JonnyBoy]This thread is great. You should pm the wizo's and make them sticky it. I just discovered the thread, but I have no doubt it'll be the best resource I ever used... I mean.. WOW
Thanks for that. I really appreciate the reply. Most of the creative work here is not my own and the real praise is due to those who spent their time creating the original posts, but it does take time and effort to compile this, so it's good to hear that people will be using it! I'd love to have this stickied, but have no idea what the etiquette is regarding this. I feel that badgering the WizOs myself is perhaps not the right way about it (or perhaps that's just the Englishman in me ), but feel free to badger them for me
This thread is great. You should pm the wizo's and make them sticky it. I just discovered the thread, but I have no doubt it'll be the best resource I ever used... I mean.. WOW[/quote] Thanks for that. I really appreciate the reply. Most of the creative work here is not my own and the real praise is due to those who spent their time creating the original posts, but it does take time and effort to compile this, so it's good to hear that people will be using it! I'd love to have this stickied, but have no idea what the etiquette is regarding this. I feel that badgering the WizOs myself is perhaps not the right way about it (or perhaps that's just the Englishman in me ), but feel free to badger them for me
Plot Hook The nobility of Urvash is virtually paralyzed when the news of the murder of the noble familiy of Scaros spread. The whole family and several servants where killed in the night. 11 people fell to an unknown assassin. And the most terrifying fact is, that their heads are missing... The PCs are hired to seek and kill the assassin. After a long hunt, in which they have to deal with corrupt nobles, misleading divinations, traps, thugs and other obstacles, they finally get the knowledge of the assassins hideout and prepare to meet their shadowy enemy.
The Ancient Dome of Nerull
The Entry A dark and overgrown stair leads down into the darkness. As you follow its twisted path you get deeper and deeper into the mountain. Slippery, wet moss grows on the stairs and makes movement dangerous. It takes about 20 minutes to walk the twisted, narrow stairs down to its end. The slippery moss poses no problem unless a the PCs have to fight on the stairs. Then the Balance DC is 15. The stairs are 5 ft wide and every step is about 8 inch high and deep.
The Hallway of Death A long, dark passage lies before you. On it's sides are several reliefs depicting various scenes of death. People are stabbed, hanged, beheaded, strangled but some also seem to starve or simply die of old age in their beds. At the end of the Hallway is a statue, showing a tall, cloaked figure holding a scythe. The Hallway is 20 ft wide and 60 ft long. A simple Knowlegdge religion check DC 12 reveals that the statue shows Nerull, the god of death. There are 3 traps in this room. One at the entry, one at the exit and the statue itself is also trapped. The first trap is a Hail of Needles (CR3, DMG71)on the first person who enters the room. The Assassin placed this trap and it is actually a big wooden box situated in the left corner under some rubble. Trigger is a hidden tripwire. The trap at the exit of the hall is a simple Camouflaged Pit Trap (CR2, DMG71, 20ft deep). This pit is part of the temple and has always been there. The lid of the pit can carry no more than 70 lbs. The statue is prepared with Malyss root paste (Poison, Contact DC 16, Initial Dmg 1 Dex, Secondary Dmg 2d4 Dex, DMG297).
The Gallery of Skulls You enter a huge, circular Dome, its opposite walls and ceiling vanishing in the darkness. There seem to be 2 surrounding balconies, one at 20ft height and another at 40ft, but parts of the balconies have collapsed. But the most terrifying fact about this dome is that there are skulls. Everywhere. There are niches and shelves in the walls where one skull lies next to another and it looks like the walls itself are made of skulls. There are iron spears that seem to be randomly rammed into the cobblestone and into the walls on which skulls are strung like pearls on a necklace. And in the place, that seems to be the middle of the dome, lies a pile of skulls. Fresh skulls. With parts of skin still on them. The dome is 80ft in diameter and has two balconies, one at 20ft and one at 40ft height. The lower balcony opposed to the entry has collapsed, splitting the balcony in two. The upper balcony has collapsed multiple positions and is rather instable. Every part of the balcony has a wooden ladder. The ladders for the lower balconies are at the collapsed part (opposite to the entry). The upper parts of the balconies are all about 15ft long. There are now 5 upper balconies due to the collapses. There is one on the opposite side of the entrance. It can be reached via a ladder from the right lower balcony. The other balconies are 2 on each side and all have a ladder to the adjacent lower balcony. There is a 10% chance that a upper balcony collapses when a PC steps on it. In this case the whole part of the balcony breaks down, taking the PC with him. Multiple skulls fall and smash on the floor, arousing the anger of the Wraith (see below). The Assassin knows his home and therefor knows where to place his steps. He never has to roll for a collapse. The Assassin awaits the PCs on the lower right balcony. He knows that they are coming for him and has cast False Life on him (not yet considered in the stat block!). He starts to fire if the PCs come into sight (60ft Darkvision from Goggles of Night) and has readied an action to do so.
The Assassin Statistics Block Corand Nevosh, CR11 Male Human Rogue5/Assassin6 HD 5d6+10 + 6d6+12; hp 62; Init +3; Spd 30ft; AC 16, touch 13, ff 16; Base Atc +7; Grp +8; Atc +11 MW Spiked Chain (2d4+1+poison/x2, PHB115) or +11 MW Repeating Crossbow (1d10+poison/17-20/x2, PHB116) or +11 MW Dagger (1d4+1/19-20/x2); Full Atc +11/+6 MW Spiked Chain or +11/+6 MW Repeating Crossbow or +11/+6 MW Dagger; SA Sneak Atc +6d6, Death Atc (DMG180); SQ Evasion (Ex), trapfinding, Trap Sense +1 (Ex), Improved Uncanny Dodge (Ex), poison use, +3 save vs poison; AL LE; SV Fort +5, Ref +12, Will +4; Str 12, Dex 16, Con 14, Int 16, Wis 12, Cha 10;
Skills: Balance +17, Bluff +6, Climb +11, Disable Dev. +9, Craft (trapmaking) +7, Forgery +7, Gather Information +4, Hide +27 (Cloak), Jump +11, Knowledge local +5, Listen +11, Move Silently +27 (Armor), Open Lock +9, Sleigh of Hand +7, Spot +11, Tumble +13, Use Magic Dev. +2; Feats: Weapon Finesse, Exotic Weapon Prof. (Spiked Chain), Exotic Weapon Prof. (Repeating Crossbow), Blindfight;
Spells Known (4/4/3): 1: Feather Fall, Jump, Obscuring Mist, True Strike, 2: Cat's Grace, Darkness, Invisibility, Spider Climb, 3: False Life, Deep Slumber, Misdirection Spells per Day: 4/4/2
Possessions: Cloak of Shadows (Improved Shadow, +10 Hide competence, DMG219), Armor of the Black Cat (Improved Silent Moves, +10 Move Silently competence, DMG219), Ring of Blinking (DMG206), Goggles of Night (DMG258) Potion of Cure Serious Wounds (CL4), Vial of Poison (Giant Wasp Poison, see below), MW Spiked Chain, MW Heavy Repeating Crossbow, MW Dagger (hidden in his left boot), 4 boltcases (5 bolts each), a sack with 2000 gp;
Poison: Giant Wasp Poison (DMG297), Initial Dmg 1d6 Dex, Secondary Dmg 1d6 Dex, Injury DC 18; The Spiked Chain and all the Bolts for the Crossbow are poisoned;
Corand Nevosh is a psychopatic murderer who turned his obsession into his job. He prefers to use unusual weapons and hit-and-run tactics. Also he prefers, not to go against an enemy face to face. He will use the terrain to stay out of reach of the PCs and try to poison them with his bolts. If the PCs come too close, he will use his Chain to trip them. If forced into melee, he will use his darkness spell and take advantage of his blindfight feat to kill one PC and then retreat again. Corand will try to make the PCs damage some skulls to start the Dread Wraith on them (see below).
The Dread Wraith (MM258) This undead haunts the old walls of the temple. It looks like a hooded, black figure with a scythe but stays out of sight normally. It is not really aggressive as long as intruders leave soon and don't break any skulls. The assassin did so when he found the old temple but he begged for mercy and vowed that he would bring new skulls from his victims. So the two had an agreement, the assassin had a place to hide and the Wraith got even more skulls, the objects of his obsession. The Dread Wraith will hide in the stones and floor and will watch every move of the PCs as soon as they enter, but he will only act, if they break a skull. Then he will attack without hesitation. The Assassin knows this fact and will try to make the PCs break some of the skulls.
Treasure: There is no more special treasure. The Assassin already carries very valuable items with him. Nevertheless, if the PCs insist to search the skulls there is a 1%-chance that they find a Mask of the Skull (DMG262) between the bones.
Adapting the Lair: The City as well as the noble families are all part of my homebrewn world, but they can be easily replaced. The make the EL higher, the Assassin can get more levels in Rogue and Assassin. The Poison can be replaced by stronger poison and the Hail of Needles Trap can be poisoned too. To make the EL lower, the Assassin can lose some Assassin levels and the Dread Wraith can be replaced by two normal Wraiths.
Gornonwood Prison: Located a few miles from anything resembling civilization, Gornonwood Prison is the kind of place where people disappear. The worst kinds of criminals are sentenced to long terms within the walls of Gornonwood, and most never make it out alive. Many horror stories circulate about how bad a sentence to Gornonwood would be, but almost no one has the first clue how bad such a sentence can really be.
The general public is aware of the fact that Gornonwood Prison is a very bad place where very bad people do hard time. It’s common knowledge that many prisoners who go into Gornonwood never make it out again. The attitude of the common person is apathetic, being based on the idea that anyone bad enough to be sentenced to Gornonwood deserves whatever is coming to him. Thus far, no prisoner riots have been reported and no undead army has come spewing forth from its walls, so the common people have little reason to care.
What most people do not know is that the prison warden, a scarred dwarf by the name of Ragnan, has been using the prison as his own personal palace of torture for the past two decades. The inmates are kept locked up under the worst conditions with little more than a blanket and a single meager meal per day to call comforts. Personal visitation is not allowed, nor are the inmates allowed to speak with one another from their cells. As if this was not bad enough, Warden Ragnan spends most of each evening making his rounds, where he selects prisoners at random and subjects them to “rehabilitation therapy.” The events of these sessions are very cruel, twisted tortures designed not for rehabilitation, but for the warden’s own amusement and can consist of (but are not limited to) beating, branding with hot iron tools, scarification, removal of fingers, toes, ears or eyes, sodomy, bone breaking, castration and the like. More severe tortures are occasionally commenced in a special room deep within the bowels of the prison. While the apathy of the public is strong, there are many who would be quite disturbed to discover that such things are a daily occurrence at Gornonwood Prison.
Description: From the outside, Gornonwood looks like a large fortress roughly five stories tall and covering about ten acres of land. The surrounding countryside is flat and any nearby forest has been cut back to make hiding a virtual impossibility for any escapee. The building is square and block shaped and is constructed from unadorned gray granite blocks, which gives a definite impression of function over form. Watch towers rise from each of the four corners of the building as well as a single tower barbican over the double gate that functions as the only obvious means into or out of the prison.
While the outside of Gornonwood seems manicured to impress feelings of strength and inescapability on the viewer, the inside doesn’t seem manicured at all. At first glance, the place seems to be the world’s dirtiest maze. The walls are covered in years of dirt and grime. Mildew grows in every place it can find purchase. Rust covers every metallic surface, from the iron cell doors to the overhead pipes that run this way and that with no apparent purpose. The air is stiflingly hot and humid, which only serves to increase the potency of the revolting scents of bile and urine that seem to be forever ingrained into the very stones of the building.
Ragnan Stonebridge (aka Ragnan Outcast) Male dwarf barbarian 8: CR 8; Medium humanoid (dwarf); Hit Dice 8d12+27; 81 hp; Init +0; Spd 20 ft. (4 squares); AC 14 (14 touch, 14 flat-footed); BAB/Grapple +8/+10; Atk +11 melee (1d6+2/x2, masterwork club); Full atk +11/+6 melee (1d6+2/x2, masterwork club); SA rage 3/day; SQ damage reduction 1/-, darkvision 60 ft., fast movement, improved uncanny dodge, stability, stonecunning, trap sense +2, weapon familiarity, +2 racial bonus on saving throws vs. poison, +2 racial bonus on saving throws vs. spells and spell-like abilities, +1 racial bonus on attack rolls vs. orcs and goblinoids, +4 dodge bonus to AC vs. giants, +2 racial bonus on Appraise and Craft checks involving stone or metal; AL NE; Fort +9, Reflex +2, Will +4; Str 14, Dex 10, Con 16, Int 12, Wis 15, Cha 13. Skills and Feats: Diplomacy +3, Forgery +2, Heal +3.5, Intimidate +11, Knowledge (anatomy) +5, Knowledge (nobility and royalty) +5, Listen +11, Literacy +2, Sense Motive +5, Speak Language (elf) +2; Power Attack, Cleave, Toughness Languages: Common, Dwarf, Elf, Giant.
Possessions: masterwork nightstick (club), bracers of armor (+4) , fine platinum ring (worth 100gp) two potions of cure moderate wounds, key ring w/ dozens of keys*. *Any door in the prison except for Cael’s armoire can be opened by one of the keys on this chain. Anyone not familiar with the ring will spend about one minute trying keys before he finds the one that fits a particular lock.
A stocky and muscular dwarf stands before you, his scowl made all the more menacing by the horrible scar that runs the length of his face. In his right hand he holds a polished black nightstick, which he constantly taps into his left hand as if warning you of a beating to come.
Ragnan was born into the dwarven family of Stonebridge about 120 years ago. He was handsome and well liked by his peers, but he knew early on that he had a penchant for causing pain. Originally, he stuck to torturing animals during his many forays into the forest, but when this eventually failed to satisfy him, he led his brother into a small cave a few miles from his parents’ house and gleefully tortured him to death over the course of many days. When his family discovered what he had done, Ragnan was stripped of his family name and labeled as an outcast. Before banishing him from the family lands forever, his father slashed Ragnan’s face with one of the same knives he had used to torture his brother with, telling him “go play upon the pity of the outside world, for you will find none here.”
After traveling for several years, Ragnan eventually became employed as a bounty hunter in a large city. He was quite good at his job, especially extracting information about his quarry from their friends and loved ones. Many of the people he hunted and captured were sentenced to prison terms in Gornonwood Prison, where he later found work as captain of the guard. After a few years of whispering in the right ears, he eventually became the warden of Gornonwood. After twenty years, Ragnan has insured that Gornonwood has the best record of any comparable penitentiary on paper. In reality, however, Gornonwood is little more than a play place where Ragnan and his guards exercise all of their demented and psychotic fantasies.
Ragnan is completely vested in Gornonwood and would not ever choose to step down as warden willingly. The prison guards and his personal bodyguard are completely loyal to him. Anyone questioning his authority or threatening his position is likely to end up disappearing into the dark bowels of Gornonwood Prison forever.
Tactics: Ragnan is a sadistic bully, but he’s more than capable of holding his own in a real fight, if need be. On the rare occasion when an inmate attacks him, Ragnan fights his own fight, but if he’s pressed into combat by an opponent that might present a real threat, he prefers to let his bodyguard, Cael, handle the problem. If a particularly powerful opponent or perhaps a group of opponents threatens, Ragnan enters a state of rage and tries to maneuver himself into a flanking position so Cael can make sneak attacks. While raging, Ragnan tends to focus on a single opponent, beating savagely with his nightstick until she rests in a pool of her own blood. If obviously outmatched, he will attempt to flee as best as he can, expecting that Cael will join him eventually by way of his gaseous form ability. He will not leave Gornonwood Prison, however, and will try to regain control by hiding and using guerilla tactics to harass his opponents.
Cael Vilkowitz Male human (vampire) rogue 5: CR 7; Medium undead (augmented humanoid); Hit Dice 5d12; 39 hp; Init +9; Spd 30 ft. (6 squares); AC 18 (15 touch, 13 flat-footed); BAB/Grapple +3/+8; Atk +9 melee (1d4+6/18-20x2, +1 kukri) or Atk +9 melee (1d6+5/20x2, slam); Full atk +9 melee (1d4+6/18-20x2, +1 kukri) or Atk +9 melee (1d6+5/20x2, slam); SA blood drain, children of the night, create spawn, dominate, energy drain; SQ alternate form, damage reduction 10/silver and magic, darkvision 60ft., fast healing 5, gaseous form, resistance to cold 10 and electricity 10, spider climb, turn resistance +4, undead traits, vampire weaknesses; AL NE; Fort +1, Reflex +11, Will +3; Str 19, Dex 20, Con -, Int 14, Wis 15, Cha 18. Skills and Feats: Balance +8, Bluff +16*, Climb +8, Disable Device +5, Disguise +3, Escape Artist +8, Gather Information +8, Hide +16*, Jump +2, Listen +12*, Move Silently +16*, Open Lock +8, Search +8*, Sense Motive +10*, Spot +10*, Tumble +3; AlertnessB, Combat ReflexesB, DodgeB, Improved InitiativeB, Lightning ReflexesB, Martial Weapon Proficiency (kukri), Quick Draw, Weapon Finesse *A vampire gains a +8 racial bonus to this skill Languages: Common, Gnome.
