Life’s Bazaar | Part 1 | Shackled City Adventure Path
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By Christopher Perkins | Artwork by Chuck Lukacs and Val Mayerick
Cartography by Christopher West
Use Life’s Bazaar in Ptolus : City by the Spire
“Life’s Bazaar” is the first module in The Shackled City Adventure Path series spanning several issues of DUNGEON Magazine. This DUNGEONS & DRAGONS adventure is designed for four player characters (PCs) of 1st level. PCs who survive the entire adventure should advance to 3rd level.
The adventure easily accommodates larger groups of PCs, and it can handle parties of 2nd or 3rd level. Larger or more powerful groups require less time to recover between encoun-ters and receive fewer experience points per encounter than a party of 1st-level adventurers would gain. See the “Scaling the Adventure” sidebar for details on altering the adventure for larger groups or parties of higher level.
When the PCs obtain sufficient experience points to advance to their next level, allow them to advance during the course of the adventure.
You, the DM, should have a copy of the core rulebooks (the Player’s Handbook, DUNGEON MASTER’s Guide, and Monster Manual). This adventure also features creatures from the Monster Manual II and Fiend Folio; pertinent statistical information for Monster Manual II monsters is provided in the “Life’s Bazaar” Web enhancement, although it’s strongly recommended that you reference the Monster Manual II for complete descriptions of these monsters. Statistics for creatures from the Fiend Folio are provided in the adventure. You should review the statistics for the monsters and unique villains before attempting to run the adventure. You should also note that the page numbers provided referencing the three core books will change once the revised versions are released in July.
Scattered throughout the adventure are Campaign Seed sidebars. These sidebars contain slivers of information about the campaign that might surface in future installments of the series, but which aren’t necessarily pertinent to this first adventure. More Campaign Seeds are provided in the “Life’s Bazaar” Web enhancement. These sidebars are meant to introduce future allies and adversaries and help you keep track of the campaign’s “movers and shakers. ”
Built inside the mouth of a dormant volcano, the town of Cauldron is aptly named. Although nominally ruled by a Lord Mayor, the town secretly serves as the demesne of a greedy beholder named Vhalantru. Disguised as an influential noble, “Lord Orbius Vhalantru” is the secret power behind the Lord Mayor. He charms various nobles, merchants, and members of the town guard. He pokes his eyestalks into various legitimate and illegal ventures within Cauldron’s walls, and no one – not even the Lord Mayor or the captain of the town guard – is the wiser.
In general, life in Cauldron is good. The town guard deals with local troublemakers but leaves the bigger problems (like marauding monsters) to the Lord Mayor or the Church of St. Cuthbert. Both the Lord Mayor and the clerics of St. Cuthbert periodically hire adventurers to deal with such problems directly.
Townsfolk are generally pleased with the Lord Mayor, although a recent string of disappearances and robberies worries them. People have been taken from their homes during the night, and the town guard has been unable to identify the culprits or locate the vanished citizens. Moreover, the victims’ homes were stripped of portable valuables. No place is secure. Cauldron’s beholder overlord knows the secret behind the abductions. Vhalantru has met the half-dwarf/half-troll slave trader who dwells below the town in an old stronghold carved from lava rock called the Malachite Fortress. This unscrupulous slave trader, named Kazmojen, runs a slave bazaar where he sells his latest acquisitions to creatures of the Underdark. Kazmojen is a recent arrival who is still carving out a business niche for himself. Vhalantru has accommodated him thus far, allowing Kazmojen to form a pact with some skulks and dark creepers who lair in the abandoned, subterranean gnome enclave of Jzadirune. The skulks and dark creepers are directly responsible for the abductions: The people they capture are taken to Kazmojen. The skulks and dark creepers get to keep whatever they take from the homes of the abductees, plus a per-centage of Kazmojen’s profits from the sales of the slaves.
The recent disappearance of four children from the Lantern Street Orphanage has outraged many locals and prompted a distraught cleric of St. Cuthbert to use a minor artifact in her church to cast a divination spell. The spell has revealed several important clues, which the cleric has been unable to piece together. Enter the player characters.
Jenya Urikas, a cleric of the Church of St. Cuthbert, hires the untested PCs to find four children kidnapped from the Lantern Street Orphanage and learn what they can about the abductors. The party’s clerical benefactor offers one potion of cure moderate wounds per PC up front and promises a monetary reward once the heroes complete the mission. Further, if the heroes succeed, Jenya promises to arrange a meeting with the Lord Mayor, for it seems the Lord Mayor enjoys meeting local heroes and offering them future work.
The divination spell cast by Jenya suggests a connection between the unknown abductors, an abandoned gnome enclave below Cauldron, and a gnome locksmith named Keygan Ghelve. The heroes’ investigation quickly leads them to the locksmith’s shop, beneath which lies the not-quite-abandoned gnome community of Jzadirune.
The creatures responsible for the recent rash of kidnappings include a coterie of skulks and a small band of dark creepers led by a dark stalker. The skulks have pressed the locksmith into service by snatching and imprisoning his familiar. Since Keygan Ghelve created most of the town’s locks, he has “skeleton keys” for nearly every building in Cauldron. The skulks and dark creepers have used these skeleton keys to break into houses and make off with their contents.
Inside Keygan’s shop, the heroes find a secret staircase leading down into Jzadirune, which Cauldron’s gnome community abandoned years ago after a strange magical disease ravaged the enclave. Heroes who survive the perils of Jzadirune discover a crude elevator that leads down to Kazmojen’s stronghold, called the Malachite Fortress. There, they find the half-troll busily selling slaves to a durzagon (half-fiend duergar) client. The sudden appearance of Lord Vhalantru interrupts the bazaar. The beholder wants one of the four abducted children – a dour and sadistic boy named Terrem – returned safely to Cauldron. The boy, who bears a strange invisible birthmark, is important to Lord Vhalantru’s future designs for Cauldron. Terrem’s abduction was a mistake, and Lord Vhalantru has decided to correct the error personally. Although the heroes view the beholder briefly, they are not encouraged to fight it. Before they can worry about the greater threats that lie ahead, they must free the captive townsfolk from the half-troll slaver and his hobgoblin henchmen.
CAMPAIGN SEED: LORD VHALANTRU
Unbeknownst to Cauldron’s Lord Mayor and other townsfolk, Vhalantru the beholder keeps eleven watchful eyes on local adventuring bands. Once adventurers reach a level where Vhalantru perceives them as a threat to his hold over the city, the beholder invites them to his manor and “cashes them out. ” Many heroes who have served the Lord Mayor in the past now adorn Lord Vhalantru’s estate as statuary. Vhalantru claims to know a sculptor who carves these wondrous effigies in honor of Cauldron’s greatest heroes-not so. The Lord Mayor has seen many heroes come and go and constantly grooms new ones to replace those who have seemingly departed in search of greater adventures elsewhere.
Lord Vhalantru is secretly in league with an evil organization called the Cagewrights (see the Campaign Seed: The Shackleborn sidebar for details). This sinister society seeks to transform Cauldron into a gate-town – a permanent gateway between the Material Plane and Carceri. In exchange for his help, Vhalantru has been promised lordship of the new gate-town, as well as support from several newly freed Carcerian fiends in his bid to conquer and enslave neighboring realms.
SCALING THE ADVENTURE
“Life’s Bazaar” is designed to challenge 1st- and 2nd-level characters. However, the adventure can be modified for higher-level characters as follows.
If the PCs begin the adventure at 2nd level, double the amount of damage dealt by all traps, thereby increasing the traps’ CR by 1. For instance, a CR 1 corrosive gas trap that deals 2d6 points of damage would deal 4d6 points of damage instead and be treated as a CR 2 encounter. Increase the save DC of the Vanishing disease to 18. Give each skulk one level of rogue (1d6 extra hp, +2 to Reflex saves, 8 extra skill points, one extra feat, sneak attack +1d6). Add another choker in area j22, double the number of monstrous centipedes in area j29, add another dark creeper in area j40, and double the number of hobgoblins encountered in area J63 and the Malachite Fortress. Give Yuathyb (area J44) a pair of dark creeper bodyguards. Make Prickles a fully grown howler instead of a juvenile specimen. If the characters reach the final encounter without any significant drain to their resources, give Kazmojen another fighter level as well.
If the PCs begin the adventure at 3rd level, make the following modifications in addition to the changes above. Increase the save DC of the Vanishing to 19, and increase the Search and Disable Device DCs of all traps by +2. Give each skulk another rogue level, and double the number of dark creepers encountered. Give Yuathyb one level of rogue (1d6+1 extra hit points, +2 to Reflex saves, 9 extra skill points, sneak attack increases by+1d6). Add another grell to area J36 and another pulverizer to area J44. Increase the sizes of the spiders in area J58 by one size category each, replace the animate chains in area M6 with a chain golem (see Monster Manual ll, page 44), and place an imp in area M25 (with the lemures). Use the statistics for Zarkad (area M21) for all hobgoblins, and give Zarkad himself another level of warrior. Give Xukasus (area M4) a pet carrion crawler, and give the hammerers (area M14) standard hit points. If the characters reach the final encounter without any significant drain to their resources, give Pyllrak one monk level.
If the PCs begin the adventure at 4th level, make the following modifications in addition to the changes above. Increase the save DC of the Vanishing to 20, and increase the disease’s damage to 1d8 Cha. Increase the Search and Disable Device DCs of all traps by another +2, and add 20 feet of depth to each pit trap (+2d6 points of falling damage, +1 CR). Increase the number of skulks and dark creepers by one per encounter area. Add another stone spike to area M3, give Xukasus (area M4) a pair of carrion crawler pets and a masterwork falchion, give Zarkad (area M21) another level of warrior, and give Kazmojen and Pyllrak another level of fighter and monk, respectively. Make Kazmojen’s urgrosh a +1 weapon. If the characters reach the final encounter without any significant drain to their resources, apply the fiendish template to Kazmojen’s howler.
You can also make the adventure tougher by adding random encounters. Suggestions include a trap that summons a Medium-size earth or fire elemental (EL 3), a roving phantom fungus (EL 3), a gray ooze (EL 4), a minor (EL 3) or average xorn (EL 5) demanding tribute, or a pair of stealthy meenlocks (EL 5).
Cauldron forms the hub of the campaign and has seen many adventures over the years. The town’s buildings, tightly packed and built from volcanic rock and wood, line the inner bowl of a nameless, dormant volcano. Cobblestone roads form concentric circles around a small lake of cold water, which fills the volcano’s basin. Although the town’s sewage seeps into the lake, local clerics routinely purify the water for the citizens in exchange for charitable donations to their temples.
A 50-foot-tall fortified wall of black malachite encircles the city, tracing the outer rim of the volcano. Four roads descend the outer walls of the volcano, becoming major thoroughfares that lead to other towns and distant realms. The districts nearer the rim of the city tend to be occupied by upper class families and elite merchants. The closer one gets to the center of town (and the closer to the pungent odors of the central lake), the shoddier the construction and the more dangerous the dark alleys.
Most people get around Cauldron on foot, although the town has its share of wagons and carriages, most of them owned by merchants and nobles.
The map of Cauldron shows the locations of The Church of St. Cuthbert, the Lantern Street Orphanage, and Ghelve’s Locks, all of which figure in this adventure. Future modules in this series will introduce and describe other locations within the town. Feel free to add new places to the map as dictated by the needs of your campaign. For instance, if one of the PCs worships the goddess Yondalla, feel free to place a small temple or shrine dedicated to Yondalla somewhere within the town.
Cauldron (large town): Conventional; AL NG; Population 4, 500 adults; 3, 000 gp limit; Assets 600, 000 gp; Mixed (79% human, 9% halfling, 5% gnome, 3% dwarf, 2% elf, 1% half-elf, 1% half-orc).
- Lord Mayor Severen Navalant, male human Ari10
- Terseon Skellerang, male human Ftr8 (Captain of the Town Guard).
- Lord Orbius Vhalantru, beholder (true overlord of Cauldron)
- Jenya Urikas, female human Clr5 (cleric at the Church of St. Cuthbert)
- Meerthan Eliothlorn, male half-elf Wiz12 (merchant staying at The Drowning Morkoth Inn)
- Keygan Ghelve, male gnome Exp3/Wiz (Ill) 1 (owner of Ghelve’s Locks)
- Gretchyn Tashykk, female halfling Com1 (Lantern Street Orphanage headmistress);
- Patch, male half-orc Com1/Rog1 (spy for The Last Laugh guild)
- Vortimax Weer, male human Wiz10 (alchemist and potion brewer at Weer’s Elixers)
- Phalian Gurnezarn, male human Exp6 (black-smith and proprietor of Gurnezarn’s Smithy)
- Bjellkir Zanathor (proprietor of Zanathor’s Provisions, a general store)
- Rivek Mol (proprietor of The Tipped Tankard)
- Halpeen Welvihk (proprietor of The Drunken Morkoth Inn)
- Tippys Surefoot, female halfling Exp4 (proprietor of Sure Foot Livery)
- Asfelkir Hran-leurt, male half-orc Clr6 (high priest of the Temple of Lordly Might dedicated to Kord).
Typical Guard Patrol: Members of the town guard are especially vigilant in the wake of recent abductions. A typical patrol consists of a sergeant (War4) and 1d4+2 privates (War2). Guards typically wear breastplates emblazoned with the town emblem (a watchful eye wreathed in flames) and carry halberds, short swords, and shortbows.
RUMORS IN CAULDRON
The PCs might be residents of Cauldron or visitors in search of adventure. Although the recent string of abductions has fueled countless rumors, not all of the town’s gossip centers on the kidnappings. Some rumors allude to other threats that have yet to surface.
PCs who are residents of Cauldron know various rumors tied to current happenings in town. Assume that local PCs know 1d4+2 of the rumors given below. Visiting PCs, on the other hand, know only what they overhear in local taverns and inns; a successful Gather Information check yields one rumor (DC 15), two rumors (DC 20), or three rumors (DC 25). Roll randomly or select appropriate rumors from the table below.
- One of the children kidnapped from the orphanage is the bastard son of the Lord Mayor. (False)
- A cloaked figure collided with me in the street and knocked me down. She uttered some horrible curse, glared at me with her ghostly face and haunting blue eyes, then strode off. (True; the “woman” was a skulk.)
- A secret guild of halfling rogues is responsible for the kidnappings and robberies. (False, although dark creepers could be mistaken for halflings at a distance.)
- Someone in Cauldron trades in strange currency: coins stamped with a jester instead of the sovereign. The authorities are trying to find the source. (True; The Last Laugh guild in town mints its own coins.)
- A tentacled beast lurks in the cold depths of the lake. (True; a powerful morkoth makes its home there.)
- Coryston Pike, one of the kidnapped victims, feared for her life days before she vanished. (False)
- Evil cultists are kidnapping people and sacrificing them to an evil god who has two heads and tentacles for arms. (False)
- A magical disease is causing people in the city to vanish. The same thing nearly wiped out the gnomes of Jzadirune 75 years ago! (False; the disease, though real, is not to blame for the missing townsfolk. )
- One of the stolen orphans is the offspring of Dwern and Imogen Stormshield, two adventures who perished a few years back. (Partially true; Vhalantru the beholder turned Deakon’s parents to stone and added them to his statue collection, then had their son placed in the local orphanage. )
- Keygan Ghelve is one of the finest locksmiths in the world. Only a skilled rogue or spellcaster could bypass one of his locks without the proper key! (True)
- Jeneer Everdawn, one of the missing townsfolk, did volunteer work at the local orphanage. Coincidence? I don’t think so! (False)
- Gryffon Malek and Krylscar Endercott knew each other. They would meet each other after hours at The Tipped Tankard and drink until the wee hours of the morning. Now they’re both gone! (True; they were friends who both caught the attention of the skulks. )
WEATHER IN CAULDRON
You can set this adventure during any time of the year, although descriptive text assumes that the adventure takes place during late autumn. Overcast days allow brief flashes of sunshine before unleashing drizzling rain, and the night’s wind carries an unpleasant chill.
See Weather Hazards in the DUNGEON MASTER’s Guide for rules governing combat in inclement weather.
A band of skulks and dark creepers are responsible for the recent abductions and burglaries. They creep out of Ghelve’s Locks at night and scour the town for easy marks. At some point, the PCs might question local guards about the abductions and crime scenes, hoping to find clues to the kidnappers’ identities. Each successful Gather Information check (DC 12) reveals one of the following pieces of information:
- People have been kidnapped from every district in the town. The crimes are not particularly localized.
- Most of the victims are low- to middle-class citizens, but otherwise nothing seems to connect them.
- All of the recent kidnappings have occurred at night. The kidnappers prefer to strike on overcast nights or when the moon is new.
- The town guard has been watching suspected members of various local thieves’ guilds, but their vigilance has not yet paid off.
- The perpetrators pick the locks of the victims’ dwellings. Once inside, they grab their prey, steal any loot they find, and vacate the premises.
- No witnesses have come forward to report screams, loud scuffles, or sinister figures creeping about on the nights of the kidnappings.
- The local constabulary suspects between two and six culprits, based on the number of footprints found at various crime scenes. The footprints suggest that the abductors include both Small and Medium-size humanoids.
During their investigation into the kidnappings, the players might ask for a list of missing townsfolk. Although investigating these past victims only yields more dead ends, you can either come up with a list on your own or download the “Life’s Bazaar” Web enhancement for a Player Handout that gives a brief description of each of the kidnap victims.
The victims were chosen more or less randomly. In general, the skulks and dark creepers selected victims who might be worth something as slaves. They like to pick a victim in the evening, follow their mark home, and survey the victim’s residence until nightfall. Then, in the dead of night, they slip inside, quickly subdue the victim, and loot the place.
The attack on the orphanage is a new twist: One of Kazmojen’s recurring clients – a durzagon (half-fiend duergar) named Pyllrak Shyraat – wants younger slaves who are more tractable and less likely to revolt. Thus, Kazmojen has given the skulks and dark creepers instructions to gather children from the city above. See “The Church of St. Cuthbert” for the names of the four missing children.
CHAPTER ONE: GONE IN THE NIGHT
The adventure opens with an encounter in the streets of Cauldron. The heroes rescue a cleric of St. Cuthbert from some thugs and escort him safely to his temple. There they meet Jenya Urikas, a cleric who thinks she has unlocked the mystery of the recent kidnappings.
Following their meeting with Jenya, the heroes can search for clues at the Lantern Street Orphanage, site of the most recent disappearances, or they can investigate a local locksmith with suspected ties to the kidnappers. The latter course takes them into the next chapter of the adventure.
THE ACCOSTED CLERIC (EL 3)
The adventure begins with the PCs walking the streets of Cauldron before nightfall. Read or paraphrase the following
Steady drizzle falls from the ash-gray sky. The crowded, rain-slicked buildings seem especially bleak and frightful this evening, hunched together beneath the tireless rain. A few lights burn in their eyes, but mostly their shutters have been closed for the night. The scent of chimney smoke fills the air, and you hear the din of water trundling from the rooftops, splashing into dark alleys, and turning street gutters into rivulets.
A sudden, plaintive cry for help splits the evening air. It seems to come from somewhere behind you.
Characters who stop and listen can hear some cursing and sounds of a scuffle, slightly muffled by the rainfall. Read or paraphrase the following if they investigate:
You follow the noises to the mouth of a mist-shrouded alley, wherein you see three figures assaulting a fourth, who lies face down on the wet cobblestones. One of attackers lifts the victim by the hood of his cloak and thrusts him against a wall as another growls, “Stay away from the orphanage, you got that?”
The alley is 10 feet wide and 60 feet long, opening into a street at either end. Like many alleys in Cauldron, it slopes toward the center of town at an angle of 15 degrees. Two-story buildings loom on both sides of the alleyway.
The three attackers are off-duty town guards working for a member of The Last Laugh, a local guild of thieves. (A successful Knowledge-local or bardic knowledge check, DC 20 reveals that the painted faces of Ruphus’s attackers indicate they are in some way affiliated with this guild.) Their faces are painted in a manner similar to that of The Last Laugh in a poor attempt to conceal their identities (their faces are painted half white and half black). Two of the three brutes are accosting a 19-year-old cleric of St. Cuthbert named Ruphus Laro. The third guard is watching the street in case a guard patrol shows up. Have the wary thug make a Spot check (opposed by the heroes’ Hide checks) to notice the PCs; if the Spot check fails, the PCs each get a free partial action during the surprise round.
Jenya Urikas, the acting high priest of the Church of St. Cuthbert, sent Ruphus to console distraught children and staff members at the orphanage. He was heading back to the temple when the thugs ambushed him and dragged him into the alley.
The Last Laugh thieves’ guild doesn’t want the Church of St. Cuthbert snooping around the orphanage for clues about the recent abductions. The guild provides intelligence and security for the Cagewrights, and they don’t want the clerics of St. Cuthbert uncovering the truth about Terrem, one of the missing children. For more on the Last Laugh, see the Campaign Seed in the “Life’s Bazaar” Web enhancement.
Creatures: The thugs want to scare Ruphus, not kill him. However, they draw swords when the PCs show up. One of them tells the heroes to “Bugger off!” If that doesn’t work, they begin slowly backing away while readying actions to swing at PCs who rush toward them. As they back away, the battered cleric makes his way toward the characters.
The thugs work for a rogue named Jil. Using a spider climb spell, she clings to the wall of one building, just below the second-story eaves (where the wall is dry). She cloaks herself in shadows, hoping to remain unseen. PCs who take a standard action to study the alley can make a Spot check (opposed by Jil’s Hide check result) to notice her clinging to a section of wall 15 feet overhead.
Jil stands 5 feet, 3 inches tall and has short black hair and dark brown eyes. She wears a hooded black cloak, black boots, and black leather gloves. Like all members of her guild, she paints her face white and black, transforming it into a grinning harlequin’s visage. Intrigued by the brazen PCs, she does not attack them. She might fare quite well, but she never jumps blindly into combat against the unknown. If she is spotted or attacked, Jil calls out, “Well done! But the cleric lives because we wish it so, not because of your misplaced bravado. “She then points a baleful finger at Ruphus and says, “Take these words back to your temple, priest! The children are lost and no longer St. Cuthbert’s concern. ” She then takes a full-round action to crawl to the rooftop and flee the scene, activating her wand of silence to quiet her footfalls.
Jil has no concern for the welfare of the guards. She hired them specifically to accost the cleric, and they know nothing of the guild’s plans and associations.
Jil, Female Human Rogs/Asnr: CR 6; Medium-size Humanoid (human); HD 5d6+5 plus 1d6+1; hp 27; Init+6; Spd 30 ft. (15 ft. while spider climbing); AC 15, touch 12, flat-footed 15; BAB+3; Grap+3; Atk+6 melee (1d6/19-20 plus poison, masterwork short sword) or +6 melee (1d3+1 subdual and trip attack, +1 whip) or +6 ranged (1d6/x3, masterwork shortbow); SA sneak attack +4d6, death attack; SQ trapfinding, evasion, trap sense, uncanny dodge (Dex bonus to AC, can’t be flanked), poison use; AL NE; SV Fort+2, Ref+8, Will +0; Str 11, Dex 14, Con 12, Int 16, Wis 9, Cha 12.
Skills: Balance+4, Bluff+10, Diplomacy +5, Disable Device +11, Disguise +10, Escape Artist +11, Forgery +11, Hide +11, Intimidate +3, Jump +2, Move Silently +11, Open Lock +10, Sense Motive +7, Spellcraft +4, Spot +7, Tumble +11, Use Magic Device +11. Feats: Improved Initiative, Exotic Weapon Proficiency (whip), Weapon Finesse (short sword), Weapon Finesse (whip). Spells Prepared (1; base save DC=13+spell level): 1st-spider climb (already cast).
Spellbook: 1st-change self, detect poison, ghost sound, obscuring mist, spider climb.
Languages: Common, Draconic, Elven, Gnome.
Possessions: +1 whip, wand of silence (15 charges), potion of cure moderate wounds, arcane scroll of undetectable alignment, masterwork studded leather armor, masterwork short sword, sword sheath with poison reservoir (coats blade with blue whinnis poison when the weapon is drawn; holds 3 applications), masterwork shortbow with 20 arrows, spellbook, black cloak and clothing, leather gloves, pouch containing 30 gp (minted with the jester emblem of The Last Laugh guild).
Nilas Varkazi, Hylum Ferant, and Kerlen Ree, Male Human War2: CR 1; Medium-size Humanoid (human); HD 2d8+2 plus 3 (Toughness feat); hp 17, 14, 13; Init+0; Spd 30 ft. ; AC 10, touch 10, flat-footed 10; BAB +1; Grap+2; Atk+2 melee (1d6/19-20, short sword) or +2 melee (1d3+1 subdual, unarmed) or+1 ranged; AL N; SV Fort +3, Ref+0, Will-1; Str 13, Dex 10, Con 12, Int 9, Wis 9, Cha9.
Skills: Climb +3, Intimidate +2, Ride+3, Swim +3. Feats: Quick Draw, Toughness.
Possessions: Short sword, rain cloak , dark clothing, pouch containing 1d6 sp and 2d6 cp.
Ruphus Laro, Male Human Clr2 (St. Cuthbert): CR 2; Medium-size Humanoid (human); HD 2d8; hp 12 (has taken 10 points of subdual damage); Init-1; Spd 20 ft. ; AC 14, touch 9, flat-footed 14; BAB+1; Grap+1; Atk+1 melee (1d8, heavy mace) or +0 ranged; SA turn undead 3/day; AL LN; SV Fort+3, Ref-1, Will+4; Str 11, Dex 9, Con 10, Int 11, Wis 13, Cha 11.
Skills: Concentration +4, Diplomacy +3, Heal +8, Knowledge (religion) +4. Feats: Combat Casting, Skill Focus (Heal).
Spells Prepared (4/4; base save DC=11+spell level): 0-detect magis, guidance, light, resistance; 1st-bless, endure elements, magic weapon, sanctuary.
*Domain spell. Domains: Law (cast law spells at +1 caster level), Strength (feat of strength 1/day).
Possessions: Chain shirt, heavy mace, cloak, clerical vestments, amulet (holy symbol of St. Cuthbert).
Tactics: Jil likes to sneak attack her prey using her poisoned short sword. Her death attack makes her especially dangerous if she can study her target for 3 rounds before striking. Jil uses her +1 whip to trip or disarm opponents from a safe distance.
The three hired guards stick around long enough to get paid (Jil owes them 10 gp apiece for “roughing up” the cleric). They draw their short swords as a free action (using the Quick Draw feat) and prefer to gang up on a single target, but otherwise their tactics are straightforward.
When battle erupts, Ruphus casts bless (on himself and the PCs) and magic weapon (on his mace) before joining the fray. He also heals wounded characters after the fight.
Development: If the heroes rescue Ruphus, he asks them to escort him to his temple. He tells the PCs that he was heading back to the temple when he was mugged. He thought the thugs planned to rob him until it became clear they were trying to intimidate him. Ruphus knows only that someone does not want the Church of St. Cuthbert involved in an investigation to find four missing children from the local orphanage, but he can’t fathom why.
If she survives the encounter, Jil might become a recurring villain in the campaign. She is quite capable of vanquishing a band of 1st-level adventurers by herself, but that is not her intent in this encounter. However, if the heroes perform well against the three town guards, Jil might pay closer attention to them in the future.
If a PC casts charm person on Jil and succeeds, she treats that character with uncharacteristic kindness but does not divulge guild secrets or stick around long enough to be captured. If she escapes, she might take a special interest in her new “friend” (even after the charm person spell wears off), partly because she’s intrigued and partly because she likes to live dangerously. How this relationship develops is left for you to decide.
