On the outside, the Hive-Maze appears to be a normal beehive of normal (though surprisingly peaceful) present-day bees. However, it is centered on an extremely strong localized spatial-distortion in the Ba-Adenu Forest. Perhaps the bees built the Hive-Maze there on purpose, who knows? But what is known is that it is far larger on the inside than on the outside, possibly even infinite. The entrance is likewise distorted, able to let far larger things through than would be expected.
The entrance opens above a small hexagonal room, built from honeycomb. This ‘hex’ has more passages, leading to more hexes and more passages. Hexes and passages are arranged in ‘super-hexes,’ very large maze-like sections of the hive.
The further one travels from the entrance super-hex the stranger and more aggressive the bees become. In one direction the bees mutate further and further from recognition, gaining more wings, less legs, bigger stingers and still more. Far enough along, and they may not even be bees, but instead birds or ants or strange reptiles with stinger-tails. In the other direction they become increasingly more mechanical, gaining glowing red eyes, helicopter-like blades and other more mysterious bits of numenera.
The honey found in each area likewise differs, some may be a strange reddish color, taste like meat and restore a strength point, while honey from a different area may be a virulent green, bitter and poisonous.
- An extremely large, possibly infinite number of increasingly strange bees.
- The Beyond
- The Hive-Maze Hearsay:
Some explorers claim to have seen or detected a single massive mutant queen bee located far inside the mutant section of the Hive-Maze. Rumor has it that the queen guards a hoard of numenera, made up of cyphers, oddities and even perhaps artifacts.
Nectar and Ambrosia
Several explorers said they have found a hex where there are no bees, and pure golden nectar flows from the walls. This nectar is claimed to be able to heal any wound, but cannot be removed from the Hive-Maze, as it vaporizes when leaving the spatial distortion.
Transport through the Hive
A particularly inquisitive explorer, wondering how the bees in the more remote sections of the Hive-Maze obtain the nectar to make honey, stumbled (quite literally) upon the answer. When honey from any hex is poured on the floor of the entrance, the entrance instead leads to the area where the nectar was obtained. For instance, some form of honey may redirect it to the Caecilian Jungle, or the Ba-Adenu Forest or an entirely different dimension (A recursion from the Strange for instance).
- Points of Interest:
The Fungal Hex is found relatively close to the Entrance, about four hexes into the mutant side of the Hive-Maze. It seems that the bees in this area harvested their nectar from mushrooms, and spread the spores in the process. The bees here resemble normal bees, but lack eyes and have an unnaturally pale coloration. These bees are not aggressive, and lack stings.
The honey here is greyish, filled with spores, tastes slightly moldy and eating it causes you to sporulate (see here http://theninthworld.com/foci/spawns-fungal-spores/ under ‘Sporulating Appearance’) randomly within the next 56 hours. In addition to the negative effect, this allows you to restore one point to any pool you wish.
The Crystal Hex is placed on the line between the mutant side and the cyborg side of the Hive-Maze, about seven hexes from the Entrance. The honey here is made from pure water, mixed with crystal shavings and powdered crystal. The bees are specifically adapted for collecting these materials, with sharp, blade-like claws for collecting crystal shavings and powder. The bees are also fairly aggressive, and quite dangerous due to their crystal cutting claws.
The honey here is cyan, and less viscous than usual. It tastes minty, and slightly sweet and restores one point each to Speed and Intellect.
The Nanotic Hex is located eight hexes within the cyborg side of the hive maze. Bees in this hex are purely mechanical, built of azure steel, and flying on refractive wings of solid light. They are not aggressive, and they are also virtually indestructible. The honey here looks pale blue and is flecked with glittering pieces of metal. It tastes metallic, and contains helpful nanites which restore two points to a random pool.
GM Information Beyond Here
The Hive-Maze is difficult to navigate, hence its name. Players attempting to find a particular hex must make a difficulty 3 intellect test every time they move to a new hex to ensure they are on the right path. Players attempting to find their way back must make an intellect test of a difficulty equal to half the number of hexes they are from the entrance, unless they thought to make a trail of some sort or wrote down their turns.
For every new hex the PCs enter, the bees may decide to attack. Each hex has a different probability of this (Or just make it a flat rate), and this increases the further you get from the Entrance. The bees which attack have a level equal to 1/2 of the number of hexes to the entrance rounded up or as the GM sees fit. Special abilities are up to the GM.
Some ideas for hexes:
- A hex where vicious, red tinted bees make blood colored honey.
- A hex where half-mechanical bees create quicksilver-like honey.
- A hex where hummingbird ‘bees’ collect many colorful flowers.
- A hex where the huge grotesque queen bee lives with her brood, feeding them royal jelly.
- A hex where mechanical bees with glowing red eyes that shoot lasers attack anything that approaches.
- A hex where venomous green bees make poisonous honey.