Possessions: +1 kukri, +1 leather armor, potion of haste, 1d6 short lengths of silk rope (2-3ft long) fine gold ring (worth 10gp), 1d6 vials containing various poisons (see the Dungeon Master’s Guide page 297), a small bronze key and a small iron key worn on a rope around Cael’s neck.
The figure before you is thin to the point of being gaunt. His white skin looks almost pallid under his black leather armor. His eyes burn with undisguised hatred as he looks you up and down.
Cael Vilkowitz was born as the unwanted son of a prostitute who never even knew his father’s name. For the first few years of his life, he was pawned off on one bad influence after another, perpetually exposed to drug addicts, prostitutes, con men, grifters and the like. At the age of fourteen, Cael murdered the abusive pimp he was living with, slitting his throat as he slept. After pocketing all the money he could find in the house, he stowed away on a ship, hoping to find a better life in a faraway place. Unfortunately for Cael, he was never quite able to escape the trappings of his old life. After two years of stealing his living on the streets of his new home city, Cael had a bad encounter with the law, which ended up with the captain of the city watch dead on his blade. For this crime, Cael was sentenced to spend the rest of his life in Gornonwood Prison.
Unlike many of the inmates, the ambience of Gornonwood never particularly bothered Cael, as it was not much worse than many of the places he’d lived since the moment he was born. Even the irregular beatings he was subjected to were no worse than he was used to. Despite this, Cael jumped at the chance to escape when his cellmate offered it to him. Under the cover of darkness, they managed to sneak past the guards and get across the surrounding fields and into the forest. That very night, a vampire attacked them as they slept. Cael awoke later to find his cellmate’s bloodless corpse nearby. Realizing his own condition, he knew he had to find shelter before the sun rose. He quickly made his way back to the only shelter he knew of in the area… Gornonwood.
Originally, Cael’s thought was to return to the prison, sneak in, kill the warden and guards and make his way back to civilization. As luck would have it, however, Warden Ragnan made him a better offer… stay on as his bodyguard and he could drink his fill without ever worrying about sunlight, clerics or vampire hunters. Over the years, Ragnan has been very good to Cael, treating him almost like an equal. This treatment, far better than he ever received from anyone else, has had a profound effect on Cael, as he harbors a secret love for Ragnan, which he eventually hopes will be returned. Ragnan is unaware of this desire, which would almost certainly be unrequited, though he does have a deep respect for Cael and his vampiric abilities, especially as they apply to torture.
Tactics: Cael is completely devoted to Ragnan and will do whatever it takes to protect him, even if it means his own destruction. If any real threat presents itself, his first thought is always to position himself between Ragnan and his opponents. He will attempt to use his dominate ability against a brawny opponent and will order a controlled opponent to grapple any obvious spellcasting opponents. If he needs a distraction, he will call forth swarms of rats, commanding them to attack obvious spellcasters first. Cael prefers to use his slam attack to drain opponents, but he’ll switch to his kukri if Ragnan joins the fight and moves into a flanking position. If the fight goes badly, Cael attempts to occupy the opponents while Ragnan flees. When Ragnan is safe, he will try to get away using his spider climb or gaseous form abilities and he’ll try to locate and join Ragnan as fast as he can.
1. Ragnan’s Chambers
This large room is well furnished and decorated exquisitely. Four large braziers hang from the ceiling, providing a soft light. A large four-post bed with a feather mattress rests to the far end of the room. A hardwood wardrobe stands against the far wall and a matching chest rests at the foot of the bed. The linens on the bed are sewn from a rich satin and match the curtains drawn over the window on the wall to your right. A lush green area rug covers most of the floor and the walls are tastefully decorated with fine paintings set in brilliantly carved frames.
Ragnan lives a life of luxury in Gornonwood Prison and his chambers reflect this. Everything in this room is of the finest quality, as Ragnan insists that the warden of Gornonwood should deserve no less than the best. Even the chamber pot is made from solid gold, a fact Ragnan pointed out to one of his previous trustees as he was drowning the poor girl in it.
If Ragnan has not been encountered elsewhere in the prison, there is a 70% chance he is here during the day and a 10% chance in the evening. If combat ensues here, Ragnan will attempt to limit the amount of space the 25ftx25ft room offers his opponents to flank him by positioning himself in the far corner behind the bed. This forces any opponents to attack him only one side, though an opponent may climb atop the bed to make an attack, but suffers a –2 penalty to attack rolls due to the sheer fabrics interfering with his attacks. Cael will rush in within 2 rounds of combat beginning, and will immediately move to flank any opponent currently engaging Ragnan.
It doesn’t take a keen eye to notice that almost everything in this room would fetch a good price in a large market. The curtains and bed linens are worth 50gp for the fabric alone. The furniture would fetch a very high price, if it could be transported. The area rug is very heavy, but would be worth quite a bit to the right buyer. The four paintings on the wall are worth anywhere from 300gp to 800gp each. The chamber pot is worth 25gp for the gold content alone. The wardrobe is locked (Open Lock DC 25 or Ragnan’s key ring) and contains a handful of fine outfits as well as four bottles of vintage wine worth 300gp each, a set of bound books (a quintet of mystery fictions) worth 75gp as a set and a large leather bag containing a great number of humanoid fingers… some old enough to be only bones. The chest is locked and trapped (see below) and contains a tray designed to hold and organize coins. The tray holds 55pp, 480gp, 1080sp and 400cp as well as a small black leather bag containing a number of cut gems (worth about 1000gp). The tray doesn’t have a lid, so a potential looter might prefer to simply take the chest, though it’s bolted to the bed.
Poison Needle Trap: CR 2; mechanical; touch trigger; repair reset; lock bypass (Open Lock DC 30); Atk +17 melee (1 plus poison, needle); poison (blue whinnies, DC 14 Fortitude save resists poison only), 1 Con/unconsciousness; Search DC 22; Disable Device DC 17 (see the Dungeon Master’s Guide page 71)
2. Warden’s Office
As you enter this spacious and strikingly clean room, the first feature you notice by the flickering light of the sconces is a large wooden desk, which has been polished to a high shine by decades of hard use. A pair of comfortable-looking leather chairs sit facing the desk, and a large tapestry depicting scenes of brave knights doing battle with ancient dragons adorns the wall behind the desk. The whole scene looks strangely cozy, a definite change of pace, considering the squalor and neglect you’ve seen from the rest of prison.
The desk is quickly forgotten, however, as a small moan draws your attention to the torture rack placed just inside the doorway. The pitiful naked figure currently being stretched looks as though he’s been without a meal or a bath in quite some time. It quickly becomes apparent that he’s missing several parts of his anatomy. This macabre scene does much to change the overall feel of this room from a cozy office to a den of perversity and sorrow.
A sturdy wooden door hangs on the wall to the right and another on the wall to your left.
While the actual administration office is near the entrance on the first floor, it’s mainly just for show. Most of the time that Ragnan spends doing any sort of paperwork or other administrative task is spent here, as being around pain and death tends to relax him. The room is 25ftx25ft and has a ceiling about 12ft overhead. A decorative silken rope hangs from the ceiling just above the desk. If this rope is pulled, one of the prison’s bronze bells rings, announcing to everyone in the prison that Ragnan is in need of something. The poor fellow on the rack was his most recent trustee, who didn’t respond to such a call with as much speed and enthusiasm as Ragnan would have liked.
If Ragnan has not been encountered elsewhere in the prison, there is a 70% chance he is here or in his room (area 1) during the day and a 10% chance in the evening. There is an equal chance that Cael will be here or in his room (area 3) as well. If neither is here, pulling the bell cord will bring them both in 2 rounds if they are in their respective rooms or 1d10+3 rounds if they are elsewhere in the prison (a trustee will show up within one minute as well, but will flee combat). Additionally, if neither are here or in their rooms, the doors to areas 1 and 3 are both locked (Open Lock DC 28 or the iron key around Cael’s neck or Ragnan’s key ring). If combat ensues here, Ragnan’s favored tactic is to climb atop the desk (gaining a +1 to his attack rolls for having a height advantage) and bash anyone that comes too close. Meanwhile, Cael will attempt to fill as much of the floor as he can with summoned rat swarms. If he becomes low on hit points, Cael will try to maneuver himself behind the rack and use his energy drain attack on the unfortunate man that is helplessly strapped down.
The tapestry on the wall is obviously valuable and could potentially fetch a nice price, provided someone is willing to lug the heavy thing to the nearest market. The desk is locked (Open Lock DC 20 or a key from Ragnan’s key ring) and contains a few small bags of platinum coins as well as letters addressed to several local authorities containing barely hidden references to bribery. Additionally, there is an account ledger showing incoming funds being misappropriated. All in all, these things are enough to bring down Gornonwood Prison, as well as several corrupt officials… if they’re placed into the right hands.
The man on the rack probably won’t be much help to the PCs unless they have access to a regeneration spell. His tongue, eyes and fingers have all been violently removed, leaving him with little way to communicate.
3. Cael’s Chambers
Read to those without the means to see in the dark]This room is completely dark, almost unnaturally so. It smells strongly of rot and death.[/quote wrote:
This room is completely dark, almost unnaturally so. It smells strongly of rot and death.
Read to those with the means to see in the dark]This dark room smells strongly of rot and death. In the center of the room, two coffins rest on solid granite blocks. A large wooden armoire rests against the far right hand wall.
Whatever this room was originally built for, it has become home to the vampire Cael.  wrote:
This dark room smells strongly of rot and death. In the center of the room, two coffins rest on solid granite blocks. A large wooden armoire rests against the far right hand wall.[/quote] Whatever this room was originally built for, it has become home to the vampire Cael. The room is as large as Ragnan’s room (25ftx25ft), but seems larger for its lack of decoration and furnishing. There was once a window in the room, but Cael had it blocked up. The two coffins in the center of the room are decoys. Both contain semi-fresh bodies dressed in very cheesy eurotrash clothing and both are trapped:
Coffin lid smeared with contact poison: CR 5; mechanical; touch trigger (attached); manual reset; poison (nitharit, DC 13 Fortitude save resists, 0/3d6 Con); Search DC 25; Disable Device DC 19 (see the Dungeon Master’s Guide page 72)
Cael’s real coffin is located within a hollow in one of the granite blocks (the one farthest from the door). A successful Spot check (DC 25) will allow a PC to notice a minute seam in the block that suggests that the entire top is nothing more than a lid that can be pushed off (requiring a DC 20 Strength check).
If Cael has not been encountered elsewhere in the prison, there is a 70% chance he is here during the day and a 10% chance in the evening. If he is here, he will be in his coffin. Ragnan doesn’t like it in this room and has no real reason to be here most of the time, but he will come running within 2 rounds if he hears any unfamiliar sounds (meaning any real sounds at all, since Cael is normally quieter than a mouse). If combat ensues here, Cael will try to remain between the coffins to reduce the directions he can be flanked from (a PC may climb on top of the coffins to flank, but may become poisoned via the trap) and will try to dominate one of the PCs to use against the party. If Ragnan shows up, Cael’s focus will turn towards insuring his safety (see Cael’s NPC block below).
There is nothing of interest in the coffins, unless the party catches Cael unaware and is able to kill him before he gets out, in which case his magical gear (see Cael’s NPC block below) is available. The armoire is locked (Open Lock DC 25 or the bronze key around Cael’s neck) and aside from several sets of fine clothing, contains a veritable cornucopia of poisons, 3d12 vials containing 1d6+1 varieties (see the Dungeon Master’s Guide page 297). Additionally, there’s a decorative wooden box worth about 30gp and containing about 500gp worth of rubies. Lastly, there is a leather-bound book with gold colored letters reading “ALCHEMY AND YOU” on the cover (grants a +2 competence bonus to Craft (alchemy) checks so long as the user spends 10 minutes referencing the book prior to the check) worth about 40gp.
Using Gornonwood Prison in your game: Gornonwood Prison can be placed in practically any setting with little to no change, so long as it is located outside of a major metropolitan area. With a few changes here and there, it could even be adapted to fit in a city. If doing so, I would recommend detailing some local aristocrats who get paid to make sure the public doesn’t find out how bad it is inside the prison walls. Additionally, some thought should be given as to how to deal with the sounds of torture and sorrow that would occasionally be heard within the city. In a game where magic is fairly commonplace, spells such as zone of silence could be woven into the walls. In a game where magic is not so apparent or readily available, local legend might say that the prison is haunted and the screams are those of the pained dead.
As it stands, the easiest way to increase or decrease the encounter level of the prison is to fiddle with the numbers and power levels of the guards. During design, the author’s basic concept was that the guards should be 3rd level warriors with the occasional 3rd level fighter as a sergeant. To increase the threat to the PCs, the DM might convert all of the warriors to fighters. Additionally, the PCs might accidentally (or not accidentally) end up releasing the prisoners and causing a riot. Seeing as to how a great many of the prisoners would certainly be insane, a mob of prisoners might pose as great a threat to the PCs as the guards do. As another possible idea, a monster of some kind might be kept within the prison. An otyugh or a gelatinous cube would make good choices, as the bodies of dead prisoners would need to be disposed of somehow. Along this same line of thought, Ragnan might have allowed Cael to create a limited number of vampire spawn, though this option should be thought through carefully and justified before being used, as Ragnan would not make such a decision lightly, as it gives Cael more power within the prison than him.
Plot Hooks: Political Prisoner – The party has been contracted by a noble to enter the prison and find his son, who was arrested by the secret police and incarcerated secretly without a trial. The party must find a way into the prison, locate the noble’s son and make their way back out without killing anyone or leaving any signs of their intrusion (short of the missing noble). As a twist, the young noble might be guilty of the heinous crime for which he was locked up.
Proof – The party is contacted by a man claiming to have information about a way they could earn the favor of the church of Heironeous (or another deity dedicated to justice and/or law). He claims that corrupt officers, who use their position to inflict vile and unwarranted punishments against the prisoners, run Gornonwood Prison. If asked how he came across this information, he admits that he was once a guard there and can draw them a basic map of the prison. The party must find a way in and somehow locate proof positive that justice is not being served and basic humanity has been abandoned at the prison to present to the proper officials.
Arrested! – One of the PCs has been arrested and sentenced to a long term in Gornonwood Prison. The party must break her out and flee, lest they be hunted and arrested themselves or they must find proof of their friend’s innocence. Either way, the clock is ticking, as Ragnan has taken a liking to the “new fish” and will certainly end up torturing her to death within the next few days. As a twist, the party might brave the dangers of the prison and emerge into the warden’s office to find that the man on the rack is their friend.
Map: For the visual aid of the reader, I have provided a very basic map of the detailed area. To avoid causing H-scroll issues, I’ll simply post a link: MAP
History: Fountain Hall is built out of white marble in a niche carved into the side of a cliff face. A tribe of Orcs created it many years ago under the employ of a Cleric named Lathander Onos. This Cleric also had the Orcs redirect a nearby river to flow over and through the structure in many waterfalls. During the construction process, the Orc tribe became devoted to the Cleric. Lathander provided small services for the Orcs and they became his servants.
DM's may decide that the Orcs (or humanoid of choice) are slaves rather than servants, and make adjustments accordingly.
Outside Fountain Hall: Nothing is visible but a low, sheer cliff with a waterfall flowing down over it. The river is wide and deep near the falls, but narrows and becomes more shallow further on. On the west bank of the river near the cliff face is a small hut with a thatched roof and walls of sticks and clay. An investigation of the hut reveals a plain room with only a small altar centered in the back.
The Orc tribe lives only a short distance away and leaves offerings to the Cleric on this altar. PC's may find some coins, jewelry, pottery, food, etc. They may encounter members of the Orc tribe (MM p. 203) who have come bearing such gifts. They may also meet Lathander or his Gnome companion, Aksamit Tinkertoy, here as they come to gather the offerings.
Since it's completion, Orcs have not been allowed inside Fountain Hall. But, they can summon Lathander at need with a horn call. They may also reveal the Hall's entrance if severely threatened. However, unless the Orcs are killed, they will blow the horn in a warning to alert the Cleric. If the Orcs are slaves, it will take a lesser amount of threatening and the orcs will provide no warning to the Cleric.
The entrance is a 5' x 7' doorway located 10' to the left of the eastern bank behind the waterfall. There is a 5' ledge all the way across the front of the structure. With the constant rush of water, the ledge is slippery and requires a balance check, DC13. Falling into the waterfall deals 1d6 non-lethal damage every round. With a successful swim/strength check, DC15, PC's can get free of the waterfall, otherwise they go under (see Water Dangers & Drowning, DMG pg. 304). PC's have a 25% chance of emerging back behind the waterfall, and 75% chance of being swept down the river.
Inside Fountain Hall: The Great Room is the largest room in the structure. There is an extensive collection of fountains that decorate the walls in this room. There is a long basin (along the right wall and three-quarters of the way across the back) which is home to various wall mounted and freestanding fountains and a 5-tiered fountain that takes up most of the left wall, also with other fountains feeding into it. There are channels along the floor in a "t" shape to direct the water flow out through the doorway and back into the river. Columns decorate each point of the intersection.
Although set into a cliff, there is nothing cave-like about this structure. It remains bright due to many lanterns containing Continual Flame stones, which can be covered or moved at need. There are also windows high on the front wall that allow natural light to shine through the main waterfall.
