A08: Search for the Tri-Stone

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Maps

Search for the Runestone Cliff Edge Path Thingallor Shrine

 

Audio

Serpent Lake

Forest Wilderness

Ship Below Deck (sounds spiritually imprinted upon ship)

A08-screen1

Adventure Background

The Snoqua tribe has covertly contacted Sulwotik in Rybalka.  It requires an ancient artifact called the Tri-Stone which can bind the great Serpents of Serpent Lake.  Unfortunately all promising trails lead to lands now dominated by the Klavekians. Not wishing to risk another war between the Klavekians and Vikmordere, the tribal chieftain has taken great care to keep all communications with Sulwotik discrete.  Sulwotik does not know the reason the chieftain wants the artifact, but has heard legends of the great kings of old using this artifact to harness the energy of the great serpents of Serpent Lake.  The Snoqua tribal chieftain has provided Sulwotik with a Runestick which contains clues as to the Tri-Stone's whereabouts.  Sulwotik now needs only to hire a trustworthy group of heroes to seek out the artifact and return it to him.

 

Adventure Hook

Sulwotik summons the PCs to his home.  He asks them for their assistance in locating the Tri-Stone, an ancient artifact.

 

Adventure Synopsis

Sulwotik summons the PCs to his home and asks them to retrieve a legendary artifact, the Tri-Stone.

Using a Runestick granted to the PCs from Sulwotik, they locate a Runestone.

The Runestone reveals a location to the west, on the edge of a cliff overlooking the Serpent Lake, as a place to search.

The PCs travel to the location and find a secret door in the side of the cliff overlooking a dangerous fall into Serpent Lake.

Once open, the secret door leads into a large underground corridor atop of the Thingallor, a massive ship.  A hatch leads inside.

The PCs enter the ship and find that this is the resting place of the great King Rytan of the Ancestor People.

After exploring the tomb and battling many undead guardians, the PCs uncover the sacred artifact the Tri-Stone.

Returning to Rybalka with the Tri-Stone the PCs are attacked by the Wocla tribe who seek the stone for their own use.  The PCs must fight hard in order to keep hold of the Tri-Stone.

Sulwotik thanks the PCs for their help and takes the Tri-Stone.  

Unbeknownst to the PCs, Sulwotik sends the stone with a Snoqua runner and group of warriors which attempt to courier it back to the tribe.  They are attacked and killed by Wocla tribal warriors which then seize the stone and return to their tribe.  

A future adventure will reveal additional details and events.

Runesticks and Runestones

 

Runesticks and Runestones

The Ancestor People used a language comprised of a runic alphabet.

  • The direction of writing in early Runic inscriptions is variable. Later they settled down into a left to right pattern
  • Word divisions were not generally recognised in Runic writing, although one or more dots were occasionally used for this function
  • Only nobles and those hired as expert artisans were taught the alphabet
  • Runesticks were used to carry secret messages to other nobles or royalty
  • Runestones were placed at spiritual or magical sites or used as landmarkers
  • Runestones used as landmarkers typically have a coded message only decipherable using a specific Runestick. Once deciphered, Runestones point the way to secret locations such as crypts, shrines, or magic temples.

Shown below is one of many variations of the Ancestor People's Runic Alphabet

 

 

 

Meeting Sulwotik

Sulwotik summons the PCs to his home.  He asks them for their assistance in locating the Tri-Stone, an ancient artifact.  He requires that the PCs remain discrete in the their quest and not share the information they glean with others.  Once the PCs find the location of the artifact, Sulwotik asks that they say a short tribal blessing before they take it.  Nothing else is to be touched lest a horrible curse, spoken of only in legends, manifest itself.

Sulwotik gives the PCs a Runestick which contains clues leading to a Runestone.  According to Sulwotik the Runestick contains the key needed to decipher the runes located on the Runestone.

 

The Runestick

The Runestick has symbols which the PCs have never before encountered.  Those skilled in linguistics and ancient languages may be able to decipher the Runestick.

Skill Check

Skill Check: Deciphering the Runestick

Decipher Script Linguistics - DC 25

If any of the PCs are Vikmordere or have spent time researching the Vikmordere allow a +2 bonus.

Success = You are able to decipher most of the runes on the Runestick.  The first line reads "Green Maw | White Teeth | Sharp Serpent Tail".  The second line of runes appears to be a key to decipher an unknown script into the runic alphabet.

GM Notes: The words "Green Maw" refer to the opening in the Jagged Crags near Rybalka where the Dark Wood flows through a valley guarded on both sides by the Jagged Crags (or the "White Teeth"), finally the inlet from Serpent Lake which reaches toward Dark Wood just a short ways past the Hunter's Cabin is what the text calls the "Sharp Serpent Tail".  The point of the tail is the spot where the PCs will locate the Runestone!

 

 

If the PCs do not have a party member with the appropriate skill they may seek the guidance of Sulwotik or sage Yuri Statel.

Sulwotik will help them in between customers in the back room of his home.  Since Sulwotik's Spirits is quite popular his help will be intermittent and the PCs must be patient.

Sage Yuri Statel will charge them 100 gp to perform the decryption.  If any details about the mission are revealed to Statel, he will report this news to his contacts in the Klavek Monarchy.  The sage will thenceforth keep a close eye on the PCs' actions for any sign they appear to be in league with the enemy.

 

Finding the Runestone

The Runestone location is shown circled in red on the map above.  It is at the very tip of an inlet of the Serpent Lake which almost reaches into Dark Wood.  Just outside the wood is a snowy tundra which rolls down toward the lake's edge.  On the very edge of the lake is a large gray stone about 4' tall by 4' wide.  The stone was originally 6' tall and the missing 2' slab is nowhere to be found (it was removed from the site by vandals long ago).

The Runestone is inscribed with ancient runes and the symbols of two serpents, heads drooped down and bound by the necks with a triangular shaped stone with soft edges.  The triangular stone appears to be focusing a beam of light from the serpents and the light shines downwards.  The image of a man with a crown in one hand and blade in the other stands within the beam of light.

If the PCs have the Runestick they may decipher the text on the Runestone.  Much of the text detailing the interaction of the figures drawn on the bottom of the stone is missing with the top slab.  Luckily the section describing the location of the Tri-Stone is on the lower slab and is still legible.

Skill Check: Deciphering the Runestone

Decipher Script Linguistics - DC 25 / DC 20 if Runestick already deciphered

Success = You decipher the text upon the Runestone using the key on the lower half of the Runestick.  "At the King's Cliff at Lake's Edge on Forest's Ledge, See Serpent's Head, Born from Forest at Lake's Ledge"

GM Notes: The Runestone reveals a location to the west on the edge of a cliff overlooking the Serpent Lake.  This is the same location the PCs may have visited during Adventure #2: Devil of Dark Wood if they took the path that Cual recommended near the end of that adventure.

Use the following only if the PCs are stuck and cannot figure out where to go next:

  • If PCs have been to the dangerous walkway before roll an Intelligence check (3.5E)/Perception check DC 15 for each of the PCs.  A successful check allows the GM to remind the players of this location.
  • If the PCs have never been to this location then as a GM you can recommend they visit Cual, who is known to be gruffly friendly to all travelers, at his cabin.  After Cual hears the PCs' description from the Runestone he explains in perfect detail how to find the location which is noted on the map below:

 

 

Search for the Burial Shrine

Cual's original directions will guide them northwest from the Runestone and along the edge of the Serpent Lake.  A dangerous walkway meanders against a cliff face, high above sharp rocks and the cold water of the lake.

