In the lush jungles of the southern lands, there is an area that the locals fear to enter. It is infested with snakes and barbaric ophidians, which can only be described as vile, leather-skinned snakemen. At the epicenter of the locale, there is a tall mesoamerican pyramid adorned with all kinds of serpentine imagery, a sword with a snake's tail and fangs being the most prominent symbol. Few people have ventured inside for thousands of years, ever since the builders left the area.
The venue begins on the steep stairway up to the temple. Nothing special here, except that it's kinda slippery (Balance/Dex check DC 11).
Room 1 - This is a plain 40x40 room with old, mesoamerican type stonework and decor. Oh yeah, and it's filled with brightly colored snakes. 1d4 large vipers, 1d6 medium vipers, and 1d8 small vipers. They all attack on sight, 'cause the party has just interrupted a mating frenzy. Poisons are DC 11 and deal 1d6 temporary con damage initial and secondary damage. Players reduced to 0 constitution bite the dust. On the right, there are two doors, leading to room 2 and room 8.
Room 2 - The floor of this room is littered with weaponry. There are 2d8 glaives and 3d6 macanas (maces). Detect magic reveals that one of the macanas are magical. It is in fact +1 and devil bane. It's also trapped. Picking it up launches a tiny viper directly at whoever's grabbing it. The viper catches the target flat-footed and gains a DC14 save for its poison. The trap is CR 3 altogether and is search/disable DC20 to find and disable. The snake is derived from a snake pit in the bowels of the pyramid. There is a door to the north-east which leads to room 3.
Room 3 - Upon entering this room, the ovebearing stench of sulphuric acid assults the party's nostrils. Opposite them are four thick sticks. To their left is a stagnant pool of acid, rendered a dark greenish color thanks to it being rife with impurities. All along the west and north walls are small inward notches in the wall, about the same diameter as the width of the sticks. Guess what the players have to do. The players must make balance checks at DC13 at each marked point on the map, or fall in and start taking acid damage. Mages can fly if they wish, but they have to make dexterity checks against DC13 to stop getting tangled in the vines hanging from the walls and falling into the acid. On the opposite ledge of the room is a statue of a snakeman, with two hands out as if to say 'how'. Twice. If anyone comes close, it'll say in an abrasive tone 'YOU! Come here so I can have a look at you!'. When the player stands opposite them, it will say: "Hmmmm... a [race name], huh? You guys are pretty [common/rare] round here. Riddle me this: [Character name] was a [character class], a [class] he/she is no more, for what he/she thought was H2O was...". If the player responds "H2SO4", then the statue replies 'Correct' and drains the pool to reveal two stairways leading to the ledges. If not, he says 'incorrect' and the hands thrust at the player, shoving him/her halfway across in the pool. If you're feeling nice, you can let them take a ref save DC15 to make it so they land next to the ledge.
The acid deals 1d4 damage per second and takes a Swim check DC15 to swim in. The pool is 10 ft deep.
Room 4 (5, 6 and 7) - This room is octagonal shaped and tall, and has a grill at the top where light filters through onto an ornate stone altar in the middle of the room. The altar is still stained with human and elf blood from many thousands of years before, proving somewhat rigorous use in its time. If the players do decide to sacrifice someone/thing on it (not all players are exactly exhalted now, are they?), the weapon they use to kill their subject gains the 'bane' enchantment, where the bane is keyed to the creature type of what was just killed. If the weapon is not magical already, it also becomes +1. On the eastern three sides are wooden doors, leading to long corridors, each with a big stone snake's head with an open mouth at the end. The snake in room five is a glossy white, the snake in room six is a burnished bronze and the snake in room seven is a matte black. Putting one's hand in a snake's mouth does nothing. If each snake has a hand in its mouth at the same time, they all snap shut, locking the player in place. An escape artist check DC22 can be made to wriggle free. Meanwhile, in room 4, a simple flesh golem made from pieces of snake and snake-man breaks down a plastered-over part of a wall from the other side to reveal an alcove. With nothing in it. Except a flesh golem. The golem attacks the party members who aren't currently trapped. If it downs them, it does not finish them and instead goes to attack the players trapped in rooms 5, 6 and 7 in that order. The trapped players may fight back, but are always treated as being one-armed, immobile, and without their DEX to AC. If all players are downed, if any survive, they can find the golem in any room from 1-7 (1d8 to choose, roll again on an 8). Once the golem is dead, the players are released. The player trapped in room 5 is healed as per the heal spell. The player in room 7 is harmed as per the harm spell (DC15). The player in room 6 finds a handfull (5d4) of platinum pieces.
Room 8 - This is a relativley plain room. Raised stone areas in deliberate patterns denote that furniture was once here, but has long since rotted away. The room has three doors, but they are all secret, and cannot be opened from within this room. The doors are DC15 to find with a search check. If the players have defeated the flesh golem, the door leading to room nine will have popped out of the wall, with the big stone slab face down on the floor in room 8.
Room 9 - This room contains two ledges and a bridge between the two. Beneath is a snake pit filled with black vipers. It's generally not a good idea to fall into this. The bridge and ledges are fairly solid and there is no danger of them giving way. If you're feeling nasty, have two snakes jump out in a similar fashion to the trap in room 3. Combined, it's a CR3 trap, and can't be searched or disabled. There's nothing else in this room.
Room 10 - This room is filled with riches! Gold pieces are piled high on the floor, diamonds and rubies are not uncommon, and there's even a a few solid gold, jewel-encrusted snake-faced priest masks worth about 2500gp each. Field day, right? Wrong. Make a note of exactly how much each player pillages, because as soon as they leave the room, the curse of the snake-priests (which I just made up now) dispells a magic item with the monetary value nearest to how much they take. If you're an astute/nasty DM, you might remember that things were cheaper thousands of years ago. Best of all, players don't know this fact until they try and use that particular magic item, which can be particularly crippling in room 13.
Room 11 - Noticably, this room has a twisted stairway going up. Below the stairway is dark, dingy, dusty, and other things begginning with D. Upon closer examination (DC18 spot), there is a sarcophogus/coffin undearneath it! Opening it up reveals a mummified snakeman, with one of those nice, expensive masks. Looking at the snakeman's face and body, it appears to be more elflike than the snakemen of today and the imagery throughout the temple, while still retaining heavy snake qualities. Nothing else of note.
Room 12 - Up the stairs is best described as an observation room. It hangs partially over room 13, where a square is cut out of the stone for looking through. The room itself has the usual stonework, and a stone bench cut out of the wall. The view shows a large (and very tall) room with an steel grid hanging by chains which serves as a floor. Below the 'floor' is a massive, writhing, squirming pit of snakes of all colors. On top of the grid itself are a sizeable amount of wriggling constrictors. The room is lit up with dusky sunlight filtering through As soon as the player has a moment to take it all in, the floor beneath them collapeses, dropping them 15 feet into room 13. The floor shouldn't collapse under the weight of a small creature, but certainly would under an orc. Only players near the window fall through. Other players must follow them down willingly.
Room 13 - Some nice, soft constrictors break the player's fall, negating any fall damage. That's where this room stops being nice. Upon entering the room, the players see two elf-like creatures wrapped in snakes of all kinds and sizes. These two mean guys are kytons, except for you-know-what instead of you-also-know-what. (snakes instead of chains, for those of you who failed you knowledge: monsters or spot the obvious check).
In the battle, the constrictors (1d4 large, 1d6 medium, and 2d6 small) will work together to try and entangle the players. Instead of the usual rules for constrictors and grappling, if a player has a total grapple check of 25 or more against him from constrictors, he is entangled. If the check is 30 or more, the player cannot move, with all the usual implications. Ignore all other grappling effects in this battle. The kytons fight in the usual way, making the snakes sprout horns and stingers, and slamming them into the players from all directions, attempting to strangle the players with said horned snakes, all the nice things that kytons usually do. The kytons have all the boni they get from chains with the snakes, and all the same abilities apply. For example, to show the armor bonus, when the player slashes the kyton and cuts a snake, it discards the snake and summons another one up from within the pit, which wraps around it. Only small or tiny snakes may be brought up from the grid like this. Depending on how many snakes you use, the EL for this can be 10 or 11. You might choose to hand out extra EXP if your players handled finding their favourite sword disjoined well. After the fight, a few chains will snap here and there, and a stone part of the wall fill fall backwards to reveal a passageway, back into room 8.
Room 8... REVISITED! - If you didn't find the mummy, nothing else happens. End of temple. Well done. Have some EXP. If you did, it's woken up! Vigilant players (spot DC 11) will see the mummy walking up some steps in a new door to the left. If the players decide to follow, they will find some steps which are ghostly, ectoplasmic white-blue color, eventually coming up parallel to the stairs they climbed to get into the temple. This leads them to the top of the pyramid, where the priest is waiting. On the floor here are as many raid stone slabs as there are players, plus one for the priest, all around the grill which supplies room 13 with light. He sits down cross-legged on one of the slabs, and puts his hands out either side. If the players sit round in the circle and join hands, well done. They have just entered a seance. This is acually a good excuse to revisit dead NPCs. Demented doctors threataning to come back to life to kick their butts, tearful reunions with those they were close with; anything. The main point of it is to answer questions from the dead about the campaign so far. They get four questions. For taking part, they get a magical item(s) with a total equal to the value of a +x weapon, where X is how many they got right. This is a relativley easy CR7 encounter, unless you decide to bump the questions up into the obscure, in which case, it might warrant a 9 or so. The seance also includes a short meeting with the dead serpent goddess; Mayapax. She is quite annoyed that the players have battered her two favourite minions and begins to threaten them with curses. Will it come true? What of the priest? Well, that's another story...
Snakemen - There are no independant snakemen here, but if you want to spice things up, and send a few snakemen hunters in after the party, use rules for elves, except without the weapon proficiencies, and -2 INT instead of -2 CON. Favoured class is rogue. Snakemen speak their own language - 'Ophidian', which has no written alphabet. They can also learn goblin, orc, and undercommon.
Notes: - The elements I went for were the riddle, and the golem. I made a secret place with a secret activity just to cover myself. - The temple was inspired by the aztecs - Room 3 was inspired by an old british TV show "The Crystal Maze" - The snake kytons came about when I decided that I wanted to use a heavily snake-themed baddie, but didn't want to use a typical one, like a yuan-ti or medusa. So I started flipping through the 'devils' section of the MM, and there he was, dressed in his kinky outfit, staring me in the face. - Judge comments after the results come out are encouraged. Thankies ^_^
That's aboot it. It's not proofread throughly, but I'm gonna throw my luck into the wind.
A few months ago, the old baron McKem died of natural way; his son, Lars McKem, inherited a barony with many farms, a few soldiers, as well as a great bodyguard: a shield guardian, charged to protect the baron's familly since five generations.
The new baron McKem has very few foes, he is respected by all his subjects, and even the occasional brigands avoid his mansion. So he had very few reasons to mistrust Miriath, a beautiful travelling half-elven bard came to entertain the local tavern, about a week ago. Miriath seduced the young baron and get invited in his mansion. She left in the middle of the night, while everybody was sleeping, with some precious objects. That could have only been a subject of good jokes for the following years if one of those precious objects wasn’t almost priceless for the baron: the shield guardian’s amulet. The baron and his counsellors think Miriath isn’t aware of the true nature of that object, since the golem hasn’t move since the theft. But it’s only a matter of time before someone tells the seductress what she really got. Angry, the baron sent his soldier after all the brigands he was tolerating until now, putting all the pressure possible to get his amulet back.
Those measures are of very few use, since Miriath has long left the barony. She went through the campaign, and entered the wide forest at the barony western end; her idea was to cross the forest, reach some city on the other side and sell her loot. Unfortunately for her, she got lost, and she finally met her fate in Antinua. Daughter of a beautiful nymph and a greedy black dragon, Antinua set her territory in the southern portion of this forest a few years ago. Since this time, local woodsmen have learnt to avoid the area, but occasional travellers seldom end there, to their fate. Antinua has some animal companions; there is also a Gray Render who choose to help and protect her at some time in the past. The half-nymph/half-black dragon kept the amulet for the same reason that Miriath: they both find it pretty. Upon putting it around her neck, Antinua told something like that to the amulet:”Come here, my jewel.” On this command, the shield guardian began to walk toward its new master.
If the PCs are of good repute, they could have been hired by the baron to help him recover Miriath and the amulet. While they are discussing with the baron, the golem starts moving, and the baron press the PCs to follow it. If they are of more questionable repute, it could be some brigand lord who hires them to correct this taboo theft, so he would be able to continue his business in relative peace. At any time, the PCs could cross the path of the walking golem, and decide to investigate why a golem is walking alone in the wilderness. Alternatively, the PCs could be old friends (or foes) of Miriath, and following her track until the barony.
Before entering the forest with the golem, the PCs might hear rumours that the forest is haunted, or that it is house to an evil sorceress or even a succubus. Some inhabitants of the barony might even suggest that Miriath was this succubus in disguise. Soldiers might suggest the forest is not haunted at all, but the repair of some brigands. There is also rumours that an evil fey is ruling the southern part of the forest, and that she sometimes kidnaps children.
The shield guardian walks a few hours in the campaign before reaching the forest. It then continues its walk in the woods, for a total walk of ten hours. (PCs should make a Constitution check of DC 10 the 9th hour of march and DC 12 the 10th hour. If any check fails, the character takes 1d6 points of nonlethal damage. A character who takes any nonlethal damage from a forced march becomes fatigued. Eliminating the nonlethal damage also eliminates the fatigue. See Forced March in the DMG for more details.) If the PCs stop following the golem, a Survival check (DC 10) is requested to keep its track; the Track feat is not requested for a DC lower than 10. Random encounters are possible, but very unlikely since the shield guardian is making great noise; near Antinua’s lair, there is no chance of random encounter, since she tolerates no competition.
First contact with Antinua Antinua: Female half-nymph/half-black dragon; CR 9; Medium dragon (augmented fey); HD 6d8+12; hp 39; Init +3; Spd 30 ft, swim 20 ft; AC 22, touch 18, flat-footed 19 (+3 Dex, + 5 Deflection, +4 Natural Armor); Base Atk +3; Grp +7; Atk +7 melee (1d4+4, claw); Full Atk +7 melee (1d4+4, 2 claws) and +2 melee (1d6+2, bite); SA blinding beauty, spells, spell-like abilities, stunning glance, breath weapon; SQ Damage reduction 10/cold iron, low-light vision, unearthly grace, wild empathy, darkvision 60’, immunity to sleep and paralysis, immunity to acid; AL CE, SV Fort +9, Ref +13, Will +13; Str 18, Dex 17, Con 14, Int 18, Wis 17, Cha 21
Skills and Feats: Concentration +11, Diplomacy +11, Escape Artist +12, Handle Animal +14, Heal +12, Hide +12, Listen +12, Move Silently +12, Ride +5, Sense Motive +12, Spot +12, Swim +12, Use Rope +6 (+8 with bindings); Combat Casting, Dodge, Ability Focus (Stunning Glance). Spoken Languages Common, Sylvan, Draconic
Blinding Beauty (Su): This ability affects all humanoids within 30 feet of a nymph. Those who look directly at a nymph must succeed on a DC 18 Fortitude save or be blinded permanently as though by the blindness spell. A nymph can suppress or resume this ability as a free action. The save DC is Charisma-based. Breath Weapon (Su): Line of acid 60 ft long once a day. Damage 6d8 acid, reflex save DC 15 for half damage. The save DC is Constitution-based. Spell-Like Abilities: 1/day—dimension door. Caster level 7th. Spells: A nymph casts divine spells as a 7th-level druid. Typical Druid Spells Prepared (6/5/4/3/1, save DC 13 + spell level): 0—cure minor wounds, detect magic, flare, guidance, light, resistance; 1st—charm animal, cure light wounds, entangle, faerie fire, magic fang; 2nd—bull strength, heat metal, hold animal, tree shape; 3rd— call lightning, cure moderate wounds, spike growth; 4th—rusting grasp. Stunning Glance (Su): As a standard action, a wrathful nymph can stun a creature within 30 feet with a look. The target creature must succeed on a DC 20 Fortitude save or be stunned for 2d4 rounds. The save DC is Charisma-based. Unearthly Grace (Su): A nymph adds her Charisma modifier as a bonus on all her saving throws, and as a deflection bonus to her Armor Class. (The statistics block already reflects these bonuses). Wild Empathy (Ex): This power works like the druid’s wild empathy class feature, except that a nymph has a +6 racial bonus on the check. Skills: A nymph has a +8 racial bonus on any Swim check to perform some special action or avoid a hazard. She can always choose to take 10 on a Swim check, even if distracted or endangered. She can use the run action while swimming, provided she swims in a straight line.
Possessions: Shield Guardian Amulet, Ring of Feather Falling, pair of silver earrings worth 525 gp.
Assuming the PCs are able to follow the golem for all its trip, the following situation will happen. Between the trees, the PCs can see a beautiful lake. Near the shore, a silhouette is sitting. Upon closer examination, it seems to be a feminine form, with jet black hairs and skin. Vestigial wings can be seen through her long hairs. She is turning her back to the PCs, and she seems to be devouring a deer freshly killed. She hears the shield guardian when it is at about 60 feet. She turns over, and looks afraid by the large construct. If she sees the PCs, she yells them to keep their golem away. The shield guardian continues its way and stops at ten feet from the black woman, who is now standing up and facing it. She doesn’t wear anything, but her long hair are hiding most of her features.
A DC 12 Spot check reveals that she is wearing some kind of jewel on her neck. By succeeding on a DC 16 Spot checks, the PCs can learn that her face is especially skinny, almost skeletal; it’s also possible to remark that her fingers end in sharp claws. Antinua is truly frightened by the shield guardian. She slowly moves back, but stops when she realises the golem doesn’t approach more than 10 feet. If she hasn’t already spotted the PCs, she yells this around, in a less than nice way. ”Is there anybody here? Have your dirty golem moves from here, and get away from my territory! You, stop following me!” she commands to the shield guardian. Obeying its mistress, the golem stop moving.
If the PCs show themselves at this moment, Antinua is willing to negotiate. She is a jealous, vain and greedy creature. Treat her initial attitude as unfriendly; if, with Diplomacy or other skill checks, her attitude is improved to friendly, she will trade the amulet with any other jewel or art object of at least 5000 gp in value. There is two conditions that could make her stops negotiations: if through the discussion she somehow learns that the amulet could control the golem, or if, in the PCs party, there is a female humanoid with a charisma score of 19 or higher. This last condition is enough to awake her jealousy.
If forced to fight, or if she decides to start a fight, she will cast Spike Growth on the terrain between herself and the PCs in order to hinder movement. If the PCs come into 30 feet, she will shake her hairs to reveal her body and activate her Blinding Beauty special ability. She will also use her more potent Stunning Glance to the physically weaker opponent (she knows robust humanoids resist those attacks more easily). She will follow with a Call Lightning spell. Her next spells should be Magic Fang and Bull Strength, to boost her physical attack. But if the gray render is nearby, she may reserve those spells to her ally. If she has time to cast more spell, she will convert a 3rd level spell into a Summon Nature’s Ally III spell, and summon 1d4+1 wolves.
Each round, there is a 5% chance that she will unintentionally touch the amulet and ask some help. At this command, the shield guardian will activate its Guard Extraordinary Ability, imposing a –2 to all attacks against Antinua. This will remind her when she met the gray render, and she will suppose that the shield guardian is there to protect her.