The Great Room is a 30' wide x 40' long room. This is a perfect place for Water Elementals (MM p. 100) and Oozes (MM p. 202) to live and help protect Fountain Hall. You may also wish to include Stone Golem (MM p. 137) "statues" mixed in with the fountains.
In the far left corner is a doorway leading to a long corridor about 10' x 30'. The door is metal, and, if closed, one must push in and slide the door to the left. The door is not locked or trapped, but has a closing mechanism, DC25 to locate and DC20 to disable.
The corridor is unadorned and has another metal door at the far end. The walls are marble up to 7' and glass the remaining 3', with water flowing behind the glass. There are several small drains along the floor next to the walls.
Just over halfway down the corridor is a pressure plate the full width of the hallway and 5' across that activates as soon as more than 30 lbs. is applied, DC17 to locate the plate and DC23 to disable. The plate triggers the door closing mechanisms (for both doors), locks the doors then lowers the glass to allow the corridor to fill with water.
It takes a DC15 to unlock either door (+1 every round due to bad footing, slippery tools, etc., max +5) and a Strength check to open it against the water, DC13 (+1 per foot of water, max +10). The corridor fills in 2 minutes (6" per round) and the glass is raised back into position. If the doors remain closed, the hallway remains filled with water for 5 minutes before it starts to drain, taking 30 minutes to empty completely. Once drained, the doors unlock. DM's may alter this trap so as not to kill their PC's. (See Drowning, DMG pg. 304.)
Through the door at the end of the corridor is a large grate for drainage and a hallway to the left. Once the PC's exit the corridor, a ghost floats up to them and starts ridiculing and taunting the PC's on how they look like drowned rats, will drip all over everything, etc. It continues to follow them around, telling them they're going to get in trouble, they're not doing (whatever) right, asking how their mother's ever let them off her apron strings, etc. If turned, it will not cower, but will stay approx. 15' away from the PC's still shouting remarks. The ghost should not attack.
The ghost is Shard Silvercloak, a former apprentice to Aksamit. He was killed in an unfortunate explosion (good thing there was plenty of water) and has been pestering the Gnome and Cleric (to a lesser extent) ever since. Lathander has not allowed Aksamit to take on another apprentice.
The first door to the right contains a workshop with many mechanical objects. Tables are heaped with a multitude of clutter in the form of gears, wires, tubes, all forms of metal trinkets, a small waterwheel, etc. There is a stove in one corner with a teapot that has a thin coating of oil. There are no windows in this room. In the middle of the right wall is a set of wooden double doors.
The workshop is 15' wide x 20' long and belongs to Aksamit Tinkertoy, who uses the water as a power source for some of his projects and has helped construct some of the traps protecting the Hall. The adjacent room, also 15' x 20', is the Gnome's bedchambers. The doors are trapped with a poison needle trap, Fortitude save DC13, DC22 to locate and DC20 to disable. The doors are also locked, DC15 to open. The bedroom holds nothing of value.
The room on the other side of the doors is a plainly decorated bedchamber. In the far corner is a small washroom with a grated floor and a small slit in the ceiling with a glass covering and pull-string. Across the hallway from the workshop is a kitchen with a fully stocked pantry.
Next to the kitchen is Lathander's bedroom/workroom. The interior wall is a solid sheet of glass with water falling behind. The exterior wall has the same high windows as the Great Room. This is a larger, more lavishly decorated room with a seating area, a few tables full of items for potion making and a shelf with completed potions. He has a larger washroom with a tub and "shower" area.
The Cleric's bedroom is 15' wide x 30' long. The potions on the shelf can be of whatever kind appeals to your PC's, nothing too fancy, but should contain some potions of Cure Light Wounds, Water Breathing and Water Walk (mostly for the gnome), and possibly Holy Water. There should not be any other treasure found in this room.
At the end of the hallway is a secret door, DC20 to locate, that leads out to the ledge and is close to the alter/hut. This is the fastest way of bringing the offerings into the structure and into the treasure room.
The treasure room door is locked, DC20 to open, and trapped with a Glyph of Warding: (Blast) 2d8 Searing Light, 180' range, no save, DC28 to locate, DC15 Spellcraft to identify, DC28 to disable. The room is 15' x 15' and the treasure equals roughly 4,000gp.
Across the hallway from the Cleric's bedroom is a locked metal-banded wooden door. A small pile of coins, urns, chalices, statues, etc. is inside this room, and seems to have been carelessly heaped in the center of the floor. Lining the walls are pottery and weapons. On a table in the left-hand corner are some daggers and articles of jewelry. These are apparently the offerings of the Orc tribe.
The following two rooms were added after the orcs were banned from the Hall, and are unknown to them. There is a secret door behind the table in the corner on the left wall. ONLY if the PC's search for secret doors do they find it, DC20.
Inside this tiny stone room are some paintings leaning against the wall and a small desk containing books and parchment. This looks like a much drier area to keep such fragile items.
The room is 6' x 10'. DM's may have the books contain information on any subject, and may include spell scrolls in with the other papers. Items in this room have an approximate value of 14,000gp.
There is another secret door in this room and should only be found with a successful search, DC30. It is locked, DC30 to open, and trapped with a Glyph of Warding: (Touch) 2d8+5 Inflict Moderate Wounds, will save 1/2 against DC14, DC28 to locate, DC12 Spellcraft to identify, DC28 to disable. The bulk of items in this 15' x 15' chamber are rarities such as large gems, magic weapons/wands/rods, wondrous items, Dragon scales, Centaur hooves, Behir leather, whatever the DM would throw in here that is unusual and valuable. The treasure in this room is spread along a low, rough dais and equals roughly 50,000gp. The dais is actually a Mimic (MM p. 186).
Using this setting: DM's may divulge as little or as much of the given information, change details of the setting, NPC names, statistics, monster types, etc. as fits into your game. Traps may be altered for CR (See DMG pg. 70 for sample traps). The setting can be in any climate, except extreme heat where there is little water. It can be slightly modified for icy temperatures. The cliff face and waterfall is only 11' high so it can be used in a variety of terrain - just about anywhere there is a river.
PC's may be referred to the Cleric for healing, holy water, or other divine intervention. The Orcs may have turned on the Cleric and started vandalizing the Hall, prompting the Cleric to summon aid from the town/city. PC’s may have had an encounter with the Orc tribe and learned of the treasure and the Hall's location. PC’s may have stumbled onto the setting by accident and waited until someone showed up, or followed the trail to the Orc village. PC’s may have met water sprites further down the river that told them to “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain”. Or any other option that fits in your game setting.
Stats: Lathander Onos, 8th Level Human Cleric of the Water Domain Align: CN, Male, Age 38, 5' 10", 180 lbs., Green Eyes, Platinum Blonde Hair. STR 10, DEX 10, CON 11, INT 14, WIS 16, CHA 15, HP 48, AC 10 (No Armor) Profession: Herbalist / Craft: Alchemy / Weapons: Quarter staff, Light Crossbow Feats: Brew Potion, Extend Spell, Still Spell, Silent Spell Special Abilities: Turn Undead, Turn Fire Creatures, Command Water Creatures Favored Spells: Resistance, Detect Evil, Sanctuary, Hold Person, Summon Monster II, Water Walk, Neutralize Poison, Tongues, Water Breathing, Control Water, Enthrall, Stone Shape
Aksamit Iarmol Ableman Tinkertoy, 5th Level Gnome Rogue Align: CN, Male, Age: 120, 3' 5", 43 lbs., Blue Eyes, Sandy Blonde Hair STR 9, DEX 15, CON 13, INT 15, WIS 12, CHA 11, HP 25, AC 15 (Leather Armor) Profession: Inventor / Crafts: Trapmaking & Alchemy / Weapons: Short Sword, Light Crossbow, Daggers (2) Feats: Nimble Fingers, Great Fortitude Special Abilities: Low Light Vision, Sneak Attack +3d6, Trap Finding, Trap Sense +1, Evasion, Uncanny Dodge
Any names of towns, locations, persons and even the name of the ship, The Leap of Faith, can be changed and shaped to fit your campaign. Description and History
In what seems like a lifetime ago the first bottle of expensive wine exploded ceremoniously against her hull on a fine, clear and warm day as many were there to wish her, and her owner Dinyll Nattier, off with the best of wishes. A former adventurer on the seas Dinyll had always dreamed of running his own ship. But between clearing the waters of Andrillyl and removing pirates from the Lost Isles as well as protecting his hometown, Cape Lonely, Dinyll had simply never found the time, until now. Dinyll had spent a large portion of his adventuring money to build what he would hope become one of the greatest fishing boats in the area. A Leap of Faith he called it because he believed it to be just that. A Leap of Faith to simply live out the rest of his days as a simple fisherman, helping his people and believing that the only drop of blood that would ever touch his prides deck would be that from a fish. Large by any standards The Leap of Faith ran 65 feet from bow to stern. With three large white sails she would be fast and with a narrow starboard to port measurement she was agile. She was truly a sight, something that the people of Cape Lonely could be proud of. They had no idea. That “lifetime ago” was actually six months ago, but that’s the effect on time that war has on people. The simple town of Cape Lonely had become a base of operations for united troops who were trying to repel attack after attack of invading pirates. The Leap of Faith did serve her people well. Acting as a floating triage, housing both the healers and the dead, she also was acting a war cutter. She knifed in between the larger and much slower pirate ships aiding where she could while many people died on her decks. All the while Dinyll sat at the wheel barking orders and steering true, simply bearing the mantle of responsibility to protect his people, his coast, his town and his dream. Anyone still in the wasteland of Cape Lonely can tell you of the night that The Leap of Faith fell. She was moving backward slowly towards the cape in near ruin. Every soul on her deck knew this was the end and those that could, even some that couldn’t, took up arms against the impending attack. The ships, two heavy battle boats, that were named Skull and Bones, were gaining on her and would be on her flanks within moments. Knowing that his time was near Dinyll set upon the bow wishing the men well and, by many accounts, patted his ships rails and whispered, “We had a good run, right girl?” The Leap of Faith never fully sank, a good 30 feet of her still sits out of the water at an angle. Thinking it haunted, nobody has ventured to her since that night.
Plot Hooks Plunder – The PCs have heard of a sunken ship with treasure. However the ship is said to be haunted.
Family – The PCs are looking for any family or friends that may have been in the war at Cape Lonely.
Commision - The local Baron wants the PCs to clear the wreckage of the ghost ship so that trade may resume and Cape Lonely will again be an active port.
Description Just the Beginning
As you walk among the ruined town many downcast eyes look at you with fear, curiosity and pain. The buildings are in poor repair and the roads are little better than packed mud. The smell of fish, fresh dirt, garbage and saltwater hangs like a heavy fog on this area and you see a long yet barely there dock. No boats are anchored but approximately 100 feet off of the coast you see half of a sunken vessel. In faded blue lettering set against a pale, cracking whitewash the boat gives you her name, The Leap of Faith.
The dock can safely get the PCs off of the coast and out into the water approximately 40ft. From there the PCs can swim, use magic or appropriate a boat from a townsman. The Swim DC is 10 (calm water) and armor check penalties will apply. A PC with a land speed of 30 can take a full round action and move 15 feet per round. In this matter it will take a PC four rounds to swim to the wreckage. More information on Swimming and the Swim skill can be found on page 84 of the Players Handbook. To get a hold of the town’s lone fishing boat the PCs can make a Gather Information check DC15 to find the boats keeper Tyler Wilkes who will loan it for a few silvers. If the PCs offer any money while gathering information the DC decreases to 5. If a single gold or anything of similar or higher value is presented, a person will take them to Tyler personally.
Narrative]After your swim you reach the back end of the boat. While you could climb up the broken wood slats there is an old rope that hangs down from the boat and into the water.
The rope climb is the easiest with a DC5 climb check but, at best, only two can climb at a time. This means that the PCs must tread water and wait. To climb the ships walls is a DC10. More on the Climb skill can be found on pg. 69 of the Players Handbook.
Ahoy Mates, Welcome Aboard!   wrote:
After your swim you reach the back end of the boat. While you could climb up the broken wood slats there is an old rope that hangs down from the boat and into the water.[/quote] The rope climb is the easiest with a DC5 climb check but, at best, only two can climb at a time. This means that the PCs must tread water and wait. To climb the ships walls is a DC10. More on the Climb skill can be found on pg. 69 of the Players Handbook.
Ahoy Mates, Welcome Aboard!
Narrative]You stand on the rear of deck of The Leap of Faith looking at a deck that is smeared with dried and aging blood. There are small cracks and holes littered throughout the deck and a very yellow and utterly worthless piece of sail still attached to the ships boom gently slaps against the starboard as each small wave carries it along. There is a busted trap door directly in front of you which leads to the depths of the ship. Just underneath the surface of the water you can see a small amount of stained glass still set in the door. Because of the ships slight angle and tilt you realize movement will be slow but doable.
The area of this deck is 30 feet long and is approximately 20 feet in width, increasing that width by another 5 feet at the very end of the ship. There is nothing of interest here as most of the bodies and items have long since fell into the ocean. All Dexterity based skills will either add a +2 to the DC or have a -2 penalty at the DMs discretion.
Going Below If the PCs wish to go into the hatch read the following.   wrote:
You stand on the rear of deck of The Leap of Faith looking at a deck that is smeared with dried and aging blood. There are small cracks and holes littered throughout the deck and a very yellow and utterly worthless piece of sail still attached to the ships boom gently slaps against the starboard as each small wave carries it along. There is a busted trap door directly in front of you which leads to the depths of the ship. Just underneath the surface of the water you can see a small amount of stained glass still set in the door. Because of the ships slight angle and tilt you realize movement will be slow but doable.[/quote] The area of this deck is 30 feet long and is approximately 20 feet in width, increasing that width by another 5 feet at the very end of the ship. There is nothing of interest here as most of the bodies and items have long since fell into the ocean. All Dexterity based skills will either add a +2 to the DC or have a -2 penalty at the DMs discretion.
Going Below If the PCs wish to go into the hatch read the following.
Narrative]Looking down into the ship with the sunlight on your back giving you some help as well as the gaping hole letting in light you see all the way to the bottom of the ship. Water ebbs and flows between the fallen timbers, shelves and flooring that once compromised the inside of the ship. As the small waves wash back and forth it bends the light just enough to bring a flash of light glinting off of metal.
The metal item is in fact a Longsword +1. The drop to the wreckage is 20 feet and the landing is considered to be 10 feet because of the wreckage and the natural tapering of the ships hull. The trap door can support the weight of two PCs if they wish to tie a rope off to climb down. Of course they may jump down using the Tumble (+2 to DC) and Jump rules found on page 84 and 77, respectively, in the PHB. The PCs may also get a Spot check DC15 to notice the two Zombies located here. Of course the PCs can once again go into the water and climb into it from the break in the ship.
The Back End – wrote:
Looking down into the ship with the sunlight on your back giving you some help as well as the gaping hole letting in light you see all the way to the bottom of the ship. Water ebbs and flows between the fallen timbers, shelves and flooring that once compromised the inside of the ship. As the small waves wash back and forth it bends the light just enough to bring a flash of light glinting off of metal.[/quote] The metal item is in fact a Longsword +1. The drop to the wreckage is 20 feet and the landing is considered to be 10 feet because of the wreckage and the natural tapering of the ships hull. The trap door can support the weight of two PCs if they wish to tie a rope off to climb down. Of course they may jump down using the Tumble (+2 to DC) and Jump rules found on page 84 and 77, respectively, in the PHB. The PCs may also get a Spot check DC15 to notice the two Zombies located here. Of course the PCs can once again go into the water and climb into it from the break in the ship.
[u][b]The Back End – EL3
Narrative]As you lower yourselves (or climb yourselves into) the tight area you are immediately greeted by the strong smell of death. Hands protrude from between the timber, many of them skeletal. While looking around you see two zombies making their way towards you, side by side, reaching for you.
These Zombies have been waiting for movement for awhile. They will attack the closest PC first showing no real tactics. Remember that only two PCs can fit side by side at a time. Or one large sized PC may stand in one area at any given time. It is considered that this area will hold the two zombies and up to 5 PCs. The Zombies can be used straight out of the Monster Manual (pg. 66) but have been modified here for a more difficult encounter. Notes are below under Creatures and NPCs. Using the modified Zombies and due to the nature of the area the Encounter Level is considered a 3. See the DMG pg. 49 for more details. Once finished the PCs may search the area. A Search DC of 10 will find two unbroken bottles of fine wine (25gp each) while a Search DC of 15 will find the bottles and a sack of 100gp and 1 Potion of Water Breathing. There is the +1 Longsword as well.
Underwater Adventure The following part of the lair is primarily underwater with the ship being entirely so. The PCs will have to swim or grab onto wreckage to propel themselves through the underwater portals. Common light sources will obviously not work but Light spells, Everburning Torches and Sunrods will work fine. Of course, darkvision works too. For more information on swimming look in the PHB pg. 84 while page 304 in the DMG will give rules for drowning.
