Copyright © 1999 by Robert J. Hall
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The following is an adventure of low to intermediate difficulty for 4 to 6 characters. The scenario can be used as an adventure for a party travelling across the land to a distant location, or as a change of pace at the end of a campaign. It could be helpful for the party to include a character with the Dwarf racial and cultural packages, plus a character with outdoor skills. Most of the stats for the encountered creatures are listed below. However, additional details can be found in the HERO® Bestiary and the Fantasy Creatures web pages. In many cases the number of opponents involved in many encounters has been left to the discretion of the GM. The number should be increased for a more experienced party.
Rising tide of evil | A fiery threat to the north | The desperate response of the Elves | A successful sacrifice | Fall into barbarianism | The lover scorned | A plan for revenge | Mission for the gods
An egregious act | All the bandit king's horses and all of his men | Some timely aid | Escape to the mountains | Burning the last bridge | Cave at the end of the gorge | Last chance
Dark and twisting passages | The death threat | Earthquake! | A plea for help | Attack of the swarming Vug | Cavern of giant toadstools | The hidden passage | Dwarven tunnels | Fortress of Guernfast | Omen from the Gods | A mission to summon a hero | Collapsed floor and the lizard creatures
Descending into darkness | An ancient temple | Captured by the Saugathar | Waiting to die | An underground city | The lovely Queen Shadara | A binding oath | Exploring the great caverns | Fortress on the precipice | A sumberged temple | Sacred burial grounds | The ghostly guardian | Some old ruins | The hall of time | The fiery pit
Unbearable heat | Venting steam | Lava tubes | The hidden tunnel | Hot pool | A river of lava | Flaming vents | The lair of the fire beast | Bubbling pools of mud | A deadly invisible killer | Island of relief | Some timely aid | Twisting vortex of flame
A relief from the heat | A secret passage | The guarded gate | An expansive luxurious residence | The imprisoned slaves | Unpleasant guardians | The powerful magi | A wizards laboratory | The fine library | Quarters for the elite | Terror from the ice creatures | A crafty servant | The summoning chamber | The final piece of the puzzle
A great flight of stairs | The immense throne room | Powerful new foes
Assembling the hero | Gathering the rare materials | A final confrontation | The reward for a task completed | The aftermath | The return of a god | Volcanoes lay low the north lands
Khuldark the Fire Beast | Marvelous new magical devices | Finding allies in the depths
The following optional hand-outs can be prepared in advance by the GM for the players:
In ancient times an evil being of great power, known as Khuldark, rose to prominence among the mysterious civilizations that dwelled under the great northern mountain range. The number of his followers grew and prostletized until he gained the divine power needed to expand the mountain range with volcanoes and lava flows. The skies of the north regularly grew dark with the constant eruptions and burning forests.
The growing menace to the neighboring sylvan forests prompted the high elven king to formulate a plan. He ordered his most powerful magi to create a spell that would forever bind Khuldark and prevent him from threatening the northern lands. The grand magi of the northern elves, Ylerien Silestra, labored for years with his assistants to perfect the required magic. It would indeed have to be a most powerful spell to contain this evil force.
When the work of Ylierien was complete he journeyed beneath the mountains, braving the hosts of denizens who were sent to stop him. Finally he confronted Khuldark within his great burning cavern and cast the ritual of imprisonment.
The moment before the cage closed to trap Khuldark, the being cast his own dark spell and the elven magi was turned into pure blue crystal. In the heat of the surrounding lava, this stone shattered into five pieces. The cage successfully trapped Khuldark, but the Elf would never witness the completion of his magic.
The pieces of the elf were gathered up by the now powerless shamen of the underground tribes. After much thought they decided that dispersing the pieces of this enemy would gradually weaken the hold of the magic prison upon their god. The shamen carefully hid the pieces in several secure locations within the mountain, and waited for the cage to crumble.
Alas they acted in vain, and the pieces of blue crystal were soon forgotten in the chaos that followed. The followers of Khuldark, dismayed that their deity had abandoned them, fell upon each other and quickly deteriorated into barbarism.
Many ages later, a visitor from the surface discovered the prison of Khuldark. Influenced by the escaping thoughts of this demi-god, she crafted a plan that would release the deity. She was led to believe that doing so would allow her to wreak vengence upon her bitter arch rival. For this plan to succeed, the visitor must repeatedly call upon powerful magical energies to batter the cage that holds the god. These energies would shake the entire mountain, causing earthquakes and upwellings of molten rock. If the visitor succeeds in breaking the prison, Khuldark will be unleashed to once again threaten the lands of the north. This time there will be no elven magic strong enough to stop it.
Into this crisis wanders a small band of heroes who have unknowingly been sent here by the gods to save the north from destruction.
This act is an optional introduction to the main scenario that has the purpose of bringing the party into the underground complex beneath the mountain range. It is fairly linear and heavy handed. If the GM has a different introduction in mind, this part can be skipped and the scenario begun with Act II.
This scenario begins with the adventurers being pursued by the mercenary mounted cavalry of a bandit kingdom in the north lands. The reason may be due to the slaying of an unsavory young relative of the bandit ruler in a bar duel, or because their last adventure earned them the wrath of the leader. In any event, the party and their mounts are being pushed to the edge of exhaustion trying to escape their relentless pursuers. The enemy mercenary cavalry is driving the adventurers towards the mountains with the intention of either trapping them against the cliffs or driving them to their deaths in the frigid peaks.
If the party turns to fight one of the pursuing cavalry troops they will find the battle very hard fought. The GM should then make it clear that the enemy has many more such groups in hot pursuit.
|Mercenary Commander: 16 STR, 16 DEX; 14 CON; 12 BODY; 12 INT; 14 EGO; 15 PRE; 10 COM; 6 PD; 4 ED; 3 SPD; 5 REC; 28 END; 27 STUN; FAM w/ Common Melee Weapons; FAM w/ Common Missile Weapons; +1 w/ Broadsword; +2 w/ Hand-to-Hand; Conversation 13-; Oratory 12-; Persuasion 13-; Riding 15-; Tracking 12-; Tactics 13-; Language: Kingdom Tongue (Native); AK: Kingdom; KS: Famous Military Strategies 11-; KS: Military Procedures 11-; Perk: Commander; Loyal to Mercenary Company; Always follows orders; OCV: 5; DCV: 5; ECV: 5; Phases: 4, 8, 12; Chain Armor (6 DEF); Large Shield (+3 DCV); Broad Sword (+1 OCV, 1d6+1K); Dagger (+1 OCV, 1d6-1K); Loose Coins.|
|Mercenary Cavalry: 15 STR, 16 DEX, 12 CON, 12 BODY, 10 INT, 13 EGO, 10 PRE, 10 COM, 6 PD, 4 ED, 3 SPD, 5 REC, 24 END, 26 STUN; FAM w/ Common Melee Weapons; FAM w/ Common Missile Weapons; +1 OCV w/ Broadsword; +2 w/ Hand-to-Hand; Riding 14-; Tracking 12-; Language: Kingdom Tongue (Native); AK: Kingdom; KS: Fighting Styles 8-; KS: Famous Warriors 8-; Loyal to Mercenary Company; Always follows orders; OCV: 5; DCV: 5; ECV: 4; Phases: 4, 8, 12; Scale Armor (5 DEF); Normal Shield (+2 DCV); Broad Sword (+1 OCV, 1d6+1K); Knife (+1 OCV, 1/2d6K); Loose Coins.|
|Light Warhorse: 25 STR, 18 DEX, 18 CON, 17 BODY, 5 INT, 5 EGO, 10 COM, 7 PD, 4 ED, 3 SPD, 6 REC, 40 END, 31 STUN; Growth (15 Pts., +2 to others' sight PER, -3" KB, +1" reach); Persistent, Always On; 1-pip HKA, reduced penetration - bite; +3d6 HA, reduced penetration - hooves; +1 PD, +1 ED Armor; +3 PRE, Only for defense; 12" Running; +1 to all Perceptions 11-; +2 to Hearing Perception 13-; +2 to Smell Perception 13-; Limited fine manipulation; OCV: 6; DCV: 4; ECV: 2; Phases: 4, 8, 12; Saddle; Bit and Bridle; Bed Roll; Rope; Pouch w/ Food Rations.|
Along the way the party receives important aid from a friendly farmer who supplies them with food and warm blankets. The farmer knows that to aid and comfort these fugitives may mean his death, but he has a severe grudge against the bandits. Indeed, should the party turn back in their tracks to visit the farmer again, they will find that his bloody corpse has been dragged through the fields by the vengeful mercenaries.
When the party reaches the foot hills, read the following out loud to the players:
Weary from the exhausting chase, you draw closer to the rugged foot hills of the northern mountain range. Ahead of you the verdant, tree-covered heights rise abruptly from a narrow river valley. Behind you, in the distance, you can make out several troops of mounted warriors relentlessly following your trail. More troops are paralleling your course on the wings, slowly drawing closer to your position. Your options for escape are rapidly diminishing.
As your only other option is to turn and fight against overwhelming odds, you continue your flight up the narrow valley. The ground rises relentlessly, further exhausting your already weary mounts. As the valley meanders between the rugged hills, you catch glimses between the clouds of majestic, snow-covered mountains far ahead. They seem utterly impassable and you wonder how you are going to make it across to safety.
Following the banks of the small, but swiftly flowing river, you come upon a trail that cuts through the growth and seems to lead in the direction you are travelling. Glancing back down the trail, you spot the enemy troops now much closer to your position. Their mounts have been replaced by fresh horses and they are pressing their pursuit.
Upon reaching the foot hills, the party finds this convenient trail leading further into the rough. Failure to follow this trail will mean slower progress and likely capture, so it behoves them to ascend the path. The trail meanders through the rugged hills, slowly rising toward the mountains. In time the trail becomes a wide ledge along a small cliff.
At this point the pursuit has almost caught up to the party and they can sight at least one troop of mounted warriors turning a bend down the trail. The path ascends more rapidly now and the way grows even more difficult and exhausting. The weary mounts are close to dropping. For the heroes to pause to rest, however, will mean their capture and certain death. The relentless pursuit draws ever closer.
Soon the adventurers pass a crude suspension bridge that crosses a gorge. The path meanders onward to the right and continues up the gorge face. The party has to quickly make a choice between continuing along the trail or crossing the bridge and burning it behind them. The later will guarantee their escape for the moment, and so is the likely decision. Should the party continue along the trail, it will eventually cross the mountain range through a difficult pass. However, the party is very likely to die of exposure should they do so. (See Plan B below.)
The bridge consists of a series of logs tied together with crude but sturdy rope. There are thick rope hand rails on either side of the bridge. It was obviously built to support a weight greater than a human, and there is no difficulty in bringing horses across in single file.
Once the party approaches the other side, a problem occurs with their escape scenario. Emerging from the thick brush and trees to the left of the bridge is a pair of Ogre women wielding heavy clubs. They were set here to guard the only crossing into the rich hunting grounds in the valley below. One of the Ogre women immediately departs down the trail.
The remaining Ogre female, barely able to speak the native tongue of the characters, boldly threatens the party and demands heavy payment for crossing the bridge. (The amount of the payment is left to the GM, but it can be negotiated down with a successful Persuasion skill roll, or a Conversation/Oratory skill roll with a -2 penalty.) If the payment is made, the party is reluctantly allowed to cross the bridge. However, they will be warned to stay away from the village ahead. Any attempt to destroy the bridge will meet with fierce resistance from the Ogress.
|Ogre: 30 STR, 14 DEX, 23 CON, 20 BODY, 8 INT, 8 EGO, 25 PRE, 0 COM, 12 PD, 9 ED, 3 SPD, 10 REC, 50 END, 50 STUN; Growth (5 pts, Always On, 0 END, Persistent); 1d6 HKA Reduced Penetration; +2 rPD Armor; 8" Running; Native in Ogre; Basic Tongue in Northern; Fam. w/ Common Melee Weapons; OCV: 5; DCV: 4; ECV: 3; Phases: 4, 8, 12; Fur garb, heavy club (6d6N).|
Choosing to cross the suspension bridge, the party can follow the trail into the mountains. A tracker in the party will spot boot marks from the Ogre hunters who frequently pass this way. The trail continues onward, winding up the mountain face through the rough and scrub. Eventually it will come to an Ogre village, which the party enters at their peril. Thanks to the Ogre guard, the village will be fully alert to the presence of the adventurers, and indeed a war party will soon be sent back along the trail to attack the intruders.
Fortunately, a short distance from the bridge, there is a faint fork with a barely perceptible trail leading off to the right. (A successful Perception roll by one of the party members is required to spot the trail.) This faint trail is overgrown in places, and a party without a skilled tracker may lose it in the brush at several locations. (They will need to frequently backtrack to capture the trail again and follow it more slowly.) The trail leads into another gorge, with nearly sheer faces to either side. Soon the sides of the gorge are so high that the sun is shaded from the path for most of the day and the bottom is covered in snow and ice.
Undoubtedly the party may decide to rest at this point as it is growing late in the day. There is some small game available for food, and plenty of brush for a fire. They can camp on a bare spot along the lee of the gorge wall. An encounter of any significance is unlikely at this time, as the Ogre war party will be fully occupied with the mounted patrol that was following the heroes.
Continuing up the gorge the next day, the party comes to the end of the trail at the mouth of an inverted V-shaped cave. The cave opening is wide enough to accomodate a large human in armor, but a horse will not be able to pass. The adventurers will need to leave their mounts behind at this point. A skillful tracker who searches the ground near the cave entrance will find an odd-looking foot print. It appears almost human, but with an enlarged big toe protruding out the side of the foot, parallel to the other toes.
Should the characters refuse to take the bridge across the chasm, the way will grow very hard for them indeed. The mounted troops will soon be replaced by a handful of specialized warriors who guard the mountain border of the bandit kingdom. These deft warriors will not attempt to engage the fleeing party directly, but instead will employ hit and run tactics with their uncanny bow fire. The border patrol troops will remain in the foot hills in case the party tries to circle back.
|Mercenary Scout: 13 STR, 17 DEX; 12 CON; 11 BODY; 12 INT; 11 EGO; 10 PRE; 10 COM; 5 PD; 3 ED; 3 SPD; 5 REC; 24 END; 24 STUN; FAM w/ Staff; FAM w/ Common Missile Weapons; +2 w/ Bows; +4 to Offset Range w/ Bows; Breakfall 8-; Climbing 13-; Concealment 12-; Navigation 11-; Survival 12-; Stealth 13-; Tracking 11-; Language: Kingdom Tongue (Native); AK: Northern Mountains; KS: Mountain Flora and Fauna 11-; Loyal to Mercenary Company; OCV: 6; DCV: 6; ECV: 4; Phases: 4, 8, 12; Brigandine Armor (4 DEF, 3-5, 7-16); Fur Boots and Gloves (3 DEF, 6, 17-18); Heavy Bow (1+1/2d6K); 16 Blood-Red Arrows; Staff (+1 OCV, 4d6N, 2-handed); Knife (+1 OCV, 1/2d6K); Warm Cloak; Wool Clothes; Blood-Red Scarf; Light Pack; Bed Roll; Rations; Water Skin; Loose Coins.|
In addition to the unrelenting pursuit from the enemy warriors, the environment will start to work against the party. The weather will grow more extreme at higher elevation, the ground will be covered in snow, and there will be possible encounters with Greater Orcs, Mountain Giants, Cougars, Yeti, White Mounds, Barbegazi, and Bears. Death from exposure is quite possible since they are unlikely to be adequately outfitted with winter gear.
About half way to the summit, the exhausted characters are suddenly forced to take shelter against the severe weather conditions. Fortunately they will find a narrow cave leading sharply downward. This will open into a granite cavern where they can safely rest. From here a descending series of passages and caverns leads downward and to the north until it joins with a chimney above room 19 on the Dwarf Ruins level. Details of this underground passage are left to the GM.
The characters will have to make this descent with only the supplies and equipment they carry. They will also encounter some underground denizens, such as Vug tribes, Giant Ants and Spiders, Clear Mounds, Giant Rats, and perhaps even a wild animal that has wandered down the passage. They will also suffer from the earthquakes described below. The final descent down the chimney onto the Great Forge Hall floor is a vertical drop of 50'.
The mercenary scouts will not attempt to pursue the party down through the mountain, but will wait in ambush should they reappear.
The natural caverns and passages that lie beneath the northern mountain range formed over many millenia due to the natural processes of water flows, mineral deposits, and shifting earth. The tunnels vary in size from passages large enough to hold a mounted man to narrow openings barely large enough for a small person to fit through sideways. The floor of these natural passages is rugged and difficult to move across. Heavy boots are required to avoid injuries to feet and ankles. Natural pools of cool water fill the tunnels in places, and in these spots the footwear will need to be removed to avoid soaking the leather or rusting iron.
Many of the natural tunnels join large underground caverns. The largest of these caverns, naturally butressed by rock formations, are home to forests of giant toadstools. The floors of these forests are covered in soft dirt and are easy to traverse. Unlike forests on the surface, there are no low-hanging branches to hinder movement or sight. However the giant toadstools are more difficult to climb and the caps will not support more than 10-20kg before they begin to fall apart.
In places the natural openings have been supplemented and expanded by tunnels dug by the industrious dwarves and other races. These tunnels are typically well made and unlikely to collapse except under the most extreme conditions. With the exception of a few major passages, however, these dwarf tunnels are low enough to require a normal-sized man to stoop uncomfortably. Any characters who have not spent at least a week practicing will be at -2 OCV when fighting in these low passages.
Every one to two days the entire mountain range in the vicinity of great lava cavern on the fire level is shaken by a strong earthquake. This shaking operates much like the Earthquake spell in the College of Earth Magic. The earthquakes have caused all manner of disruptions and changes to the underground passages and caverns. There is only a small chance during each earthquake that some rocks will be dislodged that strikes one of the characters. (An activation roll of 4- is required to inflict such damage.)
When the characters start to enter this cave, read the following to the players.
A steady wind is blowing out from the opening, making a low moaning noise. Stooping to enter the rough passage, you see a dimly lit open area ahead. Once your eyes adjust to the low light level, you find a roughly circular cave with a sandy floor and a rocky perimeter. In the center you can just make out a circle of ashes and some burnt wood. A pile of what might be wood disks sits nearby. Around the ashes lay several small boulders in a semi-circle. The ceiling of this cave is very rough, and you can see a few brown bats peering back at you from inside small crevices.
This cave has various animal bones lying about the area and small brown bats nest within openings in the ceiling. The ashes of many fires are piled in the center of the cave, and a stack of an odd, pulpy material lies near at hand to serve as fuel. (This is cut from giant toadstools in caverns within the mountain.) A careful search of the floor will turn up some flint tools including a spear tip.
At the back of the cave, on top of a ledge, a passage continues deeper into the mountain. The passage appears natural, although it has obviously been widened in a few places. After a time it forks, with the larger passage leading to the left. The walls of the right passage are humid, and it descends continually to an underground pool chamber. This pool is a good place to bathe and fill water flasks.
Map 1. Southern End of the Dwarf Ruins.
Following the larger left passage, the party comes to a smaller cavern that is roughly twice as long as it is wide. Some objects mounted atop some poles can be seen in a pile of boulders at the center. Closer examination will reveal the decapitated heads of two Dwarves and several Ogre. These victims foolishly entered the cave system of the Vug and their heads were left as a warning to anybody else who wanders through. One of the dwarf heads is fresh and just starting to decay.
A somewhat larger passage branches off from the back of the cavern and leads up and to the right. It meanders a bit with narrow, dead-end tunnels branching off from the main. In places the floor is again sandy and the occasional footprint can be seen that are similar in shape and dimension to the one found at the entrance. The meandering nature of the passage quickly makes it difficult to guage direction.
During their passage down this narrow, twisting corridor, the characters experience the first of many earthquakes. Read the following description to the players.
As you are working your way up the narrow, rough tunnel, you suddenly hear a low, deep groaning sound coming from all around you. The ground suddenly starts to move, swinging back and forth with gradually increasing strength. Clouds of choking dust and broken shards of rock rain down along the length of the corridor, and you are tossed back and forth against the walls.
Just when you grew fearful that the entire tunnel is about to collapse, the waves of shaking gradually begin to subside. After several minutes the rocking motion finally fades away, and the party is able to recover their dignity. The entire experience was very unnerving, however.
On a 4-, a chunk of rock breaks loose from the ceiling and clobbers one of the characters, doing 1d6K damage.
As the characters near the entrance to this cavern, read the following to the players. (Assuming they have acquired a suitable light source.)
The narrow, winding tunnel comes to a pitch black end just ahead. As you turn sidewise to squeeze through the opening, you find a large cavern obviously made by skilled miners and stone masons. The floor is covered with carefully fitted stone tiles that are now cracked with age, and has several chunks protruding upward. A number of shards of stone have fallen from the smooth, cracked ceiling and lie scattered about the floor.
At the edge of your light you can see a heavy stone platform in the center of the cavern. There appears to be something large lying motionless on top. Beside the walls are piles of unknown objects. From the back of the cavern you can hear the faint but steady drip of water. The room is otherwise deathly quiet and still.
The floor is ancient, but it was obviously made by a skilled stone mason. Three piles of debris can be found along the sides of the walls. In the center of the chamber is a large stone platform with a spread-eagled body on top.
The body is that of the dwarf whose head was recently mounted in the previous chamber. The naked body has been eviscerated; the limbs severed by a rough tool; and the flesh is generally bloody and scraped raw. Crude ropes are still attached to each of the limbs and to sturdy iron rings along the base of the blood and ichor-covered table. The table itself is well crafted from marble, with a band of dwarf runes wrapping around the base. Many dark stains from previous torture slayings mar the otherwise fine platform.
The piles of debris contain the decayed corpses of a number of humanoid beings, along with their battered equipment and some supplies. By picking through these piles, the party can find some tools and equipment that they will need for their passage through the mountain. These include a battered lantern, several flasks of oil, and a number of torches. No weapons remain intact and all the armor is wrent and torn. A suitable KS or Forensics skill roll will reveal that the corpses are mostly male Ogre, with two Dwarfs: one male and the other female.
Along the back wall of the chamber is a small pool of clean water being fed by a steady drip from the ceiling. The pool is shallow enough to wade through, although doing so will stir up the muck and dirty the water.
Leading out of the chamber are three other passages. One of these is a well crafted tunnel leading straight away. The other two are merely cracks in the wall leading off into the mountain. However, these cracks appear passable and the floor is covered dirt, debris, and traces of creature passage.
While the party is checking out each exit, the sound of a skittering rock can be heard coming from the crack along the right side. When somebody goes to check it out, more rock sounds can be heard along with a grunt and the sound of scuffing boots. This is Garunthar, a Dwarf who escaped death at by hiding in a side passage. He is in bad shape and has been living off the supplies in this room.