Halfway across the Cliff's Edge Path (marked by sapling #2 on the above map), if the PCs looks down, they will see a piece of wood jutting out from within the cliff face.  The wood appears to be a finely carved beam, heavily worn by the weather.  (This was once the bow of the great ship the Thingallor.  The elements tore the ornately carved bow from the cliff long ago but not the supporting spar.)  The wooden beam that was left behind disappears smoothly into the cliff face.

Skill Check

Climb DC 25

The PCs may choose to secure a length of rope to a boulder and lower one of their party members down to the wood, or attempt to climb down from the walkway.  Either way, if they fall they face a 100' fall (10d6 damage) onto the sharp rocks below (4d6 damage) and a tumble into the ice cold water (Fortitude Save DC 20 or hypothermia sets in).


This piece of wood is actually the bow of the great ship the Thingallor and reveals the secret door which the PCs may use to gain entry to the Thingallor Shrine.  Continue to location A1 under the Thingallor Shrine heading below.

Thingallor Shrine

The great ship named the Thingallor was built to transport King Rytan of the Ancestor People and his treasures into the afterlife.  The ship, which acts as a shrine to the late King Rytan, was buried here to prevent grave robbers from easily finding the location while still allowing access to those who wish to pay their respects to the King.

A1.  Secret Door - Entrance

This secret door was hidden in the side of the cliff wall in the days of the Ancients.  The Ancestor People used fine stonework to lock the stone in place and magical illusions to blend the stonework in with the rest of the exterior rock on the cliff face.  The illusion has long since expired, leaving a faintly visible difference between the door and the natural stone around it.

Skill Check

Search/Perception DC 20

Success = Locate secret door

map

 

 

A2.  Reinforced Cave - Entry to Burial Shrine

The secret door opens into a long cavern corridor.  The walls and ceiling are reinforced with huge wooden beams.  A few tools and an old bucket still rest where they were left when the cavern was sealed on the far wall.  A thick layer of dust and cobwebs coats everything in sight.

As the PCs proceed, read the following:

Under the dust and cobwebs are wooden planks bound tightly together and sealed, presumably with animal fat or thickened oil. It is an incredibly well-made entrance hallway, considering its location. The king who commissioned this tomb was either very highly regarded, very wealthy, or both. Barely a hint of a breeze comes from anywhere other than the secret doorway. It is truly as quiet as the grave.


The corridor reaches all the way back to the stern of the ship where it ends in a collapsed tunnel.  The tunnel was purposely sealed off when the construction of the ship and ceremonial burial of the king completed. Even with it being deliberately collapsed, there has been work on the boulders and rocks designed to help them further lock into place with each other. This truly was a tomb that was designed to keep grave robbers away.

map

 

A3.  Ship Hatch - Entrance to the Thingallor

More than halfway up the corridor you spot the faint outline of a hatch or trapdoor in the floor.  Visible only due to the dust which slips through the cracks creating a square outline. Although the poison on the needle trap has dried up, make some play of the fact that any person who fails to disable the trap has a needle plunge into them and a cloud of differently-coloured dust rise up from the impact point, even though no harm is done from it.

Trap: Poison Needle

Location: Thingallor Hatch

Search/Perception DC 22

Disable Device DC 20

CR 1, Atk +8 ranged (no poison- dried up long ago), Mechanical, Reset: Manual

 

*This trap was used to kill potential grave robbers.  Those who were permitted entry were instructed to open the hatch using a long hook pole. The small rope ring that allowed people to do that has wasted away to dust over time.

map

 

B1.  Shrine Entry

A wooden ladder descends from the hatch into the Shrine Entry.  It was designed to be the receiving chamber for those descendants of King Rytan who wished to pay homage or be blessed by the wisdom of the great king. Little expense was spare in creation the correct first impression.

This room is lavishly decorated with fine tapestries and a few small wood tables covered in beads and jewelry.  The room is perfectly square with four doors, one on each wall.  In each corner rests a large copper urn, each is filled with a different substance.  Starting from the top right on the map and working clockwise, the urns contain ashes, dried fruit, dried boar,  and finally human hair.  The human hair consists of the long, braided locks from all of the virgins of an entire village.

 

Treasure

(43) Beads and Jewelry - Mostly odds and ends worth about 1-2 gp each

(4) Large Copper Urns - worth 400-500 gp each

map

 

 

 

B2.  Rowing Crew

Upon opening this door, the smell of ancient, musty death wafts to your nostrils.  Planks designed as seats host a rowing crew of dead sailors still in their garb.  They grip the handles of gigantic oars as if they continue to row this ship even in death.  They are lined up to almost 10 men per oar in the middle and thin out to something like 5 per oar closer to the bow and stern.  The sailors faces are dusty, cobweb covered husks with dried skin hanging from bone.  As you take a step into the room one of the sailors turns his head, empty eye sockets staring intently in your direction.  One by one, all of the heads start to turn until they are all looking in your direction.  The creepy sound of their dry musty husks twisting over old bones sticks in your mind.

The undead skeletal sailors wait for the PCs' next move.  If the PCs do anything other than leave the room, the undead stand and shuffle to attack the PCs. Ask the PCs for a Spot/Perception role; any result above zero will allow them to see the flash of something moving around more quickly amongst the skeletons. These creatures are wights, which will try to trip PCs with their whip attack so a crowd of skeletons can descend on the prone character.

GM Note: There are 2 Wights and 50 Skeletons PER room for a total of 4 Wights and 100 Skeletons.

 

Combat

(2) Wights - Thingallor Rowmasters
+Weapon: Whip
Tactics: The wights wait for the skeletons to surround the PCs then attack from a safe distance using the whips, attempting to trip a character.

 

(50) Skeleton, Human - Thingallor Rowing Crew

Tactics: The skeletons attempt to overwhelm the PCs with sheer numbers.

Combat: Wight (3.5)

Wights (2)

 

Size/Type:Medium Undead
Hit Dice:4d12 (26 hp)
Initiative:+1
Speed:30 ft. (6 squares)
Armor Class:15 (+1 Dex, +4 natural), touch 11, flat-footed 14
Base Attack/Grapple:+2/+3
Attack:Slam +3 melee (1d4+1 plus energy drain) OR Whip +3 (1d3)
Full Attack:Slam +3 melee (1d4+1 plus energy drain) OR Whip +3 (1d3)
Space/Reach:5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks:Create spawn, energy drain
Special Qualities:Darkvision 60 ft., undead traits
Saves:Fort +1, Ref +2, Will +5
Abilities:Str 12, Dex 12, Con —, Int 11, Wis 13, Cha 15
Skills:Hide +8, Listen +7, Move Silently +16, Spot +7
Feats:Alertness, Exotic Weapon Proficiency
Environment:Any
Organization:Solitary, pair, gang (3–5), or pack (6–11)
Challenge Rating:3
Treasure:None
Alignment:Always lawful evil
Advancement:5–8 HD (Medium)
Level Adjustment:

A wight’s appearance is a weird and twisted reflection of the form it had in life. A wight is about the height and weight of a human.