Going Under   wrote:
As you lower yourselves (or climb yourselves into) the tight area you are immediately greeted by the strong smell of death. Hands protrude from between the timber, many of them skeletal. While looking around you see two zombies making their way towards you, side by side, reaching for you.[/quote] These Zombies have been waiting for movement for awhile. They will attack the closest PC first showing no real tactics. Remember that only two PCs can fit side by side at a time. Or one large sized PC may stand in one area at any given time. It is considered that this area will hold the two zombies and up to 5 PCs. The Zombies can be used straight out of the Monster Manual (pg. 66) but have been modified here for a more difficult encounter. Notes are below under Creatures and NPCs. Using the modified Zombies and due to the nature of the area the Encounter Level is considered a 3. See the DMG pg. 49 for more details. Once finished the PCs may search the area. A Search DC of 10 will find two unbroken bottles of fine wine (25gp each) while a Search DC of 15 will find the bottles and a sack of 100gp and 1 Potion of Water Breathing. There is the +1 Longsword as well.
Underwater Adventure The following part of the lair is primarily underwater with the ship being entirely so. The PCs will have to swim or grab onto wreckage to propel themselves through the underwater portals. Common light sources will obviously not work but Light spells, Everburning Torches and Sunrods will work fine. Of course, darkvision works too. For more information on swimming look in the PHB pg. 84 while page 304 in the DMG will give rules for drowning.
Narrative]Lying underwater before you is the second half of the Leap of Faith. While her hull has pretty much fell in on itself and would be difficult to enter. However the door with the broken stained glass is closed but, being only knee deep, can be opened.
The door truly is, and should be, the only point of entry into the depths of The Leap of Faith. Treat the door as per pg. 61 of the DMG (Table 3-10) under “ wrote:
Lying underwater before you is the second half of the Leap of Faith. While her hull has pretty much fell in on itself and would be difficult to enter. However the door with the broken stained glass is closed but, being only knee deep, can be opened.[/quote] The door truly is, and should be, the only point of entry into the depths of The Leap of Faith. Treat the door as per pg. 61 of the DMG (Table 3-10) under “Good Wooden”. However, because of the water the break DC “stuck” is 18, not 16. The door opens up towards the PCs.
Narrative]The murky water offers you no visibility into the depths of The Leap of Faith. You realize you will have to go swimming to venture further.
The PCs can only enter through the door one at a time.  wrote:
The murky water offers you no visibility into the depths of The Leap of Faith. You realize you will have to go swimming to venture further.[/quote] The PCs can only enter through the door one at a time. It opens into a cabin room 20ft long and 15 feet wide. Floating amongst the debris is a trapped Squid (pg 281 of the Monster Manual). The Squid sits atop a trap door which will open when the squid is killed or is allowed to swim to freedom. For combat underwater check the DMG, pages 92 and 93.
Chamber Room – EL2
Narrative]As you swim into the room you see small squid which advances towards you. The room barely fits the lot of you as you prepare for battle. The debris makes it difficult to see.
Trap Door and Crawlspace[/b wrote:
As you swim into the room you see small squid which advances towards you. The room barely fits the lot of you as you prepare for battle. The debris makes it difficult to see.[/quote] [b] Trap Door and Crawlspace
Narrative]Where the Squid was one at now lays an open trap door. The opening is small and you realize that only one of you may fit at a time.
Where the Squid was one at now lays an open trap door. The opening is small and you realize that only one of you may fit at a time.[/quote] Continuing
Narrative]This small crawlspace makes it so that only one of you can fit. While you can crawl along the passage easily enough you see a fait shimmering of a wall 10ft. down the crawlspace.
This small crawlspace makes it so that only one of you can fit. While you can crawl along the passage easily enough you see a fait shimmering of a wall 10ft. down the crawlspace.[/quote] Continuing
Narrative]You see a room which encompasses the majority of the hull. A small chest and some papers rest along the tapered end of the bow. Touching the shimmering wall you realize that you may pass through and little water will follow.
The trap door opens into an old crawl space that Dinyll used to get to a hidden treasure vault. The crawl space is 5ft. wide by 7ft tall. It extends towards the bow and after 10ft. ends into a dry room. The room is blocked by a permanent Wall of Force however the Wall of Force will not end when the PCs pass through it. The room is 26 feet wide that tapers to 2ft. ending at the bow. Of course, because of the angle, the floor is actually the wall and the PCs stand on the tapered end of the bow.  wrote:
You see a room which encompasses the majority of the hull. A small chest and some papers rest along the tapered end of the bow. Touching the shimmering wall you realize that you may pass through and little water will follow.[/quote] The trap door opens into an old crawl space that Dinyll used to get to a hidden treasure vault. The crawl space is 5ft. wide by 7ft tall. It extends towards the bow and after 10ft. ends into a dry room. The room is blocked by a permanent Wall of Force however the Wall of Force will not end when the PCs pass through it. The room is 26 feet wide that tapers to 2ft. ending at the bow. Of course, because of the angle, the floor is actually the wall and the PCs stand on the tapered end of the bow. The Wall of Force can be identified as such with a DC15 Spellcraft check. Treasure Room In the treasure vault is where the spirit of Dinyll waits for salvation. Once the PCs are all in the room, or at the DMs discretion, the ghost of Dinyll will make himself present.
Narrative]Before you can open the chest you see a hazy form of a human male coalesce at the shimmering wall. He reaches out to you and in a hallow voice begins to speak. “ wrote:
Before you can open the chest you see a hazy form of a human male coalesce at the shimmering wall. He reaches out to you and in a hallow voice begins to speak. “By the Gods I welcome you. It seems like an eternity since I have seen a living soul! I must beg of you one request though. Please sink my darling. It is her time and the time for all of the unrested souls tied to her to be freed. You see, many believed this ship haunted and would never come to her. Ahhh, she was beauty. Please sink her so that we may rest. Take my gold as reward young travelers and be on your way.”
The chest is locked and requires an Open Lock check DC20. Inside the chest is 300gp and gems totaling 200gp. There is a Ring of Swimming as well as 2 potions of Water Breathing. Resting inside the chest is a small obsidian box that is unlocked. In the box is a Necklace of Fireballs Type 2 which can be found in the DMG pg. 263.
Narration]When you get the chest open you see a lot of gold, a ring and two potions. There is a small obsidian box that, when open, reveals an orange necklace with small orange pearls on it. A small description tells you what the item is and what its purpose is. You realize that you have found The Leap of Faith’ wrote:
When you get the chest open you see a lot of gold, a ring and two potions. There is a small obsidian box that, when open, reveals an orange necklace with small orange pearls on it. A small description tells you what the item is and what its purpose is. You realize that you have found The Leap of Faith’s and her crew’s salvation.
Basically the PCs may use any one of the fireballs attached to bring down the portion of The Leap of Faith that hasn’t been taken under. The explosion will finish what the attack upon the Leap of Faith by the pirates could not.
DM Notes This adventure is set for a quick low-level adventure. Of course, the treasure may include more Potions of Water Breathing if necessary.
Characters and NPCs Tyler Wilkes Male human Com1: CR 1; Size M (5 ft., 8 in. tall); HD 1d4+1; hp 5; Init +3 (+3 Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 13 (+3 Dex); Attack +3 melee, or +3 ranged; SV Fort +1, Ref +3, Will +2; AL NG; Str 17, Dex 17, Con 13, Int 14, Wis 14, Cha 12. Languages Spoken: Orc, Common, Goblin. Skills and feats: Craft (Sculpting) +7, Craft (Shipmaking) +6, Craft (Stonemasonry) +6, Hide +3, Jump +5, Listen +2, Move Silently +3, Profession (Miner) +6, Ride +7, Spot +2; Run, Skill Focus (Craft (Sculpting)). Possessions: Tools, Leather Smock, 2sp Dinyll Nattier Ghost from the Monster Manual pg. 117, use the 5th level fighter example. Of course levels may be varied if the PCs wish to attack Dinyll.
Zombies These use the variant Fast Zombie from Libris Mortis (pg. 173). Basically it increases the CR by +1/2. Granted abilities are a movement of 30ft. and the ability to do more than just a single action per round. However they still only get one attack. A Fast Zombie gets an additional +2 Dodge bonus to AC. Base zombies can be found in the Monster Manual pg. 265 and, of course, any Zombie type may be substituted depending on the level of the PCs.
Therza, the Dryad, lived for many long years deep in the heart of the Blackbriar forest tending the trees and communing with the plants and animals. One day a solitary elf from a far off land wandered through the woods and rested his head against the great oak that the dryad made her home. She was filled with worry that the strange creature would cause harm to her home. She summoned some of her allies and assailed the elf. The Elf yielded to his assailants and begged that he be released and he would leave the woods without a trace. He offered the dryad a small seed as a gesture of good will. Therza sensed no evil intentions in the elf and agreed to his request, took the gift, and sent him on his way.
For many months she kept the gift seed wrapped in leaves and hidden away, but alas, her curiosity got the better of her and she planted the seed close to her home tree. It did not take long for the small seed to sprout forth from the ground, and with the dryads careful attention, the sprout turned into a sapling and the sapling into a young, strong tree.
The tree was so beautiful to Thezra that she spent long days tending it and sitting under it. It had beautiful gold-green leaves and would spout lovely pink flowers. As more years passed she collected several of the seeds from the tree and planted them, Soon she became very curious about finding new and different trees to plant in her forrest. She sent off her forest kin to find new forests and collect new seeds and as years passed, she had a rather sizable arbor of beautiful and exotic trees.
Therza's concern over her trees distracted her from all the other goings on in the forest and she was unaware of the encroaching race of men at the footstep of the Blackbriar forest. In fact, she did not much care anyway. The garden of trees consumed Therza's passion. Soon her forest friends stopped visiting her and for several years she spent most of her time alone with her trees.
Outside Therza's utopian woods, conflict began to smolder. The Humans from the surrounding lands encroached deeper into the forest and logging villages sprouted up to replace the felled woods. Soon a wide road was cut through the woods. The other creatures of the forest could not stand idly by. The great Treant Grobsbark rallied others of his kind and with the help of some druids, razed several villages and blocked up the road.
It did not take long for the humans to set up a raiding party to hunt down the ones responsible for the destruction. Through the use of divination and magic the humans hunted down and killed most of the treants and their allies and drove Grobersbark deep into the heart of the forest. The hunting party pursued as far as they could but finally lost him. In the party's search they happened upon Therza's glade. The humans were taken aback by the slpendor of the exotic woods and some, recognizing very rare trees, pulled out there axes and began chopping.
Therza, who had hidden from the party at first, screeched out in horror as the first of her trees fell. She lashed out at them with all her might and cried for the aid of any allies who might be nearby. Luckily, Grobsbark heard her cry and came to Therza's aid. Together, they killed most of the hunting party and sent the rest to flight.
Not sensing anywhere else to go, Grobsbark struck a deal with Therza, in exchange for letting him stay in her glade and reorganizing forces against the humans he would help protect her beloved trees from the humans. Over the next several days Grobsbark herded hundreds of oak trees into a thick, impenetrable wall around Thersa's glade and set to making plans to stop the encroaching humans.
Thersa's long years of solitude had made her selfish and a little insane. Her love and care for the forest was supplanted for her love for her garden but she was wise enough to accept the protection of the treant.
1. The town guard are offering a reward for Grobsbark's death. 2. A wizard informs the party that he knows of a rare wood held in Therza's Garden that holds magical properties. Fetch some of the wood for the wizard. 3. A family of displaced villagers meet the party on the road and relate the story of Grobsbark laying waste to their town. 4. A druid and/or ranger tell the party of a rogue dryad who abominates the woods by growing corrupted trees and plants. 5. Grobsbark's minions attack the party while encamped in the woods and relate to the adventurers that their trespassing means their death by order of Grobsbark.
Setting the Stage:
The town of Woodsborrow (small town) sits at the edge of the forest on a large road and is the most likely starting point for the characters. Grobsbark has done some very nasty things to the humans and they are not happy about it. If any of the locals talk about him in any way, they are quite upset and speak only of hatred for him. Not many people know of Therza's garden. Those who do wish to plunder it or see it as a strange abomination.
Grobsbark is harbors intense hatred for the humans and their allies. He has suffered at their hand and will gladly spend his life seeking revenge. He sees all humanoid creatures as being "humans" regardless of whether or not they actually are.
Therza's only real concern is for her garden. She sees any strange creature, especially those who look like the ones who chopped down her beloved tree, as a threat to be stopped.
Part 1 The Great Thicket
As the adventurers approach the Garden the forest becomes nearly impassible as Grobsbark has done his best to hinder invasion.
read: Your trek through the woods becomes harder and harder as brambles and bushes claw at your clothes and scratch your face. Overhead a thick canopy of branches and leaves blots out the sky and casts the forest floor into dusky dimness. Up ahead the trees seem to close together making the passage more tight and even impassable. As you continue forward you see the trees grow tightly together into an impassible wall. Above you you see the wall of trees stretch thirty or more feet into the air and disappear into the canopy of leaves.
The players may examine the wall and will find that it forms a tight impassible barrier around a 330ft diameter area and extends into the air for over 30 feet all the way round. If the party searches carefully (dc 20 search check) they will find the discarded remains of the hunting party that was defeated before the fortress was erected on the southwestern part of the complex approximately 20ft. from the wall. The party may find a smattering of gold amongst the 5 corpses (48 gold pieces total) and one Masterwork longsword. The dead hunters' other items are all ruined by the treant and show signs of being smashed and bent with great power. By this time the corpses are well rotted and mostly picked apart by animals and flies.
Approximately on the northern and southern ends of the barrier, there are Well-Camoulaged Pit traps (as in the DM Guide; DC 27 Search, DC 25 Reflex avoids, 70 ft fall, DC 18 Disable Device to disarm) If the adventurers search all the way around the wall, they will encounter both traps otherwise they may only encounter one or none if they approach from the east or west side
Getting into the garden is a difficult task but can be accomplished in several ways. Grobsbark uses his animate trees ability to enter and exit the garden and Therza typically uses her tree stride ability to come in and out, though she rarely leaves and only for short periods of time.
The party may simply wait for Grobsbark to leave. If they do, Grobsbark will exit the garden in 2d12 - 2 hours and will exit on a randomly determined point of the wall. (roll 1d8 on a one he exits on the north end, two on the north east, three on the east, four on the south east, five on the south, six, on the southwest, seven on the west, and eight on the northwest.) If the party is near enough to Grobsbark's exit location they may make listen checks to hear the movement of trees otherwise they cannot hear or see whats going on. His exit takes only one minute and he always closes the wall behind him. Grobsbark will return in 1d4 hours and will enter at a randomly determined place in the wall.
Climbing over the wall is very difficult but doable. The wall is in fact 50ft tall. The player may attempt a DC 30 climb check to scale up the first 30ft. of the wall and a dc 15 climb check the rest of the way where there are branches to hold on to.
The easiest way to get past the wall is to either use the same technique as the lairs inhabitants or to fly over the top. other spells such as Wood Shape, gaseous form, spiderclimb, are also useful.
The adventurers may try to chop a hole in the wall but such attempts will be met with swift and surprising action from Grobsbark. It is nearly impossible to burn down the wall as the trees are quite strong and green.
Part 2 Therza's Garden
Therza and Grobsbark most likely aware of the adventurers and will attempt to hide and wait for the right moment to strike. If the party attacks Grobersbark on his way out of or into the garden, Therza will spring to action immediately when conflict arises.
For the purposes of this encounter create a generally circular area about 300ft wide. In the center there is a huge oak tree (Thurza's home tree). Randomly fill in the rest of the area with as many trees as desired from sizes medium to huge. Keep in mind the need for Grobsbark and his animated minions to have freedom of movement. Also, have at least 3 other huge trees available for him to animate. The wall itself is comprised of huge trees so he may call on them to attack if needed.
When the players enter the garden read:
before you stretches a wide expanse of beautiful and wondrous trees. Above you the once-thick canopy of leaves opens to the sun and rays of golden light gently caress the leaves of the multitudes of exotic trees. In the center an enormous gnarled oak towers majestically over the other trees like a shepherd over its sheep. a small brook bubbles from a cluster of rocks at the foot of the enormous oak. The area seems like a haven of peace and serenity, yet the foreign trees do seem shockingly out of place compared to the rest of the woods.
Grobsbark and Therza will wait patiently in tree form (dryad spell like ability tree shape, and automatic tree shape for the treant) for the right time to strike. If a player moves to strike or harm a tree Therza will immediately attempt to stop the party. Her first defense is to use suggestion or charm the person she deems to be the greatest threat. Once Grobsbark rises to action he will immediately animate trees and will stand as a wall while Therza shoots with her bow and casts spells. When the battle turns to her disfavor she will attempt to flee using her tree stride ability. Keep in mind that she cannot go far from her home tree. Neither Grobsbark nor Therza are too willing to speak to the adventurers. Grobsbark is intensely hateful of humans and their friends and Therzra's only care is for her garden, and after hearing the stories of Grobsbark, views humanoids as only a threat. Only a Druid may make an attempt at diplomacy (DC 25 Diplomacy check to become unfriendly)
Treasure: There are a few items that Therza kept as trinkets including: Silver chalice with lapis lazuli gems (100 gp) Amethyst gem (100 gp) Silver mirror with garnet inlays(200 gp) Piece of pink coral (100 gp)
However, the real treasure is in the actual wood in the various trees throughout the garden. The DM may choose several of the following trees and types of wood to harvest from the forest if desired. Keep in mind your own treasure restrictions and be sure not to allow anything that you feel would overpower or unbalance your game. Also remember the characters carrying limits and such. For each valuable tree, the party must make a DC 20 Knowledge Nature, or DC 20 Craft Woodworking check or the appropriate Appraise check(according to the value of the wood [see below]) to recognize its value. Note: Therza's garden is not entirely comprised of the trees listed below. Many of the trees in this enclosure are native forest trees and the others are simply "exotic" or misplaced with no other special properties.