Meeting and befriending Garunthar is an important step for the party, as he is the only one who can lead them safely through the mountain to the citadel. He is mute due to a deep gash he received to his throat, but can communicate through gestures and drawings in the dirty floor. Failure to befriend Garunthar could lead to dire consequences for the party, as they wander aimlessly through the tunnels with diminishing supplies and the constant threat of the native underground inhabitants at every turn.
Garunthar is in serious need of medical attention before he can move. His right leg is badly injured and his sword hand mangled beyond recognition. (A serious blow to Garunthar because this was the hand he uses to handle his hammer back at the forge.) Despite his retched condition, Garunthar is a powerful dwarf and would be a dangerous foe when threatened.
|Garunthar: 19 STR, 13 DEX, 19 CON, 2(12) BODY, 11 INT, 11 EGO, 8(10) PRE, 10 COM, 5 PD, 4 ED, 3 SPD, 7 REC, 36 END, 32 STUN; Bump of Direction (Underground); Native in Dwarvish and Northern; Concealment 11-; Mechanics 11-; Trading 9-(13-); AK: North Lands; KS: Dwarf History; PS: Miner 11-; PS: Iron Smith 14-; FAM w/ Common Melee Weapons; +2 w/ Axes and Maces; OCV: 4; DCV: 4; ECV: 4; Phases: 4, 8, 12; Pick (1d6+1K; AP).|
As they move down the main tunnel, the party will encounter an armed group of Vug who are out searching for the Dwarf who escaped them earlier. While individually the Vug are less than impressive, when they work in large groups they can become a dangerous foe. The GM should feel free to make this group sufficiently large to challenge the party. This encounter is inevitable unless the heroes move back down the tunnels in the direction they originally came. If they daly in chamber 3, the encounter will take place there instead.
|Vug Warrior: 5 STR, 12 DEX, 11 CON, 6 BODY, 5* INT, 8 EGO, 8 PRE, 6 COM, 2 PD, 2 ED, 2 SPD, 3 REC, 25 END, 15 STUN; Shrinking (10 pts, 1m, -2 PER, +2 CV, +3 KB), Persistent, Always On; Mind Link (Any Vug, 2 at a time); +4 Improved INT (Linked to Mind Link); 2d6 HA (reduced penetration) - Hands; +2 PD, +2 ED Armor; Infrared Vision; FAM w/ Common Missile Weapons; Concealment 10-; Stealth 11-; Survival 11-; Phys. Lim: Only speak mentally; OCV: 4; DCV: 6; ECV: 3; Phases: 6, 12; Small Sling (1d6-1K); Small Stone Knife (1 pip K).|
At the end of this passage is a large pile of rocks left here when the Dwarf miners broke through into the large cavern beyond. Having found no useful ores, the Dwarves abandoned this tunnel.
This dark cavern contains a forest of giant toadstools. A dirt trail leads from the main tunnel into the center of a Vug village. The village is arranged in a circle of huts around a central fire pit. Most of the time the 43 Vug male warriors will be out in the forest hunting game, so a sighting of the approaching party will prompt most of the residents to flee. When they regroup, however, the Vug will be back with a vengeance. They will relentlessly pursue the intruders. Any captives will be bound and taken to the cavern of bodies. There they will be decapitated and their corpses added to the pile. The head of any slain heroes will greet future visitors from the top of a pole.
From this large cavern, other rough passages branch out to other open areas beneath the mountain. These may lead to natural limestone caverns, or further forests of giant toadstools. Almost certainly more tribes of Vug and many other hazards lie in wait. Development of this complex of caverns and tunnels is left to the GM. The characters should eventually discover area 11 in the northern end of the dwarf ruins.
Garunthar will lead the adventurers along the main passage, then enter a side tunnel just short of the Vug village cavern. This tunnel is located some two meters above the floor and would probably be missed by somebody who did not know where to look. Carefully concealed hand holds allow an ascent to the side tunnel.
This side tunnel is obviously the work of skilled artisans, as it is nearly straight and the walls are smooth. The ceiling is too low for most humans, however, so most of the party will need to stoop. After about a hundred meters the party will arrive at a large niche where they can stand. This niche contains a cache of supplies, including well preserved travel rations and barrels of water. The cache is covered in a heavy iron net to protect it from the underground denizens.
The side tunnel leads onward until it joins with the long passage. See area 7.
This long, straight passage runs almost the entire width of the mountain. It seems an excessive work as the same passage can be traversed by other tunnels. The true purpose of this long passage is lost to history. But a clue can be found from the stone benches that line both sides. At each end is a large chamber of unknown purpose. (See room 22 below.)
Map 2. Northern End of the Dwarf Ruins.
A wide set of stairs leads up to this open hall, the main entrance to the underground ruins. The double doors that once guarded this hall from the outside have long since been lost. Both walls of the long hall are decorated with a series of giant stone heads of dwarves that peer down ponderously on the floor below. As the party walks by these heads, the eyes almost seem to follow their every move.
The ruins of the ancient dwarf citadel of Guernfast stands on the northern slopes of this mountain range, set in the face of a sheer wall. Tunnels from the fortress spread throughout the mountain, joining caverns and dwarf structures still standing after many centuries.
One of the descendents of the original rulers of Guernfast has returned to reclaim the ruins, though now he is little more than a leader of a bandit army. The ruins lie astride a well traveled road that runs from east to west along the edge of the hills. The fortress ruins have allowed the bandits to raid the merchant caravans and escape with impunity. These rich pickings have in turn funded a dwarf construction project to rebuild the walls of the citadel. This labor is nearly complete and the walls are more than sufficient to withstand an attack.
The dwarf leader, Thumbar I the Crafty, plans to carve out a small kingdom in the lands about the fortress. Dwarves in the north have been gathering around his banner. The ruler of the northern land responded to the banditry by bringing a force to besiege the citadel. The bandits and their new dwarf allies are now trapped in the fortress and are busy guarding the walls against assault.
It is against this background that the heroes emerge from the underground ways into Guernfast. As they reach the stairs at the north end of area 8, read the following description aloud to the players.
Ahead of you, where once hung a large stone door, an arched portal now stands open, allowing you a view of what lies beyond. The welcome sight of daylight illuminates an immense natural cavern filled with clusters of well crafted, but crumbling stone dwellings. There are two large arched openings into the outdoors, each barricaded by a massive stone wall. A single, huge outer gate is the only opening in this partially repaired barrier.
As you reach the portal, a cool, refreshing breeze greets your face and swirls about scattered piles of debris. A wide staircase leads downward into the heart of this dwarf fortress. Several humans and dwarfs can be seen moving along the clean, narrow streets and patrolling the outer wall. Nobody appears especially interested in your sudden appearance.
Initially they will be taken to the ruins of an Dwarf Inn known as the Bearded Wench Pub. This building is slowly being rebuilt and has several rooms ready for visitors. The Pub is run by Matilda Flintedge, a middle-aged dwarf woman who recently lost her husband during a battle. Business is very slow due the siege, and only a single guest is staying at the Inn. This is a disgruntled Dwarf merchant who became trapped here when the enemy army arrived.
The presence of the party is soon requested at the headquarters to see Thumbar. He will present himself as the legitimate ruler of the fortress. Thumbar will claim that has been unfairly attacked by his northern rivals. His forces have a noticeable rag-tag appearance about them, but he will insist that all his warriors will die before surrendering the citadel to his enemies.
Initially the heroes may be taken in by this story, as Thumbar is a charismatic presence. They will be asked to join Thumbar's army and help guard the citadel. (Their only alternative is return through the tunnels from whence they came, for Thumbar will not allow them out through the gates. He is crafty enough to believe they will join the enemy and reveal some weakness in his defenses.)
If the party chooses to stay and fight, they will soon uncover some discrepancies with Thumbar's tale. For one thing considerable booty has been gathered from the successful raids, and the bandits expend this material all too readily - drinking many fine wines and smashing perfectly good furniture for fire wood. They will also hear drunken bandits brag about past raids against the rich merchant caravans.
The old citadel once housed many thousands of dwarf families, and their are enough stone structures standing to serve many times the current number of residents. Among the decaying buildings are former homes, pubs, breweries, shops, stone masonries, weavers, warehouses, smithies, inns, meeting halls, gardens, shrines, and many other abandoned structures. Fine stone statues stand in niches along the walls, and stone gremlins stare down from the sides of every building. Most of the current residents now occupy the heart of the old business district, which lies close to the wall and the great gate.
There are currently some 150 dwarf warriors within the citadel, mostly male. There are also about 40 human bandits who belong to Thumbar's original bandit army. An additional 50 residents, mostly women and children, are dependents and perform various support duties for the cause. Arms and armor vary considerably, depending on the means and origins of the defenders. There are few crossbows among the guards along the outer wall and these are passed along on each watch change.
A careful count of the fires outside the citadel will reveal an enemy army of about 700. There are some 40 mounted knights and 200 archers, with the remainder peasant militia and specialists. Construction of siege weapons is underway using wood from a nearby forest. The burnt remains of several previous siege weapons attest to a successful raid by Thumbar's forces. The knights are deployed nearby to forestall any further such raids.
Anybody with knowledge of siege craft will know that, despite the odds, the dwarves are in a strong position and the citadel is unlikely to be stormed successfully. The walls are too strong and deep to be undermined by sappers, and the great gate is sheathed in bronze. The defenders are well stocked with provisions and can obtain further food supplies through the underground ways. Thumbar plans to hold out until winter arrives, at which point the enemy will be forced to withdraw to quarters and he can resume the bandit raids. At this time the characters will be free to leave.
As an optional encounter, if members of the party go exploring the old citadel ruins they find a group of the bandits looting a hidden cache of dwarf silverware. If caught, the bandits will draw the wrath of the dwarves in the citadel (despite the loyalty of their leader Thumbar) and so will try to buy off the party. Failing that they attack with desperation and will take no prisoners.
|Bandit: 13 STR, 12 DEX, 10 CON, 11 BODY, 10 INT, 9 EGO, 10 COM, 3 PD, 2 ED, 3 SPD, 4 REC, 24 END, 21 STUN; Native in Northern; Fam w/ Common Melee Weapons, Concealment 11-, Stealth 12-, PS: Bandit 12-; OCV: 4; DCV: 4; ECV: 3; Phases: 4, 8, 12; Leather Armor (2 DEF, 3-14, 16-18); Short Sword (1d6K); Small Shield (+1 DCV).|
One of the first Dwarves to join Thumbar's cause is Dorrick Crede, a brave dwarf warrior-priest who has since become disenchanted with Thumbar and his lies. He will encounter the heroes at some point within the citadel and attempt to befriend them. (If there is a dwarf in the party, he will try to befriend the dwarf first.) He will at first appear eager for news of the outside world, but in fact has another motive.
After some trust has been gained, Dorrick will take the party to a chamber within his humble temple where the upper crystalline body of an Elven Mage is on display. Over a good meal he will also tell the heroes of a grave portent he has received in the form of a dream. The citadel is in a danger more dire than the besieging army can pose and the crystal bust is closely connected to the hazard.
Close examination of the bust will reveal that it was once attached to a much larger statue. The handiwork on the bust is exceedingly fine, better than even a dwarf or elven master craftsmen can achieve. The material of which the bust is made is also unusual. It is a transparent blue material that Dorrick can not identify. Strange streaks of lighter material appear within the bust, and radiate as if from a single point.
The portent Dorrick received from his god showed a powerful hero fighting alongside the dwarves against a mighty foe. He thinks this bust can be used to summon this hero, but believes he needs to find where the remainder of the statue is mounted. (A check by a mage will reveal that the torso radiates powerful magic, but no amount of inspection will reveal how this can be activated.) He asks the heroes to find the base of the statue, and suspects it must lie close at hand for his god to send him such a portent.
He wants the heroes to search the unexplored portions of the underground tunnels to find the remainder of the statue. Dorrick must stay behind and support the dwarf defenders, but will lend the party what aid he can. The bandits are too busy guarding the citadel to waste time on such a search, and Dorrick doesn't trust Thumbar enough to ask for such aid.
Dorrick first acquired the bust from one of the dwarf explorers who traveled into the depths of the mountain prior to the siege. This dwarf is now dead, but he did leave Dorrick a map to the original location of the bust. This map will lead the party to a newly formed tunnel that connects the dwarf ruins with an ancient tunnel complex further beneath the mountain. (Route marked in red on map 2.)
|Dorrick Crede: 14 STR, 14 DEX, 17 CON, 13 BODY, 12 INT, 13 EGO, 14 PRE, 9 COM, 5 PD, 4 ED, 3 SPD, 7 REC, 36 END, 31 STUN; FAM w/ Axes/Maces; +1 w/ Axes/Maces; Oratory 12-; Persuasion 14-; Conversation 12-; High Society 12-; Riding 11-; Trading 8-; Native in Dwarvish and Northern Tongues; PS: Priest; AK: Northern Lands; KS: Religious Dogma 11-; KS: Religious Procedures 11-; KS: Dwarf History; Perk: Priest; Promotes the Faith; Dislikes Orcs and other racial enemies; OCV: 5; DCV: 5; ECV: 4; Mace (1d6+1K).|
All artisans within the citadel are fully dedicated to the defense of the walls, and so the heroes will not be able to purchase most supplies and equipment directly. However there is a thriving black market among the human bandits and certain restricted goods can be obtained for an outrageous price. Arms and armor will cost up to ten times normal, and other equipment is two to three times the regular cost. Food is also expensive, but booze is cheap. (Thumbar likes to keep his garrison happy with alcoholic beverages.)
Here a labyrinth of mines that once followed a vein of puresilver. The mine played itself out and now lies abandoned and flooded. Only the top level of the mine is above water, and the bits and pieces various implements can be found on the floor, corroded and covered in dust. A partially covered shaft provides a dangerous hazard for the unwary.
Once a great arched bridge crossed this chasm, leading to the remainder of the underground caverns. Now the bridge lies in ruins at the bottom of the depths. An eerie red glow illuminates an open cavern far below, which is filled with a forest of giant toadstools. Crossing this chasm without the aid of magic is a difficult and hazardous undertaking as the perimeter of the chasm must be navigated by a skilled rock climber. Such a circumnavigation will require nearly an hour.
This ancient hall is home to many larger than life stone statues of ancient dwarf heroes. A plaque is mounted on the pedestal of each hero, describing the deeds of the champion. Among the statues is a lone elven warrior, said to be the descendent of an ancient elven hero who forever banished a mighty evil to the depths of the earth. No name of this ancient champion is listed. Some of the statues have been defaced over the ages and one has been completely smashed to rubble.
This long hall displays the heraldry of the old dwarf clans. A shield belonging to each of the clans is mounted in niches along the sides. Many of these are now unrecognizable. Only four of the old clans still exist in these lands. The shield of the clan to which Thumbar belongs has been cleaned of dirt and given a touch of new paint. This new decoration is noticeably sloppy in comparison to the skills of the old craftsmen. A gully runs down the center of this hall for some reason, leading to a now completely plugged drain.
This cathedral-like cavern is the site of the old temple of Thyax, the dwarf god of the forge and hammer. An immense chunk of rock has fallen from the ceiling far above and impaled itself in the center of the floor. This is the only feature that mars a magnificent floor that is decorated in elaborate tile motifs. Rows of circular pits lie in a row along each wall where burning oil was once used to illuminate murals. These cracked and faded paintings told fables of the dwarf god. Two rows of stone benches run nearly the length of the temple facing the front, but there is no sign of the old altar.
This is the ancient throne hall where the kings of the old citadel would rule. Parallel rows of immense pillars support a vaulted ceiling, leading up to the steps before the throne. Mounds of decaying bones and garb lie about the floor, mute witness to a terrible final battle that once took place here. All fabric decorations in this chamber have long since decayed into ruin. Off to the side of the room, passage ways lead into the royal chambers. Despite the quality of the workmanship, these passages have collapsed as a result of the steady earthquakes.
This long, elegant hall is designed to host parties for visiting dignitaries. A grand staircase at one end leads up to a balcony that overlooks the entire hall. Overhead, great arches of stone support a wide ceiling that has yet to collapse from the constant earthquakes.
This auditorium is a wonder of engineering and craftsmanship. The room is pear-shaped, with circular rows of seats rising from the round stage in the center. The acoustics in this chamber are so well crafted that a whisper on the stage can be heard from every bench in the hall.
|Mummy Guardian: 23 STR, 10 DEX, 20 CON, 18 BODY, 8 INT, 18 EGO, 18 PRE, 2 COM, 8 PD, 4 ED, 2 SPD, 10 REC, 50 END, 50 STUN; +3d6 HA; +20 PRE, only for defense against PRE attacks; 75% Resistant Physical Damage Reduction, not vs. magic; 25% Resistant Energy Damage Reduction, not vs. fire; Damage Resistance 2 rPD; +5 Mental Defense; Life Support: Full; Sense life at range, Discriminatory; 5" Running; 0" Swimming; 1.5x BODY from fire; 2x Effect from PRE Attacks of Holy Men; Phys. Lim.: Dead; Psych. Lim.: Dead; Psych. Lim.: stalking living things; Berserk in Combat 8-, 11-; Reputation - Extreme 11-; Psych. Lim.: Driven; Psych. Lim.: Must protect crypt hall; OCV: 3; DCV: 3; ECV: 6; Phases: 6, 12.|
It was in this vast hall where the great works of this ancient dwarf city were created. Now it lies cold and abandoned. The forges have not been worked in centuries and the mechanisms are either frozen together or crumbling to the touch. Many ingots of iron lie stacked about in readiness for a renewal of the work. Piles of dust-covered coal still sit next to the furnaces. A new inner door was being forged here for use at the main gate. The door now lies covered in dust.
These mines contained rich quantities of coal for use in the forge hall. An old rail track runs from the mines to the great forge hall, and decaying wheeled bins still stand in readiness for another load. Old mining implements lie scattered about, crumbling and covered in dust. The lower half of the mine is now flooded and the pumps are broken beyond repair.
This ancient underground pool was discovered when a dwarf shaft broke through the upper wall of a limestone cavern. The pool has since lain undisturbed and is home to many pale, sightless water snakes and fish. The water is cool, but not uncomfortable. Should the characters choose to travel across the water they will find little else of interest. (The GM may choose to stock this deep pool with a suitable predator if he wishes a little excitement here.)
The purpose of this chamber has been lost to time, as the structures and materials gathered here have long since decayed into ruin. Each such mystery chamber contains one or more of the following features: cracks in the walls and ceiling caused by the earthquakes; standing pools of water; many lumps of rock lying about the floor; piles and carpets of long decayed debris; curtains of dust-covered spider webs; broken pieces of statues and other masonry; the remains of stone benches still attached to the wall; arches leading into smaller side chambers; a great fireplace; and pieces of old dwarf coins lying about the floor. The GM should feel free to embellish the description of these rooms if this is needed.
This natural limestone was discovered as a result of the digging activities of the Dwarves. The old Dwarf kings usually allowed these caverns to remain in their natural state because they admired the beauty of the rocks. One of these caverns is currently occupied by a small colony of Cavern Spikes. If the party chooses to rest here, one of the spikes will crawl over to drop on a party member:
|Cavern Spike: 5 STR, 3 DEX, 20 CON, 21 BODY, 1 INT, 5 EGO, 6 PRE, 10 COM, 2 PD, 4 ED, 1 SPD, 5 REC, 20 BODY, 30 STUN; 4d6 RKA, Armor Piercing, Only from drop; 5 PD/5 ED Armor; +6 Clinging; Infrared Vision, 360 Degrees; +3 OCV, +2 Range offset during drop; Concealment 15-; Stealth 12-; 1" Running; 0" Swimming; No fine manipulation.|
The map from Dorrick will lead the party to a cavern with a partially collapsed floor. The opening was created by the many earthquakes that have shaken the mountain. It leads downward, directly into a sacred chamber of the Saugathar. The opening is a difficult but navigable tunnel shaped somewhat like a spiral staircase. Stacked near the opening is a growing pile of gear guarded by a pair of Saugathar.
The bust of the Elven Mage held by Dorrick was a sacred relic of the Saugathar and was stolen by the dwarf thief who discovered this opening. The Saugathar are preparing an expedition to reclaim the bust, and are piling supplies here. The two guards will protect the supplies fiercely, but will surrender if they are badly damaged and the characters appear merciful. (See Saugathar stats below.)
The supplies include packs, harnesses, dried food, water skins, rope, primitive weapons, and some odd implements of indeterminate purpose. All items are crudely made by hand, but sturdy and serviceable. Next to the supplies is bedding for the guards.
A thick rope ladder has been secured to a stalagmite, and hangs down into the tunnel. Another rope is used to haul up the equipment, as well as the workers and replacement guards.
The walls of this large natural cavern are studded with quartz crystals of various sizes. These crystals reflect and scatter any light sources, producing a beautiful sparkling effect. Unfortunately much of the floor of this cavern has collapsed into an opening below. Characters who approach the lip of this opening will find a rock slide that descends downward into an even larger cavern below. The interior of this lower cavern is illuminated by a faint red glow coming from all sides. Details of the lower cavern are difficult to make out at this distance.
The rock slide leads to area 13 on the Saugathar level. A vertical descent of 8m is necessary to reach the top of the slide.
Encounters in the caverns, chambers, and tunnels of this level occur on a roll of 8- for every 8 hours of travel. When an encounter occurs, roll 2d6 on the table below:
|2-3||Saugathar - a solitary scout, sent by Queen Shadara to explore the upper level, attempts to hide from view of the party. If spotted he will put up a fierce fight but will lay down his arms if the heroes appear merciful. He has the appearance of a Lizardman, but with pale flesh and enlarged eyes. Nobody in the party will be able to understand his tongue.
|4-5||Large Spiders - several of these overgrown spiders have recently staked out these grounds to catch prey, and it looks like some food has just become available.
|6||Green Mound - this area of the underground ways is unusually damp, and a colony of green slimes find the conditions hospitable. They hang from the ceiling, waiting for prey to appear below.
|7||Earthquake - another earthquake strikes the mountain, causing walls to crack; rocks to fall; dust to rise; and the characters to be thrown about. On a roll of 4-, a piece of the ceiling falls and strikes a random character, causing 1d6+1K damage.|
|8||Water Leak - a large crack has opened in the wall, allowing a flow of water to seep through and flood the local tunnel.|
|9-10||Dwarves - a small group of dwarf thieves managed to escape the constant guard duty and are out searching for rumored treasure lost among the ruins. They will be quite suspicious of the heroes, even though they most likely met them back in the citadel. After all, the heroes may also be searching for the horde of gold. This encounter only occurs once.
|11-12||Collapsed Tunnel - A portion of the tunnel ahead has collapsed from the constant earthquakes. Several hours of digging will be required to open a passage large enough for the party to pass through.|
The tunnels and caverns beneath the dwarf ruins are home to an offshoot race of Lizardmen known as the Saugathar. This race has evolved for life underground and now have enlarged eyes and albino flesh. They have dwelled within the mountain for eons, since before the time when Khuldark ruled.
