The annual Winterflower Festival and Dance was started in Rybalka in 1340 by Jean Luc Louis. Since its inception eight years ago, the festival and dance have grown and evolved. What originally started as an event to honor the rare Winterflower has grown into an annual gathering for all families, soldiers, and hunters to eat, drink, and dance the night away.
The Winterflower for which is festival is named is the rarest flower in the world. It thrives in cold mountainous regions and has a reputation for growing on difficult-to-access mountain peaks and cliffs. It is the only known flower to grow through layers of snow to reach the sunlight. The one to retrieve a Winterflower and transplant it near Rybalka receives great praise from the entire village. The Wildflower is considered a blessing which protects the village from harm. Only once in the past eight years has this feat been accomplished.
It is customary for the men of the village to ask the women to accompany them to the festival by presenting them with rare, hard to obtain gifts. A woman will usually select from the men based on the rarity of the gift with which she is presented.
This year, a beautiful maiden by the name of Gwendolyn has come of age and many men vie for her attention. Three such men are Nicoli Vrodle, Alem Dulgra, and Vladimir Pelchonal- all of which are willing to go to great lengths to attend the Winterflower Festival and Dance with the maiden Gwendolyn on their arm.
The Winterflower Festival and Dance starts in just 5 days!
The PCs are approached by Nicoli Vrodle who hires them to travel to the edge of the Rybalkan Peninsula and retrieve treasure from an old shipwreck.
Immediately after they speak with Nicoli, another man named Alem Dulgra approaches with a similar offer. He wishes to win the maiden Gwendolyn's accompaniment to the village celebration dance by obtaining a rare gem. The gem is to be purchased from the dwarves who live in the caves under the nearby jagged crags.
As the PCs prepare to leave for these quests (or quest if they accepted only one), another man approaches. Vladimir Pelchonal tells the PCs that he is planning on venturing into the nearby mountains to scale the most dangerous peak. Atop this peak grows the Winterflower, the rarest flower in the world. He wants to the PCs to accompany him for protection and assistance, but he wants to be the one to scale the final peak and pick the flower.
Depending on which quests the PCs accept they may take any of the following paths:
Nicoli gives the PCs a rough map showing the location at the edge of the Rybalkan Peninsula where the shipwreck is located. He requires a rare broach from the lost treasure onboard the vessel. The shipwreck is half in the water and half on land; accessing the wreck by boat is not advised as the water is fairly turbulent with an unpredictable current. (If the PCs played Adventure #4: Forest for the Trees the current will either be very weak or very strong depending on if the lumber pond dam is still in place. The water has since been redirected by the Hamadryads away from the former logging camp.)
On the way to the shipwreck the party spots a Vikmordere scouting party which attempt to escape into the forest.
The PCs reach the shipwreck which they are able to safely enter from shore. In order to obtain the treasure the PCs must traverse some dangerous areas and combat undead sailors. Once the treasure is in hand, the PCs return to Rybalka.
Alem rudely orders the PCs to travel into the hills and around the edge of the jagged crags. He shows them a poorly drawn map and repeats his directions many times. He requires a rare gem, Alexandrite, which must be gotten from the dwarves.
The PCs follow the directions which although vague lead them in the correct direction. As the PCs pass between the jagged crags and the former lumber pond they are surprised by a trap and kobold archers in the hills.
After finishing off the kobolds the PCs proceed to the dwarf cave where they must solve a complex puzzle to gain entry. Once inside they meet a guardian dwarf who promises the retrieval of the Alexandrite should they help him with a brief task. After the PCs return from their secondary task the dwarf gives them the Alexandrite. The PCs return to Rybalka with the rare dwarvish gem.
Vladimir approaches the PCs as equals and asks for them to accompany him on a quest. Vladimir is very kind and pays the PCs well. He hopes to retrieve the rarest flower in the world- the Winterflower from a towering crag. He asks the PCs to follow him into the jagged crags to the north of Rybalka. On the way there the group is attacked by an evil harpy as they travel past a small section of the Dark Wood. After the battle the group proceeds into the mountains using an old Vikmordere trail. The trail becomes more dangerous and has been washed out in places by rock slides and small avalanches. Many obstacles are overcome and Vladimir is injured, yet he continues without fear.
Finally the group reaches the mountainous peak upon which grows the rare Winterflower. Vladimir and the PCs begin the dangerous climb to the top of the solitary giant. As Vladimir climbs to the top, the PCs must protect him by engaging in a dangerous battle while hanging suspended high above the ground.