Wights speak Common.

 

COMBAT

Wights attack by hammering with their fists. These creatures also have whips.

Create Spawn (Su): Any humanoid slain by a wight becomes a wight in 1d4 rounds. Spawn are under the command of the wight that created them and remain enslaved until its death. They do not possess any of the abilities they had in life.

Energy Drain (Su): Living creatures hit by a wight’s slam attack gain one negative level. The DC is 14 for the Fortitude save to remove a negative level. The save DC is Charisma-based. For each such negative level bestowed, the wight gains 5 temporary hit points.

Skills: Wights have a +8 racial bonus on Move Silently checks.

Combat: Wight (Pathfinder)

The flesh of these walking corpses is rotting and putrid, their bodies skeletal in places; eye sockets glowing with red light.

Wights (2)

CR 3

XP 800

LE Medium undead

Init +1; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +11

DEFENSE

AC 15, touch 11, flat-footed 14 (+1 Dex, +4 natural)

hp 26 (4d8+8)

Fort +3, Ref +2, Will +5

Defensive Abilities undead traits

Weaknesses resurrection vulnerability

OFFENSE

Speed 30 ft.

Melee slam +4 (1d4+1 plus energy drain)  OR Whip +4 (1d3)

Special Attacks create spawn, energy drain (1 level, DC 14)

STATISTICS

Str 12, Dex 12, Con —, Int 11, Wis 13, Cha 15

Base Atk +3; CMB +4; CMD 15

Feats Exotic Weapon Proficiency, Skill Focus (Perception)

Skills Intimidate +9, Knowledge (religion) +7, Perception +11, Stealth +16; Racial Modifier +8 Stealth

Languages Common

SQ create spawn

ECOLOGY

Environment any

Organization solitary, pair, gang (3–6), or pack (7–12)

Treasure standard

SPECIAL ABILITIES

Create Spawn (Su) Any humanoid creature that is slain by a wight becomes a wight itself in only 1d4 rounds. Spawn so created are less powerful than typical wights, and suffer a –2 penalty on all d20 rolls and checks, as well as –2 hp per HD. Spawn are under the command of the wight that created them and remain enslaved until its death, at which point they lose their spawn penalties and become full-fledged and free-willed wights. They do not possess any of the abilities they had in life.

Resurrection Vulnerability (Su) A raise dead or similar spell cast on a wight destroys it (Will negates). Using the spell in this way does not require a material component.

Wights are humanoids who rise as undead due to necromancy, a violent death, or an extremely malevolent personality. In some cases, a wight arises when an evil undead spirit permanently bonds with a corpse, often the corpse of a slain warrior. They are barely recognizable to those who knew them in life; their flesh is twisted by evil and undeath, the eyes burn with hatred, and the teeth become beast-like. In some ways, a wight bridges the gap between a ghoul and a spectre—a warped animated corpse whose touch steals living energy.

As undead, wights do not need to breathe, so they are sometimes found underwater, though they are not particularly good swimmers unless they were originally swimming creatures such as aquatic elves or merfolk. Underwater wights prefer low-ceilinged caves where their limited swimming isn't as much of a liability.

The wight presented here is a typical example of its kind, but sometimes when a wight creates spawn from particularly unusual humanoids, the resulting wights are quite different in power, such as the following three variants.

Brute Wight (CR 5): Giants that are killed by wights become hunchbacked, simple-minded undead. Brute wights are giant advanced wights, but cannot create spawn of their own.

Cairn Wight (CR 4): Some societies deliberately create these specialized wights to serve as guardians for barrows or other burial sites. A cairn wight is an advanced wight that fights with a weapon, typically a sword, that channels its energy drain attack and affects creatures damaged by the weapon as if they had been struck by the wight's slam attack.

Frost Wight (CR 4): Wights created in cold environments sometimes become pale undead with blue-white eyes and ice in their hair. Frost wights have the cold subtype and their slam attacks deal 1d6 cold damage in addition to the normal effects. A creature touching a frost wight with natural weapons or unarmed strikes takes 1d6 cold damage.

Combat: Human Skeletons (3.5)

Human Warrior Skeletons (50)

Size/Type:Medium Undead
Hit Dice:1d12 (6 hp)
Initiative:+5
Speed:30 ft. (6 squares)
Armor Class:15 (+1 Dex, +2 natural, +2 heavy steel shield), touch 11, flat-footed 14
Base Attack/Grapple:+0/+1
Attack:Scimitar +1 melee (1d6+1/18-20) or claw +1 melee (1d4+1)
Full Attack:Scimitar +1 melee (1d6+1/18-20) or 2 claws +1 melee (1d4+1)
Space/Reach:5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks:
Special Qualities:damage reduction 5/bludgeoning, darkvision 60 ft., immunity to cold, undead traits
Saves:Fort +0, Ref +1, Will +2
Abilities:Str 13, Dex 13, Con 0, Int 0, Wis 10, Cha 1
Feats:Improved Initiative
Environment:Temperate plains
Organization:Any
Challenge Rating:1/3
Treasure:None
Alignment:Always neutral evil
Advancement:
Level Adjustment:

Skeletons are the animated bones of the dead, mindless automatons that obey the orders of their evil masters.

A skeleton is seldom garbed in anything more than the rotting remnants of any clothing or armor it was wearing when slain. A skeleton does only what it is ordered to do. It can draw no conclusions of its own and takes no initiative. Because of this limitation, its instructions must always be simple. A skeleton attacks until destroyed.

Combat: Human Skeletons (Pathfinder)

The pile of bones suddenly stirs, rising up to take on a human shape. Its long, bony fingers reach out to claw at the living.

Human Warrior Skeletons (50)

CR 1/3

XP 135

NE Medium undead

Init +6; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +0

DEFENSE

AC 16, touch 12, flat-footed 14 (+2 armor, +2 Dex, +2 natural)

hp 4 (1d8)

Fort +0, Ref +2, Will +2

DR 5/bludgeoning; Immune cold, undead traits

OFFENSE

Speed 30 ft.

Melee broken scimitar +0 (1d6), claw –3 (1d4+1) or 2 claws +2 (1d4+2)

STATISTICS

Str 15, Dex 14, Con —, Int —, Wis 10, Cha 10

Base Atk +0; CMB +2; CMD 14

Feats Improved InitiativeB

Gear broken chain shirt, broken scimitar

ECOLOGY

Environment any

Organization any

Treasure none

Skeletons are the animated bones of the dead, brought to unlife through foul magic. While most skeletons are mindless automatons, they still possess an evil cunning imparted to them by their animating force—a cunning that allows them to wield weapons and wear armor.

Storage rooms to the front of back of the rowing chambers hold barrels of vinegar and crates full of ancient foodstuffs long since turned either to dust or inedible leather. The odors catches the back of the PCs throats, causing them to gag and their eyes to water. There are no worse effects than these, but have them make rolls and nod sagely when they do, explaining the results. It's good to keep them on their toes.

map

 

 

B3. Guardians

A great mage by the name of Wistan was the personal sage and protector of King Rytal.  Wistan died soon after the construction of the Thingallor was complete.  Despite his death, the guardians Wistan placed within the Thingallor Shrine lived on to fulfill their mission and protect the king's tomb from grave robbers.  The guardians have the inherent ability to sense if a person is of the lineage of the late king and allow those of the royal blood to pass.  Since the PCs do not have that blood, they are prime targets for the guardians who will attack them on sight.