Most of the caverns are dimly illuminated by an eerie red glow that emanates from the walls and ceiling. This glow appears to be effected by the tide of the moon and sun, as the intensity varies twice daily. The glow never gets much brighter than that of a full moon however. The Saugathar are well adapted to this lighting level and can see as if it were normal daylight.
The caverns at this level are home to forests of giant toadstools. Most of these are poisonous to humans, but can be eaten by the better adapted Saugathar. Fortunately, underground game can be hunted among the toadstools, and these will provide enough nourishment for an experienced party to survive for some time.
The circular chamber beneath the collapsed floor is an impressive site created by generations of ancient Saugathar artisans. Unlike their surface dwelling cousins, the Saugathar had mastered the art of stone masonry and it shows in their construction. Their architecture is odd to human and dwarf eyes, however, having a distinctly organic style. Oddly distorted iconic images of creatures have been carved in the works. The pile of stones created when the tunnel opened has nearly been cleared away by laborers.
The pedestal where the Elven bust was displayed is clearly visible in the center of the room. It is surrounded by a mound-shaped platform that is wrapped in strange, twisting runes. Oval-shaped openings appear all around the outer wall, allowing a view into the chamber from the corridor that rings the room.
A second pile of supplies and equipment is visible next to the tunnel opening. As the characters reach the bottom, the worker Saugathar are busy adding to this pile in preparation for hauling it up the passage.
Although the characters may initially have surprise on their side, if the alarm is given they will be quickly be overwhelmed by the Saugathar shamen and warriors. The shamen are unarmed and unarmored Saugathar with no combat skills except for their natural weapons. They can be distinguished by their animal skull helms, totem necklaces, and fur kilts. Because their god is imprisoned below, they also have no magical abilities. They are, however, the most cunning of the Saugathar and will seek to delay the characters through defensive tactics until help arrives.
A few guards are on hand to guard the exterior entrance. Many more can be quickly summoned from the barracks and walls of the village. If the characters manage to escape past the guards, they will be relentlessly pursued and have little chance of staying hidden in the Saugathar village and ruins. Fortunately the Saugathar are under orders to capture intruders, rather than killing them outright.
|Saugathar Guard: 20 STR, 11 DEX, 15 CON, 12 BODY, 8 INT, 8 EGO, 15 PRE, 0 COM, 6 PD, 3 ED, 3 SPD, 7 REC, 30 END, 30 STUN; 1/2d6 HKA - claw/bite; +3 Smell PER; +2d6 HA (6d6) - Tail Lash; Ultraviolet Vision; Discriminatory Smell; 4" Swimming; Fluent in Saugathar; Survival 11-; Tracking 8-; FAM w/ Common Melee Weapons; +1 w/ H-to-H Combat; Phys. Lim.: Sensitive to Bright Lights - PRE Penalties; OCV: 4; DCV: 4; ECV: 3; Phases: 4, 8, 12; Chitin Armor (4 DEF, 3-5, 9-13); Thorn-shaped Shield (+2 DCV); Stone-Tipped Spear (1d6+1K). Any commanders will have +3 w/ H-to-H Combat and Tactics 12-.|
The captured heroes will be tied up and suspended from poles as they are carried from the temple hall to a crude cage near the center of a village. The village of the Saugathar is a primitive affair, in stark contrast to the old temple. This is a measure of how far the Saugathar have descended since they were "abandoned" by Khuldark.
The captive characters should spend the night feeling helpless and vulnerable in this cage. Their guards are more than powerful enough to deal with any escape attempts. The heroes will watch as the skinned carcass of an unidentified humanoid figure is slowly roasted over an open fire and then consumed by the primitive Saugathar. There is much celebration and dancing by the Saugathar to honor the capture of the invaders. Later the party is fed some burnt and rotten meat, then handed clay mugs of an unpleasant beverage. The cage is quite unsanitary and the characters will have to defecate on the dirt floor.
Next day the party is taken by the guards to see the leader of the Saugathar clan. Read the following description to your players.
The following morning a group of the armed lizard creatures firmly poke you awake with the blunt end of their spears. With growls and threatening gestures they lead you out of the wooden cage and back through the primitive village in roughly the same direction as you originally arrived.
As you pass around the first large structure, a magnificent sight greets your eyes. Looming far above you in the dim red light is an immense natural column of rock that reaches up to the domed cavern ceiling. The base of the column is covered by a collection of old stone buildings stacked one on top of another, with rounded staircases leading up between each level. The buildings have an unusual organic style that is alien to your eyes, but nevertheless quite marvelous.
The guards prod you forward and you are forced to catch brief glimses of the old city as you march. As you draw closer, two large arched openings can be seen at the very foot of the underground ruins. You are led up a long flight of stairs toward one of these old gateways.
The fine old hall where the heroes are led is illuminated by oil torches, and is much better lit than the rest of the village. The Saugathar find this level of the lighting to be uncomfortable, however, so they wrap black gauze over their eyes before they enter.
The leader, a slight but comely human woman, will introduce herself in the characters' native tongue as Queen Shadara . Her skin is pale from lack of exposure to the sun, while her shiny dark tresses hang loose down her back. A beautiful gold tiara rests on her head, sparkling from the many precious gems. She is dressed in a red gown that is worn from years of use, and has been patched many times. Her black leather boots are in much better shape, having been crafted by the most skilled Saugathar artisans.
|Shadara: 10 STR, 14 DEX, 11 CON, 10 BODY, 13 INT, 12 EGO, 16 PRE, 15 COM, 2 PD, 2 ED, 3 SPD, 6 REC, 22 END, 21 STUN; Bureaucratics 12-; Conversation 13-; Deduction 13-; High Society 12-; Navigation 11-; Persuasion 14-; Trading 12-; Tracking 12-; Language: Northern Tongue (Fluent); Language: Saugathar (Fluent, Literate); PS: Explorer; KS: Saugathar Customs and Rituals 13-; KS: Maps 11-; AK: North Lands; AK: Saugathar Caverns; FAM w/ Swords; Fringe Benefit: Queen of Saugathar Tribe; 3d6 Luck; OCV: 5; DCV: 5; ECV: 4; Phases: 4, 8, 12; Fine Dagger (+1 OCV, 1d6-1K), Cloth Robes (1 DEF, 9-14).|
Shadara originally came to this underground complex to search for her lost husband Aldar. In the process she discovered this primitive tribe of lizard creatures. Having lost the trail of her husband in these caverns, she stayed to teach the Saugathar the ways of civilization. Eventually the tribe chose Shadara as their ruler. As a result of her teachings, this tribe is the most advanced of all the Saugathar clans within the caverns.
Naturally Shadara will be very curious to find out how the heroes arrived here and will question them closely over many details. (If a character politely answers her questions and makes a successful High Society roll, Shadara will be suitably impressed with this individual and he will receive special treatment later.) She will be especially interested in the Dwarf citadel and will often pause to repeat such information to her Saugathar aids in their native language. When the subject of the Elven bust comes up, Shadara will grow even more intent.
Should mention be made of Dorrick's portent, Shadara will appear momentarily surprised, then bring the discussion to a halt. Food and beverages will then be brought into the room for the prisoners, this time strange roots and an unusual alcoholic beverage. Shadara will leave the room while the tasty food is eaten. At this point any wounds suffered by the characters will be carefully tended by the Saugathar shamen. This will do 1d6 Healing thanks to the Shaman knowledge of special herbs.
When Shadara returns, she will be holding an old stone tablet written in ancient Saugathar. The pictograms on the tablet describe a great battle between the god of the Saugathar and a figure of great evil. This evil figure was turned into stone by the god, and then shattered into many pieces. The lizard people were warned by their god to hide these pieces of evil, less they be re-united and return to destroy the world. (This last is an embellishment by the author of the tablet, because at the time it was written the shamen had lost nearly all communication with their god.)
Over time the original knowledge of these pieces of evil crystal have been lost to the Saugathar. Instead they came to worship the bust of the Elven Mage because it radiates the magic of their god. Shadara knows that the Elven bust was a piece of this enemy of the Saugathar. Fearful of drawing the wrath of her superstitious people, however, Shadara did not dare order it destroyed.
With much to think about, Shadara asks the party to relax in the guest quarters for the day while she ponders the situation.
Shadara is much hated by a woman called Elestra, who currently dwells on the lower fire level. Their rivalry has lasted for over a decade, ever since Aldar spurned Elestra for Shadara. Elestra followed Shadara into the underground world and there she discovered the great cavern of the fire demi-god. She has been laboring ever since to release Khuldark because the Saugathar once worshipped this deity. The re-ascension of Khuldark would weaken or even eliminate Shadara's rule and leave her most vulnerable.
Not being aware of the true activities of Elestra in the caverns below, Shadara thinks that the earthquakes are being caused by these pieces of evil crystal. She believes the other pieces must have been hidden in carefully protected caches within the local cavern system. Privately she wants the pieces collected and then hurled into a volcano. (From past experience she knows the bust is virtually indestructible by any other means.)
In due course the heroes are invited into Shadara's private quarters. She is superstitious and thinks that the heroes must have arrived here for a purpose, perhaps guided by the gods. It must be the true purpose of the adventurers to seek out the evil shards, and for this reason she will lend the party her aid. She knows of at least two locations where such pieces may be located, and can give the party instructions on how to reach those sites. (Areas 6 and 7 below.)
Before they depart, she wants the heroes to swear oaths that they will return to her when they have gathered all the pieces. (This will allow Shadara to ensure that this great evil is properly destroyed. She will not, however, share this fact with the party. Instead she will allow the group to believe that they will be free to take the shards with them when they finally depart.) It is up to the characters how they will handle the ramifications of this oath.
With her new knowledge of the dwarf stronghold above, Shadara promises to delay the expedition of the Saugathar against the Dwarves until the party has had an opportunity to recover the remaining pieces. (Should they take the oath described above.) However, even her authority has its limits and she will only be able to delay the expedition for a short period. Thus the heroes must find the shards quickly and return them to her. Recovery of more of the pieces may prevent the war between the Saugathar and the Dwarves. (In due course Shadara will find a way to destroy the shards without implicating the Dwarves.)
Failure to take the oath will annoy Shadara and place the prisoners back in the cage with an unsavory fate in store. Eventually, however, Shadara will relent and allow the heroes to return to the level of the dwarf ruins. What happens then is up to the characters. They may return to the citadel to warn the Dwarves about this new threat. They may also try to find the second passage using the rock slide in area 25 above.
The ruins of the old stone Saugathar city stand stacked building upon building up the side of the great column near the center of the cavern. Even in the dim lighting of the cavern, the magnificence and glory of the old civilization are readily apparent. The grand entrances to the temple and palace stand near the ground, with their massive stone doors still operating after these man centuries. It is apparent that the tunnel down from the level of the dwarf ruins passed through this column.
In stark contrast to these ruins stands the humble Saugathar village on the grounds below. Yet the order and planning of the village is also apparent. The buildings are made from planks of material cut from the Giant Toadstool forest and then chemically dried and hardened through a mysterious process. The village structures are arranged in rows along the sides of narrow lanes. Many of the buildings serve functions that are similar to those of a human settlement.
The entirety of the village is located within a rectangular wooden wall that stands twice the height of a man. The top of the wall is fitted with rounded crenellations, and missile towers stand at each corner. A single reinforced gate leads into the village from the forest beyond. The wall is patrolled by guards wearing a shiny tan-colored armor made from a chitinous substance.
In all there are some 8-900 Saugathar residents in this village. Unfortunately they view the newcomers as allies of those who stole their sacred icon, and will only tolerate the party because of the wishes of their Queen. The locals stare at the visitors with suspicion as they pass, and hatchlings are carefully guided away by their mothers. If the party is foolish enough to wander down a side street, they can find themselves roughed up by a gang of angry Saugathar.
The economy is based on a barter system, with deals managed by a scribe class. Meat for the village is provided by herds of domesticated giant insects that graze among the foliage at the edge of the forest. Small plots of mushroom fields are tended in the back of the village buildings. Primitive but sturdy and well crafted equipment is available from the local traders, but only with the aid of the Queen. Any metal implements will be difficult to obtain and probably in bad shape after centuries of corrosion.
Only characters that have favorably impressed the Queen will receive any special items. Such aid can include natural herbs and potions make by the Saugathar Shamen. (These include the Poultice of Herbs, Healing Salve, Beast Master Juice, Warrior's Drink, and Mighty Hunter Potion. See appendix B.) If the impression is especially favorable, it can also include items from Shadara's personal supplies. Shadara has made two return journeys to the surface since she became queen and has brought back some goods and equipment in exchange for raw gem stones mined from the cavern walls.
The nature of Shadara's special items are left to the GM, but could include a Ruby of Heat Sight and Cloak of Warming. (See appendix B.) The later is not too useful in the caverns, but has served her well when she journeyed outdoors.
Map 3. Saugathar Caverns.
The caverns beyond the village consist of a series of roughly spherical chambers joined together by great vaulted openings. The ground in most of the caverns has become covered in a soft layer of dirt that supports deep forests of Giant Toadstools.
There are five other tribes of 50-70 wild Saugathar living among the forests, and these have divided up the territory into hunting grounds. (See Map 3.) Occasionally a conflict will break out between these groups over the boundaries, so the Saugathar tribes are sensitive to invasions of their territory. The various Saugathar tribes can be distinguished by the totems the hunters wear about their necks. These totems are the snake, rat, beetle, bat, lizard, and mole. (With the village of Queen Shadara having the Beetle totem.)
The villages of the Saugathar consist of circular huts arranged in an arc around a central mound. The huts are made from baked mud bricks covered in the split and dried trunks of Giant Toadstools. Because of the earthquakes, some of the huts will have collapsed and are being rebuilt. The leaders of the tribe, usually consisting of the shaman and the most experienced hunters, live in the largest huts in the center of the arc.
Standing atop the central mound is a crude obelisk where the Saugathar make sacrifices to the spirit world. (The primitive tribes have long since forgotten about the evil demi-god they once worshipped, and now pray to creature spirits.) Due to the frequent earthquakes, the obelisk has received many sacrifices recently and is covered in fresh blood and ichor.
In low lying areas the ground has become marshy and is unfavorable for the growth of the forests. The ground in these areas is very muddy and difficult to traverse. The marsh is home to a number of poisonous snakes that feed off the other denizens. There is also the occasional Spine Flayer, Giant Toad, and Will-O'-Wisp. Swampy grounds are usually avoided by the Saugathar because of these dangers.
In addition to the toadstool forests, giant stone columns, and marshes, there are other natural features. Roll 2d6 on the following table to determine a special feature:
|2||Stand of Crystal|
The first piece of the statue is located in what appears to be a stone fortification on the edge of a precipice. The chasm was formed when a large section of the cavern floor collapsed into an underground river. The fallen pile of rocks diverted the course of the churning river and the water has been steadily undercutting the old fortress ever since.
The original stone fortress consisted of a large central building with a bronze dome, and two slightly smaller wings. One of these round wings has since fallen into the crevasse, as has a portion of the central building. There appears to be only one ground-level entrance into the building, an arched opening blocked by a heavy, rusted iron portcullis. The mechanism needed to raise this portcullis has long since corroded into uselessness. The only other openings that can be found are Y-shaped arrow slits on the upper level.
The wall around the roof of the structure is crenellated with rounded projections. If the characters climb up to the roof they will find an opening in the surviving wing where a stone staircase leads down. Pieces of fallen ceiling lie scattered about and the rocks have put a number of dints in the heavy bronze dome. The remains of old rounded brick chimneys lie collapsed about the roof top. The roof top is otherwise deserted and has little of interest.
It is possible to walk around most of the bronze dome, but no opening into the structure will be found. Approaching the edge near the crevasse will cause the building to creak ominously and dislodge a couple of stone blocks that fall into the river far below. (This should be a warning not to attempt to enter the building by climbing down the open face. Flying into the building from the open side, however, is an easy way to obtain the piece of crystal.)
Map 4. Abandoned Fortress.
The round wing of the building holds little of interest, as the old furniture and draperies have long since decayed due to insect activity. Now all that remains are mounds of powered material, plus a few tatters hanging from the walls. However, numerous shards of broken pottery and glass lie scattered about, and heavily tarnished ornaments of bronze can be found with a steady search. The bronze items in particular, if properly cleaned, have an unusual style and could bring a decent price from collectors in a big city. The items of iron lie corroded beyond repair, and frequently beyond recognition. Some of the chambers have a fireplace, again built in the distinctively organic style of the old Saugathar. Nothing of a magical nature will be discovered in the old ruins.
The floors, walls, and ceilings of the fortress are all made from carefully fitted stone blocks, all covered in mold and lichen. Various small stone structures, such as Saugathar statues, still stand in niches along the hallways. (A few show parts broken when they toppled during the frequent earthquakes, but these have since been stood upright by the gargoyles in room 16.)
Room 1. The Gargoyles in room 16 have some pet Stone Grolls which will provide an annoying distraction for the characters as they search the 2nd floor of the structure. These furry, dark, egg-shaped creatures have small, slender limbs; large ears; beady red eyes; and a wide, drooling mouth filled with sharp, pointy teeth. They growl when approached and dart about with unusual speed.
|Stone Groll: 8 STR, 12 DEX, 9 CON, 10 BODY, 5 INT, 9 EGO, 12 PRE, 2 COM, 2 PD, 2 ED, 4 SPD, 4 REC, 18 END, 19 STUN; Shrinking (10 pts, -2 to others' sight PER, +2 DCV, +3" KB), 0 END, Persistent, Always On; 1d6-1 HKA, reduced penetration - bite; Armor: +3 rPD, +1 rED; +4 STR Clinging; 10" Running; 0" Swimming; +1 w/ Bite; +2 PER to all senses, 12-; +3 PER to sense of smell/taste, 15-; Tracking Scent; 2d6 STUN and BODY when Drenched in Water; Psych. Lim.: Terrified of water; OCV: 4; DCV: 6; ECV: 3; Phases: 3, 6, 9, 12.|
The inner wall of the gallery has oval-shaped openings that allow a view of the central court below. The characters will be able to see little, however, due to the darkness. A character with Infrared Vision will see four warm shapes spaced evenly atop the colder pillars below. Any other Gargoyles will be perched on the rim of the great dome above, and so out of sight of the party.
Room 2. A careful search of this former master bedroom, with a successful Concealment roll, will turn up a few unusual gold trinkets. These will bring a good price at a city where collectors seek exotic relics.
Room 4. Among the decayed debris, the characters will find hundreds of clay tablets written in the old Saugathar pictogram style. These are records of Saugathar ancestry and significant events. Buried in the tablets is a description of the distribution of the crystal shards, saying they were to be sent to the five corners of the world. This is a literal translation of the pictogram text that actually means they were evenly spaced around the perimeter of the underground cavern.
Room 9. This room contains a carpet of dangerous Limpet Mold which the Gargoyles have not bothered to clean up. Lying in the middle of the growth are some small shards of worthless crystal, which will sparkle in a light and may attract a greedy eye. When the rust-colored Limpet Mold is touched, it explodes in a cloud of toxic spores.
|Limpet Mold: -10 STR, 0 DEX, 1 CON, 5 BODY, 0 INT, 0 EGO, 5 PRE, 0 COM, 0 PD, 0 ED, 1 SPD, 1 REC, 0 END, 0 STUN; Cannot be stunned (automaton); Does not bleed (automaton); Growth (25 pts.), Persistent, Always On; 3d6 INT, 2d6 STUN, and 2d6 BODY Drain, Explosion, Gradual Effect (1 Hour), Recover 5/day, Must be inhaled, Trigger - Contact Mold, Three Charges per Day, Linked; Invisible to Infrared, No Fringe, 0 END Persistent, Always On; 0" Running; 0" Swimming; No physical mobility; No senses besides touch; OCV: 0; DCV: 0; ECV: 0; Phases: 12.|
Room 14. This room has been meticulously cleared of its former debris. The Gargoyles now leave fresh kills here in preparation for a meal of raw meat. A careful search of the room will reveal fresh blood stains on the floor and a pile of recently cleaned animal bones and hides in the corner. There is also a faint musty smell in the room, which a PER roll will reveal. These should be tell-tale signs to an alert party that danger lies nearby.
Room 16. In the last century this abandoned fortress has become home to a group of Gargoyles. The Gargoyles have obtained new furnishings and decorations for the great domed central court, all sturdy and made with drab materials. The court also contains four stone pillars on which the gargoyles will wait motionless in ambush.
|Gargoyle: 16 STR, 11 DEX, 15 CON, 13 BODY, 10 INT, 10 EGO, 10 PRE, 8 COM, 7 PD, 3 ED, 2 SPD, 6 REC, 30 END, 30 STUN; 1d6 HKA (2d6 w/ STR) - talons; 10" Flight, OAF Wings; Armor: +3 rPD, +3 rED; Simulate Death; AK: Area around Fortress 11-; Gargoyle Language; +2 w/ Claws; Psych. Lim.: Gloomy and Depressing; OCV: 4; DCV: 4; ECV: 3; Phases: 6, 12.|
Room 19. The piece of crystal is located on a ledge that is dangerously close to falling into the river far below. As the party moves out on the ledge, the ground will groan ominously. If more than 80kg stands on the ledge at or beyond the crystal, the entire ledge will tumble into the river below and be lost. The heroes will need to figure out a way to obtain the crystal without dislodging the ledge. One possibility would be to toss a lasso or net over the shard and then haul it back. Another would be to simply fly over to the crystal and carry it back.
Room 21. The floor of this room is unusual because it is covered in dried mud, unlike the stone floor in the remainder of the fortress. This was where the Saugathar residents came to bathe in warm mud.
The fortress cellar was beneath the wing that dropped into the river below, and all contents have long since been lost.
Along the far side of this bowl-shaped cavern is a waterfall that once fed a large stream. The stream meandered down to the natural depression in the center of the cavern, and then descended through a stone-lined pit to join an underground river far below. Unfortunately the series of earthquakes that have struck the mountain have caused the pit to collapse and plug up the opening. The water level has since risen until a wide, shallow lake formed. If the collapsed pit does not re-open at some point, the water level will eventually rise until the entire cave system is flooded. Inhabiting the lake shore are giant frogs that once dwelled along the marshy banks of the stream. With their source of food now washed away, the frogs are hungry and several of them will attack the party. Fortunately these are not the poisonous variety, and they are somewhat weakened by lack of food.
|Giant Cavern Frog: 16(20) STR, 11 DEX, 16 CON, 14 BODY, 3 INT, 5 EGO, 18 PRE, 3 COM, 8 PD, 5 ED, 2 SPD, 6 REC, 20(36) END, 30 STUN; Growth (5 Pts., -1" KB), Persistent, Always On; 1/2d6 HKA, reduced penetration - claw; 2 rPD/2 rED Damage Resistance; Stretching (2"), tongue only, no noncombat stretching; Ultraviolet Vision; +10" Superleap (11" forward, 5.5" up); Concealment 13-; +2 w/ Grab - tongue; No fine manipulation; 1.5x STUN and BODY from heat; OCV: 4; DCV: 4; ECV: 2; Phases: 6, 12.|
In the times of the old Saugathar civilization, the area along the stream was a sacred location of their god. A fine stone church and bell tower was built to revere this holy site. Since the collapse of the Saugathar civilization, this was the only location within the caverns where a semblance of the old rituals were kept intact. Generations of dedicated holy Saugathar warriors have sworn to defend the old church, and up until recently they were successful. Now, however, the church is almost completely submerged and the guardians were forced to flee due to the inexorably rising water level.