Captured or charmed thugs can be goaded or coerced (Intimidate, DC 17) into revealing the following: A member of The Last Laugh named Jil hired them to “send a clear message” to the Church of St. Cuthbert not to investigate the disappearance of the four children from the Lantern Street Orphanage. The guards needed the money, and the arrangement didn’t involve killing the cleric, so they agreed. PCs can surrender these goons to the town guard, who take them into custody and charge them with assault. The guards are held for three days and released after an anonymous source pays each of their 50 gp fines.
If the heroes get into trouble fighting the three off-duty guards, a patrol arrives to break up the fight. Ruphus’s three attackers attempt to flee before their fellow guardsmen identify them. PCs who allow one or more of them to escape might encounter these guards again, possibly while they are on duty.
THE CHURCH OF ST. CUTHBERT
This encounter assumes the PCs escort Ruphus Laro back to the Church of St. Cuthbert on Obsidian Avenue. He seems grateful for their company, and the short trip can be spent sharing local rumors (see “Rumors in Cauldron”).
Read or paraphrase the following when the PCs reach the temple:
The two-story Church of St. Cuthbert, its white marble walls suffused with veins of vivid blue, stands in stark contrast to the buildings of bare black stone that flank it on the north end of Obsidian Avenue. A pair of white marble statues depicting armored warriors stand on either side of the temple’s heavy oaken door. Each of the statues raises a great mace to the darkening sky. Above the door’s marble architrave are boldly inscribed the following words in Common: WITHIN LAW LIVES HOPE.
Ruphus invites the characters inside, if only to escape the rainy drizzle. He also encourages them to meet with his superior, Jenya Urikas, to whom he must report his recent harrowing encounter. Upon entering the temple, Ruphus is greeted by another acolyte and taken to Jenya’s chambers. Meanwhile, the heroes are given warm blankets and invited to dry off and enjoy some hot tea.
The church’s high priest, Sarcem Delasharn, is attending ceremonies at the High Temple of St. Cuthbert in the distant capital city. Jenya runs things in her master’s absence. Jenya is a 5th level cleric. Her subordinates include two 3rd-level clerics, two 2nd-level clerics (including Ruphus), and four 1st-level clerics. All of the clerics are lawful neutral and wear amulets displayed the symbol of their deity. A righteous 4th-level paladin of St. Cuthbert named Alek Tercival guards the temple and occasionally patrols the city astride his black warhorse, Avenger.
After leaving the PCs to speak with Jenya, Ruphus does not return that evening. Instead, Jenya approaches the PCs. Read or paraphrase the following at this time:
As you wait for Ruphus to return, two figures approach from somewhere deeper in the structure. A young woman with premature streaks of gray in her rich brown hair steps forward with her hand outstretched in friendship. She wears a brown robe with golden trim and the symbol of St. Cuthbert around her neck.
“Good evening,” says the woman. “I have spoken to Ruphus and learned of his harrowing ordeal, as well as your remarkable heroism. I’m Jenya, the acting high priest. I am in your debt.”
Jenya leads the PCs to a room where they can sit down and enjoy a warm fire. If the PCs seem eager to leave, she invites them to stay long enough to entertain a proposal. She has not given up on helping the Lantern Street Orphanage, despite the recent attack on Ruphus Laro. If the PCs are willing to hear her proposal, she relates the following information:
- Four children were kidnapped from the local orphanage three nights ago. Their names were Deakon, Evelyn, Lucinda, and Terrem. The children are the most recent victims in a series of strange disappearance and robberies.
- Deakon Stormshield (male dwarf, age 12)
- Evelyn Radavec (female human, age 9)
- Lucinda Aldreen (female human, age 8)
- Terrem Kharatys (male human, age 9)
- The orphanage has two common bedchambers on the second floor-one for girls, the other for boys. Two children were taken from each room. None of the other children and none of the resident staff heard or saw anything.
- The orphanage has barred windows and excellent locks protecting its doors. The children are locked into their rooms at night to prevent any midnight mischief.
- In the wake of the kidnappings, the Church of St. Cuthbert has publicly vowed to locate the missing children and bring the kidnappers to justice.
- To locate the children, Jenya borrowed an item from the church’s vault. The+1 holy heavy mace, called the Star of Justice, has the power to cast divination once per week. Only the church’s high priest is supposed to wield this power; in his absence, Jenya felt justified calling on the mace’s great power.
- Jenya used the mace to ask the question, “Where are the children who were abducted from the Lantern Street Orphanage?” The response she received was cryptic – show Player Handout #I: Divination Riddle to the players at this time.
PLAYER HANDOUT #1: DIVINATION RIDDLE
The locks are key to finding them.
Look beyond the curtain, below the cauldron,
But beware the doors with teeth.
Descend into the malachite ‘hold,
Where precious life is bought with gold.
Half a dwarf binds them, but not for long.
St. Cuthbert’s cryptic riddle holds many clues. The first line refers to the locks on the doors of the Lantern Street Orphanage; Keygan Ghelve, the locksmith who wrought them, owns a shop in town. The second line refers to the curtain in Keygan’s shop, behind which is hidden a secret door that leads to an abandoned gnome enclave under Cauldron. The third line refers to the gear-shaped doors in the gnome enclave, many of which are trapped and none of which need be opened to reach the children. The fourth and fifth lines refer to a stronghold carved from black malachite, where the children are being held until they can be sold as slaves. The last line refers to the half. dwarf slaver Kazmojen and his plans to sell the children to an eager buyer.
Jenya believes (correctly) that the first line of the riddle holds an important clue. She is uncertain which “locks” the riddle refers to, but she suspects the riddle might be referring to the locks at the Lantern Street Orphanage. Jenya isn’t a lock expert, nor does she know that most of the town’s locks come from a single source.
Creatures: Jenya is 30 years old, has brown eyes, and likes to wear her hair in various elaborate styles. Although she stands only 5 feet 4 inches tall, she walks tall and confronts evil with merciless resolve. Her good nature belies her fierce convictions, and she freely supports capital punishment for despicable crimes, including the kidnapping of orphaned children.
Jenya Urikas, Female Human CIrs (St. Cuthbert): CR 5; Medium-size Humanoid (human); HD 5d8+5; hp 31; Init-1; Spd 30 ft. (20 ft. in armor); AC 9, touch 9, flat-footed 9, or AC 17, touch 9, flat-footed 17 with armor with magic vestment spell; BAB+3; Grap +3; Atk +4 melee (1d8, masterwork heavy mace) or +2 ranged; SA turn undead 5/day; AL LN; SV Fort+5, Ref+0, Will+7; Str 10, Dex 8, Con 12, Int 13, Wis 16, Cha 14.
Skills: Concentration +6, Diplomacy +9, Heal+12, Knowledge (history) +4, Knowledge (religion) +6, Listen+3, Spellcraft +6, Spot+3. Feats: Brew Potion, Scribe Scroll, Skill Focus (Heal).
Spells Prepared (5/5/4/3; base save DC=13+spell level): 0-detect magic, guidance, light, mending, purify food and drink; 1st-bless water, command, divine favor, magic weapon, sanctuary*; 2nd-bull’s strength*, hold person, lesser restoration, shield other; 3rd-create food and water, magic vestment, searing light.
Domain spell. Domains: Protection (protective ward 1/day), Strength (feat of strength 1/day).
Languages: Common, Dwarven.
Possessions: Masterwork chain mail’ (+1 with magic vestment spell), large steel shield’, masterwork heavy mace’, 2 scrolls of cure serious wounds, brown robe, 2 vials of holy water, keys to temple, holy symbol of St. Cuthbert.
Jenya does not wear her armor or carry her mace during her initial meeting with the PCs.
Development: Jenya wants to hire the PCs to find the missing townsfolk (the children, in particular) and punish the kid-nappers from their crimes. She offers each PC a potion of cure moderate wounds as a token of good faith and promises an additional reward of 2, 500 gp (total, not per PC) upon successful completion of the quest. The potion bottles are labeled with the symbol of St. Cuthbert.
PCs can inquire about locks around town. A successful Gather Information check (DC 11) reveals that a gnome lock-smith named Keygan Ghelve fashions most of the town’s locks. Most people can point heroes toward Keygan’s shop on Lava Street without too much trouble.
If the PCs don’t think to ask around, Jenya suggests that they investigate the Lantern Street Orphanage and ask about the locks there. In the meantime, Jenya can compile a list of recent kidnap victims (see “Recent Abductees”) and have it ready for the PCs by morning.
CAMPAIGN SEED: THE CHURCH OF ST. CUTHBERT
If the PCs rescue the cleric Ruphus Laro and see him safely to his temple, they gain a potent ally in the Church of St. Cuthbert. Jenya Urikas, who leads the church’s congregation during the absence of the high priest, feels indebted to them for their selfless deed.
The heroes may return to the Church of St. Cuthbert for healing as they wish; the clerics in attendance use their magic to mend injured PCs as best they can. Alek Tercival, the temple’s paladin protector, might also offer his services if the heroes need further healing, advice concerning matters of law, or the strength of a paladin’s sword.
In addition to providing healing, the temple can sell equipment, potions, and scrolls to the PCs. The PCs get a 20% discount as long as they remain in the temple’s good graces. Discounted costs are listed parenthetically.
Potion of cure light wounds* 50 gp (40 gp)
Potion of cure moderate wounds* 300 gp (240 gp)
Potion of cure serious wounds* 750 gp (600 gp)
Scroll of cure light wounds 25 gp (20 gp)
Scroll of cure moderate wounds 150 gp (120 gp)
Scroll of cure serious wounds* 375 gp (300 gp)
*Or any other divine spell of similar level.
The church keeps a ready supply of healing potions and scrolls. If the PCs request a potion or scroll that confers a different effect (such as a potion of delay poison or a scroll of lesser restoration), the church has a 100% chance -10% per spell level of having the requested item in inventory. If the PCs request more than one of the same available item (such as four potions of bull’s strength). roll 1d4 to determine how many the church keeps in stock.
In general, the Church of St. Cuthbert replenishes its supply of potions and scrolls every other week.
CAMPAIGN SEED: THE SHACKLEBORN
The campaign’s major story arc involves an evil faction called the Cagewrights. These servants of evil seek to open a permanent two-way portal between the Material Plane and the outer plane of Carceri, transforming the town of Cauldron into a gate-town. If the Cagewrights are successful, an incarcerated horde of fiends trapped on Carceri’s first layer will escape their prison-plane and ravage the town, visibly transforming its buildings and condemning its citizens to a life of slavery under Vhalantru’s subtle tyranny. From Cauldron, they will strike out across the realms, enslaving or crushing all they encounter.
To accomplish their ultimate goal, the Cagewrights need to fashion seven artifacts called soulcages throughout the town, each one designed to trap the life essences of The Shackleborn-evil persons or creatures born with the Carcerian Sign. The Carcerian Sign is a naturally invisible birthmark loosely resembling an eyeball pierced by an upward-pointing arrow (as shown in The Carcerian Sign diagram).
A local orphan named Terrem bears the Carcerian Sign on his face and is one of The Shackleborn. Agents of the Cagewrights who operate secretly within the town placed Terrem in the Lantern Street Orphanage shortly after his birth – once they’d dispatched the boy’s parents. Unfortunately for them, Terrem was stolen from the orphanage (along with three other children) by some skulks and dark creepers working for a half-dwarf/half-troll slaver named Kazmojen. The sinister society has turned to the beholder Vhalantru to find the boy and return him to safety. Meanwhile, the Cagewrights have begun constructing their soulcages in various buildings throughout Cauldron. They are also keeping the remaining Shackleborn under close observation, particularly in light of Terrem’s mistaken abduction.
THE LANTERN STREET ORPHANAGE (EL 1)
If the PCs accept Jenya’s quest, they might want to investigate the local orphanage for clues. Anyone at the Church of St. Cuthbert can point the heroes in the right direction. Read the following when they reach the orphanage:
The orphanage rests on the corner of Lantern Street and Lava Avenue, its charcoal-colored stones held together with mold-encrusted mortar. The windows on both stories are tightly shuttered, but a few slivers of light manage to escape from within. Lanterns hang on either side of the oaken front door, mounted to which is a green copper knocker shaped like a smiling gargoyles visage, its nostrils pierced by a copper ring.
If the PCs knock, an elderly halfling woman opens the door a crack and peers out. Not recognizing the heroes, her eyes flicker with suspicion. “Who sent you?” she asks curtly.
The woman is Gretchyn Tashykk (72-year-old female halfling Com1), the orphanage’s headmistress. If the heroes claim they are working for the Church of St. Cuthbert, Gretchyn demands proof. The heroes must either succeed at a Diplomacy check (DC 15) or show her the potion bottles bear-ing the St. Cuthbert label given to them by Jenya Urikas.
Once she’s convinced that the heroes do not pose a threat to her or her children, Gretchyn lets them inside and apologizes for her gruff demeanor.
The ground floor of the orphanage is dimly lit and contains a main hall (with a staircase leading to the second floor), a kitchen with stairs leading down to a cellar pantry, a dining hall, a playroom for the children, a schoolroom, a small bath-room, and staff quarters. The second floor is divided into three rooms: a spacious bathroom with two large rubs and two large bedrooms filled with cots. One of the bedrooms currently holds 19 girls; the other room holds 31 boys.
Gretchyn tells the PCs that the orphanage has five staff members besides herself:
- Jaromir Copperbeard, the gardener (99-year-old male dwarf Com1).
- Neva Fanister, the nurse (31-year-old female human Exp2; Heal+6).
- Temar Flagonstern, the cook (48-year-old male human Com1).
- Willow Atherfell, the schoolteacher (54-year-old female half-elf Com1).
- Patch, the janitor (23-year-old male half-orc Com1/Rog1; see Creature below).
The staff members all worked at the orphanage for several years, and Gretchyn trusts them implicitly, but the headmistress holds a special affection for Patch, the half-orc janitor. He was brought to the orphanage twenty years ago, and the abuse he suffered as a child left him without his left eye. He wears an eye patch to hide the empty socket, and the children seem especially fond of him.
On the night they disappeared, no one saw or heard any-thing, although one of the young boys remembered having a nightmare about an evil gnome with crooked teeth and a tattered cloak trying to snatch his breath; PCs can question the lad, but his nightmare is unrelated. If you want Gretchyn to provide more information about the four missing children, you can refer to the “Life’s Bazaar” Web enhancement and the Player Handout: Kidnap Victims).
Gretchyn also points out that the PCs aren’t the only ones investigating the children’s disappearance. The morning after the disappearances, members of the town guard took statements from each staff member and questioned many of the children. One day later, a pair of half-elf investigators working for the Lord Mayor returned and questioned her again, but didn’t speak to the children or other staff members. Gretchyn took their names, naturally: Fario Ellegoth and Fellian Shard. Although they exchanged some peculiar glances and asked many of the same questions as the guards, they seemed genuinely concerned for the children.
The orphanage has good locks (Open Lock, DC 30) built into the front and back doors, and only Gretchyn has the key to open them. Gretchyn insists that she always locks the doors before she retires for the night. A PC rogue who inspects the locks and succeeds at a Search check (DC 15) can determine that the locks were fashioned by the same locksmith and are in perfect working condition. If asked, Gretchyn tells the heroes that Keygan Ghelve, a local locksmith, fashioned the locks for her many years ago, “and charged a pretty coin, let me tell you!”
Creature: Unknown to anyone at the orphanage, Patch works for The Last Laugh. A low-ranking guild member named Revus Twindaggers contacted the half-orc last year and gave him 50 gp to “keep his eye” on Terrem Kharatys, one of the children, until the service was no longer required. Since then, Patch has honed his skills as a rogue and learned a few tricks from his new friend, indulging in petty acts of larceny.
If the PCs succeed at a Diplomacy or Intimidate check (DC 11) or otherwise persuade Patch to divulge what he knows “for his sake and that of the children, “he reveals his association to The Last Laugh and begs the PCs not to share this information with Headmistress Tashykk.
Patch doesn’t know who took the four children, although he suspects The Last Laugh might be involved because Terrem was among those taken. He did not step forward with this informa-tion because of his involvement with the guild.
Patch, Male Half-orc Com 1/Rog 1: CR 1; Medium-size Humanoid (half-orc); HD 1d4 plus 1d6; hp7; Init+2; Spd 30 ft. ; AC 12, touch 12, flat-footed 10; BAB+0; Grap+3; Atk +3 melee (1d4+3/19-20, dagger) or +2 ranged; SA sneak attack +1d6; SQ darkvision 60 ft. , trapfinding; AL N; Fort+0, Ref+4, Will-1; Str 16, Dex 15, Con 10, Int 10, Wis 8, Cha 11.
Skills: Climb+5, Hide+4, Jump +5, Listen +0, Move Silently +4, Open Lock +4, Profession (janitor) +1, Spot+0, Tumble +4. Feats: Dodge.
Languages: Common, Orc.
Possessions: Dagger, small leather sack* (containing 45 gp, 72 sp, 90 cp, and a set of masterwork thieves’ tools given to him by Revus Twindaggers).
*This item is hidden in Patch’s room and requires a successful Search check (DC 15) to find.
Development: Patch has enjoyed more than a few drinks with Revus Twindaggers but has not seen the halfling in a month; he doesn’t know where Revus lives, where he might be, or why The Last Laugh wanted him to watch over Terrem specifically. However, the half-orc dimly recalls a conversation he had with Revus several months ago, shortly after their first meeting. When Patch asked why The Last Laugh was interested in Terrem, the tipsy halfling shrugged his shoulders and replied, “All I know is that is has something to do with his dead parents. ”
If the PCs visit the Office of the Lord Mayor, they are denied an audience with the Lord Mayor himself but can obtain a list of recent kidnap victims (see “Recent Abductees”) with a successful Gather Information check (DC 15, -1 for each 2-gp bribe). If the heroes ask to meet with the half-elf investigators assigned to the case of the missing orphans, they are told that the Lord Mayor does not employ any half-elf investigators. The names Fario Ellegoth and Fellian Shard are met with raised eye-brows and blank stares.
With no way to track The Last Laugh or the mysterious half. elf investigators, the only remaining avenue of exploration should lead the PCs to the local locksmith, Keygan Ghelve.
Ad-hoc XP Award: If the heroes pry information from Patch, award them experience as if they’d defeated the half-orc in combat.
THE STRIDERS OF FHARLANGHN (EL 3)
At some point during the heroes’ investigation, they catch the attention of a pair of half-elves named Fario Ellegoth and Fellian Shard.
The half-elves work for Meerthan Eliothlorn, a high-ranking member of a neutrally aligned organization called the Striders of Fharlanghn. Although many of the Striders worship Fharlanghn (the god of roads and horizons), Meerthan does not. Still, he shares the organization’s hatred of the Cagewrights, seeing them as a threat to the balance of power in the realm. A half-elf wizard himself, Meerthan is in town posing as a dwarven merchant named Tyro Amberhelm; he currently stays at The Drowning Morkoth Inn. Meerthan has sent Fario and Fellian to uncover evidence of the Cagewrights’ involvement in the recent string of abductions. See the “Life’s Bazaar” Web enhancement for more information on Meerthan Eliothlorn and the Striders of Fharlanghn.
Fario and Fellian have learned that the Church of St. Cuthbert plans to investigate the abductions, in particular the disappearance of four children from the local orphanage. Since the high priest of St. Cuthbert is out of town, Meerthan suspects the church will turn to private investigators for help. He has cast Rary’s telepathic bond on himself, Fario, and Fellian, and made it permanent using a permanency spell. The three remain in constant telepathic contact, speaking in Draconic or Elven whenever possible. Fario and Fellian watch the temple and orphanage (respectively) from distant rooftops, using spyglasses to get a better view. Once they’ve identified the PCs, the half-elves attempt to follow them without being detected. Meerthan has provided them with potions of invisibility, but each dose lasts only 10 minutes, so the half-elves use the potions sparingly.
Creatures: Fario Ellegoth and Fellian Shard are relatively young and inexperienced Striders of Fharlanghn. They hope to learn more from Meerthan, as well as gain some prestige within the organization. Despite their friendship, the half-elves’ ambitions and competitiveness sometimes get the better of them, and they constantly strive to one-up each other.
Fario is 20 years old with a pale complexion, crisp blue eyes, silky blonde hair pulled back in three braids, and a pinky finger missing from his left hand. Fellian is 19 years old with a tanned complexion, bright green eyes, a small scar across his right eye-brow, curly black hair, and a cackling laugh.
Fario Ellegoth, Male Half-elf Rog1/Ftr1: CR 2; Medium-size Humanoid (half-elf); HD 1d6+1 plus 1d10+1; hp 14; Init+2; Sp d 30 ft. ; AC 14 (touch 12, flat-footed 12); BAB+1; Grap +3; Atk +4 melee (1d8+2/19-20, longsword) or +0 melee (1d8+2/19-20, longsword), -1 melee (1d6+2/19-20, short sword) or+3 ranged (1d6+2/x3, mighty composite shortbow); SA sneak attack +1d6; SQ half-elf traits, trapfinding, Rary’s telepathic bond (with Fellian and Meerthan); AL N; SV Fort +3, Ref +4, Will-1; Str 14, Dex 15, Con 13, Int 12, Wis 8, Cha 10.
Skills: Bluff+4, Climb +6, Diplomacy+2, Disguise +4, Escape Artist +6, Gather Information +2, Hide +6, Listen +1, Move Silently+6, Open Lock+6, Search+3, Sense Motive+3, Spot+1, Swim +5, Tumble +6. Feats: Two-Weapon Fighting, Weapon Focus (longsword).
Languages: Common, Draconic, Elven.
Possessions: Leather armor, longsword, short sword, mighty composite shortbow [+2 Str] with 20 arrows, 2 potions of invisibility, gray cloak, spyglass, leather pouch containing 8 gp and 25 sp.
Fellian Shard, Male Half-elf Rog 1/Clr 1 (Fharlanghn): CR 2; Medium-size Humanoid (half-elf); HD 1d6+1 plus 1d8+1; hp 12; Init +2; Spd 30 ft; AC 14, touch 12, flat-footed 12; BAB +0; Grap-1; Atk-1 melee (1d8-1/19-20, longsword) or +2 ranged (1d6/x3, shortbow); SA sneak attack +1d6; SQ half-elf traits, trapfinding, Rary’s telepathic bond (with Fario and Meerthan); AL N; SV Fort+3, Ref+6, Will+4; Str 8, Dex 14, Con 12, Int 13, Wis 15, Cha 10.
Skills: Bluff +4, Concentration +2, Diplomacy+2, Disable Device +5, Disguise +4, Escape Artist+4, Forgery+3, Gather Information +4, Heal+4, Hide +6, Listen +4, Move Silently +6, Search +5, Sense Motive +6, Spot +4, Tumble +6. Feats: Lightning Reflexes.
Spells Prepared (3/3; base save DC 12+spell level): 0-detect magic, light, read magic, resistance; 1st-divine favor, entropic shield*, shield of faith.
*Domain spell. Domains: Luck (re-roll 1/day), Travel (free-shield’, shield off aith. dom of movement for 1 round 1/day).
Languages: Common, Draconic, Elven.
Possessions: Leather armor, longsword, shortbow with 20 arrows, 2 potions of invisibility, 2 scrolls of cure light wounds, gray cloak, spyglass, holy symbol of Fharlanghn, leather pouch containing 13 gp and 15 sp.
Tactics: The half-elves stay out of sight as long as possible. Their plan is to follow the PCs wherever they go, hoping to dis-cover a connection between the recent abductions and the Cagewrights. If the PCs actively try to spot pursuers, have them make Spot checks opposed by the half-elves’ Hide checks. Apply a-1 penalty to the Spot check for every 10 feet of distance between the spotter and the nearest half-elf pursuer. Apply an additional-2 penalty if it is raining or foggy.
If the PCs attack them with ranged weapons, the half-elves duck into a nearby alley or scamper over a nearby wall. Fellian might cast entropic shield on himself, hoping to dodge some missile attacks. If the PCs pursue them relentlessly, Fario and Fellian quaff their potions of invisibility.
If the PCs face imminent demise fighting the forces of evil, the half-elves come to their aid. Fario waits until Fellian casts divine favor (+1 luck bonus to weapon attack rolls and damage for 1 minute) and shield of faith (+2 deflection bonus to AC) on himself, allowing them to enter the fray during the same round. Fario wields two weapons-a longsword and short sword. The two half-elves try to flank their quarry, tumbling to avoid attacks of opportunity and hoping to deal sneak attack damage. After the fight, if he is positively disposed toward the PCs, Fellian might offer to heal them using his cure spells or scrolls.
If they are at risk of being captured or killed-either by the PCs or by evil creatures-Fario or Fellian use the permanent Rary’s telepathic bond to alert Meerthan (as a free action). Meerthan can roll initiative; on his turn, he whisks away the half-elves using his bracelet of friends.
Development: Once they are discovered, Fario and Fellian try to avoid a conflict with the PCs. Instead, they offer to accompany the heroes on the remainder of their mission. They say they’re good friends with Elethor Ashstaff, a half-elf wizard abducted from his home more than three weeks ago. They feign interest in finding Elethor and mention nothing of Meerthan or the Cagewrights.
The half-elves don’t stick around when the adventure is over; they have other tasks to complete on their master’s behalf. Fario and Fellian could become mysterious recurring NPCs in the campaign, occasionally partaking in their own adventures and, like the PCs, gaining experience as they go.
If the PCs complete their quest and deal no real harm to either half-elf, Meerthan might employ their expertise in the future, perhaps even offering them a place among the Striders of Fharlanghn once they’ve proven their mettle and demonstrated a willingness to fight the Cagewrights and their allies.
CHAPTER TWO: GHELVE’S LOCKS
Armed with St. Cuthbert’s riddle and suspicions concerning the local locksmith, the PCs investigate Ghelve’s Locks, a modest shop and dwelling on Lava Avenue.
Keygan Ghelve, the locksmith, gave the skulks and dark creepers skeleton keys fitting most of the town’s locks. Using these keys, the kidnappers were able to enter their victims’ homes without too much fuss. However, Keygan is an unwilling accomplice eager to make amends-if only the evil skulks would release his familiar from captivity.
The PCs’ ultimate goal is to find the secret door under the staircase (see area G3). Beyond the secret door lies the abandoned gnome enclave of Jzadirune, the current lair of the skulks and dark creepers. Jzadirune also holds Keygan’s captive familiar and the way to the kidnapped townsfolk.
Read or paraphrase the following when the PCs arrive at Ghelve’s Locks:
A small turret dominates the facade of this two-story black stone building. Iron bars are embedded in the thick window frames, Beyond the turret’s ground-floor windows, you can see a lovely display of locks, from large to small, simple to complex. To the left of the turret, above a heavy oak door, swings a simple sign that reads GHELVE’S LOCKS.
Ghelve’s Locks opens at sunrise and closes at sunset. The shop also closes for an hour around lunchtime, when Keygan runs most of his errands.
Keygan charges fair prices for his locks (see Chapter 7: Equipment in the Player’s Handbook for prices). Although he has plenty of locks in inventory, he can make an average lock in 3 days and a good lock in 5 days; he lacks the skill to make amazingly good locks but has a few for sale. (He occasionally makes trips to the capital city to buy such high-quality merchandise.)