If she is ever reduced to 12 hit points or less, she will attempt to cast a Dimension Door and retreat to her lair. If this fails, she will retreat into the lake, and try to hide there.
Gray Render: see Monster Manual for stats.
When the PCs and the shield guardian reach the lakeshore, the gray render is roaming in the woods, at some distance. Upon hearing his mistress yelling, it rushes to help her. If it sees that she is in negotiations, it will hide itself about 30 feet to her side, and wait to see if she is in danger. Whenever a fight begin, it’ll jump in the melee and fight the closest opponent. It’ll stick to this opponent, unless Antinua is directly threatened of grappled; in such situation, it’ll move to protect her. If Antinua ever left the battle, the gray render will quit the fight and flee to any direction.
Antinua’s lair There is a small hill near the lakeshore: this is Antinua’s lair. The entrance is a 5 feet by 5 feet hole, hidden between the roots of a huge pine (Search DC 20). A character with the Track feat will find quantities of trails let by Antinua, going in every directions; there is no way to identify which ones are coming or going to the lair. However, a Survival or Knowledge: Nature check DC 16 would reveal that the lair should be bellow the hill, narrowing the searching area.
The first room is where the gray render sleeps and lets the preys it offers to Antinua. It’s a round room of about 15 feet of radius, and 10 feet high. There is nothing of interest here, save some freshly killed animals. Daylight illuminates about half of this room.
At one end, there is a corridor; it is 10 feet large, only 6 feet high, and continue for about 60 feet; daylight never reach this point or anything further. Somewhere in the middle, there is a deep hole, that Antinua covered with branches, dirt and sand.
Well-Camouflaged Pit Trap: CR 8; mechanical; location trigger; repair reset; DC 20 Reflex save avoids; 100 ft. deep (10d6, fall); Search DC 27; Disable Device DC 18. Market Price: 16,000 gp.
The pit ends in a large room, about the same size of the entrance room. This room is home to a giant stag beetle, trapped there by Antinua. She regularly throws her garbage in this pit to feed the giant vermin. There is an impressive amount of bones. If the PCs are interested in finding Miriath remains, this is where it should be. There is also some normal melee weapons, thrown there by Antinua. Giant Stag Beetle see Monster Manual for stats.
The corridor ends in a room of about 15 feet by 20 feet. This is where Antinua usually sleeps and keeps her treasure. If she previously left the battle, this is where she is hiding, trying to heal her wounds. If she hears the pit trap setting off, she will discreetly spy the PCs; if some of them felt to the bottom, she will take advantage of the situation and attacks the remaining PCs. Thanks to the corridor, incoming creature are likely to move in file; it’s the better time for her to use her breath weapon.
Creatures: Antinua (see stats higher; she misses the spells used in the battle; she has more hit points than when she left, thanks to a potion of Cure Moderate Wounds.
Treasure: In addition to Antinua’s already described possessions, the following can be found in this room: 1500 gp, 700 sp, 200 cp, an emerald worth 1000 gp, a smoky quartz (40 gp), three amethysts (90 gp each), an onyx (50 gp); a pair of white silk gauntlets (500 gp), a carved ivory statuette of an unicorn (50 gp); a MW composite shortbow (375 gp), a MW gnome hooked hammer, small size (620 gp), a MW alchemical silver sickle (396 gp), a MW heavy wooden shield (160 gp) and a +1 studded leather (1175 gp). There is also potions of Delay Poison, Pass Without Traces, Darkvision, and, if Antinua didn’t drink it, Cure Moderate Wounds. The composite shortbow and the +1 studded leather were Miriath’s possession.
The Shield Guardian’s Amulet Whenever Antinua is defeated, the PCs can recuperate the shield guardian’s amulet, and take some control of the golem. Shield Guardian: CR 8; Large Construct; HD 15D10+30; hp 112; Init +0; Spd 30 ft; AC 24, touch 9, flat-footed 24; Base Atk +11; Grp +21; Atk +16 melee (1d8+6, slam); Full Atk +16 melee (1d8+6, 2 slams); SQ: Construct traits, darkvision 60 ft., fast healing 5, find master, guard, low-light vision, shield other, spell storing; AL N, SV Fort +5, Ref +5, Will +5; Str 22, Dex 10, Con —, Int —, Wis 10, Cha 1
Find Master (Su): As long as a shield guardian and its amulet are on the same plane, the shield guardian can find the amulet wearer (or just the amulet, if it is removed after the guardian is called). Guard (Ex): If ordered to do so, a shield guardian moves swiftly to defend the wearer of its amulet, blocking blows and disrupting foes. All attacks against the amulet wearer take a –2 penalty when the shield guardian is adjacent to its master. Shield Other (Sp): The wearer of a shield guardian’s amulet can activate this defensive ability if within 100 feet of the shield guardian. Just as the spell of the same name, this ability transfers to the shield guardian half the damage that would be dealt to the amulet wearer (this ability does not provide the spell’s AC or save bonuses). Spell Storing (Sp): A shield guardian can store one spell of 4th level or lower that is cast into it by another creature. It “casts” this spell when commanded to do so or when a predefined situation arises. Once this spell is used, the shield guardian can store another spell (or the same spell again). This specific shield guardian store the spell Frostwave* (DC17); it’ll cast the spell when it is commanded to, or if it is hit by a melee weapon for at least 15 points of damage. The golem will restore the spell itself in 24 hours. Creation : CL 15th; Craft Construct, frostwave, limited wish, discern location, shield, shield other, caster must be at least 15th level; Price 120,000 gp; Cost 65,000 gp + 4,600 XP
While it is easy to command the golem to move, to fight, or use the Guard extraordinary ability in any language, the Shield Other and Spell Storing special abilities request very precise command words. Examining the amulet could bring a good hint to find those command words. This amulet is a beautiful wooden piece of art, in the form of a snowflake, coloured in many tints of blue. A text in exotic language is scribed on it. The language is the aquan, and can be read as follow: The Guardian follows you, fights for you and protects you. To lessen your wounds (i.e. activate Shield Other), say “Healing Wave!”. To blast your foes (i.e. have the golem cast Frostwave), say “Thou shall be frosted!”.
A Decipher Script check DC 20 can translate this text, as can a Comprehend Language spell. But those means doesn’t allow the character to use the command words, since they must be spoken in aquan. The Tongue spell will allow the caster to use the command words as long as this spell lasts. Read Magic doesn’t help, since the inscription isn’t magical. Identify will allow the caster to learn how to pronounce both command words. Obviously, a character already speaking aquan doesn’t need any magical help.
*Frostwave Evocation [cold] Level: Sor/Wiz 2 Component: V, F, M Casting Time: 1 standard action Range: 15 feet Area: Cone-shaped burst Duration: 1round/level or until removed; see text Saving Throw: Reflex negates Spell Resistance: Yes and no; see text
You create a wave of snow that cover every creature in a 15 feet cone; a reflex save allow a creature to completely avoid the wave. This snow stick to the creature for one round by level (maximum 6 rounds); a creature can take a full-round action to remove the snow covering her body. In cold weather (below 40°F), the snow stick twice as long to the characters, while in hot environment (above 90°F), the snow duration is halved, rounded down. Each round a creature is covered with snow (starting the round you cast the spell), the creature takes 1d6 point of cold damage, and her speed is reduced to half. This is not countered by the Haste spell; a hasted or slowed creature still move at half her modified speed, to a minimum of 5 feet. Spell resistance allow a creature to resist the cold damage, but her speed is still halved due to obstruction by snow.
Material Component: A drop of water, which is frozen in snow by the spell.
Further adventures Antinua could easily be a member of the Unseelie Court (see Fey Feature articles). Any of her jewels could be a gift from another fey, who might want to recuperate it when she hears about Antinua’s death. Antinua is also the daughter of a Black Dragon, who might seek revenge for her. In Forgotten Realms, Miriath could be a member of the Harpers who just stole some compromising documents from the young baron McKem. (Note that the reason why the brigands were tolerated is not stated). If the PCs keep the shield guardian for themselves, the young baron McKem will spend all his resources to recover it, and could become a recurrent villain.
Adjusting the encounters Time and distance: There is many ways to adjust the difficulty of this Vicious Venue. The distance travelled by the shield guardian can be lengthened, so the PCs could have to walk a longer time in forced march, or be finally forced to stop following it. Even if she has few arcane knowledge, Antinua is an intelligent being. Each hour she stays with the shield guardian, she should have a cumulative 5% chance to learn that she can command the golem via the amulet. In such situation, she will never surrender the amulet, and she will start the fight with the golem to help her. The weather: If forced to track the golem in the wood, rain could easily complicate the situation. Also, a rainy day will make the spell Call Lightning even more deadly. Feats: Ability Focus has been used on Antinua Stunning Glance special attack, which request one standard action and target only one creature. It could be used instead on her Blinding Beauty special attack, which is a free action and target everyone looking at her. It might also be substituted by any more potent feat. Advancing Antinua: Like any intelligent creature, it is possible to give her levels in some character class or prestige class. She already cast spells as a 7th level druid, and any druid level will improve this caster level. Alternatively, she might benefit from an HD increase, to improve her special attacks. The Gray Render: For a lower-level party, the gray render could be encountered alone in its lair.
The Singing Lyre Inn - A Dungeons and Dragons Vicious Venue for four 9th level characters.
All information in this VV taken from the 3.5 SRD. You need a copy of the 3.5 Edition Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide, and Monster Manual as monster statitstics will need to be referenced. Feel free to make any chances to things such as gods, spell names, and/or locations to fit your setting. Italicized text is information that should be read aloud to the players.
Maps: Area around Inn Cave EDIT: Above links not functioning. Have contacted original poster for updated links. ______________
The Singing Lyre Inn lies on a well used merchant route between two large cities. The Inn is best situated at least twelve miles from the nearest town, village, hamlet, etc.
The Devil Ni'ran'ti has taken up residence in a cave not far from the Singing Lyre Inn. She has taken to singing at the Inn once or twice a week in order to seduce and capture adventures who are passing through the area. She has no other reason for being in the area except that it gives her great pleasure to watch the mortals that she captures suffer in pain and plead for their lives. She will "play" with her captives for a few days until she tires of them and then it is off to the Inn to procure another "toy".
Ni'ran'ti has an imp familiar of sorts named Vulzanzul. He isn't really a familiar but he enjoys following Ni'ran'ti around and helping her torture her victims. He is a very adept trickster but spends most of his time spying on the Darel family or keeping watch while Ni'ran'ti tortures her current victim.
The Darel family runs the Inn. "Old Man" Belran is the Innkeeper and does all the bookkeeping and general non-physical maintenance for the Inn. His wife, Margaret, aside from being a wife and mother, is the main cook and general foreman of the day to day operations. The two daughters, Misha and Andria, wait tables, clean rooms, flirt with the handsome adventures that stop at the Inn, and pick up the slack whereever their mother instructs them to. Rin is the all around handyman. He does all the physical labor that needs to be done around the place, including being the livery master for the travelers animals. The place would fall apart if it weren't for the couples beloved son Rin.
The Darel family, or at least Belran and Margaret, aren't entirely innocent in the whole affair. They have suspected for a few weeks now that something just isn't right about "Viliana" (Ni'ran'ti's assumed name). Over the last few weeks they have been aware that once in a while a patron will request a room but when checkout time comes he or she was gone, the room had went unused. Each time one of their children had seen the missing person with "Viliana" the previous night. The Darels decided that since it was only one or two travelers every so often that they could live with that. After all, their Inn was usually packed with patrons on the night she sang. People from the outlying towns and villages had even started making the trip to hear her sing. Yes, it was good for business so it was good for them. The world wouldn't miss a few people.
The Inn isn't anything that impressive. It consists of 3 buildings, each two stories high. The larger building on the left is the Inn, most of its rooms are reserved for overnight stay. The larger building on the right is an Inn upstairs but downstairs is the common room where the tavern can be found. The two buildings together can room 30 people. The common room can seat 25, but can hold up to 40-50 on a packed night such as when "Viliana" sings. The middle house is where the Darels stay. It has 3 rooms upstairs, one for each child, and 4 downstairs; a parlor, kitchen, master bedroom, and storage area. The two Inn buildings are connected with a tunnel running between their cellars. There is a tunnel from the barn cellar that intercepts with this tunnel directly under the courtyard.
The Darels don't know anything about "Viliana" or where she stays, just that she packs the tavern on her nights to sing and they don't really want to upset that business.
______________ The Venue ______________
I. Approaching the Inn. ___ Up ahead along the road against the dusky backdrop you can make out three rather large buildings that from this distance appear to be in very good repair. The din of conversation and the sweet aroma of venison stew and fresh baked bread reach your ears and nose at the same time. Food and a warm bed, just what the doctor ordered. As you draw closer to the buildings you notice a sign post out along the road with a small sign swaying easily in the breeze. Upon the sign is a golden lyre with soft blue notes floating up from the strings. So this is the place! The Singing Lyre Inn.
The PCs having been traveling in the area would have heard of the Inn and the alluring woman who graces its stage with her enchanting voice. If the PCs decide to stay for the night have them enter the Inn and make themselves comfortable, "Viliana" will be arriving shortly to perform. If the PCs don't want to stay for the night then procede to have "Viliana" show up and seduce Rin Darel, it's possible you can find the PCs down the road the next day and bring them back to rescue Rin.
When the PCs enter the Inn read: The large oaken double doors swing open to admit you to the common room area. Immediately your senses are assaulted. You hear loud raucous laughter coming from the bar where a group of old men tease a young lad mercilously and you smell the mouthwatering food being prepared in the back. The room itself seeming to be in very good repair. There are about 15 tables spread throughout the room, a large warm stone fireplace opposite the doors, and the stairs leading up to the second floor are just to the left of the fireplace. After the PCs have had time to procure a room and fill their bellies "Viliana" will enter the Inn to applause and cheers. During the song she needs to single out one in the adventuring party and try to seduce him into seeking her out after the performance. She uses her Cloak (Appendix III) to obviously hide the fact she is a devil and her ring (Appendix III) to hide her alignment. If none of the PCs are interested in "Viliana" then before she heads off to her cave she will seduce Rin and capture him.
II. Being Captured. ___ Ni'Ran'ti will lead her victim, whether it be a PC or Rin, back toward her cave under the guise of leading them to a glade where they could be alone. Once at the cave she will try to use her Charm Monster special ability to bring the victim to trust her. If this succeeds she will lead the victim into the cave and persuade him to willing be chained up. Once this is done, the torture will start, be creative. As this is happening, Vulzanzul will be keeping watch just outside the cave and will notify Ni'ran'ti if anyone unwelcome approaches.
III. The Next Morning. ___ After the PCs awake from a good nights sleep they will most likely gather in the common room for breakfast or to get an early start on the road or to get an early start on ale consumption. Hopefully its at this time that they realize one of their party members is missing. If Ni'ran'ti had to capture Rin instead this is where his mother will approach the party to enlist their help.
IV. Finding the Cave. ___ The mother was told by her youngest daughter Andria that Rin left the Inn last night with "Viliana". Andria is unaware that her parents are wary of "Viliana" and her true nature. Andria informed her mother and will again relate to the group that "Viliana" and Rin headed down the old path behind the Inn. None of the Darels know where the path goes because they have never been able to stay on the path, they lose it shortly after entering the forest. There is a DC 28 survival check for Tracking "Viliana" and Rin. DC 35 search check to follow only the path and not track "Viliana" and Rin. Either way you will be lead to the cave entrance.
V. The Cave (EL 11) ___ As you creep through the trees and underbrush the forest around you suddenly goes silent as if the animals and trees are trying to warn you of impending danger. Moving through the last clump of bushes you emerge into a very small clearing where just ahead of you sits the opening of a dark cave. You peer into the darkness but it's as if the cave mouth is eating at the light, destroying any chance to get a glimpse within.
Vulzanzul is keeping watch outside the cave entrance and upon seeing or hearing the approaching party he will fly inside to warn Ni'ran'ti. After Ni'ran'ti is informed of the partys approach she will leave her victim chained to the wall and retreat to the back of the main cave and stand in the entrance to the hallway.
A. Entrance __ The inside of the cave looks like any other cave, dirty, dusty, cold, damp, and otherwise uncomfortable. There on the wall to your left you see (insert either PC or Rin here) chained and unconscious. Directly across from you see an attractive woman with large bird like wings. (Here she addresses the party) "So you have found me. Congratulations. Now you die for intruding upon my lair!"
As designated on the map there is a trap just past the entrance to the cave, be sure to track your PCs movement to ensure you know whether they activate the trap or not. The trap was intended to keep any of her victims from escaping, but it works just as well in keeping intruders from getting too far into the cave. As the PCs approach the trap area Ni'Ran'ti will try to use her special ability summon demons to distract them from seeing the trap. Stats for trap follow: Large Net Trap: CR 2; mechanical; location trigger; manual reset; Atk +5 melee (see note); Search DC 20; Disable Device DC 25. Note: Characters in 10-ft. square are grappled by net (Str 18) if they fail a DC 14 Reflex save. Market Price: 3,000 gp.
B. Main Cave area __ Her plan of attack is to wait til the party enters the cave and hopefully springs the net trap, during which time she will summon her devils to fight for her. After she summons the devils she will cast Lesser Black Tentacles to slow the party down then retreat to the room down the hallway. Ni'ran'ti has no desire to be sent back to the hell planes so she will not stay around during a losing fight. Once inside the smaller room she will cast Hold Portal on the door and escape out secret door 1. She doesn't know about Secret door 2 therefore will not be found there. The tunnel she takes will take her to a small trap door in the cellar of the barn, even the Darels don't know of its existance.
If the PCs catch her before she gets out of the room or before she gets out of the cave altogether she will try to entangle the PCs with her rope and then shoot them with her bow from a distance. If she can get away she will, otherwise she will try to find some area to stay aloft while shooting the PCs with her magical bow.
C. "Viliana's" room __ This room is alot like the previous, except its smaller, exact dimensions shown on the map. There is a small sleeping area in here and a pile of gear thrown into a pile in the corner. Aside from that the room is completely empty. The gear is from the previous "Heros" she has captured and killed. The gear contains an assortment of items worth approximately 7.500gp.
This room also contains a secret door that Ni'ran'ti (if she made it this far) will cast Hold Portal on to keep it secured a bit longer while she makes her escape. There is a DC 15 spot check to see the door, the check is reduced because it has been used recently and the signs of such use are still fresh. There is a small trigger button along the base of the wall next to the door.
D. The Tunnel __
The tunnel runs for about 200 ft in a winding course and eventually ends in the barn's cellar. The Darels didn't know of the tunnels existance. A few hundred years ago an old "wizard" had built a house atop the same location that the Darels barn now sits. He had carved the tunnel to the cave complex as a "back route" out of his house incase he ever came under fire.
E. Tunnel room __ Along the tunnel is another secret door, this door has a DC 25 spot check because it hadn't been used in such a long time. The lone room along the cave was used as a storage room for his more prized possessions. Of course, no one knows what ever became of the "wizard". Upon entering the room read this to the PCs: The room you are now standing in is emaculate. There is no sign of debris or rubble on the floor, the walls are perfectly carved from the stone, and the room seems to emit a faint bluish glow. Standing in the middle of the room is a pedestal with a piece of parchment perched atop.