The second piece of the Elven Mage is located on the altar of the submerged church. The characters will need to find a way to reach the church and then dive down into the structure to locate the crystal. Unfortunately, trunks of giant toadstools are not very buoyant until they are properly dried out, so a raft of this material will only support a small amount of weight before sinking. The characters will instead need to strip down to the bare essentials and then swim through the stands of submerged giant toadstools to reach the church. This will be an exhausting journey, especially since there is no place to rest on dry land along the way.
Map 5. Submerged Temple.
Once the party reaches the bell tower, they have the choice of either attempting to swim down two stories and enter through the main or side opening, or ascending the tower and descending through the stairwell. (None of the window openings is wide enough to swim through without risk of getting stuck.) The architecture reflects the organic design of the old Saugathar civilization, but is heavily embellished with intricate bas relief carvings. The rough nature of the outer surface makes climbing the outside of the bell tower relatively easy for anybody with at least a modicum of climbing skill. (Make a Climbing skill roll with a +4 bonus.)
Once the party reaches the top they will be faced by a new problem. A hand picked champion of the Saugathar holy warriors is on guard duty here for a five day shift. He wears a badly corroded suit of chainmail armor, which provides him only 3 DEF protection to all parts. However, he wields a blessed magical Falchion that shows no such wear. This warrior will fight to the death to guard the old temple grounds. If the characters do not ascend the tower, he will swim through the church to attack the intruders.
|Holy Warrior: 20 STR, 14 DEX, 15 CON, 13 BODY, 8 INT, 12 EGO, 16 PRE, 0 COM, 7 PD, 4 ED, 3 SPD, 7 REC, 30 END, 30 STUN; 1/2d6 HKA - claw/bite; +3 Smell PER; +2d6 HA (6d6) - Tail Lash; Infrared Vision; Discriminatory Smell; 4" Swimming; Fluent in Saugathar; Stealth 11-; Survival 11-; Climbing 8-; Tracking 8-; KS: Holy Rituals; FAM w/ Common Melee Weapons; +3 w/ H-to-H Combat; Psych. Lim.: Must defend holy ground; Phys. Lim.: Sensitive to Bright Lights - PRE Penalties; OCV: 5; DCV: 5; ECV: 4; Phases: 4, 8, 12; Corroded Chain Mail (3 DEF); Flaming Falchion (+2 OCV; 2d6-1K, Has 15 STR Min; 2d6 EB - Fire, No Range, 0 END, Linked to HKA; Life Support: Intense Heat; 25% Energy rDR, Only versus heat and flame; OAF Falchion, Independent); 3 days rations.|
The rope that is used to raise and lower the church guard is coiled in a pile in the corner of the bell tower top floor. The old copper bell, shaped like a cylinder that tapers near the top, is heavily corroded but will still operate when struck with a metal implement. From the top, a stone staircase will descend down through the center of the tower until it reaches the upper floor of the church.
Exploring the interior of the church will have to be done by diving beneath the water and then swimming along the passages and down the stair wells. No doors will present an obstacle as they have long since been lost to time. Reaching and raising the piece of crystal will be a difficult task, however, given the submerged conditions.
The drowning rules should be used to good effect here to determine if the characters can hold their breath long enough to reach the crystal, and drag it back up to the top of the building. Multiple trips will be necessary, and it will be exhausting work. The weight of the crystal is sufficient to make swimming impossible, so walking it back upstairs will be necessary. Suitable magic will be a big aid in this endeavor.
Swimming through the submerged temple are the tadpoles of the Giant Frogs that dwell by the lake. These will come up and investigate the characters to see if they are edible, but will not pose a threat.
After three days, the next holy warrior will arrive at the church and discover the invasion of the intruders. He will return to his tribe and rouse them to give pursuit. Several of these holy warriors, effectively normal Saugathar with a +2 Hand-to-Hand combat skill bonus, will scour the perimeter of the lake searching for the party. With their keen sense of smell it is likely that the Saugathar will discover the site where the party left their cache of equipment. They will then pursue the heroes until the trail is lost, or the party makes it back to the walled village of Queen Shadara.
The third piece of the Elven Mage is located in an old burial ground of the Saugathar. The burial ground consists of four towers surrounded by a stone wall. The wall is twice the height of a man with no obvious openings above ground level. The outer surface of the wall consists of tightly fit blocks of stone with a row of carved figures in the cap.
The ground between the towers and the outer wall is covered in stone tiles. Even after this length of time the tiles are little disturbed, and only covered in dust and a few rocks that have fallen from the cavern ceiling.
Each of the burial towers is shaped like an inverted bee hive, with a circular base and tapering toward the top. The bottom of the outside is intricately decorated in old Saugathar pictograms, the written language of the long dead civilization. (They closely resemble the pictograms on the stone tablet that was brought out by Shadara.) The pictograms describe the history and accomplishments of the Saugathar buried within.
There is a single arched opening leading into the interior of each tower. However, small arched window openings appear at regular intervals around the tower.
The interior of each tower is divided into a series of floors with a circular opening in the center. Each floor houses the curious stone burial sarcophagi of the old Saugathar. These are shaped somewhat like oak barrels, but with a fairly smooth finish. They are capped with a heavy stone lid that is inscribed with more of the pictograms. Inside, each dead Saugathar is sitting with knees drawn up to the chest. There are a few scraps of long decayed possessions inside, mostly useless ornaments, decayed garb, and the dust of old food.
The exception to this arrangement of towers is the structure that houses the piece of the elven magi. The only floor in this tower is located half way up and there is no opening apparent in the underside. This was done deliberately to prevent any intruders from gaining access. Access was sealed by means of a block that slid into place after the last Saugathar departed.
Those who enter the tower that houses the shard will have a more pressing problem than trying to find a way up to the next floor. A few minutes after they enter, the ground beneath them will begin to stir and many skeletal arms will emerge to try and drag the intruders beneath the earth. It will require several rounds for this process to complete, however, so the heroes have ample time to try and hack their way free.
The GM should treat these skeleton arms as large animated skeletons buried up to the waist in the earth. The skeletons are placed at random with one in every seven 2m hexes. The skeletons can attack anybody in the neighboring six hexes. If they successfully grab a target, they must hold the victim for four successive rounds in order to drag them under the ground. A buried target is then effectively 3d6 entangled and subject to the drowning rules unless they escape.
|Buried Large Skeleton: 28 STR, 14 DEX, 10 CON, 13 BODY, 5 INT, 0 EGO, 13 PRE, 2 COM, 1 PD, 1 ED, 3 SPD, 5 REC, 0 END, 0 STUN; Growth (15 pts, 800 Kg, +2 to others' sight PER, -3" KB, +1" Reach, -2 DCV); -5" Knockback Resistance (-8" total); Takes no STUN; Does not bleed; 1 pip HKA - claws; 3d6 Entangle, 0 END, Stops Sight/Sound/Smell/Taste Groups, only after grab for four successive rounds; +3 PD, +5 ED Armor; Full Afterlife Support; Sense Life at Range; 0 END w/ STR; 0 END w/ Tunneling; Concealment 10-; +1 w/ Grab; 1" Tunneling (4 DEF); 0" Running; 0" Swimming; 1.5xBODY from Blunt Weapons; Wants to bury living; 2x Effect from PRE attacks of Holy Men. OCV: 5; DCV: 3; ECV: 0; Phases: 4, 8, 12.|
A careful study of the outside of the tower will reveal that a portion of the wall near the top has collapsed due to the steady earthquakes. The party can gain access by climbing the outer surface and then descending through the hole in the wall. This will allow them to reach the shard without suffering further attacks from the skeletal arms.
The fourth piece of the Elven Mage is located in the final resting place of Aldar, Shadara's lost husband. The cave entrance was once blocked off by a wall of heavy stone bricks. Some of the stones have shaken loose over time, allowing entry into the passage. Believing that some valuable treasure lay within, Aldar entered this cave. He was slain when he fell through a pit trap onto the spikes below.
Map 6. Sealed Cave.
The pit trap is activated when more than 30 Kg is placed on the 4" long floor panels. However the trap is very old and no longer operates efficiently. A grinding noise is heard when the trap is first activated, allowing the victim to escape if they make successful Sound PER and DEX checks. An Acrobatics skill roll can also be attempted to escape the opening trap if the DEX roll is failed. In addition to 3d6 normal damage from the fall, the victim suffers 2d6-1K of armor piercing damage from the corroded spikes. The spikes have hooks to hold any impaled victims in place. Bleeding rules should be used for any victims trapped on the spikes.
The decaying corpse of Aldar can still be found impaled on the spikes. He died from bleeding after the fall, and a large dark stain can still be seen under the corpse. His equipment was fairly mundane, consisting of a leather jerkin, scimitar, sling, climbing rope, small mining pick, medical supplies, cloak, blanket, lantern and oil, a crude map of the Saugathar caverns, moldy food, personal effects, a hand portrait of Shadara, an intact water skin, broken bottle of rum, two broken flasks, and an intact flask with 3 charges of Potion of Many Forms.
The ghost of Aldar now stands watch over the crystal shard, a piece of the statue base. He will not be hostile toward the party until an attempt is made to remove the piece. Indeed he is quite willing to converse with the heroes, having been resting here alone for nearly a decade.
|Aldar's Ghost: 10 STR, 12 DEX, 20 CON, 10 BODY, 13 INT, 20 EGO, 20 PRE, 10 COM, 5 PD, 5 ED, 2 SPD, 6 REC, 40 END, 35 STUN; Desolidification, Immune to mental powers, Persistent Always On; Afterlife Support; Invisibility to Sight, Hearing, Smell/Taste Groups, No Fringe, 0 END, 0 DCV Concentrate; 10 STR Telekinesis, Fine Manipulation, Affects Physical World, Doesn't affect Desolid; Change Environment (1 hex), No Range - create light; +2 PRE, only for PRE attacks; Flight 5" (no noncombat flight); Ultraviolet Vision; Conversation 11-; AK: Local Caverns; AK: North Lands; Northern Tongue (Fluent); 2x Effect from PRE Attacks of Holy Men; Dead; Unsettled Spirit; Prohibited from directly revealing knowledge of future events; OCV: 4; DCV: 4; ECV: 7; Phases: 6, 12.|
Aldar knows much of the true purpose of the Elven Mage statue, as he has explored the caverns below and discovered the cage that imprisons Khuldark. He knows that the imprisoned demi-god is evil incarnate and must remain caged. Before he releases the shard he must be convinced that the heroes will reassemble the statue and return the Mage to living form.
Being in contact with the spirit world, Aldar has much knowledge that the characters do not possess. He knows that the end is drawing near and soon the prison of Khuldark will be shattered. However he is prohibited by the nature of the spirit world from relating his knowledge directly and must be coerced or tricked in some fashion.
These ruins do not contain any pieces of the crystal, but the heroes may be led to believe so since it is an old settlement from the time of the Saugathar civilization. The decaying walls of old buildings still stand from the time this town was abandoned. All of the roofs have long since collapsed, and the buildings are filled with decayed debris and toadstools. A search of the ruins will be time consuming and fruitless. The party will, however, find signs of a last stand that was once fought in the ghostly streets of this town. In their desperation, the old priests who stood here used the last of their magic to create zombie guardians from the corpses of the former Saugathar townsfolk. A few of these guardians still lie in wait among the ruins, now little more than animated skeletons.
|Animated Skeletons: 13 STR, 14 DEX, 10 CON, 10 BODY, 5 INT, 0 EGO, 13 PRE, 2 COM, 1 PD, 1 ED, 3 SPD, 5 REC, 0 END, 0 STUN; Takes no STUN; Does not bleed; 1 pip HKA - claws; +3 PD, +5 ED Armor; Full Afterlife Support; Sense Life at Range, 10-; 0 END w/ STR; 0 END w/ Running; Concealment 10-; FAM w/ Common Melee Weapons; FAM w/ Common Missile Weapons; +1 w/ H-to-H combat; 1.5xBODY from Blunt Weapons; Wants to kill living; 2x Effect from PRE attacks of Holy Men. OCV: 5; DCV: 5; ECV: 0; Phases: 4, 8, 12. Rocks (3d6N).|
An ancient midden stands at the north end of town. This immense heap of refuge is home to a swarm of rats that have dug many tunnels through the garbage. Their rustlings and squeaks can be heard with a successful hearing PER roll. Any attempt to dig through the garbage for valuables will rouse the rats to defend their home.
|Rat Swarm: -15 STR, 11 DEX, 18 CON, 15 BODY, 4 INT, 5 EGO, 8 PRE, 10 COM, 1 PD, 3 ED, 3 SPD, 3 REC, 36 END, 17 STUN; 1/2d6 HKA, Continuous, Area Effect (hexes), Reduced penetration - bite; 75% Resistant Physical Damage Reduction, Only vs. small sized weapons (fists, swords, bullets, etc.); Ultraviolet Vision; +2 to all PER, 12-; 1" Tunneling (1 DEF), Only through dirt; Contortionist 12-; 3" Running, 1" Swimming; Berserk when midden disturbed 14-, 14-; Hunted by Dogs and Cats; OCV: 4; DCV: 4; ECV: 2; Phases: 4, 8, 12.|
In the center of the town is a modest stone pyramid. This pyramid is covered in the skeletons of the Saugathar defenders who made their last stand here. The worn stone surfaces are carved in the pictograms of the old Saugathar language. At the top of the pyramid is a stone platform where sacrifices were made to the god of the Saugathar. Here, sadly, the bones of many small Saugathar infants lie scattered about.
This structure also does not contain any pieces of the crystal, and serves merely as a distraction for the party. The large stone building was constructed to tell the time of day by means of an immense pendulum. The time was relayed around the cavern by means of a nearby light tower holding a large oil lamp and a bronze concave mirror. The tower has since collapsed from the repeated earthquakes and now lies as a large pile of stone bricks.
Careful examination of the exterior of the building will reveal that it has a familiar shape, that of a tadpole lying on its side. Where the egg sack would be is a large oval bronze dome, which is remarkably free of dints and marks from falling rocks. The entire building has a timeless quality about it as if the place had been built only a century before.
Map 7. Hall of Time.
1. Entrance Hall - From here dark corridors curve off to the left and right. The walls are covered in a fish scale mosaic of tiles, many of which have long since fallen off in big chunks. The original stone ground is completely covered in a layer of rich dirt which supports a carpet of mushrooms. The remains of several large hooks can be seen hanging mysteriously from the ceiling.
2. Pendulum Room - This round chamber is covered by a simple bronze dome. A ring of small windows just below the dome and along the sides allow in just enough light to view the surroundings. The lower walls are covered with similar pitted marble and the once fine floor is covered by a thin layer of dirt.
The magnificent time-keeping device built here was made to last, and indeed the grand old pendulum is still functioning. It hangs from a hoop in the center of the dome by a long, untarnished bronze chain. At the end is a massive, teardrop-shaped lead weight that is gilded with polished gold.
Around the room stand four statues of Saugathar heroes and scholars posed on marble pedestals between pairs of pitted marble columns. If the pendulum is disturbed in any manner the four magical stone statues will animate and attack. A spell of magic detection cast upon the pendulum or statues will reveal magic.
|Guardian Statues: 35 STR, 15 DEX, 0 CON, 8 BODY, 5 INT, 0 EGO, 20 PRE, 10 COM, 7 PD, 5 ED, 3 SPD, 0 REC, 0 END, 0 STUN; Takes no STUN, Takes only BODY (Automaton); Does not bleed (Automaton); Density Increase (25 Pts., 3.2 Tons, -5" KB), Persistent, Always On; 0 END w/ STR; 0 END w/ Running; +5 PD/+5 ED Armor; 50% Resistant Physical Damage Reduction; 50% Resistant Energy Damage Reduction; +4d6 HA - fists; Life Support: Full; Targeting Hearing; Simulate Death; FAM w/ Common Melee Weapons; +1 w/ H-to-H Combat; Climbing 12-; -2" Swimming; Psych. Lim.: Must Protect Pendulum; Berserk while in combat 14-, 8-; OCV: 5; DCV: 5; ECV: 0; Phases: 4, 8, 12.|
3. Empty Room - This room once served a useful purpose but is now only a home for piles of debris and chunks of masonry. The sky lights which allowed through illumination now stand empty of their original glass covers. A search through the debris will turn up many broken shards of clay tablets and dishes, heavily rusted tools and implements, and lots of dust. Insects will scurry out from the exposed areas.
Extensive digging through the refuge in the left empty room will eventually reveal a flat, round stone trap door covering the cellar. see room 5.
4. Chronomancer's Quarters - At the end of the hallway a solid door still remains in place. The skull of a creature, possibly a Saugathar, has been pinned to the door by the tip of a long broken spear. The area of the door and the chamber beyond are under the influence of a time stasis spell created by a Saugathar chronomancer. This mage used his mastery of time to foresee a period of chaos and savagery, and so he crafted a variation on the Time Stop spell to preserve himself and his possessions over the course of the centuries. He stands in the chamber beyond the door, merely waiting for the spell to expire when a suitable trigger causes the stasis field to drop.
The door will not budge, but the characters can see through a narrow key hole that a cosy room lies beyond filled with all manner of interesting objects. Everything within the stasis field is protected as if by a 15 DEF force field. Dispel magic sufficient to negate a 120 active point spell will release the stasis field and cause time to start flowing again.
Just behind the door stands the frozen chronomancer facing inward and finishing the spell he just cast. The room contains unusual leather furniture; many shelves covered in pictogram stone tablets; a desk with wet clay and a drawing implement, several clay jars of powdered minerals, a Saugathar skull, a number of lit candles, a jug of a milky beverage, and a partially eaten meal of cooked lizard; a niche with ceremonial garb, mask, and clubs; a fur rug from a giant mole; several hanging wooden cages with pet rats; and a large circular bronze plaque with an image of Khuldark's head surrounded by rings of Saugathar pictograms. The walls are covered in a variety of simple time keeping devices. Apparently the resident was something of a clock inventor. In a drawer of the desk is a leather pouch nearly half full of the semi-precious stones the old Saugathar used for currency.
If he is released from the time stasis, the chronomancer will immediately realize that something other than the proper trigger caused his release and will prepare accordingly.
|Chronomancer: 16 STR, 10 DEX, 15 CON, 12 BODY, 16 INT, 10 EGO, 15 PRE, 0 COM, 5 PD, 3 ED, 3 SPD, 7 REC, 30 END, 30 STUN; 1/2d6 HKA - claw/bite; +3 Smell PER; +2d6 HA (6d6) - Tail Lash; Ultraviolet Vision; Discriminatory Smell; 4" Swimming; Fluent in Saugathar; FAM w/ Clubs; Magic Skill 19-; +3 w/ Time Stop, Withering Blast, and Time Phase spells; Inventor 13-; KS: Chronomancy 13-; KS: Engineering; PS: Architect 15-; Phys. Lim.: Sensitive to Bright Lights - PRE Penalties; OCV: 3; DCV: 3; ECV: 3; Phases: 4, 8, 12; Spells (College of Time Mages): Withering Blast, Detect, Time Tunnel, Slow Time, Sense Future, Time Phase, (Enhanced) Time Stop; War Club (5d6N).|
5. Hidden Cellar - The old staircase has collapsed but the remainder of the stone-walled room is in remarkably good shape. The cellar is the size of areas 1 and 3 combined. The room is filled with row after row of Saugathar statues. Along the walls are sealed glass jars with objects pickled in vinegar. Disturbing the jars will cause the fragile contents to fall apart. A large clay urn in the corner is about half full of ashes. There is also a sealed stone bin that is nearly full of lamp oil.
A Cellar Dweller became trapped down here nearly a century ago and has entered a deep state of hibernation. He will be slow to awaken, but once aroused he will seek to slake his long frustrated evil nature upon the party.
|Cellar Dweller: 15 STR, 21 DEX, 14 CON, 12 BODY, 10 INT, 15 EGO, 10 PRE, 0 COM, 4 PD, 4 ED, 4 SPD, 12 REC, 28 END, 40 STUN; Shrinking (10 pts., -2 to others' sight PER, +3" KB), Persistent, Always On; 1/2d6 HKA - ; 2d6 STR Drain, Recover 5/minute, Continuous Uncontrolled, Only if bite does BODY, Only affect living things, Linked, 4 Charges; 1d6 HKA, reduced penetration - ; 2d6 Flash to Sight, Persistent, Target must make eye contact with eyes (-1), OIF Eyes, Always On; 10" Teleport, Invisible Power Effects (All), Only from shadow to ; +2 PD/+2 ED Armor - thick hide; Regenerate 3 BODY/Turn; +20 Power Defense, Only versus Drain (-1); +20 PRE, Only to cause fear (-1/2), Only versus animals (-1); Life Support: Immunity to disease and aging, No need to eat or excrete; +2 to Hearing Perception; Targeting Hearing; +4 to Concealment, Shadowing, and Stealth; Climbing 13-; Concealment 17-; Shadowing 17-; Stealth 17-; Ventriloquism 11-, only to throw voice ; KS: Terror Techniques 13-; +1 w/ H-to-H combat; +2 to Move By and Move Through; 9" Running; Language: Local Tongue (Native); AK: Local Region 11-; ES: Deduction 8-; Distinctive Features: aura of ; 1d6/turn when on holy; 1d6 RKA from holy water and ; 1d6 RKA/phase from direct ; 2x BODY from holy ; 2x Effect from PRE attacks of Holy Men; Psych. Lim.: Must Cause Fear; Psych. Lim.: Malicious; OCV: 7; DCV: 9; ECV: 5; Phases: 3, 6, 9, 12.|
The air in this cavern seems much warmer than elsewhere on this level. There is little in the way of growth here and the ground is sandy like a desert. There is a chance that the party will encounter an individual Giant Scorpion in the desert sands of this cavern.
|Giant Scorpion: 30 STR, 15 DEX, 20 CON, 16 BODY, 2 INT, 5 EGO, 25 PRE, 2 COM, 6 PD, 4 ED, 4 SPD, 9 REC, 40 END, 34 STUN; Growth (15 pts, 800 Kg, +2 to others' Sight PER, -3" KB, +1" reach), 0 END Persistent, Always On; 1/2d6 HKA, reduced penetration - pincers; 1/2d6 HKA, OAF Tail - stinger; 3d6 RKA, NND (appropriate immunity, alien metabolism, or anti-venom, +2), Persistent, Gradual Effect (5 minutes), No Range, Only if tail does BODY damage, Only effects living things, 8 Charges - venom; +2 w/ H-to-H Combat; +8 DEF Armor; Extra Limbs; 10" Running; +2 Hearing PER; +4 Smell PER; 0" Swimming; No fine manipulation; Cannot leap. OCV: 5; DCV: 5; ECV: 2; Phases: 3, 6, 9, 12.|
Located near the outer edge of this cavern is a large sink hole in the ground. The air near this hole is almost uncomfortably warm and has an evil sulfurous smell. It is possible, with some climbing, to descend through this opening into the fire level below. (Room 1 on the Fire Level.) This hole was used by Elestra to reach the great cavern of lava where Khuldark is imprisoned.