Phasewood - Can be used in conjunction with the Secret Chest spell. Any crude box made from phasewood will work with the Secret Chest spell, circumventing the need for a finely crafted 5,000 gp value chest as described in the spell, and the caster may only retain a piece of phasewood to access the secret chest circumventing the need for an exact replica of the chest as described in the spell. Phasewood treats a bag of holding as a non-magical bag of its actual size and capacity. An enchanter may easily create a "Box of Holding" from a phasewood box with the Craft Wondrous Item feat (as the Bag of Holding). The tree has jagged, variegated green and gold leaves with dark blackish bark and long vines that wrap around its branches. The wood is dark green in color. Value: 250gp/cubic ft.
Darkwood - As described in the Dungeon Masters Guide. Tree has wide, dark brown leaves dark brown seed pods dangling from its branches. The Bark of the tree is also dark brown and the wood of the tree is dark brown as well. Value: 50gp/cubic ft.
Bronzewood - This rare tree has wood that is as tough as metal and may be fashioned into weapons and armor that would normally be made from metal. the wood item is 10% lighter than a normal item of that kind. The leaves of this tree are reddish gold and the trunk is a gnarly dark red. Value: 100gp/cubic ft.
Sarish - This extremely rare tree is legendary in its powers. Most scholars believe that none exist and that they are a mere myth. The roots of this tree dig deep into the earth and feed from the essential elements of the earth. at the very ends of each branch this essential energy is concentrated and bestows the wood with life essence. Magical items created with the ends of this wood reduce the enchanters experience point cost by 50/foot of wood. Only the ends of branches can be used in this way and it takes a Craft Woodworking check DC 20 to properly harvest the wood. No single item longer than 5 ft can be crafted from this wood to retain its magical essence. The tree has millions of tiny, intricate leaves that are an iridescent rainbow of color. It is a very slender tree with long branches. The trunk is a pure white and seems to emit an internal glow. Value: 500gp/ft.
Coldwood - Huge tree with grayish blue leaves and white bark. The roots of this tree extend deep into the ground and ancient trees have been known to have roots extending a mile or more into the earth. Weapons and ammo made from this tree are considered to have the Cold Iron property for the purposes of damage reduction. Value: 100gp/cubic ft.
Vilewood - This tree holds inky black leaves and gray bark. The ground around the tree also seems black and spongy and stains the shoes with an inky liquid. Weapons or ammo made with Vilewood are evil aligned for the purposes of overcoming damage reduction. Value: 100gp/cubic ft.
Sobwillow - Items made with this wood have no special properties, however the wood is prized for its extraordinary beauty and intricate grain patterns. This huge tree's thousands of branches are twisted into a million knots and the ends droop down nearly to the ground. the trunk of the tree is thick and gnarled. the leaves are small and bluish green while the bark is gray-brown. Value: 50gp/ cubic ft.
Solarbark - Said to have been planted by the great denizens of the heavens, Solarbark is much like normal wood but is exceptionally beautiful and items made from it are good aligned for the purposes of Damage reduction. The trees long branches hold copper and gold colored leaves that fan out in a sunburst pattern. the trunk is golden brown with smooth bark. Value: 100gp/cubic ft.
Grobsbark, Treant : CR 8; Huge Plant; HD 7d+35; hp 66; Init -1; Spd 30ft.; AC 20, touch 7, flat-footed 21 (+13 natural, -1 Dex, -2 size); Atk +12 melee (2d6+9/crit X2, Slam X2); Face/Reach 10'X10'/15'; SQ animate trees(sp), trample(ex), double damage against objects(ex), fire vulnerability(ex), damage reduction 10/slashing, +16 to hide in forests; Alignment N; SV Fort +10, Ref +1, Will +7; Str 28, Dex 8, Con 20, Int 12, Wis 16, Cha 12. Skills: Intimidate +8, Listen +10, Sense Motive +10, Spot +10; Feats: Improved Sunder, Iron Will, Power Attack.
The tree in front of you creaks to life and a gnarled face seems to emerge from its bark. The long branches sway as it astonishingly steps forward. Its movements shake the ground around you and its voice booms with earth shattering resonance. "Vile humans! Your fate shall be sealed by the woods which you seek to destroy."
Therza, female dryad Fey4/Ran4: CR 8; Medium Fey; HD 4d6 (Fey) plus 4d8 (Ran); hp 32; Init +5; Spd 30ft.; AC 18, touch 15, flat-footed 13 (+3 natural, +5 Dex); Atk +6/+1 melee (1D4+1/crit 19-20 X2, Dagger +1) or +11/+6 ranged (1D8+1/crit X3, Longbow +1); Face/Reach 5'X5'/5'; SQ spell-like abilities(sp), symbiosis(su), 1st favored enemy (humans), track, wild empathy, combat style, endurance, animal companion, damage reduction 5/cold iron; AL CG; SV Fort +5, Ref +13, Will +7; Str 10, Dex 20, Con 11, Int 14, Wis 15, Cha 18. Skills: Animal empathy +14, Escape Artist +16, Hide +16, Knowledge (nature) +10, Listen +14, Move Silently +10, Sense Motive +10, Spot +12; Feats: Great Fortitude (+2 Fortitude Saves), Weapon Finesse (dagger). Possessions: Dagger +1, Longbow +1. Ranger Spells Known (1; base DC = 12 + spell level): 1—Summon Nature’s Ally I: Calls animal to fight for you
This creature seems to emerge from the nature surrounding it. The creature resembles a slender female with skin of burnished wood and wild hair seemingly made of twigs and leaves. A fierce intelligence gleams in her eye and her movements are swift and fluid.
Notes: Therza's Garden may be set deep in the heart of any forest. The journey to it may be as short or long as the DM desires and may include encounters appropriate to the party's level involving mostly beasts, magical beasts, and plants.
Therza's garden contains exotic trees that would not normally live in the climate of the woods without Therza's meticulous care. If she is killed or displaced the garden will wither and die in 1d4 weeks and will be ruined after that time.
The Encounter as written is for a party of level 7 to 9 but can be adjusted to fit higher or lower parties as needed. Simply add or remove levels of ranger to Therza and add or subtract hit dice from Grobsbark. If the party is lower than lvl 5 make Grobsbark's animate trees ability only able to move trees and not to allow them to attack and lower his hit dice as appropriate. Also adjust the traps outside the complex to adjust to the party's level. Simply adjusting the depth of the pit trap to do more or less damage or make it a spiked pit trap.
The party may or may not be inclined to attack the Treant and Dryad as they may take their side on the matter (i.e. the humans shouldn't be greedy and chop down the forest). This sort of moral dilemma can be cultivated if you wish, putting the party at odds with the encroaching humans (Contest Note: Further explanation here would be beyond the scope of this contest and so is omitted). If the party does, through magical means or otherwise, manage to calm Grobsbark and Therza they may be inclined to help. Also, feel free to make Grobsbark and Therza as evil and nasty (or good) as you see fit to mesh with your campaign.
For the last three months, the town of Hilroh has been plagued by wererats. The local priest of Pelor has done his best to protect the townsfolk, and most of the victims have been saved. However, he has been so busy helping people fight lycanthropy that he has had no time to fight lycanthropes.
A DM may place Hilroh anywhere. It could be a small seaside port, a small mountain town, or a landlocked rural crossroads. The main features of Hilroh are that it is small enough to be threatened by 50 wererats, and has a great number of outlying farms. If the PCs work for an organization, they may be directed to Hilroh to aid the church of Pelor. If the PCs are hunting lycanthropes or an individual with lycanthropy, a besieged town is a good opportunity to investigate. Or, if they're just passing through, the townsfolk would beg them to take care of the problem.
The Willman Farm lies on the outskirts of Hilroh, bordering a small forest. It was abandoned ten years ago when its owner, Hoff Willman, was found dead in the city square of Hilroh with knife wounds all over his body. Six months ago, fires and smoke were seen on the property, and people began to go missing in the surrounding farms.
Until a few days ago, Cheedaw and Ebret had a tribe of fifty wererats in their thrall. They had been infecting townsfolk and persuading them to join them in their plans to rule Hilroh. Cheedaw was enchanted by the notion of ruling a town of humans, while Ebret wanted to burn Hilroh's temple of Pelor to the ground so that he could gain access to an evil node (from Champions of Ruin) that is sealed in its catacombs. Now the two wererats have had their tribe reduced to one gibbering human, and are trying to find a quick way to return to their former glory.
Ebret kept his augmented rat swarm in the silo. He fed it on the flesh of mutinous wererats and performed alchemy experiments on it until it became intelligent enough to speak. Because he feared a creature with the potential to be more powerful than himself, he dumped a vat of acid into the pit and killed them all. Ebret's attempts at life after death proved successful, as the Swarm rose that night as a ghost and killed most of the wererats through creative use of its malevolence ability.
Ebret woke with enough time to exert a failsafe he had augmented the swarm with, and was able to keep it from killing himself and Cheedaw. The incantation only succeeded partially, and the Swarm was merely pacified and trapped in the body of a weak wererat. Ebert and Cheedaw took care of the corpses of their fallen underlings, then began to negotiate with the swarm, intending to control it perfectly.
Running the Adventure
The players will notice an odd stench as they come up the lot. The Willman plot is completely fallow. Weeds and grass cover the whole field, and the dilapidated farmhouse has collapsed.
The metal grain silo is rusted and creaky, but is the only structure still standing on the lot. If the PCs arrive at night, they will see a flickering light in a hole in the side, which is suddenly snuffed when they come onto the lot. The silo is 100' across and 200' tall.
Cheedaw has rigged the ladder (Spot DC 17, can't be disabled) on the outside to break halfway up if anyone tries to climb up to the top of the silo and enter from the top. Climbing the sheer side requires a Climb result of 27. The hatch on top has been locked from the inside, and has hardness 8, 40 hp, and a break DC of 26. If a PC attempts to enter this way, he will be welcomed by a cone of cold from Ebret.
The house was intentionally collapsed by the wererats, and is now used to store loot. From the outside, there is nothing of interest in it. A tunnel from the silo comes across the plot to the ruin, opening into a 20' wide chamber of shored-up wood containing the following stolen goods: Medium +2 holy bastard sword Medium +1 composite (+3) longbow of distance Medium +1 full plate (sized for a slightly built human female) +2 chain shirt barding for a warhorse 27 masterwork daggers, 80% are Medium and 20% are Small 19 silver daggers, all Medium 32 masterwork heavy crossbows, 70% are Medium and 30% are Small 8 Small masterwork chain shirts 4 Medium masterwork chain shirts 25 potions of cure light wounds 16 potions of cure moderate wounds 2 wands of detect magic 1 wand of haste 3 barrels of grease Ebret's backup spellbook 2000 gp 5000 gp of jewelry
If a character climbed up over the fallen roof and used detect magic, he would sense a weak magical aura from inside. However, it could take days to clear enough of the debris, and the wererats would remove their treasure immediately.
A DC 10 Survival check by a character with the Track feat will discern that this plot of land has had heavy traffic by Medium and Small humanoids, especially near the silo, and none at all near the house. A DC 20 Knowledge(Architecture and Engineering) check will reveal that the house was purposefully collapsed.
Ebret has placed mental alarm spells with permanency all around the lot, and can track the movement of the PCs anywhere with 20' accuracy. The spells are thicker inside the silo, and he can track characters with 10' accuracy.
The side of the silo has a hole in it a few feet above the ground, which the wererats used as the main entrance.
When the characters enter the silo, they are assaulted by a horrible stench from decaying flesh. Each character must make a DC 15 Fortitude save or be nauseated for the next 5 minutes.
The hole in the side of the silo comes into a platform held 50' above the sunken floor of the silo by timbers. The pit beneath is full of filth, the bones of rats, and the corpses of 49 dead humanoids. Any character who searches the unsanitary area in the middle of the pit is immediately is exposed to disease (wasting rot, incubation 1 day Fort 21 1d6 Con/1d6 Con). The pile of corpses has been thoroughly looted by Ebret and Cheedaw, and anything valuable will be in the stash. On the cleanest edge of the pit, under the platform, a pile of wooden platforms like the ones above conceals a tunnel leading to the treasure stash in the house (Search DC 25). Only a Small character can fit through the tunnel. There are two 50' coils of rope on the edge of the platform, which Ebret and Cheedaw use to climb down to the tunnel. The ropes both have hooks to secure them to the platform, and can be tied together for use as a grappling hook if the party doesn't have one. A chain hangs down from one of the platforms (AC 15), and is 30' above the platform at the entrance.
A DC 10 Spot check will note that the entire pit from 25' to 50' above the bottom was heavily greased, and there are deep, even burn marks reaching up 5' above the bottom. A DC 15 Spot or Heal check will note that the rat bones are brittle and worn. A DC 20 Craft(Alchemy) check will reveal that all of the rat bones and the entire pit have been immersed in acid recently, but not the corpses. A DC 10 Heal check will reveal that the humanoid corpses died from a variety of causes, mostly broken necks from falls and strangulation. A DC 20 Knowledge (Arcana) or Heal check will reveal that the dead humanoids are all wererats.
The silo contains many platforms suspended from the roof of the silo by chains (break DC 25, hardness 14, 4 hp). This was Cheedaw's idea, as a way of saving space in the vertical lair. The walls are easy to climb for a wererat (DC 18 for a character without a climb speed), but a character who is unable to climb can easily get a grappling hook around a platform's chain fixtures to climb a rope up. Climbing up or down one of the chains holding a platform is a DC 19 Climb check. There is a rusty ladder on the wall opposite the entrance, which will break immediately if more than 120 lbs. of weight is put on it. During the day, the entire silo is illuminated dimly by light filtering through holes from the outside, limiting sight to 30' and all creatures have concealment. The silo is completely dark at night, and creatures with Darkvision can see as far as their sight range permits. A character who enters the silo from the hole won't see the platforms unless he has a bright light source, since the first platforms hang 80' above the entrance.
Each platform is a 10'x20' rectangle of wood half a foot thick, with four anchors on the corners. Many platforms are hanging from platforms above, and a platform with two cut chains will fall to a vertical position (DC 17 Climb). Every platform is anchored to the silo wall by a rope, which wererats can move along at climb speed, and a PC can move along at half speed with a DC 10 Climb check. If a platform looses its anchoring rope, characters on it must make a DC 10 Balance check each round or fall prone. The platforms are in five layers, arrayed as noted below. The first eight platforms are 80' above ground level, and 120' from the top. They are arranged radially in a 40' diameter ring around the center with the narrower sides towards the centers and edges, so that the wererats can ambush intruders easily. The edges of each platform are 5' from an adjacent platform, and 40' from a wall. The second layer is 20' above the first, and the third is 20' above the second, both are arranged identical to the first layer and are supporting the lower layers with chains. All three layers were used for sleeping, and bedrolls caked with dried blood are everywhere. The fourth layer, 60' from the ceiling, is four platforms brought together into a 40'x20' area. The platforms are 40'-30' from the walls of the silo. Ebret performed alchemy experiments on this level, and a Large cauldron that was used mostly for mass-producing acid takes up most of the space. The rest of the space is occupied by a shattered alchemy lab. The Swarm destroyed most of the lab on its way up, but a DC 30 Craft (Alchemy) check can salvage enough to make a partial lab that is good for 5 Craft checks. The fifth layer is arranged like the fourth, and a rope ladder leads up to the hatch at the top of the silo. Nailed to the platform is an unlocked trapped chest (word of chaos trap, CL 13, Search DC 32, Disable Device DC 32) containing a matching amethyst and emerald (8000 gp together).
If the PCs climb up to the second level of suspended platforms, find the tunnel to the stash, or show no signs of leaving soon, Ebret and Cheedaw will try to "convert" them. The first thing they will do is order the Swarm (possessing the body of a human wererat commoner 1, 3 hp) down at them as a distraction. Then Ebret will drop offensive spells on characters who seem to be able to harm the swarm from the level of platforms above them. Cheedaw will drop down on strong characters (essentially a charge) and bite them to inflict lycanthropy, then use his invisibility potions to get back to a better position. A character attacking from a platform more than 40' above another character has a +8 bonus from cover. A character attacking from a platform 20' above has a +4 bonus from cover. Neither wererat will stay in melee, and will move higher if he is attacked. The swarm is magically bound to follow Ebret's orders, but it will try to twist them to its advantage. Its main goal is to kill Cheedaw and Ebret for killing it, preferably with acid. Dispel magic, break enchantment, or the death of Ebret will leave it free to pursue this goal. The Swarm will only fight Ebret if it is able to catch him off guard or with some other advantage, but it knows that Cheedaw can't harm it. If one of the wererats is forced to the top or bottom of the silo, they will both leave from either the entrance or the hatch on top and flee into the woods near the Willman plot.