Vladimir finally reaches the rarest flower in the world - the Winterflower. He carefully retrieves it and climbs down. The story changes at this point depending on if the PCs were diligent in protecting Vladimir. If the monster is still circling it will attack Vladimir, killing him. If the monster was killed or withdrew then Vladimir makes it safely down and the group returns to Rybalka with the rare flower.
Rybalka is hosting the annual Winterflower Festival and Dance. It is customary for a man to ask the woman he would like to join him by offering a unique gift.
The PCs are approached separately by three men requesting assistance in retrieving obscure treasures. Each wishes to ask the beautiful maiden Gwendolyn to the festival and dance.
Adventure Path: Transition from A4 to A5
If you are running the "A-series" adventures and played A4 - Forest for the Trees prior to this, you may wish to use the following arc:
If the PCs are near outcasts after A4 (path of the druid), Alem may be their way back in. He has a measure of control over a number of important residents because of the drugs, and could offer to reintegrate the PCs back into the village if they help him. If the PCs are still part of village life (path of the lumberjack), he may be the person who can offer the most money to get his quest completed.
Once the PCs have completed this task, they see they've made a mistake as they catch Alem harassing Gwendolyn on their return. They decide to help Nicoli at a reduced rate in order to give Gwendolyn another option. After finishing this, they realize that Nicoli is just thinking of Gwendolyn as part of an overall lifestyle image and, whilst not a bad person, isn't particularly a good one.
This leads them to Vladimir as listed. Of course, all this time out the village means they miss Gwendolyn's actual choice her heartfelt one rather than gift-driven one. Perhaps even Vladimir can't win her over then, but the three men might each get the woment they deserve as a result.
What happens and who Gwendolyn chooses isn't entirely up to the PCs, but obtaining gifts for some and not for others will definitely sway her vote. In this adventure the PCs play the unlikely roles of matchmakers!
Winterflower - Map Key
Green = Nicoli Vrodle | Purple = Alem Dulgra | Yellow = Vladimir Pelchonal
Nicoli Vrodle is a typical Klavekian. He wears a tall, bear fur ushanka and carries a short sword at his side, although he does not know how to properly wield the blade. Nicoli likes to drink, gamble, and fight. He has come to Rybalka looking for work either as a miner or fisherman. He currently spends his time hunting in the grassy tundra around Rybalka.
While most of Nicoli's hunting excursions have been fruitless, he did stumble upon a shipwreck on the western end of the Rybalkan Peninsula on this side of the river. The shipwreck has visible treasure, including an elaborate sparkling red ruby brooch. As Nicoli attempted to climb inside the former crew started to emerge, flesh hanging from their bones. Nicoli fled the area vowing to someday return and claim the treasure. It has been hard for Nicoli to keep his mouth shut regarding the shipwreck, but he has managed to do so.
Two weeks ago Nicoli saw the maiden Gwendolyn for the first time walking through the snow wearing a bright red dress and carrying a basket of potatoes and squash. It was love at first sight. Well, love at first sight for Nicoli, Gwendolyn didn't even notice him. Ever since that day Nicoli has been trying to get the courage to ask her out on a date. Lucky for Nicoli it turns out that the Winterflower Festival and Dance is just around the corner!
When Nicoli heard that a new adventuring group had arrived in town he realized that he could hire them to retrieve the treasure from the shipwreck for him. He covets the brooch he saw in the shipwreck most of all so that he may present it to Gwendolyn as a gift. He also dreams of being rich and using the rest of the treasure to build a fine estate nearby. Gathering up what is left of his measly life savings Nicoli approaches the PCs.
Nicoli gives the PCs a rough map showing the location at the edge of the Rybalkan Peninsula where the shipwreck is located (area 1B). He doesn't bring up the undead he encountered unless the PCs specifically ask if there is anything dangerous in the area.
He offers to pay them 100 gold total or they may keep half of the treasure giving the other half and the brooch to Nicoli.
1A. Vikmordere Scouting Party
A group of 6 Vikmordere lurk on the edge of the northern forest.
A Vikmordere scouting party has been sent to this area by the Snoqua tribe based far to the north. It is there to determine the Rybalkan effects on the region and report back to the tribal chief.
Spot/Perception DC 22
Success = "Movement near the forest up ahead catches your eye. A group of Vikmordere are ducked down low to the ground and making for the forest. It looks like they have seen you and are trying to hide in the underbrush."
If the PCs do not engage the Vikmordere in combat they will continue following the PCs to the shipwreck, all the while keeping hidden and watching from the forest.
The Vikmordere attempt to withdraw and flee into the forest. These men are honorable warriors, but their mission is to obtain information and relay it to the chief of their tribe. If they are engaged they will fight valiantly to protect 1 of their men who will flee deeper into the forest as the battle ensues. The lone survivor will attempt to make it back to the Snoqua and warn them of the roving adventurers.