If the PCs pick up the parchement the door behind them will close and seal itself with a Hold Portal spell. If they set the parchment down the door will unseal itself and open. The parchement cannot be read without being held. On the parchment is written this:
"I was struck with iron at birth, and again and again throughout life." "I have seen many battles and witnessed terrible strife." "Even when victorious, I'll emerge battered and thrashed." "For every time I'm wounded, another is saved from the pyre ash."
Obviously this is a riddle, the answer to the riddle is "a shield". If the PCs answer the riddle correctly then a portal on the other side of the room opposite the door will open and deposit a shield in the room. (Shields stats in Appendix III) If they answer the riddle incorrectly then the portal still opens but a Flesh Golem steps out and immediately begins to attack the PCs. Use a standard Flesh Golem from the SRD or MM3.5 (CR 7).
VI. The Conclusion ___ With the PC rescued the PCs can make their way out of the cave and back to the Inn or to a destination of their choice. If Rin is rescued he will insist they return to the Inn for a reward. This parents can't offer much, but they offer to allow the PCs to stay at the inn a few more days free of charge to regain their strength. If Ni'ran'ti was destroyed then life as we know it resumes at the Inn. If not, then she will most likely return after she can be assured the PCs have left the area. Who knows, she may have a strong desire to see the PCs dealt with, could she be a recuring villian?
Ni'ran'ti :Female Erinyes Outsider9 Sorcerer2; CR 11; Medium OUTSIDER; HD (9d8)+(2d4)+66; hp 122; Init +5 (+5 Dex, +0 Misc); Spd Walk 30', Fly 50'; AC 23 (flatfooted 18, touch 15); Base Atk +10/+5; Grp +15/+10; Longsword +14 melee (1d8+5/19–20) or +1 flaming composite longbow (+5 Str bonus) +15 ranged (1d8+6/x3 plus 1d6 fire) or rope +14 ranged (entangle) SA: Acid Resistance 10 (Ex), Cold Resistance 10 (Ex), Damage Reduction (Su), Darkness (Sp), Entangle (Ex), Immunity to Fire (Ex), Immunity to Poison (Ex), Spell Resistance (Ex), Summon Devil (Sp), Summon Familiar, Telepathy (Su), True Seeing (Su); Vision: Darkvision (60'), Normal; AL: LE; SV: Fort +12, Ref +11, Will +13; STR 21, DEX 21, CON 22, INT 14, WIS 18, CHA 20 Skills and Feats: Concentration +16, Diplomacy +15, Escape Artist +15, Hide +9, Knowledge (Arcana) +12, Knowledge (The Planes) +10, Listen +10, Move Silently +13, Perform(Singing) +15, Search +12, Sense Motive +14, Spellcraft +10, Spot +14, Survival +9, Use Rope +10, Dodge, Mobility, Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Simple Weapon Proficiency. Possessions: Standard, rope, +1 Flaming Composite Longbow (+5 str), Ring of Undetectable Alignment (Appedix III), Cloak of Disguise (Appedix III) Spells: Racial Innate: Teleport, Greater (At Will per day), Charm Monster (At Will per day), Minor Image (At Will per day), Unholy Blight (At Will per day), Sorcerer - Known: PER DAY: 0: 6, 1: 6 Level 0: Arcane Mark, Daze, Mage Hand, Read Magic, Touch of Fatigue, Level 1: Hold Portal, Lesser Black Tentacles (Appendix II)
Vulzanzul : MM3.5 pg. 51 - "Familiar" to Erinyes. Although Vulzanzul isn't a true familiar he is bound to Ni'ran'ti and will do her bidding without question. Well, without much question. ______
Belran Darel, male human Com5 (53 years old): CR 4; Size M (5 ft., 3 in. tall); HD 5d4-5; hp 15; Init -1 (-1 Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 9 (-1 Dex); Attack +4 melee, or +1 ranged; SV Fort +2, Ref +0, Will +1; AL LG; Str 15, Dex 9, Con 8, Int 18, Wis 11, Cha 14. Languages Spoken: Celestial, Common, Goblin, Orc, Terran. Skills and feats: Climb +4, Hide -1, Jump +9, Knowledge (arcana) +6, Listen +7, Move silently -1, Perform +4, Profession +8, Ride +3, Search +4.5, Spot +8, Swim +10, Use rope +6; Alertness, Great fortitude, Run. Possessions: 21 gp in gear. ______
Margaret Darel, female human Com5 (45 years old): CR 4; Size M (5 ft., 0 in. tall); HD 5d4-15; hp 8; Init +2 (+2 Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 12 (+2 Dex); Attack +5 melee, or +4 ranged; SV Fort -2, Ref +3, Will +5; AL LG; Str 16, Dex 14, Con 5, Int 10, Wis 15, Cha 14. Languages Spoken: Common. Skills and feats: Handle animal +9, Hide +2, Intimidate +4, Listen +2, Move silently +2, Spot +9, Swim +9; Dodge, Iron will, Toughness. Possessions: 21 gp in gear. ______
Rin Darel, male human Com2 (18 years old): CR 1; Size M (6 ft., 0 in. tall); HD 2d4+2; hp 8; Init +3 (+3 Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 13 (+3 Dex); Attack +2 melee, or +4 ranged; SV Fort 1, Ref +3, Will +2; AL NG; Str 13, Dex 17, Con 12, Int 9, Wis 15, Cha 14. Languages Spoken: Common. Skills and feats: Handle animal +6, Hide +3, Jump +3, Listen +2, Move silently +3, Spot +2, Swim +8; Improved unarmed strike, Skill focus (swim). Possessions: 10 gp in gear. ______
Misha Darel, female human Com1 (19 years old): CR 1; Size M (5 ft., 4 in. tall); HD 1d4; hp 5; Init +1 (+1 Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 11 (+1 Dex); Attack +3 melee, or +1 ranged; SV Fort +0, Ref +1, Will +1; AL CG; Str 16, Dex 13, Con 11, Int 8, Wis 12, Cha 11. Languages Spoken: Common. Skills and feats: Climb +5, Hide +1, Jump +9, Listen +1, Move silently +2, Spot +1; Skill focus (jump), Toughness. Possessions: 4 gp in gear. ______
Andria Darel, female human Com1 (16 years old): CR 1; Size M (5 ft., 6 in. tall); HD 1d4; hp 7; Init +1 (+1 Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 11 (+1 Dex); Attack +1 melee, or +1 ranged; SV Fort +0, Ref +1, Will +1; AL CG; Str 12, Dex 13, Con 11, Int 8, Wis 12, Cha 15. Languages Spoken: Common. Skills and feats: Climb +5, Hide +1, Jump +9, Listen +1, Move silently +2, Spot +1; Skill focus (Listen), Dodge. Possessions: 4 gp in gear.
APPENDIX II: New Spells ___________________________________________________________________
Lesser Black Tentacles Conjuration (Creation) Level: Sor/Wiz 1 Components: V, S, M Casting Time: 1 standard action Range: Medium (25 ft. + 5 ft./level) Area: 5-ft.-radius spread Duration: 1 round/level (max 3) Saving Throw: None Spell Resistance: No
This spell conjures a field of rubbery black tentacles, each 10 feet long. These waving members seem to spring forth from the earth, floor, or whatever surface is underfoot—including water. They grasp and entwine around creatures that enter the area, holding them fast and crushing them with great strength.
Every creature within the area of the spell must make a grapple check, opposed by the grapple check of the tentacles. Treat the tentacles attacking a particular target as a Large creature with a base attack bonus equal to your caster level and a Strength score of 15. Thus, its grapple check modifier is equal to your caster level +4. The tentacles are immune to all types of damage.
Once the tentacles grapple an opponent, they may make a grapple check each round on your turn to deal 1d4+2 points of bludgeoning damage. The tentacles continue to crush the opponent until the spell ends or the opponent escapes.
Any creature that enters the area of the spell is immediately attacked by the tentacles. Even creatures who aren’t grappling with the tentacles may move through the area at only half normal speed.
Material Component: A piece of tentacle from a giant octopus or a giant squid.
Ring of Undetectable Alignment: - Acts as if the wearer has had the Undetectable Alignment spell cast upon them. Cast time - Instantaneous. Use - 1/day. CL 3rd; Craft Wondrous Item, Undetectable Alignment; Price 6,000 gp. ______
Cloak of Alteration: This apparently normal cloak allows its wearer to alter her appearance as with an Alter Self spell. As part of the disguise, the cloak can be changed to appear as a cape, ribbon, brooch, bandolier, mantle, or any other item work on the back or about the shoulders. Faint illusion; CL 5st; Craft Wondrous Item, Alter Self; Price 8,000 gp. ______
Namarr's Mace This mace appears to be a normal heavy mace but has been enchanted with the Merciful enchantment. When identified this mace also has a +2 weapon enchantment. (+2 Merciful Heavy Mace) The mace is worth about 18,300gp.
Gargax Zanzafel defied the definition of evil. He was far beyond that. A dedicated wizard, he took a penchant to necromancy, going so far as to specialize in it. Due to the nature of his experiments, and thanks to his family wealth, Gargax built a massive house on the outskirts of town, complete with hidden tunnels and a secret basement that can only be reached through those tunnels. This secret remained with Gargax until such time as he took on an apprentice, with whom he shared the secrets of the house, including the secret laboratory for experiments in the basement.
If Gargax defied the definition of evil, the apprentice defied Gargax. Malfador was an up and coming mage who was dedicated to achieving power for the purpose of fulfilling his sadistic lust. Malfador, once taken into Gargax’s relative confidence, did away with his master at the earliest opportunity, revamping the basement to the current description. Malfador also began spending the money of his mentor unwisely, purchasing scrolls and tomes of power as well as researching new spells. Soon he was out of money, and risked losing the house to his creditors.
To make ends meet, Malfador converted the house to an inn, hired a small staff to serve the needs of his guests, all the while playing magnanimous host. At the same time, he began to realize the potential not only for experimental subjects that wandered into the Inn, but also a way to slake his own sadistic lust. He began designing traps for the rooms, and hired skilled engineers to handle the mechanical aspects. These engineers were then executed to keep the secrets safe, and Malfador imbued the magical traps himself upon completing the necessary research.
Malfador was at the height of his power when the elven Paladin Imbrae Ghable came to his inn. She fell prey to the teleport trap, and Malfador spent a great deal of time torturing and raping her. In the end, he vivisected her while still alive, and let her bleed out.
Malfador continued on, taking in an apprentice when he was ready to let go of life. He selected his apprentice carefully, and settled on a young woman named Shyllae whose tastes matched his own. They became lovers as well as assisting each other in torturing the victims. One victim, Sasha Silveroak, was a young runaway who was grateful for the owner of the inn who took pity on her and, despite her inability to pay, gave her a room where she could stay. Together, they tortured her for several months, sexually assaulting her, forcing her to eat her own urine and feces, and flensing the skin from the most sensitive parts of her body.
Both Sasha and Imbrae took on the ghost templates (see Wandering Encounters) and were tied to the house of violence where they died.
Malfador was killed by Shyllae during a night of passion, and Shyllae noticed that he seemed to enjoy having the dagger driven slowly into his chest. Upon his death, Malfador became tied as well to the house of violence as well in the form of a ghost.
The house has passed on for generations since, always to someone of the right persuasion who will enjoy the deeds the house stands for. Malfador will help to kill anyone not worthy before his house is passed onto someone new.
My entry for the Vicious Venue Contest is a family mansion turned inn. This can be located within a city proper, it can be a summer home that is now an inn along a trade route or well-traveled road, or, if you do not have use for an inn, the design can be adapted for any building such as a guest quarters on the property of a castle, within the castle itself, a wizard’s tower, or a living section within a dungeon or ruins. I have chosen to include descriptions of the various rooms for the purpose of illustrating this as an inn, yet you may feel free to incorporate any description you see fit as it pertains to your campaign and campaign world. The key elements are the beds and the mirrors, and these need to remain for ultimate effectiveness.
The length and width of the inn is really up to you as a DM, but keep in mind that it should be a fairly large building. For my own purposes, I picture it as have two stories that are obvious, and a hidden basement that can only be reached through specific means.
As I see it, the ground floor consists of four rooms to the west end of the building, the immediate foyer, which is massive and has a large sweeping staircase going up, has been converted to a dining area/bar, with the kitchen to the east of the stairway. A pantry section is off the kitchen, and within the panty section is a hidden doorway that leads to the hidden alcoves within the walls.
The walls of the building are thick throughout. Each one is 5’ thick and made of stone, designed to look solid. There is, in fact, a 4’ gap inside the walls that allow for travels through the house around the perimeter and in between the rooms. Where there are windows, they are higher than normal so the person in question can crawl underneath the window to continue along their way.
The large, eastern room can serve two purposes. Formerly a ballroom, it can remain as a ballroom or large recreation area (poker tables, darts, billiards tables, library with chairs and large fireplace for reading and drinking, social mens club kind of idea) for the entertainment of the guests, or, should the building be acting as a waypoint along a trade route or well traveled road, the large room can be a storehouse for provisions to be sold or bartered to travelers.
There are four main traps, all designed around beds in various rooms. With only one exception all should be located on the second floor.
The second floor consists of 12 rooms that can be rented, 6 on the North side and 6 on the South side. The Eastern side of the building, above the dance floor/storehouse is the Master Bedroom (see Master Bedroom section).
I want to keep my own interference towards each DMs inspiration as minimal as possible. The idea of the haunted house is nothing new, but the boobytrapped nature of an inn is somewhat less common. It doesn't matter if each room is described, as the furnishings can be changed to suit each DM. The important thing is that the traps are there, there are a variety of rooms to put them in, and two of the traps can be moved into different rooms if need be.
For all intents and purposes, this second story room is like any other. A large four-poster bed stands against one of the walls, complete with heavy oak nightstands on which oil lamps can be rested. Votive wall sconces also contain oil-based lanterns to illuminate the room.
Opposite the bed is a dresser with 7 drawers; three down each side and one in the center. A mirror rests on top of the dresser, but a Spot check of DC 25 will notice that it is not actually part of the dresser but attached to the wall, and unmovable. Attempts to pry the mirror off the wall are next to impossible (DC 50 to remove the mirror from the wall).
The final piece of furniture rests opposite the door just past the bed. A large bureau, it matches the dark wood of the furniture in this room, and can store 10 outfits, with 4 drawers at the base inside of the double doors in which one can store accessories. A key is in the lock, and anyone renting the room is free to lock their items up within.
The walls have several paintings of various people from a bygone era, as well as some newer pieces. A small marble column stands in the corner with a marble bust upon it. The walls are painted in alternating patterns that blend together to form a very relaxing image. The ceiling is painted in similar fashion.
The ceiling above the bed, however, has miniscule cracks that run in a rectangular pattern around the exact width of the bed. Noticing these amidst the patterns requires a Spot DC of 35 or a Search DC (specifying the exact location) of 30.
The ceiling within this section can slide away, allowing a mesh net to be lowered that will encompass the bed with perhaps two inches of width beyond it. The net is composed of a finely wrought metal, which, bound at the base to create a many-folded weight, will adhere to the magnets that are hidden in the floor (these magnets must be moved up to the floor from their position six inches below it, a precaution to keep those who wear metal boots from detecting the trap). The strength of the magnetic grip on the weave is such that a Strength check of 30 (part in due to the slick nature and lack of adhesion when grabbing the net) is required to even budge it. The net, once adhered, is pulled taught to prevent gripping slack in it. For people who sleep with their weapons on, the mesh has a hardness of 10 and 25 hit points.
Once the net is in place, a glass box filled with baby poisonous snakes (+2 to Fortitude DC due to more potent venom, consider as Fine creatures) is poured into the net area, landing on top of the bed, but pouring along the sides and onto the floor. When the snakes are emptied form their terrarium, their weight alone will be enough to tear the fabric above the bed within 10 rounds. The slab of ceiling is put back in place, and locked in place to prevent escape through the ceiling.
The mirror is actually a piece of one-way glass. This allows for the person activating the trap to watch the tormented writhing of his or her victims. For anyone who wants to be a paranoid delusional, the mirror is hardness 5 with 5 hit points. This will be the standard for all mirrors in the building.
Trap CR – 8 (+0 for Mechanical, +2 for Search DC 30+, +2 for DD DC 30+, +2 for 14 damage/rnd, +2 for Venom)
This ground floor room is much the same as the room above, with a four-poster bed, a large hutch with key, a dresser with a one-way mirror attached to the wall, tapestries on the walls, busts on stands, night tables and a small table with an urn filled with water, a clean towel, and a basin to fill with the water for washing.
The floor has a magnificent throw rug upon which rests the bed. The carpet extends five feet away from the edge of the bed in all directions but the head, which is up against the wall.
In reality, there is a large trap door underneath the bed, hidden by the carpet. The Search DC is 25 (you can take 20 on it if you have Search of 5 or more as finding it will not activate it) to find it, with the player finding a seam in the floor (their interpretation of what it is). The trap cannot be disabled mechanically from within the room, but if the player does not sleep in the bed, the trap is effectively disabled.
The trapdoor exceeds the width of the bed by 3’ each side (except the head, which is against the wall), and if someone chooses to sleep in the bed, the trap awaits activation.
Behind the mirror is a switch that can be activated by the person watching. If the switch is activated, the floor drops (the head of the bed will go down first, adding to the DC of a Reflex save) and the bed, rug and anyone on them fall to the floor below. The switch can then be thrown to close the ceiling. Total Reflex save DC is 25.
Below the floor is an open concrete area 50’ wide by 50’ long. In reality, it is only 25’ long, blocked by a Wall of Force as per the spell. Contained within this area is a Huge Fire Elemental, trapped within this area. It is hostile at being trapped, and will attack any living creature that comes within the area. A small tunnel leads away out of the area, but it is only the Fire Elementals holding pen, and is not a defensible area.
Trap CR – 8 (+0 for Mechanical, +1 for Search DC 25, +1 for Reflex Save DC 25, +3 for 21 average damage/rnd, +3 Onset delay 1rnd)
This room is furnished much like the others, except the bed has a timed trigger magical trap. When someone lies on the bed for more than 1 hour, a Baleful Polymorph (selected to turn them into pigs) spell is cast upon them. Fortitude Save DC is 18, and the Will Save is also 18. The spell automatically resets within five rounds. It is possible for a person sleeping in the bed to have the spell cast on them several times in a night, assuming that they do not wake up upon a successful save.
Since the room is rented out specifically for this purpose, whoever runs the house will obviously be watching for the effect to take place, and, if successful, will attempt to butcher the pig for food.
Trap CR – 6 (+1 for Magical Trap, +5 for Baleful Polymorph)
Like Trap #3, this room contains a magical timed trap with the bed as a focus. When pressure has been placed on the bed for at least one hour, a Greater Teleport spell takes effect, teleporting the person or object off the bed and into the jail in the basement. A Will Save DC 20 will prevent this from happening.
The spell automatically resets itself within 5 rounds, so if the person on the bed fails to wake up to the spell originally, the spell may affect them multiple times.
Trap CR - 11 (+1 for Magical, +0 For Mechanical, +7 for [i]Greater Teleport, +2 for Disable Device 30+, +1 for Multiple Target)[/i] Note:Trap CR is a combination of the Greater Teleport Trap and the Jail.
This would be the equivalent of the Master Bedroom of the Inn, the place where the owner sleeps. It is a spacious room spanning 30’ long and the width of the building. It is furnished magnanimously, with priceless objets d’art including paintings, tapestries, sculptures, and various cultural artifacts. A large balcony extends out from the end of the building, with double French doors and billowing curtains.