Ebret is Cheedaw's closest friend, and they have spent most of their careers together. His current long-term goal is to set up a lair in the evil node below the Temple of Pelor in Hilroh. He performs many experiments in the upper parts of the silo, which led to the creation of the Swarm. In combat, Ebret will drop area damage spells down on the PCs, mostly fireballs because they won't damage the swarm. When damaged, or if he sees that the PCs don't have a ranged silver weapons, he will shift to hybrid form and use silenced spells.
Ebret Male Goblin Afflicted Wererat Evoker 9 Humanoid Form: Small Humanoid (Goblinoid, Shapechanger) HD: 9d4+18 + 1d8+3 (65 hp) Initiative: +4 Speed: 30' Armor Class: 19 (+1 size, +4 Dex, +2 armor, +2 natural), touch 15, flat-footed 15 Attack: mwk dagger +8 melee or ranged (1d3-2 19/20/x2) SQ: alternate form, lycanthropic empathy, scent, darkvision 60', low-light vision SA: spellcasting Saves: Fort +5 Ref +7 Will +8 Abilities: Str 6 Dex 19 Con 14 Int 20 Wis 15 Cha 11 Skills: Concentration +14, Control Shape +14, Craft (Alchemy) +17, Knowledge(arcana) +17, Knowledge(local), Move Silently +8 1/2, Spellcraft +17 Feats: Weapon Finesse, Spell Focus (Evocation), Greater Spell Focus (Evocation), Silent Spell CR: 11 Equipment: bracers of armor +2, mwk dagger, 3 potions of cure moderate wounds, 2 vials of acid, 2 vials of alchemist's fire, spellbook Alignment: Chaotic Evil Spells: 4/7/6/5/4/3 Spells Known: 1: alarm, protection from good, shield, obscuring mist, true strike, identify, burning hands, magic missile, shocking grasp, chill touch, enlarge person, expeditious retreat, magic weapon. 2: resist energy, acid arrow, fog cloud, web, see invisibility, darkness, flaming sphere, gust of wind, scorching ray, ghoul touch, spectral hand, bull's strength, levitate. 3: dispel magic, explosive runes, magic circle against good, protection from energy, stinking cloud, fireball, wind wall, halt undead, vampiric touch, blink, flame arrow, gaseous form, haste, greater magic weapon, slow. 4: lesser globe of invulnerability, stoneskin, wall of fire, wall of ice, mass enlarge person, rary's mnemonic enhancer. 5: cone of cold, permanency
Hybrid Form: Small Humanoid (Goblinoid, Shapechanger) HD: 9d4+18 + 1d8+3 (65 hp) Initiative: +7 Speed: 30' Armor Class: 23 (+1 size, +7 Dex, +2 armor, +3 natural), touch 18, flat-footed 16 Attack: mwk dagger +11 melee or ranged (1d3-2 19/20/x2) SQ: DR 5/silver, alternate form, lycanthropic empathy, disease, scent, darkvision 60', low-light vision SA: spellcasting (slienced spells only) Saves: Fort +6 Ref +10 Will +8 Abilities: Str 6 Dex 25 Con 16 Int 20 Wis 15 Cha 11 Skills: Concentration +15, Control Shape +14, Craft (Alchemy) +17, Knowledge(arcana) +17, Knowledge(local), Move Silently +11 1/2, Spellcraft +17 Feats: Weapon Finesse, Spell Focus (Evocation), Greater Spell Focus (Evocation), Silent Spell CR: 11 Equipment: bracers of armor +2, mwk dagger, 3 potions of cure moderate wounds, 2 vials of acid, 2 vials of alchemist's fire, spellbook Alignment: Chaotic Evil
Animal Form: Small Humanoid (Goblinoid, Shapeshifter) HD: 9d4+18 + 1d8+3 (65 hp) Initiative: +7 Speed: 30', climb 20' Armor Class: 23 (+1 size, +7 Dex, +2 bracers, +3 natural), touch 18, flat-footed 16 Attack: bite +9 melee (1d4-2 plus disease) SA: spellcasting (silenced and no somatic components only) SQ: DR 5/silver, alternate form, lycanthropic empathy, disease, scent, low-light vision, darkvision 60' Saves: Fort +6 Ref +10 Will +8 Abilities: Str 6 Dex 25 Con 16 Int 20 Wis 15 Cha 11 Skills: Concentration +15, Control Shape +14, Craft (Alchemy) +17, Knowledge(arcana) +17, Knowledge(local), Move Silently +11 1/2, Spellcraft +17 Feats: Weapon Finesse, Spell Focus (Evocation), Greater Spell Focus (Evocation), Silent Spell CR: 11 Equipment: bracers of armor +2, mwk dagger, 3 potions of cure moderate wounds, 2 vials of acid, 2 vials of alchemist's fire, spellbook Alignment: Chaotic Evil
Cheedaw was the leader of the wererats. He craves power, which is why he started his campaign against Hilroh. His ultimate goal was to spread lycanthropy and have an entire town in his thrall, but now he wants to assert control over the Swarm to achieve the same goal. Cheedaw will see the PCs as potential allies, and try to inflict lycanthropy on every PC. He immediately shifts to wererat form and moves along the walls and platforms, striking from the darkness and using the platforms and poor lighting to keep from revealing himself.
Cheedaw Kobold Male Natural Wererat Rogue 9
Humanoid Form: Small Humanoid (Reptilian, Shapeshifter) HD: 9d6+9 + 1d8+2 (73 hp) Initiative: +6 Speed: 30' Armor Class: 24 (+1 size, +6 Dex, +3 natural, +4 deflection), touch 20, flat-footed 17 Attack: +2 short sword +13 melee (1d4+3 slashing) Full Attack: +2 short sword +13/+8 melee (1d4+3 slashing) SA: Sneak Attack +5d6 SQ: alternate form, lycanthropic empathy, scent, darkvision 60', trap sense +3, improved uncanny dodge, low-light vision, evasion, light sensitivity Fort +4 Ref +12 Will +6 Abilities: Str 12 Dex 22 Con 12 Int 13 Wis 16 Cha 13 Skills: Balance +18, Climb +13, Craft(Trapmaking) +15, Disable Device +13, Escape Artist +18, Hide +18, Jump +13, Move Silently +18, Tumble +18 Feats: Dodge, Mobility, Spring Attack, Combat Expertise, Weapon Finesse CR: 12 Equipment: +2 short sword, ring of protection +4, 2 potions of cure moderate wounds, 2 potions of invisibility Alignment: Neutral Evil
Hybrid Form Small Humanoid (Reptilian, Shapeshifter) HD: 9d6+9 + 1d8+2 (73 hp) Initiative: +6 Speed: 30' Armor Class: 27 (+1 size, +8 Dex, +4 natural, +4 deflection), touch 23, flat-footed 19 Attack: Bite +14 melee (1d4+1 plus disease) Full Attack: Sword and Bite +15/+9 melee (1d4+3 slashing, 1d4+1 plus disease) SA: Sneak Attack +5d6 SQ: DR 10/silver, alternate form, lycanthropic empathy, curse of lycanthropy, scent, darkvision 60', low-light vision, trap sense +3, improved uncanny dodge, evasion, light sensitivity Fort +5 Ref +14 Will +6 Abilities: Str 12 Dex 26 Con 14 Int 13 Wis 16 Cha 13 Skills: Balance +20, Climb +20, Craft(Trapmaking) +15, Disable Device +13, Escape Artist +20, Hide +20, Jump +13, Move Silently +20, Tumble +20 Feats: Dodge, Mobility, Spring Attack, Combat Expertise, Weapon Finesse CR: 12 Equipment: +2 short sword, ring of protection +4, 2 potions of cure moderate wounds, 2 potions of invisibility Alignment: Neutral Evil
Animal Form Small Humanoid (Reptilian, Shapeshifter) HD: 9d6+9 + 1d8+2 (73 hp) Initiative: +6 Speed: 30' Armor Class: 27 (+1 size, +8 Dex, +4 natural, +4 deflection), touch 23, flat-footed 19 Attack: Bite +14 melee (1d4+1 plus disease) SA: Sneak Attack +5d6 SQ: DR 10/silver, alternate form, lycanthropic empathy, curse of lycanthropy, scent, darkvision 60', low-light vision, trap sense +3, improved uncanny dodge, evasion, light sensitivity Fort +5 Ref +14 Will +6 Abilities: Str 12 Dex 26 Con 14 Int 13 Wis 16 Cha 13 Skills: Balance +20, Climb +20, Craft(Trapmaking) +15, Disable Device +13, Escape Artist +20, Hide +20, Jump +13, Move Silently +20, Tumble +20 Feats: Dodge, Mobility, Spring Attack, Combat Expertise, Weapon Finesse CR: 12 Equipment: +2 short sword, ring of protection +4, 2 potions of cure moderate wounds, 2 potions of invisibility Alignment: Neutral Evil
The Swarm is the ghost of an entity that Ebret created (partially on accident). It manifests as a miasma of melting and screaming rodents.
Tiny Augmented Undead (Swarm, Incorporeal, Fire) HD: 11d8 (88 hp) Initiative: +2 Speed: Fly 30' Space/Reach: 10'/0 Armor Class: 17 (+2 size, +2 Dex, +3 Cha), touch 17, flat-footed 15 Attack: Swarm 3d6+9 + 1d6 fire (50% miss chance due to incorporeality) SA: disease, distraction, manifestation, corrupting gaze, malevolence, telekinesis SQ: half damage from slashing and piercing, low-light vision, scent, swarm traits, undead traits, incorporeal, rejuvenation, turning resistance, immunity to fire Fort +7 Ref +13 Will +8 Str 8 Dex 15 Con - Int 14 Wis 12 Cha 17 Skills: Balance +10, Climb +10, Hide +22, Listen +14, Sense Motive +11, Spot +15, Swim +10 CR: 12 Equipment: None Alignment: Lawful Evil The Swarm speaks Common and Draconic.
The Swarm can be put to rest by the death of Ebret, but it will stick around to kill Cheedaw. If the PCs kill it first, it will track them down when it rejuvenates.
Deep in the arid desert of some land to the Dungeon Master’s discretion, this old temple has fallen into ruin many, many years ago. Probably forgotten or simply ignored, this old place was once part of an old desert temple to a powerful god of the sands. By now, only its pillars and a few statues remain aboveground, tarnished by the ever-blowing winds eroding their surfaces. A small warband of creatures may have already taken up camp between the collapsed and broken pillars, but what is really of interest lies down a flight of stairs, with a broken slab of white stone aside of and slightly covering it.
It’s totally up to the DM whether or not a small contingent of creatures patrols the outer temple - it could be anything from a small troupe of gnolls to a few ogres or desert-faring trolls or gargoyles. Call it an appetizer to things to come. For you see, deep down beneath the hot desert sands, a powerful young blue dragon by the names of Sehr’ish and Nik has taken up residence in the lair beneath, the small inner sanctum of the temple ruined and the vicinity dug out to become a small fortress of a lair where she hides and is said to hold the treasures of her and her followers stolen from the towns and cities of the region.
Names? Quite certainly, names, for the blue dragon is quite peculiar a creature - she was born with two heads and two distinct personalities, and the both of them seem to work together in perfect sync, which really shouldn’t be a surprise if one were to share his body with another for the rest of their days. The blue dragon has gained quite loyal followers from simple desert troglodytes, who see in the blue dragon with some slightly red marks down the right side of her own body an incarnation of Lady Tiamat. Sehr’ish and Nik were quite eager to fulfil the expectations of the troglodytes, as long as they obey their words… which they have up to now, quite fanatically. They have raided the deserts for several years, and the crisis has reached its peak, now that several towns can’t pay the tribute the dragoness demands of the people.
As if things couldn’t get much worse, Sehr’ish and Nik share their lair with sinister desert gargoyles as well: vulture-shaped statues who, unlike their other brethren, actively scavenge for carrion and food to devour before any other creatures can - every drop of water and every scrap of nourishment is sacred in this unforgiving environment. They have joined up with the double-headed dragon for a share of their riches, particularly the foodstuffs and the fine wine of the region. Some fear is among the gargoyles, though, for they serve her without question only because their eldest, their leader, was pretty much crushed underfoot after he demanded a larger share for their efforts for too long for the sisters’ liking. He survived, but still holds a strong grudge against the two.
Map of the Lair: [INDENT][/INDENT] [size=-2] Note that each square equals a 10-foot space. The lair, as such, is rather big. Also note that, due to the nature of Dungeon Crafter, the walls look as if they’re made of alcoves. Just present them as a naturally flowing (or rather, dug-out) cave of sorts.[/size]
Description of the Lair:[INDENT]1.) The Ruined Sanctum[/INDENT]
the DM]As you walk down the stairway, the dry desert air becomes slightly damp and heavy. It’ wrote:
As you walk down the stairway, the dry desert air becomes slightly damp and heavy. It’s pretty dark down here, but from what you can see, you can see that there are a few mortar walls and old pillars keeping this old room’s ceiling up, several torches keeping this place lightly lit. You see one of those pillars has collapsed as well, sands overtaking the once proud walls of this inner sanctum to the gods forgotten. As you walk on, you can see that there’s an old stone door a bit to your right.
The players are allowed several search and knowledge checks, if they wish. For example, the sands of the wall to the west of the sanctum don’t seem too heavy, and it would be possible for creatures to burrow through them (DC 20 Dungeoneering or Architecture or Dwarven stonecunning). In fact, that’s exactly what the blue dragon does to get to her own lair and to the various other sections of this sand-drowned maze of hers. A DC 20 check on any of the pillars may inform anyone practiced in the knowledge of the religions to gather which god was worshipped here in earlier times, because much of the scriptures on the pillars have faded over the ages.
Naturally, a burrowing creature may directly try to dig his way to (10), onto the raised section of the area, but they are most likely to face off with Sehr’ish and Nik almost immediately – she has roosted there. [INDENT]Roll a d6: 1-2— The two-headed dragon is waiting patiently on the raised plateau of her roost, most likely resting while 1d4+2 standard troglodytes are tending to her needs: singing prayers to her in the name of Tiamat, sharpening her claws, polishing her scales or even washing her with water from their make-shift wells in the troglodyte lairs (2 and 8). 3— Sehr’ish and Nik are alone on their plateau, pleasantly conversing with themselves and plotting for their next raid. 4— Sehr’ish and Nik are at (9), a small temple area, where a troglodyte cleric and 1d10+2 troglodytes pay homage to her and Tiamat. 5-6— The dragoness is wallowing in the silver the two have amassed (11), idly staring in the various sapphires they have gathered, and perhaps enjoying some other things in their treasury. This may entirely depend on the DM. It will be known, however, that they have a large mastodon tusk in their treasury for their own needs. Given the DM, this can make for rather disturbing and (for the dragon) rather embarrassing scenes.[/INDENT]
[INDENT]2.) Troglodyte cavern I[/INDENT]The troglodytes are already aware of the intrusion of their lair, and will send a single messenger down the corridors towards the other troglodyte cavern, and finally, it will report directly to Sehr’ish and Nik, if they’re not in the treasury already.
Some of the troglodytes are first-, second- and/or third-level fighters, as well as standard Monster Manual troglodytes. The fighters know Common and commonly taunt those that try to invade their mistresses’ lair. They should be weighed down to the party’s ECL, perhaps three or four below their level, as they will face several interesting encounters along the way.
The lair is a mess of rocks, animal skins and a simple dirty water well somewhere down the cave they occupy. The stench of their musk is very strong here, and characters entering the cavern are to make standard troglodyte stench Fortitude rolls as they remain there every turn they are there.
[INDENT]Treasure: The standard troglodytes’ treasure is to be decided upon as per the DMG and Monster Manual, as the ECL of this encounter may vary. As for the fighters among them, consider to-par weapons and armor to defend themselves with. Also, a DC20 Spot check may uncover an additional 400 silver pieces in a few leather bags in the murky water well.[/INDENT]
[INDENT]Combat:[/INDENT]The troglodytes will pretty much fight to the death, even if outnumbered. Those PCs that speak and understand Draconic will know their warcries pretty much consist of terms like ‘for Tiamat!’ and ‘for the Dragon Mother’s child!’, giving perhaps some idea behind the source of their fanaticism. Most likely, all creatures within the lair will be alerted of the PCs’ presence, though most likely, it will be only that, as the messenger was sent rather quickly.
[INDENT]3.) The first Lava Pits[/INDENT]This is where things may get iffy. The DM should read out the following:
the DM]As you walk down the cavern, you can see a bright red light further down. Soon enough, you see a large pit of molten magma, or rather, what could be a stream of lava down below. The heat is strong, even at about 15 feet from this pit. The pit is almost as wide as the cave itself is, but there are some iron sides on which you think you can shimmy past this obstacle.