The front door has three good locking mechanisms, each requiring a separate key or Open Locks check (DC 30) to open. The door is unlocked during work hours. If the PCs knock on the door at night when the shop is closed, Keygan goes to the kitchen on the second floor (area G4), opens one of the shuttered windows facing the street, and says, “Shop’s closed, friend. Come back after sunrise. ” If the PCs ask to speak with him about recent events in the city, he replies, “It’s late, and I’m not ready to talk business-yours or mine. Come back tomorrow!” Only a compelling argument-and a successful Diplomacy or Intimidate check (DC 14) -will persuade him to let the PCs inside. If a PC threatens him and fails the Intimidate check, Keygan rushes downstairs to cast hold portal on the front door, adding+5 to its break DC.
PCs can force their way inside, but the front door is sturdy and the windows have bars hidden behind locked wooden shutters (Open Lock, DC 30). An iron grill embedded in the chimney mortar keeps Small intruders from crawling down the chimney.
PCs might attempt to sneak inside while Keygan is running errands during lunch hour. Before setting out, the gnome casts an alarm spell on the front door (the spell lasts 2 hours). The spell activates whenever someone other than Keygan crosses the door’s threshold, and the noise is loud enough to alert Keygan’s closest neighbors (who are kind enough to summon the town guard).
Front Door (strong, iron-bound wood): 2 in. thick; Hardness 5; hp 30; break DC 25; three good locks (Open Lock, DC 30).
Interior Door (good wood): 1 1/2 in. thick; Hardness 5; hp 15; break DC 18; good lock (Open Lock, DC 30).
Window Shutters (simple wood): 1 in. thick; Hardness 5; hp 10; break DC 15; good lock (Open Lock, DC 30).
Window and Chimney Bars (iron): 1 in. thick; Hard-ness 10; hp 30; break DC 24.
Typical Lock: Hardness 15; hp 30; Open Lock (very simple: DC 20, average: DC 25, good: DC 30).
MEETING KEYGAN (EL 3)
Unless the PCs break into his shop while Keygan’s running errands in town, they likely encounter the locksmith here.
Creature: Keygan Ghelve is 110 years old, with salt-and-pepper hair and a neatly trimmed mustache and goatee. His bushy eyebrows, creased face, and graven frown make him look frumpy and dour, but he possesses a sly wit and a disarming manner.
Keygan doesn’t like clients looking down on him while they’re haggling over price. During business hours, he wears a pair of wood and iron stilts that clamp to his calves and wears extra-long pants to hide them. The stilts make him appear nearly 6 feet tall. He is accustomed to walking on the stilts and suffers no penalty to his speed. He does not wear the stilts at night or while running errands, and he leans them in a corner by the stairs when they’re not in use.
Although he never lived in Jzadirune, Keygan visited the gnome enclave several times in his youth and spent the rest of his free time learning the locksmith trade and helping his father run Ghelve’s Locks. He stopped visiting the enclave when a magic plague called the Vanishing caused many of Jzadirune’s denizens to fade into nothingness. His shop hides the only known entrance into Jzadirune, although only a handful of gnomes living in Cauldron know this. After 75 years, Jzadirune had faded from most people’s memories.
Somewhat bored with his business, Keygan began studying magic about one year ago. A little over three months ago, a gang of skulks and dark creepers found their way into Jzadirune from below. They followed the staircase up to the locksmith’s shop, crept inside, and surprised both Keygan and his rat familiar, Starbrow. Taking the familiar hostage, they blackmailed Keygan into telling them every-thing he knew about Cauldron. When the skulks learned that the gnome had crafted many of the town’s locks, they made him create a single key that could open all of them. Fearing they would kill him and his familiar, Keygan created special “skeleton keys” that would open any of his own locks. He then gave them a meticulous list of everyone in town to whom he’d sold locks in the past ten years.
Keygan is not proud of his complicity, but he will not act against the skulks so long as they’re watching him and holding his familiar hostage.
Keygan Ghelve, Male Gnome Exp3/Ill1: CR 3; Small Humanoid (gnome); HD 3d6+3 plus 1d4+1; hp 17; Init+1; Spd 20 ft. ; AC 12, touch 12, flat-footed 11; BAB+2; Grap-3; Atk+2 melee (1d3-1/19-20, dagger) or +4 ranged (1d6/19-20, light cross- bow); SA spells; SQ gnome traits; AL LN; SV Fort +2, Ref+2, Will+5; Str 8, Dex 12, Con 12, Int 13, Wis 10, Cha 11.
Skills: Appraise +4, Craft (alchemy) +3, Craft (locksmithing) +10, Diplomacy+3, Disable Device +7, Knowledge (local) +4, Listen+5, Open Lock+10, Profession (locksmith) +6, Search+4, Spot+3. Feats: Scribe Scroll, Skill Focus (Craft [locksmithing]), Skill Focus (Open Lock).
Spells Prepared (4/3; base save DC=11+spell level): 0-detect magic, ghost sound, open/close, mage hand; 1st-alarm, color spray, hold portal.
Forbidden Schools: Conjuration, Necromancy.
Languages: Common, Dwarves, Gnome.
Possessions: Gnome-sized dagger, gnome-sized light crossbow with 10 bolts (stored in area G3), magnifying glass, 3-foot stilts with extra-long pants, vest sewn with pockets holding 12 keys (these open all locked doors, windows, and containers in Ghelve’s Locks).
Tactics: If the heroes accuse Keygan of criminal wrongdoing or collusion, he denies their accusations. However, if they try to stir up pity for the kidnap victims, Keygan grows increasingly nervous and belligerent as he struggles to deal with his complicity.
Persuading Keygan to reveal the truth requires good role-playing coupled with a successful Diplomacy or Intimidate check (DC 14). The PCs can also gain his trust with a charm person spell. Even then, the cagey gnome doesn’t blurt out the truth where one or more skulks might hear him (see area G3) Instead, he tries to warn the heroes that he is not alone, using subtle gestures (arching eyebrows, a nod toward the back of his shop, and so forth) to tip them off. A successful Sense Motive (or Wisdom) check (DC 10) is required to correctly interpret Keygan’s strange behavior.
If attacked, Keygan tries to incapacitate as many PCs as possible using his color spray spell. If all of the PCs are knocked unconscious by the spell, Keygan binds them with rope found in his workshop. It takes him 2 rounds to fetch the rope and return with it, and 2 rounds to bind a single character. The skulk assigned to watch Keygan (see Development, below, and area G3) helps Keygan tie up the characters, then heads down to Jzadirune to fetch reinforcements. PCs can free themselves with a successful Escape Artist check (DC 10+the binder’s Use Rope check result).
If his color spray fails horribly, or if he takes 9 or more points of damage, Keygan surrenders and promises to reveal everything he knows (see Development, below).
Development: One skulk guards the shop at all times. The skulk hides on the second floor balcony overlooking area G3, within view of the secret door under the staircase. Hidden from plain sight, the skulk can overhear conversations in the shop and jump on anyone who detects the secret door under the staircase. The skulk does not come to Keygan’s rescue if the gnome is attacked in his shop.
[NEED: IMAGE OF GHELVE’S LOCKS]
If he can be coaxed into helping the PCs find the missing townsfolk, Keygan reveals the following information about Jzadirune and its current denizens.
- His rat familiar is located in a dark place within one mile, and through his empathic link, he can sense both the rat’s hunger and fright.
- The kidnappers include two types of creatures: “tall ones” and “short ones. “The “tall ones” resemble naked, hairless, genderless humans with blue pupil less eyes and gray skin that changes color, allowing them to blend perfectly with their surroundings. They are usually encountered in pairs or threes and usually leave the shop wearing cloaks. The “short ones” are sinister gnome like creatures with pallid skin, large noses, and soft black hooves for feet. They wear black cloaks and cowls that help them hide in shadows.
- The kidnappers share a common language that Keygan doesn’t recognize (Undercommon).
- If the kidnappers have a leader, Keygan hasn’t seen it. The “tall ones” and “short ones” seem to get along just fine without one.
- Keygan gave the kidnappers three different-sized skeleton keys that can open most of the town’s locks (any lock with an Open Lock DC of 30 or lower). One of the “tall ones” carries the keys on a silver ring (see area J15).
- The “tall ones” wield rapiers and light crossbows. The “short ones” wield sharp daggers.
- The “tall ones” have imprisoned Keygan’s rat familiar, Star-brow, somewhere in Jzadirune.
- Jzadirune was a small enclave inhabited by gnome spell-casters. The enclave was abandoned 75 years ago after a magical plague called the Vanishing swept through it. The disease caused several of Jzadirune’s residents to slowly fade away into nothingness. Keygan doesn’t know whether the plague still poses a threat.
- Jzadirune’s doors are gear-shaped and designed to roll to one side or the other. Many of them bore traps that only the gnomes could safely bypass.
Keygan can provide a worn map of Jzadirune (see area Gs), but he will not accompany the PCs into the gnome enclave unless charmed or forced at sword point. Although Keygan remembers his father telling him about secret passages in Jzadirune, Keygan doesn’t know where any of them are, and they are not shown on his map. Keygan’s memory of the various chambers and their contents is sketchy, at best.
Ad-hoc XP Award: Award full experience for Keygan if the PCs befriend him or persuade him to make amends. Award half experience for Keygan if the PCs kill him without provocation.
KEY TO GHELVE’S LOCKS (AREAS G1-G5)
The following encounters are keyed to the map of Ghelve’s Locks.
GI. STORE FRONT
This store front smells of wood and pipe smoke. Two padded chairs flank a hearth containing a small yet lively fire. The fireplace’s carved mantle bears a tinderbox, a small vase of dried smoking leaves, and a finely wrought collection of pipes.
A burgundy strip of carpet leads from the entrance to the Walla cross from it, where you can see dozens-perhaps hundreds-of keys hanging from tiny hooks. The keys come in all shapes and sizes.
A handsomely engraved mahogany counter stretches along one wall. Behind it hangs a red curtain that neatly hides the rest of the store.
Keygan likes his customers to feel comfortable. The padded chairs, hearth, smoking pipes, and other accoutrements are intended to put visitors at ease.
The keys hanging on the wall open various locks. When Keygan sells a lock, he points to the key that opens it and allows the customer to remove it from the wall-a bit of ceremony goes a long way.
Treasure: PCs searching the counter find a book containing a complete list of sales made in the past several years and a locked iron strongbox (Open Lock, DC 30). The strongbox holds three removable shelves; the top shelf holds 233 cp, the middle shelf holds 150 sp, and the bottom shelf holds 126 gp and 4 pp.
The door to this room is locked with a good quality lock (Open Lock, DC 30).
Unlike the front of the store, the contents of this room are not neatly arranged. A stout-legged wooden table and matching stool stand at odd angles in the room, and tiny mechanisms and tools litter the tabletop. The floor is cluttered with upright kegs holding tiny gears, screws, metal lock casings, tumblers, springs, and keys. A bucket of coal, a short-handled spade, and a small iron oven equipped with a miniature bellows occupy the far corner of the work room. A lantern rests on another stool near the door.
Keygan stores the raw materials for his locks and where he works his craft in this room. It takes him several nights of tire-less work to finish a single lock, and he can make locks of varying quality and complexity.
The tools and lock components found here aren’t valuable, except to a skilled locksmith.
G3. LOCK DISPLAY AND STORAGE (EL 2)
A red curtain separates this area from the front of the store. If the character’s part the red curtain or peer through the store’s display windows, read or paraphrase the following:
Black curtains partially obscure a window niche that faces the street. Ornate locks and complex locking mechanisms are neatly displayed in the niche.
The room itself looks tidy, but lived in. Carpets cover the stone floor, and a broom leans against the railing of a wooden staircase leading up to a second floor balcony. Three wooden chests rest in the middle of the floor, their lids bound shut with sturdy iron padlocks. Small tables, shelves, and benches hold various knick-knacks, and a framed portrait of a silver haired gnome hangs next to a tall wooden box at the base of the stairs. The wooden box contains an intricate array of ticking gears, counterweights, and cylindrical chimes, surmounted by a circular face that bears the numerals 1 through 12 on its circumference.
The construct at the base of the stairs is a grandfather clock built by Keygan’s father, who is expertly depicted in the framed portrait. The clock weighs 300 pounds.
A secret door is hidden in the wall of the staircase, right next to the red curtain. The secret door is well hidden and locked. With a loud squeal, it pushes open to reveal a 10-foot-square landing at the top of a stone staircase that descends into darkness.
Secret Door (wood): 2 in. thick; Hardness 5; hp 20; break DC 15; Search (DC 20); Open Lock (DC 20).
Creature: A skulk hides on the balcony overlooking this room. It sheds its dark cloak when it detects intruders, improving its chance to hide.
Skulk: CR 2; Medium-size Humanoid (skulk); HD 2d8; hp 12; Init+2; Spd 30 ft.; AC 12, touch 12, flat-footed 10; BAB +1; Grap+1; Atk +3 melee (1d6/18-20, rapier) or +3 ranged (1d8/19-20, light crossbow); SQ innate no detection, peerless camouflage, trackless path; AL CE; SV Fort+0, Ref+5, Will-1; Str 10, Dex 14, Con 10, Int 11, Wis 8, Cha 6.
Skills: Hide +22 (+7 when clothed), Move Silently+12 (+4 when clothed). Feats: Weapon Finesse (rapier).
Innate No detection (Su): Skulks are difficult to detect using Divination spells such as clairaudience, clairvoyance, locate creature, detection spells, and items such as crystal balls. If a Divination is attempted upon a skulk, the caster of the Divination must succeed at a caster level check (1d20+caster level) against DC 20.
Peerless Camouflage (Ex): Skulks can move at full speed (and can even run) while hiding, suffering no penalties on Hide checks due to movement.
Trackless Path (Ex): The DCs of all Wilderness Lore checks to follow the trail of a skulk are increased by 10.
Possessions: Rapier, light crossbow with 20 bolts, dark cloak.
Tactics: The skulk leaps down when PCs find the secret door or motion toward the staircase, landing on its feet in a square adjacent to its intended target. The skulk must succeed at a Tumble check (DC 15) to avoid taking 1d6 points of damage from the 10-foot drop. The skulk loses the advantage of higher ground but gets a free attack during the surprise round if the PCs fail a Listen check and Spot check (opposed by the skulk’s Move Silently and Hide checks, respectively).
The skulk fights until captured or slain.
Treasure: The locks and mechanisms in the windows are nonfunctional display models and worth only a few copper pieces each. Keygan’s valuable merchandise is kept in the three locked chests (Open Lock, DC 30). The first chest holds Keygan’s light crossbow and 10 crossbow bolts (all sized for a Small character). The second chest twenty-five very simple locks (20 gp each) and sixteen average locks (40 gp each). The third chest holds eight good locks (80 gp each) and three amazing locks (150 gp each). The total value of the locks is 2, 230 gp.
The grandfather clock, as an heirloom and oddity, might be worth as much as 2, 500 gp to an interested buyer. The portrait of Keygan’s father (illustrated by an unknown artist) is worth 5 gp.
Development: PCs who step through the secret door find themselves on a dark landing. A stone staircase (see area JI) descends into Jzadirune and the next chapter of the adventure.
G4. KITCHEN AND PANTRY
This kitchen contains all the basic amenities, including a table with an hourglass resting atop it. A fireplace dominates one wall, with pots hanging from hooks on either side. Two cabinets with frosted-glass doors hold dishware and utensils. A half-barrel washbasin stands in the far corner next to a locked pantry.
All of the furniture seems sized perfectly for a gnome or Halfling.
Nothing in kitchen appears out of place. The lock on the pantry is very simple (Open Lock, DC 20). Apart from the expected supply of preserved foodstuffs, spices, and soap, the pantry contains little of interest.
Treasure: The hourglass is worth 25 gp intact.
G5. KEYGAN’S BEDROOM (EL 1)
Keygan locks the door to this room at night before he goes to sleep. The door comes with a good lock (Open Lock, DC 30).
This richly appointed bedroom holds furniture sized for a person of small stature. You spot a coat rack by the door, a cozy bed with a hand sewn comforter, a clean bedpan, a chest of drawers at the foot of the bed, a wooden screen with birds painted on its panels, a wardrobe, and a small bookcase with some books and trinkets on it. A lantern sits atop a small end table by the bed.
The wardrobe holds Keygan’s clothes, including several small vests and three pairs of boots.
The chest at the foot of the bed holds three drawers, all held shut by a single good lock (Open Lock, DC 30). The drawers hold the following:
Top Drawer: This drawer holds a varnished wooden comb, a sewing needle and spools of thread, blank pieces of parchment, a jar of sepia ink, and some quills.
Middle Drawer: This contains some handwritten notes on lock designs. Buried under them is a map of Jzadirune written on a tattered piece of coarse leather (see Player Hand-out #2: Players’ Map of Jzadirune). The map does not reveal secret pas-sages or show any of the new passages dug by the dark creepers.
Bottom Drawer: This drawer contains Keygan’s spell book (see Treasure, below). The drawer is also trapped (see Trap, below).
Trap: Two spring-loaded scything blades sweep out from narrow compartments between the drawers when the bottom drawer is opened without the proper key. This trap resets itself automatically.
Scything Blades: CR 1; +5 melee (2d6 points of slashing damage); Search (DC 19); Disable Device (DC 19); automatic reset.
Treasure: The bottom drawer of the chest holds Keygan’s spell book, which contains the following spells: 0-dancing lights, detect magic, ghost sound, open/close, light, mage hand, mending, prestidigitation, read magic; 1st-alarm, change self, color spray, detect secret doors, hold portal, mage armor, reduce, summon monster I, unseen servant.
The painted screen is finely wrought and worth 25 gp intact. The bookcase holds some mundane story books, including a thick volume titled Building Better Locks (worth 10 gp to a locksmith).
Players’ Handout #2: Map of Jzadirune
CHAPTER THREE: VANISHING IN JZADIRUNE
Homebrew Maps of Jzadirune for Players
The official map of Jzadirune show all the secret doors and everything. These fantastic homebrew maps don’t show any of the hidden aspects of the maps to make your life easier for showing your players the map.
Gnome architects and artisans designed and built much of Cauldron. One of these architects, a gnome wizard named Jzadirune, also found time to carve out a secluded enclave beneath the city for himself and his kin. The enclave, which was named after its creator, became a sanctuary for gnome spell casters and master crafters. Jzadirune became known as a place to build or acquire wondrous magic items.
The wizard Jzadirune died of natural causes a few years after realizing his dream. Meanwhile, the enclave continued to churn out new magic items. Its forges spit out magic rings by the handful, its weavers spun magic clothing to pack a hundred wardrobes, and young gnomes were taught the fine arts of scroll scribing, wand making, and potion brewing. The gnomes of Jzadirune were also known for their way with machinery, creating an assortment of mechanical automatons.
Seventy-five years ago, the gnomes of Jzadirune fell prey to a magical plague called the Vanishing. The origin of the plague remains a mystery, although some scholars speculate that the gnomes’ unorthodox methods for creating magic items spawned the disease. Others hypothesize that an unscrupulous competitor or a dissatisfied customer created the disease to put the gnomes out of business. All that is known for sure is that the Vanishing was born inside the gnomes’ magic items and infected anyone who handled them.
Several gnomes succumbed to the Vanishing, fading away into nothingness. Unable to eradicate the disease, the gnomes destroyed nearly all the contaminated magic items and abandoned Jzadirune. Many continued plying their trade on the sur-face, without further misfortune.
Although Jzadirune remained mostly abandoned in the intervening years, a few monsters have managed to find their way into the enclave from the Under dark. A gang of dark creepers moved into the complex over a year ago and found many of its doors protected by magical traps. To circumvent the traps, the dark creepers used a pair of pulverizer automatons to drill narrow passages between various rooms, allowing them to navigate the complex without needing to open trapped doors. A few months after the dark creepers settled in, a coterie of skulks arrived. The skulks were spies for the half-troll slaver Kazmojen, sent to find a way to the surface. After a few fatal skirmishes with the dark creepers, the skulks negotiated a peace, helped the dark creepers kill a few other monsters that had claimed parts of the enclave, and found a route to the surface.
Jzadirune remains home to the skulks, the dark creepers (and their dark stalker leader), and an assortment of other nasty critters. The enclave also plays host to several lingering magical effects, left in play by the previous gnome tenants.
GEAR DOORS (EL 1 PER DOOR)
Most of the doors in Jzadirune are gear-shaped. Each door is designed to roll into a nearby wall cavity when properly opened. The 4-foot-diameter door is carved from 6-inch-thick wood and encircled with a ring of molded iron teeth. The entire door is encased within a double frame of beveled stone.
Burned into the center of each door is a glyph representing one of nine letters (in the Gnome language): J, Z, A, D, I, R, U, N, and E. The various glyphs are depicted in Player Handout #3: Jzadirune Glyphs. PCs who speak Gnome recognize the glyphs instantly. A successful Decipher Script check (DC 15) also reveals what each symbol means, as does a comprehend languages spell.
The gear doors are normally locked. Opening or closing a gear door requires a slim, rectangular, rod-shaped key to open. The key fits neatly into a tiny, diamond-shaped slot carved into the doorframe, and each key bears a tiny symbol at one end. For the key to work, the symbol on the key must match the glyph on the door. See Diagram #I: Gear Door and Key for a diagram showing a “J” door and matching “J” key. If the wrong key is placed in a door, nothing happens. Inserting the proper key causes a locked door to open or causes an open door to roll shut and lock. A knock spell successfully opens a locked door. However, opening a gear door without the proper key activates a trap.
Diagram #1: Doors and Keys of Jzadirune
Gear Door (strong, iron-bound wood): 4 in. thick, 4 ft. diameter, Hardness 5; hp 60; break DC 26; good lock (Open Lock, DC 30).
Trap: Most of the gear doors in Jzadirune are trapped. The nature of the trap depends on the glyph inscribed on the door, as shown below. The trap continues to function until the door is opened or destroyed.
Any of the following traps can be dispelled by casting a successful dispel magic (DC 22). The nature of the trap depends on the glyph inscribed on the door; see Player Handout #3: Jzadirune Glyphs for illustrations of the nine different glyphs.
“J” Door: A door inscribed with the “J” glyph releases clouds of corrosive gas when improperly opened. The gas fills a 10-foot-by-10-foot-by-10-foot volume on each side of the portal. Anyone standing in range is engulfed and takes 2d6 points of damage; a successful Reflex save (DC 12) halves the damage.
Corrosive Gas Trap: CR 1; 2d6 points of damage; Reflex save (DC 12) for half, Search (DC 21); Disable Device (DC 20); automatic reset.
“Z” Door: A door inscribed with the “Z” glyph has no real trap, but a Lomond’s trap spell makes one think that opening the door improperly will trigger a deadly magic effect. Any attempt to disarm the trap fails, and nothing happens when the trap is “sprung. ”
“A” Door: A fan of magical flames, similar to a burning hands spell, fills the two 5-foot-squares directly in front of the door when it is opened improperly. Anyone standing in the area is engulfed, taking 3d4 points of fire damage; a successful Reflex save (DC 12) halves the damage.
Player Handout #3: Jzadirune Glyphs
Burning Hands Trap: CR 1; 3d4 points of fire damage; Reflex save (DC 12) for half; Search (DC 22); Disable Device (DC 19); automatic reset.
“D” Door: Crackling electricity fills the open doorway. The first creature that passes through the doorway takes 1d8+5 points of electricity damage. The electricity field dissipates after dealing damage.
Shocking Grasp Trap: CR 1; 1d8+5 points of electricity damage each; no save allowed; Search (DC 22); Disable Device (DC 19); automatic reset.
“I” Door: Six rays of frost spring from the doorway when it is opened improperly, striking random targets within 10 feet. Each ray deals 1d3 points of cold damage with a successful hit.
Rays of Frost Trap: CR 1; 6 days; +5 ranged touch (1d3 points of cold damage); no save allowed; Search (DC 22); Dis-able Device (DC 18); no reset.
“R” Door: Opening this door improperly instantly summons 1d3 fiendish dire rats. The summoned creatures attack any non-gnome they encounter, disappearing after 5 rounds or when “slain. ”
Summon Monster I Trap: CR 1; see below for summoned monster statistics; Search (DC 22); Disable Device (DC 19); automatic reset.
Fiendish Dire Rats (1d3): CR 1/3; Small magical beast; HD 1d8+1; hp 5 each; Init +3; Spd 40 ft. , climb 20 ft. ; AC 15, touch 14, flat-footed 11; BAB+0; Grap-4; Atk +4 melee (1d4, bite); SA disease; SQ dark vision 60 ft. , cold and fire resistance 5, scent, SR 2; AL LE; SV Fort +3, Ref+5, Will +3; Str 10, Dex 17, Con 12, Int 3, Wis 12, Cha 4.
Skills: Climb +14, Hide+11, Move Silently +6, Swim+11. Feats: Weapon Finesse (bite).
“U” Door: Improperly opening this door triggers an alarm spell. Anyone within 60 feet of the door can hear the ringing alarm clearly. Reduce this distance by 10 feet for each interposing closed door and by 20 feet for each substantial intervening wall. In quiet conditions, the alarm can be heard faintly up to 180 feet away. The ringing lasts for 1 round.
In addition, two spectral sickles appear in the air and swing at the nearest non-gnome creature, after which they disappear. The sickles pass right through armor as though they were ghost touch weapons, dealing 1d6 points of damage with each successful hit.
The alarm and spectral sickles are considered one trap for searching, disarming, and dispelling purposes.
Alarm and Spectral Sickles Trap: CR 1; audible alarm plus +4 melee touch (1d6 points of slashing damage, 2 sickles); Search (DC 22); Disable Device (DC 19); automatic reset.
“N” Door: A door inscribed with the “N” glyph releases clouds of twilight mist when improperly opened. The mist fills a 10-foot-by-10-foot-by-10-foot volume on each side of the portal. Anyone standing in range is engulfed and must succeed at a Fortitude save (DC 13) or take 1d6 points of temporary Dexterity damage. One minute later, a second save must be made to avoid taking another 1d6 points of temporary Dexterity damage.
Twilight Mist Trap: CR 1; initial 1d6 Dex, secondary 1d6 Dex; Fortitude save (DC 13) negates; Search (DC 21); Disable Device (DC 20); automatic reset.
“E” Door: Three jets of flame fill the doorway whenever a non-gnome passes through the portal, dealing 3d4 points of fire damage. A successful Reflex save (DC 15) halves the damage. This trap activates each time a creature other than a gnome crosses the portal.
Flame Jet Trap: CR 1; 3d4 points of damage; Reflex save (DC 15) halves damage; Search (DC 21); Disable Device (DC 19); automatic reset.
Ad-hoc XP Award: The PCs should not receive experience points for every door trap in Jzadirune, since they can navigate the dungeon without disturbing many of the gear doors. Feel free to award XP the first time the PCs disable or survive a particular door trap; if they encounter the same trap again, they should gain no XP for surviving or “defeating” it.
The secret doors in Jzadirune blend perfectly with the sur-rounding stonework. Except where noted otherwise, any secret door in Jzadirune can be found with a successful Search check (DC 20).
Secret doors resemble 4-foot-square sections of stone that pivot on a central vertical axis. A cleverly hidden knob, panel, or pedal opens the door when depressed.
THE VANISHING (EL 2)
The Vanishing exists because of a botched magical experiment that happened 75 years ago in Jzadirune. The exact conditions of the experiment are forgotten, and the disease spread quickly throughout the enclave before its origin could be ascertained.
The Vanishing clings to Jzadirune’s magic items, infecting creatures that use their power. Although the gnomes tried to destroy all items infected with the contagion, they were not entirely successful. A few contaminated items still linger in forgotten corners of the enclave, waiting to be found.
