pustules, growths, and infestations. The substance is soft and springy, but backed by something much harder: Beneath the main layer of tissue, there is a harder layer of something like muscle, many feet thick, and if that is somehow penetrated, there is chitin of an unknown substance which has shown itself to be immune to any effort to breach it. (Phasing creatures suffer 4d10 damage if they try, and are ‘bounced back’; neither teleportation nor scrying can reach beyond it.) There is, of course, no natural light; creatures without light source or darkvision are blind.

In short, the Infinite Maw is the interior of something vaguely like a worm, unbounded in both directions (as far as anyone can tell). The creatures has a mouth, or perhaps many mouths in many worlds, as the Maw is filled with beings taken from across the realms. Those within report seeing no great monster, no vast toothy mouth, only a moment of intolerable blackness and intolerable cold, followed by a rushing sensation, followed by a landing in the foul-smelling, eternally moist and seeping realm that is the Infinite Maw, here to live hours, days, or sometimes years without escape, until despair, the dangers of the Maw, or the Metamorphosis kills them.

At best, the surface of the Maw is Difficult Terrain. There are many types of other hazards in the Maw as well. They are often best built as traps, for example:

Poison Glands: This is a region of odd, pulsating, ochre-colore tubules that, when disturbed, belch forth a deadly poison.

Poison Glands Level 15 Obstacle 1500 XP
Hazard: Poison Glands fill a square. When the square is entered, the poison glands release their contents.
Perception: A DC 22 Dungeoneering or Nature check is needed to identify the glands among all the other outcropping and pustules.
Additional Skills: Arcana
A DC 25 Arcana check will reveal the glands weakness to fire.
Trigger: Entering the square, or using any area attack which includes the square, triggers the glands.
Attack: Standard Action, Close Burst 1, +27 vs Fortitude, 4d8+6 Poison Damage, plus 10 ongoing Poison damage and target is weakened, save ends both. The poison cloud will linger until the end of the encounter.
Countermeasures: Doing 20 points of fire damage in a single attack with fry the glands, stopping the release of gasses. Doing less than that will trigger the spores.

There are, at any given time, a few dozen to a few hundred beings — men, dwarves, kobolds, demons from other planes, and so on — dwelling along the vast length of the Maw. Sometimes, an entire ship, castle tower, or roadside inn is deposited, broken and twisted, along with its inhabitants, and this forms a temporary shelter of sorts. Water is not an issue, for the creature produces endless foul puddles of liquid which can be drunk, and its flesh can be consumed, but the taste is utterly revolting and those who subsist on nothing but the natural "bounty" of the Maw will be in a state of constant nausea and sickness. Given the strain on sanity that dwelling in such a place invariably takes, it is not surprising one of the greatest dangers for new arrivals is old arrivals looking for a "fresh meal".

There is a further danger, that of the Metamorphosis. Eating the flesh and drinking the fluids of the Maw can, over time, transform any being into a Mawspawn, a dreadful terror whose sole purpose is to seek out and destroy the "parasites" that dwell within the Maw…

Mawspawn: A Mawspawn is a creature transformed by the Infinite Maw into one of its defenders and guardians. It loses all memory of its former life and exists only to cleans the Maw of invaders.

Prerequisite: Elemental, Fey,Natural, or Shadow; Beast, Humanoid, or Magical Beast

Mawspawn    Elite Brute
Senses: Darkvision
Defenses: +2 AC, +2 Fortitude
Immune: Poison
Saving Throws: +2
Action Point: 1
Hit Points: +10 Per Level
Wrath Of The Maw (Standard, Recharge 5,6)
Close Burst 2; Level +3 vs. Reflex, 2d8+Strength modifier untyped damage, all hit are also knocked prone.
Special: Until the end of the Mawspawns next turn, all squares affected by this power will perform a Level+3 attack vs. Reflex on any who enter them; those who are hit are knocked prone but take no additional damage.

Smash Into Flesh: Any time the Mawspawn attacks a prone opponent, he does an additional d6 damage per tier.


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