To form the guardians, Wistan took water from Serpent Lake back to his village.  10 of the most beautiful and sought-after virgins bathed in the water followed by 10 of the most ferocious warriors.  The water was then taken to the temple and blessed by priests.  Finally Wistan worked his magic and created guardians whose sole purpose was to guard the King Rytan and his ship, the Thingallor, from invaders.  The creatures will live forever unless destroyed through combat or by magic.

Each of the water elementals is stored in a large stone pot covered with a decorative lid.  They have rested here since the king was buried and thus far have had no reason to move.  It takes them a moment to realize that someone is in the room as they have lain dormant for so many years.  

Note: There are two elementals in each room (B3) for a total of four.

Combat: Water Elemental Guardians (3.5)

Water Elemental, Medium (2)

 

Size/Type:Medium Elemental (Water, Extraplanar)
Hit Dice:4d8+12 (30 hp)
Initiative:+1
Speed:20 ft. (4 squares), swim 90 ft.
Armor Class:19 (+1 Dex, +8 natural), touch 11, flat-footed 18
Base Attack/Grapple:+1/+6
Attack:Slam +6 melee (1d8+4)
Full Attack:Slam +6 melee (1d8+4)
Space/Reach:5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks:Water mastery, drench, vortex
Special Qualities:Darkvision 60 ft., elemental traits
Saves:Fort +7, Ref +2, Will +1
Abilities:Str 16, Dex 12, Con 17, Int 4, Wis 11, Cha 11
Skills:Listen +3, Spot +4
Feats:Cleave, Power Attack
Environment:Elemental Plane of Water
Organization:Solitary
Challenge Rating:3
Treasure:None
Alignment:Usually neutral
Advancement:5-7 HD (Medium)
Level Adjustment:

A water elemental can’t venture more than 180 feet from the body of water from which it was conjured

Water elementals speak Aquan but rarely choose to do so.

Combat

A water elemental prefers to fight in a large body of water where it can disappear beneath the waves and suddenly swell up behind its opponents.

Water Mastery (Ex)

A water elemental gains a +1 bonus on attack and damage rolls if both it and its opponent are touching water. If the opponent or the elemental is touching the ground, the elemental takes a -4 penalty on attack and damage rolls. (These modifiers are not included in the statistics block.)

A water elemental can be a serious threat to a ship that crosses its path. An elemental can easily overturn small craft (5 feet of length per Hit Die of the elemental) and stop larger vessels (10 feet long per HD). Even large ships (20 feet long per HD) can be slowed to half speed.

Drench (Ex)

The elemental’s touch puts out torches, campfires, exposed lanterns, and other open flames of nonmagical origin if these are of Large size or smaller. The creature can dispel magical fire it touches as dispel magic (caster level equals elemental’s HD).

Vortex (Su)

The elemental can transform itself into a whirlpool once every 10 minutes, provided it is underwater, and remain in that form for up to 1 round for every 2 HD it has. In vortex form, the elemental can move through the water or along the bottom at its swim speed. The vortex is 5 feet wide at the base, up to 30 feet wide at the top, and 10 feet or more tall, depending on the elemental’s size. The elemental controls the exact height, but it must be at least 10 feet.

The elemental’s movement while in vortex form does not provoke attacks of opportunity, even if the elemental enters the space another creature occupies. Another creature might be caught in the vortex if it touches or enters the vortex, or if the elemental moves into or through the creature’s space.

Creatures one or more size categories smaller than the elemental might take damage when caught in the vortex (see table for details) and may be swept up by it. An affected creature must succeed on a Reflex save when it comes into contact with the vortex or take the indicated damage. It must also succeed on a second Reflex save or be picked up bodily and held suspended in the powerful currents, automatically taking damage each round. An affected creature is allowed a Reflex save each round to escape the vortex. The creature still takes damage, but can leave if the save is successful. The DC for saves against the vortex’s effects varies with the elemental’s size. The save DC is Strength-based.

Creatures trapped in the vortex cannot move except to go where the elemental carries them or to escape the whirlwind. Creatures caught in the whirlwind can otherwise act normally, but must make a Concentration check (DC 10 + spell level) to cast a spell. Creatures caught in the whirlwind take a -4 penalty to Dexterity and a -2 penalty on attack rolls. The elemental can have only as many creatures trapped inside the vortex at one time as will fit inside the vortex’s volume.

The elemental can eject any carried creatures whenever it wishes, depositing them wherever the vortex happens to be. A summoned elemental always ejects trapped creatures before returning to its home plane.

If the vortex’s base touches the bottom, it creates a swirling cloud of debris. This cloud is centered on the elemental and has a diameter equal to half the vortex’s height. The cloud obscures all vision, including darkvision, beyond 5 feet. Creatures 5 feet away have concealment, while those farther away have total concealment.

Those caught in the cloud must make a Concentration check (DC 15 + spell level) to cast a spell.

An elemental in vortex form cannot make slam attacks and does not threaten the area around it.

Skills

A water elemental has a +8 racial bonus on any Swim check to perform some special action or avoid a hazard. It can always choose to take 10 on a Swim check, even if distracted or endangered. It can use the run action while swimming, provided it swims in a straight line.

Combat: Water Elemental Guardians (Pathfinder)

Medium Water Elementals (2)

CR 3

XP 800

N Medium outsider (elemental, extraplanar, water)

Init +1; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +5

DEFENSE

AC 17, touch 11, flat-footed 16 (+1 Dex, +6 natural)

hp 30 (4d10+8)

Fort +6, Ref +5, Will +1

Immune elemental traits

OFFENSE

Speed 20 ft., swim 90 ft.

Melee slam +7 (1d8+4)

Special Attacks drench, vortex (DC 15), water mastery

STATISTICS

Str 16, Dex 12, Con 15, Int 4, Wis 11, Cha 11

Base Atk +4; CMB +7; CMD 18

Feats Cleave, Power Attack

Skills Acrobatics +6, Escape Artist +6, Knowledge (planes) +2, Perception +5, Stealth +6, Swim +16

Languages Aquan

ECOLOGY

Environment any (Plane of Water)

Organization solitary, pair, or gang (3–8)

Treasure none

SPECIAL ABILITIES

Drench (Ex) The elemental's touch puts out nonmagical flames of Large size or smaller. The creature can dispel magical fire it touches as dispel magic (caster level equals elemental's HD).

Vortex (Su) A water elemental can create a whirlpool as a standard action, at will. This ability functions identically to the whirlwind special attack, but can only form underwater and cannot leave the water.

Water Mastery (Ex) A water elemental gains a +1 bonus on attack and damage rolls if both it and its opponent are touching water. If the opponent or the elemental is touching the ground, the elemental takes a –4 penalty on attack and damage rolls. These modifiers apply to bull rush and overrun maneuvers, whether the elemental is initiating or resisting these kinds of attacks.

map

 

 

B4.  King Rytan's Handmaidens

On stepping into this room, you feel as if you have entered another world.  Elegant tapestries hang from the walls and ceiling in a multitude of colors and shapes.  Pillows covered in tiny mirrors are stacked in piles throughout this room and detailed rugs with symbols of swords, serpents, and warriors adorn the floor.  Eight strikingly beautiful maidens gently rise from the pillows and approach.  The clothing they wear is semi-translucent and barely covers their soft milky white skin.  An intoxicating perfume wafts into your nostrils as the gorgeous maidens move fluidly toward you, willingly presenting themselves. There is a murmur coming from each of them, the sound of "sweet nothings" that you might hear from a lover.