At the southern-most end of the room is a wall covered in bookshelves filled with books on history, politics, zoology, botany, biology, and myths and legends. One of the bookshelves is actually a doorway as well, with a hidden trigger on the bottom corner of the lowest shelf (Search DC 25).
This door leads into a small 10’ high x 20’ wide room from which a wall tunnel extends towards the length of the house while a stairway leads down to the first floor wall tunnels. This room also contains several magical tomes, books on torture, diaries of strange experiments involving all manner of creatures, strange and exotic body parts on shelves, and a large desk with a high backed padded chair. A second stairway leads directly to the basement.
Upon entering the room, there is a carpet on the floor. This is a Huge Animated Object, with orders to capture and constrict around anyone who enters who is not the master. The minute someone steps on the rug it will attempt to grapple them. The player can substitute a Reflex Save against the initial grapple check (DC 19 + 1d20)
There is also a wall combination safe, but this has no trap on it since the Master has never worried about it being found.
Trap CR – Initial Attack roll of 16-24 CR 8, Initial Attack Roll of 25-29 CR 9, Initial Attack Roll of 30+ CR 10 (-1 for Search 15 or Lower, +2 for Disable Device 30+, Reflex Save Variable 0, +1, or +2, +1 for Melee Attack 16-24, +2 for Average Damage 14, +3 for Onset Delay of 1 round, +1 for Touch Attack)
The basement consists of several distinct areas: the Torture Area, the Jail, the Fire Elemental Pit, and the Laboratory.
This area is designed specifically for the purposes of torturing the victims that fall prey to the #4 trap. Various torture devices are spread throughout the room, including a rack, a forge for hot irons, various bladed instruments, an iron maiden, a vice large enough to fit over a victims head, a pillory, and other implements.
A Silence spell permanently affixed to the objects blankets the area and prevents the screams from resonating. (Note: to cover my ass as far as rules go, the DM can allow Permanency to affect other spells, and Permanency can be cast as a Silent Spell as per the Metamagic Feat).
Like the torture room, this area is also protected by a permanent Silence spell. The jail itself is 30’ long by 10’ wide, with adamantium bars spaced every 3 inches with a thickness of 2” per bar (Hardness of 20, Hit points are 80). One solid metal adamantium door with a superior lock is the only exit (Hardness 20, Hit points 80, Break DC 28, Superior Lock DC 40).
Victims can be left until they are so weakened by hunger that transporting them to the torture room will not be an issue.
Fire Elemental Pit
This is the area below the room with Trap #2. Contained behind a Wall of Force, the person who activated the trap may watch the Fire Elemental attempt to destroy the victim dropped into the pit.
This is a masterwork alchemist’s lab. It has tables on which bodies can be bound down as well as autopsy tables. Chemicals, unguents, and various mixtures line the walls on shelves. Books on anatomy are scattered around, as well as books that are half finished with drawings and notes relating to specific anatomies of probably victims. Fairly nasty stuff.
The Inn is haunted. There are three ghosts specifically who haunt it; one, a former Elven paladin (Imbrae), appears as she did in life, in full plate armor of Elvish design, with a shield and a sword. She is considered a benevolent spirit, and will only try to warn people to escape. She keeps hidden for the most part, knowing full well the secrets of the house, and fears being discovered and cast out of the house before she can enlist the aid of champions to cleanse it.
Imbrae Ghable, ghost; Elf Pal5: CR 5; ECL 10; Size M; HD 5d12; hp 35; Init +2; Spd 30 ft, Fly 30 ft.; AC 12, touch 12, FF 10; BAB +5; Grapple +7; Atk: +7 melee (1d3 + 2, Unarmed), +7 ranged touch (1d6, Incorporeal Touch); SA Manifestation, Telekinesis, Frightful Moan; SQ Low-light Vision, +2 to saves vs enchantment, immune to sleep effects, rejuvenation, Turn Resistance +4; SV Fort +9, Ref +8, Will +7; AL lg; Str 15, Dex 15, Con 0, Int 12, Wis 13, Cha 20. Languages spoken: Common, Elven, Orc Skills and Feats: Concentration +2, Diplomacy +8, Handle Animal +8, Heal +4, Knowledge (Nobility) +4, Knowledge (Religion) +4, Ride +5, Sense Motive +5; Armor Proficiency (Heavy), Armor Proficiency (Light), Armor Proficiency (Medium), Martial Weapon Proficiency, Mounted Combat, Ride-By Attack, Shield Proficiency, Simple Weapon Proficiency. Spells Known: Bless.
The second is the spirit of the second keeper of this “house.” Malfador is completely aware of the paladin, and the two, both tied to the house, are often at odds with each other. Far more powerful than the paladin, he was her killer and enjoys tormenting her with her failure to escape or detect him. He will often attempt to manifest and use his malevolence power to set people into the traps, or use it to corrupt whoever is running it. He also prevents the paladin from taking direct action against whoever runs the house; he is happy tormenting her in the afterlife, but will destroy her if she gets in his way. The paladin is aware of this, so she is very careful.
Malfador, ghost; Human Wiz17: CR 17; ECL 22; Size M; HD 17d12; hp 92; Init +1; Spd 30 ft, Fly 30 ft.; AC 11, touch 11, FF 10; BAB +8/+3; Grapple +8; Atk: +8/+3 melee (1d3, Unarmed), +9/+4 ranged touch (1d6, Incorporeal Touch); SA Manifestation, Frightful Moan, Corrupting Gaze, Draining Touch; SQ rejuvenation, Turn Resistance +4; SV Fort +5, Ref +6, Will +11; AL CE; Str 11, Dex 13, Con 0, Int 20, Wis 13, Cha 22. Languages spoken: Common, Orc, Goblin, Elven, Dwarven, Gnome Skills and Feats: Craft (Alchemy) +15, Appraise +8, Bluff +11, Concentration +23, Craft (Trapmaking) +15, Decipher Script +21, Diplomacy +10, Knowledge (Arcana) +20, Knowledge (Architecture) +15, Knowledge (History) +15, Knowledge (Local) +10, Knowledge (Planes) +15, Knowledge (Religion) +10, Profession (Herbalist) +10, Spellcraft +30; Craft Magic Arms and Armor, Craft Wondrous Item, Empower Spell, Enlarge Spell, Extend Spell, Forge Ring, Scribe Scroll, Silent Spell, Skill Focus, Craft Construct. Wiz Spells Per Day: 4/6/5/5/5/5/4/3/2/1. Spells Known: Acid fog, Acid splash, Alarm, Alter self, Analyze dweomer, Animate dead, Animate objects, Antipathy, Arcane eye, Arcane lock, Baleful polymorph, Banishment, Bestow curse, Binding, Blindness/deafness, Blink, Break enchantment, Bull's strength, Burning hands, Cause fear, Chain lightning, Charm monster, Charm person, Chill touch, Circle of death, Cloudkill, Command undead, Cone of cold, Confusion, Control undead, Deep slumber, Detect magic, Detect undead, Fireball, Lightning bolt, Prestidigitation, Greater teleport, Time stop, Touch of fatigue, Vampiric touch, Wall of force
The third ghost is the spirit of a young woman who was killed after being tortured over months. She can be found in the halls late at night, curled up and crying. When approached, she will flee, running through a wall. She does not respond to anyone, and she will flee from the ghost of the Malfador, who delights in tormenting her even in undeath. She will often be heard via her frightful moan ability; other times her screams echo through the halls.
Sasha Silveroak, ghost; Human Com1: CR 1; ECL 6; Size M; HD 1d12; hp 8; Init +2; Spd 30 ft, Fly 30 ft.; AC 12, touch 12, FF 10; Grapple -1; Atk: -1 melee (1d3 - 1, Unarmed), +2 ranged touch (1d6, Incorporeal Touch); SA Manifestation, Horrific Appearance, Frightful Moan, Telekinesis; SQ rejuvenation, Turn Resistance +4; SV Fort +0, Ref +2, Will +0; AL N; Str 8, Dex 14, Con 0, Int 12, Wis 11, Cha 19. Languages spoken: Common and Halfling Skills and Feats: Climb +3, Craft (Other) +5, Handle Animal +5, Jump +3, Knowledge (Local) +3, Listen +9, Ride +3, Swim +2; Acrobatic, Athletic.
Centuries ago, a powerful (epic level) lawful good, wizard known as Thamion discovered a magic item of great power, power that he believed could possibly destroy the world if it should fall into the wrong hands. Thamion believed that the item could not be destroyed, for the power that would be released upon its destruction would wipe the world, possibly even the cosmos, from existence. Thus, he hired powerful wizards and skilled laborers of varying races and alignments and built a well protected vault hidden deep within the tallest mountain in the world. Hidden in the highest peak of Mt. Barendd, 30,000 feet above sea level, is the entrance to Thamion’s Vault.
In Your Campaign
The PCs could be hired by an agent of a lawful good deity to retrieve the item from Thamion’s Vault to thwart an impending world threat.
The PCs could find an ancient text detailing the history of Thamion and his vault, not knowing if it is fiction or actual history, and choose to seek it out on their own.
The PCs could “stumble” across it on a mountain climbing expedition.
In any of the above cases, the PCs should not know anything about the item contained within Thamion’s Vault other than what is described in “Background” above.
Other Possible Uses
DMs may choose to use Thamion’s Vault Entrance in a different manner than described above. Some possibilities are:
As the entrance to the tomb of a lich, demi-lich, mummy, etcetera (such as in an archeological expedition)
As the entrance to the BBEG’s lair.
As the entrance to a sadistic NPC’s dungeon where (s)he performs “experiments” in pain and torture.
As the entrance to the lair of any NPC who has something to hide.
1. Barendd’s Peak: Hidden behind a large boulder surrounded by shrubs is an illusory wall that covers the entrance to a cave that is approximately 30 ft. in diameter (Search DC 25). In the center of the north wall, also hidden by an illusory wall is an iron door. Anyone passing through the center square of the cave will trigger a Summon Monster VI Trap (CR 7; magic device; proximity trigger (alarm); no reset; spell effect (summon monster VI, 11th-level wizard), Search DC 31; Disable Device DC 31) that will summon a large earth elemental (HD 8d8+32 (68 hp); CR 5). Anyone standing in the square directly in front of the iron door will trigger a Pit Trap (CR 3; mechanical, location trigger; manual reset; DC 20 Reflex save avoids; 60 ft. deep (6d6, fall); Search DC 20; Disable Device DC 20). The floor of the Pit Trap is a pressure plate that will trigger a Wall Scythe Trap (CR 4; mechanical; location trigger; automatic reset; Atk +20 melee (2d4+8/x4, scythe); Search DC 21; Disable Device DC 18) inside the pit. The door is locked (Open Lock DC 25) and trapped (Fusillade of Greenblood Oil Darts: CR 7; mechanical; location trigger; manual reset; Atk +18 ranged (1d4+1 plus poison, dart); poison (greenblood oil, DC 13 Fortitude save resists, 1 Con/ 1d2 Con); multiple targets (1d8 darts per target in a 10-ft.-by-10-ft. area); Search DC 25; Disable Device DC 25).
Beyond the door is a 5 ft.-by-15 ft. corridor with an iron door at its far end. This door is locked (Open Lock DC 25) but not trapped. Beyond this door is a 5 ft.-by-8 ft. corridor (approximately) with a third iron door at its end. This door is neither locked nor trapped. Once all of the PCs are inside Area 2, the first two doors into the entrance corridor will slam shut and lock. Once locked, a trap trigger will set for a Fusillade of Spears Trap (CR 6; mechanical; proximity trigger; repair reset; Atk +21 ranged (1d8, spear); multiple targets (1d6 spears per target in a 10 ft.-by-10-ft. area); Search DC 26; Disable Device DC 20) in the center door and a pressure plate trigger in the square just inside the first door will set for a Well-Camouflaged Pit Trap (CR 7; mechanical; location trigger; repair reset; DC 25 Reflex save avoids; 70 ft. deep (7d6, fall); multiple targets (first target in each of two adjacent 5-ft. squares); Search DC 27; Disable Device DC 18). Open Lock DC 25 for both doors.
The outer ring of the vault entrance is set on a huge turntable. Once the doors of the entrance corridor have shut, the outer ring will spin clockwise a half turn, as shown in the Outer Ring Diagram, so that the north corridor becomes the south corridor and vice-versa. It takes five rounds for the turntable to complete its half spin. From inside Area 2, the spinning of the outer ring will sound like distant thunder to the PCs.
2. The Chess Room: This room is 40 ft.-by-40 ft. The floor is tiled in an 8-by-8 black and white, checkerboard pattern, each individual square being 5 ft. There are six flesh golems (HD 9d10+30; CR 7) here, each standing perfectly still in their respective squares. The “white king” (90 hp) is in square G1, the “white queen” (85 hp) is in square F5, the “white pawn” (80hp) is in square D5, the “black king” (90 hp) is in square F8, the “black queen” (85 hp) is in square D6, and the “black pawn” (80 hp) is in square F7 as shown on the map. Each golem has orders to attack anyone in or moving through a square (by any means, walk, fly, etcetera) that would be threatened by the chessman that it represents. Otherwise, it is to remain motionless. Once “activated,” the golems have no restriction to movement other than that given in their descriptions, i.e. they are not restricted to moving as the chessmen that they represent. The golem “activation” squares are noted by the blue Xs on the map.
2.a. & 2.b. False Doors: These two doors are iron, open inward, and are locked (Open Lock DC 25). They are, however, false doors and open to solid stone walls.
The Secret Doors: The two secret doors (Search DC 30) each open into a 5 ft.-by-5-1/2 ft. corridor, each appearing to be a dead end. At the end of each corridor is a secret door (Search DC 25) that is locked (Open Lock DC 20) that, depending on the position of the outer ring, open to either a solid stone wall or a 5 ft.-by-15 ft. corridor that appears to be another dead end. At the end of this corridor is another secret door (Search DC 20) that is unlocked and, depending on the position of the outer ring, opens into the corridor that leads to either Area 3 or Area 4.
The North Door in the Chess Room is locked (Open Lock DC 30). If the PCs exit the room through this door, they will go through the same corridor that they entered through with the triggers and traps set as described in 1. Barendd’s Peak, paragraph 2 above, and into a cave almost identical to the entrance cave. This cave leads out to the north side of Barendd’s Peak. Turning around and reentering the Chess Room will have the same effect as when entered from the south, the outer ring turning clockwise to set itself back into its original position after the doors have shut.
If they do not exit the Chess Room through the north corridor and exit through the south door, they will enter the corridor leading to Area 5.
3. Southwest Secret Chamber: The iron door leading into this 30 ft.-by-30 ft. room is not locked or trapped. In the southeast corner of the room is a locked, iron chest (Open Lock DC 30). Once inside the room, the door will shut and lock behind the PCs (Open Lock DC 25). The door shutting and locking triggers a Summon Monster VII Trap (CR 8; magic device; proximity trigger (alarm); no reset; spell effect (summon monster VI, 11th-level wizard), Search DC 32; Disable Device DC 32) that will summon a djinn (HD 7d8+14 (45 hp); CR 5).
Djinn Treasure: 600gp.
Treasure in Chest: 80pp.
4. Northwest Secret Chamber: The iron door leading into this 30 ft.-by-30 ft. room is not locked or trapped. In the northwest corner of the room is a locked, iron chest (Open Lock DC 30). Once inside the room, the door will shut and lock behind the PCs (Open Lock DC 25). The door shutting and locking triggers a Summon Monster VII Trap (CR 8; magic device; proximity trigger (alarm); no reset; spell effect (summon monster VI, 11th-level wizard), Search DC 32; Disable Device DC 32) that will summon an invisible stalker (8d8+16 (61 hp); CR 7). The center square of the room is a pressure plate that will trigger a Spiked Pit Trap (80 Ft. Deep) (CR 5; mechanical; location trigger, manual reset; DC 20 Reflex save avoids; 80 ft. deep (8d6, fall), pit spikes (Atk +10 melee, 1d4 spikes for 1d4+5 each); Search DC 20; Disable Device DC 20).
The Marsh Tower includes encounters of EL 5 – 8, but is suitable for use with any D&D campaign.
A long forgotten desolate tower sits along an even more desolate road. Overgrown and eroding away from the forces of nature, the tower once guarded the wealthiest trade routes in the region. Locals dare not take to the path, as all that have entered have not returned.
The Marsh Tower location can be placed in any campaign where a small community is located near a swamp/marsh region.
Background for the DM
The abandoned guard tower stands as the symbol of economic prosperity of years past. Its tired structure rests silently among the dense, wet overgrowth of the marsh. The one road passes near the front of the tower approximately 200 feet south of the tower’s decrepit portcullis. A large pond in front of the tower creates a scarcity of foliage between the road and tower; the only clear path a traveler has to the tower from the road creates.
What few local merchants left in town have refused to use the road. They claim that the entire wetland region has been put under a curse ever since the dam broke quite a few years ago and flooded the area creating the marsh. Trade has all but seized and the evidence proves it as one walks past the abandoned and boarded up buildings in the town.
Local residences that have remained in the area tell how several expeditions into the marsh have resulted in not one survivor to come back out. The tales of the locals are true. None have come back out of the marsh. The merchant’s tales of the cursed marsh also have truth to them. As a covey of hags have taken up residence near the tower! The covey work together to lure unsuspecting victims to the tower to kill or enslave them and take their treasures.
The PCs might hear rumors in town or receive requests by town’s people that could bring them to the tower. LIST
* The local mayor pleads with PCs to help the faltering town. He offers the PCs a monetary reward along with rewards of land.
The land the mayor offers is of course located within the marsh. If the PCs want to claim their reward, they will have to figure out what the problem in the marsh is and remove it.
* A daring merchant decides to try his luck and send a caravan through the marsh. Getting word of the PCs in town, he offers them a job as guards on the caravan.
The merchant is in fact one of the covey’s enslaved lizardfolk lackey, polymorphed as a human. He wears a ring that is the hag eye, which allows the covey to spy on the town and gather information through it, but more importantly, spy on the PCs while they come closer to the tower and the ambush set up for them.
* The PCs overheard rumors of strange lights coming from the marsh at night. People believe they might be fairies or other strange creatures that have come to torment the town.
A local merchant has lost everything except the clothes on his back hears of the PCs in town. He asks them to investigate the marsh and remove the curse. He does not have anything to offer the PCs but suggests that if they successfully remove the curse and he begins his trading again, he will give them a percentage of the profit. The lights are from the hags using their dancing lights spell. If the PCs follow the lights, they will eventually get to the tower.
Visiting the Tower
From afar the tower appears as a wall of thick lichens, moss and overgrown vines. As one approaches the tower, tall black and gray stone walls rise up from the lush green base. The tower is quite and still, the only noise coming from the flora and fauna of the environment around the tower.
The tower itself reaches up three floors and tops off under the canopy of the trees here. Green and gray heaps of rubble and broken stone from years of erosion lay against the bottom floor of the tower. The entrance of the tower is in ruin and does not look functional in addition to being swamped by the pond. Several windows dot the walls of the tower of the upper floors. Rusted iron bars sunk into the stone around the windows leave trails of rust that run down the side of the stone.
If the hag covey has not already been forewarned of the PCs arrival to the area through the hag eye then they are stirred to action from the noise the PCs create while approaching the tower. If the hag covey has had prior knowledge, then they concealed and in position to ambush.