A living creature that uses a contaminated magic item isn’t immediately aware of the danger. One of the disease’s most insidious qualities is that it uses the item’s magic aura to mask its own faint Transmutation aura. Thus, a detect magic spell does not reveal the disease’s presence (although a true seeing spell reveals a faint Transmutation aura in addition to the item’s own aura).
A creature infected with the Vanishing must succeed at an immediate Fortitude save (DC 15) or suffer 1d6 points of Charisma damage after a 1-day incubation period. Once a creature takes Charisma damage, it turns translucent, becoming increasingly transparent (and taking damage) with each passing day. Although the disease presents the illusion that the victim is fading away, the creature remains solid and does not actually turn incorporeal. Equipment is not rendered transparent by the disease.
The transparency affords one advantage: Any creature reduced to half its Charisma or less by the disease is so transparent that it gains a +4 circumstance bonus on Hide checks.
Successful saves do not allow an afflicted creature to recover. Only magical treatment can save a victim of the Vanishing. A Successful dispel magic (DC 21), remove disease, or remove curse spell cast upon the afflicted creature cures the malady. Unlike normal diseases, the Vanishing cannot be treated using the Heal skill.
A creature reduced to 0 Charisma by the Vanishing fades away, leaving behind any items worn or held. The creature is slain, its body is lost, and it cannot be restored to life using a raise dead spell (although reincarnate, resurrection, and true resurrection work).
The effects of handling multiple infected items are not cumulative. The Vanishing cannot be passed from one creature to another by touch. Paladins are immune to the Vanishing.
The Vanishing: CR 2; Contact; incubation 1 day; 1d6 Cha (temporary damage); Fortitude save (DC 17) negates damage.
OTHER DUNGEON FEATURES
Unless stated otherwise, all rooms and corridors in Jzadurine are unlit. Most corridors have empty sconces along the walls (for torches), while most rooms have small hooks dangling from ceiling chains (for hanging lanterns).
All 10-foot-wide corridors have flat, 10-foot-high ceilings. The dark creepers’ roughly hewn tunnels are tubular and 5 feet in diameter.
Ceiling heights in rooms vary widely. Assume a room has a 10-foot-high ceiling unless stated otherwise.
KEY TO JZADIRUNE (AREAS JI-J63)
J1. DESCENDING STAIRS
A stone staircase, its steps shrouded with cobwebs and dust, descends twenty feet to a 10-foot-square landing, then bends to the right and plunges into darkness
Characters with the Track feat can make a Search check (DC 12) to notice small hoof prints (left by the dark creepers) in the dust. On a roll of 22 or higher, they also notice human-sized bare footprints (left by the skulks, who are more difficult to track). The tracks suggest the ascent and descent of multiple creatures, perhaps as many as a half dozen.
The staircase is unlit, although an iron torch sconce is mounted to one wall on each landing.
J2. WELL-HIDDEN SECRET DOOR (EL1)
When the characters reach this landing, read or paraphrase the following text:
The staircase descends another 20 feet before opening into a room. From this landing, you can hear strange sounds emanating from the chamber below, specifically chirping birds, rustling leaves, and cheery giggles. The landing itself is bare save for an empty iron torch sconce mounted on the south wall.
The strange noises emanate from area J3. A secret door in the south wall is expertly hidden and requires a successful Search check (DC 25) to locate. Turning the nearby torch sconce a quarter-turn clockwise opens the secret door; otherwise, the door can be opened with a successful Open Lock check (DC 20) or knock spell. Turning the sconce counter-clockwise triggers a Trap.
Characters with the Track feat can make a Search check (DC 12) to notice small hoof prints (left by the dark creepers) on the dusty steps. On a roll of 22 or higher, they also notice human-sized bare footprints (left by the skulks, who are more difficult to track). The tracks lead both upstairs and downstairs.
Trap: Turning the torch sconce counterclockwise causes the eastern end of the 10-foot landing to tilt upward. Anyone on the landing tumbles down the 20-foot staircase to the west, taking damage and landing prone in area J3. A successful Reflex save halves the damage. The trap and sconce reset after the trap has been triggered.
Tilting Floor: CR 1; 2d6 points of damage; Reflex save (DC 12) for half damage; Search (DC 25); Disable Device (DC 20); automatic reset.
J3. GIGGLING MASKS
The staircase ends at a 40-foor-square room with a 10-foor-high ceiling A slight draft blows into the room from a 10-footwide open passage in the far wall, directly across from the stairs.
Two 4-foot-diameter circular doors are set into the middle of the south wall. Each door is made of wood and framed with a ring of mortared stones. The westernmost door is closed and inscribed with a strange glyph. The easternmost door bears a different glyph but rests half-open. The half-open door reveals an iron rim of gear like teeth, and dim light spills from the chamber beyond.
Mounted to the walls of the room are twelve tarnished copper masks. The masks are 2 feet tall and cling 4 feet above the floor. Each one depicts a smiling gnome’s visage. The soft giggling, chirping, and rustling noises seem to pour from the very walls.
The sounds of giggling gnomes, rustling leaves, and chirping birds are the result of permanent ghost sound spells cast within the chamber. A successful dispel magic (DC 23) cast on the room removes the effect.
The twelve copper masks are held to the walls with sovereign glue; attempting to pry off a mask without the aid of universal solvent requires a Strength check (DC 24) and results in the mask’s destruction.
The mask located to the left of the west tunnel (marked with an X) has a permanent magic mouth spell cast on it. When a living creature enters the 10-foot-square directly in front of the mask, its mouth moves and says the following in Common:
Welcome to Jzadirune – behold the wonder! But beware, ye who seek to plunder. Traps abound and guardians peer beyond every portal, behind every gear.
Treasure: Intact or melted down, the tarnished copper masks are worth 1, 000 cp (10 gp) each.
Development: If the characters make any noise or bring a light into the room, the skulks in area J4 detect them and cannot be surprised.
J4. LURKING IN SHADOWS (EL 4)
The gear door to this room is partially open, creating a roughly crescent shaped gap just wide enough for a Medium size character to squeeze through. The door has been wedged open with a chunk of stone; removing the stone causes the door to close and lock, as well as reactivates the door’s trap (see Gear Doors for details). The room beyond is unlit.
A dozen small cots and chests line the walls of this 10-foot-high dusty room. Cobwebs blanket many of the cots and chests, and tiny spiders scurry about. Two rough-hewn tunnels, each 5 feet in diameter and tubular, breach the eastern and southern walls. Stony rubble covers the floor near each tunnel.
A 1-foot-long iron rod lies in the middle of the floor, its golden tip shedding enough light to cast lurid shadows on the walls.
The skulks and dark creepers usually meet here before embarking on a surface raid. The skulks also rest here from time to time. The glowing rod lying on the floor is a sun rod with 1 hour of light remaining.
The twelve chests strewn about the room have been picked clean by the skulks, and any valuables were taken to area J56.
Creatures: Two naked skulks feast on the spiders in this room. When they detect intruders, the skulks flank the northern doorway and attempt to hide.
Skulks (2): hp 9, 8; see area G3 for complete statistics and possessions.
Tactics: When an intruder enters the room, each skulk attempts a surprise attack (gaining a +2 bonus on its attack roll for flanking). On the following round, one skulk flees through the southern tunnel and heads to area JI5 to alert the skulk there. The second skulk flees down the eastern tunnel and heads to area J44 to alert the dark creepers. The skulks use their peerless camouflage ability to remain hidden while fleeing.
The skulks are cowardly and do not engage multiple foes for more than a single round before fleeing.
Development: If one or both skulks escape, all other skulks and all dark creepers within Jzadirune are alerted to the PC’s presence. Sounds of battle here have a 50% chance of alerting the skulks in area J15 and J59, neither of whom come to their comrades’ aid.
J5. DUSTY BARRACKS
The room holds fifteen cots and fifteen small chests, covered in cobwebs and dust. None of the chests is locked.
Each chest contains a dusty wool blanket, some worthless personal effects, and an off-white tabard emblazoned with the symbol of Jzadirune-an insignia depicting a wooden gear with a yellow, eight-pointed star in its hollow center.
J6. SECRET HALL WITH SPIKED PIT (EL2)
This dusty, cobweb-filled hall has a 10-foor-high ceiling and walls carved with frescoes depicting dour gnomes clad in chain shirts and helms, and brandishing hooked hammers. There are no obvious doors leading from this hall
Three secret doors open into this hall: one at the south end of the hall (leading to area J3), one along the west wall (leading to area J7), and one at the north end (leading to area J35). The western secret door is concealed behind a gnome fresco and is especially difficult to detect (Search, DC 22).
Trap: The northernmost 10-foot-square section of floor conceals a 20-foot-deep pit (Search check, DC 17, to detect). The pit’s hinged lid opens when at least 150 pounds of weight is applied, although a successful Disable Device check (DC 17) jams the lid shut. Pulling down the lever in area J34 locks the lid and deactivates the trap.
Anyone standing on the lid when it opens must succeed at a Reflex save (DC 15) or fall into the pit, taking 2d6 points of damage from the fall, damage from the spikes lining the pit, and landing prone.
For a far more inventive and deadly version of this trap, see the “Life’s Bazaar” Web enhancement. The tilt-a-pit trap found there can be substituted for this trap, as well as the pit traps in areas Jr2 and J14.
Spiked Pit Trap (20 feet deep): CR 2; 2d6 points of damage (fall) plus+3 melee (1d4 points of piercing damage, 1d4 spikes); Reflex save (DC 15) prevents fall; Search (DC 17); Disable Device (DC 17).
J7. SECRET ARMORY
Bare, dusty shelves line the north wall of this 20-foot-square room. Freestanding weapon racks fill the southern half of the room, but most of the weapons have been removed. Three small steel shields and a suit of cobweb choked half plate armor hang from hooks along the south wall. Several more hooks remain bare. Below them rests a large wooden chest secured with a dusty padlock.
The gnomes took most of the weapons and armor when they abandoned Jzadirune. However, a few items were left behind in their haste to vacate the complex.
Treasure: The chest is bound with an average padlock (Open Locks, DC 25). It contains the following items:
- 16 crossbow bolts
- 2 smoke sticks
- A thunderstone
- A tangle foot bag.
A hidden compartment in the lid of the chest can be found with a successful Search check (DC 22); tucked inside this compartment is a wand of burning hands (25 charges; command word “Sizzle”) infected with the Vanishing (see The Vanishing for details).
A thorough search of the room also reveals the following weapons and armor.
- 3 gnome hooked hammers
- 2 light picks
- 1 heavy pick
- 1 Small suit of half-plate armor
- 3 small steel shields emblazoned with the symbol of Jzadirune (see area Js).
J8. SLEEPING QUARTERS
Nothing remains in this room except four decrepit cots, four small wooden chests, and a wooden dresser with four drawers. Everything is draped in cobwebs.
The gnomes removed all items of value from this room before abandoning Jzadirune 75 years ago.
Eight small cradles line the outer walls of this dark, 10-foot-high room. A wooden playpen, a rocking unicorn, and a lovingly crafted wooden toy box rest in the middle of the room. Everything is shrouded with dust and cobwebs.
The outside of the toy box has frescoes of dancing gnomes and small, burrowing animals; a few toys and painted letter blocks can be found within. Nothing of value remains in this abandoned nursery.
J10. WRECKED QUARTERS
This chamber’s furnishings-three small cords, a small table, and a dresser-have been smashed to flinders, the wreckage strewn across the floor. A lonely chain hangs from the center of the 10-foot-high ceiling, and a lantern lies smashed in one corner.
The skulks entered this room though a secret door in the south wall (leading to area JII) and thoroughly searched it for treasure. A brief skirmish erupted when one of the skulks found a potion tucked in the dresser; after quaffing the potion, the skulk succumbed to the Vanishing and now lurks in area J21.
Characters who explore the room and succeed at a Search check (DC 15) find the jagged shard soft a shattered potion bottle on the floor.
J11. SECRET TREASURY AND PIT LEVER
Small mounds of rubble fill this 10-foot-high, 20-foot-square chamber. Most of the detritus is piled near a roughly hewn, 5-foot-diameter tunnel bored into the west wall. Three wooden chests sit in the middle of the floor. The chests’ lids are carved and painted with anthropomorphic figures resembling a badger, a fox, and a rabbit respectively. The smashed remains of three padlocks lie strewn around the chests.
A wooden lever juts from an iron plate set into the south wall. The lever looks like it can slide up or down, and is currently in the “down” position.
The wooden lever controls the pit trap in area JI2 (or a tilt-a-pit trap if you’re using the Web enhancement). Pulling the lever up locks the pit’s lid and deactivates the trap, allowing creatures to cross the pit safely.
The three chests were once locked and trapped with summon monster I spells, but the skulks smashed the locks, triggered the traps, and defeated the summoned monsters. They also removed most of the valuable items from the chests; however, a few items escaped their notice (see Treasure, below).
Treasure: The badger chest is completely empty. The fox chest appears empty as well but contains a false bottom that can be found with a successful Search check (DC 24). Inside the secret cavity is a finely wrought silver bracelet (worth 25 gp), small pouch containing three citrines (worth 50 gp each), and a tiny glass vial containing dust of illusion.
The rabbit chest contains an unremarkable-looking gray bag with a Nystul’s undetectable aura spell cast on it. A detect magic spell reveals the bag’s magical nature but masks its aura. The bag is actually a gray bag of tricks.
The dust of illusion and the bag of tricks are infected with the Vanishing (see The Vanishing for details).
J12. SPIKED PIT (EL 2)
A featureless, 30-foot-long hall connects two round doors. A narrow, 5-foot-diameter tunnel breaches the middle of the south wall and heads off into darkness. Stone debris litters the floor near the tunnel’s mouth.
A secret door in the north wall leads to area JII. Directly across from the secret door, a rough-hewn runnel leads to area JI3.
Trap: The easternmost 10-foot section of floor is a pit trap. The trap is identical to the one in area J6.
Spiked Pit Trap (20 feet deep): See area J6.
J13. CAPTAIN’S ROOM AND PIT LEVER
Rubble and splintered furniture fills this dark, 10-foot-high room. Most of the detritus lies heaped between a pair of s-foot-diameter tunnels crudely carved into the west and northwest walls.
A wooden lever juts from an iron plate set into the east wall, near the door. The lever looks like it can slide up or down; it is currently in the “down” position.
This room formerly belonged to Jzadirune’s captain of the guard. A secret door in the south wall opens to reveal a dust-choked, 10-foot-square room. Hooks and shelves on the walls suggest that the chamber once served as a secret closet, but the last captain of the guard emptied it of valuables before leaving Jzadirune forever. The secret room no longer contains anything of value.
The wooden lever in the east wall controls the pit trap in area JI4. Pulling the lever up locks the pit’s lid and deactivates the trap, allowing creatures to cross the pit safely.
J14. SPIKED PIT (EL 2)
The corridor ends with a pair of circular doors in the west and east walls. Dust and debris covers the floor.
Trap: A pit trap (or a tilt-a-pit, if you’re using theWeb enhancement) lies in wait 10 feet from the south end of the hall. The trap is identical to the one in area J6. A dead, naked skulk hangs impaled on four of the pair’s wooden spikes. A rapier, a light crossbow, and six crossbow bolts lie scattered on the pit’s floor.
Pulling down the lever in area J13 locks the pair’s lid and deactivates the trap.
Spiked Pit Trap (20 feet deep): See area J6.
J15. SKULK DEN (EL 2)
Dead rats, burnt tinder twigs, and bits of broken stone litter the floor of this room whose only furnishings include a cot against the northeast wall and a wooden chest bearing a dented lantern. The lantern is lit, but barely enough light escaped through its shutters to illuminate the room. Across from the round door in the west wall, a 5-foot-diameter tunnel carves its way east into darkness.
A cloaked skulk sleeps in the cot (see Creature below). The wooden chest is unlocked and contains the Treasure.
Creature: The sleeping skulk gets a Listen check to detect intruders; if its check is equal to or greater than its opponents’ worst Move Silently check, it awakens and reaches for its gear (which is stowed under the cot). If awakened by sounds of combat in area J4, the sleeping skulk casts off its cloak, grabs its equipment, and attempts to hide near the eastern tunnel. If one of the skulks from area J4 flees here, it also tries to hide after waking its sleeping companion.
Skulk: hp 6; see area G3 for complete statistics.
Possessions: Rapier, light crossbow with 20 bolts, dark cloak, thunderstone, three skeleton keys on a silver ring (the keys open any town lock with an Open Lock DC of 30 or lower).
Tactics: If it hides successfully, the skulk waits until all of its enemies enter the room before attacking the rearmost foe with its rapier. After the surprise round, it hurls a thunderstone into the back room as it flees to area JI7. The exploding thunder-stone alerts the skulks in areas J4, JI7, J58, and J59.
Treasure: The chest contains several items the skulks have found in the complex:
- 2 dark robes (bundled and tattered)
- 3 sun rods
- 2 flasks of oil
- 2 tinder twigs
- 1 thunderstone
- Ceramic stage mask portraying the sad visage of an anguished gnome with rabbit ears (worth 5 gp
- Silver ring shaped like a serpent with tiny azurite gems for eyes (worth 25 gp)
- A silver ewer adorned with dancing dryads and set with moss agates (worth 75 gp).
J16. MAP ROOM
An illusory wall conceals the north entrance of this room. Although it looks like an unremarkable stone wall when viewed, physical objects and creatures can pass through it with-out difficulty. Touch or probing searches reveal the true nature of the surface, but do not cause the illusion to disappear.
Carved into the south wall is a large map showing various interconnected rooms and corridors. The lines of the map glow faintly but do not shed enough light to illuminate the chamber.
The map on the south wall shows Jzadirune’s rooms and corridors, but none of its secret chambers or hidden hallways. Show the players Player Handout #2: Players’ Map of Jzadirune at this time, and allow them to view it only as long as their characters remain in the room.
J17. HALL OF DANCING LIGHTS (EL 4)
Flickering light spills from this great hall, and PCs who succeed at a Listen check (DC 10) also hear the sound of trickling water from within.
Eight black marble pillars support the 30-foot-high ceiling of this majestic hall. The pillars are carved to resemble gnome artisans and warriors standing on each other’s should dress, bracing the vaulted roof with their collective strength. The walls are adorned with faded murals depicting gnomes in reverie-playing pipes, dancing, performing acrobatic stunts, drinking wine, and so forth.
The 40-foot-wide hall widens to 60 feet at the south end, where you see a large circular pool enclosed by a semicircular-lar, 1-foot-high veined marble wall. Carved into the wall above the pool is a gnome visage with water spilling from its wide grin.
Four bright lights illuminate the hall from end to end, corner to corner. They flicker and dance like torchlight and drift aimlessly about the hall, changing altitude and direction on a whim.
Two piles of rubble, one in the northwest corner and another in the southwest corner, add elements of imperfection to this grand hall.
Jzadirune has many lingering magical effects, one of which is the permanent dancing lights spell cast in this hall. The lights create many shifting shadows, allowing the skulks in this hall to hide (see Creatures, below). A successful dispel magic (DC 23) cast on the dancing lights dismisses them.
The 20-foot-diameter pool provided most of Jzadirune’s fresh water supply. Purification spells rid the water of contaminants; although the spells are long gone, the water remains drinkable. The gnomes used to cast coins into the pool for good luck; the dark creepers swept up the tarnished coins shortly after they arrived.
The dark creepers created the two piles of rubble digging the 5-foot-diameter passages that lead to areas J4, J15, J56, and J59. The skulks have hidden some Treasure in the southernmost pile of rubble.
Creatures: Two naked skulks lurk behind the southern pillars. They attack anyone who dares to explore the south end of the hall.
Skulks (2): hp 10, 9; see area G3 for complete statistics. Possessions: Rapier, light crossbow with 20 bolts, thunderstone.
Tactics: If possible, the skulks try to flank a single opponent and attack with their rapiers. They hurl their thunderstones at enemy spell casters who remain out of melee range and gain one-half cover (+4 bonus to AC, +2 bonus on Reflex saves) when firing their crossbows from behind the pillars. The skulks flee through the south tunnel if either takes 5 or more points of damage. They hole up in area J56.
Treasure: Characters searching through the southern pile of rubble can make a Search check (DC 20). A successful check unearths a small, engraved wooden box adorned with prancing sylvan creatures and set with shards of lapis lazuli. Inside, the box is filled with gears and other mechanical components. A tiny silver crank also rests inside the box. When the crank is inserted into a hole in the front of the box and turned, the interior mechanisms produce soft, cheery music. The music box is worth 200 gp intact.
Development: Loud noises in this hall will alert the creatures in areas J4, JI5, J21, J58, and J59.
This 20-foot-high room has two levels: a 20-foot-square lower level to the west and a 10-foot-by-20-foot loft to the east. A wooden ladder connects them. Sracked crates and casks fill the lower level. A cabinet stands against the north wall of the loft, which also contains a heavy wooden trunk. Everything is draped with cobwebs.
A secret door at the back of the loft opens into area J58. Neither the skulks nor the dark creepers have found the secret door-or found their way into this room.
The crates are empty-their contents removed years ago by the former gnome occupants. The casks hold ale, but time has rendered the entire supply undrinkable and worthless.
The cabinet holds dusty towels, two empty clay jugs, an iron kettle, and some crumbling bars of soap.
The wooden trunk holds miscellaneous items: 12 candles wrapped in a square yard of canvas, two 50-foot-long hemp ropes, nine torches, an empty map case, and a small box containing flint and steel.
J19. GUEST QUARTERS
The gnomes of Jzadirune set aside this room for honored guests. Three human-sized beds stand against the south wall. Other furnishings include a table and four chairs, and a carved dresser. The three dresser drawers are empty, and the room holds nothing of value.
J20. COSTUME AND PROP STORAGE
This room contains six bulky wooden trunks, their lids thrown open and their contents disgorged. Strewn about the dusty floor are dozens of ornate masks, gaudy robes, fancy costumes, mock weapons carved from wood, gnarled staffs, and similar stage props. A few costumes dangle from coat racks, wooden mannequins, and wall hooks between some heavier props, including a wooden folding screen painted with stars, a stuffed wolf, and a wooden sun carved with a grinning face.
The gnomes staged elaborate plays in their small theater (area J22) and stored all of their costumes and props here. The skulks entered the room through the secret door in the south wall and searched the trunks for valuables, but found little of worth.
The secret door in the west wall (leading to area J21) is slightly ajar and therefore easier to detect than normal. Anyone searching the room spots it with a successful Search check (DC 20). PCs peering through the crack in the door can see that the room beyond is torch lit, but little else. The slightly ajar secret door also allows the skulk in area J21 to hear PCs who noisily explore this room and its contents.
Characters can find all sorts of costumes, masks, and props here-none of them magical or valuable.
J21. VANISHING SKULK (EL 2)
If the PCs approach this room without attempting to dim their light sources or soften their footsteps, the room’s denizen (a skulk afflicted with the Vanishing) hears them automatically and hides near one of the exits-whichever one is farthest from the PCs.
Dead rats, broken bits of furniture, and debris litter the floor of this dusty chamber. A torch burns in a sconce between a round door and crudely burrowed tunnel in the west wall.
A skulk lairs here. It spends most of its time gnawing on dead rats and listening for other skulks.
Creature: This skulk found a potion in area J10, imbibed it, and succumbed to the Vanishing. (The effects of the potion have long since expired.) The other skulks shun it, fearing they might catch the disease as well. This skulk has been left to its own devices.
The skulk has nearly faded away and almost appears ghost-like. However, it brandishes a normal rapier and wears a black ceramic wolf mask taken from area J20. It also wears a thick wolfskin cloak, which it uses to keep warm. It sheds the cloak if it needs to hide.
Skulk: hp 8; Cha 3; see area G3 for statistics and possessions. Skills: Hide +26 (+11 when clothed), Move Silently+12 (+8 when clothed).
Possessions: Rapier, wolf mask, wolfskin cloak.
Tactics: The skulk prefers to attack solitary foes. If it detects multiple enemies, it flees and hides in area JI3 or J2o, where it makes its final stand (if necessary).
J22. THEATER (EL 2)
Four ornate pillars support the 20-foor-high vaulted ceiling of this room, which is illuminated by lanterns hanging in the corners. Tattered red curtains dangle from iron rods mounted to the walls and pillars. Four rows of ornately carved benches stand in the rectangular area defined by the pillars.
Partially set into the south wall is a raised wooden stage with two short staircases leading up to it. Black curtains partially conceal the back wall of the stage, which is painted with an elaborate woodland mural.
If the PCs seat themselves in the theater or approach the stage, read or paraphrase the following:
One of the black stage curtains flutters, and a small figure steps out from behind it. A baby black bear-or rather, a gnome wearing a bear costume-takes center stage, raises a paw to his lips, and begins speaking softly.
“Night hath fallen in the Magic Woods, and while myriad woodland creatures dream, Willowbough and her faerie friends frolic beneath the sorcerous moon!”
The small bear curls up into a ball on the stage and feigns sleep. Moments later, a female gnome with briars for hair materializes on stage, although she was standing invisibly a moment ago, and begins dancing. Solemn music fills the theater as butterfly winged faeries appear from backstage and join in the ballet.
Lanterns lit by continual flame spells illuminate this theater. The gnomes, faeries, and music are programmed illusions. If the PCs let the scene play out, they bear witness to the drama of Willowbough and Silver arrow, a somber tale of a dryad who falls in love with a ranger, and Moon tusk, the ranger’s bitter were boar nemesis who strives to ruin their love by destroying the dryad’s sacred tree.
A trapdoor in the middle of the stage floor opens to reveal a 3-foot-tall, cobweb-filled storage area under the stage. It contains both a Creature and the Treasure.
Creature: A choker lurks under the stage and tries to grab any PC who descends through the trapdoor.
Choker: hp 15; Monster Manual 36.
Tactics: The choker uses its 10-foot reach its prey without getting too close to the trapdoor. If it succeeds in grabbing a character on the surprise round or the round following, the choker uses its extraordinary quickness to hold the trapdoor shut with one tentacle while choking its prey with the other. PCs trying to open the trapdoor must succeed at an opposed Strength check to pull open the trapdoor, or they can smash through it (hardness 5; hp 20).
Medium-size and larger characters suffer a -2 penalty on attack rolls while fighting in the cramped under stage area.
Treasure: The understage area contains two items: a masterwork mandolin (100 gp) and an unlocked wooden chest. The chest contains a fine cloak with a Nystul’s magical aura spell cast on it, a small locked spell book (Open Lock, DC 25), a wand of detect secret doors (15 charges) infected with the Vanishing, and a 5-inch-long steel rod with an engraved rune at one end and notches carved into the other (a key that unlocks all of the “J” gear doors in Jzadirune).
The spell book contains the following spells: change self, coler spray, detect magic, ghost sound, invisibility, Leomund’s trap, mage hand, minor image, misdirection, Nystul’s magical aura, Nystul’s undetectable aura, read magic, and silent image. The book can be sold for 325 gp.
Development: If the skulk in area J21 hears the play unfold, it peers into the theater through a hole in the north-west curtain and observes the PCs. Meanwhile, the skulks in area J17 move to flank the archway east of the theater, attacking the first PC who steps through.
J23. EMPTY GALLERY
Two short flights of stairs lead up to a 70-foot-long, 30-foot-wide octagonal gallery with a 15-foot-high vaulted ceiling. Twenty web-shrouded pedestals stand about the room, and the walls show signs of having once born tapestries and other fixtures. However, the items once displayed here have long since been removed.