A careful search of the area near the hole, with a successful Perception roll, will reveal a large cache of supplies. These were left here for use by Elestra and her party during their occasional returns to the surface. The cache is carefully concealed behind a pile of boulders. The supplies were obviously brought here from the outside world because the manufacturing is beyond the present abilities of the Saugathar tribes.
Among the supplies that can be found are containers of beverages; oil lamps and flasks; warm clothing; blankets; ropes; packs; tents; tools; medical supplies, writing materials, barrels of salted food; and other miscellaneous equipment. A successful Deduction roll will reveal that there is enough supplies for 5-6 people to last at least two months in the wilds.
Among the supplies is Elestra's travelling journal. The journal is written in Elestra's private code - essentially a mirror image with letter substitution - and requires a successful Cryptography skill roll to translate. Even if the code is broken, it requires nearly a half hour per page to read. The journal contains a lot of travel notes and details of transactions with merchants in a nearby northern city. It also makes mention of P. the Mage, and G. the Bodyguard. There are descriptions of minor skirmishes with denizens of the underground and northern forests. The author also spends some time in theoretical speculations on the nature of magic, the elements, and the forces within the earth. Finally, a considerable amount of text is dedicated to hateful thoughts toward an S. and how the author really deserved the affections of an A. It appears that the author is a woman and a mage of some ability and prominence, but her name is never mentioned.
Elestra and her party are aware of another passage that leads from this cavern system to the surface about half way up the north side of the mountain face. The tunnel is wide enough to carry large items of furniture down and is relatively easy to traverse, but is very well concealed. The party will not find this passage unless they know specifically where to look.
Against the side of this cavern is a huge rock slide consisting of boulders and rocks of various sizes. The rock slide was created when the floor of a cavern above collapsed during an ancient earthquake. This collapsed cavern is visible as a huge opening in the ceiling above. By ascending the rock slide it is possible to reach a tunnel that joins the dwarf ruins' level. Discovery of this escape route is an important step for the party since it means they will be able to escape this level without returning to Queen Shadara's village. However, ascent of the rock slide is a laborious task that requires well over two hours of steady clambering.
The rock slide leads up to area 25 on the Dwarf Ruins level.
Encounters occur on a roll of 8- for every 8 hours of travel through the caverns. When an encounter occurs, roll 3d6 on the table below:
|2||Giant Lizard Skull - The bare skull of a giant fanged creature is discovered lying partially buried in the dirt. A successful roll against an appropriate skill, such as KS: Nature, will reveal that the skull is reptilian. The body of this creature must have been immense, possibly standing 3-4 times as tall as a man. No further remains can be found on this site. This encounter will only occur once.|
|3-4||Giant Beetle - This giant bettle is rooting around a decaying giant toadstool looking for insects. It will turn to defend its find from the intruders. This will be an especially tough battle for the characters due to the heavy armor and quickness of this creature.
|5||Saugather on a Vision Quest - This solitary Saugathar is sitting cross-legged on a large, smooth rock, seemingly in a state of quiet contemplation. Indeed this is a young Saugathar who has just come of age and is seeking his future path by means of a vision quest. This requires many days of quiet contemplation while fasting. As a result the Saugathar is in a very weakened condition and would be easy to overcome. So intense is his meditative state that it would take a physical blow to waken him. This encounter will only occur once.|
|6||Nest of Snakes - The party accidently stumbles across the nest of these underground dwelling vipers. Most of the snakes wriggle their way into the surrounding wilds, but a few are sufficiently aroused to attack the intruders.
|7||Ouole - This underground fungus is a mutated form of the Giant Toadstool. It attacks by shooting a spray of sticky spores at its animal target. These spores grow into the body until they kill the prey. One or more of the spores then grows into new Ouole by consuming the rotting corpse. A KS: Botany or related skill roll is required to distinguish an Ouole from a normal Giant Toadstool.
|8-9||Saugathar Ruins - the party stumbles across some old stone ruins of the Saugathar civilization, now partially buried by the forest growth and falen pieces of the cavern ceiling. The ruins can include the remaining walls from an old home; the crumbling stones of an old shrine; the remains of a stone livestock pen; a water-filled quary; the lower wall of a well house; a portion of a crude aqueduct; the collapsed tunnel from a mine; and so on. On a roll of 5-, these ruins are home to a small swarm of giant rats. (See below.)|
|10-11||Earthquake - another earthquake strikes the mountain, causing walls to crack; rocks to fall; dust to rise; and the characters to be thrown about. On a roll of 4-, a chunk of the ceiling falls and strikes a random character, causing 2d6+1K damage. (This is an area attack, so no defensive maneuvers are possible.)|
|12-13||Saugathar Hunting Party - a group of Saugathar hunters from the nearest tribe is out seeking game. Their skills are such that they can choose to stay concealed and will probably not be spotted by the heroes. The only reason they would decide to confront the adventurers is if the party is headed toward their village, or they have obviously been hunting on marked tribal territory.
|14||Falling Rock - a large chunk of the cavern ceiling silently falls until it strikes the floor very close to the party. The piece of the rock would have inflicted 5d6K, sufficient to kill a man - even one wearing a helm. A close examination will show the rock is covered by the unusual fungus that emits a faint red light in the caverns.|
|15||Giant Rats - A small colony of Giant Rats have made their home in the side of a dirt mound. They will swarm an isolated member of the party if given the opportunity, but will avoid a large group.
|16||Rabid Mole - A party member member near the front of the group is attacked by a rabid mole. The mole is foaming at the mouth and is behaving very aggresively. The mole will continue to attack the nearest party member until all flee or it is slain.
Characters that take BODY damage from the bite of the Mole will suffer rabies on an 9- roll.
|17||Saugathar Disease - Contact with the underground dwellers has given some members of the party a serious disease against which they are unlikely to have an immunity. (Have each player roll a single 11- activation check to determine if they are infected. Rolls of 7- also suffer temporary loss of hearing.) The onset of the symptoms is rapid once fully infected, but rarely lethal. The disease is carried by parasites that infest the unsanitary Saugathar. The onset of the disease is marked by large black patches under the skin. Once the disease is cured, the victim gains immunity to further infection.
|18||Fairy Circle - A small meadow appears in the forest of Giant Toadstools. Sharp eyes will detect what appears to be a fairy circle in the meadow - a circle of smaller toadstools on top of a mound. (Sight PER roll with a -2 penalty to spot.) A detect magic spell will reveal fairy magic on the hill. However no amount of prying will get the residents to reveal themselves. (The GM may want to make an exception under special circumstances, in which case they will be visited by fairies.) This encounter will only occur once. Otherwise it is merely an ?ordinary" cavern meadow.
Travel on this level is at best very uncomfortable for the characters, and can grow downright lethal. Plenty of water will need to be consumed or the party will suffer from heat exhaustion or worse. In addition, most of their outer garb will need to be shed in order to remain at least moderately comfortable. Any magic that provides Life Support: Intense Heat, or some type of energy defense against heat and flame, will render the character immune to the effects of the high temperature.
The ground is highly irregular on this level, with the passages rising and descending between the various caverns. Most water is in the form of hot steam vents, although the water will condense on nearby walls to collect in pockets. Even in these pools the water will be unpleasantly warm.
All of the passages on this level are uncomfortably hot, and the wearing of armor will quickly become unbearable. Frequent drinks will be needed to ward against heat exhaustion. Characters will suffer 4 points of Long Term END loss per hour of exposure to the uncomfortable heat, plus 1 point per 1 DEF of armor, even with plenty of clean water.
Map 8. Fire Level.
At the bottom of the sink hole is a domed cavern nearly filled with a cone-shaped pile of fallen boulders. A scramble down to the edge will reveal a narrow tunnel leading further downward. The air is already uncomfortably warm here and grows hotter with each step down the passage. A careful search of the room will find an old piece of discarded rope that is frayed at both ends.
This cavern is filled with venting steam. A crevasse runs diagonally along the length of the cavern, and is partially hidden by the clouds of moisture. Still more steam is venting directly into the gap so it is impossible to determine the depth. Moving through this room is an unpleasant experience, but survivable so long as the party avoids the proximity of the vents. Rivulets of water are gathering on the sides of the walls to run down the crevasse.
This black, circular passage is a lava tube from an eruption of the mountain. The sides of the tube are very sharp and brittle, and the floor is weak in places. Walking along the ground makes a sound like crunching glass, and the sharp rock will cause 1-pip damage per round if proper footwear is not worn. There is a risk of falling through the ground and cutting up a leg on the razor sharp rock, doing 1d6-1K, reduced penetration.
The floor of this cavern is exceedingly rocky, and the ceiling is well beyond any normal light source. Traversing the cavern requires hopping from rock to rock. Unless care is specifically taken, an unsuccessful DEX roll will result in 1 pip of damage from a nasty fall, while a critically failed roll will mean 1d6+1K damage to a leg.
Located high up the side wall is a ledge that is not visible unless the characters climb up some distance. A careful search of the ground and wall beneath the ledge, requiring a Tracking skill roll with a -2 penalty, will reveal scuff marks and a piece of cloth from past climbers. A successful Concealment skill roll will also locate a faint Dwarf glyph on the same wall. (The glyph is the dwarf mark of a hidden passage.) This glyph was left by a former dwarf employee of Elestra who was subsequently murdered by her current guard commander.
A sturdy rope ladder is coiled up on the ledge, and is used by Elestra and her team on the infrequent occasions when they need to journey out from the Fire Level. Behind the ledge is a passage that leads directly to Elestra's residence.
A single pool of steaming hot water lies in the center of this cavern. The pool is a beautiful blue color and appears very appealing for a swim. Entering the water would be deadly, however, as it would quicky cook a person. The scalding water will inflict 4d6 EB NND each round.
The pool is home to a Giant Fire Crayfish, the nightmare of any seafood cook. This creature is a mutant version of its smaller cousin that has adapted to live in hot springs. The blue-hued crayfish will lurk beneath the waters and spring out to grab anybody foolish enough to approach the rim. The victim will be dragged beneath the surface to drown or be boiled alive, whichever comes first.
|Giant Fire Crayfish: 25 STR, 16 DEX, 28 CON, 22 BODY, 3 INT, 5 EGO, 35 PRE, 3 COM, 15 PD, 15 ED, 4 SPD, 8 REC, 56 END, 41 STUN; Growth (15 Pts., +2 to others' sight PER, -3" KB, +1" reach), Persistent, Always On; 1d6+1 HKA, reduced penetration - pincers; +10 STR, only w/ grab; +10 PD/+4 ED Armor, hardened, Activation 16- (or does not cover areas 3-4) - shell that does not cover the eyestalks which are 2 BODY, 2 rPD; Life Support: Breate Underwater, Intense Heat; Extra Limbs; 4" Swimming; +1 w/ H-to-H combat; Concealment 10-; No fine manipulation; 2x BODY damage from cold; Dependence on hot water, 1d6/minute; OCV: 5; DCV: 3; ECV: 2; Phases: 3, 6, 9, 12.|
Hot water running down the sides is rich in dissolved minerals, and the water has formed beautiful pools contained by walls of mineral deposits. The warm water is bitter to the taste and has some unpleasant side effects if swallowed:
A river of slow moving lava is flowing down from the great cavern. The river is crossed by a narrow stone arch that was undercut by the hot rock. Crossing the arch will require a DEX check or an Acrobatics skill roll. On a fall, make a second roll to determine if the character catches himself before falling into the lava. The use of a safety rope would be a good idea at this point. The temperature in here is almost unbearable, and each turn any characters without Life Support: Intense Heat will suffer 1d6 EB NND damage. Anybody falling into the lava, however, will be in much worse shape, suffering 6d6K damage per round.
This chamber is split into two halves, separated by a lava cliff with a height of some 60 meters. The cliff face has frozen into hexagonal columns which provide something like stepping stones from top to bottom. Climbing skill rolls receive a +3 bonus as a result.
This cavern is intensely hot, and the air shimmers with the heated currents of air. Multiple cracks in the floor of this soot-blackened cavern are repeatedly venting columns of burning gases, providing a spectacular display. A thick layer of deposited material along the ceiling provides a grazing ground for a plasma dog. This being has a ravenous appetite for anything flamable, including the clothing and various other equipment of the characters.
|Plasma Dog: 5 STR, 21 DEX, 9 CON, 6 BODY, 4 INT, 5 EGO, 12 PRE, 10 COM, 1 PD, 2 ED, 5 SPD, 3 REC, 18 END, 14 STUN; Shrinking (10 Pts., -2 to others sight PER, +2" KB), Persistent, Always On; 1d6 Energy RKA, Persistent, Damage Shield, Personal Immunity, No Range, Always On, Not versus wet targets - flaming body; 4d6 Energy Blast, Reduced by Range, Sticky, not versus wet targets - fire breath; Life Support: Intense Heat; 75% Resistant Physical Damage Reduction, not versus water; 75% Resistant Energy Damage Reduction, only versus fire; 5" Flight, 0 END, Only in atmosphere; 0" Running; 0" Swimming; Infrared Vision; +1 w/ H-to-H; Defense Maneuver; No fine manipulation; Frequently hungry; 1.5x Effect from fire manipulating powers; 1.5x Effect from cold; 2x Effect from water; 1d6/turn from water; 2d6/turn from vacuum; OCV: 7; DCV: 9; ECV: 2; Phases: 3, 5, 8, 10, 12.|
When the party approaches this cavern, read the following description to the players.
An orange glow from the chamber ahead is accompanied by an almost unbearable wave of heat. It is all you can do to keep advancing along the passage. As you reach the end, the tunnel opens into a vast chamber with a great seething lake of lava in the center. The magma lake is covered in a dark crust that glows through many cracks. In places the lava is bubbling and erupting in bursts of flame.
The glow from the hot lava dimly illuminates the cavernous ceiling far overhead. A wide ledge, barely perceptible through the shimmering air, appears to run most of the way round the lava lake. Toward the right, the seething lava is flowing out through a tunnel in the side of the cavern. There also appears to be some sort of large opening on the opposite site.
In the center of the lava is a huge, darkly metallic box that bears a blue-tinged pattern of cracks. The box appears completely immune to the surrounding heat and there is no indication of its purpose. The lava appears to be the hottest around the box.
After a few moments of observing this cavernous chamber you are driven back down the tunnel away from the intense heat. It requires several minutes to get your breath back and you feel almost completely drained.
The fire level of the underground complex is dominated by the great cavern of lava. This tear-drop shaped cavern rises through much of the mountain, and is fully illuminated by glowing magma. At the center of the cavern is the magical cage the houses Khuldark. This cage is an immense, box-shaped prison that appears darkly metallic with a blue-tinged pattern of cracks. The box tapers slightly toward the top.
Surrounding the cage is the lake of seething lava. This lava was created by the magical energy of Khuldark seeping through the cracks in his cage. The cavern is exceedingly hot, and unprotected characters can only remain inside for brief moments. There is a wide ledge that runs around most of the outside of the lava lake, allowing the cage to be viewed from all sides. An opening on the cavern wall opposite the ledge allows the river of lava to slowly flow out through the mountain.
On a roll of 6- per hour, a new crack will appear on the side of Khuldark's prison, accompanied by a loud, echoing boom and a slight shuddering felt through the earth. This is a clue that the prison is close to being shattered by Khuldark's battering from the inside.
Unprotected characters who venture through this cavern will suffer from the intense heat. The temperature does 1d6 EB NND (Life Support: Intense Heat) each minute of exposure. As there are a number of large cracks along the sides of the ledge, the party can dart between each opening and recuperate back in the shade. Fortunately the tunnel leading up to Elestra's residence is only the second opening along the ledge from the cavern entrance.
At the far side of the wide ledge is a wide staircase leading downward. The ceiling of this tunnel is high enough for a giant to pass through and the steps are nearly one meter high. The stairs lead downward to the throne room of Khuldark. The Fire Giants have grown concerned about the cracks that have been appearing in Khuldarks cage and so they have started stationing an observer at the entrance to this tunnel. This giant is to watch the goings on in this chamber and report back to the Fire Giant ruler every few hours. The Fire Giants want to mount an attack against Elestra and her party, but are fearful of her powerful magic.
|Fire Giant: 50 STR, 14 DEX, 28 CON, 27 BODY, 10 INT, 10 EGO, 35 PRE, 10 COM, 18 PD, 11 ED, 3 SPD, 12 REC, 60 END, 70 STUN; Growth (20 Pts., +2 to others' sight PER, -4" KB, +1" reach), Persistent, Always On; +2 PD Armor; Life Support: Extreme Heat; 75% Resistent Energy Damage Reduction, Only versus heat and fire; +1 to all Perceptions (12-); Concealment 11-; AK: Home Area 11-; KS: Volcanoes 11-; Lang: Northern Tongue (Fluent w/ Accent); Survival 11-; Reputation (Extreme) 14-; Phys. Lim.: Large, Bulky, and Clumsy; Psych. Lim.: Hot Tempered; 2x STUN and 1.5x BODY from cold; Psych. Lim.: Steals from others; Dislike of racial enemies; Hunted (Watched) by local races (Northern Range) 11-; OCV: 5; DCV: 3; ECV: 3; Phases: 4, 8, 12; Bronze Armor (6 DEF); Huge Sword (+1 OCV, 3d6+1 HKA); Shoulder Pouch; Rations; Loose coins.|
About a third the way up the side of the great cavern is a slanted circular chimney leading up to an egress near the ceiling of the Saugathar caverns. This chimney was used by Khuldark to fly up and visit his worshippers. There is a ledge about half way up the chimney where Khuldark would stop to get prepared for his visits. Here a character would find an immense, oval-shaped mirror, and the tattered remains of several fine cloaks and other garb. There are several gold ornaments here that would bring a fine price in a city market.
The floor of this cavern is covered in a layer of hot, bubbling mud. It is possible to walk part way around the sides of the mud, and then cross to the other side by hopping between four rocks. These rocks are somewhat slick, however, so a DEX roll with a +2 bonus is required to avoid slipping into the mud. An Breakfall skill roll (or Acrobatics with a -2 penalty) will allow a character to recover from such slip without falling off. The hot mud does 4d6 EB NND (Life Support: Intense Heat) of scalding damage per turn of exposure.
This passage is filled with toxic gas, but unfortunately it is undetectable by normal senses. Each minute while in the passage, the characters will suffer:
A successful INT check is required to notice the gas effects.
A narrow crack near the ceiling emits a steady wind of very pleasant cool air from the mountain surface. The temperature is such a relief from the atmosphere elsewhere on this level that the characters will be tempted to stay here and recupperate. There is even a small pool of cold water from the moisture running down the sides. Unfortunately for the party a cougar has wandered down the crack and became trapped in this cooler area of the caverns. The cougar is near starvation and feels trapped down here. It will reluctantly defend its only source of water from the intruders.
|Cougar: 18 STR, 20 DEX, 18 CON, 10 BODY, 6 INT, 5 EGO, 18 PRE, 10 COM, 9 PD, 7 ED, 4 SPD, 9 REC, 12 (36) END, 32 STUN; 1d6+1 HKA, reduced penetration - bite; 1d6 HKA, reduced penetration - claws; +1 PD, +1 ED Armor; +10 PRE, create fear only; while roaring; 12" Running; Tracking Scent; +2 to all PER, 12-; +2 to Hearing and Smell PER, 14- total; Climbing 14-; Concealment 13-; Stealth 14-; +2 w/ H-to-H combat; No fine manipulation; OCV: 6; DCV: 6; ECV: 2; Phases: 3, 6, 9, 12.|
Several small animal bones and other remains can be found near the pool.
The ledge runs high above a bubbling pool of lava. This pool is home to an Eldraal, a lava spirit that was formerly a thrall of Khuldark. Isolated and alone after its master was caged, the Eldraal spent many years living here in a nearly mindless existance. Over the centuries, however, the Eldraal gradually developed a personally of its own, albeit alien and quirky. The Eldraal eventually came to enjoy its life of freedom, and has no desire to become a slave of Khuldark again. After the party passes through this chamber, it will observe the characters and note their possession of the pieces of crystal pieces. If it seems appropriate, the Eldraal will follow the party through solid rock and intervene on their behalf when the situation seems most dire.
|Eldraal: 40 STR, 15 DEX, 24 CON, 15 BODY, 9 INT, 8(0) EGO, 20 PRE, 4 COM, 8 PD, 8 ED, 3 SPD, 7 REC, 48 END, 32 STUN; 2d6 Energy RKA, Persistent, Damage Shield, Personal Immunity, No Range, Always On, Not versus wet targets; Density Increase (30 Pts. -6" KB), Persistent, Always On; +8 PD/+8 ED Armor; 50% Resistant Physical Damage Reduction; 50% Resistant Energy Damage Reduction; Regeneration 1 BODY/Turn, Only in lava; 4" Tunneling through 10 DEF, Only through stone, Closes behind; FAM w/ Unarmed Combat; +2d6 HA - Lava Fists; 2" Stretching; Change Environment (create light and heat) 2" Radius, Persistent, Always On, Not in fog; Life Support: No need to eat, breathe, or excrete, Immune to Disease and Aging, Intense Heat and Radiation; N-Ray Vision (not through organic matter), Only through earth and stone; Infrared Vision; +1 to all PER rolls 12-; Climbing 12-; Deduction 11; Language: Native tongue (fluent); Language: Northern Tongue (Basic); AK: Lava flows under mountains 14-; AK: Home plane 12-; 0" Swimming; No fine manipulation; Heavy and Clumsy; Hatred of Khuldark; 1.5x Effect from fire manipulating powers; 1.5x Effect from cold; 2x Effect from water; 1d6/turn from water; OCV: 5; DCV: 5; ECV: 3; Phases: 4, 8, 12.|
A large vortex of flame is erupting from a vent in the center of the bowl-shaped floor and twisting around the cavern before exiting through a chimney in the ceiling. The vortex illuminates the entire chamber in a fiery orange glow and emits an intense heat. There appear to be two other exits from this chamber. Attempting to cross the cavern will be risky, however, because the ground is broken by cracks and movement will be slowed.