Sure, the PCs can shimmy past this, requiring but a DC 13 balance check every five feet (the way is 20 feet long, so that will mean 4 checks as the PCs move), but failure can mean disaster. Failing by three only results in the PC simply not being able to move for five feet, barely keeping their balance against the wall, but failure by four or more will cause them to fall into the lava. This will deal 20d6 damage per round. Further information on lava effects can be read in the Dungeon Master Guide. Fortunately, the roof of the cave seems climbable, and if someone is capable of flight, than this obstacle is easily passed. Jumping over this 20 foot obstacle isn’ wrote:
As you walk down the cavern, you can see a bright red light further down. Soon enough, you see a large pit of molten magma, or rather, what could be a stream of lava down below. The heat is strong, even at about 15 feet from this pit. The pit is almost as wide as the cave itself is, but there are some iron sides on which you think you can shimmy past this obstacle.[/quote] Sure, the PCs can shimmy past this, requiring but a DC 13 balance check every five feet (the way is 20 feet long, so that will mean 4 checks as the PCs move), but failure can mean disaster. Failing by three only results in the PC simply not being able to move for five feet, barely keeping their balance against the wall, but failure by four or more will cause them to fall into the lava. This will deal 20d6 damage per round. Further information on lava effects can be read in the Dungeon Master Guide. Fortunately, the roof of the cave seems climbable, and if someone is capable of flight, than this obstacle is easily passed. Jumping over this 20 foot obstacle isn’t impossible, but failure will mean immersion in lava, as the edge of the ‘pool’ stands but barely over the lava itself.
Consider this a CR6 trap, with perhaps some alterations given how the PCs may deal with each pit. After all, flying over it is pretty much a safe means of passage, and the DC for balancing isn’t too high if the party is capable enough.
Further down the corridor, another lava pit is to be traversed. Treat it exactly like the one above. As for the messenger who must’ve passed them, consider that he may have higher intelligence and has exchanged his ranks in Listen with Balance.
[INDENT]4.) The Wall of Sand[/INDENT]As the PCs venture deeper into the lair, they will encounter a wall of sand that seems to flow from the desert above them into the floor before them. This is actually a regional but natural occurrence (which a DC 15 Knowledge (local or geography) may unveil) that is even an enigma to the locals. Above the ground, though, this would appear like a natural fountain of sand, perhaps some supernatural work of the god to who the temple nearby was dedicated to.
In any case, passing this wall may prove dangerous. Creatures with burrowing can easily pass this by simply digging through. Creatures without, however, must walk through the ever-buffeting sands from above, and must succeed a DC 25 Strength check every 5 feet they walk through the sands or become flattened against the ground, receiving 2d6 of subdual damage each round and risk drowning. Standing up again requires an additional DC 25 Strength check. A DC 25 Spot check, however, uncovers a similar pattern as on the door in the shifting sands - the sign may appear in slightly hazy but darker sands, but it’s there. Again, uttering the word ‘entrance’ in Draconic causes the sands to shift and form a single 5 by 10 foot entrance through the twenty feet of sand. As soon as one person has passed through, though, the entrance falls down again, sand slamming down on anyone following the first person. Again, uttering the word ‘entrance’ will cause the sands to part again until someone has passed through again.
[INDENT]5.) The Furnace Halls[/INDENT]The PCs are given a choice to either take a left or right turn just after the wall of sand, but either way will lead to four lava pits on either way. Between each pit is a 10-foot long stretch of ground before another pit is to be traversed. However, about 30 feet above the cave wall, somewhat past the third pit of lava, a hole may be noticed (DC 20 Spot). Along these openings a trio of desert gargoyles may be patrolling, who will call for back-up. [INDENT]Roll a d8: 1— The patrol is at the far end of the southern-most point of the stretch. They are on the way to move to the north for 100 feet along the cave in no hurry (20 feet movement a round) and will fly towards the next cave up to their lair (6). 2-3— The three gargoyles are at their lair and on the way to the southernmost point. They traverse 80 feet over 20 feet per round, will fly over to the next hole, and continue their patrol. 4-5— The gargoyles are right above an opening of either cave along the northern stretch of lava pits. 6-7— The gargoyles are right above an opening of either cave along the southern stretch of lava pits. 8— Roll again, replace the patrol by Necropotus. If 8 is rolled again, replace Necropotus by the patrol again, and so on.[/INDENT] Unless Necropotus is patrolling himself, the gargoyles will send one of them flying at top speed towards their lair (6) and retrieve the other gargoyles, as well as Necropotus.
[INDENT]Combat:[/indent]The gargoyles of this regions are notorious chargers, who will use their excellent (read: good) flying mobility to try and get into position while remaining on the defence, then to swoop down and go for the damage, and perhaps forcefully pushing PCs into a fiery grave. They are with 8, that alone worth a CR 10-12. Necropotus himself has four levels of Fighter, himself, adding another CR 8 to the fray. If Necropotus is encountered alone, however, the gargoyle will try to make somewhat peaceful contact with the PCs. If he’s attacked, however, he will fly back for back-up.
Necropotus may see potential in the adventurers if a few of his brood have been cut down. He will command his underlings in Terran to quit fighting and fly up, and he will try to establish some contact with the PCs themselves. He despises the blue dragoness and would like to aid them personally with her demise. However, when asked if he would stop attacking the cities and caravans that have been plagued, he will make no promises at all. A DC 20 Sense Motive will reveal he has no intentions at all for stopping to make a living for his brood. The PCs may well initiate combat again. All gargoyles, save 1d4 and Necropotus himself, will fight to the death to protect their lair, their goods and a few eggs they hold in their lair.
[INDENT]6.) The Gargoyles’ Lair[/INDENT]Coming up here requires either good climbing skills, flight, or natural climbing. Unless the patrol is not encountered, the gargoyle lair is filled by 6 gargoyles, one of them a grizzly looking vulture-like creature with more spine-like feathers than other desert gargoyles – this one is Necropotus, himself. The lair is dark and has no light at all, so only creatures with darkvision can make out anything in here. An assortment of crates and barrels are stacked here, and in one corner some strange stones can be noticed. These are gargoyle eggs.
Naturally, the gargoyles will be fiercely protective, and unless Necropotus intervenes (he will be rather less friendly than when he would try to make contact with the PCs otherwise), and they will defend their lair to the death.
For as long as Necropotus will join the PCs, he will be helpful. The moment, however, he survives an encounter against Sehr’ish and Nik, he will be unfriendly and pretty much try to weasel his way out of the party again and into the riches of the two-headed dragon.
[INDENT]Treasure: About 2000 gp worth of various goods: mostly wine, ale, pickled meat and such. There are 2d6 gargoyle eggs. Each may sell on markets for 1000 gp a piece, but finding a buyer may prove very hard. Treasure for Necropotus will be included on his stat-block.[/INDENT]
[INDENT]7.) Stone Ball Trap[/INDENT]As one may see on the map, along the right stretch, a few panels can be seen. However, they are covered by sand, themselves – finding them requires a DC 27 Search check and a DC 20 Balance check as not to trigger the trap ahead. The PCs are to stand on them the moment they have passed the first ten feet past the last lava pit to activate it, and will hear a slow rumbling ahead if that indeed is the case. About 50 feet ahead of them, they can see a large stone boulder almost half the height of the caverns (20 feet) rolling towards them at 40 feet per round. They have but a few rounds to either flee, head back past the lava trap, or fly or climb up to the ceiling and wait for the boulder to pass. The boulder will fall into the lava and will slowly disintegrate as the lava consumes the boulder over 4d20 rounds. All within 5 feet of the lava pit will be doused by lava being pushed out of the pit by the boulder. Treat it as dousing by lava, dealing 2d6 damage and continueing to deal 1d6 damage over 1d3 rounds, as per the lava effects on page 304 of the DMG.
[INDENT]Mechanical Trap: CR 7; location trigger; reset by repair; hidden contact plate bypass (Balance DC 20); rolling stone boulder (Atk +10 melee touch, 6d10 bludgeoning damage); 20 by 20 feet – Reflex save 20 left/right edges for no damage, pushed against walls, Reflex save 20 along front for half damage; multiple targets; Search DC 27; Disable Device DC 29.[/INDENT]
The boulder has come from a small ‘storage area’, at (7). Aside from dust and pebbles, this area holds nothing.
If the PCs haven’t activated this trap, (7) will have no visible storage area, though a large stone slab seems to function as some giant door that will slide upwards into the roof of the cavern.
[INDENT]8.) Troglodyte Cavern II[/INDENT]
the DM]You come across another cavern, the stench of troglodyte musk heavy in the air. Some faint candle light can be seen, and the scurrying of feet can be heard within. You soon see various troglodytes, armed with spears and javelins, growling menacingly at you. You can even see several pint-sized young trying to cling tight to other troglodytes. They seem terrified.
Another troglodyte cavern is here, with the same rules concerning stench and such. This time, however, there are a number of non-combatant troglodytes within, many of which are females and young. Consider the number of standard-issue troglodytes, and 40 percent of these are the mentioned non-combatants. All are, however, alerted by the messenger earlier and will be very protective of the young and females within. Only the males will fight, and fight they will, again, to the death. If a fight breaks out, a cleric troglodyte will come to join the fray within 1d8 rounds with 1d6 troglodyte followers from (9). Unless Sehr’ wrote:
You come across another cavern, the stench of troglodyte musk heavy in the air. Some faint candle light can be seen, and the scurrying of feet can be heard within. You soon see various troglodytes, armed with spears and javelins, growling menacingly at you. You can even see several pint-sized young trying to cling tight to other troglodytes. They seem terrified.[/quote] Another troglodyte cavern is here, with the same rules concerning stench and such. This time, however, there are a number of non-combatant troglodytes within, many of which are females and young. Consider the number of standard-issue troglodytes, and 40 percent of these are the mentioned non-combatants. All are, however, alerted by the messenger earlier and will be very protective of the young and females within. Only the males will fight, and fight they will, again, to the death. If a fight breaks out, a cleric troglodyte will come to join the fray within 1d8 rounds with 1d6 troglodyte followers from (9). Unless Sehr’ish and Nik are at their treasury, they will join in 1d10+5 rounds with any entourage they may have had, as mentioned earlier.
The troglodytes herein, though, are only defending their young and are, more or less, the defenders of the brood. PCs may quietly try to negotiate themselves past them further on into the cavern. They seek no quarrel with the PCs themselves, as long as they will not mention harming Sehr’ish and Nik, their idol.
[INDENT]Treasure: The standard troglodytes’ treasure is to be decided upon as per the DMG and Monster Manual, as the ECL of this encounter may vary. This includes the treasure of any entourage with Sehr’ish and Nik, as well as those who are with the troglodyte cleric.[/INDENT]
[INDENT]9.) Shrine to Tiamat[/INDENT]The shrine just along the caves is a well-lit open space with several marks etched and draw on the stone walls and a large stone slab with some dried blood on it. The shrine is dedicated to Tiamat, as may be deducted from the fan of dragon heads that is her symbol. Unless Sehr’ish and Nik are here, only a troglodyte cleric and his 1d6 troglodyte servants are here and preparing for prayer. The PCs may be noticed, though, and they will rush towards the PCs demanding to know how they could’ve passed so far already. They appear hostile, and will resort to violence if they mention they are after the dragon.
The troglodytes are standard-issue troglodytes as mentioned in the Monster Manual. Treasure on them is within the second troglodyte cavern. Statistics and treasure for the cleric will be included on the stat-block below.
If Sehr’ish and Nik are already here and a fight does break out, any combatant troglodytes from (8) will join the fray to defend them within 1d8 rounds. They are naturally hostile towards any intruders, and will demand them to leave. If Necropotus is with the PCs, Sehr’ish and Nik will see his treason and immediately attack him with their dual lightning breaths.
[INDENT]10.) The Sisters’ Roost[/INDENT] Unless they are elsewhere as rolled, Sehr’ish and Nik are here. They will almost immediately notice the PCs, as they were alerted before, and demand to know how they’ve gotten this far already without being properly disposed of. They will be hostile, but they are reasonable. The two-headed dragon will try to send any entourage of troglodytes they may have to the safety of (8), and as long as they are not attacked, they too will not strike at the PCs immediately.
The area is a cavern of about 70 feet in height, with the raised plateau the dragon resides on being 20 feet high from the ground. Two stretches of stairs leads up to the roost, but Sehr’ish and Nik aren’t too keen on any intruders trying to climb up.
They are reasonable, as mentioned. They genuinely care about their followers, but they will sacrifice them if need to be. They will also allow for a pardon of the intrusion of at least 20.000 silver pieces per intruder, before they lose their temper and will resort to fighting the PCs.
[INDENT]Combat:[/INDENT] Combat here will usually alert any combatant troglodytes from the area, if any are left alive. Sehr’ish and Nik will try to fly up and hover (via a feat) out of the PCs’ reach, attacking them with tooth and tail, trying to electrocute them, and if any troglodytes try to fight alongside them, rally them into attacking the PCs by cunning. If they are reduced to 25 percent of their health, they will try to flee by burrowing through the wall of sand near the raised plateau back to the lair’s entrance (1), leaving their followers to their own devices. If such is the case, they will fight for 1d3 rounds more before fleeing as well, crying out about their champion and idol leaving them.
Again, if Necropotus is with the PCs’, they will see through his treason and attack him almost immediately with their lightning breaths.
[INDENT]11.) The Sisters’ Hoard[/INDENT] Another wall of flowing sand keeps the roost separated from the lair. However, it too can form a passageway with the Draconic command of ‘entrance’.
Unless Sehr’ish and Nik are elsewhere, they can be found wallowing in the money they have amassed, most of which is silver – they are more fond of silver than actual gold. They appear rather childish in their games of rolling in the silver, rubbing it over their shared body, drinking from the local wine, or other things the DM may come up with. Again, there’s that ornate mastodon’s tusk. They seem almost oblivious to the PCs until they come within 20 feet of them. Enter embarrassment, rage, whatever the DM can come up with for the surprised twins. The cave is about 30 feet high, and the only burrowable exit is the flowing sand. Most likely, they will be more inclined to fight than to negotiate. Here, Sehr’ish and Nik will not receive any reinforcements due to the rushing sands drowning out most outgoing sound. They will flee towards the shrine and request help from the cleric if at half of their hitpoints, or will flee to the lair’s entrance (1) if they find the cleric dead.