A ship slammed into this shore almost 10 years ago. Most of the wreck is still intact despite a huge gash in the side of the vessel.
This ship is named "Freedom" and was a troop transport vessel that served as a fishing ship in its later years. "Freedom" was contracted out by a group of treasure hunters who were searching the local ruins for valuables left by the Ancients. They were sure that a great trove spoken about in ancient texts was buried in the forest adjacent to aging ruins. The ship sailed off in search of the treasure and was not seen for many months.
Finally a local hunter reported to the Mayor of Rybalka that "Freedom" had wrecked and was resting at the end of the peninsula. The mayor personally took a crew of men and soldiers to the site to attempt to recover the vessel along with its crew and cargo. The mayor found something very unexpected indeed. Undead swarmed from the ship enveloping the would-be rescuers, killing everyone including the mayor. The slain men then rose as undead to join the rest of the throng.
This vicious process has repeated many times over the years increasing the undead throng at each encounter.
As you approach the end of the Peninsula the immense Serpent Lake greets you with chill winds and the sound of birds. The real shoreline here is non-existent, with ice reaching out over the choppy waters of the giant lake. The wind whips at your body devouring what little heat you have left. Dark clouds begin to gather while thick fluffy snowflakes fall over the forest to the north.
Up ahead a large wood vessel of Klavekian make rests crashed into the shore, broken right down the center so that the stern now rests upon the ice and rocks while the bow lurches out over the water. The ship was crafted in the old Klavek style before more advanced Vikmordere ship building was introduced to the Rybalkans.
When the PCs approach the wrecked ship read the following:
As you near the ship you hear the creaking of the boards as ship gently rocks in the water. A large hole caused by the shearing of the ship almost in two provides an entry point. Suddenly, through the icy mist, you spot sailors in tattered clothing up on the deck of the vessel, staring in your direction. Their faces are white and there are no eyes in their sockets; two of them lift eerie transparent sputtering torches into the air and the sound of shuffling feet from below deck begins to echo through the empty carcass of a ship. Other skeletal figures begin to emerge from the mist above deck armed with swords and bows.
The ship contains an abundance of skeletons and zombies which are resistant to the turning effects of clerics while in contact with this "ghost ship". Most of the undead are sailors although the PCs will encounter the undead adventurers and townsfolk as well.
Combat: Skeletons & Zombies (3.5)
Tactics: As soon as the PCs approach the ship and attempt to board, five skeletons will attack from the top deck with ranged weapons (longbow). The majority of the undead force remains below deck to kill intruders and convert them to undead additions to the crew. None of the undead will willingly leave the ship, and all turning attempts while on board the vessel fail.
The text above is Open Game Content, and is licensed for public use under the terms of the Open Game License v1.0a.
‘d20 System’ and the ‘d20 System’ logo are trademarks of Wizards of the Coast, Inc. and are used according to the terms of the d20 System License version 6.0. A copy of this License can be found at www.wizards.com/d20.
Combat: Skeletons & Zombies (Pathfinder)
(15) Skeletons, Human Warrior
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.
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.
(25) Zombies, Human Commoner
These walking corpses wear only a few soiled rags, their flesh rotting off the bones as they stumble forward, arms outstretched.
Zombies are the animated corpses of dead creatures, forced into foul unlife via necromantic magic like animate dead. While the most commonly encountered zombies are slow and tough, others possess a variety of traits, allowing them to spread disease or move with increased speed.
Zombies are unthinking automatons, and can do little more than follow orders. When left unattended, zombies tend to mill about in search of living creatures to slaughter and devour. Zombies attack until destroyed, having no regard for their own safety.
Although capable of following orders, zombies are more often unleashed into an area with no command other than to kill living creatures. As a result, zombies are often encountered in packs, wandering around places the living frequent, looking for victims. Most zombies are created using animate dead. Such zombies are always of the standard type, unless the creator also casts hasteor remove paralysisto create fast zombies, or contagion to create plague zombies.
S1. Gaping Hole
A gaping hole in the side of the ship provides an entry point. The adjacent rocks are slippery and covered in ice; one wrong move can send one flailing into deathly chill water.
Crates and barrels full of long since rotted cargo are tossed haphazardly toward the front of the ship.
S3. Door to Captain's Quarters
This door is unlocked and partially ajar.
S4. Captain's Quarters
The Captain's Quarters are full of strange black mold and the bed's posts are rotten. A solid and expensive looking chest rests in the corner of the room. The chest was once locked and trapped but was knocked open during the ship wreck. It is filled with a great amount of treasure.