The vortex is an area effect power that attacks each target within a 4" radius using a 0 OCV. Shields are useless against the vortex, but Life Support: Intense Heat functions as a 50% Resistant Energy Reduction defense. The vortex strikes as a 6d6 Energy Blast. Half movement across the cracked floor is needed, or a successful DEX will be required for a character to avoid falling.
Encounters on this level occur twice a day on a roll of 8-. To determine the encounter, roll 2d6 and consult the following table:
|2-8||Earthquake - another earthquake strikes the mountain, causing walls to crack; rocks to fall; dust to rise; and the characters to be thrown about. On a roll of 4-, a piece of the ceiling falls and strikes a random character, causing 1d6+1K damage.|
|9||Escaped Slaves - a small group of escaped slaves have made their way up from the Fire Giant level and are wandering around trying to find an exit to the surface. They wear little clothing and are close to perishing from the heat. They are all peasants captured during raids on the north lands, and will not put up much resistance.|
|10||Cinderlings - The party disturbs a nest of these lava plane creatures and they attack to drive off the intruders.
|11||Elestra and four guards are out on an errand. See Act V.|
|12||Pyr and three guards are out exploring and hunting game. See Act V.|
Living in a nearby dungeon within easy reach of the lava cavern are two powerful elementalists: a fire wizard and an earth mage. This pair have teamed up in an attempt to shatter the cage and release Khuldark. Khuldark has promised them great power in exchange for his release. Their periodic attempts to break the prison are the cause of the earthquakes that shake the mountain, and have created the extensive pattern of cracks on the cage. (A visit to the cavern at the right time will demonstrate the connection.)
The cage is sufficiently damaged that Khuldark will eventually escape even without the aid of the elementalists. However the two magi are unaware of this fact and continue their efforts to crack the prison. Their repeated drawing of immense magical energies has left the two magi weak and vulnerable.
The interior of the residence is the only area on this level where it is comfortable to dwell. The residence is comfortably fitted with furniture hauled down from the surface. The temperature within is controlled by magical means, as is the lighting. Most of the hallways and rooms are dimly illuminated by a pale yellow glow coming from the ceiling. The exceptions to this are the various bedrooms, guards quarters, and the gaol cells.
The residence is maintained by magical servants, and several mundane followers of the magi. Some of these followers are men-at-arms who guard the magi when they travel through the mountain. A personal servant controls all the magical assistants and captured slaves.
Map 9. Elestra's Residence. Matching stairs are marked by yellow boxes with letters.
1. Dungeon - This is the guard room for the gaol keeper, usually a pair of the Orc body guards. The Orc guards take turns performing guard duty down here and feeding the prisoners with slop. In the center of the room is a wooden round table with two simple chairs. The table is usually covered in food scraps and small bones, two poor quality knives, a clay jug of ale, three mugs, and a plate of partially eaten meat. On the wall beside the stairs is a locker with iron manacles, heavy chains, a ring of keys, four batons, a whip, and black hoods. In the back corner of the room is a small table with a bucket of slop and a laddle. The floor is very dirty and covered in scuff marks from prisoner beatings. There is a small stone fireplace with a large rock that glows red with heat. On the opposite wall is a pair of manacles securely attached to the wall.
2. Prison Cells - The heavy oak door to this cell is locked with a padlock. The key to the lock is in room 1. The door has a small window with a grating so that guards can peer within without opening the door. Inside the dark room has a variety of unpleasant odors, including dirt, feces, urine, decaying straw, and sweat. The stone floor is covered in scattered straw, small animals bones, broken pottery, and skittering insects. The room contains a stone bench covered in a thin layer of straw and a poor blanket, a basin in the wall with dirty water, and a depression in the floor to serve as a lavatory.
Only cell 2b contains a prisoner. He is lying uncomfortably on the stone bench with a hood over his head and his legs and wrists chained together with manacles. He is an escaped prisoner from the Fire Giant level and proved a serious threat when he slew one of the Orc guards bare handed. Since that time he has been beaten repeatedly and sports a number of serious injuries. He is dirty and unkempt, with bleeding wrists and ankles, and many bruise marks. However, a certain sparkle of defiance still shows in his eyes. If healed he could prove a useful ally.
|William d'Or: 16 STR, 6(18) DEX, 15 CON, 2(12) BODY, 11 INT, 18 EGO, 15 PRE, 9 COM, 4 PD, 4 ED, 3 SPD, 6 REC, 30 END, 28 STUN; FAM w/ Common Melee Weapons; +1 w/ Swords; +1 OCV w/ Scimitar; Breakfall 12-; Cimbing 12-; Concealment 13-; Mimicry 11-; Navigation 11-; Riding 13-; Shadowing 11-; Survival 13-; Tracking 14-; Stealth 12-; AK: Forests of the North 12-; KS: Local Flora and Fauna 11-; KS: North Lands 11-; Protects the weak; Psych. Lim.: Hates Fire Giants; OCV: 2(6); DCV: 2(6); ECV: 6; Phases: 4, 8, 12; Poor Clothing (1 DEF, 8-).|
3. Large Cell - The heavy oak door to this room is locked with a padlock and there is a small opening that can be slid open to peer within. Doing so, however, will reveal only darkness and an unpleasant odor. The door opens onto a platform which overlooks the rest of this fairly large room. When a light enters the room, a collective moan erupts from the mass of prisoners caged in this cell. These are escapees from the Fire Giant level that have been captured by Pyr and Elestra during their infrequent outings. Elestra plans to release them at a later date for a ransom, but for now they are merely an unfortunate burden that need to be looked after.
|Prisoner: 11 STR, 9 DEX, 10 CON, 9 BODY, 9 INT, 10 EGO, 10 PRE, 10 COM, 2 PD, 2 ED, 2 SPD, 4 REC, 20 END, 19 STUN; KS: Medieval Agriculture; PS: Farmer; OCV: 3; DCV: 3; ECV: 3; Phases: 6, 12; Poor Garb (1 DEF, 8-).|
Steps on both side of the platform lead down to the dirty floor. There are five small stone benches along the walls, but most of the prisoners are forced to lie on the rat-infested floor. Below the platform is a stone trough filled with dirty water. A pair of wood buckets serve for waste disposal and are emptied out once a day at feeding time.
4. Wine Cellar - To the left, a set of stone steps lead down to a wine cellar. The low wine rack runs all the way around the lower floor and is about a quarter full of wine bottles. Most of the bottles are new additions recently brought in during a supply mission. In a square hole in the wall to the right is a pit in the floor that serves as a commode for the servants. There are two doors leading to the two servants quarters.
5. Servants Quarters - These simple, clean rooms are quarters for the servants who maintain the residence. With the exception of the head servant Tristen Shalkie, these six servants were recruited from the escaped slaves being held in room 3. They proved the least resistant to command by Shalkie, but have performed poorly as servants and are frequently beaten for their ineptitude.
|Servant: 11 STR, 9 DEX, 10 CON, 9 BODY, 9 INT, 4 EGO, 4 PRE, 10 COM, 2 PD, 2 ED, 2 SPD, 4 REC, 20 END, 19 STUN; KS: Medieval Agriculture; PS: Farmer; OCV: 3; DCV: 3; ECV: 1; Phases: 6, 12; Simple Garb (1 DEF, 15-).|
Tristen Shalkie is the head servant of the magi, and was personally recruited by Elestra from the northern cities. Compared to the other servants, Tristen is well treated and has the most comfortable bed and best clothing. While not exactly a formidable opponent, she is familiar with the operation of all the magical servants and wards of the residence. Thus she can put up quite a delaying action through hit and run tactics. She is also very attractive and skilled in the arts of seduction, something she will use against unsuspecting males to effect her escape.
|Tristen Shalkie: 9 STR, 11 DEX, 10 CON, 9 BODY, 14 INT, 12 EGO, 9 PRE, 17 COM, 2 PD, 2 ED, 2 SPD, 4 REC, 20 END, 19 STUN; Bureaucratics 11-; Concealment 11-; Conversation 12-; Seduction 13-; Shadowing 11-; FAM w/ Whip; +1 OCV w/ Whip; PS: Personal Servant; AK: North Lands; Language: Orcish (basic); Language: Northern Tongue (Fluent); OVC: 4; DCV: 4; ECV: 4; Comfortable clothes (1 DEF, 7-18); Ring of Servants (See appendix B); Whip (1d6K, 3" Range, Can Grab); OCV: 4; DCV: 4; ECV: 4; Phases: 6, 12; Loose Coins.|
6. Council Chamber - This square room contains a large wood table surrounded by a dozen good quality chairs. It obviously required a good deal of work to bring the table down into this room, as it is heavy with thick legs. There is a small stack of maps and documents scattered about the top. There is a small fireplace in which a large brick glows red with heat. In a niche in the wall is a chair for a guard. Unless the alarm has been given, this chair is occupied on a 15-.
The documents are requisitions for supplies, a report about some sort of significant troop movements in the north, a letter complaining about late payments, a scrap of scroll paper with indecipherable notes, and several worn maps. The later includes a trail map of passes through a mountain range, a street map of some port city, and a coastal map.
7. Commode - This chamber serves as the commode for the leaders of the residence. The room is clean and has very little smell apart from a faint odor of something burnt. There are three wooden seats with holes for chamber pots, all separated by short walls. (Upon standing up from a seat, the waste is automatically burned with a magical blast of flame that shoots part way up to the ceiling. This power was implemented by Pyr, the Fire Elementalist.) On the opposite wall is a small table with a wash bowl and several cloth towels.
8. Lounge - This warm and cosy room has two stuffed chairs, a comfortable sofa with several throw pillows, and a fine cabinet. The two chairs are sat facing a nice fireplace in which a magical flame is burning. There is a rectangular carpet on the floor in front of the sofa depicting a battle between a knight and a dragon. Hanging from the walls are several fine tapestries with scenes of a castle, a storm-tossed ship, and a pair of unicorns. The cabinet contains two fine caraffes of wine and a set of crystal drinking goblets. Unless the alarm has been given, on a roll of 8- one or more of Pyr, Elestra, Barnard, and Grundal is relaxing in here.
9. Recreation Room - This room contains a pair of simple wood tables and benches, plus a cabinet and a shelf. The tables are covered with a deck of cards, gambling dice, and a fine board game made of ivory. The cabinet contains a large cork board for knife throwing. On the shelf is a jug of ale and a set of drinking cups. On the far wall is a fire place in which a brick glows red with warmth.
10. Meditation Chamber - The floor of this room is covered by a large carpet with an elaborate, repeated pattern. There are several large pillows surrounding a brass device with several tubes for smoking. If the smoke is inhaled for several minutes, it produces a temporary meditative state that enhances INT as if by a 1d6 Aid power, lose 5/hour. After the state wears off, however, the character will have a strong urge to return here and smoke some more. (Make an EGO roll with a +2 bonus once an hour for 1d6 hours to resist the urge.)
11. Guest Bedroom - This small room is a chamber for respected visitors. Thus far is has seen little use, but Tristen makes certain it is well kept up. Currently a scholar from a northern port city is temporarily occupying the room. Barnard Sterns, a close personal friend of Pyr, is currently visiting to observe the effects of Elestra's new ritual of release spell. As yet Barnard has little interest in the ramifications of the ritual, as he is too wrapped up in studying this inventive new use of magic. He has little interest in combat and will only fight for self preservation.
|Barnard Sterns: 10 STR, 8 DEX, 10 CON, 11 BODY, 17 INT, 12 EGO, 10 PRE, 8 COM, 2 PD, 2 ED, 2 SPD, 4 REC, 22 END, 21 STUN; VPP (18 pts.), Study Spell Book to Change; Magic Skill 15-; +1 w/ Magnetic Shield, Grip of Iron, and Mend Metal spells; FAM w/ Clubs; Scholar; Linguist; High Society 11-; Navigation 11-; Riding 12-; Trading 11-; KS: Archmagery 14-; KS: Summoning Rituals 11-; KS: Ancient Civilizations 12-; KS: History of Magic 11-; KS: Metal Magery 13-; KS: Alchemy 12-; KS: Flora and Fauna 11-; 4 Obscure Languages (fluent w/ accent); AK: Northen Lands 14-; AK: Enchanted Forests 11-; Psych. Lim.: Doesn't know how real world works; Psych. Lim.: Constantly searching for obscure knowledge; Age 40+; Available Spells from College of Metal Wizards: Magnetic Shield, Dispel, Detect Magic, Metal Wall, Shape Metal, Grip of Iron, Mend Metal, Heat Metal, Crushing Rings of Zontal; OCV: 3; DCV: 3; ECV: 4; Phases: 6, 12; Baton (3d6N); Robes (1 DEF, 15-); Ring of Levitation (5" Flying, Only to move vertically, 2 Continuing Charges per day lasting 5 minutes, OIF Wear Ring, Limitation: One magic ring per hand, Independent); Loose coins.|
The bedroom contains a cosy four-poster bed, a wash stand with a china basin and decanter of water, a cabinet for hanging clothing, and a writing desk with some parchment and writing tools. The cabinet currently contains a cloak, some worn travel clothes, and a shoulder pack with supplies and a spell book containing some of Barnard's spells from the College of Metal Wizards. At the foot of the bed is a plain oval rug with a pair of well worn sandals. In the corner is a fireplace that contains a glowing red brick.
12. Library - The personal library of Elestra and Pyr have been brought here after many years of work by hired laborers. In the center of the room is an exquisite marble statue fountain surrounded by four arm chairs. Between the door and the statue is a reading stand with a large tome open on top. The floor of this room is covered in finely polished marble tiles. Most of the walls are covered by thick shelves formed out of stone. The room is even better illuminated than the remainder of the residence.
There are at least sixty heavy tomes standing on the shelves, as well as many scrolls. The tomes include the multi-volume spell books of both Elementalists, as well as learned books on the elements, a history of magic, powers of the different colleges, specialized rituals, information on magical creatures, the manufacturing of magical powders and spell components, planar travel stories from elementalists, details on summoning and controlling elemental creatures, and a history of the north lands. The scrolls contain all manner of magical knowledge and formula for constructing spells and rituals. There are also several fragile scrolls of erotic art and writing. Finally, there is a multi-voume personal scroll log of Elestra's that describes the many false leads she took while researching the Ritual of Release. Much of this material would be very valueable to an elementalist, sage, or other practitioner magic practitioner. However the individual tomes are very heavy due to their thick bindings.
The reading stand holds a large book of Dread Rituals. The cover of this tome is made from a black hide that is very rough to the touch. In the center of the front cover is an embossed image of a demonic-looking creature. Rubies are embedded where the eyes would appear and they glow faintly. Attempting to examine several pages of this tome without previously using the smoke device from room 10 can cause extreme confusion, nausea, and clumsiness lasting up to several hours.
The statue is magical and depicts a nubile maid pouring water from a decanter into the pool in which she stands. She is looking down but facing toward the empty back of the room. Within the pool swim several small but colorful fish. The pool and flowing water is entirely illusionary with a -5 to PER rolls.
If anybody appears to search the bare back wall between the bookshelves, or opens the secret door by pulling on a nearby false book, the statue will animate and attack. (The statue will not animate when either Pyr or Elestra is present.) This is intended to prevent anybody from escaping through the back exit with any of Elestra's or Pyr's valueable books. The secret door leads to an escape tunnel. (See room 17.)
|Animated Statue: 35 STR, 15 DEX, 0 CON, 8 BODY, 5 INT, 0 EGO, 20 PRE, 15 COM, 7 PD, 5 ED, 3 SPD, 0 REC, 0 END, 0 STUN; Takes no STUN; Does not bleed; Density Increase (25 pts, -5" KB), Persistent, Always On; +5 PD/+5 ED armor; 50% Resistant Physical Damage Reduction; 50% Resistant Energy Damage Reduction; +4d6 HA - fists; Life Support: Full; Targeting Hearing; Simulate Death; 0 END w/ STR; 0 END w/ Running; FAM w/ Common Melee Weapons; +1 w/ H-to-H combat; Climbing 12-; 0" Swimming; Psych. Lim.: Follows Orders; Psych. Lim.: Only active when instructed condition occurs; Berserk in combat 14-, 8-; OCV: 5; DCV: 5; ECV: 0; Phases: 4, 8, 12.|
On a roll of 8-, either Pyr, Barnard, or Elestra will be in this room studying one of the tomes or scrolls.
13. Laboratory - This cluttered room serves as a laboratory for both elementalists. It is very cluttered and rather warm. Unless the alarm has been given, at least one of the elementalists will be in here on a roll of 9- doing research.
In the center of the room is an L-shaped bench covered with all manner of mysterious implements. A careful search will unveal a large jar of charcoal, a wide clay bowl blackened with soot, a glass dish covered in resin, long tongs, an open scroll covered in elemental magic symbols, heavy gloves, a sparker, flint and steel, a small copper bath, a blackened iron poker, an oil lamp, and a rack with several flasks of ashes. Near the elbow of the bench is a low square brick platform which supports a brazier. The flame from the brazier illuminates the room in a dim, flickering orange glow.
Along the south and west walls is another L-shaped bench covered with slate and many more magical apparatus. There are a number of jars and other containers filled with various powdered materials and minerals. There is also an alembic, a balance, several unusual rocks, rough pieces of chalk, a lump of quartz, pots of clay, some small hammers, clamps, a tong, two chisels, pestle and mortar, an hour glass, a large flask of clear acid with a dropper, gloves, a heavily scratched glass plate, several worn strips of leather, partially melted candles, and various vials and pieces of glass tubing in a rack. One of the large jars contains a mysterious lump of black rock that moves and changes shape. (This is a lump of elemental earth.)
Besides the bench is a tall cabinet with more shelves of rocks, partially filled jars and vials, assorted tools, and a bucket of water. In the back of one of the cluttered shelves is a wood case. Inside are several uncut gem stones that Elestra has unearthed during her exploration of the caverns. Most are poor quality but a couple of the emeralds would produce very fine gem stones if cut by an expert.
A heavy bookcase stands next to the door. The bookcase contains a pair of weighty tomes taken from the library next door. It also includes a number of scrolls containing the current research notes of Elestra and Pyr. The notes of Elestra are written in her private code and requires a successful Cryptography skill roll to translate.
On the north east wall is a semi-circular barrier filled with what appears to be white sand. This sand is very fine and is used to slowly cool melted items. A search through the sand will turn up a few lumps of very pure metal ore, mostly iron and copper. One of these lumps, however, is a small lump of platinum. This special piece platinum will magically shape itself into any form desired by the holder. The other magical properties of this piece was nullified by the treatment it received during Pyr's research. At the GM's option the piece can be restored to full power if it is mended by an adept from the College of Metal Wizards. The piece was a Changeling Medallion. (See Appendix C.)
In the back corner are two smaller tables with single drawers. The one on the right is covered in loose pieces of parchment on which are scribbled various mysterious symbols and notes written by Elestra. The drawer contains more parchment and writing tools. The table to the left holds three large flasks of clear lamp oil. In the drawer is a leather bound personal journal of Pyr.
On the far back wall a large, complex glyph covers much of the rock. This glyph emits magic that will deliver a severe burn if not deactivated by a comman word. When touched, the glyph will emit a burst of flame that does 6d6 EB in a 1" radius. The glyph hides a button that opens a secret panel leading to the escape tunnel. (See room 17.)
14. Pyr's Quarters - Pyr will be encountered here on a roll of 9- if the alarm has not been given. There is a short flight of stairs leading up to this room from the main door. This chamber is notable for being decorated entirely in orange.
At the back of the room is a good four-poster bed with its orange curtains secured back with tie straps. In front of the bed is a large chest painted orange. To either side of the bed is a night stand supporting an orange candle. (The candle is actually magical in nature and never runs out of wax.) One of the night stands also has a snuff box. Opposite the bed is a stone fireplace with a brick glowing red with heat. On the wall besides the stairs is a large cabinet. Two small tables stand on either side of the far door. In the corner is a chest of drawers. Orange-dyed cloth curtains hang from the ceiling in various places, covering parts of the wall.
The large chest is protected by a Fiery Trap spell. It contains Pyr's purse, some private memorabelia and correspondance, some drawing materials, and a set of good quality sketches of denizens from this level. There is also a money belt with some gems hidden in the pockets. Finally, there is a very unusual stylized knife with a garnet in the hilt that appears to be a master work. (The knife is not magical, but will keep a good edge and bring a fine price from an arms collector.)
The cabinets and the chest of drawers contain many changes of clothing, all of them orange somewhere in the pattern. The garb is very good quality, and even the outdoor clothing is well made from expensive material. One of the tables contains a wash stand, towels, and shaving kit, while the other has a shaving kit and a bottle of scented water for when Pyr takes a bath. There is an oval mirror hanging on the wall.
The back door leads to a closet of sorts where Pyr stores his travel gear. From the closet a secret door opens into room 10.
Pyr is an experienced and accomplished magi of the element of fire. He discovered the trapped demi-god nearly two decades ago and has been seeking a means for its escape ever since. In his alliance with Elestra, he is the weaker of the two magi. However, his assistance has been essential for withstanding the conditions on the fire level. He has been lending his magical aid to Elestra for the repeated casting of the ritual of release, and so he is also weakened with long term fatigue. He will instead rely primarily on spell scrolls, a ring of fire protection, and a wand of fire bolts for defense.
|Pyr Lowbirn: 10 STR, 12 DEX, 10 CON, 11 BODY, 17 INT, 12 EGO, 12 PRE, 11 COM, 2 PD, 2 ED, 3 SPD, 4 REC, 3d6+2(20) END, 21 STUN; VPP (42 pts.), Study Spell Book to Change; Magic Skill 17-; Bribery 11-; Deduction 12-; Gambling 11-; Persuasion 11-; Riding 11-; Shadowing 8-; Stealth 11-; KS: Fire Magic 14-; KS: History of Magic 11-; KS: Elemental Magic 11-; KS: Drawing 12-; Resistance; FAM w/ Swords; Language: Northern Tongue (Fluent); OCV: 4; DCV: 4; ECV: 4; Phases: 4, 8, 12; Orange Robes (1 DEF, 7-16); Knife (+1 OCV, 1/2d6K); Wand of Fire Bolts (2d6 EB, Autofire (3 max), 48 Charges, Gestures, Incantations, Charges are difficult and expensive to recover, Independent, OAF Wand, Extra Time - Full Phase, Explodes on contact with water); Fire Walker Ring (50% rDR, only versus fire; +4 ED, only versus fire, linked; Life Support: Intense Heat, linked; Always On, OIF - Ring, One ring per hand, Independent); Scroll of Fireballs (Fireball spell; 2 charges; OAF Scroll, Independent); Scroll of Fire Shield (Fire Shield spell; 3 charges; OAF Scroll, Independent); Spells: Burning Eyes, Dancing Flames, Detect, Detect Fire, Dispel, Fiery Trap, Fire Blast, Fireball, Fire Elemental Form, Fire Sight, Hot Feet, Hypnotic Flames, Produce Flame, Protection from Fire, Skin of Flame, Sizzling Web, Smoking Fire, Summon Earth Elemental, and Tale of the Flame.|
15. Terror Room - This eerie hexagonal room has three identical bronze-plated doors in the corners. These three doors are icy to the touch and have no knob or handle. The intermediate stone walls are literally covered in magical runes glowing a faint blue color. The chamber is uncomfortably cold and has an unidentifyable odor. In the center of the room a two-meter diameter bronze ring is imbedded in the floor.
