It takes several days of navigating the Klavekian Grasslands to reach the network of caves where the map Jesker threw at the PCs indicates an entrance to the much greater Underworld of Aventyr. Finding the Shlyappa Amber Road won’t be quite as simple as locating this first passage, however, and PCs making their first trek into the world beneath the surface may be at a disadvantage without ample supplies. Remind the party to prepare themselves for the journey as best they can—foraging in the nearby plains for food, fashioning ad-hoc mundane items, giving animal companions a little while to frolic topside, and whatever tasks they come up with for themselves—before making the descent.
Even with the map in hand, locating the precise tunnel leading to the Shlyappa Amber Road area requires a DC 12 Survival check to properly navigate the underground terrain. Once the adventurers reach this territory of the Underworld there are several different passages they can take, each of which presents its own dangers, but they all lead to the true path that takes the PCs to the Shlyappa Enclave.
This passage is a bit of foreshadowing for what’s to come (a journey through an actual Amber Road).
While traveling through this tunnel, the movement speeds of Medium-sized and Large-sized creatures are halved. Dwarves (all subtypes) and Small-sized creatures retain their normal overland movement rate. Huge-sized and larger creatures lacking the compression ability (or a similar ability that allows travel in the confined passages) are unable to enter or travel through this tunnel.
Every 3,000 ft. there’s a crook in the stone that requires a DC 23 Escape Artist check for a non-dwarf Medium-sized creature to pass through; wearing armor imposes a -5 penalty to this check. At each of these crooks, there’s a 25% chance that a gray ooze drips down from a seam in the rocks above to attack a creature when it fails its first skill check to pass through.
Two terrible abyssal creatures, a pair of half-fiend minotaur sisters named Ryhtaeh and Rennifej, rule over the territory of the Underworld near the entrance to the Shlyappa Amber Road in a pact with Mailliw the aboleth master of Long Drink Lake. Both can be bribed—the demonic duo prefer gold (at least 1,000 gp) and magic items, whereas the aberration only wants live, intelligent creatures—but their starting attitudes are Indifferent. A DC 23 Diplomacy check is required to keep either from attacking if payment isn’t handed over after 1d4 minutes of talking. Paying one of these tolls earns the party untroubled passage in this area, and paying both earns them an improved amber attenuator [upcoming Magic Item Monday! -MM]
Parties that head eastward find a fork in the passage—going to the far east (“taking a right”) brings them to an Amber Road. A DC 10 Knowledge (geography check) confirms that this isn’t the planar passageway leading to the Shlyappa Enclave, taking travelers to the ruined zwerc enclave of Digbarre’s Rest instead. [Digbarre’s Rest is not covered in this year’s AaWBlog Adventure Path and is intended for GMs to use as they see fit! Feel free to change it to whatever locale works best as a sidetrek for your group. -MM]
After this Amber Road (or for PCs that follow along the western side of the fork, “taking a left”) is another false positive (a shadow amber road haunt), and only adventurers that succeed a DC 15 Knowledge (geography check) recognize that it doesn’t head to the Shlyappa Enclave (though this does not reveal that it is a haunt).
A DC 9 Wisdom (Survival) check finds the precise tunnel leading to the Shlyappa Amber Road area.
A DC 18 Dexterity check is required for non-dwarf Medium sized creatures to pass through the crooks in the narrow tunnel.
Use the “Mezzoloth” monster statblocks for Ryhtaeh and Rennifej; a DC 17 Charisma (Persuasion) check is required to assuage the entities down the Central Tunnel.
A DC 8 Wisdom (Survival) check recognizes the Amber Road leading to Digbarre’s Rest and a DC 12 Wisdom (Survival) check notices that the shadow amber road doesn’t lead to the Shlyappa Enclave (though this does not reveal that it is a haunt).