Treasure Chest contents
1,200 gold Figurine of eagle with fish in talons (Silver) - 100 gp value Figurine of bear with fish (Silver with Gold Plating) - 200 gp value Figurine of Great Serpent rising out of water (Platinum) - 400 gp value Ring of the Ram (25 charges)... ...or if the party retains one from A4 you may substitute a Ring of Climbing 20 Priest Scrolls (5 level 1, 5 level 2, 5 level 3, 5 level 4 - GM may determine which spells) 10 short swords 10 short bows 100 arrows
This ladder connects the two decks. The wood is in surprisingly good condition.
Here, resting upon the ground is the red ruby broach.
Rare Red Ruby Brooch (for Nicoli)
1,000 gp value
Designed and constructed in Pradjna for the Klavekian monarchy, this cannon is worth more than the entire ship. Should one retrieve this they could easily sell this back to the Klavekian monarchy for 2,000 gold pieces. Moving it should prove challenging though since the saying "worth its weight in gold" is spot on in this instance. (weight = 2,000 lbs./907 kg)
Alem is known for always speaking his mind, which tends to be quite dirty. He wears heavy wool clothing and a wide brimmed hat. A long mustache curled at both ends and a gaudy ruby ring add to his eclectic nature. Alem walks with a cane although he has no use for one. His profession is unknown to most despite being dubbed the "town blabbermouth"; Alem deals in illicit narcotics which he assist in smuggling into hidden tunnels in Rybalka.
Alem has been in love (lusted after) Gwendolyn since he first set eyes on her gazing into her window using a spyglass while she was changing late one evening. Although he has approached her before she always turns away and rushes off. Alem is determined to win her heart no matter the cost.
Alem approaches the PCs with the demanding stature of a nobleman, requesting their services. He shows them a poorly drawn map of the surrounding area, pointing at the jagged crags to the northwest of Rybalka. He orders the PCs to travel to a specific spot on the map and gain entry to the Dwarf Cave. The Dwarves, he says, love humans and especially warriors. They can negotiate with the Dwarves for a rare gem, a Alexandrite gem. It should look red by incandescent light and green in daylight, he tells them. Alem repeats his instructions over and over again as if the PCs are not capable of remembering basic orders.
Alem finally pays them a total of 50 gold for their troubles and offers another 50 should they return with the Alexandrite. If the PCs wish they may negotiate and raise Alem's total offer to 150 gold.
2A. Hungry Kobolds
Kobolds hide among the rocks and wait patiently for the right time to strike.
You climb through rough rocky terrain into higher elevations and pass by a section of the forest you visited not all that long ago. A great, clear cut sits as a reminder of what terrible destruction Man can cause when he takes too much. You pass by the logging pond which was filled to the brim with fallen trees the last time you saw it. Now it has emptied and the dam is gone. A smaller pond filled with fresh water and christened with a thin layer of ice reflects your image back at you; a group of adventurers dressed for cold weather, with packs on their backs and weapons at their side, tromping through the snow along side glistening pines and menacing mountains.
As you turn to head away from the pond and toward the crags an arrow slams into the ground at your feet! Then another! You're under attack!
Tactics: The kobolds seek only food. They are starving and will take whatever they can get - be it old military rations or raw human flesh!
They attack with bows from 100 feet away at an elevation +30 feet higher than the PCs. They attempt to draw the PCs into a large pit trap at their feet.
If the kobolds are reduced by 1/3 they will attempt to flee unless at least 1 of the PCs is down. In case of the latter, they will continue their assault.
Camouflaged Pit Trap CR 1
Type: Mechanical; Search/Perception 24 Disable Device DC 20
Gang (4-9), band (10-100 plus 100% noncombatants plus 1 3rd-level sergeant per 20 adults and 1 leader of 4th-6th level), warband (10-24 plus 2-4 dire weasels), tribe (40-400 plus 1 3rd-level sergeant per 20 adults, 1 or 2 lieutenants of 4th or 5th level, 1 leader of 6th-8th level, and 5-8 dire weasels)
Usually lawful evil
By character class
The text above is Open Game Content, and is licensed for public use under the terms of the Open Game License v1.0a.
‘d20 System’ and the ‘d20 System’ logo are trademarks of Wizards of the Coast, Inc. and are used according to the terms of the d20 System License version 6.0. A copy of this License can be found at www.wizards.com/d20.
This short, reptilian humanoid has scaled skin, a snout filled with tiny teeth, and a long tail.