This chamber is Pyr's ultimate defense in case he is cut off from escape. Stepping into the iron ring and speaking the word "Kalfen" will activate a cylindrical force field with a 12 DEF above the ring. (Saying "Neflak", Kalfen backwards, will release the force field.) Speaking the word "Laxos" will open all three bronze doors and release three Blazing Terrors that have been locked inside specially warded ice cages. These cat-like creatures are pure white like snow and burn with a freezing flame. They have been driven mad by their captivity, which is maintained by the suppressing runes on the walls. They will mindlessly attack any targets in the room. Eventually they will escape through the only exit and return to their home plane.
|Blazing Terror: 18 STR, 21 DEX, 12 CON, 15 BODY, 5 INT, 8 EGO, 15 PRE, 10 COM, 4 PD, 3 ED, 4 SPD, 5 REC, 30 END, 36 STUN; 1d6+1 RKA, Damage Shield, Personal immunity, Persistent, Always On, Not versus Life Support: Extreme Cold; 1d6 HKA, Armor Piercing, reduced Penetration - beak; Extra-Dimensional Movement - Home Plane, x5 Increased END Cost, Extra Time - Full Phase; 6d6 Mind Control, Explosion, While Screeching, Only to Cause Paralysis, No Range; +15 PRE, While Screeching, Create fear only, Linked to Mind Control; +4 PD/+2 ED Armor; Life Support: Extreme Cold, No Need to Eat or Excrete; 50% Resistant Energy Damage Reduction, only versus cold; Infrared Vision; +1 to all PER (11-); +2 to infrared PER (13- total); 5" Superleap; Defense Maneuver; Acrobatics 13-; Breakfall 13-; AK: Home Plane 11-; 8" Running; 0" Swimming; Distinctive Features (Not Concealable); Phys. Lim.: No fine manipulation; Hatred of creatures from ice-free environments; Berserk when trapped 14-, 8-; 2x STUN from fire; 1.5x effect from cold manipulating powers; 1d6/Minute when not in extreme cold; OCV: 7; DCV: 7; ECV: 3; Phases: 3, 6, 9, 12.|
16. Elestra's Quarters - Elestra will be encountered here on a roll of 9- if the alarm has not been given. This room is notable for it's cleanliness and orderliness. Everything is placed "just so" as if a lot of time had been spent arranging every item.
On either side of the main entrance to this room is a fine marble statue similar to the one in the Library. The one on the right is a muscular athelete. On the left the statue is of a scholar dressed in flowing robes. Neither of these is magical, although they could make the party nervous if they were attacked by the one in the library.
Located in the center of the far wall is a fine four-poster bed with heavy curtains drawn back with straps. On one side of the bed is a night stand with a magical lamp which illuminates the room. At the end of the bed is a foot locker with a padded lid. Against the left wall is a polished oak cabinet. Behind the cabinet is a brick fireplace with a large brick glowing red from heat. On the opposite wall is a chest of drawers and a curio cabinet. Several fine portraits hang around the room.
The fine cabinet, chest of drawers, and foot locker contain good clothing suitable for slender woman. The cabinet also contains a wooden box containing a hair brush, hand mirror, and a bottle of perfumed water. Most of the clothing is outdoor garb, but some finery is also included for entertaining guests.
The curio cabinet contains some ancient artifacts collected by Elestra during her travels. Some of these are very unique and would undoubtedly bring a good price, including a war club, a fertility figurine, and a polished rune stone. There is also an unusual bone comb that is very attractive to the eye. This is a magical Comb of Radiance, but so far Elestra has found little use or need for this implement.
In the back of the bedroom is a secret door that leads to an escape tunnel. An oil painting of a young Aldar hangs from this door, a constant reminder to Elestra of her ultimate mission in this place. The switch to open this door is concealed behind the ear of one of the statues.
The night stand has a single drawer and a bottom completely encased in a thick wooden grille. On top of the night stand is a mosaic of eight square hardwood tiles each inscribed with an unusual symbol. One of these tiles appears to be missing. Careful examination reveals that the pieces can be moved about by sliding them into the open slot. A Detect Magic spell will show that the puzzle is magical. Proper arrangement of the tiles will allow the top drawer to be opened. If the tiles are not in the proper sequence, then pulling on the top drawer handle will activate a toxic gas trap that is released from the wood grille in the bottom. (Due to the number of permutations, the tiles will only be in the proper arrangement on a roll of 3- if re-arranged at random.) This gas has the following effect on contact with flesh:
The tiles magically re-arrange themselves each time the drawer is shut. Smashing the night stand will activate the trap on a 15- and will smash the potions stored inside on a 12- each.
Inside the nightstand drawer is a jewel case, a wooden box, a large scroll wrapped in a leather cover, a small crystal box containing a locket of Aldar's hair, and a large money purse. The jewel case contains several pieces of fine jewelry worn that by Elestra on rare occasions, but are mostly for her to admire. The purse contains a considerable sum of money in small denominations and is used to pay her guards and their commander. The wood box is lined with red velvet and contains eight slender vials of potion. These are: Healing Salve (FHC), Stoneskin (FHC), Spy's Drink (FHC), Beauty Cream, Cider of Serenity, Voodoo Elixir (Giant), Sweet Water, and Morpheus Brandy. (See the Digest of Potions for details.) The contents of each vial is marked in Elestra's secret code. There is room in the case for more vials, and these are carried on Elestra's person when not in this room.
The scroll contains the complete procedure for the Ritual of Release. This complex, special purpose spell was developed by Elestra after several years of research. A careful study of the scroll by somebody familiar with Elemental Magic will reveal that the spell draws upon the powers of the earth to perform a powerful cumulative transformation on the magical energy in the cage. An unfortunate side effect of this transformation is a more powerful form of the Earthquake spell which effects everything within several kilometers.
Elestra is a formidable magi of the earth element. She is familiar with almost all spells of the college of elemental earth and has a high magic skill level. However, repeated castings of the ritual needed to release Khuldark have left her with considerable long term fatigue and her endurance is very low as a result. She will instead rely primarily on her magical staff and potions to face any foes.
She has spent many years burning with anger over her rejection by Aldar. Elestra blames Shadara for his rejection and is now obsessed with gaining revenge over her rival. The magi also suffers from an obsessive-compulsive disorder which causes her to repeat certain actions many times, usually unnecessarily. These actions including cleaning herself, straightening up her quarters, checking items that have been packed away, and so on. She is very embarassed by this disorder and will rarely spend much time in public places as a result.
|Elestra Durnham: 9 STR, 14 DEX, 11 CON, 12 BODY, 19 INT, 15 EGO, 13 PRE, 12 COM; 2 PD, 2 ED, 3 SPD, 4 REC, 3d6(22) END, 23 STUN; VPP (78 pts.), Study Spell Book to Change; Magic Skill 21-; +1 w/ Stone Blast, Earthquake, and Medusa Touch spells; Conversation 11-; Deduction 12-; Inventor (Spell research) 12-; Paramedic 8-; Persuasion 13-; Riding 11-; Trading 11-; Cryptography 12-; KS: Earth Magic 16-; KS: History of Magic 11-; KS: Elemental Magic 13-; Cramming; Language: Northern Tongue (Fluent); Perk: Base; Well Off; FAM w/ Staffs; +1 OCV w/ Quarterstaff; Psych. Lim.: Must Avenge any Slight; Psych. Lim.: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder; OCV: 5; DCV: 5; ECV: 5; Phases: 4, 8, 12; Robes (1 DEF, 7-16); Staff of Deception (See appendix B), Pouch (5 gems, 31 coins), Potions (Broth of Restoration (2 charges); Mercury Chaser (1 charge); Cloud of Manifestation (1); Vapors of Levitation (3 charges)); Spells: Ritual of Release plus all known Earth Elemental Spells except Cavern Close, Pool of Quicksand, Rock in the Shoe, and Sand Blast.|
17. Escape Tunnel - This secret tunnel was created as an emergency escape route in case the residence is compromised. Only Pyr and Elestra are aware of its existance, as the builders had their memory of its construction magically erased by means of a scroll. A small, natural gas flame opposite the door to the laboratory provides the only illumination.
The cabinet in the wider section of the tunnel next to Elestra's quarters contains essential escape supplies for up to four people. These include sturdy packs, blankets, bed rolls, a tarp, winter clothing, hard leather boots, fur cloaks, walking staves, daggers, rope, grappling hook, two short swords, a crossbow and quiver with 20 quarrels, climbing picks, candles, flint and steel, dried rations, full water skins, a snuff box, a purse with some coins and a few gems, a bottle of common wine, and two travelling spell books with a limited selection of elemental magic spells.
The tunnel quickly narrows until it is only a meter in width and barely tall enough to stand up. It is straight for the most part but passes through some natural limestone caverns. When it reaches the outside, it exits through a narrow crack that runs for a hundred meters up the mountain face. By scrambling down the crack, it is possible to reach the ground safely. The exit is only a few kilometers east of the Dwarf Citadel of Guernfast, but safely out of sight of the besieging army.
18. Guard station - A guard is permanently stationed outside the door to Elestra's quarters. There is a wood chair here for the guard to stay seated, but normally the Orc will pace along the nearby hallway. Opposite the chair is a crack in the wall that leaks water. Elestra created a depression below the crack to catch the water in a pool. Occasionally something splashes in the water, causing the pool to slop over the rim. This is due to a minor elemental cantrip that Elestra applied to the base of the pool as an amusement. The water is very cool and refreshing.
19. Summoning Chamber - This large, high-domed chamber is completely empty of furniture or decorations along the wall. Despite the chill, there is a faint odor of something burning. A large, silver pentacle is imbedded in the floor, surrounded by two concentric silver rings with magic runes characters in between. The interior of the silver pentacle has been painted orange, but the finish is blackened and cracked as if from a great heat. A faint, wispy red glow appears to hover just above the pentacle but otherwise the chamber appears unoccupied. This pentacle is used by Pyr and Elestra to summon and hold elemental creatures. The red glow is the aftermath of a recent summoning.
20. Circle of Protection Chamber - Elestra or Pyr will be in this room performing a summoning on a 4-. Two concentric silver circles have been imbedded in the floor with magical runes in between. This is used as a circle of protection when an Elemental creature is summoned in room 19. The room also has a glowing brazier, a table with several bowls of various powders, and a large gong in the corner.
To the north east is what appears to be a collapsed tunnel. This was to be a further extension of the residence by Elestra, but the rock turned out to be too weak to withstand the earthquakes. Several workers are buried beneath the debris, along with mining tools and other equipment.
21. Incinerator - To the left as you step into this room is a short set of stairs leading down. At the bottom are rows of rack with drying pieces of giant toadstool trunks. Straight ahead is a bronze incinerator with a chute attached for sliding in debris. The incinerator has a chimney attached to a hole in the ceiling. Back in a niche in the corner is a cabinet containing a shovel, brush, axe, several work gloves, and flint and tinder. This incinerator is used both to dispose of trach and to produce charcoal for Pyr's magic.
22. Display Room - This chamber is the location of the final piece of the Elven Mage statue. Elestra found the shard on the Saugathar level and brought it here to study. She has no idea of the true purpose of the stone. The elementalists used this crystal to research their ritual, as the stone was created by the god and is directly linked to his power. Now however, they have little need for the rock and it was left here for guests to admire.
Several open display cases are arranged around the sides of the room. These hold many relics recovered from the Saugathar level, including stone tablets, pieces of crude statues, several chunks of rock carved in distorted Saugathar expressions, rusted tools, and an unusually fine jade figurine. The later is a statue of Khuldark and was created by a master craftsman. Unfortunately it also carries a very powerful curse. Whenever the magic statue is examined under an open night sky it will summon a Shadow.
Finally there is a Fire Giant's huge round shield, elaborate bronze breast plate and great falchion hang upon the far wall. This sword is nearly new and still has the scarlet tassel attached to the hilt. The shield shows some burns marks and the breast plate and sword have been methodically cleaned to a fine polish.
An eerie assistant is busy dusting this room and cleaning up the floor with a broom.
23. Main Entrance - The main entrance to the residence consists of a sturdy wood bridge across a chasm. At the end of the bridge is a wide ledge with a large oak door reinforced by iron bands. This door is protected by two stone golems shaped like gargoyles. The golems stand stationary atop marble pedestals to either side of the door. The walls to either side of the door appear to have melted and then set, the result of the magic that was used to carve out the residence.
The door holds a magical knocker, shaped like a lion's head, that grips a large, fluted iron ring through its nose. When rapped, the knocker asks the visitors their business here. If they speak the secret word "Dharax" the door will swing open. Otherwise, after a few moments, the golems animate and attack the intruders until they are driven across the bridge. There is no key hole in the door and it is sturdy enough to withstand a battering ram.
Four narrow arrow-slit openings can be seen above the door. No light can be seen in these openings as they are covered from the other side by heavy black drapes. Should one member of the party find a way through these openings, they will have to confront the Orc guards before they can try to sneak down and open the door from the inside. The arrow slits lead to room 40.
The elementalists occasionally make a foray into the fire level other than to perform the ritual of release. When this happen they will leave by the main gate. (See the encounter table at the end of this Act.)
24. Gate Tunnel - This arched passage leads from the main entrance into the larger main hall ahead. Unfortunately the way is blocked by a solid iron portcullis. This gate can be hauled up through a gap in the ceiling by means of a winch in room 40. The granite floor, walls, and ceiling all have a sleek finish like wet limestone. There are several murder holes in the ceiling above, with a dim light from room 40 illuminating small areas on the floor. A whistling wind blows constantly through this passage, even when the large oak door is closed.
If the guards above are alert to the presence of the characters below, they will pour crossbow bolts through the murder holes. A deep, sonorous ringing will come from somewhere deep in the residence as the alarm is rung to alert the guards. The guards will first see to the safety of the the two elementalists, then form two strike forces to attack the intruders. Group one will consist of Elestra, Grundal, and four Orc guards. Group Pyr will consist of Pyr, Sakar, and four Orc guards. They will search room to room, beginning with the gate tunnel. The two guards in the gate room will remain in place. The other four will patrol between rooms 6 and 18 so they can guard the key rooms.
25. Entrance Hall - This wide, dimly lit corridor leads off to the left and right before narrowing. There are doors leading to a commode, the dining hall, and the gate tunnel. The small guard's commode is cold, poorly lit, and has an unpleasant odor. There is a small wooden cabinet mounted on the wall near the porticullis. This contains three hooded lanterns enchanted with a permanent spell of illumination. Two of the magical lights have faded somewhat over the years and now the glow is scarcely brighter than an oil lantern. The third is a new addition, and glows as brightly as a bonfire.
26. Dining Hall - This room is occupied by a long, polished table surrounded by fine chairs. In the center of the table is a cloth cover with a crystal decanter and several crystal goblets. Along the wall are two low cabinets containing various bottles of wine and other beverages. In the center of the long wall is a great stone fireplace in which burns a warm fire. This fire is actually a tiny, harmless Flame Enzine who was magically trapped here by Pyr to warm and illuminate the room. An eerie assistant is busy cleaning up this room.
|Flame Enzine: 5 STR, 15 DEX, 6 CON, 4 BODY, 5 INT, 8 EGO, 5 PRE, 9 COM, 1 PD, 1 ED, 3 SPD, 2 REC, 14 END, 13 STUN; Shrinking (60 pts., -12 to others' sight PER), Persistent, Always On; Desolidification (Vulnerable to magic, cold, and water), Persistent, Always On; Life Support: Doesn't Eat, Sleep, or Excrete, Intense Heat; Infrared Vision; Change Environment (Create Light and Heat), 4" Radius, Persistent, Affects Physical World, Always On, not in fog; +5" Superleap; Distinctive Features (Not concealable); No fine manipulation; Wants to return to home plane; 1.5x Effect from fire manipulating powers; 1.5x Effect from cold; 2x Effect from water; 1d6/turn from water; Fear of Water; OCV: 5; DCV: 17; ECV: 2.|
27. Guard Room - There are 3-6 guards on station here on a 15-. In the center of this room are two heavy wood tables, each surrounded by two long benches. The tables are covered with plates of half eaten food, some cutting knives, several mugs of ale, and several clay pitchers. The pitchers are periodically refilled by the servants. The floor is covered by scraps of food. Several cloaks are hung from pegs on the wall. In the corner a fireplace emits heat thanks to a brick glowing red. A block of wood hung from the wall next to the fireplace serves as a knife throwing target.
28. Lower Barracks - This room has an unpleasant musky odor and the squeaking of rats can be heard coming from the back. These are quarters for ten of the Orc bodyguards. They are normally found in the guard station when they are on watch. At least four of the mercenaries and Grundal accompany the magi whenever they leave the residence.
|Orc Guard: 15 STR, 14 DEX, 15 CON, 12 BODY, 10 INT, 10 EGO, 13 PRE, 6 COM, 5 PD, 3 ED, 2 SPD, 6 REC, 30 END, 28 STUN; +1 w/ H-to-H Combat; Riding 8-; FAM w/ Common Melee Weapons; FAM w/ Common Missile Weapons; KS: Orc Tribes of the north; OCV: 5; DCV: 5; ECV: 3; Phases: 6, 12; Battle Axe (-1 OCV, 2d6K, 1.5-h); Ringmail Armor (4 DEF, 6-18), Shield (+2 DCV); Loose Coins.|
There are five sets of simple double bunks arranged along the walls with a large chest at the foot of each bunk. The bunks have only a tattered blanket which covers a thick layer of straw. Each oak chest is shared by both bunk mates and contains several articles of poor clothing, some knives, belts, boots, and cloaks, and a few Orc personal effects of no particular value. The garb has not been washed for several weeks and has an unpleasant animal odor mixed with sweat. There are three small tables along the walls which hold clay mugs and small barrels of ale. In the middle along the right wall is a fireplace holding a brick glowing red with heat. There are hooks along the wall for holding the Orc weapons, armor, shield, and clothing when they are off duty.
29. Grundal's Quarters - When not on duty or relaxing on the lower floor, these are the quarters for the commander of the guard. Very spartan in apparance, this room contains some simple furniture including a large bed, two small night stands, a foot locker, writing desk, and a cabinet. There is a large red banner hung above the bed crossed by two unusual spears, and the skin of a giant crocodile is spread aross the middle of the floor. The wall has four large hooks for Grundal's armor, helm, shield, and weapons. In a small fireplace a brick is glowing red with heat.
The writing desk has four drawers containing writing materials, various orcish correspondance with contacts in the north, a folded notice of bounty for Grundal's head, a carefully ordered collection of various curved knives, a money pouch with a handful of coins, and a bowl filled with fangs and broken teeth of various sizes and shapes. In the central drawer a set of three exquisite ceremonial daggers is wrapped in a black silk scarf. Sitting on top of the desk is a writing pad, an ink pot and quill, and a pitcher of mead surrounded by two iron cups, all sitting on a square of golden cloth.
A candle holder with a large, partially melted candle sits upon one of the night stands, while a bowl of water and a small face cloth sits on the other. The foot locker contains several articles of clean and meticulously folded clothing, some sturdy boots and gloves, plus a few personal effects. The cabinet holds two cloaks, a heavy jacket, cap, back pack, bed roll, some coiled rope, winter outdoor clothing, and three fine silk shirts.
|Grundal: 15 STR, 14 DEX, 15 CON, 12 BODY, 12 INT, 11 EGO, 13 PRE, 7 COM, 5 PD, 3 ED, 3 SPD, 6 REC, 30 END, 28 STUN; +3 w/ H-to-H Combat; Riding 11-; Paramedic 11-; Oratory 11-; Tactics 11-; KS: Fighting Styles 11-, KS: Famous Warriors 8-; FAM w/ Common Melee Weapons; FAM w/ Common Missile Weapons; AK: North Lands; Perk: Base Commander; Language: North Tongue (Fluent); Language: Orcish (Native, Literate); Obeys Orders; Hunted, Wants to Punish, Extensive NCI, North lands only 11-; OCV: 5; DCV: 5; ECV: 3; Phases: 4, 8, 12; Military Flail (-1 OCV, 1+1/2d6K, 1.5-handed, Flail Mvr); Dirk (1d6K); Brigandine Armor (4 DEF, 6-18); Iron Pot Helm (7 DEF, 3-4), Large Shield (+3 DCV), Loose Coins.|
30. Armory - In the center of the room stand two shelved racks with a collection of scabbards, three long swords, two falchions, a bastard sword, four war hammers, five battle axes, two large maces, a flail, morning star, staff, eight spears, a pole hook, two glaives, a pole saber, and two fauchards. Two dozen spears hang horizontally from bars along the ceiling. Six crossbows and four quivers of bolts hang from a case to either side of the room. Nine round shields, three pot helms, two sets of ringmail, and a studded leather jacket hang from hooks along the back wall. All of these items are well used. In the far right corner is a large sharpening wheel and a bucket of water.
31. Bathing Pool - Towels hang from pegs along the stairs leading up to this round chamber. At the top is a warm room containing a steaming pool of spring water. An enchanted stone at the bottom of the pool illuminates the room with a shimmering blue glow. The water is heated by natural volcanic processes and is as warm as human blood. On the shelf across the pool is a bronze decanter of bathing oil and several sponges. Elestra, Pyr, Grundal, and any visitors use this room for bathing and relaxation.
32. Kitchen - On a roll of 10- this kitchen is occupied by the Dwarf cook from room 34. This cosy room is almost uncomfortably warm, and has a pleasant odor of cooking food. In the back the sound of something bubbling can be heard. A faint smoky haze hangs in the air.
There are two long wood tables near the door with various cooking tools. Pots and various baking implements hang from many pegs along the walls, and fill the space underneath. A set of shelves is filled with all manner of glass jars, clay cups, bins of nuts, liquid-filled bottles, measuring cups, packets of seasonings, bundles of herbs, bags of roots, small boxes, and bowls of spices. In the back is a tall oak cabinet with a pile of logs stacked besides it. The cabinet contains many clean bowls, plates, and cutlery for use in the dining hall. A large fireplace in the corner glows with a natural fire, which heats a large black pot hanging from an iron chain. This is the source of the bubbling noise and the pleasant cooking odor. The floor is kept meticulously clean by means of a broom leaning against the cabinet, but several mice and insect scavengers are still seen scurrying for cover.