Combat: Handmaiden Zombies (3.5)

 

Zombie Handmaiden
Size/Type:Medium Undead
Hit Dice:2d12+3(16 hp)
Initiative:-1
Speed:30 ft. (6 squares; can’t run)
Armor Class:11 (-1 Dex, +2 natural), touch 9, flat-footed 11
Base Attack/Grapple:+1/+2
Attack:Slam+2 melee (1d6+1) or club +2 melee (1d6+1)
Full Attack:Slam+2 melee, (1d6+1) or club +2 melee (1d6+1)
Space/reach:5 ft./5 ft
Special Attacks:Charm Person, Curse
Special Qualities:Single actions only, damage reduction 5/slashing, darkvision 60 ft., permanent illusion (appearance), undead traits
Saves:Fort +0, Ref -1, Will +3
Abilities:Str 12, Dex 8, Con 0, Int 0, Wis 10, Cha 1
Skills:
Feats:Toughness
Environment:Any
Organization:Any
Challenge Rating:2
Treasure:None
Alignment:Always neutral evil
Advancement:None
Level Advancement:

 

Special Attacks

Charm Person (Su) Once per day a zombie handmaiden may attempt to lure a human into serving her using her charm and beauty as per the charm person spell at caster level 4.

Curse (Su) A zombie handmaiden bestows a curse upon her enemies.  This requires the zombie one full round to initiate and a successful attack to be made.  PCs are allowed a Will Save DC 12 to negate the effects.  The effects of the curse are as follows:

A person cursed by a zombie handmaiden of the Ancestor People cannot trespass in any ruins of the Ancestor People of the Vikmordere Valley.  Those who do will suffer 1d6+1 damage for every 10 minutes spent in such a place.  This curse may only be cured by a priest level 10 or higher using a remove curse spell.

Special Qualities

A zombie handmaiden has the following special qualities.

Damage Reduction (Ex)

A zombie has damage reduction 5/slashing. Zombies are lumbering masses of flesh.

Illusion, Permanent (Su)  Zombie handmaidens appear as the beautiful women they were in life.

Single Actions Only (Ex)

Zombies have poor reflexes and can perform only a single move action or attack action each round. A zombie can move up to its speed and attack in the same round, but only if it attempts a charge.

Tactics

Handmaiden Zombies approach tomb raiders with a knowing smile.  They play with their luxurious illusionary hair while strutting their curvy, sexually appealing bodies as they approach (charm person).  When within striking distance they prepare their curse for the unsuspecting graverobber then attempt to bestow it with a full on attack.

Ecology

Zombie handmaidens were servants to great Lords and Kings of the Ancestor People.  In death they continue to serve their lords or kings in tombs, crypts, and burial shrines throughout the Vikmordere Valley.  A supernatural ability to give them the appearance of the beautiful women they were in life allows them a powerful advantage to bestow their curse which banishes would be grave robbers from tombs.

Zombie handmaidens do not talk, although they sound as if they are murmuring "sweet nothings".  They appear to move very fluidly, as they did in life.

Zombie handmaidens are created through the use of an animate dead spell combined with various ceremonial rituals at the time of a Lord or King’s death.  These culminating forces combined with the handmaiden’s undying affection and servitude to their lords creates Zombie Handmaidens.

A zombie handmaiden is bound to a particular king or lord and will not leave the tomb in which they are buried unless their corpse is removed.  If this is the case the zombie will pursue the grave robbers for eternity, drawn magically toward their master’s corpse. 

Combat: Handmaiden Zombies (Pathfinder)

Zombie, Handmaidens (8)

CR 2

XP 600

NE Medium undead

Init +0; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +0


DEFENSE


AC 14, touch 10, flat-footed 12 (+4 natural)

hp 24 (4d8+6)

Fort +0, Ref +0, Will +3

DR 5/slashing; Immune undead traits

 


OFFENSE


Speed 30 ft.

Melee slam +4 (1d6+4)

 


TACTICS


Zombie handmaiden approach tomb raiders with a knowing smile.  They play with their luxurious illusionary hair while strutting their curvy, sexually appealing bodies as they approach (charm person).  When within striking distance they prepare their curse for the unsuspecting grave robber then attempt to bestow it with a full on attack.

 


STATISTICS


Str 17, Dex 10, Con —, Int —, Wis 10, Cha 10

Base Atk +1; CMB +4; CMD 14

Feats ToughnessB

Special Qualities staggered


ECOLOGY


Environment any

Organization any

Treasure none

Zombie handmaidens were servants to great Lords and Kings of the Ancestor People.  In death they continue to serve their lords or kings in tombs, crypts, and burial shrines throughout the Vikmordere Valley.  A supernatural ability to give them the appearance of the beautiful women they were in life allows them a powerful advantage to bestow their curse which banishes would be grave robbers from tombs.

Zombie handmaidens do not talk, although they sound as if they are murmuring "sweet nothings".  They appear to move very fluidly, as they did in life.

Zombie handmaidens are created through the use of an animate dead spell combined with various ceremonial rituals at the time of a Lord or King’s death.  These culminating forces combined with the handmaiden’s undying affection and servitude to their lords creates Zombie Handmaidens.

A zombie handmaiden is bound to a particular king or lord and will not leave the tomb in which they are buried unless their corpse is removed.  If this is the case the zombie will pursue the grave robbers for eternity, drawn magically toward their master’s corpse.  


SPECIAL ABILITIES


Illusion, Permanent (Su)  Zombie handmaidens appear as the beautiful women they were in life.

Charm Person (Su) Once per day a zombie handmaiden may attempt to lure a human into serving her using her charm and beauty as per the charm person spell at caster level 4.

Curse (Su) A zombie handmaiden bestows a curse upon her enemies.  This requires the zombie one full round to initiate and a successful attack to be made.  PCs are allowed a Will Save DC 12 to negate the effects.  The effects of the curse are as follows:

A person cursed by a zombie handmaiden of the Ancestor People cannot trespass in any ruins of the Ancestor People of the Vikmordere Valley.  Those who do will suffer 1d6+1 damage for every 10 minutes spent in such a place.  This curse may only be cured by a priest level 10 or higher using a remove curse spell.