The gnomes of Jzadirune displayed many of their finest constructs here but removed the precious displays when they abandoned the complex. A secret door opens into area J24.
J24. SECRET ART VAULT
A mirage arcana spell makes this dusty room appear empty. However, tactile exploration of the room reveals several items leaning against the east wall (see Treasure, below). The paintings become visible if they are taken from the room.
Treasure: Hidden by the mirage arcana spell are six framed paintings covered in gray dust cloths. Each painting measures 4 feet long and 3 feet tall and depicts a natural or mystical land-scape. The paintings can be sold to an interested art dealer for 100 gp each.
J25. KING’S HALL (EL 2)
Marble staircases split this room into three levels a rubble- strewn foyer to the east, a 10-foot-square marble landing, and an upper hall supported by two pillars sculpted to resemble petrified trees. Between the pillars rests a graven throne. An elderly gnome wearing silver crown is slumped in the throne. his soft snores echoing throughout the room. The 30-foot expanse of wall behind the throne is carved with frescoes depicting a complex array of gears
Another noteworthy feature is a cherubic gnome’s face carved in bas-relief on the west wall of the landing
The cherubic bas-relief visage is part of a magical trap that triggers whenever a living creature sets foot on the 10-foot- square landing (see Trap, below).
The ‘sleeping gnome king” is a permanent image cast upon the throne. In his lap rests an illusory scepter that fades away when touched
The throne’s right armrest contains a secret compartment that can be found with a successful Search check (DC 20). When the secret compartment is opened, the gnome king mumbles the following words in his sleep, which can only be heard by characters standing within 10 feet:
“Betrayed we are by our own mag,
One by one, we fade away
Jzadirune’s lost! Oh, how tragic!
We curse the vanishing day.”
Trap: When a living creature sets foot on the 1-foot-square marble landing, a magic mouth spell cast on the gnome’s visage says in Common, “If you wish an audience with the king, place your finest coin in my mouth.”
Any gold or platinum coin placed in the bas-relief’s mouth is instantly teleported to the secret compartment in the throne’s armrest. Nothing more happens. If a PC drops a coin of lesser value in the mouth, the coin is not teleported away and the magic mouth says “Miser! What a paltry tribute! I curse you with clumsiness! The PC must succeed at a Will save (DC (rapier). ta-6 penalty to Dexterity (as per the bestow curse 17) or suffer a spell), the PC’s Dexterity score cannot drop below 1. The curse is permanent until removed with a break enchantment, remove curse, or similar spell. Rogues cannot disable this trap, which resets after 3 rounds.
Bestow Curse Trap: CR 2; target suffers a-6 penalty to Dex- terity (permanent); Will save (DC 17) negates, Search (DC 24); Disable Device (n/a), automatic reset after 3 rounds.
Treasure: The secret compartment in the throne’s armrest contains a bed of 75 gp (plus any additional coins teleported from the bas-relief visage’s mouth) and two 5-inch-long steel rods, each with an engraved rune at one end and notches carved into the other. The rods are keys for the “N” and “E” gear doors, respectively.
J26. AUTOMATON FACTORY (EL 4)
Metal wreckage and broken gears be strewn about these 10 foot-high, oddly shaped chambers Standing in the middle of the room is the half-built metal framework of a four-legged, 5-foot-tall construct with one arm ending in a spiked wedge. Its other arm is nowhere to be seen.
Gear doors are set into the north and south walls. Near them, two roughly hewn runnels lead into darkness Webs fill the corners of the room.
A half-finished, nonfunctional pulverizer automaton stands in the middle of the room: see pages 27-28 of the Monster Manual II for ta picture and description of this construct. Lurking behind the construct is the chamber’s lone occupant-see Creature, below.
PCs sifting through the debris can find the smashed remains of two work tables, several metal springs and gears, a metal pincer claw (similar to the one attached to the hammerer automaton in area J16), and bits of armor plating. The room holds little of value, however.
Creature: While scouring the dungeon for food and valuables, one of the skulks ran afoul of a raggamoffyn in area 131. The raggamoffyn wrapped itself around the skulk and took control of its mind. The captured skulk seeks lure another humanoid crea ture (skulk or otherwise) into area J31, where a second ragg amoffyn waits to gain a host. Other skulks have encountered the captured one, but they fled to avoid a similar fate and have shied away from this part of the dungeon ever since.
Captured Skulk/Common Raggamoffyn: CR 4; Medium-size Construct: HD 3d10 (raggamoffyn) and 2d8 (skulk); hp 16 (raggamuffyn) and 10 (skulk), Init +2: Spd 30 ft; AC 17, touch12, flat-footed 15; BAB+1; Grap+3. Ark +3 melee (1d6+2/18-20, rapier) or +3 ranged (1d8/19-20, light cross bow); SQ darkvision 60 ft, construct traits, shared damage (see below), innate nondetection, peerless camouflage, trackless path (see area 14 for details); AL N; SV Fort +1, Ref +3, Will +3; Str 14, Dex 15, Con 10, Int 11, Wis 15, Cha 6.
Skills: Hide +7, Move Silently +4. Feats: Weapon Finesse (rapier).
Shared Damage (Ex): An attack on a captured one deals half damage to the raggamoffyn and half damage to the dominated skulk.
Tactics: As the PCs enter the room from the south, the captured skulk bolts through the north tunnel and heads to area J31.
If the PCs approach from the north and the captured skulk has no way to reach area J31, it attacks with its rapier. If the skulk drops to 0 or fewer hit points, the raggamoffyn tries to claim a new host.
J27. GEARWORKS (EL 3)
Smashed tables and chairs litter the floor of this room. Hundreds of tiny wooden and metal gear mechanisms spill from sundered crates, and a 4-foot-high mound of stone rubble fills the northwest corner. Mounted to the 20-foot-high ceiling are two large wooden fans strung with cobwebs. The fans are connected to some gears and rope belts that cross the ceiling and disappear into the wall on either side of the eastern exit. In the middle of the room stands something draped in a large gray sheet. The shrouded object is roughly 5 feet tall, 5 feet wide, and irregular in shape.
The gnomes of Jzadirune used to make gears and other mechanisms here. The ceiling fans helped circulate the air. The fan belts connect to a pair of nonfunctional gear work generators in area J28.
Creature: The thing concealed beneath the sheet in the middle of the room is a pulverizer automaton. If the sheet is removed or the automaton disturbed, roll 1d20: On a roll of 11 or higher, it grinds to life and attacks anyone who is not a gnome or dark one within 40 feet (the range of its blind sight ability). Otherwise, it remains inactive until further disturbed.
Embossed on the surface of the construct (in Gnome) are the command words for activating and deactivating the automaton (“thrymbryl” and “myglym,” respectively). Characters who cannot read Gnome cannot speak the command words correctly.
When activated, the pulverizer will follow simple commands in Gnome (“kill all humans, ” “halt, ” “turn left, “turn right, ” and so on). It can climb stairs, but it is too wide to fit through gear doors or secret doors. If given conflicting commands in the round before it acts, it shuts down for 1 round.
The dark stalker used this automaton to burrow tunnels through the rock.
Pulverizer Automaton: hp 18; Monster Manual II 27 or see the “Life’s Bazaar” Web enhancement.
Treasure: The “heart” of the automaton is actually a deep blue spinel (worth 500 gp). Finding it requires a successful Search check (DC 24).
Set into the north and south walls of this corridor are six 10-foot-deep niches filled with dust and cobwebs. Some of the niches contain elaborate, gear-addled contraptions. A makeshift wall composed of wooden planks and braces blocks the eastern end of the hall.
Four of the niches contain magically powered, gear-driven generators for the ceiling fans in areas J27, J29, and J3I. Rope belts connected to each generator disappear through holes in the ceiling of each niche. Pulling a lever activates or shuts down each of the eastern generators, although finding the lever requires a successful Search check (DC 12). The western generators have had several years removed from them and are no longer functional.
Each of the easternmost niches has a secret door at the back of it (leading to areas J29 and J3I, respectively). The two middle niches contain nothing but dust and cobwebs.
The makeshift wall is described in area J39.
J29. SECRET LIBRARY (EL 1)
A permanent obscuring mist spell fills this chamber, obscuring all sight (including dark vision) beyond s feet. A dispel magic does not remove the mist, although a gust of wind disperses the mist after 4 rounds.
If the characters explore the mist-shrouded room, read or paraphrase the following text:
Although you can’t see anything beyond s feet, your preliminary exploration of the room reveals a thin carpet of stone rubble covering the floor, with mounds of shattered rock piled in nearby corners. Built into the walls are rows of stone shelves-perhaps bookshelves, although you see no books on them. The shelves might very well rise to the ceiling, which you cannot see.
A ladder leans against the northwest wall. An ominous silhouette in the middle of the room turns out to be a harmless wooden lectern. Before you can investigate further, you feel something crawl across your foot.
This room was once a library, but the gnomes of Jzadirune removed their precious books before abandoning the complex. Mounted to the ceiling is a fan connected to a magical genera-tor in area J28. Activating the ceiling fan clears the room of mist after 4 rounds.
The ladder allows one to reach the topmost shelves, just below the 15-foot-high ceiling. Both the shelves and the lectern are bare.
All of the secret doors here are hidden behind movable sections of shelving that require a successful Strength check (DC 20) to open. The obscuring mist makes the secret doors harder to detect than normal (Search, DC 22).
Creatures: Four 4-foot-long monstrous centipedes attack PCs who explore this room. They scuttle out of cavities under the shelves and rubble. Roll for surprise normally, but apply a -4 penalty to the PCs’ Spot checks because of the obscuring mist.
Attacks made against a centipede in an adjacent square suffer a 20% miss chance (for one-half concealment). The centipedes likewise have a 20% chance of missing with each of their attacks, since they don’t have blind sight. Foes farther than 5 feet away have total concealment (50% miss chance).
Small Monstrous Centipedes (4): hp 2 each; Monster Manual 207.
Tactics: The centipedes pursue prey out of the room. They attack mindlessly until slain.
J30. SCROLL STORAGE
Arcane scrolls were once stored here, but the gnomes removed and destroyed all of them, fearing they might spread the Vanishing
Entering the empty, dust-covered room sends a number of small, harmless spiders scurrying and triggers a programmed illusion. An elderly, translucent gnome wizard with a faintly glowing ruby in her left eye socket appears in the room and recites the following words in Common before fading away:
“I am Emirystul, librarian of Jzadirune. The scrolls you seek have been destroyed to keep you and others from fading into nothingness. The curse of the Vanishing began here, in these mystic halls, and here it will remain. Be careful what you find, and mind whatever magic was wrought here.”
If the secret door to the room is closed and reopened, the programmed illusion resets.
J31. ALCHEMY LAB (EL 3)
An acrid stench fills this 10-foot-high chamber, which contains two large tables draped in cobwebs. Alchemical apparatus clutters one tabletop, while the other table has been flipped on its side, spilling its contents into the middle of the room. Amid the fragments of shattered glass lie some broken candles, some spent tinder twigs, various sundry utensils, and a pile of rags.
A 5-foot-wide tunnel in the west wall leads into darkness. Against the opposite wall stands a cabinet, its doors set with jagged shards of frosted glass. It looks like someone smashed through the glass to reach the contents within. Mounted to the ceiling is a web-shrouded wooden fan connected to some gears and a rope belt that crosses the ceiling and disappears into the north wall.
The pile of rags is actually the Creature. It waits until someone enters the room before attacking. The room’s other contents are detailed under Treasure, below. The wooden ceiling fan connects to a magically powered generator in area J28, but it is currently “off”
Creature: A common raggamoffyn disguises itself as a pile of rags in the middle of the room.
Common Raggamoffyn: hp 16; Monster Manual II 175 or see the “Life’s Bazaar” Web enhancement.
Tactics: The raggamoffyn flies at the first character (or other humanoid creature) that enters the room. If it hits with its slam attack, it attempts to grapple its foe. If the grapple check succeeds, it can attempt to wrap itself around the victim next round and control the host on the following round.
Treasure: The upright table bears an alchemist’s lab (worth 500 gp) as well as the following items:
- 5 empty glass flasks
- 6 flasks of harmless (no magical) powder
- 3 flasks of hardened sludge (harmless)
- 2 flasks of acid (worth 10 gp each)
- 20 tinder twigs (worth 1 gp each)
- A 5-inch-long steel rod with an engraved rune at one end and notches carved into the other. This key opens all “U” doors in Jzadirune.
- On the floor near the “pile of rags” rests a tangle foot bag (worth 50 gp).
- The broken cabinet holds a few alchemical items of interest.
- 3 flasks of alchemist’s fire (worth 20 gp each)
- 4 vials of antitoxin (worth 50 gp each)
- 2 smoke sticks (worth 20 gp each)
- 8 sun rods (worth 2 gp each)
- A thunderstone (worth 30 gp)
- A vial containing 2 applications of universal solvent (worth 2, 000 gp).
Development: If the captured skulk from area J26 retreats to this room, it hides behind the overturned table and grabs the tangle foot bag lying on the floor nearby. It hurls the bag at the first PC to enter the room before leaping into combat.
J32. SECRET POTION STORAGE
Three cabinets stand against the walls of this 10-foot-high room. The cabinet doors hang open, and a shroud of dust covers the floor.
The cabinets hold scores of flasks and vials containing liquids of various colors and consistencies. However, the gnomes dispelled all of the potions, believing they were contaminated with the Vanishing. None of the liquid stored here radiate magic, although many of the flasks bear labels with spell names on them (written in Gnome).
J33. SLEEPING QUARTERS
This room is identical to area J8.
J34. PIT LEVER AND RUBBLE
Chunks of broken stone and smaller debris fill this room. A wooden lever juts from an iron plate set into the west wall. A 5-foot-diameter tunnel delves east into darkness.
The wooden lever controls the pit trap (or tilt-a-pit trap, if you’re using the Web enhancement) in area J6. Pulling the lever up locks the pit’s lid and deactivates the trap, allowing creatures to cross the pit safely.
Characters searching through the rubble find some smashed furniture and, with a successful Search check (DC 22), a 5-inch-long metal rod with a rune engraved on one end and notches carved into the other. This key opens all “Z” gear doors in Jzadirune.
J35. FOYER AND IRON DOORS
Four circular doors-each one bearing a different rune-lead from this dusty 15-foot-high room. However, your attention is quickly drawn to a semicircular mosaic of engraved floor tiles that fans out from an arching set of double doors set in the north wall. Unlike the other portals, the northern doors are made of iron, embossed with gear like patterns, and held to a stone doorframe by great iron hinges.
The iron double doors are locked from the south side, although they can be pushed open with ease from area J36. The key to unlock them has been lost. Engraved on the semicircular floor mosaic in front of the doors are nine glyphs-the same ones that appear on Jzadirune’s gear doors (see Gear Doors for derails). These are purely decorative and do not trigger any traps, magical or mundane.
Locked Iron Doors: 2in. thick, Hardness 10; hp 60; break DC 28; good lock (Open Lock, DC 30).
J36. GREAT FACTORY (EL 3)
This enormous chamber has a ceiling that soars to a height of 45 feet at its peak. Two great marble pillars support wooden balconies 15 feet above the chamber’s west and east wings. Two iron-wrought spiral staircases-located in the southwest and southeast corners-connect the balconies to the ground floor.
The furnishings on the ground level suggest some sort of assembly area. Desks occupy much of the area, although a few boxes and crates fill various corners and nooks. An 8-foot-diameter wooden gear hangs from the ceiling at the north end of the chamber, suspended by a pair of great iron chains. A bright light burns in the hollow center of the great gear, illuminating a great mosaic of interconnected gears painstakingly painted on the ceiling and walls of the room. The singular light casts many shadows throughout the chamber, and the faint sound of clattering gears resonates from somewhere not too far away.
Diagram #2: Area J36 provides a cross-sectional view of this room, as viewed from the south.
A permanent ghost sound cast upon the room years ago invokes the sound of clattering gears, which doesn’t travel far from this room. The great gear hanging from the ceiling is part of the chamber’s décor, and the bright light burning in its center is a continual flame spell.
The gnomes of Jzadirune constructed most of their wondrous magic items here. Characters who search the desks and boxes find some of the raw materials needed to create such items, although the gnomes took the most valuable components with them when they left.
The dark creepers received an unpleasant surprise when they first discovered their room, leading them to seal off the area with makeshift walls (see area J39).
Creature: Not long after the gnomes left, a grell took residence here. For years it fed on tiny rats and vermin. When the dark creepers arrived, the grell captured and devoured one of them. It currently lurks in the shadows above the eastern balcony, waiting for other succulent morsels to blunder into its lair.
Grell: hp 32; Monster Manual II 121 or see the “Life’s Bazaar” Web enhancement.
Tactics: The grell drops down on prey from above or tries to grab a creature ascending the eastern spiral staircase. It uses its Flyby Attack feat to move both before and after taking an attack action. Thus, it can swoop down on an unsuspecting character, make a single tentacle attack, and hoist its grappled prey into the air. Any ranged attack made against the grell after it grapples a character has a 50% chance of hitting the character instead.
Diagram #2: Area J36
Treasure: The bones and shredded black robe of the grell’s dark creeper victim lie atop the eastern mezzanine amid the dusty desks. Amid the remains, PCs can find the following items:
- A masterwork dagger (sized for a Small character) with a poison compartment holding one application of monstrous spider venom (Fortitude save DC 14; initial and secondary 1d4 Str).
- A potion of cure light wounds
- A potion of invisibility
- A black pouch containing 80 cp and 32 sp.
Since the potions were not created in Jzadirune, they are not afflicted with the Vanishing.
Small desks have been arranged in three concentric semicircles facing the south wall of this 15-foot-high octagonal room. Chalkboards set in stone frames along the three southern-most walls bear faded equations and formulas. A web-shrouded lectern stands in front of them, facing the desks. A pile of stony rubble spills from the mouth of a 5-foot-diameter tunnel that breaches the north wall.
Jzadirune’s scholars used this classroom to teach young gnomes various subjects, including mathematics and the magical arts. The dark creepers searched this room and found no valuables; PCs who search the chamber also find nothing of value, although a successful Search check (DC 20) reveals a secret door in the west wall that leads to the library (area J29).
J38. WEAVER’S WORKSHOP
A large wooden loom, its skeletal frame draped with cob-webs, stands in the middle of this 15-foot-high octagonal room. Three smaller spinning wheels surround it, also covered with cobweb sheets. An iron coat rack stands next to one of them.
The gnomes of Jzadirune wove clothing here. The three spinning wheels radiate moderate Transmutation magic when a detect magic spell is cast.
Programmed mage hand spells cause the spinning wheels to spin and clatter whenever someone enters the room. The effect is harmless, but it may discourage interlopers from investigating the east wall, which conceals a secret door (leading to area J42).
J39. MAKESHIFT WALL
To confine the grell in area J36, the dark creepers erected these makeshift walls using wooden planks (taken from smashed benches in area J5I). Iron spikes hammered into the walls and iron braces bolted to the floor keep the wall from tipping over. There is no easy way past the makeshift wall except to smash through. Fortunately for the dark creepers, the grell’s tentacles don’t deal enough damage to overcome the wall’s hardness, and the creature isn’t quite strong enough to simply knock it down.
Makeshift Wooden Wall: 2 in. thick; Hardness 5; hp 30; break DC 22.
J40. WOODSHOP (EL 3)
If the PCs approach this room quietly in darkness, without raising alarms in area J44 or J45, allow them to make a Move Silently check to surprise the dark creeper located here. The check is opposed by the dark creeper’s Listen check.
Half-made kegs, tables, bookshelves, and chests clutter this dark, 10-foor-high room. Most of these unfinished works have been pushed against the outer walls, making room for four cots in the middle of the floor. Two workbenches covered with carpenter’s tools flank the north exit. A few rat bones litter the floor.
A dark creeper lairs here. If the PCs use silence and darkness to conceal their approach, they might catch the dark creeper napping in its cot. Otherwise, the dark creeper is hiding among the half-finished furnishings.
Characters searching the room for treasure can, with a successful Search check (DC 12), find a small trove stashed in a lidless chest (see Treasure, below)
Creatures: Dark creepers despise light and attack PCs carrying torches or lanterns above all others. Some even spend a move action extinguishing torches and lanterns dropped in the heat of battle.
Dark Creeper: CR 3; Small Humanoid (dark one); HD 1d8+3; hp 7; Init+3; Spd 30 ft. ; AC 17, touch 14, flat-footed 14; BAB+0; Grap-3; Atk+2 melee (1d3+1/19-20, dagger) or+3 ranged (1d3+1/19-20, dagger); SA sneak attack+2d6; SQ blind sight 60 ft. , light vulnerability, evasion, shadow cloak; AL CN; SV Fort+1, Ref+5, Will+2; Str 12, Dex 17, Con 13, Int 10, Wis 15, Cha 10.
Skills: Hide+15, Listen+3, Move Silently+8, Pick Pocket (Sleight of Hand) +4, Spot+3, Tumble +4. Feats: Lightning Reflexes.
Light Vulnerability (Ex): When exposed to sunlight or its magical equivalent, dark creepers suffer a-2 morale penalty on attack rolls, damage rolls, saving throws, ability checks, and skill checks.
Shadow Cloak (Su): Three times per day, a dark creeper can wrap itself in a cloak of shadows that grants it concealment from its foes. In shadows or darkness, the dark creeper gains nine-tenths concealment (a 40% miss chance from attackers). In bright light, it gains one-half concealment (20% miss chance). Dark vision does not reduce the amount of concealment. Creatures that can see in magical darkness suffer no miss chance.
Possessions: Black cloak, 4 dark creeper-sized daggers, pouch containing 1d6x10 cp and 1d6x5sp.
Tactics: If alerted to the PCs’ approach, the dark creeper tries to gain a sneak attack, using its shadow cloak ability to gain partial concealment as it strikes.
Treasure: The dark creepers keep some miscellaneous valuables in a lidless chest in this room. In addition to some worth less trinkets, PCs find the following:
- 4 engraved copper cups (worth 2 gp each)
- A silver cloak pin set with a bloodstone (worth 45 gp)
- 3 zircons (worth 50 gp each)
- A gold comb set with citrines (worth 160 gp)
- 26 sp and 130 cp (loose).
Four soot-blackened hearths are set into the corners of the room. In front of each rests an anvil and bellows, and implements of the something trade hang from nearby hooks. Two barrels of scummy water, once used to cool searing hot iron weapons and implements, stand against the north wall. Two more flank the south exit, and two empty weapon racks stand in the middle of the room. Characters who sift the bottom of the barrel marked “X” on the map and succeed at a Search check (DC 20) find a 5-inch-long steel rod with a rune engraved on one end and notches carved into the other. This key unlocks all of the “I” gear doors in Jzadirune.
A secret door in the west wall leads to area J42.
J42. SECRET HALLWAY (EL 2)
This dust-choked T-shaped corridor leads to area J43; it contains a Trap.
Trap: The 20-foot stretch of corridor north of the T-shaped intersection is trapped. The entire 20-foot-by-10-foot section of floor is one pressure plate. When 250 pounds of weight (or more) is applied to the pressure plate, spring-loaded spears extend and retract quickly from holes in the walls (at varying heights). The spears continue to extend and retract as long as the pressure plate remains depressed.
Any creature in the 20-foot-long section of hall when the trap activates is attacked by 1d4 spears. The holes in the walls are concealed by illusory wall spells, but they can be detected by touch.
The trap was designed so that gnomes (who are typically lighter than 250 pounds) could navigate the hallway without triggering the trap.
Spear Trap: CR 2; +3 melee (1d6, 1d4 spears); Search (DC 15); Disable Device (DC 18); automatic reset.
J43. SECRET VAULT
The gnomes stored many of their most precious magic items and weapons in this musty, 10-foot-high chamber. However, these items were either sold or destroyed before the gnomes vacated Jzadirune. The room is, in fact, empty.
J44. HIDDEN FOES (EL 4)
A 5-foot-wide, rough-hewn circular tunnel breaches the west wall of this chamber. Another punches through the east wall. The rubble left by the excavation of these tunnels has been pushed into the northeast part of the room, leaving the rest of this 10-foot-high chamber clear. A few rat bones and other refuse litter the floor, but otherwise the room appears empty.
Diagram #3: Area J44
Two permanent 10-foot-radius invisibility spheres conceal this chamber’s occupants. The areas of invisibility are fixed and encompass the 5-foot squares shown in Diagram #3: Area J44. The invisibility spheres, created by some miscast magic years ago, mask only living creatures and items in their possession.
Creatures: A pulverizer automaton stands in the southeast corner of the room, hidden by an invisibility sphere. It is not alone; a dark creeper stands guard near the northwest corner, inside the other invisibility sphere.
Pulverizer Automaton: hp 18; Monster Manual II 27 or see the “Life’s Bazaar” Web enhancement. and possessions.
Dark Creeper: hp 9; see area J40 for complete statistics.
Tactics: If it sees intruders approaching from the south pa’s sage or southeast tunnel, the dark creeper barks a command to the pulverizer in Gnome (“Taral yan zyggek!”or “Attack all intruders!”) and withdraws to area J45 to warn its master. Although it cannot speak Gnome fluently, the dark creeper speaks them.
If the PCs enter the room through the northwest tunnel, the dark creeper stealthily moves across the room and uses the south-east passage to reach area J52. It prefers not to fight the PCs without the presence of other creepers.
Anyone who speaks Gnome can command the pulverizer to cease it attacks. The automaton can also be commanded to per-form other simple tasks. I fit is given conflicting instructions in the same round, it takes no actions on its next turn.
Treasure: If the pulverizer is destroyed, PCs can search the sundered remains. A successful Search check (DC 24) reveals a deep blue spinel “heart” (worth 500 gp) and a 5-inch-long steel rod with a rune engraved on one end and notches carved into the other. The rod is a key that unlocks all “A” gear doors in Jzadirune.
J45. GLASSBLOWING WORKSHOP (EL 4)
This dark, 10-foot-high room has exits in the north and south-west walls, plus gear doors set into the south and east walls. A stone oven fills the northwest corner. Iron tongs hang from a hook nearby. Bottles, flasks, and pottery clutter shelves and tables haphazardly pushed against the bare walls. Shards of broken glass and ceramic cover the floor such that you think it would be difficult to cross the room without stepping on them.
Little evidence suggests that something lives here, but the leader of the dark ones calls this room his lair. The dark stalker, Yuathyb, requires very little sleep, and he suspects that his dark creeper followers secretly conspire to betray him. For this reason, he prefers to remain alone until the skulks have need of his minions’ services.
Yuathyb has pushed a heavily laden table in front of the secret door to area J47. Moving the table takes a move action, as does opening the secret door.
Creature: Yuathyb recently contracted the Vanishing and has acquired a ghostlike translucence. His current state gives him a +4 circumstance bonus on Hide checks, which he uses to full advantage.
Yuathyb, Dark Stalker: CR 4; Medium-size Humanoid (dark one); HD 3d8+3; hp 16; Init+3; Spd 30ft.; AC 17, touch 13, flat-footed 14; BAB+2; Grap+4; Atk+4 melee (1d6+2/19-20 and poison, short sword) or +5 ranged (1d6+2 and poison, javelin), SA sneak attack+3d6, poison use; SQ blind sight 60 ft., light vulnerability, shadow cloak (see area J40), fog cloud 2/day, AL CN; 15, Cha 8 (16 at full). SV Fort+2, Ref+8, Will+3; Str 14, Dex 17, Con 13, Int 13, Wis 15, CHA 8 (16 at full).