Organization solitary, gang (2–4), nest (5–30 plus equal number of noncombatants, 1 sergeant of 3rd level per 20 adults, and 1 leader of 4th–6th level), or tribe (31–300 plus 35% noncombatants, 1 sergeant of 3rd level per 20 adults, 2 lieutenants of 4th level, 1 leader of 6th–8th level, and 5–16 dire rats)
Treasure NPC gear (leather armor, spear, sling, shortbow, other treasure)
Crafty (Ex)Craft (trapmaking) and Stealth are always class skills for a kobold.
Kobolds are creatures of the dark, found most commonly in enormous underground warrens or the dark corners of the forest where the sun is unable to reach. Due to their physical similarities, kobolds loudly proclaim themselves the scions of dragonkind, destined to rule the earth beneath the wings of their great god-cousins, but most dragons have little use for the obnoxious pests.
While they may speak loudly of divine right and manifest destiny, kobolds are keenly aware of their own weakness. Cowards and schemers, they never fight fair if they can help it, instead setting up ambushes and double-crosses, holing up in their warrens behind countless crude but ingenious traps, or rolling over the enemy in vast, yipping hordes.
Kobold coloration varies even among siblings from the same egg clutch, ranging through the colors of the chromatic dragons, with red being the most common but white, green, blue, and black kobolds not unheard of.
A large settlement of dwarves lives in a hidden underground city accessible through this secret entrance.
This location is revealed on the crude map the PCs received from Alem.
As the PCs near the location marked on the map read this:
Following the map leads you to the entrance of a small box canyon where surprisingly both snow and ice are absent. The box canyon itself is full of small round pebbles that allude to uncertain footing. Scattered about, resting on the small rocks, are the skulls of dozens of animals, from birds to mountain goats. A few humanoid skulls are scattered about as well, it's hard to tell from this distance but they look like orc... and human.
At the end of the small box canyon are three stone steps that lead to a flat wall in a recessed alcove. You are too far away to make out what is hidden there.
A magical trap is responsible for the plethora of skulls scattered about the pebble path into the canyon. Beyond the magical trap is a covered alcove. The alcove contains a puzzle which must be solved to reveal the doorway to the Dwarvish Realm.
"Death by pebbles"
Description: When a living creature sets foot into the pebbles they sense the creature's presence and wait until they get around the halfway point to the door. Then, ever so slowly, the creature's feet start to sink into the pebbles. When they pull their feet out, the next step they take pulls them deeper. This continues until the creature is submerged in the pebbles up to their neck. Once they are to this point there is no way out. They are trapped and can only be freed using powerful magic or an ingenious plan.
Solution: The secret to the pebble trap is to stop struggling. Every time a step is taken one must wait, stay calm, and take a breath. This must be repeated as the person cautiously approaches the alcove. It should take one at least 10 minutes walking at this pace to reach the alcove.
Effect: Sink 2" for every foot traveled/struggled up to neck of creature. Once trap has hold of a creature's neck it no longer releases. Magical spells or ingenuity must be exercised.
Entrance to the Dwarven Realm
At the end of the small box canyon is a large stone puzzle which functions as the door to enter the Dwarf Realm.
The Puzzle is made up of large stone blocks inlaid in grooves in the wall. These grooves allow one to freely slide the pieces up and down, left and right. A symbol is carved into the face of each stone block, if aligned properly the symbols combine to translate into words.
The correct word combinations must be displayed and a stone button pushed in order for the door to open. Incorrect answers will result in a burning hands spell targeted on the PC which pressed the button.
Once the following words are displayed (in any order) the door will open and the trap will be disarmed.
HONOR EARTH HEART FORGE STONE
Note: For British English feel free to replace "HONOR" with "DWARF", "STEEL", "BEARD" or any other 5 letter word which Dwarves may hold dear to them.
Trap: Puzzle - Burning Hands
Description: When a PC presses the stone button to confirm that the puzzle is complete this trap will be magically prepared. If the answer upon the puzzle is incorrect the trap will be unleashed upon the PC.
If the answer is correct the door will open and the trap will be disarmed. Once the group enters the doorway, the door will close and the puzzle and trap will reset automatically. This is all done magically through an enchantment cast many years ago.
Trigger: stone button; Duration: instant; Reset: automatic; Bypass: N/A
Effect: 1d4 fire, DC 11 - Reflex Save for 1/2 damage
Spot/Perception DC 20
Success= Someone attempted to solve this puzzle and left some markings on the stone wall nearby. It looks like they deciphered a few of the letters.
Give the players the solution to letters H, A, and R. This should start them off in the right direction!