33. Larder - If Duxille is not in the kitchen, she can be found here on a 5-. Several large slabs of unidentified meat hang along the back wall from hooks. Barrels of grain, tubers, and salted meat and fish lie below. Shelves of bins with a multitude of different food containers line the side walls, including cheeses, crackers, biscuits, peppers, and seeds. In the back is a special chest that radiates magic. This chest is a food preserver that is well stocked with fresh fruit and vegetables. The squeaking of a mouse can be heard in a back corner.
34. Cook's Quarters - Unless Duxille is in the kitchen, she can be found here on a 16-.
This untidy room is in marked contrast with the kitchen. There is a comfortable bed that is covered in rumpled blankets and discarded clothing. A night stand next to the bed contains a plate of partially eaten food, an overturned mug, and an oil lantern. A cabinet stands open against the wall with a pile of unwashed clothing, blankets, and towels lying in front. There is a small table with a disordered pile of dwarf cooking recipies on top. Buried underneath are various writing implements, a hair brush, hand mirror, many loose coins, some cutlery, an ordinary iron ring, a butchers knife, and an overturned iron plate.
The floor is particularly unkempt, with many bits of garbage lying scattered about. The head of a stag hangs from a plaque on the far wall, with several articles of clothing hang from the horns. A fireplace contains a brick glowing red with heat. The brick is partially buried in ashes and bits of charred wood. A bronze drying rack stands next to the fireplace with several articles of clothing draped across the bars. A plaid beret hangs from a peg on the back of the door.
Duxille was recruited by Elestra from a northern city due to her cooking skills. She has come to regret her decision due to her fierce dislike of the Orc guards, the imprisonment of the escaped slaves, and generally poor treatment by Pyr. She is also very concerned about the earthquakes and Elestra's activities. At the moment however she has little recourse but to continue her work as the residence cook. She stays in her untidy quarters busying herself writing up disgusting new recipes to try out on the Orcs. Duxille is frumpy and unkempt in appearance, but is reliable and has a pleasant disposition when treated kindly. She constantly wears many layers of clothing as she is very uncomfortable in the cool, damp surroundings.
|Duxille: 12 STR, 14 DEX, 11 CON, 13 BODY, 10 INT, 12 EGO, 10 PRE, 9 COM, 2 PD, 2 ED, 2 SPD, 4 REC, 22 END, 25 STUN; FAM w/ Knives; Climbing 12-; Conversation 11-; KS: Exotic Recipes 12-; PS: Cook 13-; Language: Dwarf (Native, Literate); Language: North (Fluent); Distinctive Features: Dwarf (Concealable, noticed); Hatred of racial enemies; Knife (1/2d6K), Layered Clothing (2 DEF, 14-); Loose Coins.|
35. Well - A stone-lined well here provides most of the water used by the residents. There is a winch hanging from the ceiling which is used to haul up water by the bucket full. Several wooden buckets hang from pegs along the wall. The natural well is about 9 meters deep, with sides widened by Elestra's magic. The water joins with a series of natural flooded caverns that hold nothing of interest.
36. Storage Room - This is a general purpose storage room that is stocked with all manner of items used by the residents. There are many casks of ale; boxes of candles; bolts of cloth; coils of rope; tinder and a stack of firewood for the kitchen; two barrels of charcoal; paint pots; backpacks; blankets; waterskins; dried animal hides; a wood box of carpentry tools; ingots of iron and copper; several rolled up rugs; a stack of mediocre oil paintings; bundles of parchment; a crate of heavy wooden pulleys and a winch; clay jugs of lamp oil; pots of tar; empty crates; balls of twine; a box of chalk; a sled leaning against the wall; several tarps; an oilskin jacket; a box of broken pottery; spare pots and pans; four large jars of salt; a lute; ladder; discarded oil lamps; wood carving of an owl; snuff box; shaving case; upright bronze mirror; a hammock; pavillion tent; crutches; chiurgy blades; box of soap; broom; and a pile of pillows.
37. Washing Room - This room is very warm and humid with many standing puddles of water on the floor. In the far corner of the room is a basin with washing rack for cleaning clothes. An eerie assistant is busy scrubbing clothes by the basin. A number of articles of clothing are hung from bars mounted on the walls and lines suspended across the room. Several bricks in the fireplace glow red from heat. A bucket of water sits next to the fire. In the other corner is a trap door in the roof. A ladder leans against the wall below the trap door.
38. Meeting Room - A stone speaker stand is placed in the center of a stage with a short flight of steps on either wing. In front of the stage are several rows of stone benches. The wall behind the stage is covered by red curtains. Magical lanterns on the back wall provide a spotlight effect centered on the speaker stand. Behind the curtains is a secret door. The latch to open the door is concealed on the speaker stand. The passage behind the hidden door leads to room 37.
39. Robing Chamber - This private chamber is used by Elestra and Pyr prior to entering a meeting in room 38. Thus far this room has seen little use since the elementalists have been busy trying to free Khuldark. Several fine robes hang from pegs along the wall. There is a wash basin, mirror, and a towel rack mounted on the wall. In the center of the room is a fine marble statue of a nubile woman. In the corner stands an ordinary staff.
If any of the robes are disturbed by anybody except Pyr or Elestra, the statue animates and attacks relentlessly.
|Animated Statue: 35 STR, 15 DEX, 0 CON, 8 BODY, 5 INT, 0 EGO, 20 PRE, 15 COM, 7 PD, 5 ED, 3 SPD, 0 REC, 0 END, 0 STUN; Takes no STUN; Does not bleed; Density Increase (25 pts, -5" KB), Persistent, Always On; +5 PD/+5 ED armor; 50% Resistant Physical Damage Reduction; 50% Resistant Energy Damage Reduction; +4d6 HA - fists; Life Support: Full; Targeting Hearing; Simulate Death; 0 END w/ STR; 0 END w/ Running; FAM w/ Common Melee Weapons; +1 w/ H-to-H combat; Climbing 12-; 0" Swimming; Psych. Lim.: Follows Orders; Psych. Lim.: Only active when instructed condition occurs; Berserk in combat 14-, 8-; OCV: 5; DCV: 5; ECV: 0; Phases: 4, 8, 12.|
40. Guard Tower - This is the guard room for watching the main entrance below. Two guards are stationed here at all times. Generally the Orc guards are not very dilligent in their duties when Grundal and Sakar are absent, so the bridge is rarely being watched. The room is illuminated by a magical lantern hanging from a hook in the center. The arrow slits are usually covered by heavy black curtains to block the light escaping. There are several wood benches along the walls where the guards can relax between patrols. Hanging from the ceiling next to the lantern is a heavy iron winch mechanism to haul up the portcullis. There are a number of javelins, crossbows and quivers of quarrels hanging from pegs around the walls.
41. Alarm Room - A great, cylindrical bell hangs from a heavy chain suspended from the center of the arched ceiling. A long hammer is hung horizontally from two smaller chains and is positioned to strike the bell. When the bell is rung, the tone carries throughout the residence and can be heard for nearly a kilometer through the surrounding rock. In the back corner a door opens into a commode for the guards. (See area 7 for more details.)
42. Guard Room - There are 2-4 guards on station here on a 14-. In the center of this room is a heavy wood table surrounded by four benches. The table is covered with plates of half eaten food, several mugs of ale, and a bronze pitcher now nearly empty. This pitcher is periodically refilled by the servants. A dull cutting knife has pinned a now dead rat to the table The floor is covered by scraps of food and another rat scurries along the wall.
43. Upper Barracks - A recent addition to the residence, Elestra decided to add some more guards and built additional barracks near the Guard Tower. This room quarters four orc guards in double bunks plus a bed for Grundal's half-ogre first lieutenant Sakar. There is a fireplace in the corner with a brick glowing red with heat. Along the wall is a small table with a cask of ale and some mugs. At the end of each bunk is a shared chest containing various articles of dirty clothing plus some personal effects. The clothing has an unpleasant musky scent mixed with sweat.
Sakar's foot locker is padlocked and contains course but sturdy clothing, some personal effects, a leather pouch with coins, and a nice lump of pink quartz. There are pegs over Sakar's bed for hanging his weapon and armor. The cleaned skull of a giant snake is hung from the wall along the side of his bed.
|Sakar: 23 STR, 12 DEX, 18 CON, 15 BODY, 11 INT, 10 EGO, 15 PRE, 6 COM, 6 PD, 4 ED, 3 SPD, 6 REC, 33 END, 36 STUN; +2 w/ H-to-H Combat; Riding 11-; FAM w/ Common Melee Weapons; FAM w/ Common Missile Weapons; KS: Orc Tribes of the north; OCV: 4; DCV: 4; ECV: 3; Phases: 4, 8, 12; Great Sword (+1 OCV, 2d6K, 2-h); Brigandine Armor (4 DEF, 6-18); Loose Coins, Key.|
|Orc Guard: 15 STR, 14 DEX, 15 CON, 12 BODY, 10 INT, 10 EGO, 13 PRE, 6 COM, 5 PD, 3 ED, 2 SPD, 6 REC, 30 END, 28 STUN; +1 w/ H-to-H Combat; Riding 8-; FAM w/ Common Melee Weapons; FAM w/ Common Missile Weapons; KS: Orc Tribes of the north; OCV: 5; DCV: 5; ECV: 3; Phases: 6, 12; Battle Axe (-1 OCV, 2d6K, 1.5-h); Ringmail Armor (4 DEF, 6-18), Shield (+2 DCV); Loose Coins.|
44. Garden Room - This wonderful room is illuminated by a softly glowing magical light hanging from the very high ceiling. The ground is covered in a deep, rich layer of soil in which a variety of cultivated plants grow. There is a grass foot path with stepping stones that loops through the garden, allowing an enjoyment of the well tended, flourishing growth. Near one wall is a small pool filled with colorful fish. A slight breeze runs through the room, gently stirring the garden.
In the back corner is a concealed door. The latch to the concealed door is hidden by a false rock. A skilled tracker can spot some foot prints leading back toward the wall with the hidden door. The door opens into a short passage with a trap door at the end, which opens on room 37.
45. Secret Entrance - There is a secret back entrance to the residence that is skillfully concealed on the outside by a rock-face camouflage. There is also a craftily hidden latch that is required to open the entry from the outside.
This is the normal door used by Elestra when she leaves to perform another ritual in an attempt to release Khuldark. When this happens the two magi will have somewhat recuperated from their last attempt, and so more formidable. They will always be accompanied by several of their Orc bodyguards.
However, sometimes the Orc guards are lazy and neglect to fully close the door when they re-enter the residence. On an 8-, a small crack will be seen in the wall here where the door was left ajar during the day.
Encounters on this level occur once an hour on a roll of 14-. To determine the encounter, roll 4d6 and consult the following table:
|3-5||Barnard Sterns - See room 11.|
|6-9||Servants - 1-3 running an errand|
|10||Elestra Durnham - See room 16.|
|11||Pyr Lowbirn - See room 14.|
|12-13||Tristen Shalkie - See room 5.|
|14||Mixed group - Roll 1/2d6+1 on this table.|
|15-17||Guards - 1-2 on patrol|
|18-19||Guards - 2-5 changing watch|
|20||Grundal - See room 29.|
|21||Sakar - See room 43.|
|22||Duxille - See room 34.|
|23||Eerie Assistant - Sweeping the hallway with a broom.|
|24||Guards and Slave - Two guards are dragging along a beaten slave.|
This level consists of the former palace of Khuldark and his minions. A few centuries later this complex was discovered by the mining activities of the Fire Giants. These towering beings quickly cleared most of the rooms of obstacles and made the place their own. (A few of the rooms are either too well concealed or are protected by formidable guardians.) The Giants have since been expanding their holdings ever since and using captured slaves to serve their whims.
Because the fire giant community poses such a formidable threat, any exploration of this level will quickly place the characters in a dire situation. For this reason only the first room is detailed. The remainder of this level and what lies further below is left to the whims of the GM, should the characters survive that long.
This immense chamber was the throne room of Khuldark. Two parallel rows of immense rock pillars support an arched ceiling high overhead. The floor is made of polished black marble inlaid with simple, repeated patterns of white marble. The entire chamber is illuminated by an eerie blue glow coming from the top of the pillars.
At the end of the chamber, at the top of a brief flight of steps, is a huge throne made of bronze. The throne is even larger than the giant figure who currently occupies it. Surrounding the seated figure are several other giants wearing robes, and a row of guards standing at attention. They are being served delicacies by man-sized slaves. If they are unaware of the characters presence, the robed giants are most likely having another heated discussion amongst themselves. All the giants have dark skin.
If they have been alerted in advance by the Fire Giant who watches from the great cavern of lava above, several guards will be stationed behind the pillars waiting to ambush the party. Otherwise they will likely only spot the characters if the party makes its presence obvious in some manner.
Several doors near the throne lead to other chambers in Khuldark's palace, and then down to the Fire Giant village.
Regardless of the outcome of the underground adventures of the party, they will still be wanted by the bandit territory south of the mountains. The party will be relatively safe in the northern kingdom. However the bandit ruler may still send assassins and bounty hunters against the party.
The ancient Elven Grand Magi Ylerien Silestra is familiar with many powerful rituals of magic that have long been lost. Unfortunately, he was turned into a blue crystal statue that was subsequently shattered into five parts. Gathering these pieces together will not be sufficient to reform the Elf. The stones will need to be magically melded together, and then a spell of stone-to-flesh cast. Unless one of the characters possesses the necessary skills, a visit to an Earth Elementalist will be required to complete this process. (Elestra has the required skills but will not cooperate unless she is captured and threatened with death.)
Once restored to life, the Elf will be very weak and disoriented. At least a week of bed rest will be required to begin recuperation, regardless of any healing magic. However, he will take visitors in between his frequent naps. He will only be able to speak in the ancient tongue of the elves. A scholar of ancient languages will be needed to communicate.
Once informed of the activities of the two elementalists, and the pending escape of Khuldark, Yleren will expect the aid of the characters in gathering the necessary components for the imprisonment ritual. The nature of these components is left to the imagination of the GM, but they will be rare and difficult to locate. (Adventure hook: an additional expedition to find the components can be required of the heroes. The Elf Magi will not accompany this expedition because he is in search of the other missing materials which only he can gather. Haste will be required because Khuldark is now close to escaping.)
The imprisonment ritual will be a powerful and impressive event. Ylerien will magically ward any characters who come to witness the ritual, protecting them from the heat and magic. Great glowing blue and white currents of magical energy will whirl and flow through the cavern, gradually coallescing and focusing on the cage. (Some of the characters will swear they hear a great roar of rage from the cage during this time.) When the ritual is completed, the prison will be restored to its former state.
Upon finally departing from the lava cavern, the Elf will seal it forever with a massive stone plug. When the mission is complete, the Elf Magi will seek to return to his homeland to find his ancestral roots. Before departing, however, he will reward the characters for their efforts. His magical items are much diminshed by many centuries of being in a crystalline form. However he is in possession of secrets that have been lost for ages. These could include the location of long buried treasures, old but powerful spells, answers to the riddles of history, and so on. The nature of the reward for each character is left to the GM's imagination.
If the heroes fail to restore the Elven Magi to life, about one year later the skies of the north will be covered in the ashes of erupting mountains as the evil demi-god is released from his cage. After some initial turmoil, the Saugathar will rally to the banner of the evil god. Queen Shadara will be removed from her throne and the tribes of Saugathar will erupt to overwhelm the dwarf citadel.
At this point the characters may realize their mistake and be compelled to try and recover the pieces of crystal from under the mountain. However Khuldark will have seen to the destruction of the Elven Mage and any entry into the underground ways will be most perilous indeed. Instead the heroes will be forced to flee along with the other residents of the north as the volcanoes erupt and forest fires spread. The heroes may be sent on a mission to seek powerful magic that will once again stop the fire beast. This would provide a good hook for the next adventure as the characters seek to redeem themselves.
The following stats of the Fire beast Khuldark is presented for completeness. Khuldark is roughly humanoid in overall form, with a mottled red skin, four arms, hooved feet, four curved horns on his bull-like head, and a powerfully muscled body. His mane has the appearance of a dancing flame, and he constantly radiates intense heat. He fully believes that he is a god and was born to rule the many caverns under the northern mountain range. Khuldark is powerful enough to cause even a greater dragon concern. His only weakness is his vulnerability to water, and this is the reason he always remains under the shelter of the mountain. His great knowledge of vulcanism allows him to direct the flows of lava beneath the earth, so he can create new mountains at will (albeit slowly.)
Val Char Cost Val Char Cost
60* STR 10 15 PD 3 21 DEX 33 8 ED 2 30 CON 40 5 SPD 19 28* BODY 20 18 REC 0 19 INT 9 60 END 0 25 EGO 30 58* STUN 0 35 PRE 25 5 COM -2 *Bonuses for Growth already figured in. Cost Abilities END
100 Cosmic Power Pool (50 Pts.), All powers use END reserve (-1/2). 70 END Reserve (500 END, 20 REC), Requires worship to recover END (1 point per individual worshipper) (-1/2). 24 4d6 STUN Drain, Explosion (+1/2), 0 END Persistent (+1), Personal Immunity (+1/4), No Range (-1/2), Always On (-1/2), Not versus Life Support: Intense Heat (-1/4) - heat. 54 Growth (40 Pts), Persistent (+1), Always On (-1/2). -4 DCV, +4 to others' sight PER, +2" Reach) 16 2d6+1 HKA, Reduced Penetration (-1/4) - Horns. 3 18 +6d6 HA - Fists. 21 +6 PD / +8 ED Armor. 30 50% Resistant Physical Damage Reduction. 40 75% Resistant Energy Damage Reduction, Only versus heat (-1/2). 15 +15 Mental Defense. 20 Extradimensional Movement, Home Plane. 17 Life Support: Doesn't eat, sleep, or excrete, Immune to Disease and Aging, Intense Heat and Radiation. 5 Superleap 4" 6 +2 to all Perceptions (15-) 16 Infrared Vision, Tracking 5 Extra Limbs - Four Arms 10 Perk: Worshipped as a God 3 Absolute Time Sense 20 Universal Translator 13- 3 Climbing 13- 5 Deduction 15- 3 Demolitions 13- 5 Conversation 14- 3 Tactics 13- 20 +4 w/ H-to-H Combat 12 Running +6" (12" total) -2 Swimming -2" (0" total) 5 AK: Mountain Caverns 14- 8 KS: Volcanoes 17 - ES: Concealment, Conversation, Deduction, Shadowing, Stealth 75+ Disadvantages
25 Distinctive Features (Not Concealable, Extreme Reaction) 10 1.5x Effect from fire manipulating powers (Uncommon) 20 1.5x Effect from cold (Common) 40 2x Effect from water (Common) 20 Vulnerability: 2d6/Turn from Water (Very Common) 5 Berserk when disobeyed (Uncommon) 8-, 14-. 15 Psych. Lim.: Overconfident (Very Common) 20 Psych. Lim.: Megalomania (Very Common, Strong) 451 Creature Bonus
OCV: 7; DCV: 3; ECV: 8; Phases: 3, 5, 8, 10, 12.
Costs: 189 + 492 = 681 = 75 + 606.
This package of rare powdered fungus will often stop bleeding when sprinkled on a wound.
Active Cost: 11; Real Cost: 1.
This thick, dark green paste will miraculously heal just about any wound. The paste is wrapped in a paper-thin leaf of giant toadstool stem.
Active Cost: 10; Real Cost: 1.
A special formula known only to the Saugathar shamen, this thick brown liquid bestows the ability to control animals. This potion is disfavored by the hunters in the village as it very occasionally causes an intense weakness that can last for several months. The potion is stored in a stoppered gourd.
Active Cost: 25; Real Cost: 3.
For a short period of time, this beverage bestows a remarkable combat skill upon the imbiber. Unfortunately it sometimes will cause an intense nausea. The potion is stored in a small clay bottle.
Active Cost: 25; Real Cost: 3.
This clear, bubbly liquid will bestow a remarkable alertness on the imbiber, allowing him to sense things that others might miss. This potion is greatly favored by hunters as it allows them to experience the true nature of the wilderness. The potion will rapidly evaporate within a few minutes if left unsealed. It is stored in an animal hip joint sealed with a waxy plug.
Active Cost: 15; Real Cost: 2.
When held in the hand this expertly cut ruby will emit a slight warmth, but not enough to provide more than a minimal heat. When warm creatures are viewed from a certain angle through the crystal, they can be seen to glow faintly. The magical property of this gem provides the equivalent of Infrared Vision, but due to the awkwardness of looking through the crystal any PER rolls are made with a -2 penalty.
Active Cost: 5; Real Cost: 1.
This warm cloak is made from the fur of a black bear, with a gold chain clasp to attach around the neck. When closed about the body this cloak provides the equivalent of life support against intense cold. It also provides some physical protection against attacks.
Combined: OIF Cloak (-1); Independent (-2).
Active Cost: 12; Real Cost: 2.
This exquisite gold ring is studded with tiny emeralds that glow an eerie green when active. Engraved on the interior of the ring is the activation phase: "Serve Me". The ring can be used to summon and control two types of invisible beings who will be made to serve the wielder. The total number of such beings is limited however, and they must be dismissed before a new replacement can be summoned. If the being is damaged beyond mobility, it must still be dismissed by means of this ring. Otherwise the charge remains unuseable.
Combined: Limitation: Only one magic ring per hand (-1/2); OIF Wear Ring (-1/2); Independent (-2).
Active Cost: 105; Real Cost: 37.
This light oak stave consists of a smooth length of dark wood with bronze caps at each end. It is a deceptive weapon that can deal more damage than would be expected. With some concentration the wielder can also create a very realistic illusion that has both visual and auditory aspects.
Combined: OAF Staff (-1); Independent (-2).
Active Cost: 72; Real Cost: 15.
This seemingly simple platinum medallion will change shape at the whim of its owner. It can also bestow several abilities that allow the wearer to assume just about any animal form, and gain many of the corresponding powers. However, the ability to change shape requires considerable practice to master, and failure to successfully shapeshift will cause intense nausea lasting several hours.
Combined: OAF Medallion (-1), Independent (-2).
Active Cost: 97; Real Cost: 27.
This unusual bone comb has the magical property of enhancing the comliness of the owner when it is run through the hair. The enhanced appearance wears off after several hours.
Active Cost: 20; Real Cost: 3.
Due the unfortunate demise of party members it may be necessary to introduce new characters during the course of the adventure. The following are some suggested starting points for adding new heroes to the group:
Thanks to Glomertam Ganagliforonoriel and Whymme for suggesting improvements to the scenario.