Skill Check:

Search/Perception DC 25

Success = If the PCs thoroughly search this room they will discover a small wooden box with a metal lock under one of the pillows.  The box is locked with a very complex lock (Open Lock DC 30); the box can also be smashed to obtain the contents. If this path is followed, the potion will be destroyed.

map

 

 

B5.  Food & Mead Storage

This room is filled to the brim with crates and barrels.  The barrels once held the finest mead in the land while the crates were filled with expensive and rare meats, cheeses, and fruits and vegetables.  This food was meant to feed the king and his crew upon the Thingallor during their time in the afterlife.  There is nothing here of value, all the food has long since turned to dust or dried up and the mead has turned to foul vinegar, too strong even to pickle items. If anyone tries it, they will spray it straight back out of their mouth and have a non-damaging burning sensation for 1d6 hours; nothing except magical healing will remove this sensation during that time.

map

 

 

B6.  King's Resting Place and Treasure Horde

As you open this door you gasp out loud.  Your faces are bathed in the reflection of a room full of gold and silver.  In the center of the room is a cylindrical stone altar upon which rests a triangular shaped stone.  The stone altar is heavily detailed with interlocking patterns and runic words.  Upon the triangular stone are etchings depicting two dragons intertwined around a man.  Just behind the stone altar is a massive throne, coated completely in gold, with similar interlocking patterns.  Upon the throne sits the skeleton of the king.  He leans slightly to one side, resting on a large sword with a jewel-embedded scabbard, whilst at his other side sits a massive metal shield, a dark gray-green, with four raised strengtheners and what look like bite marks on it. As the light catches the face of the shield, you swear you saw something, a creature perhaps, flash across the front of it.  Behind these items is a painted sword with multiple sunbursts upon it, point down.  Surrounding the throne and the entire room is a massive treasure horde of gold, silver, and platinum interspersed with gems and jewels.  The room reflects so much light from the heavy metals that you are forced to squint and look away from the treasure.

a.  The triangular stone on the stone altar is a fake designed to lure grave robbers to their deaths.  If the PCs attempt to take the stone or inspect the altar see the "Stone Altar" below.

b.  The king's sword, shield, and the king himself are all protected by a magical trap listed below.  The throne itself is not trapped and hides a secret.

c.  The treasure horde is protected from theft by a magical spell.  Should anyone touch it proceed to the "Treasure Horde" trap below.

 

 

Stone Altar

The stone altar is inscribed with many runic words.  The words can only be decoded with the Runestick or by a person skilled in linguistics.

 

Decipher Script Linguistics - DC 25 / DC 20 if Runestick already deciphered

Success =Throne | Death | Leads | True | King | Temptation | Hides | Treasure

GM Note: The words when assembled form a sentence which warns of danger and describes the true location of the Tri-Stone.

The correct order: Temptation Leads [to] Death.  King[s] Throne Hides True Treasure.

Trap: Stone Altar

Whirling Poison Blades

Trigger:  If the PCs touch the stone altar or the triangular stone (a fake Tri-Stone) they automatically set off this trap.

Search/Perception: The trap itself is invisible and cannot be detected by any normal means.  Only a See Invisibility spell will reveal this trap.

Disable Device DC 20 (only possible if rogue is able to "see" the trap - see above!)

Atk +10 melee (1d4+4/19-20 plus poison, dagger); poison (purple worm poison, DC 24 Fortitude save resists, 1d6 Str/2d6 Str); multiple targets (one target in each of three preselected 5-ft. squares)

King Rytan and his Sword and Shield

The King and his sword and shield are protected by a powerful magical trap.  Should anyone touch any of these items they will activate it.

Trap: Protecting King Rytan, Sword and Shield

Blade Barrier Trap

Search/Perception DC 31

Disable Device: 31

CR 7; magic device; proximity trigger (alarm); automatic reset; spell effect (blade barrier, 11th-level cleric, 11d6 slashing, DC 19 Reflex save half damage).

Magical Treasure: Sword and Shield

Magical Sword of King Rytan

Magical Shield of King Rytan

 

King Rytan's Throne

The Throne has a secret cavity in the back which can be found with a successful Search/Perception.

 

Skill Check:

Search/Perception DC 20

Success = The back panel of the throne pulls off to reveal the true Tri-Stone which rests safely on a wooden shelf within the throne. Surely it can't be this easy to take it.

 

Artifact: Tri-Stone

The Tri-Stone is a dominating artifact capable of binding two massive Lake Serpents to servitude and transferring their life force to the individual wielding the stone.  Using the powers of the stone without detailed knowledge of the rituals involved could easily bring about the death of the wielder.

The Tri-Stone cannot be placed in a bag of holding or any other trans-dimensional space nor can it be removed from this prime material plane.  All attempts to do so will fail and the artifact will shock the holder for 1d6 damage and fall to the ground if additional attempts are made.

Trap: Treasure Horde

Phantasmal Killer Trap

Search/Perception DC 29

Disable Device DC 29

CR 5; magic device; proximity trigger (alarm covering the entire treasure horde); automatic reset; spell effect (phantasmal killer, 7th-level wizard, DC 16 Will save for disbelief and DC 16 Fort save for partial effect).

Treasure: Treasure Horde

4,834 gp

3,776 sp

450 pp

40 random gems (roll on the gems table in the PHB or Core Rules)

map

 

Welcoming Party

Once the party obtains the Tri-Stone they may begin their return to Sulwotik in Rybalka.

While traveling through the Dark Wood on the way back to Rybalka the PCs are ambushed by warriors of the Wocla tribe.  The war-like Wocla tribe knows of the Snoqua tribe's attempt to obtain the Tri-Stone and are suspicious of the Snoqua's intentions.  The Wocla warriors have been watching the PCs and awaiting their return so they can ambush them and claim the stone for their tribe.

Read this when the PCs are halfway through Dark Wood on their way to Rybalka:

You travel down a small animal trail through the Dark Wood toward Rybalka.  The forest to the left and right of you is so dark you can only see a few feet into the thick underbrush.  Imagining the eyes of devils and demons upon you, you quicken your pace.  Without warning a flurry of arrows pierces the silence and slams into the party from the woods to the left.  Almost instantly another volley of arrows hits the party, this time from the right.  The screams of warriors erupts from in front of and behind the party while the volley of arrows continues.  You have been ambushed by tribal warriors!  As they charge into battle you see no fear in their faces, which are painted blood red with black streaks, white paint in their hair and war helms with giant horns of beasts they have slain in battle.  It is the Vikmordere, the warriors spoken of in legends, and now they come for you.

*Roll the first two volleys of arrows and randomly determine which PCs are targeted.  This will be a total of 16 arrows so you might want to pre-roll these and write them down in advance.

Combat:

Tactics: The Wocla tribe will continue to attack until they find the Tri-Stone.  As each PC goes down they will search them.  If the PCs are able to drive the Wocla tribe off on their own they may retain the Tri-Stone, otherwise the Wocla tribe will obtain the stone and then flee into the woods followed hot on their heels by the Snoqua tribe.

(8) Vikmordere Archers (left)

Male human War4: CR 3; Size M (5 ft., 9 in. tall); HD 4d8+4; hp 22; Init +2; Spd 30 ft.; AC 12; Attack +7 melee, or +6 ranged; SV Fort +5, Ref +3, Will +3; AL CE; Str 17, Dex 14, Con 13, Int 9, Wis 14, Cha 5. Skills and feats: Craft (Sculpting) +0, Decipher Script +2, Hide +2, Jump +5, Listen +2, Move Silently +2, Ride +7, Spot +2; Quick Draw, Weapon Focus (shortbow), Weapon Focus (sling).

Weapon: Shortbow (+8/1d6 Crit=x3)

 

(8) Vikmordere Archers (right)

Male human War4: CR 3; Size M (5 ft., 9 in. tall); HD 4d8+4; hp 22; Init +2; Spd 30 ft.; AC 12; Attack +7 melee, or +6 ranged; SV Fort +5, Ref +3, Will +3; AL CE; Str 17, Dex 14, Con 13, Int 9, Wis 14, Cha 5. Skills and feats: Craft (Sculpting) +0, Decipher Script +2, Hide +2, Jump +5, Listen +2, Move Silently +2, Ride +7, Spot +2; Quick Draw, Weapon Focus (shortbow), Weapon Focus (sling).