GM Tip: Puzzles
Puzzles are a great way for your players to interact and find a solution as a team. Let them work on the puzzle without any hints. If they get stuck, offer a hint at the cost of sacrificing a portion of their XP. Most will refuse and continue trying to solve the puzzle.
If the players come up with a solution that is different than what you expected, honor their keen observation and reward additional experience points!
Remember that part of problem solving is ingenuity and taking an unexpected path. Reward and encourage that behavior in your players.
A gaming group that works as a team plays as a team!
Read the following once the players have the solved the puzzle:
You press the stone button on the wall; almost instantly, the entire stone puzzle slides into the wall and folds upwards, revealing a dark and dusty passageway.
The passage leads down a huge flight of stone stairs for almost 1 mile before opening up into a small cavern. The cavern is fairly plain although the temperature here is much warmer than above which encourages the growth of various forms of fungi and vegetation upon the cave walls.
A dwarf named Wequeon is the guardian of this cavern and spend his days posted here in case anyone makes it past the pebble trap and the puzzle above. Obviously his job can be quite boring at times, so he fills his days with combat exercises and workout routines. Over time he has become quite muscular and skilled with his blade and flail. He is so startled that anyone has made it this far that he forgets what he is supposed to say and merely leaps out in front of the party, flail in hand.
A dwarf leaps out of the darkness directly into your path. He is clad in full battle armor, clutching a flail in one hand and a shield in the other. A helm with sharp protruding horns adorns his head whilst a thick, lustrous reddish-brown beard flows out and over his armor. The dwarf says nothing but is breathing heavily and looks prepared to attack!
If the PCs make any move for their weapons he will attack. After being reduced to half his HP he will yield and explain that he is the guardian here and was so surprised by the PCs' presence that he didn't know what to do.
As long as the PCs remain calm, Wequeon will quickly regain his composure.
"Hail, travelers. I am Guardian Wequeon, protector of this cavern. You are not permitted any further."
The PCs may speak with Wequeon and explain that they are on a mission to obtain Alexandrite. When Wequeon hears this his eyes light up.
"You are not permitted entrance to our city, but I could get you this gem you seek. There is a cave where I go to collect moss. Recently a large creature started roaming my moss cave. You kill this creature, I'll get you this gem."
If asked about the dwarven city Wequeon will state "Stoneholme is the epitome of beauty, a city of earth and granite. A stalwart and honest place, where truth and justice are honored above all else."
Wequeon will move a large rock which he uses as a secret door to access the nearby moss cave. He leads the PCs into the cavern, which is only about 500'x1000' with ceilings full of stalactites 100' above. The temperature in this room is a steamy 60F/15C (well, steamy for this region). The cavern is quite damp and misty with a hidden stream cascading in waterfalls down a large rock structure in the middle of the cavern. The waterfall-rock area is too steep and slick to climb, but the creature Wequeon is talking about uses the natural opening as a way in and out of this cavern. Thick green and gray moss hangs throughout the cavern in long clumps not unlike a dwarf's beard!
He will bid them farewell and ask them to please wait in this room until he returns. If the other dwarves catch them wandering about they may attack and ask questions later.
The PCs may use a large rock structure located in the middle of the room to hide behind should they need it. There are also a few stalagmites which will provide ample cover for rogues attempting to sneak up on the creature.
Creature of Moss Cave
3.5: The Grick hides in the shadows surrounded by rocks and moss, waiting for prey.
Pathfinder: The Cave Fisher wait patiently on the ceiling of the cave, hiding among the stalactites. When it sees a good opportunity it fires one of its filaments.
An adult grick is about 8 feet long from the tips of its tentacles to the end of its body and weighs some 200 pounds. Its body coloration is uniformly dark, with a pale underbelly.
Gricks attack when hungry or threatened. They hunt by holing up near high-traffic areas, using their natural coloration to blend into convenient shadows. When prey (virtually anything that moves) ventures near, they lash out with their tentacles. A grick’s rubbery body seems to shed blows of any kind. Its jaws are relatively small and weak compared to its body mass, so rather than consume its kill immediately, a grick normally drags its victim back to its lair to be eaten at its leisure.
A grick’s natural weapons are treated as magic weapons for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.
Multiple gricks do not fight in concert. Each attacks the prey closest to it, and breaks off the fight as soon as it can drag dead or unconscious prey away.
A grick has a +8 racial bonus on Climb checks and can always choose to take 10 on a Climb check, even if rushed or threatened.
*Their coloration affords gricks a +8 racial bonus on Hide checks when in natural rocky areas.
Cave Fisher (Pathfinder)
This man-sized, crab-like monstrosity clings tenaciously to the rough stone, its enormous pincers held out menacingly before it.