The Covey Pond ECL - 7: The cool pond in front of the tower is created from an old well that sat in front of the tower while functioning. Now, the well has been ruined and the underground spring blocked and forced to the surface. The pond is roughly egg shaped with the narrower end pointing away from the tower and leading to a small creek that runs off to lower ground in the distance. The pond is approximately 10 feet deep in the center, 30 feet across and 70 feet long. The sides of the pond are not deep allowing medium creatures to be able to wade in the water about 10 feet out from the shore. Smaller creatures may only be able to reach 5 feet out however.
The pond is also the home of the hag covey. The covey consists of two green hags and one marsh hag (use sea hag stats). All three live under the pond to keep out of sight. Tactics: The two green hags cast water breathing on themselves which lasts for 18 hours a day, the marsh hag being an aquatic creature can live under water indefinitely. The hags will work together in combat with the marsh hag using her horrific appearance and evil eye special attacks to stun and weaken the enemies while the two green hags moving in to melee range and using their weakness special ability.
If the hags have prior warning to the PCs arrival, the green hags will cast invisibility on themselves. If they did not have prior warning, they will cast these spells before emerging from the pond. In the case that the hags casting the spells under water the PCs may attempt a listen check (DC20) to hear the muffled voices under the water.
When the hags begin their attack, the marsh hag will emerge from the pond first causing the water to ripple. After the ripples travel outward some ways (after one round), the two invisible green hags will emerge so as to cover their ripples by the previous ones. However the PCs can notice these two subtle other ripples with a successful spot check (DC20).
2 Green Hags: Female Green Hag; CR 5; Medium monstrous humanoid; HD 9d8+9; hp 49; Init +1; Spd 30 ft.(6 squares), swim 30 ft.; 22 (+1 Dex, +11 natural), touch 11, flat-footed 21; Base Atk +9; Grp +13; Claw +13 melee (1d44); Full 2 claws +13 melee (1d4+4); Space/Reach 5 ft./5 ft.; SA Spell-like abilities, weakness, mimicry; SQ Darkvision 90 ft., spell resistance 18; AL CE; SV Fort +6, Ref +7, Will +7; Str 19, Dex 12, Con 12, Int 13, Wis 13, Cha 14.
Skills and Feats: Concentration +7, Craft or Knowledge (any one) +7, Hide +9, Listen +11, Spot +11 Swim +12; Alertness, Blind-Fight, Combat Casting, Great Fortitude.
Spell-Like Abilities: At will—dancing lights, disguise self, ghost sound (DC 12), invisibility, pass without trace, tongues, water breathing. Caster level 9th. The save DC is Charisma-based. Weakness (Su): A green hag can weaken a foe by making a special touch attack. The opponent must succeed on a DC 16 Fortitude save or take 2d4 points of Strength damage. The save DC is Charisma-based. Mimicry (Ex): A green hag can imitate the sounds of almost any animal found near its lair.
Marsh (Sea) Hags: Female Green Hag; CR 4; Medium monstrous humanoid (Aquatic); 3d8+6; hp 19; Init +1; Spd 30 ft. (6 squares), swim 40 ft.; 14 (+1 Dex, +3 natural), touch 11, flat-footed 13; Base Atk +3, Grp +7; Claw +7 melee (1d4+4); Full 2 claws +13 melee (1d4+4); Space/Reach 5 ft./5 ft.; SA Horrific appearance, evil eye; SQ Amphibious, spell resistance 14; AL CE; SV Fort +2, Ref +4, Will +4; Str 19, Dex 12, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 13, Cha 14.
Skills and Feats Craft or Knowledge (any one) +3, Hide +4, Listen +6, Spot +6, Swim +12; Alertness, Toughness.
Horrific Appearance (Su): The sight of a sea hag is so revolting that anyone (other than another hag) who sets eyes upon one must succeed on a DC 13 Fortitude save or instantly be weakened, taking 2d6 points of Strength damage. This damage cannot reduce a victim’s Strength score below 0, but anyone reduced to Strength 0 is helpless. Creatures that are affected by this power or that successfully save against it cannot be affected again by the same hag’s horrific appearance for 24 hours. The save DC is Charisma-based. Evil Eye (Su): Three times per day, a sea hag can cast its dire gaze upon any single creature within 30 feet. The target must succeed on a DC 13 Will save or be dazed for three days, although remove curse or dispel evil can restore sanity sooner. In addition, an affected creature must succeed on a DC 13 Fortitude save or die from fright. Creatures with immunity to fear effects are not affected by the sea hag’s evil eye. The save DCs are Charisma-based. Amphibious (Ex): Although sea hags are aquatic, they can survive indefinitely on land.
If the PCs are victorious over the hags they will discover only minor treasure on their persons (handful of coins between the three of them.) The rest of the covey’s treasure is kept well hidden on the bottom of the pond in a sealed metal chest, 10 feet down. A PC who searches in the water and succeeds on a spot check (DC 12) will notice the reflection of metal at the bottom of the pond. If any of the PCs wish to pursue the shiny object they will need to succeed on a swim check (DC 10) to swim to the bottom of the pond and pull out the chest.
Covey’s Treasure Horde CR 2: The chest is not locked but is jammed shut. A PC may attempt to force open the chest with a strength check (DC16). However the chest is trapped with brown mold.
Box of Brown Mold: CR 2; mechanical; touch trigger (opening the box); automatic reset; 5-ft. cold aura (3d6, cold nonlethal); Search DC 22; Disable Device DC 16.
Contends of chest: 470 gold coins, one rock crystal quart (47 gold), pink diamond (125 gold), gold ring with gems of extraplanar origin (3,000 gold), greataxe +1 and a scroll case with healthy doses of water sealant smothered around it.
After the PCs done with the covey and chest if they discover it, they may take different paths into the tower. If they discover the scroll case and open it, the PCs will find a piece of damp parchment. The parchment has a diagram of a staircase and an arrow that points away from the staircase to a stone wall, through the stone wall and into what appears to be a well shaft. Text below the diagram reads “Secret escape” some other text is written but to smeared from water to make out.
There are other paths paths into the tower as well. If the PCs decide to follow the clues of the parchment and the reference to the pond being a well, then they can enter the tower under the pond which brings them to the basement. If the PCs investigate the surroundings of the tower, the PCs will discover a small ruined shrine about 80 feet away and behind the tower with a succesful search (or) spot check (DC20). Finally the PCs could try to scale the walls or use a fly spell if available.
Ruined Temple Tunnel ECL – 5: If the PCs searched the surrounding area of the tower, they find a ruined shrine. The shrine was a small wayside place of worship long ago and was barley more than an a altarpiece with a roof over it that has been knocked over revealing a hole in the grown. The PCs see the hole right away and no search check is required. The hole is overgrown with disuse and the sides are eroding away. The hole worked as a secret access to the tower to some long ago looters perhaps trying to avoid the hags. The hole drops down roughly 10 feet and is just barely wide enough for a medium sized creature to slide down.
At the bottom of the hole, a tunnel leads into the darkness. It bends left and right but is relatively straight the entire length. When reaching the bottom of the whole, the PCs will immediately notice copious amounts of cobwebs. This tunnel is the home of two ettercaps and monstrous spider pets. The ettercaps have set up several traps to capture daring burrowing animals that explore the whole, but will easily trap daring adventurers just as well.
The tunnel is approximately 80 feet long, 6 feet tall and 5 feet wide. It leads straight to the tower. The ettercaps live near the far end of the tunnel as do the monstrous spiders. The first web trap is 10 feet in to the tunnel. Two more web traps are set up ten and twenty feet behind the first one. The ettercaps wait 40 feet away from the first web trap. Because the tunnel is filled with spider webs, the ettercaps can sense motion in the webs.
Ettercap Web: CR 2; mechanical; touch trigger (walking into web); manual reset; 5-ft, victim becomes trapped (no movement), escape artist DC 13 or strength check 17 to break free; Search DC 20; Disable Device N/A (can be disarmed with a fire source or a disrupted with equipemt. The web has 6 hp, 0 hardness and double damage from fire).
If a PC gets caught in the web or they disrupt the web before getting stuck, the ettercaps and monstrous spiders become aware of their presence. The ettercaps will attack the first party member by making a charge along the webs and then withdraw to draw the prey further in. The monstrous spiders are not as tactical and will simply swarm the PCs and attempt to bite them to death.
2 Ettercaps: One male, one female ettercap; CR 3; Medium Aberration; 5d8+5; hp 27; Init +3; Spd 30 ft. (6 squares), climb 30 ft.; AC 14 (+3 Dex, +1 natural), touch 13, flat-footed 11; Base Atk +3, Grp +5; Bite +5 melee (1d8+2 plus poison); Bite +5 melee (1d8+2 plus poison) and 2 claws +3 melee (1d3+1); Space/Reach 5 ft./5 ft.; SA Poison, web; SQ Low-light vision; AL NE; SV Fort +4, Ref +4, Will +6; Str 14, Dex 17, Con 13, Int 6, Wis 15, Cha 8.
Skills and Feats: Climb +10, Craft (trapmaking) +4, Hide +9, Listen +4, Spot +8; Great Fortitude, Multiattack.
Poison (Ex): Injury, Fortitude DC 15, initial damage 1d6 Dex, secondary damage 2d6 Dex. The save DC is Constitution based and includes a +2 racial bonus. Web (Ex): An ettercap can throw a web eight times per day. This is similar to an attack with a net but has a maximum range of 50 feet, with a range increment of 10 feet, and is effective against targets of up to Medium size. The web anchors the target in place, allowing no movement. An entangled creature can escape with a DC 13 Escape Artist check or burst the web with a DC 17 Strength check. The check DCs are Constitution-based, and the Strength check DC includes a +4 racial bonus. The web has 6 hit points, hardness 0, and takes double damage from fire. Ettercaps can also create sheets of sticky webbing from 5 to 60 feet square. They usually position these to snare flying creatures but can also try to trap prey on the ground. Approaching creatures must succeed on a DC 20 Spot check to notice a web, or they stumble into it and become trapped as though by a successful web attack. Attempts to escape or burst the webbing receive a +5 bonus if the trapped creature has something to walk on or grab while pulling free. Each 5-foot-square section has 6 hit points, hardness 0, and takes double damage from fire. An ettercap can move across its own sheet web at its climb speed and can determine the exact location of any creature touching the web.
4 Spider Swarms: CR 1; Diminutive Vermin (Swarm); 2d8; hp 9; Init +3; Spd 20 ft. (4 squares), climb 20 ft.; AC 17 (+4 size, +3 Dex), touch 17, flat-footed 14; Base Atk +1, Grp -; Swarm (1d6 plus poison); Swarm (1d6 plus poison); Space/Reach 10 ft./0 ft.; SA Distraction, poison; SQ Darkvision 60 ft., swarm traits, tremorsense 30 ft., vermin traits; AL N; SV Fort +3, Ref +3, Will +0; Str 1, Dex 17, Con 10, Int —, Wis 10, Cha 2.
Skills and Feats: Climb +11, Listen +4, Spot +4.
Distraction (Ex): Any living creature that begins its turn with a spider swarm in its space must succeed on a DC 11 Fortitude save or be nauseated for 1 round. The save DC is Constitution-based. Poison (Ex): Injury, Fortitude DC 11, initial and secondary damage 1d3 Str. The save DC is Constitution-based.
If the PCs defeat the ettercaps and spider swarms and continue down the tunnel they will discover a small pile of treasure, probably remains of some other adventurers not quite as lucky. At the other end of the tunnel is the entrance to the basement to the tower. The secret wooden door is rotten away and the tunnel simply opens up to the basement.
The Basement: This room smells very musty and dank as water seeps through the earth and filters through the walls. The room is 50ft by 50ft with a ceiling 10 feet high. Shallow puddles of water form along the edge of the walls. Rotten barrels and crates litter the ground and some more cobwebs line the walls and floors. The room is otherwise empty.
First Floor ECL - 7: At the top of the stairs a door leads left and into an open room the same dimensions as the basement. More stairs continue upward to the next floor over the last ones. On the other end of the room from the door leading to the basement is the large ruined portcullis. Rubble lay in front on the ground in front of it. Also in the room is large pool of water that covers almost half the floor. The pool does not look deep (a foot at the deepest point).
Immediately entering the room the room the PCs will notice three lizardfolk resting in what looks to be a very crude den built along the wall along with a flesh golem in the other corner across from the doorway. The lizardfolk will stir to their feet on sight of the PCs. The golem will also rise and begin to attack the first PC who either came down the stairs or entered through the doorway from downstairs. The lizardfolk do not carry any weapons and do not show any signs of aggression. These lizardfolk are the captives of the hags and have been locked up here for some time. The lizardfolk speak only draconic. They can make out simple common such as “Help.” and “Don’t hurt us.” The flesh golem was created by the hags with the bodies of lost wanderers they lured and killed here. It guards the lizardfolk from escaping the room and is triggered to attack anything that moves through the door or on the stairs.
Flesh Golem: CR 7; Large Construct; HD 9d10+30; hp 79; Init -1; Spd 30 ft.(6 squares); AC 18 (–1 size, –1 Dex, +10 natural), touch 8, flat-footed 18; Base Atk +6; Grp +15; Slam +10 melee (2d8+5); Full 2 slams +10 melee (2d8+5); Space/Reach 10 ft./10 ft.; SA Berserk; Construct traits, damage reduction 5/adamantine, darkvision 60 ft., immunity to magic, low-light vision; AL N; SV Fort +3, Ref +2, Will +3; Str 21, Dex 9, Con —, Int —, Wis 11, Cha 1.
No Skill modifiers or feats.
Berserk (Ex): When a flesh golem enters combat, there is a cumulative 1% chance each round that its elemental spirit breaks free and the golem goes berserk. The uncontrolled golem goes on a rampage, attacking the nearest living creature or smashing some object smaller than itself if no creature is within reach, then moving on to spread more destruction. The golem’s creator, if within 60 feet, can try to regain control by speaking firmly and persuasively to the golem, which requires a DC 19 Charisma check. It takes 1 minute of inactivity by the golem to reset the golem’s berserk chance to 0%. Immunity to Magic (Ex): A flesh golem is immune to any spell or spell-like ability that allows spell resistance. In addition, certain spells and effects function differently against the creature, as noted below. A magical attack that deals cold or fire damage slows a flesh golem (as the slow spell) for 2d6 rounds, with no saving throw. A magical attack that deals electricity damage breaks any slow effect on the golem and heals 1 point of damage for every 3 points of damage the attack would otherwise deal. If the amount of healing would cause the golem to exceed its full normal hit points, it gains any excess as temporary hit points. For example, a flesh golem hit by a lightning bolt heals 3 points of damage if the attack would have dealt 11 points of damage. A flesh golem gets no saving throw against attacks that deal electricity damage.
If any of the PCs speak draconic or have some other ability to communicate with them (such as a tongues or comprehend language spell) then they discover that there is a fourth lizardfolk whom was part of their group. He was forced into helping the hags otherwise they would have all been killed. They all come from a tribe in the marsh and were sent here to investigate the tower to possibly rebuild it for themselves when they encountered the hags. These three lizardfolk were being held captive until the one lizardfolk lured enough adventurers (and treasure) to the tower to buy their freedom.
The lizardfolk have no possessions, armor or weapons on them. Although they are trained warriors and could use spare weapons or armor the PCs might give them, they mainly wish to return to their tribe and this will refuse to fight along side the PCs. However the DM may choose to use these lizardfolk as future allies or contacts later in the game.
2nd Floor ECL - 8: This floor is not open like the others. A long hallway borders rooms in the center. There are three rooms all together, 2 smaller officer quarters and one larger room for the troops.
As the PCs move down the hallway, they may hear a muffled voice from behind one of the doors. A listen check (DC14) will reveal the noise is coming from the 1st officers quarters.
In the 1st officer quarters is the remains of the captain of the tower. He has been turned into a bodak and now sits in his room eternally contemplating when his ‘reinforcements’ will get to the tower. As the PCs come closer to the room they realize the voice is speaking common. The voice repeats this phrase over and over, “I must not let them take this outpost. My reinforcements are bound to be here any day now! What possibly could be taking them this long!”
If the PCs enter the room, the bodak captain immediately stops and swivels in his seat to face the door. He begins to attack on sight, starting with his death gaze attack. Bodak: CR 8; Medium Undead (Extraplanar); HD 9d12; hp 58; Init +6; Spd 20 ft.(4 squares); AC 18 (–1 size, –1 Dex, +10 natural), touch 8, flat-footed 18; Base Atk +4; Grp +5; Slam +6 melee (1d8+1); Full Slam +6 melee (1d8+1); Space/Reach 5 ft./5 ft.; SA Death gaze; Damage reduction 10/cold iron, darkvision 60 ft., immunity to electricity, resistance to acid 10 and fire 10, undead traits, vulnerability to sunlight; AL CE; SV Fort +3, Ref +5, Will +7; Str 13, Dex 15, Con —, Int 6, Wis 12, Cha 12.
Death Gaze (Su): Death, range 30 feet, Fortitude DC 15 negates. Humanoids who die from this attack are transformed into bodaks 24 hours later. The save DC is Charisma-based. Vulnerability to Sunlight (Ex): Bodaks loathe sunlight, for its merest touch burns their impure flesh. Each round of exposure to the direct rays of the sun deals 1 point of damage to the creature.
There is nothing else in the room other than the bodak, the chair it used and a small desk.
The second small room still has furnishings in bad condition. A chair, small table and bed frame are all pushed on top of one another in a corner. Next to the pile of furniture is a small vault that is built into a raised stone and metal panel that connects it to the floor. The stone and metal have dings and marks from where someone or something had tried to open it with something heavy but failed. There is no visible lock on the vault because it is magically sealed. Unfortunately the command word has long been forgotten and was known only by the two officers. However, if the PCs have access to a dispell spell, then they can remove the lock on the vault. The lock will reset itself however after 10 rounds. Inside the vault is the following: 3 bags, each with 1,500 silver pieces in them, a wand of detect magic (29 charges), and a bag with dust of appearance in it.
The large room has eight bunk beds and several benches in it. Five of the beds still have feather mattresses on them. They are old and fairly ragged, but PCs could sleep on them.
3rd Floor: Like the basement and first floor, this floor is open. It served as the towers kitchen as the furthest wall has several warn and beaten wood stoves and other cookery devices. Long mess hall style benches and tables sit idly in the center of the room.
The ceiling of the room has a wooden hatch that leads to the ramparts. Along the wall under the hatch is ladder that is taller than the ceiling. It is used to push open the hatch and extend up to the ramparts for easy climbing.
Ramparts: The areas around the outside of the ramparts are raised above the center. There is a hatch that leads down to the floor below it which is not locked. It is barren except for several vacant birds nests.
---------------------------------------------------------------------- Maps for the Marsh Tower.
EDIT: Maps for the Marsh Tower no longer available due to original files having been deleted. ----------------------------------------------------------------------
I've left some descriptions to the reader's imagination to enhance portability. Enjoy!
The Inn of the Three Sisters includes encounters of EL 6-10, and is suitable for use with any D&D campaign.
Background for the DM The Inn should be placed on a well-traveled trade route, and is famous among frequent travelers of that route for the hospitality of the two elderly women who run the place and their delicious meat pies.