Weapon: Shortbow (+8/1d6 Crit=x3)

 

(10) Vikmordere Warriors (front)

Male human War4: CR 3; Size M (5 ft., 5 in. tall); HD 4d8+8; hp 23; Init +6; Spd 30 ft.; AC 12; Attack +8 melee, or +6 ranged; SV Fort +6, Ref +3, Will +0; AL CE; Str 18, Dex 14, Con 15, Int 11, Wis 9, Cha 13. Skills and feats: Climb +8, Handle Animal +5, Hide +2, Intimidate +8, Listen -1, Move Silently +2, Ride +8, Spot -1; Improved Initiative, Mounted Combat, Weapon Focus (shortspear).

Weapon: Shortspear (+9/1d6 Crit=x2)

 

(10) Vikmordere Warriors (behind)

Male human War4: CR 3; Size M (5 ft., 5 in. tall); HD 4d8+8; hp 23; Init +6; Spd 30 ft.; AC 12; Attack +8 melee, or +6 ranged; SV Fort +6, Ref +3, Will +0; AL CE; Str 18, Dex 14, Con 15, Int 11, Wis 9, Cha 13. Skills and feats: Climb +8, Handle Animal +5, Hide +2, Intimidate +8, Listen -1, Move Silently +2, Ride +8, Spot -1; Improved Initiative, Mounted Combat, Weapon Focus (shortspear).

Weapon: Shortspear (+9/1d6 Crit=x2)

 

Read this if the PCs are defeated and the Wocla claim the stone:

You lay on the ground, covered in blood and barely alive.  As the Vikmordere prepare to deal the final blow the hollering of dozens of men can be heard echoing through the forest.  The Vikmordere's eyes widen, one of the men makes a motion with his hands and the tribal warriors begin to stealthily flee into the forest.

Soon, the woods are filled with Rybalkan soldiers led by Wvolf of the village guard.  Wvolf rushes forward, two short swords drawn.  He moves into a defensive posture around your group and his men follow suit.  Wvolf wears the standard issue Rybalkan uniform coupled with the hides and leathers from the animals of the forest.  After a few moments, Wvolf and the other Rybalkan soldiers help you to your feet.  "You shouldn't be wandering this far from the village.  Didn't the mayor inform you of the Vikmordere sightings over the past couple days? Come, let us get you back to the village so that High Priest Juriendor may heal you!"

If the PCs lost the stone to the Wocla tribe they may return to Rybalka and inform Sulwotik of the loss.  He will be greatly saddened by this news but will still present each PC with a healing elixir (3d8+10 hp) to thank them for their efforts.

If the PCs were successful in driving off the assault and protecting the Tri-Stone, Sulwotik will present them with a case of healing elixirs crafted by elders of the Snoqua tribe.  There are 12 in the case and each elixir heals 3d8+10 hp.

Treasure: Quest Reward

(12) Snoqua Healing Elixirs

Each potion heals 3d8+10 hp.  They may not be partially consumed as to do so wastes the potion's effect.

 

Conclusion

After the quest has ended and everything settled down, Sulwotik summons a messenger from the Snoqua tribe and presents the stone.  The man is the tribe's fastest runner and with this speed he charges through the forest meeting a group of warriors for protection.  They continue toward the Snoqua tribe encampment when the unthinkable happens.  Wocla arrows rain down upon the men who turn to fight their attackers while the runner continues.  An elder shaman of the Wocla, covered in beads, face painted white with black eyes like an unholy spirit, steps out before the runner.  The runner gasps and attempts to turn, but it is too late.  The old man has raised a glowing spear which pierces the runner's chest.  The elder shaman catches the Tri-Stone in his hands as it falls.  Then he leans forward and grabs the runner and smiles; with his teeth bared, two sharpened fangs are visible.  "Nukpana!" cries the runner, his last act as a living man. 

The elder nods before sinking his fangs deep into the neck of the runner, draining the life from his body.  Finally all that is left is a crumpled, shriveled mass of wrinkled flesh held together by bone and sinew.  The Nukpana (vampire) drops the corpse to the forest floor and wipes the warm blood from his chin.  "It has begun.  The Klavs have no friend in the Vikmordere.  Those who friend with Klav die with them.  Apotamkins rise up and blood flows in rivers to lake, blood flows into my body, blood flows and the snow of the valley is red for all time.  No Klav will ever again set foot here in the valley of the Apotamkin."

And with that, the Wocla tribe takes possession of the Tri-Stone...

 

 

New Magical Items

 

 

Sword of King Rytan

Aura Strong Evocation; CL 15th

Slot none; Weight 5 lbs.

Lore:  This sword was the blade that slayed the Serpent CSUANTIFOR.

Fact: Longsword +2/+5 vs. Lake Serpents 

Crafted using the blood of a Lake Serpent mixed with molten steel, this blade has been shaped and honed in specific places to better pierce the scales of the Serpents of Serpent Lake.  King Rytan wielded this blade through most of his life.  He was known to keep it at his side, even while sleeping.

 

 

Shield of King Rytan

Aura Moderate conjuration; CL 10th

Slot none; Weight 15 lbs.

Lore: This shield was used by King Rytan in combat while fighting the great Rogand Serpent.  The bite marks of the serpent are still upon the shield.

Fact: Mongoose’s Shield

This +1 light steel shield is plain most of the time but fashioned to appear to be a striking mongoose’s head when activated. Three times per day as a free action, the mongooses’s head can be commanded to attack (independently of the shield wearer), biting with the wielder’s base attack bonus (including multiple attacks, if the wielder has them) and dealing 1d6+2 points of damage. On a critical role (19-20) this damage is doubled. This attack is in addition to any actions performed by the wielder.

Creation:  Craft Magic Arms and Armor, summon nature’s ally III; Price 9,170 gp; Cost 4,670 gp + 360 XP.  Lore by Jonathan Nelson / Statistical Information by Stephen Yeardley

 

 

Major Artifact

 

 

Tri-Stone

Aura Strong Overwhelming Transmutation; CL 30th
Slot none; Weight 25 lbs.

Lore: Legends speak of the kings of old using this artifact to harness the energy of the great serpents of Serpent Lake.

Fact: The Tri-Stone is a very powerful artifact. The secrets of the Tri-Stone are held by only a few over-aged tribal elders of the Vikmordere. These secret rituals which are required to activate the stone are passed down only to the wisest and most trustworthy members of the Vikmordere. Use of the Tri-Stone without the rituals is as close to impossible as any task can be, unless the gods deem its use imperative to saving the Vikmordere people. If used without the proper rituals, the user will achieve their aims but will die without any recourse, finding themselves facing the gods for judgment as to whether they should be returned alive to the Prime Plane as a hero to all.

The artifact is capable of binding two Lake Serpents and draining their life force thus granting it to an individual. The Shaman undertaking this task needs to convince the Serpents of the need to do this voluntarily, a task which will involve converting the Serpents and then winning a triple-stranded argument without any counter-viewpoint winning through. This individual becomes so powerful that they are permanently imbued with innate magical abilities.