XP 600 N Medium vermin Init +1; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +0
AC 15, touch 11, flat-footed 14 (+1 Dex, +4 natural) hp 22 (3d8+9) Fort +6, Ref +2, Will +1 Immune mind-affecting effects
Str 17, Dex 12, Con 17, Int —, Wis 10, Cha 4 Base Atk +2; CMB +5 (+9 with pull); CMD 16 (28 vs. trip) Skills Climb +11
A cave fisher can fire a thin filament of sticky silk as a standard action. This touch attack has a range of 60 feet and no range increment. A creature struck by a cave fisher's filament becomes attached to the sticky thread. As a standard action, a creature can rip the filament free with a DC 20 Strength check. A caught creature can also attempt to escape a filament by making a DC 25 Escape Artist check. A filament is AC 14 (touch 12), has 5 hit points, and has DR 15/slashing. An application of liquid with high alcohol content (or a dose of universal solvent) dissolves the adhesive and releases the creature caught by the filament. A cave fisher can have only one filament active at a time.
A cave fisher has a +4 racial bonus on CMB checks made using its pull special attack.
Environment any underground Organization solitary, pair, or tangle (3–6) Treasure none
The cave fisher is a highly specialized predator that dwells in caves. The creature's mode of hunting is unique—it clambers up a cave wall to settle on a ledge or in a crack, typically at a height of at least 30 feet. Ledges overlooking bridges and lower ledges overlooking chasms are favored hunting grounds for the cave fisher. The creature lies in wait until prey approaches within 60 feet, at which point it extrudes a thin cord of silk at blinding speed, lashing at the target as with a whip. The filament is incredibly sticky, and once the fisher strikes food with it, it reels in its meal to feed, trusting its position on a higher ledge to prevent any allies the meal may have from molesting it as it eats. Collections of bones and lengths of discarded filaments are sure signs of cave fisher habitation.
A cave fisher produces its filament from glands in its body; when it reels in a victim, it generally eats the filament along with its meal. It's impossible to harvest new filaments from a dead cave fisher, but filaments harvested from living ones are incredibly light and strong, functioning as silk rope once the sticky adhesive on a length decomposes (which generally takes 3d6 minutes). A cave fisher's filament glands are useful in constructing sovereign glue and similar sticky magical items. A single cave fisher's glands count as 100 gp worth of raw materials, offsetting the total cost of the item's final creation.
Although cave fishers have many superficial similarities to crabs, they do not fare well in water and aren't very good swimmers. Nevertheless, many cave fishers lair upon ledges overlooking swift-flowing subterranean rivers, giving them a relatively steady stream of food, especially in cases where such rivers are used as trade routes. Those who ply these rivers frequently travel with a few spare slaves or some unwanted livestock, and when they approach a known cave fisher haunt, they send down the unfortunate animal or slave on a raft to distract the monster's hunger.
A cave fisher is 7 feet long and weighs 400 pounds.
After the creature has been slain the PCs must wait 1d4 hours before Wequeon returns with a fine piece of Alexandrite. He hands them the Alexandrite with a smile and shows them the way to the surface.
Vladimir (or Vlad as his friends call him) is a man of average height with striking looks and jet black hair. He wears black and red clothing in town, but prefers white or gray in the wilderness so as to blend in. He is a noble man (intrinsically) and is always determined to right any wrongs, especially ones that he himself has brought about. When Vladimir approaches the PCs he will do so respectfully, asking them if they might spare a moment of their time. He will explain that he is planning on traveling to the north to retrieve the sacred Winterflower which is rumored to grow on a peak deep within the jagged crags. The path he takes is a dangerous one but although skilled with a crossbow, Vlad is not a seasoned warrior by any stretch of the imagination. He is willing to pay the group 100 gold pieces to accompany him on his journey. If any harm should come to anyone in the group, Vlad will pay for their healing expenses and any damaged items.
Since the journey will lead them through some rugged terrain, Vlad has purchased rock climbing equipment for the group. He has acquired large amounts of rope, harnesses, chalk bags, hammers, pitons and metal hooks (similar to carabiners). When he hands the equipment to each PC he will thank them personally for their help. When the quest is over he will allow the PCs to keep their new belongings.
The flower Vladimir needs to win Gwendolyn's heart grows on the most dangerous peak in the jagged crags. Vladimir explains that the route they travel brings them dangerously close to the Dark Wood. He will need protection from the devils and beasts that dwell there should they be attacked. After that it's into some little-known territory and finally to the most dangerous peak in the jagged crags.