Skills: Hide +15, Listen +4, Move Silently +8, Pick Pocket (Sleight of Hand) +4, Spot+3, Tumble+3. Feats: Lightning Reflexes.
Poison Use (Ex): Yuathyb has coated his sword and javelins with Medium-size monstrous spider venom (Fortitude save DC 14, initial and secondary 1d4 Str). He never risks accidentally poisoning himself when applying poison to his weapons.
Fog Cloud (Sp): Twice per day, Yuathyb can cast fog cloud as a 5th-level sorcerer.
Languages: Gnome, Undercommon.
Possessions: Black cloak, short sword, 4 javelins, potion of cure light wounds, potion of remove paralysis, key to all “D” gear doors (hanging around neck), vial of monstrous spider venom (5 applications; Fortitude save DC 14; initial and secondary 1d4 Str), pouch containing 60 sp.
Tactics: The dark stalker prefers not to fight if outnumbered. Yuathyb tries to hide, attacking only if the PCs find the secret door to area J47. In that case, he tries to deal sneak attack damage with a poisoned weapon and holds his ground until reinforcements arrive from area J40 or J44 (at which point he can deal sneak attack damage to flanked opponents). If reduced to 8 hit points or fewer, he uses fog cloud to escape, tumbling past foes if necessary to reach an exit.
Development: If the PCs can speak Gnome or Undercommon, they can negotiate with the wily dark stalker. This requires some deft roleplaying and a successful Bluff, Diplomacy, or Intimidate check (depending on the nature of the exchange).
Yuathyb does not know how he contracted the Vanishing but is anxious to find a cure. If the heroes can offer one, the dark stalker will listen to reason. He can also be persuaded not to interfere in the PCs’ plans, provided they deal no (further) harm to him or his dark creeper followers.
Yuathyb has no loyalty to the skulks, although they have helped him in the past. He will not actively oppose the skulks but can provide information on their approximate numbers and whereabouts. He also knows where they’re keeping Keygan’s rat familiar (in area J60) and how to get there without opening any of the gear doors.
If the PCs have nothing to offer, Yuathyb might agree to leave them alone or reveal the way to Kazmojen’s fortress (the elevator in area J63) if they promise to kill the grell in area J36 and return with proof of the creature’s death (a severed tentacle, for instance).
Ad-hoc XP Award: If the PCs successfully negotiate with Yuathyb, award them experience as if they’d defeated the dark stalker in combat.
J46. JEWELER’S WORKSHOP
This 20-foot-square chamber contains a stout desk and matching chair. The table bears a set of copper scales and a jar of dried-up ink with a feather quill sticking out of it. Shelves line the far wall. Everything is caked in dust.
Jzadirune’s resident jeweler used to work in this small office. Everything of value was removed except for a 5-inch-long steel rod tucked in the back of a small drawer built into the tabletop. A successful Search check (DC 15) locates the rod, which has a small rune engraved on one end and notches worked into the other. The rod is a key that opens all “R” gear doors in Jzadirune.
J47. SECRET TREASURY
A table laden with glass vessels and pottery blocks the secret door leading to this vault (see area J4s for details).
Unlike the other rooms you’ve found, this chamber is completely free of dust and cobwebs. Green marble tiles cover the floor, and the walls are painted with bright murals depicting a forest of enormous fungi.
A gnome-sized suit of full-plate armor, complete with visor and helm, stands in the middle of the room. Next to it sits a 2-foot-tall clay urn filled with treasure.
Magic spells keep this chamber clean. The “fungi forest” mural cleverly conceals the secret doors in the east and south walls, making them harder to locate (Search, DC 22).
The clay urn contains all of the treasure the dark creepers have amassed since coming to Jzadirune, including items pilfered from the city above (see Treasure, below).
The suit of armor is inanimate, harmless, and detailed under Treasure below.
Treasure: The suit of armor is filled head-to-toe with coins-4, 500 sp, to be exact. If moved, the armor falls apart, causing the coins to spill onto the floor. The armor is ordinary gnome-sized full plate, which can be sold in the city for 700 gp. The clay urn has handles so that it can be carried easily. It holds the following items:
- 622 cp, 958 sp, and 75 gp (loose)
- 3 silver rings (worth 5 gp each)
- A tiny silver locket (worth 10 gp) containing ashes (a pinch of someone’s cremated remains)
- 2 plain gold rings (worth 25 gp each)
- A platinum bracelet (worth 175 gp) engraved with the following words in Dwaven: “To Sondor, my deepest love. Lorthan.”
- A set of masterwork thieves’ tools (worth 100 gp)
- A potion of delay poison
- A wand of sleep (8 charges; command word “Slumber”).
J48. SECRET VAULT (EL 2 AND 1)
The dark stalker and dark creepers did not locate this vault during their search of the dungeon.
Beyond another secret door lies a 10-foot-by-20-foot room with a 10-foot-high ceiling. Standing against the south wall is a gnome-sized suit of banded mail clutching a finely forged gnome hooked hammer. At its feet rests an iron chest secured with an iron padlock.
The iron chest is held to the floor with sovereign glue. (The universal solvent in area J31 can be used to dissolve the glue.) The chest is locked (Open Lock, DC 25) and holds the Treasure. The suit of armor is the Creature.
Creature: The armor is actually a dread guard that animates and attacks if it or the chest is disturbed.
Dread Guard: hp 27; Monster Manual II 87 or see the “Life’s Bazaar” Web enhancement, except Atk +6 melee (1d6+4, masterwork hammer) or +4 melee (1d6+3/x3, masterwork hammer) and+0 melee (1d4+1/x4, masterwork hook).
Possessions: Masterwork gnome hooked hammer.
Treasure: A permanent illusion (cast at 12th level) makes the chest appear empty. However, tactile exploration of the chest reveals contents within. Items removed from the chest become visible instantly. They include the following:
- 3 shrew statuettes carved from smoky quartz (worth 75 gp each)
- A mother-of-pearl-inlaid board with matching wooden game pieces (gnome kings, queens, knights, and other figures), worth 250 gp for the set.
- A tiny silk pouch containing 3 white pearls (worth 100 gp each).
J49. SECRET VAULT
The dark stalker and dark creepers did not locate this vault during their search of the dungeon.
All three chests in the 10-foot by 20-foot room are unlocked but have Leomund’s trap spells cast on them to make them appear trapped. The chests are all empty-looted by the gnomes before they left Jzadirune. Strange glyphs on their lids might once have warded them, but any magic was long since discharged.
J50. FALSE FOREST
Magic has transformed this section of the dungeon into a small forest. Four great trees sprout from the grassy floor, their leafy crowns fanning out 20 feet overhead to form a roof of deciduous leaves through which rays of sunshine filter. Brambles and thickets form impassible walls, although you can see bramble archways set into the north and south walls leading to dark passages and chambers beyond.
Two mounds of stony rubble flank a hole in the middle of the east wall that appears to be a natural runnel through the underbrush.
A gentle zephyr causes leaves to rustle, and you can hear birds chirping merrily.
An effect similar to a permanent hallucinatory terrain spell has transformed pillars into trees, walls into brambles, and floor tiles into patches of grass. The room looks, smells, sounds, and feels like a forest. The two piles of rubble against the east wall (left behind from the dark creepers’ excavations) appeared later and were not incorporated into the illusion.
The secret door in the northwest corner is well hidden by the illusion; locating it from this side requires a Search check (DC 25).
The dark creepers despise this area and generally avoid it whenever possible.
J51. DINING HALL
Once a dining hall, this chamber contains only the wreckage of once fine furniture. Two iron chandeliers dangle from the ceiling, while a third-its rope severed-lies amid the debris on the floor.
Characters can hear the sounds of chirping birds and rustling leaves through the northern archway (see area J50 for details). Nothing of value remains here.
J52. KITCHEN (EL 5 AND 1)
Two stone hearths fall the east corners of this 10-foor-high, 30- foot-square kitchen. Stone shelves, barren and dusty, fill the wall space between the blackened fireplaces. In the middle of the room stand two stout tables covered in old webs, while against the south wall rests, a dilapidated wooden cabinet on the verge of collapsing under its own weight.
Debris from a roughly hewn, 5-foot-diameter tunnel in the north wall spills into the room. Near the opening, you see the shriveled husks of three enormous spiders.
The dark creepers fought and killed three Medium-size monstrous spiders in this room. They then drained the arachnids of their virulent venom.
Searching the cabinet might have dire consequences, as detailed under Trap, below. Hidden amid the clay dishware in the cabinet is a 5-inch-long steel rod with a rune engraved on one end and notches carved into the other. This key unlocks all “Z” gear doors in Jzadirune.
Creatures: Two dark creepers lurk here. If the dark creeper from area J44 fled to this room, it is also hiding in the room (behind a dead spider or under a table). Encountered in pairs or threes, dark creepers are extremely dangerous due to their sneak attack and shadow cloak abilities.
Dark Creepers (2): hp 7, 6; see area J4o for complete statistics and possessions.
Tactics: The dark creepers hide in the fireplaces until an enemy approaches; then they move to flank, hoping to deal sneak attack damage. They rely on their shadow cloak ability to avoid taking damage and use their Tumble skill to avoid taking attacks of opportunity while maneuvering in tight spaces.
Trap: The large cabinet holds varnished clay dishware left behind by the gnomes of Jzadirune. A Search check (DC 13) reveals that the cabinet might collapse if disturbed, and a successful Disable Device check (DC 15) allows a rogue to stabilize the cabinet.
Opening or otherwise tampering with the cabinet causes it to topple. Anyone standing in front of the cabinet can make a Reflex save to take half damage.
Collapsing Cabinet: CR 1; 2d6 points of damage; Reflex save (DC 10) for half damage; Search (DC 13); Disable Device (DC 16); no reset.
The gnomes removed most of the edibles from the pantry before vacating the complex. However, a few scattered jars and baskets of dried herbs remain amid some casks of vinegar, loaves dry bread, and mold.
J54. SLEEPING QUARTERS
This room is identical to area J8.
Thin wooden walls separate six curtained stalls that stretch across the northern wall, although none of the dividers prevent the stench of this chamber from reaching you. A fish-shaped fresco carved into the back wall once served as a waterspout to a rectangular pool of now-brackish water, although water no longer pours from its gaping mouth.
Waste from the latrine stalls drops into a 30-foot-square cis-tern located 20 feet below this chamber. The foul stench rises from this cistern. The southern basin contains fouled water and nothing more.
J56. SKULKS’ TREASURE ROOM
Bits of rubble and debris cover the flood of this cold room. Patches of green mold grow on the damp walls and cling to the 10-foot-high ceiling. Lying in a heap in the southeast corner are the gutted, putrefied remains of an 8-foot-long, green worm with multiple legs and eight slimy tentacles sprouting from its bulbous head. A heap of armor and shields lies nearby.
Several months ago, the skulks and dark creepers killed a carrion crawler that had found its way into the complex. The skulks gutted it and stashed their treasure (including plunder from the city above) inside its moldering remains (see Treasure below).
Treasure: The skulks have hidden two unlocked wooden coffers inside the dead carrion crawler. Only by searching the remains can the characters spot the coffers within.
Coffer #1 contains 140 cp, 225 sp, and 178 gp.
Coffer #2 contains the following items:
- A small silver-framed mirror (worth 15 gp)
- A healer’s kit (worth 50 gp)
- A silver dragon pendant with moonstone eyes (worth 125 gp)
- A plugged copper scroll tube (worth 1 gp) containing a scroll of mirror image and a scroll of mage armor, both infected with the Vanishing.
The armor consists of ten gnome-sized chain shirts (worth 50 gp each) and ten bucklers (worth 7 gp each).
Development: If the skulks from area J17 withdrew to this chamber, they hide in the shadows on either side of the hole in the floor. They try to flank and kill a single foe, fleeing via the secret door if faced with equal or superior numbers (but avoiding area J58).
If one of the skulks is captured or cornered here, it pleads for its life in Undercommon. If the PCs can communicate with it, a successful Bluff, Diplomacy, or Intimidate check convinces the skulk to reveal where Keygan’s familiar is kept (in area J60) and the safest way to get there (via area J59).
J57. FLOOR TRAP (EL 1)
The secret door leading to area J56 is locked from this side. The door can be opened with a successful Open Lock check (DC 20) or by turning a nearby torch sconce a quarter-turn counter-clockwise; finding the correct mechanism to open the door requires a successful Search check (DC 22).
Turning the torch sconce clockwise or unlocking the secret door without properly turning the sconce triggers the Trap.
Trap: If the secret door is opened improperly, the 10-foot-square section of floor in front of the door tilts up toward the west. Anyone standing on the floor must succeed at a Reflex save (DC 15) or tumble down the western staircase (toward area J17), landing prone. A successful Tumble check (DC 15) halves the damage and allows the PC to land on his or her feet.
Tilt-and-Tumble Trap: CR 1; 2d6 points of damage; Reflex save (DC 15) negates; Tumble check (DC 15) for half damage; Search (DC 23); Disable Device (DC 25); automatic reset.
J58. BATHROOM (EL 2)
Characters can hear pouring water as they approach this room.
Turquoise ceramic tiles adorn the walls and floor of this room, in the middle of which rests a large octagonal bathing pool with a 2-foot-tall raised lip. Pristine water pours into the pool from a smiling stone face carved into an overhanging wall. The water exits through a small circular drain at the east end of the pool.
A narrow stone ledge encircles the ceiling, which is hidden behind a tangled mass of thick webs. Suspended from the webs by ropy filaments is a cocooned humanoid corpse that dangles 5 feet above the pool’s glassy surface.
See Diagram #4: Area J58 for a cross-sectional view of this room. The skulks avoid this area.
Diagram #4: Area J58
The water pouring from the stone face and filling the pool is a permanent illusion that looks, sounds, and feels real. PCs can fill their water skins with the water, but the water mysteriously disappears once it leaves the room. Disbelieving the illusion requires a successful Will save (DC 15); the DM can reduce the DC of the save if the PCs have good cause to suspect the water is illusory.
The creature suspended in the cocoon is a dead skulk. Its bodily fluids have been completely drained by the monsters that lurk in the webs and in the pool (see Creatures, below). The webs suspending the dead skulk have 6 hit points or require a Strength check (DC 26) to break. The skulk still carries some Treasure.
Creatures: A Medium-size monstrous spider lurks in the empty pool, hidden by the watery illusion. It lacks the intelligence to perceive the illusory water and leaps out of the empty pool to attack the first creature that comes within 5 feet.
Two “baby” spiders (actually Small monstrous spiders) prowl among the webs that stretch across the ceiling. They descend to attack only if the skulk’s husk or the webs are disturbed. They use fine web filaments to drop on prey from above, gaining a+1 bonus on their melee attacks for higher ground.
Medium-size Monstrous Spider: hp 11; Monster Manual 210. Small Monstrous Spiders (2): hp 4 each; Monster Manual 210.
Treasure: Characters searching the shriveled skulk corpse find a pouch containing two tourmalines (100 gp each) and a dull gray ion stone infected with the Vanishing.
J59. SECRET CLOSET
This hidden closet connects to area J60 by a secret door. A 5-foot-diameter hole in the floor drops about 7 feet and turns sharply west.
Creature: A lone skulk lurks here, waiting to strike anyone who comes up through the hole in the floor.
Skulk: hp 11; see area J4 for complete statistics and possessions. The skulk also wears a tiny silver key around its neck that opens the cage in area J60.
Tactics: The skulk gains a +1 bonus on its attack roll when attacking a foe coming up from below, since it has the higher ground advantage. It fights until reduced to 4 hit points or fewer, at which point it drops its rapier and pleads for its life in Undercommon.
Development: If the skulk surrenders, it offers to trade its life for the safe return of Keygan’s rat familiar (from area J60). It will even show PCs the way to Kazmojen’s stronghold (using the secret door in area J2 to reach area J63).
J60. THE CAGED RAT (EL 4)
Empty weapon racks line the walls of this dusty, 10-foot-high room. In the middle of the floor rests a large wooden chest with a flat lid and iron hinges. Arup the chest sits a small silver cage holding a rat with a white star-shaped splotch of fur on its tiny forehead. It grips the bars and squeaks excitedly.
The gnomes cleared all the weapons from this room before vacating Jzadirune. Star brow, Keygan’s anxious rat familiar, is locked in the silver cage; unlocking it requires the proper key (found in area J59), a knock spell, or a successful Open Lock check (DC 20).
The chest under the cage is actually a friendly mimic lulled into helping the skulks. Characters who succeed at a Spot check (DC 22 if the mimic takes 10 on its Disguise check) notice some slight imperfections in the “chest. “See Creatures, below, for the rat’s and mimic’s statistics.
Creatures: The mimic reveals itself if anyone approaches within 5 feet of it or the silver cage. A toothy mouth splits the front of the chest as it speaks to them in Undercommon (see Development, below).
Mimic: hp 45; Monster Manual 135.
Star brow, Keygan’s Rat Familiar: CR-; Tiny Magical Beast; HD Special; hp 8; Init +2; Spd 15 ft. , climb 15 ft. ; AC 15, touch 14, flat-footed 13; BAB+2; Grap-10; Atk +4 melee (1d3-4, bite); SQ low-light vision, minor scent, improved evasion, share spells, empathic link; ALLN; SV Fort+2, Ref+4, Will+6; Str 2, Dex 15, Con 10, Int 6, Wis 12, Cha 2.
Skills: Appraise+1, Balance +10, Climb+12, Hide+18, Knowledge (local) +1, Listen +6, Move Silently+10, Search+1, Spot+1, Swim+10. Feats: Weapon Finesse (bite).
Tactics: The skulks keep the mimic fed on a diet of rats and spiders. It loathes to combat creatures of Medium-size or larger, although it defends itself without hesitation if attacked.
Unlike most mimics, this creature does not speak Common. Nevertheless, it tries to negotiate with the PCs, allowing them to take the rat familiar in exchange for 6 days’ worth of tasty rations or 200 gp worth of treasure. PCs can bargain with it; a successful Bluff, Diplomacy, or Intimidate check (opposed by the mimic’s untrained Sense Motive check) can convince that mimic to reduce its demands by half.
Development: The PCs can pry some useful information from the mimic at no cost. It knows the following:
- The skulks raid the surface for slaves and hand them off to some hobgoblins, who then take the slaves to a place called the Malachite Fortress.
- The skulks work with a gang of “dark ones” led by a dark stalker named Yuathyb. They all work for an Under dark slaver named Kazmojen. Kazmojen pays them a share of the proceeds from his sales, and the skulks and dark ones keep whatever they pilfer from the city above.
- Another mimic used to lair here as well, but a pair of hob-goblins working for Kazmojen “offered it a job “guarding treasure in Kazmojen’s stronghold. The hobgoblins showed up several weeks ago and haven’t returned since. The other mimic is a particularly mean and greedy specimen.
Ad-hoc XP Award: If the PCs successfully negotiate with the mimic, award them experience as if they’d defeated it in combat.
J61. SECRET ROOM WITH SLIME (EL 2)
This dusty 10-foot-by-20-foot hall has secret doors set in the north and east walls (leading to areas J2 and J63, respectively).
Trap: Opening the secret door in the east wall triggers a 10-foot-square, 10-foot-deep pit trap that fills the eastern half of the hall. The floor of the pit contains a 2-inch-thick layer of black, acidic slime that deals 1d6 points of acid damage per round of contact. Raising the secret lever in area J62 closes the pit doors and locks them; pulling the lever down again resets the trap.
The skulks safely bypass the trap by knocking three times on the secret door; this alerts the hobgoblins in area J63, one of whom raises the lever in area J62.
Slime Pit (10 feet deep): CR 2; 1d6 points of falling damage plus 1d6 acid (slime); Reflex save (DC 15) negates; Search (DC 19); Disable Device (DC 19); manual reset.
Development: Opening the secret door alerts the hobgoblin guards in area J63, who hurl their javelins at PCs in the pit or on the other side of the pit, gaining one-half cover from the secret door.
J62. HIDDEN SLIME PIT LEVER
A trail of boot prints through the dust lead from the secret door to a wooden level jutting from an iron plate bolted to the north wall. When the lever is in the “up” position, the doors to the pit trap in area J62 are locked shut. When the lever is in the “down” position, the pit trap is active. The room is otherwise empty.
J63. ELEVATOR SHAFT (EL 1)
The floor of this octagonal room is actually a large wooden platform supported by taut iron chains looped over eight enormous pulleys bolted to the 15-foot-high ceiling. One end of each chain is fastened to a corner of the platform, while the other end drops through a hole in the platform, connected to something far below.
Set into the northeast wall is an iron panel with an iron level jutting from it.
The wooden floor of this room is actually an elevator that descends 200 feet to area M1 of Kazmojen’s fortress (see Chapter Four, below). When the iron lever is pulled down, the chains and pulleys lower the floor at a speed of 20 feet per round. Thus, it takes the elevator 10 rounds (1 minute) to reach area M1.
Creatures: Standing guard on the elevator are two hobgoblins dressed in banded mail and carrying longswords, javelins, and small steel shields.
Hobgoblins (2): hp 5 each; Monster Manual 119 except AC 18, touch 11, flat-footed 17.
Possessions: Banded mail, small steel shield, longsword, 4 javelins, pouch containing 1d10x10 sp and 1d10x5 gp.
Tactics: The hobgoblins fight to the death. However, a charmed hobgoblin can be persuaded to escort the PCs to Kazmojen; this requires a successful Bluff, Diplomacy, or Intimidate check (DC 15).
CHAPTER FOUR: KAZMOIEN’S BAZAAR
Two hundred feet below the gnomish enclave of Jzadirune lies the Malachite Fortress, a stronghold built by dwarves and gnomes to guard against incursions from the Under dark. When the gnomes abandoned Jzadirune, they left the dwarves to maintain the Malachite Fortress. Their leader, a righteous dwarves’ defender named Zenith Splinter shield, foolishly decided to wage a campaign against the Underdark. He took his best fighting dwarves into the bowels of the world and was never seen again.
The half-dwarf Kazmojen came to the Malachite Fortress one year ago with a small force of hobgoblins, convinced the few remaining defenders to surrender, and incarcerated them. He has spent the past year building his slave trade business, fortifying his hold on the fortress, and cultivating loyal clientele.
Not long after he began plundering Cauldron for worthy slaves, Kazmojen received a visit from Lord Vhalantru. The beholder agreed to let Kazmojen continue his raids in exchange for information on various “movers and shakers” in the Under dark. Kazmojen receives this information from many of his clients, among them a vile durzagon (half-fiend duergar) named Pillars Shyatt.
PCs who come to the Malachite Fortress must deal with Kazmojen, his hobgoblin allies, and the durzagon Pyllrak (who is interested in buying the four children plucked from the Lantern Street Orphanage). They also appear at an auspicious time, as Lord Vhalantru himself appears to claim the young boy Terrem, whose destiny lies elsewhere…
THE MALACHITE FORTRESS
The walls, floors, and ceilings inside the Malachite Fortress are carved from black stone and smoothly polished. The vertical surfaces cannot be climbed without the aid of climbing gear or magic (such as a spider climb spell).
Unless stated otherwise, all rooms and corridors in the Malachite Fortress are unlit. Most corridors have empty sconces along the walls (for torches), while most rooms have iron-wrought cages dangling from ceiling chains (for trapping fire beetles).
Unless stated otherwise, the ceilings in most areas are 20 feet high and vaulted.
Doors: The Malachite Fortress features three kinds of doors: strong wooden single doors with iron hinges and reinforcements, heavy iron doors with iron hinges, and stone secret doors. Assume doors are unlocked unless specified otherwise.
Secret doors blend almost seamlessly with the surrounding stonework, are soundproof, and require a successful Search check (DC 20) to locate. Secret doors have hidden hinges on one side or the other and are spring-loaded so that they close automatically unless held or wedged open.
Because the secret doors are soundproof, any Listen checks made to hear things on the other side of a closed secret door automatically fail.
Strong Wooden Door: 2 in. thick; Hardness 5; hp 20; break DC 25; good lock (Open Lock, DC 30).
Iron Doors: 2 in. thick; Hardness 10; hp 60, break DC 28; can be sealed shut with sliding iron bar (Disable Device, DC 26).
Stone Secret Door: 4 in. thick; Hardness 8; hp 60; break DC 28.
The PCs face many perils as they explore the Malachite Fortress, particularly if they raise a general alarm and bring all of the fortress’s defenses down on them at once. At some point during the adventure, the PCs might be captured or knocked unconsciousness. In either case, the adventure doesn’t end.
Once Kazmojen learns of the PCs, he views them more as commodities than threats. He would rather incarcerate them and sell them as slaves than simply kill and loot them. Captured PCs are dragged to area M18 and imprisoned in individual cells, where they are held for days or weeks before an interested Under dark client arrives in search of new slaves. The PCs’ mundane gear is stashed in area M19, while their more valuable treasures are added to Kazmojen’s trove in area M11.
Food and water is passed to the PCs through the barred windows in their cell doors, but occasionally their jailers might haul one of them to the torture chamber (area M22) for an hour of pointless interrogation. If the PCs are unable to mount their own escape, days or weeks might drift by before fortune smiles on them. The half-elves Fario and Fellian might come to their rescue (see Chapter One for details), or the PCs might be sold in chains to Pyllrak Shyraat, a derro wizard, a barguest, or some other visiting flunky of a greater Under dark power. Once free of the Malachite Fortress, they might find freedom easier to achieve.
KEY TO THE FORTRESS (AREAS M1-M34)
The following encounters are keyed to the map of the Malachite Fortress-Kazmojen’s stronghold.
M1. ELEVATOR SHAFT
If the PCs use the elevator to descend this shaft, read or para-phrase the following text:
The walls turn from bare gray stone to polished black malachite. After a minute-long descent down the dark shaft, the wooden floor shudders as it comes to rest, and the chains stop rattling.
Above you, the shaft rises into darkness. The only exit from this room appears to be an iron-reinforced wooden door set into one wall.
A secret door in the south wall leads to area M2. PCs can ascend the shaft using the elevator (by pulling the lever in area M2). They can also clamber up the chains and use the nearby walls to brace their ascent (Climb check, DC 5) or ascend using magic.
M2. SECRET LEVER
The secret door opens into a cold, dark room. An iron lever juts from an iron plate bolted to the eastern wall.
When the elevator is down, so being the lever. Shifting the lever into the “up” position causes loud grinding noises as iron winches hidden deep behind the walls prepare to hoist the wooden elevator floor in area M1 back to the top of the shaft.
Two rounds after the lever is pulled up, the wooden floor in area M1 begins ascending the elevator shaft, reaching area J63 in 10 rounds. If the lever is pulled down, the floor starts to descend again.
M3. STONY GREETINGS (EL 2)
The ceiling of this 20-foot-wide hall rises to an apex 20 feet overhead. The floor, walls, and vaulted ceiling are composed of smooth black stone that almost seems to absorb light. Two cylindrical iron cages, each one 5 feet tall and 2 feet wide, dangle from the ceiling by iron chains. The base of each cage hangs 5 feet above the floor.
A strange sculpture stands in the middle of the hall between the two cages: a 5-foot tall column of roughly hewn gray stone covered with sharp protrusions. Four crystal-tipped appendages jut from the stony mass, each one pointing in a different direction.
The “strange sculpture” is the Creature. The empty iron cages were designed to hold giant fire beetles, which in turn provided the hall with illumination. Both cages are currently empty.
Creature: A stone spike guards this hall. One of the stranger creatures brought to the fortress by Kazmojen, it usually waits until intruders pass beyond the first iron cage before attacking. It does not attack if one or both hobgoblins from area J63 accompany the party, instead passing itself off as an inanimate piece of décor.