In fact, the inn’s owners are a covey of hags who prey on whatever hapless travelers they can without arousing suspicion. Their usual victims are people who will not be missed, at least by the other guests: lone travelers and small groups never before seen at the Inn. They tend to leave larger groups and merchant caravans alone, although every now and then a new guard has been known to desert…
Only two of the hags, Auntie Rose and Auntie Lily, ordinarily interact with the inn’s patrons, disguised by their disguise self abilities. The third, Auntie Daisy, spends most of her time lurking in the fetid pool beneath the latrine. Six ogres serve the hags as guards, servants, and inn staff. They are more intelligent than most ogres (Int 10), and are able to speak Common as well as Giant. They move about disguised as rough human commoners by the hag covey’s veil power, which the hags renew as necessary.
Setup The PCs stop for the night at the Inn while traveling. They may have heard of the Inn’s reputation for hospitality and delicious meat pies.
* While spending the night, the PCs are awakened by a frightened scream, cut unnaturally short, from downstairs. If the characters investigate immediately, the find the door to the kitchen swinging lazily back and forth, as though it had been very recently pushed open violently.
One of the caravan guards foolishly went downstairs for a midnight snack, and came upon Auntie Lily working in the kitchen. Auntie Lily found herself unable to resist, and slew the young man, but not before he managed a single cry. If the characters open the door they can find her, still disguised by her disguise self ability, butchering the corpse for use in making delicious meat pies. (The PCs should probably get a Will save against her glamer for this.)
* While spending the night, one of the PCs could become the target of the hags’ appetites. Any PC who leaves the relative safety of his room is fair game. If the PCs take separate rooms, one of the hags might even attack him while he sleeps.
* For a bit more drama, the hags could use the covey control weather ability to summon a storm. The sounds of the storm would help cover any noise they or a victim might make. Additionally, the weather might hinder the PCs or the other patrons’ attempts at escape.
Approaching the Inn
As you round a bend in the road, a cluster of buildings comes in to view. The one closest to the road is a large, well-maintained three-story structure with a great many windows, flower boxes hanging under each one. Above the front door, a brightly-painted sign decorated with pictures of roses, lilies, and daisies proclaims this to be the Inn of the Three Sisters. The second building is longer, but narrower and only two stories. It appears to be a stable. A bit farther away is small outbuilding. Two rough-looking young men are leaning aganst the stable wall—stablehands taking a break, perhaps.
If it is the proper season, the PCs may notice that the flowers in the window flower boxes are all lilies, roses, and daisies. The young men are two of the hag’s ogre servants, disguised by the covey’s veil power. If the PCs have mounts, the “young men” will approach them and ask if they’d like their mounts stabled.
The inn’s tap room is large and comfortable. A cheery fire burns on the hearth, and a number of patrons enjoy the fine food and good ale. An apple-cheeked elderly human woman bustles over to you, wiping her hands on her apron. “Welcome! Welcome!” she says. “Always nice to see some new faces! I’m Auntie Rose. What can I get for you tonight?” A swinging door separates this room from what is probably the kitchen. A sign over the door says, in Common, “Employees Only.”
Auntie Rose has used her disguise self ability. A PC who touches Auntie Rose gets a Will save DC 13 to disbelieve the glamer. Auntie Rose is aware of this problem, however, and actively, if subtly, avoids physical contact. Auntie Rose will chat with the PCs if they initiate conversation; otherwise, she bustles around the common room, filling mugs, wiping tables, and making idle coversation with the patrons. If asked about the name of the inn, Auntie Rose laughs and says, “Why, the ‘Three Sisters’ are me, Auntie Lily, and Auntie Daisy, of course!” If asked where her sisters are, Auntie Rose says, “Well, Auntie Lily is in the kitchen, but poor Auntie Daisy…” She shakes her head sadly.
The Inn’s second floor is entirely guest rooms, and the third is the hags’ lair.
The Kitchen If the PCs enter the kitchen during “working hours,” the following description applies:
This is a spacious, well-appointed kitchen. A large pot hangs over the fire, bubbling merrily. The room is filled with appetizing odors: the yeasty aroma of fresh-baked bread, the mouth-watering odor of roasting meat. An extraordinarily tall elderly woman is here, putting the final touches on one of the Inn’s famous meat pies. “Well, well, what have we here? Some fresh little poppets come to see Auntie Lily? Patience, poppets! You’ll have your dinner soon!” She cackles a little, shooing you out the door.
The cook is Auntie Lily who has disguised herself using her disguise self ability. However, since her true form is a little over 8’ tall, Auntie Lily’s disguised form is still unusually tall. Like Auntie Rose, Auntie Lily avoids physical contact so as to preserve her disguise. She does not wish to talk to the PCs, and does her best to usher them out of the kitchen.
Once the guests have all gone to bed, however, the covey allow the mirage arcana to lapse, revealing the kitchen for the abbattoir it is. I leave it to the individual DM to describe the horrific scene.
The Third Floor The door to the third floor is locked (Open Lock DC 25). This is the hags’ lair, or at least the lair of Auntie Rose and Auntie Lily (Auntie Daisy prefers to lair elsewhere), and it is the place where they let their hair down, so to speak. Both the green hag and the annis have darkvision, so this room is not only unlit, but all the windows are tightly shuttered. The PCs will need their own light source.
This room contains two comfortable-looking beds, each with its own foot-locker. There is an armoire against one wall, and a small table with a brace of chairs near the entrance. There is an ornate, full-length mirror in one corner, and a rocking chair in another. In the rocking chair sits a strange-looking doll, dressed in a frilly pink frock. It is about the size of a halfling. Gnawed-upon bones lie about the room, and some decidedly unusual dolls decorate both beds. The room has an odd, musty odor, not unlike the smell of an old mausoleum in which some animals have taken up residence.
Again, details are left to the DMs imagination. The footlockers and armoire (Open Lock DC 30) contain the hags’ treasure.
Treasure: 9,437 cp; 4,326 sp; 327 gp; 47 pp; potion of delay poison; potion of levitate; amulet of natural armor +1
This is the inn’s stable. A few horses are bedded down in the stalls, and a couple rough young men are going about their chores. The men chuckle nastily upon seeing you, but continue with their tasks. A ladder leads up into the hay loft.
While the ogres can speak Common, they prefer Giant. Give a PC who approaches the stable a DC 10 Listen to check to hear the ogres talking to each other before the PC enters the stable. (The ogres don’t bother to lower their voices, but the door is closed.) A successful check allows the PC to hear snippets of their conversation, which, while not terribly enlightening (“Throw some more hay down,” “When’s dinner?”—that sort of thing), is in Giant and should arouse some suspicions.
This is an outhouse.
Auntie Daisy lurks in the fetid pool below, but she attacks only if the PCs discover and enter her hiding place. There is a concealed trap door in the floor of the outhouse (Search DC 30), beneath which is a ladder leading down. The floor itself is made of wooden boards, and the trap door is made to lift out of the floor entirely. There is no ring or handle on this side, since it was designed to be pushed open from beneath. The PCs will have to pry it out.
Creatures Auntie Rose: green hag rogue 1; CR 6; medium monstrous humanoid; HD 9d8+9 plus 1d6+1; hp 53; Init +1; Spd 30 ft., swim 30 ft.; AC 22, touch 11, flat-footed 21; Base Atk +9; Grp +13; Atk claw +13 melee (1d4+4); Full Atk 2 claws +13 melee (1d4+4); SA sneak attack +1d6, spell-like abilities, weakness, mimicry; SQ darkvision 90 ft., spell resistance 18, trapfinding; AL CE; SV Fort +6, Ref +8, Will +7; Str 19, Dex 12, Con 12, Int 13, Wis 13, Cha 14.
Spell-Like Abilities: At will – dancing lights, disguise self, ghost sound, invisibility, pass without trace, tongues, water breathing. Caster level 9th. The save DC is Charisma-based.
Weakness (Su): Auntie Rose can weaken a foe by making a special touch attack (atk +13 melee touch). The opponent must succeed on a DC 16 Fortitude save or take 2d4 points of Strength damage. The save DC is Charisma-based.
Mimicry (Ex): Auntie Rose can imitate the sounds of almost any animal in the area.
Skills: Auntie Rose has a +8 racial bonus on any Swim check to perform some special action or avoid a hazard. She can always choose to take 10 on a Swim check, even if distracted or endangered. She can use the run action while swimming, provided she swims in a straight line.
Possessions: Key ring. There is a key to every lock in the inn on each ring.
Tactics: Auntie Rose likes to use invisibility to sneak up on a foe, beginning with a sneak attack and using her weakness touch when a sneak attack is impossible.
Auntie Lily: As annis, MM p. 143, except change skills to: Bluff +7, Diplomacy +2, Disguise +0 (+2 acting), Hide +5, Intimidate +2, Listen +10, Profession (cook) +3, Spot +10.
Possessions: Key ring. There is a key to every lock in the inn on each ring.
Tactics: Auntie Lily likes to use her fog cloud spell-like ability to confuse and isolate her opponents before wading into melee combat. She herself is not terribly hampered by the concealment, due to her Blind-Fight feat.
Auntie Daisy: green hag fighter 4; CR 9; medium monstrous humanoid; HD 9d8+9 plus 4d10+4; hp 75; Init +1; Spd 30 ft., swim 30 ft.; AC 22, touch 11, flat-footed 21; Base Atk +13; Grp +18; Atk claw +20 melee (1d6+8/19-20); Full Atk 2 claws +20 melee (1d6+8/19-20); SA spell-like abilities, weakness, mimicry; SQ darkvision 90 ft., spell resistance 18, AL CE; SV Fort +10, Ref +8, Will +11; Str 22, Dex 12, Con 12, Int 13, Wis 13, Cha 14.
Spell-Like Abilities: At will – dancing lights, disguise self, ghost sound, invisibility, pass without trace, tongues, water breathing. Caster level 9th. The save DC is Charisma-based.
Weakness (Su): Auntie Daisy can weaken a foe by making a special touch attack (atk +19 melee touch). The opponent must succeed on a DC 16 Fortitude save or take 2d4 points of Strength damage. The save DC is Charisma-based.
Mimicry (Ex): Auntie Daisy can imitate the sounds of almost any animal in the area.
Skills: Auntie Daisy has a +8 racial bonus on any Swim check to perform some special action or avoid a hazard. She can always choose to take 10 on a Swim check, even if distracted or endangered. She can use the run action while swimming, provided she swims in a straight line.
Possessions: Gauntlets of ogre power.
Tactics: Like her “sisters,” Auntie Daisy makes good use of her invisibility spell-like ability. However, she prefers to attack with her claws, forgoing the use of her weakness touch unless a foe proves difficult.
See MM p. 144 for the covey’s powers.
Ogres (6): as MM, p. 198, except change Int 6 to Int 10.
Possessions: Each ogre has hide armor, a great club, 5 javelins, 2d12 cp, 1d8 sp, and 1d3 gp.
Notes In general, Auntie Rose and Auntie Lily come to each other’s aid, if they know the other is in danger. Likewise, the ogres will come to any of the hags’ aid if possible. Auntie Daisy does not emerge from her lair, and attacks the PCs only if they actually discover and enter her lair.
The other guests should be awakened by sounds of combat, and some of the caravan guards will rush to the scene. However, they will retreat and attempt to escape when faced by an ogre or hag. Non-combatants may either try to flee the inn or cower in their rooms. The hags and ogres will focus their attacks on actual threats (like the PCs), but are not above take an attack of opportunity on a fleeing guest. In general, adjust the confusion level as desired.
The encounter levels can be adjusted in several ways:
* Reinforcements take more or less time to reach a combat.
* Increase or reduce the hags’ character levels. (Remember to adjust treasure.)
* Increase or reduce the number of ogre servants.
* Add character levels (fighter or barbarian recommended) to the ogres. (Remember to adjust treasure.)
“Echoes” includes encounters of all levels and is suitable for use with any D&D Campaign.
This low, gently slopping hill, with the distinctly flat top dominates the northern entrance to the small valley. From the north the forest reaches its lower slopes while to the south the view remains unimpeded for miles. Yet the piece and quiet implied by the scenery is misleading and the dark, ruined watchtower, the kind of those that used to hold signal fires, standing on the hilltop hints at a different, more violent story.
Background for the DM The low hill was once the site of a border outpost of a long forgotten kingdom that was eventually overrun and utterly destroyed by barbarian hordes thousands of years ago. Nothing is known about the kingdom and very few people are aware that it ever existed.
Although the history of the tower is not known, the locals all avoid it since people seem to disappear around it from time to time without any traces or bodies behind. Local myth holds the hill and the tower haunted and claims that spirits of those who died there will steal away all those who remain near or on the hill during a moonless night. Most famous of these unfortunates was the wizard Araundor the Silent, who took the tower as his own 60 years ago, scoffing the local legends, and lived there for 2 years before vanishing mysteriously as well, leaving all his belongings behind. The tower was of course looted long ago but some of the wizard’s secrets still abound.
The truth is that on that night, hundreds of years ago, the sentries posted on the watchtower, having being lax in their vigilance, were surprised by the raiders and failed to light the warning fire on top of the fire that would have alerted the nearby fortress and the kingdom of the invasion. The result was that the fortress itself was taken by surprise before dawn the same night leaving the kingdom defenseless. Soon after the whole kingdom lay in ashes, its people either slaughtered or enslaved.
Since then every year on the anniversary of that fateful night, those who find themselves on the hilltop are forced to live through the same attack and those who once again fail to light the warning fires vanish without a trace. The night preceding the specific night anyone on the hill or on the tower can listen to far off cries of alarm and the clashing of weapons as echoes of war vibrate through time and space carrying with them the anguish of those who failed their task. Those who listen carefully may even have a chance to interpret the way the skirmish went and guess as to what they must do.
The Setup There are many ways for the PCs to face the mystery of the hill.
- The characters find themselves on the hill by chance, since its top offers an excellent place to camp. - The characters have heard rumors of the place and decided to investigate the tower hoping to unravel its mystery. - An acquaintance of the characters went missing and was last seen near the hill about a month ago. - The characters have heard of the wizard that lived there and decide to investigate the tower.
In any event the characters should have a warning by being on the hill on a night before the specific, so as to listen to the sounds of the unfolding battle around them. That way they will have an inkling of what is going to happen when they are trapped by the tower and what they have to do.
The Hill The hill itself is rather small, rising gently to a height of 50 feet. Its slopes are covered with knee-high grass from the south while the north side (which is exposed to the northern winds prevailing in the area) is almost barren with a few rocks to break the monotony of the dark brown earth. The forest trees reach to the foot of the hill on all sides but the south, but are thicker on the north side. The top of the hill is a flat expanse of about 70 yards almost ideal for a small building.
On the northern edge of this plateau stands a 20’ tall ruined tower, its stones bleached by the sun and the wind and covered with moss. The tower is a circular building with crenellated top although most of the crenellations lie scattered at its feet. The building shows signs of having burned at least once. The entrance of the tower faces southwards. The ground level must have been used for stabling animals, probably horses, during bad weather. A narrow (5’ wide) spiral, stone staircase climbs to the top of the tower on the inside of the wall; since the first floor seems to have disappeared (it was wooden and has long since rotten away). Narrow windows are located at about 15’ up on the south and western side of the tower where the sleeping quarters should have been. The staircase is not safe and many of the steps will be dislocated should anyone attempt a climb. Still it can be done with a Balance (DC 20) test. Failing the test means falling backwards for 1d6 damage. The top of the tower has nothing remarkable but it offers an excellent view of the area many miles around the hill. The location where the wood for the signal fire was piled is still easily discernible.
The tower as well as the hill around it has signs of campfires, none too recent though, as is often used by passersby who are unaware about the legends.
Hidden under the dirt in the middle of the tower’s ground floor is a stone trapdoor, leading to the tower’s basement. The basement was built by the wizard who intended to expand the complex below the earth but he never had the chance. As a result the trapdoor does not exist when the characters are taken back through time to the night the raiders took the tower.
Tower’s Basement (EL 8) Although the trapdoor is clearly visible once the dirt covering the tower’s stone floor is removed, there is no obvious way to open it. There is no handle to pull and the trapdoor is hinged to open upwards so there is no gain in pushing.
An inscription visible on the trapdoor once the dust has been cleared away provides a clue for opening the trapdoor, besides the use of a long forgotten password known only to Araundor.
When in doubt, act with silence.
Casting a Silence Spell on the trapdoor will cause to open. Attempting to force it open it any other way will cause a random spell from among the following to be discharged in the room. Roll 1d4 to determine the spell. All spells are cast at 9th level (Save DC Modifier +3).
1. Magic Missile targeted at the persons closer to the trapdoor 2. Burning Hands targeted upwards from the trapdoor 3. Fireball centered on the trapdoor 4. Chain Lightning
Once the trapdoor is opened a strong odor of dampness and mold assaults the character’s senses. Below the trapdoor there is a stone staircase descending at a steep angle for 20’. The staircase is 5’ wide and only 5’ tall so taller characters have to stoop to get down. The stairs are covered with a thick layer of mud and spider webs form a thick layer.
Stair’s Trap (CR 4): The third step from the top is trapped. The layers of dust turned to mud make it difficult to spot (DC 30). The trap can not be disarmed but may be avoided if spotted. When someone steps on it the stairs recede and revolve forming a flat slippery surface with no holds all the way to the bottom of the stairs. At the same time a stone slab is raised at the bottom of the stairs blocking the entrance to the basement. The slab is fitted with 3’ long rusted iron spikes. Anyone standing on it at the time the trap is triggered must make a Reflex saving throw (DC 25 + 2 for each character failing the save behind him) or slide the length of the stairs and be impaled on the spikes at the bottom of it. 1d4 spikes may impale a character per size category (1d4 for small characters, 2d4 for medium characters etc). Only the leading character will get impaled by for each subsequent character that slips, the leading character will take an additional 1d6 points of damage while those characters slam on him further impaling him on the spikes. The trap resets itself 10 minutes after being triggered.
The tower’s basement is a single large room (25’ x 50’ that apparently served as both the wizard’s library and laboratory. A large marble slab is fitted like a welcoming mat at the foot of the staircase leading to the basement. The slab emits faint conjuration magic is magic is detected for and bears a single inscription:
Silence is the greatest virtue. Speak not unless you are spoken to.
The inscription is actually a warning. Speaking out loud in the room once past this slab will activate the guardian of the room.
Bookshelves cover the walls to the left and to the right, from the floor to the ceiling. The shelves are full of leather-bound tomes and scrolls while a wooden ladder is leaning on the right bookshelf. Most of the books are destroyed by the damp or eaten away by rodents but a handful of books survive the destruction. While most of the surviving books are general treatises on magic and its uses, one is a detailed history of the region. It has mentions of the kingdom that used to be in the area, the fortress that was supposed to be located a few miles down the valley and the tower that guarded its entrance. It also mentions the fact that the kingdom was raised by barbarians but offers no details on how it happened.
The floor is covered by thick carpets, now eaten by mold. The far end of the room is occupied by a large desk, a rotting chair and a small table full of glass vials and small boxes. Most of the vials are empty, their contents having vaporized long ago, but one still holds a vile smelling yellowish liquid (a potion of invisibility).
The desk holds many papers, mostly hastily written notes referring to unfinished experiments and unknown ideas but among these is the description of a new spell named Darts of the Earth.