[indent]Treasure: There is about 30.000 gp worth of treasure, most of which is silver pieces and sapphires of varying worth. 2d20 barrels of local ale can also be found, each worth about 70 gold pieces on the market, and a large ornate mastodon’s tusk can also be found, weighing about 120 pounds and worth 1200 gold pieces on the market. However, about half of the silver and gold is unmistakably the original property of the vaults of the nearby cities, visible due to the marks and symbols on the coins. Though the PCs’ are most likely not obligated to return the riches, unless ordered to do so otherwise, rewarding them to return the money is a good thing to do: perhaps by giving them discounts in the area if they indeed return all the gold to the cities. They could even become outlaws if they do not return the gold and silver – more plot hooks to the DM.[/indent]
NPCs: [INDENT]Sehr’ish and Nik Blue two-headed dragon, female, Juvenile: CR 10; Large dragon (earth); Hit Dice 15d12+70; 167 hp; Init +6; Spd 50 ft. (10 squares), Burrow 30 ft., Fly 170 ft. (poor); AC 28 (-1 size, +2 armor, +2 dex, +15 natural) (11 touch, 26 flat-footed); BAB/Grapple +15/+23; Atk +20 melee (3d6+5, two bites), +20 melee (1d8+2, two claws), +20 melee (1d6+2, two wings), +20 melee (1d8+7, tailslap); Full atk +20 melee (3d6+5, two bites), +20 melee (1d8+2, two claws), +20 melee (1d6+2, two wings), +20 melee (1d8+7, tailslap); Space/Reach: 10ft./5ft. (10ft. with bites); SA two breath weapons, create/destroy water, Sound Imitation, spells; SQ blindsense 60ft., darkvision 120 ft., immunity to electricity, sleep and paralysis, low-light vision, multiple heads (2); AL LE; SV Fort +13, Reflex +11, Will +11; Str 20, Dex 14, Con 19, Int 16, Wis 15, Cha 14. Skills and Feats: Bluff +20, Concentration +14, Decipher Script +13, Diplomacy +17, Hide +20, Knowledge (arcana) +13, Knowledge (local) +13, Listen +22, Search +15, Speak Language (Common, Draconic, Terran), Spellcraft +18, Spot +22; Combat Reflexes, Hover, Improved Initiative, Improved Multi-attack, Improved Natural Attack (bite), Improved Speed, Multi-attack. Breath Weapons (Su): 80-ft. line, 8d8 electricity. Reflex DC 20 for half. Because Sehr’ish and Nik are a two-headed dragon, they may fire off two separate lines of electricity that require the same 1d4 ‘cooldown’ period. Create/Destroy Water (Su): 3/day—as create water, but can also be used to destroy water. Caster level 1st, Will save 20 negates. Multiple Heads (Ex): Sehr’ish and Nik are a two-headed dragon, and, as such, are more able to survive otherwise lethal attacks. Thus, a vorpal blade would have to remove both two heads to have its usual effect. Should a head be severed, it will die, and a natural reflex will seal the wound shut to prevent further blood loss. The dragon can no longer attack with the severed head, nor expel multiple breath weapons, but takes no other penalties. A severed head cannot regrow naturally. Sound Imitation (Ex): Sehr’ish and Nik can mimic any voice or sound they have heard, anytime they like. Listeners must succeed on DC 20 Will saves to detect the ruse. Spells: As a 1st level sorceror. Typical sorceror spells known (5/4): 0th—detect magic, ghost sound, prestidigitation, resistance; 1st—ray of enfeeblement, true strike. Possessions: bracers of armor +2. [size=-2]Note: The multi-headed template comes from the Savage Species supplemental. All features and changes are incorporated into Sehr’ish’ and Nik’s stat-block.[/size]
Necropotus Desert gargoyle, male, Fighter 4: CR 8; medium monstrous humanoid (earth); Hit Dice 4d8+4d10+56; 96 hp; Init +4; Spd 40 ft. (8 squares), Fly 60 ft. (good); AC 20 (+2 armor, +4 dex, +4 natural) (14 touch, 18 flat-footed); BAB/Grapple (+8/+3)/(+15/+10) (-2 to all ranged attacks); Atk +15 melee (1d6+9, claw with chains), +15 melee (1d6+7, claw without chains), +10 melee (1d6+3, bite), +7 melee (1d6+3, gore); Full atk +15 melee (1d6+9, claw with chains), +15 melee (1d6+7, claw without chains), +10 melee (1d6+3, bite), +7 melee (1d6+3, gore); Space/Reach: 5ft./5ft.; SA Improved Powerful Charge; SQ damage reduction 10/magic, darkvision 60 ft., freeze; AL CE; SV Fort +13, Reflex +9, Will +7; Str 24, Dex 18, Con 26, Int 12, Wis 14, Cha 8. Skills and Feats: Climb +11, Hide +13 (+19 when against stone backgrounds), Listen +11, Move Silently +8, Search +1, Speak Language (Common, Terran), Spot +11; Dodge, Improved Flight, Improved Multi-attack, Improved Natural Attack (claws), Improved Powerful Charge, Mobility, Multi-attack, Powerful Charge, Shaky (flaw). Freeze (Ex): Necropotus can hold himself so still that he appears to be a statue. An observer must succeed on a DC 20 Spot check to notice the vulture-like gargoyle is actually alive. Improved Powerful Charge (Ex): During any charge Necropotus makes, add 2d6 points of damage he would deal. Usually, any combat he will do, he will do from the skies, adding double the damage of his claw attack as well to the damage he would usually deal. Natural Attacks: Necropotus’ attacks, like any gargoyle’s, are considered magical weapons for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction. Possessions: chain of supernatural might. [size=-2]Note: Powerful Charge and its improvement are originally from the Eberron Campaign Setting, though I can almost swear both has been released in other WOTC products. In any case, it has been noted as a Special Attack. Also, the desert gargoyle peculiarities have been accounted for in Necropotus’ stat-block.[/size]
Rrakanishu Troglodyte, male, Cleric of Tiamat 4: CR 5; Medium humanoid (reptilian); Hit Dice 6d8+12 ; 39 hp; Init +1; Spd 30 ft. (6 squares); AC 21 (+4 armor, +1 dex, +6 natural) (11 touch, 20 flat-footed); BAB/Grapple +4/+5; Atk +7 melee (1d8+2, heavy mace +1), -1 melee (1d4, claw), -1 melee (1d4, bite); Full atk +7 melee (1d8+2, heavy mace +1), -1 melee (1d4, claw), -1 melee (1d4, bite) or +5 melee (1d4+1, 2 claws), -1 melee (1d4, bite); Space/Reach: 5ft./5ft.; SA rebuke undead 4/day, smite 1/day, spells, stench; SQ darkvision 90 ft.; AL LE; SV Fort +9, Reflex +2, Will +8; Str 12, Dex 12, Con 14, Int 14, Wis 18, Cha 12. Skills and Feats: Concentration +5, Diplomacy +7, Heal +7, Hide +1 (+5 in rocky surroundings), Knowledge (religion) +6, Listen +14, Speak Language (Common, Draconic, Infernal), Spellcraft +5; Brew Potion, Multi-attack, Weapon Focus (heavy mace). Stench (Ex): Like any troglodyte, Rrakanishu secretes an oily, musklike chemical that nearly every form of animal finds offensive when he’s angered or frightened. All living creatures (except troglodytes and Sehr’ish and Nik, who seem to have come to appreciate the foul scent) within 30 feet of a troglodyte must succeed on a DC 13 Fortitude save or be sickened for 10 rounds. The save is Constitution-based. Creatures that successfully save cannot be affected by the same troglodyte’s stench for 24 hours. A delay poison or neutralize poison spell removes the effect from the sickened creature. Creatures with immunity to poison are unaffected, and creatures resistant to poison receive their normal bonus on their saving throw. Spells: As a 4th level cleric. Typical cleric spells prepared (5/4+1/3+1; save DC 14 + spell level): 0th—create water (2), guidance (2), resistance; 1st—cure light wounds (2), sanctuary, protection from good (2)*; 2nd—cure moderate wounds (3), shatter*. *Domain spell.Domains: Destruction (gained smite power, +4 to a single melee attack and a bonus to damage equal to cleric level if the hit connects – smite 1/day), Evil (casts Evil spells at +1 caster level) Possessions: heavy mace +1, scale mail, 3 first-aid kits, 9 potions of cure light wounds (1d8+3).
Desert Gargoyles Gargoyle subspecies: CR 4; Medium monstrous humanoid (earth).
the DM]You see what well could be described as a vulture demon: a lanky, skinny creature with long arms and legs ending in vicious talons, a long tail with protrusions that appear like feathers, wings that are like a bird’ wrote:
You see what well could be described as a vulture demon: a lanky, skinny creature with long arms and legs ending in vicious talons, a long tail with protrusions that appear like feathers, wings that are like a bird’s, and a horrible beak that can easily shred through flesh. Ribbed horns, not unlike a black dragon’s, adorn its horrid head. The stench of death clings around this creature’s stone-like hide and feathers, and its eyes glow like candles behind a piece of amber. Its terrible cry seems to spell death.
Desert gargoyles are scavengers, unlike their more temperate cousins, for every drop of water and every scrap of food is precious in the unforgiving deserts. They defile, they tear through the dying, and they are as sinister as they look. Their feathers are only a façade, they’re actually elongated stone-like scales. Statistics are the same for standard gargoyles, except as noted below: Heat Endurance: Desert gargoyles are native to the arid skies and sands, and gain a +4 racial bonus on Fortitude saves made to resist the effects of hot weather. Shaky (flaw): Desert gargoyles tend to be skittish, and their limbs almost always seem to shake slightly. They receive –2 to any ranged attacks they make. They receive an additional feat, which they usually spend on improving their aerial manoeuvrability. Quick (trait): Desert gargoyles are fast runners as they are flyers, but are of a lighter build than their temperate cousins. Their base land speed increases by 10 feet, but each one hitpoint is subtracted from each of their hitdie.[/INDENT]
New Magic Item [INDENT]Chain of Supernatural Might: This heavy iron chain wraps around the hand and arm. It confers a +2 armor bonus to AC and increases damage inflicted by unarmed or natural attacks with the arm it wraps by +2. Perhaps most importantly, however, it increases by +2 the saving throw DCs of all the user’s supernatural abilities. Faint conjuration and transmutation; CL 7th; Craft Wondrous Item, greater magical flow enhancement [size=-2](Book of Eldritch Might)[/size], mage armor, magic fang; Price 30.000 gp; Weight 15 lbs. [size=-2]Note: This item originally comes from the Book of Eldritch Might, but it’s only the item itself that is of importance, rather than the additional spell that is required in its creation.[/size][/INDENT]
Adapting this adventure to Your Game:
Deserts can be found in any world, so it wouldn’t be too peculiar to incorporate a few adventures and/or quests in a desert of sorts. The encounters herein can be weighed up and down to the PCs’ ECL rather easily by changing the number of troglodyte combatants for both lairs, by changing the number of gargoyles that will fight or not, and altering Sehr’ish and Nik’s age-class to advance them. As such, however, treasure may need to be toned up or down. For the dragon’s hoard, this shouldn’t prove too hard – just alter percentages of the loot in their hoard concerning how much belongs to the region, or add to the hoard’s size.
Quests and exploration can easily lead to Sehr’ish and Nik and their followers: the PCs may have come across this region just recently, and quickly learned that most if not all trade is done with silver – this, because of the tribute the dragoness and their followers demand. The PCs may be requested to find and perhaps hunt down the two-headed dragoness at some point, and/or returning the region’s gold and silver. The characters may have hailed from the region, themselves, giving more incentive for them to hunt down the sisters. Finally, they could just be exploring the desert, and found a place to rest (if they didn’t find any outside guards or other nuisances outside of the temple’s underground), and stumbled on the ruined interior soon enough.
Finally, this game is, after all, called Dungeons & Dragons, now, isn’t it?
A wilderness encounter for 5th - 6th level PCs, the treehouse is basically a random encounter.
This is the home of Nesh, a bugbear cleric of Obad-Hai, and Marrak, a hobgoblin monk devoted to the service of Hextor. When Nesh first came to the treehouse, he discovered a native assasin vine, but managed to train it into submission with excessive use of his rebuke plants ability. Ever since then Nesh has been raising the assassin vine in his treehouse home, and Marrak stays there for the protection that Nesh and the vine willingly give him. In return, he helps Nesh with his duties, and occasionally waylays travellers for supplies. Over time, Marrak has been tempting Nesh towards evil, persuading the innocent cleric that the assassin vine will prosper if fed human meat.
[size=+1]1. The Clearing[/size]
Ahead of you, you see an extraordinarily large tree, ancient beyond an elven lifespan and with a trunk easily twenty feet wide. Long vines bearing both red and dark blue berries swirl around it, and songbirds chirp from the hightest branches. Carved into the tree's base is a door about seven feet high, the interior obscured with a curtain made from tropical leaves. Attached to a stake pounded in next to the doorway is a large bell, and a burnt-out campfire lies nearby.
Nesh and Marrak reside in their treehouse for almost all of the day. During early morning and late afternoon, Nesh leaves the treehouse to hunt, and Marrak practices his martial arts stances on the rooftop platforms (area 3). The campfire is used for cookery by the tree-dwellers.
If the adventurers ring the doorbell, Nesh will greet them cordially if he is home, but Marrak cannot bother to be disturbed from his practice. If they barge in or climb the tree (Climb DC 15), the goblinoids will greet them in an unfriendly manner and interrogate them as to their purposes; if they awaken the treehouse's inhabitants, they will be attacked.
For combat in the clearing, assume it to be a 60 ft. diameter circle.
[size=+1]2. Main Platform[/size]
A twisting spiral staircase leads up the interior of the tree, and emerges in open air. It leads to a rather large wooden platform, shielded from the elements with a canopy made of tightly woven leaves. On the platform are two crudely-furnished beds, each with a wooden chest at the end, and a rough hewn wooden table with cushions made from furs placed around it. To the north and east sides of the platform are two elevated square platforms about ten feet wide, and about fifty feet away from the north platform you spot another platform. However, there is no walkway between them, and the branches are too sparse to simply walk from branch to branch.
With a successful Spot check (DC 20), the adventurers also catch a glimpse of another platform to the far east.
Nesh leads visitors to this area, and sits down at the table to discuss their purpose in the forest with them. He introduces himself as a botanist who lives in the forest. He does not mention Marrak if not asked, but if the adventurers inquire he explains that Marrak was a wandering monk who decided to settle down and helped him improve the treehouse.
Nesh asks the adventurers if they would like to rest in the treehouse for the night, offering. If the adventurers accept, Nesh lays out blankets for them. In the night, Nesh orders his assassin vine to attack the adventurers, and he and Marrak follow suit. In preparation, Marrak drinks his potion of barkskin +3 and potion of owl's wisdom, which raise his AC to 20 (touch 17) and his Will save bonus to +7. Because they have darkvision, Nesh and Marrak do battle by moonlight.
If the adventurers decline the offer, Nesh orders his assassin vine to attack the adventurers as they leave. If they defeat it and question him, he denies owning it and tells them that it is common flora in the surrounding forest. He has a +0 modifier to his bluff check, but gains a +5 circumstance bonus if the players have encountered assassin vines in the forest in an encounter unrelated to the treehouse.
The platform is 30 ft. by 40 ft. in size. If combat is initiated here, Marrak attempts to bull rush the adventurers off the platform, while Nesh uses his spells. The assassin vine, too stupid to use effective tactics, simply grapples the adventurers.
The chests are locked (Open Lock DC 20, or break DC 15). The one on the left contains Nesh's personal items and 209 gp; Marrak's chest on the right contains 88 gp and various personal effects.
Movement between the main platform and the far platforms is extremely difficult. Two DC 15 Jump checks followed by one DC 20 Jump check are required to succesfully cross the chasm by swinging on vines; alternatively, three Jump checks (two DC 10 and one DC 15) and a DC 15 Balance check can allow characters to reach the platform by jumping on tree branches.
Attempting to travel to the far east platform carries some unseen risks. Two assassin vines that have grown from the seed pods of Nesh's vine inhabit the crossing and snare any travellers except for Marrak and Nesh who attempt to cross platforms. Unless grappled by the assassin vines, PCs fighting them while swinging from a vine (animate or non-animate) must make Reflex saves (DC 15) each round or fall. Adventurers fighting from a branch must make Balance checks (DC 15). If the Balance check fails, they must make a Reflex save (DC 15) or fall from the vine; if they succeed, they find themselves hanging from the branch (treat as prone). The vines are 50 feet in the air (5d6 falling damage). Because of the difficulty of this encounter, award 50% more XP for each assassin vine the adventurers defeat. After the assassin vines are defeated, the adventurers can access the far east platform.
[size=+1]3. Far North Platform[/size]
Thirty feet square, this platform is surrounded on all sides by rope hand rails to prevent falls. It is bare but for a combat dummy hanging from a tree, and a small wooden chest placed in a niche built into the platform.
This platform is utilized by Marrak for training and as a lookout spot.
The chest is of better craftsmanship than the previous chests (Open Lock DC 25, or break DC 20) and contains Marrak's most prized possessions: a black pearl worth 400 gp, an onyx worth 30 gp, and a bloodstone worth 50 gp, and two thunderstones in a brown cotton pouch. It also contains a masterwork greataxe and a masterwork mighty composite shortbow (Strength +1) that Marrak retrieved from the corpses of his fallen foes.
[size=+1]4. Far East Platform[/size]
This thirty foot square platform is in excellent condition. Woven vines bearing beautiful red flowers snake around the platform's sides and dangle from the leafy canopy above it. In the center of the platform is a large, mossy rock, atop of which lie the hides of a number of panthers. Atop the hide someone has placed a roughly humanoid idol about four feet tall. At its base rests a more delicately carved wooden rod about a foot in length, painted white with swirls of pale blue.
The idol, made by Nesh, is supposed to be a carving of Obad-Hai. If the adventurers pick it up it feels unnaturally light. Although Nesh isn't exactly the best at woodcarving, the idol is made of darkwood and can sell for 500 gp on the basis of weight alone. As well, each of the five hides can sell for 50 gp.
The item at the base of the idol is a wand of charm person. Carved into it is the sylvan word for love; this is the wand's command word. Marrak found the wand waylaying a travelling bard. He gave it to Nesh assuming that he could use it. Nesh, unable to use the arcane wand, placed it on the altar as an offering to Obad-Hai.
Nesh: male bugbear Cleric 2 of Obad-Hai; CR 3; Medium humanoid (goblinoid); HD 5d8+15; hp 41; Init +1; Spd 30 ft.; AC 19 (touch 11, flat-footed 18); BAB +3; Grap +6; Atk masterwork spear +7 (1d8+4/x3) or javelin +4 ranged (1d6+3); SA rebuke plants 3/day (+0, 2d6+2), turn undead 3/day (+0, 2d6+2); SQ darkvision 60 ft., scent, speak with animals 1/day; AL N; SV Fort +4, Ref +4, Will +7; Str 17, Dex 12, Con 16, Int 8, Wis 16, Cha 10.
Possessions: Masterwork scale mail, light wooden shield, masterwork spear, 5 javelins, wand of entangle, 2 potions of cure moderate wounds.
Spells Prepared (4/4): 0th-- detect magic, guidance, light, purify food and drink; 1st-- bless, command, entangle (D, T), obscuring mist. Domains Animal and Plant (D). Caster level 2nd; save DC 13 + spell level, 14 + spell level for transmutation spells (T).
Marrak: male Hobgoblin Monk 3; CR 3; Medium humanoid (goblinoid); HD 3d8+6; hp 23; Init +2; Spd 40 ft.; AC 15 (touch 14, flat-footed 11); BAB +2; Grap +4; Atk unarmed strike +4 (1d6+2) or sling +4 ranged (1d4); SA flurry of blows +2/+2 (1d6+2); SQ AC bonus, darkvision 60 ft., evasion, still mind; AL LE; SV Fort +5, Ref +5, Will +5; Str 14, Dex 14, Con 15, Int 8, Wis 15, Cha 10.
Possessions: Sling, 10 bullets, bracers of armor +1, elixir of hiding, elixir of sneaking, potion of barkskin +3, 2 potions of cure moderate wounds, potion of invisibility, potion of owl's wisdom.
Assassin Vines (3): hp 39, 25, 23. See Monster Manual.
If using the Forgotten Realms deities, make Marrak devoted to Bane and change Nesh's deity to Silvanus.
This encounter can be scaled for higher or lower level parties. For 4th or 5th level PCs, make Nesh a 1st-level hobgoblin Cleric and Marrak a 1st-level Monk and remove one of the assassin vines in the crossing between areas 2 and 4. For 7th level PCs, make Nesh 3rd level and Marrak 4th level, and add one assassin vine to the crossing.