Stone Spike: hp 25; Monster Manual II 191 or sec the “Life’s Bazaar” Web enhancement.
Tactics: The stone spike uses straightforward tactics, attacking with two of its crystal-tipped appendages and using Power Attack to bolster its damage against poorly armored foes.
Development: Sounds of combat in this area attract the attention of the fortress’s major-domo, Xukasus (see area M4 for details). Xukasus enters the hall 1 round after battle erupts.
M4. MAJOR-DOMO’S QUARTERS (EL 3)
A putrid stench fills your nostrils. The rectangular chamber beyond is splattered wall-to-wall with filth, bile, bones, and other disgusting remains. Although the room contains no furnishings per se, some of the older refuse has hardened into a crude chair, and an iron chest rests half-buried in a small mound of dung in the southeast corner.
Among Kazmojen’s loyal servitors is the repulsive Xukasus, an otyugh polymorphic into a gangly ogre by a magical trap. Xukasus lairs here, devouring his garbage, gathering waste from other areas of the fortress to replenish his supply, and haphazardly guarding the locked iron chest at the back of the room (see Treasure below).
Characters who explore the room or wade through the filth to reach the chest must succeed at a Fortitude save (DC 12) or contract filth fever (see the DUNGEON MASTER’s Guide, page 75, for details).
Creature: The vile Xukasus enjoys his new form. In combat, he wields an enormous filth-encrusted falchion (with which he has recently gained proficiency). Like all otyughs, Xukasus speaks Common, greeting intruders with the cheery catch-phrase, “More carrion for my larder! Very nice.”
Xukasus retains his otyugh statistics (including ability scores), his dark vision, and his scent special quality, but loses his improved grab, constrict, and disease special attacks. He wears mangy hide armor that stacks with his natural armor.
Xukasus retains his ogre form if slain. A successful dispel magic (DC 20) returns Xukasus to his true form.
Xukasus, Ogre (polymorphic otyugh): CR 3; Large giant (formerly Large aberration); HD 6d8+6; hp 33; Init +0; Spd 20 ft. ; AC 21, touch 9, flat-footed 21; BAB+4; Grap+8; Ark+3 melee (2d6/18-20, ogre-sized falchion) or +3 ranged; Face/Reach 5 ft. across/10 ft. ; SQ dark vision 60 ft. , scent; AL N; SV Fort+3, Ref +2, Will+6; Str 11, Dex10, Con 13, Int 5, Wis 12, Cha 6.
Skills: Hide +5, Listen +6, Spot +9. Feats: Alertness, Martial Weapon Proficiency (two-handed melee weapons).
Possessions: Hide armor, great falchion, iron key to locked iron chest (see Treasure below), iron key to all of the giant fire beetle cages in the fortress.
Treasure: The iron chest is locked (Open Lock, DC 30) and contains the following treasure.
- 5, 990 cp and 2, 248 sp (loose)
- 2 deep green spinels’ (worth 100 gp each)
- A fungi flask containing a potion of cure moderate wounds.
Ad-hoc XP Award: An otyugh is usually a CR 4 monster. However, Xukasus lost his otyugh special attacks. In his ogre form, he is considered a CR3 encounter.
M5 SECRET CORRIDOR
This unlit, L-shaped corridor connects areas M3 and M28. The hall enables fortress guards to move quickly between different areas of stronghold
M6. ZENITH’S HALL (EL2 AND 3)
The ceiling in this square chamber rises to an apex 30 feet overhead. Great pairs of iron doors are set into opposite-facing walls, although only the northwest doors are sealed with a heavy iron bar.
Each corner of the room holds a 2-foot-tall stone brazier carved in the likeness of an ovoid creature with three stubby legs, three eyes, and three spindly arms spaced equidistantly around its pebbly body. Smoke issues from a gaping mouth atop the creature’s “head”. A dark, pungent haze fills the room.
A 9-foot-tall gray stone statue of a dwarves’ warrior stands before the southeast set of iron doors, facing northeast. The dwarf stares blankly forward, two glistening black gems embedded in his eyes, a spiked helmet resting atop his formidable brow. His armor bears graven glyphs, and a shield is slung over his back. His stony gauntlets rest on the handle of a stone great axe etched with fiery patterns. The head of the weapon is planted firmly on the floor.
Draped over the statue is a mass of iron chains ending in nasty barbs, spikes, hooks, and blades. Some of them are coiled around the statue’s arms and legs to keep them from sliding off.
Four hobgoblins stand guard here: two flanking each set of iron doors. Eyeholes in the northwest set of doors allow them and other creatures to peer into area M7. The iron bar that binds the northwest set of doors can be slid to one side with ease. The double doors are not otherwise locked.
The mass of chains coiled around the statue is another guardian placed hereby Kazmojen, but it attacks only when specific conditions are met (see Creatures, below, for details).
The stone braziers look like horns. The coals that burn in them are sprinkled with dried subterranean plants that exude a horrible stench when burned.
The statue depicts Zenith Splinter shield, the noble dwarves’ defender who once commanded the fortress garrison. The gems embedded in its eye sockets are held in place with sovereign glue and can be easily removed with universal solvent is applied; prying them loose without applying magical solvent damages them and reduces their value to one-tenth normal. The gems represent the only Treasure to be found here.
Creatures: The four hobgoblins keep their eyes and ears open for Underdark visitors, escorting Kazmojen’s clients from area M7 to prearranged quarters (areas M23-M24) or their master’s slave bazaar (area M34). The hobgoblins here attack any intruders who are not accompanied by a hobgoblin escort.
The mass of chains draped over the statue is an animated con strut given to Kazmojen by a powerful Underdark wizard. The animated mass of chains stirs only if it or the stare is disturbed, or if Kazmojen himself commands it to attack. It moves by shambling across the floor.
Hobgoblins (4): hp 5 each; see area J63 for statistics and possessions.
Animated Mass of Chains: CR 3; Large Construct; HD 4d10+15; hp 37; Init +0; Spd 20 ft. (can’t run), climb 1oft; AC14, touch 9, flat-footed 14; BAB+3; Grap +10, Atk +5 melee (1d8+3, 3 chain rakes); Face/Reach s ft. across/10 ft; SA constrict 1d8+4; SQ hardness 10, construct traits, AL N; SV Fort +1, Ref +1, Will-4; Str 16, Dex 10, Con-, Int-, Wis1, Cha1.
Constrict (Ex): The mass of chains can attempt to grapple with one or more of its three chain attacks during any given round. It can only attempt to grapple Large creatures or smaller, and a grappled opponent takes 1d8+4 points of constriction damage each round the grapple is maintained.
Treasure: The two black sapphires set into the statue’s eye sockets are worth 1, 000 gp apiece intact.
Development: The southeast doors are designed to allow sound to pass through them; the guards in area M21 hear sounds of combat emanating from this room and alert Kazmojen in area M34, but otherwise remain at their posts.
M7. ARCHED STONE BRIDGE
A stone bridge arches across a chasm. Thirty fear below lies a pool of still black water.
The stone bridge is secure and enclosed on each side bay 2-foot-high stone railing. Anyone who falls from the bridge lands in a 70-foot-deep pool of icy water. Mineral deposits have turned the water black, but the real danger comes from the waters cold temperature; see” Water Dangers” in the DUNGEON MASTER’s Guide, page 85, for drowning and hypothermia rules, if they become necessary.
The “stony black fangs” are harmless stalactites.
M8. TO THE UNDERDARK (EL VARIES)
A wide tunnel at the back of this dark, cold cavern slopes down into darkness. A small forest of stalagmites sprouts from the uneven floor, but the cavern otherwise appears empty.
The tunnel leads to a vast network of caverns called the Under dark. Under dark denizens such as Pyllrak Shyraat (see M34) travel this tunnel whenever they visit the Malachite Fortress to secure new slaves. What the PCs might find as they explore the Under dark is beyond the scope of this adventure. You can either indulge the PCs’ curiosity or gently persuade them to return to the Malachite Fortress.
Development: The way to discourage PCs from exploring too much of the Under dark is to make the perils great and the treasure sparse. Here are some possible threats the PCs might encounter during their initial explorations:
- A phantom fungus (EL 3)
- A stone “toll bridge” guarded by a stubborn and greedy earth mephitis (EL 3)
- A roving group of four dark mantles, derris, grim locks, or troglodytes (EL 4)
- A swarm of twelve giant fire beetles that crawl up from a natural pit (EL 4)
- A pair of hungry bricks (EL 5)
- Six goblins and their barguests leader (EL 5)
- A pair of roving carrion crawlers (EL 6)
- A cluster of three hungry minor horns demanding tribute in the form of precious metals or gems (EL 6).
M9. GUARD BARRACKS (EL 2)
A hellish glow fills this room, emanating from a 2-foot-long beetle imprisoned in an iron-wrought cage suspended from the ceiling. Glands above the beetle’s eyes shed the light, illuminating the sparse furnishings of this rectangular chamber. Four malachite slabs, each one covered with a pallet of green-is-black moss, juts from the walls. A wooden table stands in the middle of the room, surrounded by four chairs. The table bears four empty clay flagons and an iron cask.
This simply furnished chamber is occupied. The moss-covered slabs serve as beds for the guards stationed here.
Creatures: Four hobgoblins lair here. Two are awake and seated at the table, drinking mead from the iron cask. The other two are asleep on their beds, snoring loudly. The caged fire beetle presents no threat unless it is released, in which case it attacks a random target.
Hobgoblins (4): hp 5 each; see area J63 for complete statistics and possessions.
Giant Fire Beetle: hp 4; Monster Manual 206.
Tactics: At the first sign of trouble, the alert guards grab their weapons and wake their sleeping comrades. The awakened guards spend another round gathering their gear and “shaking out the cobwebs” from having imbibed too much bad mead. The hobgoblins flank foes where appropriate.
M10. KAZMOJEN’S QUARTERS
This room is horridly appointed. The walls are carved with tall, narrow niches piled high with skulls, and the skinned hides of various monsters hang on the bare walls between them. A large chair made of monster skins stretched over a framework of bones stands in the middle of the room. A draconic skull surmounts the chair, empty eye sockets starting at you menacingly. Behind the chair, near the far wall, a bed of soft moss and fungi sprouts from a large heap of carrion. A few bones lie scattered around the bed.
Kazmojen sleeps on the bed of moss, fungi, and carrion and sits in the chair during private meetings with Lord Vhalantru and various sordid Under dark clients.
Kazmojen collects and displays the skulls and hides of past victims. The walls are adorned with the skinned hides of a basilisk, digester, displacer beast, better cap, medusa, and salamander. The skulls are mostly goblinoid but also include a few gnomes, dwarf, duergar, dark elf, grim lock, and troglodyte skulls. A hydra skull rests atop his “throne of skins and bones.”
Characters searching the room find scattered bones, animal droppings, and long quills on the floor-all left by Kazmojen’s pet howler.
Kazmojen keeps no valuables here. A secret door in the south wall leads to his hidden treasury (area M11).
M11. SECRET VAULT (EL 4 AND 2)
This 30-foot-square room has no other visible exits. In the middle of the chamber rest three padlocked chests, three casks brimming with coins, a small stone bowl filled with gems, a heap of armor, and two large shields used as trays to hold more coins. Various other trinkets and trophies add to the trove, including a gem-encrusted horn, an ornate walking cane, and an engraved golden gong hanging from an intricately sculpted wooden frame.
An iron lever juts from an iron plate in the south wall. The lever is current in the “down” position.
A mimic protects Kazmojen’s trove, although its presence is not obvious (see Creature).
The three chests are locked (Open Lock, DC 25), and Kazmojen carries the keys. Closer inspection of the chests reveals that one is iron-bound and has handles on its sides for easy transport. Another is blackened by fire and has a toothy, crescent-shaped grin painted on its front in dried blood. The third has copper fittings, a dagger-shaped symbol carved into its lid, and a hidden Trap.
See Treasure for a full accounting of the room’s precious contents.
The iron lever in the south wall controls the pit trap in area J12. When the lever is raised, the pit locks shut and is safe to cross.
Creature: A mimic has assumed the form of the gold gong and its wooden frame. Kazmojen’s allies brought the mimic from Jzadirune (see area J60). It attacks anyone other than Kazmojen who approaches within s feet of the hoard.
Mimic: hp 52; Monster Manual 135.
Tactics: The mimic does not communicate or negotiate with the PCs. It fights until slain.
Trap: The chest with the dagger carved into its lid radiates moderate Evocation magic under the scrutiny of a detect magic spell. Anyone who opens the lid releases a spectral dagger that attacks the opener for 7 rounds before disappearing. The dagger cannot switch targets and otherwise behaves exactly as a spiritual weapon cast by a 7th-level cleric with 14 Wisdom.
Spiritual Dagger Trap: CR 2; +5 melee (1d4+2, spiritual dagger); lasts 7 rounds; Search (DC 22); Disable Device (DC 20).
Treasure: The iron-bound chest contains four large iron keys shaped like black demons resting on a bed of 4, 225 sp. The keys do not open any doors in the Malachite Fortress but might prove useful elsewhere in the Under dark.
The scorched chest with the bloody smile contains 450 gp, a silver crescent moon pendant on a silver chain (worth 30 gp), and two potions of dark vision, all buried under a layer of worthless black iron coins.
The trapped chest contains hundreds of worthless glass beads. However, the beads can be poured over a 20-foot-square area, requiring any creature that moves across them at normal speed or faster to succeed at a Reflex save (DC 12) or fall prone.
Other treasures found here include the following:
- An oak cask containing 2, 219 cp
- A fungal cask containing 696 sp and 1, 451 cp
- An iron cask containing 522 gp and 900 sp
- A masterwork chain shirt (worth 250 gp)
- A Medium-size suit of masterwork studded leather armor (worth 175 gp)
- A mighty composite short bow [+2] (worth 225 gp)
- A silvered two-bladed sword (worth 110 gp)
- A dark wood shield (worth 257 gp) holding 180 sp
- A large steel shield holding 362 cp
- An engraved stone bowl containing 19 gems: six chunks of blue quartz (worth 10 gp each), four carnelians (worth 50 gp each), four periods (worth 75 gp each), two white pearls (worth 100 gp each), a pink pearl (worth 250 gp), and two aquamarines (worth 500 gp each). The gems’ total value is 2,010 gp.
- An ivory horn set with bloodstones (worth 450 gp)
- An ash walking cane with a silver, angel-shaped handle (worth 55 gp), which unscrews to reveal a tiny compartment containing a potion of cure moderate wounds in a vial. The cane belongs to Coryston Pike (see area M21).
M12. TRAPPED ROOM (EL 2)
Located between two secret doors, this 10-foot square room contains a Trap.
Trap: The floor of this room is actually the lid of a 20-foot-deep spiked pit. It opens when the first character sets foot in the room. The pair’s lid can be locked shut by raising the lever in area MII. The pit trap can be closed and the trap reset by raising and lowering the lever.
The character who trips the trap can avoid falling in the pit by succeeding at a Reflex save (DC 15).
Spiked Pit (20 feet deep): CR 2; 2d6 points of damage (fall) plus+3 melee (1d4 points of piercing damage, 1d4 spikes); Reflex save (DC 15) prevents fall; Search (DC 17); Disable Device (DC 17).
M13. ARCHED BRIDGE AND STATUES
An arched stone bridge connects to a 10-foot-wide causeway that spans one wall of a great cavern. Fused with the roughhewn cavern walls are smooth walls of dull black stone, some with doors and windows set into them. A pair of 9-foot tall statues carved from white marble stand in alcoves on each side of a reinforced wooden door set deep into the west wall. The statues depict a male and female dwarf clad in armor, each of which brandishes an urgrosh.
The cavern plunges 30 feet below the level of the causeway, ending in a pool of still, black water.
The arched bridge leads to a door that opens into area M34-Opposite this door is another portal opening into area M14. The dwarf statues, though fearsome in stature and well crafted, are unremarkable.
Anyone who falls from the bridge or causeway lands in a 40-foot-deep pool of icy water. See “Water Dangers” in the DUNGEON MASTER’s Guide for drowning and hypothermia rules, if they become necessary.
Development: Loud noises in this cavern can be heard be the hobgoblin guards in areas M9, M21, and M34, who investigate the following round.
M14. AUTOMATON GUARDS (EL 5)
Illusory wall spells separate this room into a 10-foot-wide corridor with two chambers to the north and south. The illusory walls are represented as dotted lines on the map. Although the walls appear solid and real, touching them reveals their truly insubstantial nature.
Characters who enter this room from the north or south find themselves in a 20-foot-by-30-foot room bound by the illusory walls. They also see one of two automatons standing guard here (see Creatures, below).
The room contains no furnishings. Wooden levers protrude from iron panels bolted to the northwest and southwest walls. The levers are currently in the “up” position; pulling them down causes the stone blocks in area Miss to sealing off the western cellblocks (areas M16 and M17).
Creatures: Two hammerer automatons guard this chamber. One stands by the north lever, while the other stands beside the south lever. A rust monster damaged both constructs several years ago, and no one has bothered to repair them.
Hammerer Automatons (2): hp 25, 22; Monster Manuals II 27 or see the “Life’s Bazaar” Web enhancement.
Tactics: If someone other than Kazmojen, a hobgoblin, or an ogre enters this room, the automatons have instructions to pull down the levers, sealing off the western cellblocks. Once the levers have been pulled, the automatons attack intruders, striking from behind the illusory walls.
A hammerer attempts to grapple the nearest foe with its pincer. If it succeeds, it smashes the trapped victim with its hammer on subsequent rounds (no attack roll required) until the victim is dead or goes limp, at which point it releases its prey and seeks out its next target. A grappled character can trick the automaton into releasing its hold by using a full-round action to “play dead. “A successful Bluff check (opposed by the hammerer’s Wisdom check) fools the hammerer into releasing its hold on its next action and choosing a new target. Presumably, the character playing dead falls prone at the start of the hammerer’s turn.
Treasure: The “heart” of each automaton is actually a violet garnet (worth 500 gp). Finding it requires a successful Search check (DC 24).
Development: As long as all doors to this chamber remain closed, sounds of combat emanating from within the room cannot be heard in other areas.
Ad-hoc XP Award: Hammerer automatons are normally CR. 4 monsters. However, these ones are already damaged and should be treated as CR 3 creatures.
M15. SLIDING BLOCKS
The corridors leading to the cellblocks (areas M16 and M17) are 10 feet high. Recessed into the walls are two great blocks of malachite on stone rollers. The blocks fit the corridor perfectly, allowing only the slightest gap between it and the surrounding floor, walls, and ceiling.
When the levers in area M14 are pulled, the blocks roll 10 feet to the east, effectively sealing off the cellblocks and trapping the prisoners within. Keeping a block from rolling into place requires a successful Strength check (DC 25); if the check fails, any creature in the space to be occupied by the block is pushed back 10 feet automatically.
A rolled block must be physically pushed back into its niche; this requires a successful Strength check (DC 25). Moving the block is a lot harder from inside the sealed-off cellblock, requiring a DC 30 Strength check.
Development: The stone blocks are a safety measure to prevent prison breaks.
M16. EMPTY CELLBLOCK
This corridor stretches for nearly a 100 feet, ending at a blank wall. In the east and west walls are several 6-foot-tall, 2-foot-wide iron doors with small barred windows at dwarves eye level and kept locked by iron bars. The iron doors are typical except for the 6-inch-wide, 3-inch-high barred windows set into them.
Each 10-foot-square cell contains an uncomfortable stone slab (actually a protrusion of the far wall), an iron chamber pot, a clay jug for holding water, and the occasional gnawed bone, chunk of dried bread, or piece of moldy cheese.
None of the cells is currently occupied.
M17. EMPTY CELLBLOCK
This cellblock is similar in configuration to area M16. No prisoners are currently kept here.
The layout of this corridor is identical to that in area M16. The difference here is that the PCs can hear faint whimpers from down the hall.
The cells are furnished similarly to the ones found in area M16. Attempting to unbar and open a cell door without attracting the attention of the guards in area M2o requires a successful Move Silently check opposed by the guards’ Listen checks.
Creatures: Four prisoners, all kidnapped townsfolk, are incarcerated in separate cells. They wear tattered and stained clothes, but any other possessions of possible value or use have been stored in area M19.
Krylscar Endecott (see below for statistics), a 24-year-old male human, remains impertinent and contentious despite a terrific beating given to him by his jailers. Not surprisingly, the scruffy, ornery, and obnoxious loudmouth remains an unsold commodity.
Deven Myrzal (Com1; hp 3), an 18-year-old male human, has lost all hope of being rescued and has endured special torment at the hands of his jailers, who have vowed to eat him if no one buys him as a slave.
Irruth Mercadi (Com1; hp 4), a 36-year-old female human, trembles quietly in a dark corner of her cell, imagining the various horrors that await her.
Jasper Drundlesput (Exp2; hp 6), a 74-year-old gnome, mumbles quietly to himself most of the time. He has used a sharp stone to carve mathematical formulas into the walls of his cell, mostly to pass the idle time.
Krylscar Endercott, Male Human War1: CR 1/2; Medium-size Humanoid (human); HD 1d8+3; hp 10 (currently 5); Init +0; Spd 30 ft. ; AC 10, touch 10, flat-footed 10; BAB+1; Grap+2; Atk +2 melee (1d3+1 subdual, unarmed strike) or +1 ranged; AL CG; SV Fort+2, Ref+0, Will-1; Str 13, Dex10, Con 11, Int10, Wis 8, Cha 11.
Skills: Climb+3, Intimidate +4, Swim +3. Feats: Weapon Focus (longsword), Toughness.
Tactics: Deven, Irruth, and Jasper are not much good in a fight, but Krylscar will swing a sword, a chair, or whatever else he can find to win his freedom. He rebukes authority and does-n’t take orders well, however.
Development: These prisoners know they are not the only ones being held in the fortress. Four children were recently removed from their cells and taken to the auction chamber (area M34), and six other slaves have been put to work in the forge (area M27). The prisoners know how to get to both rooms from this cellblock.
Ad-hoc XP Award: Award the party 100 XP for each pris-oner returned to Cauldron alive and 50 XP for each slain pris-oner they return to the town for proper burial.
M19. PRISONER GEAR
Beyond the secret door lies a 20-foot-square chamber with a 10-foot-high ceiling. Two stone slabs jutting from the west wall bear a number of common items, from articles of clothing to daggers.
Prisoners detained in the cellblocks are stripped of all belongings; unnecessary clothing and other mundane equipment is stored here. PCs searching the tables find several bundled outfits, as well as verts, cloaks, belts, slippers, and boots. The room also contains some equipment taken from captured Underdark denizens, who are more likely to carry weapons and armor than city-dwelling folk; see Treasure, below, for details.
Treasure: Among the worthless clothing and personal effects. PCs find the following gear:
- A Small suit of studded leather armor
- A Medium-size bloodstained chain shirt
- A blood-encrusted short sword
- 2 longswords
- A leather bag of caltrops A 30-foot length of hemp rope
- 3 torches
- An empty backpack
- Any items worth 100 gp or less taken from captured PCs.
M20. JAILERS’ QUARTERS (EL 1)
Moss pallets cover five malachite slabs that protrude from the walls of this rank chamber. A somewhat mistreated wooden table and four chairs stand in the middle of the room. A rack of javelins occupies the northeast corner.
The moss-covered slabs serve as beds for the chief jailer and his four subordinates-all hobgoblins. Only two hobgoblins are in the room at present, but the others are close by in area Max.
The weapon rack in the northeast corner holds 16 normal javelins.
Creatures: Two hobgoblins rest here. Although they are lying down, they are kept awake by the sounds of torture in area M21.
Hobgoblins (2): hp 5 each; see area J63 for complete statistics and possessions.
Tactics: If anyone enters the room or if they hear loud noises in area M13 or M18, the two hobgoblins grab their swords and shout for reinforcements. They like to flank foes in combat
Development: Any disturbance in this room attracts the monsters in area M21, who appear I round later.
M21. TORTURE CHAMBER (EL 2)
Ghastly furnishings decorate this hellishly lit chamber. Glowing hot coals fill the black belly of a 6-foot-diameter iron oven that dominates the room. Three branding irons lie half-immersed in the coals. Two iron cages hang from the ceiling on either side of the oven: One holds an enormous beetle with red glowing glands, and the other holds a pile of bones and skulls. The latter cage hangs by a narrow window that looks out into a dark cavern. Against the south wall, a haggard woman sits in a tall, iron-wrought chair, metal clamps around her wrists, ankles, and neck.
Unless a disturbance lures them elsewhere, Kazmojen’s chief jailer and two other hobgoblins lurk here. They are killing time by torturing one of their master’s prisoners-an attractive middle-aged woman named Coryston Pike. Her shackles are held shut with iron pins, which can be easily removed to set her free.
The caged giant fire beetle poses no threat as long as it remains confined. The other cage contains bones from many different creatures, placed here to add to the décor
Creatures: The chief jailer is an ebon-skinned hobgoblin with one arm named Zarkad; he impressed Kazmojen in battle despite his apparent infirmity. The other two hobgoblins are typical of their kind.
Coryston Pike gave up adventuring 13 years ago after a marauding troll tore her comrades to pieces and nearly did the same to her. She walks with a limp a painful reminder of her encounter with the troll. If the PCs set her free, she assists them any way she can.
Giant Fire Beetle: hp 4: Monster Manual 206. > Hobgoblins (2): hp 5 each: see area 363 for complete statistics and possessions.
Hobgoblins (2): hp 5 each; see area J63 for complete statistics and possessions.
Zarkad, Male Hobgoblin War2: CR 1: Medium-size Humanoid (hobgoblin); HD 2d8+2; hp 15; Init +1: Spd 30 ft: AC 17, touch 11, flat-footed 16: BAB +2; Grap+4; Atk +4 melee (1d8/19-20, longsword) or +3 ranged (1d6, javelin); SQ darkvision 60 ft; AL LE; SV Fort +4, Ref +1, Will +0 Str 14, Dex 13, Con 12, Int 10, Wis to Cha 12.
Skills: Hide-3, Intimidate +3, Listen +3, Move Silently-1, -3, Spot +3. Feats: Alertness.
Possessions: Banded mail, longsword, 2 javelins, two potions of cure light wounds, pouch containing 15 gp and 88 sp.
Coryston Pike, Female Human Rog1/Sor2: CR 3; Medium-size Humanoid (human); HD 1d6+1 plus 2d4+2, hp 17 (currently 5); Init +2 Spd 20 ft. (limp): AC 12, touch 12, flat Tactics: If anyone enters the room or if they hear loud noises footed BAB +1: Grap +0; Atk +0 melee (1d3-1 subdual, unarmed strike) or +3 ranged; SA sneak attack +146; SQ trapfinding, AL NG, SV Fort +2, Ref +4, Will +3; Str 8, Dex 15, Con 13, Int 12, Wis 10, Cha 14.
Skills: Bluff +6, Concentration +5, Disable Device +6, Dis guise +6, Gather Information +6, Hide +6, Knowledge (arcana) +3, Knowledge (local) +5, Move Silently +6, Open Lock +6, Sense Motive +4, Spellcraft +3, Tumble +6. Feats: Great Fortitude, Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot.
Spells Known (6/5, base save DC 12+spell level): 0-daze detect magic, mage hand, ray of frost, read magic; 1st-change self, magic missile.
Languages: Common, Elven.
Ad-hoc XP Award: Award the party 150 XP if Coryston is returned to Cauldron alive or 75 XP if the PCs return her dead body to the town for proper burial.