----------------------------------------------------------------------- Darts of the Earth (New Spell) Conjuration, [Earth] Level: Sor/Wiz 3 Components: V, S, M Casting Time: 1 standard action Range: Close (25 ft. + 5 ft/2 levels) Target: 1 Creature Duration: Instantaneous Saving Throw: No Spell Resistance: No
You throw a handful of dust towards a target making a ranged attack. The dust turns into crystalline darts in midair that arc towards the target dealing 1d6 points of damage per 2 levels (up to 5d6) if the attack is successful. Material Component: A handful of dust -----------------------------------------------------------------------
Behind the desk stands a strange man sized statue in the form of a featureless humanoid with a square face and massive chest and arms kept rigid at its sides. The statue appears to be made out of earth. In reality this is a special kind of golem the wizard made to rid him of troublesome visitors. Following its orders the golem remains unmoving until someone in the room speaks (without being addressed by Araundor first). Once this happens the golem attacks the offender ignoring anyone else unless they also speak out loud. Once the offenders are dead the golem carries them outside and returns to its position still ignoring anyone else in the room who has not spoken.
----------------------------------------------------------------------- Araundor Golem: Medium Construct; CR 6; HD: 6d10+10 (40 HP); Init: -1; Speed: 20; AC: 20, Touch: 10, Flat Footed: 20 (-1 Dex, +11 Natural); Base Attack: +6; Grapple: + 10; Attack: Slam +10, 1d10 + 5; Full Attack: 2 Slams +10 (1d10 + 5); Space/Reach: 5ft/5ft; SA: Spells; SQ: Construct traits, Immunity To Magic, Damage Reduction 5/+1, Darkvision, Low Light Vision; AL: N; SV: Fort +3, Ref +2, Wil +3; Str 20, Dex 9, Con —, Int —, Wis 11, Cha 1
Spells (Ex): An Araundor golem can cast Darts of the Earth each round as a free action. The spell is cast at 6th level dealing 3d6 points of damage.
Immunity to Magic (Ex): An Araundor golem is immune to any spell or spell-like ability that allows spell resistance. In addition, certain spells and effects function differently against the creature, as noted below. A move earth spell drives the golem back 120 feet and deals 3d12 points of damage to it. A disintegrate spell slows the golem (as the slow spell) for 1d6 rounds and deals 1d12 points of damage. An earthquake spell cast directly at a clay golem stops it from moving on its next turn and deals 5d10 points of damage. The golem gets no saving throw against any of these effects.
Any magical attack against a clay golem that deals acid damage heals 1 point of damage for every 3 points of damage it would otherwise deal. If the amount of healing would cause the golem to exceed its full normal hit points, it gains any excess as temporary hit points. For example, An Araundor golem hit by the breath weapon of a black dragon heals 7 points of damage if the attack would have dealt 22 points of damage. An Araundor golem gets no saving throw against magical attacks that deal acid damage. -----------------------------------------------------------------------
Warnings On a night before the special night, those choosing to stay on the hill will be witnesses to strange phenomena that should provide clues about what is going to happen the following night. As soon as the sun goes down an eerie silence will decent on the hill. The winds die out completely and a light fog will start to gather regardless of the weather conditions. The fog is not thick enough to prevent vision but it tends to restrict the view within 30 feet. The fog gets a lot thicker around the base of the hiss and characters attempting to abandon the hill find that they are unable to exit the fog anywhere else but on the hill.
First there is the sound of conversation in an unknown language coming from in front of the tower. There is one male and one female voice and both sound pretty bored. A comment from the male voice is answered by light laughter from the female voice.
A few seconds later the sound of booted feet, quietly running uphill from the north, east and western side of the tower can be heard with a Listen test (DC 22). The sharp noise of bowstrings being released, followed by the whistling of arrows precedes the muffled cries and low gurgle coming from the tower entrance, the sharp sound of metal on stone and the soft thud of falling bodies.
At the same time a noise sounding like metal scrapping on stone comes from above. A worried voice asks something from about the height of the first story southern window followed by cries of alarm among which the words “signal” and “fire” stand out clearly. The sound of rushing feet and the creaking of the tower door is drowned by the alarm cries coming from the first floor. Finally, the sounds of battle coming from the tower echo all over the hilltop.
Those not on the hill will not be able to hear any of this.
Those that are patient and stay on the hill after the sounds stop, will witness the light of a great fire burning a few miles to the south of the hill, deeper into the valley, just before dawn. This is where the fortress, the watchtower was supposed to warn, used to stand. With the first light of dawn the fog disperses and any witness find themselves a bit shaken but well.
The Danger (EL – Any) The night that commemorates that fateful night however is far more dangerous for those who choose to sleep on the hill. That night when the fog comes, the surrounding area distinctly changes. Any characters that are awake around midnight will be unable to stay awake and will soon drift into sleep or trance. When they come about a few moments later they will discover that each of them has taken the place of one of the guards during that fateful night. The tower and the surrounding area will look exactly as it looked then.
The tower now has a horse tethered outside. The ground floor is arranged like a stable and hey covers the floor. The first floor contains four crammed beds. The top has a large pile of wood located on a stone pier at its center. A torch, flint and steel and a vial of oil are placed next to it.
The sounds described in the section “Warnings” are an exact rerun of the events of the night the tower was taken by the raiders. The guard who was on duty at the top had moved by the tower entrance and was idly chattering with the female guard who was stationed there. The other three guards of the tower as well as the sergeant who led them were on the first floor. Two of the guards were sleeping, while the sergeant with the remaining guard was playing at dice. None of them was wearing armor although their weapons were close by.
The attackers came from three sides in groups of 4 while the main body of the invaders was quietly moving through the trees aiming at the castle further up the valley. Both the eastern and western group approached within 30’ of the tower and released a volley of arrows immediately felling the two guards. Then they rushed through the door and moved upwards. The sergeant alerted by the noise, looked through the southern window of the first floor and saw the raiders entering the tower. At the same time the third group, using grappling hooks climbed on the top of the tower to prevent the guards from lighting the warning fire that would alert the castle.
Each of the player characters will randomly take the place of one of the tower’s guards. (It is better to avoid assigning characters to the guards on the tower door as these will come under heavy fire before they have a chance to react. If there are more characters than guards then add sleeping guards to the first floor of the tower). The characters retain knowledge of his identity, looks and alignment but his skills, class levels and equipment are those of the guard whose place he assumed.
Characters are transported 1d2 + 1 rounds before the attack commences and during the first round are completely disoriented unable to take any action. The sleeping guards continue to sleep until awakened by someone else.
The guards on the tower entrance are targeted by 4 arrows each and are rushed on the following round by 8 raiders. The group of raiders climbing the tower from the north side needs 2 rounds to make it to the top and after that two of them attempt to descent on the first floor while two remain on the top to make sure that no one escape from the top. Fortunately they miss seeing the torch, oil and flint and steel located next to the pile. Until the ropes leading to the top of the tower are cut, two more raiders join the fight from above every third round and from below every round until either the fire is lit or all of the characters are dead.
The characters on the first floor that are awake can attempt Listen Test (DC 17) to hear the invaders as they rush the entrance. If the guards on the entrance manage to raise an alarm then no Listen Test is required. In any case, if unopposed the raiders entering from the ground floor reach the first floor in 2 rounds; while those descending from above reach it in 4 rounds since the attack commenced (The firing of the arrows signifies the beginning of the attack). Unless awakened earlier any characters that are asleep will awaken when the fighting inside the tower starts.
Note that the narrow staircases are designed so as to give the advantage to those fighting from a higher position (the direction of the spiraling is such that the right hand of the person standing on higher ground and facing downwards is unimpeded by the walls, while the right hand of the person opposing him has to negotiate the curve in order to attack). That means that the higher position gains a +1 bonus to attack rolls while the lower position suffers an equal penalty.
If even just one PC manages to light the fire before he is killed he is rewarded by a similar light a few miles to the south and then another one a few miles further on every three rounds (as the kingdom is roused to the attack) if he remains alive. It does not matter if he is killed immediately after lighting the fire though. At the same time the fog begins to dissipate, the characters once more loose conscience and when they awaken they are once again on top of the hill and all are well and unharmed. The tower will have to await a whole year to claim new victims. Lighting the fire requires 2 rounds (Lighting the torch and then spraying the oil on the wood and throwing the torch).
If all the PCs die before lighting the fire then when the fog dissipates there will be no sign of them. Whether they are irrevocably lost or simply trapped in an endless reenacting of the attack they failed to anticipate (waiting for someone to break them free) is for the DM to decide.
The Cast The guard who was supposed to be standing guard on the top but was instead talking with the other guard by the door has the following statistics: Human Male Rogue 2; HP: (2d6) 11; Init: +3; Speed: 30; AC: 15 (Leather Armor), Touch 13, Flat Footed 12; Base Attack +1; Grapple: +1; Melee: +1 (Short Sword, 1d6/19-20x2); Ranged: +4 (Dagger, 1d4/19-20x2); SQ: Evasion, Sneak Attack +1d6, Trap finding; SV: Fort +0, Ref +8, Wil +0; Str 10; Dex 16; Con 10; Int 12; Wis 10; Cha 13
The guard who is standing guard by the door has the following statistics: Human Female Fighter 2; HP: (2d10+2) 14; Init: +4; Speed: 30; AC: 15 (Leather Armor, Shield), Touch 13, Flat Footed 10; Base Attack +2; Grapple: +6; Melee: +5 (Long Sword, 1d8+3/19-20x2); Ranged: +2 (Short Bow, 1d6/20x3); SV: Fort +3, Ref +0, Wil +1; Str 16; Dex 10; Con 12; Int 13; Wis 11; Cha 14
One of the two men playing dice is the captain of the guard and has the following statistics: Human Male Fighter 3; HP: (3d10 + 6) 20; Init: +0; Speed: 30; AC: 12 (No Armor), Touch 12, Flat Footed 10; Base Attack +3; Grapple: +6; Melee: +8 (Long Sword, 1d8+3/19-20x2); SV: Fort +5, Ref +2, Wil +0; Str 16; Dex 14; Con 14; Int 12; Wis 10; Cha 13
The guard playing dice with the captain has the following statistics: Human Male Fighter 2; HP: (2d10+2) 14; Init: +1; Speed: 30; AC: 13 (Shield), Touch 13, Flat Footed 12; Base Attack +2; Grapple: +6; Melee: +4 (Long Sword, 1d8+2/19-20x2; SV: Fort +3, Ref +0, Wil +1; Str 14; Dex 12; Con 12; Int 11; Wis 11; Cha 10
Skills and Feats: Listen +3, Move Silently +5, Jump +3, Spot +5, Swim +1, Hide +4, Power Attack, Cleave, Improved Bill Rush
The sleeping guards as well as any additional guards can use the following statistics: Human Male/Female Fighter 2; HP: (2d10+2) 12; Init: +0; Speed: 30; AC: 13 (Shield), Touch 13, Flat Footed 12; Base Attack +2; Grapple: +6; Melee: +4 (Long Sword, 1d8+2/19-20x2; SV: Fort +3, Ref +0, Wil +1; Str 14; Dex 12; Con 12; Int 11; Wis 11; Cha 10
Each group of attackers consists of 3 Warriors 1 lead by a Barbarian 1.
Human Warrior 1; CR 1; HD (d8 + 1) 6HP; Init: +0; Speed 30; AC: 14 (Leather +2, Shield +2), Touch 12, Flat Footed 14; Base Attack +1; Grapple +1; Melee +3 (Long Sword 1d8 + 1, 19-20/x2); Ranged +1 (Short Bow 1d6, 20/x3); AL: CN; SV: Fort +3, Ref +0, Will +1; Str 12; Dex 11; Con 12; Int 11; Wis 11; Cha 10; Feats: Dodge, Weapon Focus(Long Sword)
Human Barbarian 1; CR 1; HD (d12 + 2) 9HP; Init: +1; Speed 40; AC: 14 (Leather +2, Shield +2), Touch 12, Flat Footed 14; Base Attack +1; Grapple +1; Melee +2 (Long Sword 1d8 + 2, 19-20/x2); Ranged +1 (Short Bow 1d6, 20/x3); SQ: Rage 1/Day; AL: CN; SV: Fort +5, Ref +0, Will +1; Str 15; Dex 12; Con 14; Int 10; Wis 11; Cha 10; Power Attack, Cleave.
Loose Ends There is always the possibility that the player characters will not understand what they have to do which will inevitably end with the whole party being lost (which of course does not necessarily mean that they are dead and another party may be used to save them).
The fortress that was defending the valley, the location of which is revealed to those that relive that night, can be used as a source of further adventures. An additional quest may be taken by the characters to find a way to free those trapped by the tower if that approach is chosen.
The whole scenario can be adjusted by changing the levels of both defenders and attackers although it would be better to stick with non-spellcasting classes since the whole idea is to fight to get to the fire.
Long ago at a time considered only legend by celestials and fiends, came into existence there were the Dread Lords. Beings of such pure evil that their mere presence tainted the world around them. The Dread Lords at this time attempted to put all of creation under there evil reign. They would have succeeded to if not for the alliance that formed between celestials and fiends. The celestials and fiends rose up and imprisoned the Dread Lords in tombs deep within the rocks that formed within the prime material plain. Who would have thought that on some of these rocks life would take hold, or that the tombs might crack and allow taint to seep through the cracks. Unbeknownst to the world taint has worked its way up from the bowel of the world, from the tomb where sleeps a Dread Lord. Wooley Swamp is such a tainted place.
“The Legend of Wooley swamp”
Well, if you ever go back into Wooley Swamp, well you better not go at night. There’s things out there in the middle of them woods that make a strong man die from fright. Things that crawl and things that fly and things that creep around on the ground. And they say the ghost of Lucius Clay gets up and he walks around.
But I couldn’t believe it I just had to find out for myself. And I couldn’t conceive it ‘cause I never would have listened to nobody else. And I couldn’t believe it. I just had to find out for myself there’s somethings in this world you just can’t explain.
The old man lived in the Wooley Swamp way back in Booger woods. He never did do a lot of harm in the world, but he never did do no good. People didn’t think too much of him. They all thought he acted funny. The old man didn’t care about people anyway. All he cared about was his money. He’d stuff it all down in mason jars and he’d bury it all around. And on certain nights if the moon was right he’d dig it up out of the ground. He’d pour it all out on the floor of his shack and run his fingers through it. Yeah, Lucius Clay was a greedy old man and that’s all there was to it.
Cable boys was white trash. They lived over on Carver’s Creek. They were mean as a snake and sneaky as a cat and belligerent when they’d speak. One night the oldest brother said, “Ya’l meet me at the Wooley Swamp later. We’ll take old Lucius’s money and we’ll feed him to the alligators.” They found the old man out in the back with a shovel in his hand, thirteen rusty mason jars was just dug up out of the sand. And they all went crazy and they beat the old man and picked him up off of the ground. Threw him in the swamp and stood there and laughed as the black water sucked him down. Then they turned around and went back to the shack and picket up the money and ran. They hadn’t gone nowhere when they realized they were running into quicksand and they struggled and they screamed but they couldn’t get away and just before they went under they could hear that old man laughing in a voice as loud as thunder.
And that’s been fifty years ago and you can go by there yet. There’s a spot in the yard in the back of that shack where the ground is always wet. And on summer nights, if the moon is right down by that dark footpath, you can hear three young men screaming. You can hear that old man laugh.
By Charlie Daniels Band
About 60 to 70 years ago an old man came to Booger Woods. He set up a shack in the middle of a marsh known as Wooley Swamp. There he kept to himself driving out anybody who came near. Lucius Clay was a retired bard wanting to be with the only thing that mattered to him anymore, his money. What happened in his past will always remain a mystery because of events fifty years ago. The Cable Brothers, sons of one of the poorer trappers in the area decided to take it upon themselves to kill the old man and take his money. One night the three boys snuck up to his shack and surprised Lucius while he was digging in his yard. 13 Sacks large enough to hold 1000 coins each were laying about the ground. The boys beat the old man to death and threw him into the swamp. They then picked up the money and disappeared. Most believe that the boys fell victim to the swamp. Some think the boys just left with their ill-gotten money. A few believe something more sinister happened. That Lucius clay rose from the dead and killed the cable brothers.
What’s going on Taint has risen up from the earth corrupting Wolley Swamp. Lucius clay died and came back as a tainted ghost. The Cable brothers are now tainted greater shadows, and the creatures in the swamp have also become tainted. Lucius clay and the Cable boys contest over the money even today constantly taking it from each other. They all are very possessive about it and will attempt to stop anyone who takes so much as one coin. The creatures in the area are now evil and will attack out of spite anyone or thing that enters their territory.
Taint Taint is the evil essence of a dread lord. It is always centered around a creature but affects all creatures in the area to some degree. Taint takes time to take hold. Every year a creature spends in a tainted area the creature must make a will save dc20 or slide one-step towards CE. When a creature becomes CE it gains the fiendish template (p108 MM3.5) except it can affect ant non-outsider, and damage reduction is /good One creature that has done some strong evil in its pass gains the half fiend template (p148 MM3.5) except it gains no wings, DR /good, and it can be applied to any non-outsider creature. Any undead in the area gain an additional +2 turn resistance and if destroyed return after one month. Also any evil creature killed in a tainted area rises as an undead after one month unless resurrected before hand. DM Notes 1. 2. Marsh terrain and quicksand rules P88 DMG 3.5 3. Getting lost rules P86 DMG 3.5 4. Burred around the shack and in various place in the swamp are bags of gold. Each bag hold 1000gp and there are a total of 50 of them. Pc are not likely to convince Lucius to tell them where the bags are. 5. I have not tested this encounter for actual CR the listed rating are what the core rules describe. 6. No map is provided any swamp area may be used the location of the shake should be near the center and close to a source of water
Getting the players involved.
The players should stop for the night near Booger Woods. There is an inn in the area called the . Whether the characters stop at the inn or not a human bard L8 comes in and offers to tell a tail or two for a night's lodging and a meal. The innkeeper will accept if the players are there. If the players are on the road they must decide whether to accept or not. Random Encounter Table
First Glimpse Up ahead shrouded in mist is the beginning of a swamp. The trees in the area appear twisted and dieing.
Entering You first notice the ground is wet and spongy, this is the first sign that you have entered wooly swamp the surrounding mist, a pale yellow color hangs in the area reducing visibility to about 50’. The trees hear are moss covered and twisted. Looks like they are reaching out to you. The chatter of birds and insects seems almost menacing as if they held some great contempt for you.
Areas of Interest The Shack CR18 As you come out of the mist into a clearing you see the remains of a small wooden structure. The shack is determinate from years of neglect in this putrid environment. The menacing chatter of small birds and animals has stopped and all is quiet, almost to quiet. A low laughter starts from an undetermined location growing louder and louder becoming almost deafening. Looking for the source of the laughter you spy a horrid misshapen specter of an old man now floating no more than 30 feet from you. The aspiration slowly coming closer and closer.