Description

The Tri-Stone is a dominating artifact capable of binding two massive Water Serpents to servitude and transferring their life force to the individual wielding the stone. Using the powers of the stone without detailed knowledge of the rituals involved could easily bring about the death of the wielder. The Tri-Stone itself, as an artifact, is aware of the worthiness of the person attempting the ritual with one exception. If someone tries to use it via Use Magic Device, the Tri-Stone often becomes "confused" and more susceptible to the ritual working. This is because its first use was actually by a Goddess of Rogues, who sole it from its maker at the moment of its completion and was able to activate it before it was recovered. This is also why Lake Serpents are particularly wary of Rogues of any level and will often target them before any other adversary.

Binding Ritual

The binding ritual has a number of stages, each of which is designed to be perilous, threatening and rewarding in equal measure. The first part is the hunt for the Lake Serpents. he combined age categories must be at least the level of the person attempting the ritual, plus two; a 10th level PC attempting the ritual must have a combined age category of 12 for the two serpents, for example.

The wielder of the Tri-Stone must face the Serpent and overcome its Frightful Presence with no aid other than the Tri-Stone, which grants a +5 bonus to the role. The wielder must then intimidate the Serpent with an opposed roll; again, the Tri-Stone provides a +5 bonus to the role. If the wielder fails either of these, the Serpent will attack without mercy and attempt to take the Tri-Stone.

The next stage is to engage the Serpent in a diplomatic discussion about the need for the ritual to be fulfilled. This can be achieved by three consecutive Diplomacy rolls which are won by the wielder. The Tri-Stone does not provide any bonus to these rolls, although the wielder can use magic to enhance their Diplomacy ability prior to engaging in the discussion. Each discussion takes 30 minutes, at the end of which the roll is made. These three attempts can only be made once per day and if the wielder fails for three days in a row, the Serpent will attack without mercy and attempt to take the Tri-Stone from the wielder.

When the wielder has convinced the Serpent of the need to give its life force, she or he must then gift the Serpent their most valuable items, totalling the wielders level multiplied by 15,000 gp in value. The Serpent takes these items to the deepest, darkest depths of the Underworld waterways and, well, doesn't come back with them. Who knows where they end up. This journey can take up to a week, but on accepting the gifts, the Serpent is bound to complete the task with the wielder.

Once this has been done with both Serpents, the wielder must then journey with the Serpents, who act as guides and protectors, to a shrine deep below the depths of Serpent Lake, along a route which none bar the Lake Serpents and previous wielders of the Tri-Stone know about and all are sworn to protect. How the wielder gets there is up to them, but the Serpents will provide a small piece of an extremely rare Serpent Lake plant which helps deal with the pressure of the depths to which you need to descend.

On reaching the Lake Serpent temple, the ritual proper can start. This may well attract the attention of the eldest of Lake Serpents; these creatures are there to rip apart the wielder if the ritual fails.

A small platform within a bubble of air is the point where the ritual takes place. Firstly, the wielder has to submit to having Harm cast upon them by a Very Old, Elder or Grand Elder Serpent with clerical rather than sorcerous levels. These hit points are used to provide the platform with the energy needed to power the ritual. However, the Harm doesn't drain hit points in exactly the same way as the spell; it leaves the wielder with 1 hp per five levels.

The wielder then has to "soak" the Tri-Stone with 50 levels of their own spells OR succeed at a Use Magic Device DC 50 check. Once either of these criteria are fulfilled, the wielder can try to split the Tri-Stone into three parts. This involves a Strength check DC 20. The wielder expends 1 hp when this is attempted, so if the roll fails, the wielder may fall unconscious, depending on her or his level. If the roll does fail, the wielder can keep trying until they run out of spells and hp and fall unconscious. This will ultimately dictate if the wielder succeeds or fails at the ritual.

Success

If the wielder is successful at the ritual, their inner energy (even if unconscious) is drawn into one piece of the Tri-Stone. The two bound Serpents willingly expire and their energy goes into the other two pieces. The Tri-Stone then rejoins itself together, rests against the chest of the wielder (whether unconscious or not) and floods the wielder with the contained energy.

This has the effect of taking one third the total bonuses of the two Serpents and allowing the wielder to increase their own ability scores by that number.

For instance, if two young adult Serpents sacrifice themselves, the total ability score bonuses come to 26; this means the wielder can increase their own ability scores by eight points. So if two Old Serpents sacrifice themselves, the total score bonus is 50 and the wielder gains 16 ability points.

In any case, no one ability can increase by more than the wielder's level.

Failure

Quite simply, failure at the ritual stage means death. If a wielder falls unconscious without succeeding, the Serpents will not rescue them; in fact, the two bound Serpents split the wielder's essence between them and increase their own power on the spot.

And besides the chance of failing the ritual, there is a percentage chance that the efforts of the wielder just aren't good enough, as per the table below. Failure on this table doesn't kill the wielder; they will be escorted back to their own land by the two bound Serpents - who are freed once this task is completed - and given one hour per level to "escape", because from that moment onwards, every Lake Serpent that exists will try its hardest to kill the unsuccessful wielder. The Tri-Stone itself will disappear.

IMBUED TARGET LEVELFAILURE
10+ (or 8+ Vikmordere Elder)80%
15+ (or 10+ Vikmordere Elder)60%
20+ (or 12+ Vikmordere Elder)40%
25+ (or 15+ Vikmordere Elder)20%
The Tri-Stone cannot be placed in a bag of holding or any other trans-dimensional space nor can it be removed from this prime material plane. All attempts to do so will fail and the artifact will shock the holder for 20d6 damage and fall to the ground if additional attempts are made.

Destruction

The Tri-Stone may only be destroyed by the combined efforts of a Vikmordere Shaman of level 20+ and an Elder (25+ HD) Water Serpent focusing all magical energy into one massive attack. There is a 30% chance that one of the casters will die when the artifact explodes. There is a 10% chance that both will be killed. In fact, this destruction only really happens at the Tri-Stone's own choice. It will break into a number of pieces equal to half the combined total number of HD of the shaman and the Water Serpent. These pieces will be scattered across the whole of the Prime Plane, with a 5% chance a piece will end up on the Ethereal or Astral Planes (GM's choice). The task of recovering these pieces will be worthy of the greatest of sagas in itself, notwithstanding the purpose of rejoining the Tri-Stone, which will have to be of the greatest importance.

Players Map

click to enlarge

 

 

 

A8 – Experience Awards

  • 100 per object – Deciphering the Runestick, Runestone, or Stone Altar
  • 200 - Finding the Runestone location without GM hints 
  • 200 – Finding the Lakeside Walkway without Cual Beartooth or GM hints
  • 300 - Locating the entrance to the Thingallor Shrine
  • 500 - Solving the riddle and finding the Tri-Stone
  • 1,000 - Leaving King Rytan's treasure alone and taking only the Tri-Stone
  • 1,000 - Defeating the Wocla tribe without assistance from the Snoqua tribe
  • 100 each – Support Roles: Cartographer (map-maker), Treasure Keeper, Adventure Log,Time Keeper/Initiative Tracker
  • 100-300 each – Role-Playing experience (varies depending on if player role-played and/or altered their voice/accent)
  • CR experience – (Combat, Trap Removal, etc.)
  • Any additional awards you feel are appropriate