M22. MAIN HALL (EL 2+)
The following boxed text assumes the PCs enter the hall from area M6:
This dark hall widens to 20 feet and ends at a large set of iron doors. Two wooden levers are set into opposite walls on either side of the double doors. Ten-foot-wide passages branch to the east and west.
This hall is guarded and trapped. If the PCs enter the hall with a charmed hobgoblin escort, they are allowed to traverse the hall and knock on the doors leading to Kazmojen’s auction chamber (area M34). If the PCs enter the hall unescorted, they are attacked.
Creatures: Two hobgoblin guards stand at the south end of the hall, on either side of the iron double doors leading to area M34. Their darkvision allows them to see the length of the hall.
Hobgoblins (2): hp 5 each; see area J63 for complete statistics. Possessions: Banded mail, longsword, longbow with 20 arrows, 4 javelins, pouch containing 1d10 x10 sp and 1d10 x 5 gp.
Tactics: If they spot the PCs, the hobgoblins bang on the double doors and shout “Croleks!” (“Intruders!), alerting the occupants of areas M26 and M34. They then begin shooting arrows at the intruders.
On the second round, four hobgoblins from area M26 enter the hall, stopping just short of the pit traps (see Trap, below). The two archers ready actions to pull down the levers, opening the pit traps when they think they can catch the most intruders.
The hobgoblins try to catch as many PCs as possible in the pit traps, then begin hurling javelins down at them. Once the levers are pulled, the two archers resume shooting arrows at PCs still in the hall proper.
Trap: The hall contains two 10-foot-by-20-foot pit traps. The pits open when the levers by the southern doors are pulled; the west lever opens the northernmost pit, and the east lever opens the southernmost pit.
Each pit is 10 feet deep and lined with spikes. Any PC standing on a pit when it opens must succeed at a Reflex save (DC 15) or fall in, taking damage from the fall and the spikes.
The inside walls of the pit are polished smooth and cannot be climbed without climbing gear.
The pit lids can be closed and locked by pulling up the levers, although the lids are heavy and take a round to close.
Spiked Pits (10 feet deep): CR 1; 1d6 points of damage (fall) plus +3 melee (1d4 points of piercing damage, 1d4 spikes); Reflex save (DC 15) prevents fall; Search (DC 17); Disable Device (DC 17).
Development: When they hear the call to arms, the two hobgoblins in area M34 watch the battle unfold through tiny eyeholes in the southern set of double doors. If the hall guards are overwhelmed, the hobgoblins in area M34 bar the double doors leading to that area and use a circuitous route (through areas M29 and M27) to reach the interlopers. Kazmojen remains in area M34
M23. GUEST QUARTERS
An iron cage dangles from the ceiling in one corner of this room. Trapped inside the cage, a large beetle with glowing glands bathes the room in an infernal light. The room contains a pair of simple beds and a table with two chairs.
These two rooms are set aside for Kazmojen’s clients. Neither room is currently in use.
Creature: If released, the caged beetle attacks the nearest creature.
Giant Fire Beetle: hp 4; Monster Manual 206.
Ad-hoc XP Award: PCs do not receive experience for releasing and killing the giant fire beetle.
M24. GUEST QUARTERS
Kazmojen reserves this room for special clients, but it is currently not in use. An empty iron cage dangles from the ceiling in one corner. The room’s furnishings include a large bed, its corner posts shaped like dwarven sentinels. Three cots, a table, and four chairs fill out the décor.
M25. PYLLRAK’S QUARTERS (EL 2)
An iron cage dangles from the ceiling in one corner of this rectangular chamber. Trapped inside are two enormous beetles that shed a hellish light. The room’s furnishings include a large bed covered with animal hides, its corner posts shaped like dwarven sentinels. Next to the bed sits an iron trunk with claw-shaped feet and four chains bolted to its sides. Two horrid blobs of flesh assume vaguely humanoid forms nearby and begin shambling toward you.
Pyllrak Shyraat, one of Kazmojen’s best clients, claims this room as his own.
The iron chest is locked (Open Lock, DC 25) and contains Pyllrak’s supplies and personal effects (see Treasure, below). The four chains attached to the chest end in shackles; Pyllrak has keys for the shackles, which he uses to bind his slaves during long treks through the Underdark.
Creatures: The two “horrid blobs of flesh” are Pyllrak’s lemure thralls. They have orders to attack anyone other than Pyllrak who enters the room.
Lemures (2): hp 11, 8; Monster Manual 48.
Treasure: Pyllraks locked trunk contains the following items:
- An explorer’s outfit
- A bedroll
- A jug of wine
- A full waterskin
- 4 spare sets of manacles (worth 15 gp each)
- 4 small empty sacks
- 2 potions of cure light wounds.
M26. MAIN BARRACKS (EL 2)
The door to this room is slightly ajar, allowing the guards within to hear cries of alarm in area M22.
These barracks, which hold four rows of iron-wrought bunkbeds, can accommodate 32 guards, although only half that many hobgoblins sleep here. The bunks are sized for dwarves, much to the hobgoblins’ chagrin. Two empty iron cages hang from the ceiling.
Creatures: Four hobgoblins rest here, their weapons leaning against their bunks or lying on the floor nearby. They respond quickly to cries of alarm or sounds of battle in area M22.
Hobgoblins (4): hp 5 each; see area J63 for complete statistics and possessions.
M27. FORGE (EL 3)
PCs who listen at the west or south door can hear the sounds of a roaring fire and hammers striking metal. The north secret door is soundproof.
This smithy is unpleasantly warm and filled with the stench of hot metal and ash. A blazing forge dominates the east wall, flanked by malachite caryatids depicting dwarven metalsmiths. In front of the hearth rests a 10-foot-wide, 20-foot- long slab of gray stone surmounted by two black anvils. Barrels of water and metalsmithing tools rest nearby.
Two cylindrical iron cages, each one 5 feet tall and 2 feet wide, dangle from the ceiling by iron chains. The bottoms of the cages hang 5 feet above the floor, and the giant fire beetles locked within them shed a lurid orange glow.
Atop the slab, a female dwarf and three goblins hammer away at pair of newly forged javelins while two halflings sit on the floor nearby, linking together tiny chains for what will ultimately become a suit of armor. The dwarf and halflings have manacles binding their ankles. Supervising them are four armored hobgoblins.
Dwarves used the forge to craft armor and weapons, and Kazmojen has just begun using the room for a similar purpose. His slaves are not well trained in the art of metalsmithing, however, and progress has been slow.
One of the hobgoblins carries the key that unlocks the slaves manacles. Otherwise, the manacles must be picked, smashed, or magically opened.
Iron Manacles: Hardness 10; hp 10; break DC 26; Escape Artist (DC 30); Open Lock (DC 25).
Creatures: The four hobgoblins are tired of watching the slaves work. The loud hammering and roaring fire prevent them from hearing cries of alarm elsewhere in the fortress.
The three goblins fight alongside the hobgoblins. If all of the hobgoblins are slain, the goblins surrender. They can be goaded into helping the PCs, but they remain untrustworthy and turn against the PCs to save their skins.
The dwarf and halflings are Cauldron townsfolk. They wear tattered clothes, but any other possessions of possible value or use have been stored in area M19.
Sondor Ironfold (Com1; hp 4), a 127-year-old female dwarf, she came here with her husband, who was sold away four weeks ago. She has felt alone ever since.
Jeneer Everdawn (Com1; hp 2; Appraise +4), a 42-year-old male halfling, is delirious with fear. Red rings around his eyes attest to the nightmares that consume his sleep.
Maple (see below for statistics), a 32-year-old female halfling, constantly looks for a way to escape captivity. Escape and self-preservation are always foremost in her mind. She also speaks Goblin, so she secretly knows what her captors are saying. If released from their cages, the giant fire beetles attack nearby targets indiscriminately.
Hobgoblins (4): hp 5 each; see area J63 for complete statistics and possessions.
Goblins (3): hp 4 each; Monster Manual 107.
Maple, Female Halfling Rogi: CR 1; Small Humanoid (halfling); HD 1d6+1; hp 5; Init+7; Spd 20 ft. ; AC 14, touch 14, flat-footed 11; BAB +0; Grap-5; Atk +0 melee (1d2-1 subdual, unarmed strike) or +4 ranged; SA sneak attack +1d6; SQ trapfinding: AL N; SV Fort+2, Ref+6, Will +0; Str 8, Dex17, Con 12, Int 13, Wis 8, Cha 14.
Skills: Appraise +3, Climb +1, Disable Device +7, Escape Artist+7, Hide+11, Jump+1, Listen+3, Move Silently+9, Open Lock +7, Pick Pocket (Sleight of Hand) +7, Search +5, Tumble +7. Feats: Improved Initiative.
Languages: Common, Goblin, Halfling.
Giant Fire Beetles (3): hp 4 each; Monster Manual 206.
Ad-hoc XP Award: Award the party 100 XP for each townsperson returned to Cauldron alive, or 50 XP for each dead NPC returned to the town for proper burial.
M28. SECRET ARMORY
Dozens of forged weapons are neatly arrayed on four wrought-iron weapon racks standing in the middle of this floor. Pushed against the east wall are two tables covered with suits of armor.
Treasure: Characters who search this room find the following equipment:
- 2 Medium-size chain shirts (worth 100 gp)
- 2 Medium-size suits of banded mail (worth 250 gp each)
- A Medium-size suit of half-plate (worth 600 gp)
- 2 spiked gauntlets (worth 5 gp)
- A masterwork greataxe (worth 320 gp)
- 15 shortspears (worth 1 gp each)
- 10 throwing axes (worth 8 gp each)
- 10 handaxes (worth 6 gp each)
- 5 battleaxes (worth 10 gp each)
- 5 heavy picks (worth 8 gp each)
- 4 warhammers (worth 12 gp each)
M29. DINING HALL
The dining hall is currently unoccupied, although the hobgoblin garrison gathers here every 24 hours to partake in a feast served
by their enslaved cooks (see area M33). They seat themselves on benches around the four long tables, which are littered with empty tankards, smashed pottery, and moldering scraps of food.
M30. COOKS’ QUARTERS
The cooks (see area M33) sleep here and have neither valuables nor a place to hide them. The room holds only three cots atop a gray, stained rug.
Four slabs of meat hanging from hooked chains are the skinned, dried corpses of four Medium-size monsters: a giant lizard, a krenshar, a hunting bat, and a snake. These dead remains will eventually be cooked and served up to Kazmojen and his garrison.
Characters who search the jugs, flasks, pots, casks, and sacks on the stone shelves find various edible foodstuffs purchased from Underdark traders. Most of the food consists of edible fungi, mold, small vermin, and ale.
Treasure: Exotic Underdark spices and seasonings fill bottles along the shelves. Characters can collect 15 bottles of exotic spices (worth 2 gp each).
M33. KITCHEN (EL 1)
This sparsely appointed kitchen has a stone hearth set into the southeast corner, a worktable in the middle of the room, and some shelves carved into the west wall. The table bears many pots and utensils, and clay dishware clutters the shelves.
The kitchen contains little of value but is usually occupied.
Creatures: Gryffon Malek (Com1; hp 4), a 33-year-old human barkeeper from Cauldron, serves as Kazmojen’s head cook. He wormed his way into the position to avoid Kazmojen’s slave auction. In exchange for his loyal service, he gets to sleep in a cot instead of a cell, and he gets to eat warm leftovers instead of cold ones. On the downside, he must work with two goblin assistants who can’t tell the difference between a fork and a spoon.
Goblins (2): hp 4 each; Monster Manual 107.
Tactics: The hobgoblins have instructed the two goblins to watch Gryffon and test the food he cooks to make sure it’s not poisoned. The goblins are bullies who yield when injured or faced with certain death.
If presented with a no-fail plan of escape, Gryffon agrees to accompany the PCs. However, if his so-called “saviors” fail to present a viable plan of escape, Gryffon would rather stay here than risk Kazmojen’s ire. Convincing him to accompany the PCs requires a successful Bluff, Diplomacy, or Intimidate check, with a +2 circumstance bonus if his friend Krylscar (see area M18) is present.
Ad-hoc XP Award: Award the party 100 XP if Gryffon is returned to Cauldron alive or 50 XP if the PCs return his dead body to the town for proper burial.
M34. SLAVE BAZAAR (EL 6+)
The northern double doors leading to this room have small eye-holes set into them, allowing Kazmojen’s hobgoblin guards to keep abreast of events in area M22. The shutters for the eye-holes can be closed and locked from the south side.
If the guards in area M22 raise a general alarm, Kazmojen orders the two hobgoblin guards in this room to slide an iron bar across the northern double doors, sealing them. He then sends the guards through areas M29 and M27 to deal with the intruders (see area M22 for details).
If the PCs reach this chamber with the aid of a charmed hobgoblin escort (and without raising a general alarm), they are allowed inside.
Four malachite pillars support the 20-foot-high ceiling of this grand chamber. Hanging from an iron brace mounted near the top of each pillar is a cylindrical iron cage containing a giant beetle that sheds an infernal orange light.
The southern half of the chamber rises 5 feet, and a wide black staircase leads up to the raised floor. Just past the top of the stairs, an 8-foot-tall iron post erupts from the floor. Iron shackles hang from the top of the post, secured to which are three children-a dwarf boy and two human girls. Five narrow windows carved into the south wall stand open to the darkness beyond.
A 5-foot-tall muscular figure clad in black plate armor stands on the staircase, his face hidden behind a visor. Inone gauntlet, he clutches a wicked dwarven urgrosh. In the other, he grasps a chain ending in an iron ring clamped around a human boy’s neck. Behind him, crouched at the top of the stairs, looms a slavering, bestial hound bristling with quills. The black-clad knight is haggling with a creature that looks like an ash-skinned dwarf with sharply pointed ears and yellow eyes. He wears robes encrusted with mold, holds out a bone box filled with coins, and looks at you with utter disgust.
Deakon Stormshield, Evelyn Radavec, and Lucinda Aldreen (hp 3, 3, 2) are shackled to the slave post. Kazmojen (the figure in black armor) carries the keys to their shackles. He holds the shackles of the fourth prisoner-Terrem Kharatys (hp 4) -so that his client can inspect the boy more closely.
Terrem Kharatys bears a hidden mark on his left cheek: a Carcerian Sign. The birthmark is naturally (not magically) invisible and can be seen using a see invisibility or true seeing spell. Terrem is one of the Shackleborn (see Campaign Seed: The Shackleborn for details).
Kazmojen’s client is a durzagon (a half-duergar/half-barbazu devil) named Pyllrak Shyraat. Pyllrak (the ash-skinned figure) specifically requested child slaves because they are easier to subjugate and less likely to revolt. However, something about Terrem unnerves Pyllrak, although the durzagon can’t put his finger on it. He has already negotiated a fair price for the other three children; the bone box he carries contains his offer.
Iron Shackles: Hardness 10; hp 10, break DC 26; Escape Artist (DC 30); Open Lock (DC 25).
Creatures: Kazmojen was the product of a mad wizard’s experiment at crossbreeding a male dwarf with a female troll. See the Fiend Folio for more information on the half-troll template.
Lacking strong parental guidance as an ugly youth, Kazmojen quickly learned the three rules of survival in the Underdark: Never buy food from a stranger, never take your eyes off your traveling companions, and never let anyone see you cry. His troll heritage also reinforced a general loathing of acid and fire.
Kazmojen found Prickles, his juvenile howler companion, on an Underdark expedition. He treats Prickles better than all of his other servants combined and becomes positively enraged if Prickles is slain.
The other occupants of the room include a pair of hobgoblin sentries (who stand guard just inside the northern double doors), Pyllrak, and the four kidnapped children.
Kazmojen, Male Half-dwarf/Half-troll Ftr4: CR 5; Medium-size Giant; HD 4d10+24; hp 50; Init +1; Spd 15 ft. ; AC 23, touch 11, flat-footed 22; BAB+4; Grap +9; Atk +10 melee (1d8+7/x3, masterwork dwarven urgrosh axe), or+6 melee (1d8+7/x3, masterwork dwarven urgrosh axe) and +2 melee (1d6+4/x3, masterwork dwarven urgrosh spear), or +9 melee (1d6+5, bite) and +4 melee (1d4+2, 2 clawed gauntlets), or +5 ranged (1d6, throwing axe); Face/Reach 5 ft. across/10 ft. ; SA rend 2d4+7, improved reach (10 ft. ), +1 racial bonus on attack rolls against goblinoids and orcs; SQ see below; AL LE; SV Fort +10, Ref+4, Will+4; Str 20, Dex 12, Con 22, Int 8, Wis 13, Cha6.
Skills: Intimidate +5. Feats: Cleave, Iron Will, Power Attack, Weapon Focus (dwarven urgrosh), Weapon Specialization (dwarven urgrosh).
Languages: Common, Dwarven, Giant.
Possessions: Full plate, great helm with visor, masterwork dwarven urgrosh, 4 throwing axes, pouch containing 180 gp and three keys (to the chests in area MII).
Special Qualities: To simplify Kazmojen’s stat block, his special qualities are summarized below:
- Darkvision (60 feet)
- Regeneration 2 (cannot regenerate damage from acid or fire attacks)
- Scent (see the Monster Manual, page 10, for details)
- +2 racial bonus on Search checks to notice unusual stonework
- +4 bonus on saves to resist bull rushes and trip attacks when standing on ground
- +2 racial bonus on saves against poison, spells, and spell like effects
- +4 dodge bonus to AC against giants.
Prickles, Juvenile Howler: CR 3; Large Outsider (chaotic, evil, extraplanar); HD 4d8+8; hp 33; Init+7; Spd 60 ft; AC 17, touch 12, flat-footed 14; BAB+4; Grap+13; Atk+8 melee (2d8+4, bite), +3 melee (1d4+2, 1d4 quills); Face/Reach 10 ft. across/5 ft; SA quills, howl; AL CE; SV Fort+6, Ref+4, Will+6; Str 19, Dex 17, Con 15, Int 6, Wis 14, Cha 8.
Skills: Climb+8, Hide +6, Listen +9, Move Silently+6, Search -1, Spot+9. Feats: Alertness, Improved Initiative.
Pyllrak Shyraat, Male Durzagon: hp 32; Monster Manual II 124 or see the “Life’s Bazaar” Web enhancement.
Possessions: Small bone box containing 180 gp, bag of holding (Type 1) containing 4 torches, 4 tindertwigs, a 50-footlength of hemp rope, a potion of cure moderate wounds, and a potion of alter self.
Hobgoblins (2): hp 5 each; see area J63 for complete statistics and possessions.
Giant Fire Beetles (4): hp 4 each; Monster Manual 206.
Tactics: Kazmojen is busy pushing the sale of the fourth child, Terrem, and becomes quite annoyed if the PCs interrupt his “negotiations” Still, he’s curious to know why the PCs have come to his stronghold and allows them to speak before deciding whether to kill them, capture them, or trade with them.
Although his inherited his evil ways from his troll mother, Kazmojen also inherited his father’s lawful nature. He has agreed in principle to give Pyllrak three of the children (Deakon, Evelyn, and Lucinda) for 50 gp each and is currently offering to sell Terrem “at a discount” (30 gp). The PCs are free to “bid” on Terrem, but the other children are off limits as long as Pyllrak Shyraat is alive.
If the PCs threaten Kazmojen or attempt to take the children by force, Kazmojen orders Prickles to attack and hurls one of his throwing axes at the insolent PCs. He then wades into melee with his urgrosh, leaving Terrem unguarded by the stairs. Kazmojen’s long, troll-like arms give him a 10-foot reach. If disarmed, he uses his sharp teethand clawed gauntlets to rend foes. Prickles’ desperate howls are loud enough to be heard by every living hobgoblin in the fortress (but not Xukasus in area M4), and they quickly converge on the auction chamber.
The round after combat erupts, Pyllrak turns invisible and tries to stay out of harm’s way. If either Kazmojen or Prickles falls in battle, Pyllrak flees the room (using darkness to mask his exit, if necessary) and returns to his quarters (area M25) to gather his belongings. He then vacates the fortress with his lemure minions.
Unlike Kazmojen, Pyllrak has no taste for blood. If the PCs challenge him for ownership of the children, Pyllrak backs down, agreeing to their demands provided he receives “compensation in the form of 450 gp worth of coins or magic items (which he expects the PCs-not Kazmojen-to pay). A successful Bluff, Diplomacy, or Intimidate check (DC 14) persuades him to reduce the amount, although he won’t go lower than 150 gp.
PCs can negotiate for Terrem. Pyllrak does not protest when Kazmojen offers to sell the boy for 100 gp. PCs can haggle over the price, although Kazmojen is already mad at them for “arriving unannounced. “A successful Bluff, Diplomacy, or Intimidate check (DC 18) persuades Kazmojen to drop his price by as much as half (50 gp).
Development: Three rounds after the PCs enter the cham-ber, Lord Vhalantru of Cauldron appears to take Terrem into his custody. If Kazmojen lives, the beholder makes him “a fair offer. “If the half-dwarf slave trader isslain or otherwise unable to negotiate, Vhalantru makes a similar offer to the PCs. Proceed to “Vhalantru’s Offer,” below.
Ad-hoc XP Award: Award the party 50 XP per child returned safely to the Lantern Street Orphanage in Cauldron, or half that amount for each dead child brought back to the town for proper burial.
Do not award experience for Pyllrak Shyraat unless the PCs defeat him in combat.
VHALANTRU’S OFFER (EL 18)
Three rounds after the PCs’ enter area M34, the beholder Vhalantru appears in the middle of the chamber, courtesy of a teleport spell cast by an invisible wizard with him. You may shorten or delay their arrival, provided they appear before the PCs leave the chamber.
Read or paraphrase the following text when Lord Vhalantru appears:
Suddenly, an enormous spherical creature appears in the middle of the room. It has a stony hide, a large central eye, a toothy maw, and a crown of writhing eyestalks. It fixes its many eyes upon you and begins to speak in Common.
If one or more PCs can see invisible creatures, they also see a lithe figure standing next to the beholder: a flying human woman wearing black robes and a taIl black headdress, her face concealed behind a dark veil. In one hand she clutches a slender crystal wand, and around her neck she wears a pendant shaped like a tiny silver cage.
If Kazmojen lives, Vhalantru addresses him directly. Other-wise, the beholder speaks to whoever seems to be in charge.
“I have come for Terrem Kharatys. That boy should not have been taken from Cauldron. I intend to see that he is safely returned to his orphanage. You can keep the others. They are of no consequence. Come, Terrem-you will be safe with me. ”
Creature: Vhalantru can annihilate a low-level group of adventurers, but he has no interest in harming the PCs. Once Terrem is handed over, Thifirane teleports all three of them away using a scroll.
Vhalantru, Beholder: hp 66; Monster Manual 24. He currently has the benefits of a stoneskin spell.
Thifirane, Female Human Tra10: CR 10; Medium-size Humanoid (human); HD 10d4+10; hp 37 (57 with bear’s endurance spell); Init +6; Spd 30 ft. ; AC 14, touch 14, flat-footed 12 plus shield spell; Atk +5 melee (1d4/19-20, dagger) or +7 ranged; AL NE; SV Fort+4, Ref+5, Will+9; Str 10, Dex 14, Con 12, Int 17, Wis 14, Cha 8.
Skills: Concentration +14, Decipher Script+16, Knowledge (arcana) +16, Knowledge (history) +16, Knowledge (the planes) +16, Spellcraft +16. Feats: Brew Potion, Combat Casting, Craft Wondrous Item, Improved Initiative, Scribe Scroll, Spell Focus (Evocation, Transmutation), Spell Penetration.
Spells Prepared (4/5/5/4/3/2; base save DC=13+spell level): o-detect magic, flare’, light, read magic; 1st-burning hands’, cause fear, magic missile, shield; 2nd-bear’s endurance*, invisibility*, knock, mirror image, see invisibility; 3rd-displacement*, fly*, lightning bolt’, slow’; 4th-Otiluke’s resilient sphere’, shout’, stoneskin (cast on Vhalantru); 5th-teleport, wall of force.
*This spell has already been cast; it is in effect when Thiftrane appears.
‘Evocation or Transmutation spells. The base save DC for these spells is 15+spell level.
Forbidden Schools: Conjuration, Enchantment.
Languages: Abyssal, Common, Draconic, Infernal.
Possessions: +2 ring of protection, crystal wand of magic missile (7th-level caster, 32 charges), arcane scroll of dispel magic, scroll of teleport (cast at 10th level), dagger, silver cage pendant (worth 15 gp), pouch containing 50 pp.
Tactics: Vhalantru does not divulge his name, and does not feel compelled to answer any of the PCs’ questions. If they do not surrender Terrem into his custody, the beholder takes the child by force. He can tell that the PCs are relative weaklings and abstains from using his lethal rays, instead using his charm person, fear, and sleep rays.
Although she thinks it’s a mistake to let the PCs live, Thifirane follows Vhalantru’s lead and refrains from killing anyone. She uses Otiluke’s resilient sphere and wall of force spells to trap aggressive PCs and shout to deafen enemy spellcasters. Otherwise, she prefers to use her wand, which fires four magic missiles per round.
Vhalantru offers to pay Kazmojen 50 pp for his trouble, at which point the veiled woman yields a pouch filled with coins. The beholder offers the same amount to the PCs if they’re in control. If Terrem dies before Vhalantru can claim him, the beholder tries to claim Terrem’s body so that the boy can be raised.
Development: The PCs have little hope of “saving” Terrem from the beholder. The best they can hope for is to return Deakon, Evelyn, and Lucinda safely to the orphanage. Assuming they make it to the orphanage, they discover that Terrem has been returned unharmed. The orphanage headmistress knows only that a mysterious woman wearing a dark veil escorted Terrem to the doorstep, then quickly departed. Terrem did not recognize the woman, nor did he think to ask her name.
If Kazmojen is still alive after Vhalantru departs, he refuses to impart any information about the beholder. Even if a PC successfully charms him, he declines to speak of the beholder, believing that Vhalantru would find out and kill him. If Vhalantru arrived in the middle of a battle, Kazmojen is no friendlier toward the heroes after the beholder departs. He raises his urgrosh, and says, “The deal is done! Now, you die.”
THE END IS THE BEGINNING
To complete the adventure successfully, the heroes must survive the perils of the Malachite Fortress and return Deakon, Evelyn, and Lucinda to the Lantern Street Orphanage alive. Getting back to the surface might be difficult, but the PCs can count on aid from one or more NPCs, including Fario Ellegoth, Fellian Shard, and any of the townsfolk they rescued from Kazmojen’s stronghold.
The church of St. Cuthbert pays the characters the promised 2, 500 gp if all four orphans are returned unharmed. In addition, Jenya puts in a word with the office of the Lord Mayor, recommending that the PCs be granted an audience at some time in the near future to be commended for their deeds and offered future employment. The church reduces the amount by 500 gp per child slain or sold and not safely brought back to the orphanage. Jenya still recommends the PCs to the Lord Mayor, but not with the same feeling or commendations. She has no hard feelings toward the PCs; she just feels that an incomplete job is not what she promised to compensate.
Although the adventure is over, the campaign is just beginning. If your PCs haven’t quite reached 3rd level by the end of “Life’s Bazaar,” run them through a short module, like issue #92’s “Hollow Threats” or a scaled-down version of this issue’s “Blind Man’s Bluff” to prepare them for the second installment of the Adventure Path series, which will appear in issue #98. The PCs have now met some key players in the unfolding drama. The question becomes whether they can survive even greater perils awaiting them in the Shackled City! Of course, this remains to be seen…