Lucius Clay Tainted Center Ghost 13th-level Human Bard Medium Undead (augmented Humanoid) (Incorporeal) Hit Dice: 13d12 (85hp) Initiative: +8 Speed: Fly 30 (Perfect) Armor class: 22 (Dex +4, Deflection +8, Natural Armor +1) Base Attack/ Grapple: +9/+11 Attack: Rapier +13 (1d6 +4) Full Attack: +13, +8 (1d6 +4) Space/ Reach 5ft./ 5ft. Special Attacks: Bardic Knowledge, Bardic Music 13/day, (Counter Song, Fascinate, Inspire Courage +2, Inspire Competence, Suggestion, Inspire Greatness, Song of Freedom), Spell Casting Ability, Manifestation, Frightful Moan (Laugh), Horrific Appearance, Smite Good 1/day, Spell Like Abilities Special Qualities: Rejuvenation, Turn Resistance +6, Dark Vision 60’, Immunity to Poison, Resistance to Acid/ Cold/ Electricity/ Fire 10, Damage Reduction 10/Good, Spell Resistance 23 Saves: Fort +6, Ref +12, Will +10 Abilities: S 14, D 18, C -, I 18, W 15, CH 27 Skills: Appraise +20, Bluff, +24, Disguise, +24, Gather Information +24, Hide, +28, Knowledge Arcana +20, Knowledge Local +20, Move Silently +20, Perform (Sing) +24, Spellcraft +20, Tumble +20, Listen/spot +10, Search +12 Feats: Imp. Initiative, Combat Expertise, Spell Focus Enchantments, Greater Spell Focus Enchantments, Great Fortitude, Craft Wondrous Items Environment: Temperate Marsh Organization: Solitary Challenge Rating: 18 Treasure: Standard Alignment: Chaotic Evil Level Adjustment: +10 Equipment (Gloves Ghost Touch, Rapier +2 Wounding
Ghost Abilities DC 24 Bard Abilities DC 24 Spell Saves DC 18+Spell Level (enchantment Spells 20+spell Level) Lucius Clay will start the encounter using his frightful Moan (laugh) ability (dc 24) along with his horrific appearance ability (dc24). He prefers to chase opponent and force them into quicksand pits, and will cast spells to accomplish this if his laugh does not If forced into melee he will use his +2 rapier of wounding. Note that his gloves will allow him to pick up things and use them Possessions +2 Rapier of Wounding Gloves of Ghost Touch Gives wearer ability to interact with incorporeal creatures, Incorporeal creatures may were them and interact with non incorporeal objects. Caster level 7 craft wondrous items, Ghost touch, 6000gp
Ghost touch makes a weapon, 50 projectiles, or an article of clothing able to interact with incorporeal creatures. An item with ghost touch cast on it counts as either corporeal or incorporeal at any given time. This spell gives a weapon or ammunition the ghost touch weapon property. This spell when cast on gloves worn by a person to strike an incorporeal creature. You cannot cast this spell on a creature.
The Cable Brothers CR 13 In an area about 100yd from the shack to the west the cable brothers died drowned in quicksand. The brothers (3) have risen as greater shadows with the fiendish template as described above. They attack without warning anyone who comes into there area.
The Singing Platter Inn Being an encounter for four characters of any level.
On the road through the old elven forest Teldrassylle, a small community has carved out a living by hunting and putting up the travelers who pass through their town. Called Two-step, the town is a small cluster of five buildings in a rough semicircle on one side of the road, facing the Singing Platter Inn across it. The north side of the road is up a small ridge, about ten feet, with a large stone staircase carved into the rock that leads up towards the inn, earning the town its name.
The PCs are likely just passing through the woods when night falls, and they arrive at the town. In all likelihood, they’ll head to the inn to get rooms for the night and some food and drink. There’s a healthy supply of strangers passing through the village, and there are always a handful staying at the inn on any given night. The townsfolk steer clear of it, wary of the rumors.
Yes, the rumors. Some of the adventurers and wanderers simply vanish during the night, never to be seen again. Others claim they hear screams from the inn during strange hours of the night. Mr. Bartwell, the innkeeper denies the claims, of course, but they remain, whispered by the townspeople behind his back. And there is truth to their accusations.
Mr. Bartwell’s inn serves some excellent food. He prides himself on it. He’s also figured out a brilliant way to cut down on costs. By drugging adventurers, he drags them into the kitchen, cuts them up, and serves them as food. He has been practicing this butchery for two years, and is steadily losing his tenuous grip on sanity.
The Singing Platter Inn (ECL 8 default)
The Approach The rock wall lines the north side of the path, standing at ten feet of rough, natural cliff until it’s broken by a stair cut into the rock face. An entire staircase has been etched out of the rock to form the approach to the Singing Platter Inn, an establishment of three stories. The building is somewhat squarish, with white wood crossed with brown beams for support. Several windows are alight with a soft yellow glow, and the ground floor’s common room looks lively. Atop the steps, a cobbled path leads up to the broad wooden door.
A DC 15 Spot Check will find a dog asleep in the field, a bone in its teeth. Closer inspection of the bone will reveal that it is a human femur, or thigh bone. There is a chance the dog will wake up if the PCs linger too long nearby (DC 15, decreasing by 1 for each round beyond the first. Reduce DC by 5 if any PC is wearing perfume or has a strong smell.) Attempting to remove the bone from its mouth will automatically wake the dog.
The dog will attack humans if it wakes up; it has a taste for them, and considers them meat. A DC 20 Handle Animal check will calm the dog enough that it will not attack immediately.
Dog: Small Animal Hit Dice: 1d8+2 (6) Initiative: +3 Speed: 40 ft. (8 squares) Armor Class: 15, touch 14, flat-footed 12 Base Attack/Grapple: +0/-3 Attack: Bite +2 melee (1d4+1) Saves: Fort +4, Ref +5, Will +1
The Common Room The common room of the Singing Platter opens out to the left of the entry, with a stairway to the right heading up towards the rooms. It is a long room, lit by lanterns hanging from chains against the walls, one set between each window pane. There are tables lining the wall on the left, each with three chairs, and there is a bar that occupies the near half of the right wall, near you. A rotund fellow with a bit of muscle on him and a jovial smile on his face nods to you as you enter, setting down a mug he was polishing. Several barmaids step between tables, carrying drinks and plates of meat.
The common room will be populated at any given time by 2d4 + 6 NPCs, 1d8 of whom will have class levels. The DM decides who they are and how much they know about the establishment. This would be an ideal place to add a plot hook for a side quest. Every member of the staff (all the barmaids, cooks, and Mr. Bartwell) wear a silver brooch in the shape of a plate.
The bartender, Mr. Bartwell will eye any PC with a charisma of 14 or higher, particularly if they are female. A DC 15 Spot check will notice his gaze, and a DC 15 intimidate check will cause him to drop it. At this point, Mr. Bartwell will mark out his chosen victims; any PCs with charisma 14 or higher, or failing that, the highest charisma in the group. He believes that better looking people make better tasting food.
Mr. Bartwell will be pleased to offer drinks and food to the PCs, but he will inform them that the meat will require time to be prepared. A DC 25 Sense Motive check will identify that something is wrong with his manner, and that perhaps there is more to his food than they thought.
Ale is the drink of choice at this tavern, and it’s sold for a silver a mug. It’s good ale, not watered down at all; with the coin saved from his dastardly methods, Mr. Bartwell has coin to spare for good drink. It also keeps the adventurers distracted.
After 1d4 rounds, Mr. Bartwell will ask his chosen adventurers to come with him to his study. If they ask why, he will tell them it is simply a matter of business. A non-chosen PC may include themself by succeeding on a DC 20 Diplomacy check, but only if their charisma is at least 10. Mr. Bartwell will tell the others that he can only discuss the information with the ones chosen.
The Study The room has an air of elegance about it. One wall is a bookcase, though only one shelf is filled, and the other walls are paneled mahogany. There is a lantern on a desk providing soft illumination, and there is a small bottle and some glasses on the highest shelf of the bookcase. Several papers are scattered about the desk.
There is a secret door on the west wall that leads into the kitchen. A DC 15 search check will reveal its presence. A DC 25 search check will reveal that one of the books is hiding a small metal switch behind it. Flipping the switch will unlock a hidden wooden trapdoor in the corner, which leads to the crypt.
If Mr. Bartwell has led the PCs here, a DC 20 spot check will reveal that the papers seem to refer to some problem with undead. Mr. Bartwell will pick up the papers and put them away before they can be seen. In truth, the papers are forged.
Mr. Bartwell will tell the PCs that his Inn was constructed long ago on the grounds of an old cemetery. The undead seem to leave people of certain beauty unharmed, for some reason. Mr. Bartwell will tell the PCs that they must cleanse his inn from spirits. To protect them, he will pour them some liquid, which he claims is a potion of Invisibility to Undead.
The liquid is really a more potent form of Oil of Taggit (DC 20 Fort). If any of the PCs refuse to drink the wine, Mr. Bartwell won’t force them to. Since Oil of Taggit only takes effect a minute after drinking, he will wait for the other characters to take drinks and show that they are unharmed to see if it persuades the others to similarly drink. If not, Mr. Bartwell will simply try to subdue the character with his wand of Sleep, and failing that, by force.
Mr. Bartwell’s stats block can be found at the bottom of the adventure. If he is dealt more than 20 points of damage, he will shout for help and try to turn the common room against the adventurers. To the crowd, it will look like a cold-blooded attempt at murder.
If all the PCs in Mr. Bartwell’s study fall unconscious as planned, he will bring them through the secret door to the kitchen to be butchered.
The Kitchen The kitchen of the Singing Platter Inn is a large room with surprisingly thick walls of stone. Heavy wood rafters cross the room ten feet above the stone floor, providing overhead storage for various barrels and crates. These beams are also lined with hooks, from which hang various pots and pans, as well as culinary implements. The kitchen itself is about forty feet deep, with a pair of long tables dividing the room into three rough sections. The room is twenty feet wide.
There is a door in the southwest corner of the room. The west wall is lined with barrels, sacks, shelves, and various ingredients. The eastern section is plainly decorated, with two doors set in the stone. The middle section of the room is a well-fitted stone floor, all of it sloping slowly towards a drain. The drain and a small area around it are stained with what seems to be dried blood. Upon one of the tables is a body that looks decidedly human.
The southwest door leads into the common room, behind the bar. The southern door on the eastern wall opens into Mr. Bartwell’s study, while the northern door on the eastern wall opens to outside.
There is a large flesh golem carrying a massive meat cleaver in the center of the room. This golem will attack any humanoid who is not wearing a silver plate brooch. There are two cooks here, who are busy arranging food on plates.
Standing on one of the long tables grants a +1 attack bonus for higher ground. Any character can get up above the rafters with a DC 15 climb check or a DC 20 jump check (40 if they do not have a 20 foot running start). The rafters are dark and shadowy, and confer a +2 bonus to hide checks.
Flesh Golem Butcher (Base creature: Monster Manual, Page 135) Large Construct Hit Dice: 9d10+30 (79) Initiative: -1 Speed: 30 ft. (6 squares) Armor Class: 18, touch 8, flat-footed 18 Base Attack/Grapple: +6/+15 Attack: Huge-sized meat cleaver +8 melee (3d6+5) Full Attack: Huge-sized meat cleaver +8 melee (3d6+5) and slam +10 melee (2d8+5) Special Qualities: DR 5/adamantite Saves: Fort +3, Ref +2, Will +3
If anybody is being butchered in the room, PCs in the common room will receive a DC 20 listen check to hear something strange happening. Failing that, they will eventually be served their own friends.
The Crypt Beneath This room is thick with cobwebs and completely dark. There is a dank, musty smell in the air, and the air is cold and clammy.
The room is magically darkened as per the spell Deeper Darkness. The room itself is small, only twenty by twenty feet, but the entire floor is covered with caltrops. Any character who drops onto the floor automatically steps on 1d4 caltrops and must make a DC 15 reflex save to avoid stumbling onto 1d4 more. The floor can be safely navigated at half movement speed if the caltrops can be seen, and quarter movement speed if not.
There is only one sarcophagus in this room, and it’s a fairly plain stone coffin. Any character reaching in will be attacked by the small viper inside.
Small Viper: Small Animal Hit Dice: 1d8 (4) Initiative: +3 Speed: 20 ft. (4 squares) Armor Class: 17, touch 14, flat-footed 14 Base Attack/Grapple: +0/-6 Attack: Bite +4 melee (1d2-2 + poison) Saves: Fort +4, Ref +5, Will +1 Poison: DC 10 Fortitude A viper snake has a poisonous bite that deals initial and secondary damage of 1d6 Con.
Within the coffin, there is substantial treasure hidden away. There is no corpse in the coffin, and no signs that there ever was one. Inside the coffin:
4 Potions of Bear’s Strength 4 Potions of Cure Serious Wounds (4d8+5) 1 Cloak of Charisma +2 – This black cloak is made of a fine velvet material, and the edges are embroidered with gold. 1 Bracers of Armor +2 – These sculpted metal bracers are finely ornamented with gold leaves and branches that twine with the steel armguards. 2 Rings of Protection +1 – A pair of silver rings, each a flat band scribed with matching elven runes in gold. They read ‘Walk safe where others would be slain; defend the heritage of our people’. 1 Cloak of Resistance +1 – A drab brown cloak with several patches that seem to be sewn on for mere decoration. +1 Masterworked Longsword of Frost – The name Eldreyassil is clearly engraved on the blade, and the design is clearly elven.
Mr. Bartwell: Medium Humanoid Fighter 5/Sorcerer 1 Stats: Str 16, Dex 17, Con 14, Int 13, Wis 12, Cha 12 Hit Points: 52 Initiative: +7 Speed: 30 ft. (6 squares) Armor Class: 15, touch 13, flat-footed 12 Base Attack/Grapple: +5/+0 /+8 Attack: +1 Longsword +10 melee (1d8+4) Full Attack: +1 Longsword +10 melee, +5 melee (1d8+4) Saves: Fort +6, Ref +4, Will +6 Spells: 0th level: Resistance, Detect Magic, Light, Touch of Fatigue 1st level: Sleep, Mage Armor Equipment: Longsword +1, Ring of Iron Will, Bracers of Armor +2, 45 gold pieces, 22 silver pieces, 12 copper pieces, a small ruby (worth 80 gp) Feats: Improved Initiative, Power Attack, Weapon Focus Longsword Skills: Spot +5, Listen +5, Sleight of Hand +7
Notes Should the adventurers slay Mr. Bartwell, the common room may be invoked against them. It may appear to be a murder. Any NPC shown the kitchen will realize Mr. Bartwell’s wrongdoings, and will regard the PCs as good guys again.
Leveling the Adventure Down
Levels 4-6 The adventure can be leveled down as follows: The DC for the listen check to hear their friends being butchered drops to 15. The extra potent Oil of Taggart DC drops to 17. There is one helpful NPC in the common room who has suspicions about what is going on at the inn, and will tell them to any PC who talks to him. The stats blocks for the Golem and Mr. Bartwell have changed:
Weakened Flesh Golem Butcher (Base creature: Monster Manual, Page 135) Medium Construct Hit Dice: 5d10+10 (35) Initiative: -1 Speed: 30 ft. (6 squares) Armor Class: 19, touch 9, flat-footed 19 Base Attack/Grapple: +4/+9 Attack: Large-sized meat cleaver +7 melee (2d6+5) Full Attack: Large-sized meat cleaver +7 melee (2d6+5) and slam +9 melee (1d10+5) Special Qualities: DR 5/adamantite Saves: Fort +2, Ref +1, Will +2
Weakened Mr. Bartwell: Medium Humanoid Fighter 3/Sorcerer 1 Stats: Str 16, Dex 17, Con 14, Int 13, Wis 12, Cha 12 Hit Points: 37 Initiative: +3 Speed: 30 ft. (6 squares) Armor Class: 13, touch 13, flat-footed 10 Base Attack/Grapple: +3/+6 Attack: +1 Longsword +6 melee (1d8+4) Full Attack: +1 Longsword +6 melee (1d8+4) Saves: Fort +4, Ref +4, Will +4 Spells: 0th level: Resistance, Detect Magic, Light, Touch of Fatigue 1st level: Sleep, Mage Armor Equipment: Longsword +1, Ring of Iron Will, 32 gold pieces, 12 silver pieces, 14 copper pieces, a small ruby (worth 80 gp) Feats: Power Attack Skills: Spot +3, Listen +3, Sleight of Hand +5
Levels 1-3 The adventure can be further leveled down as follows: The more potent Oil of Taggart is regular Oil of Taggart, with a DC of 15 The following stat blocks can be used:
Further Weakened Butcher: Medium Humanoid Fighter 6 Stats: Str 16, Dex 15, Con 15, Int 7, Wis 8, Cha 5 Hit Points: 28 Initiative: +2 Speed: 30 ft. (6 squares) Armor Class: 15, touch 12, flat-footed 13 Base Attack/Grapple: +6/+1 /+9 Attack: Meat cleaver +9 melee (1d8+3) Full Attack: Meat cleaver +9 melee, +4 melee (1d8+3) Saves: Fort +7, Ref +5, Will +2 Equipment: Studded Leather Armor Feats: Power Attack, Cleave Skills: Spot +2, Listen +3
Further Weakened Mr. Bartwell: Medium Humanoid Fighter 3 Stats: Str 16, Dex 17, Con 13, Int 13, Wis 12, Cha 12 Hit Points: 29 Initiative: +3 Speed: 30 ft. (6 squares) Armor Class: 13, touch 13, flat-footed 10 Base Attack/Grapple: +3/+6 Attack: +1 Longsword +6 melee (1d8+4) Full Attack: +1 Longsword +6 melee (1d8+4) Saves: Fort +4, Ref +4, Will +4 Equipment: Longsword +1, Ring of Iron Will, 26 gold pieces, 6 silver pieces, 8 copper pieces, a small ruby (worth 80 gp) Feats: Power Attack Skills: Spot +2, Listen +2, Sleight of Hand +4
Levels 10-12 One of the people in the common room will be a level 6 rogue, and will be in league with Mr. Bartwell. She will sneak attack any PCs moving to stop them in the kitchen. The more potent Oil of Taggart DC will be increased to 23. The two cooks in the kitchen will be replaced with two 3rd level Gnoll Barbarians. Use the Monster Manual stats on page 130, except the gnolls have an additional 20 hit points each, and get +5 to hit instead of +3. The stat blocks for Mr. Barwell and the Golem increase as follows:
Strengthened Flesh Golem Butcher (Base creature: Monster Manual, Page 135) Large Construct Hit Dice: 12d10+40 (99) Initiative: -1 Speed: 30 ft. (6 squares) Armor Class: 18, touch 8, flat-footed 18 Base Attack/Grapple: +8/+17 Attack: Huge-sized meat cleaver +11 melee (3d6+5) Full Attack: Huge-sized meat cleaver +11 melee (3d6+5) and slam +12 melee (2d8+5) Special Qualities: DR 10/adamantite Saves: Fort +4, Ref +3, Will +4
Strengthened Mr. Bartwell: Medium Humanoid Fighter 6/Sorcerer 2 Stats: Str 16, Dex 18, Con 14, Int 13, Wis 12, Cha 12 Hit Points: 68 Initiative: +8 Speed: 30 ft. (6 squares) Armor Class: 16, touch 14, flat-footed 12 Base Attack/Grapple: +6/+1 /+9 Attack: +1 Longsword +11 melee (1d8+4) Full Attack: +1 Longsword +11 melee, +6 melee (1d8+4) Saves: Fort +7, Ref +6, Will +7 Spells: 0th level: Resistance, Detect Magic, Light, Touch of Fatigue, Daze 1st level: Sleep, Mage Armor Equipment: Longsword +1, Ring of Iron Will, Bracers of Armor +2, 54 gold pieces, 28 silver pieces, 6 copper pieces, two small rubies (worth 80 gp each) Feats: Improved Initiative, Power Attack, Weapon Focus Longsword Skills: Spot +7, Listen +7, Sleight of Hand +10
Continue increasing the stats of Mr. Bartwell, the Golem, the rogue in the common room, and the gnoll cooks as level increases.