Male human Ftr1: CR 1; Size M (5 ft., 0 in. tall); HD 1d10-1; hp 9; Init +2; Spd 30 ft.; AC 12; Attack +3 melee, or +3 ranged; SV Fort +1, Ref +2, Will +2; AL NG; Str 14, Dex 15, Con 9, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 13. Languages Spoken: Common. Skills and feats: Climb +6, Handle Animal +1, Hide +2, Listen/Perception +0, Move Silently +2, Spot/Perception +0; Blind-Fight, Combat Reflexes, Iron Will.
AC: 12 HP: 9
Light Crossbow: 1d8(19-20 x2)
3A. Dangers of Dark Wood
As the PCs travel northward they will pass very close to the edge of Dark Wood to the west. As they travel past a starving harpy spies them and grows quite interested. Perhaps she will get a meal sooner than she thought.
Tactics: The harpy will wait hidden in the woods until the PCs happen by. She will then start to sing using her Captive Song (Su). After this she will take to the air and use a Flyby attack against any PCs not affected by her spell like song.
When a harpy engages in battle, it prefers to use Flyby Attack and strike with a melee weapon.
Captivating Song (Su)
The most insidious ability of the harpy is its song. When a harpy sings, all creatures (other than harpies) within a 300-foot spread must succeed on a DC 16 Will save or become captivated. This is a sonic mind-affecting charm effect. A creature that successfully saves cannot be affected again by the same harpy’s song for 24 hours. The save DC is Charisma-based.
A captivated victim walks toward the harpy, taking the most direct route available. If the path leads into a dangerous area (through flame, off a cliff, or the like), that creature gets a second saving throw. Captivated creatures can take no actions other than to defend themselves. (Thus, a fighter cannot run away or attack but takes no defensive penalties.) A victim within 5 feet of the harpy stands there and offers no resistance to the monster’s attacks. The effect continues for as long as the harpy sings and for 1 round thereafter. A bard’s countersong ability allows the captivated creature to attempt a new Will save.
Harpies have a +4 racial bonus on Bluff and Listen checks.
Save for the tattered wings and taloned feet, this creature resembles a feral woman with a wild look about her.
Treasure standard (leather armor, morningstar, and other treasure)
Captivating Song (Su) A harpy's song has the power to infect the minds of those that hear it, calling them to the harpy's side. When a harpy sings, all creatures aside from other harpies within a 300-foot spread must succeed on a DC 16 Will saving throw or become captivated. A creature that successfully saves is not subject to the same harpy's song for 24 hours. A victim under the effects of the captivating song moves toward the harpy using the most direct means available. If the path leads them into a dangerous area such as through fire or off a cliff, that creature receives a second saving throw to end the effect before moving into peril. Captivated creatures can take no actions other than to defend themselves. A victim within 5 feet of the harpy simply stands and offers no resistance to the harpy's attacks. This effect continues for as long as the harpy sings and for 1 round thereafter. This is a sonic mind-affecting charm effect. The save DC is Charisma-based.
Often viewed as vicious and corrupted creatures, harpies know how creatures think and act. This understanding gives them an advantage when it comes to finding their favorite meals. While creatures of the wild easily fall victim to their captivating songs, these vile bird-women prefer their meals spiced with complex sentient thoughts. Easy prey makes for a boring meal.
While ultimately savage and without remorse for their actions, a number of harpies live close to humanoid societies and enjoy parlaying with creatures that they see as potential meals.
Harpies tend to wear baubles and trinkets stolen from their victims, as they like to indulge in the shiny ornaments of mankind. Up close, these creatures reek with the stench of consumed victims, and they rarely let creatures not yet captivated too near, lest they smell the gore and decay upon their feathers. For this reason, many harpies wear perfumes and scented oils.
Harpies appear wildly different in different lands. Some seem like an amalgam of vultures and women, while others bear the regal markings of hawks or falcons in their feathers. Rare clutches of harpies in isolated and tropical parts of the world even have colorful feathers akin to parrots.
An old Vikmordere trail wanders up the mountainside on the edge of a great cliff. Pitfalls, avalanches, and dangerous terrain await those who dare take this perilous path.
Jagged peaks of a blue-gray tinge dominate the landscape to the north. The peaks grow up out of the land at radical angles like ice swords piercing the soil. A precarious old Vikmordere path leads up through the snow and around the peaks, making its way alongside suicidal cliffs and below monstrous avalanches. Surely one cannot survive this journey. You look to Vladimir to see if he indeed means to take this way. He looks back at you with a stern look upon his face and nods. "This is where we test our solidarity, our bravery, our will to survive despite the odds. This is where we carefully tread for this is not our land, but the wild land. We must choose our path carefully and tread lightly. Let us go. If we turn back now we will lay on our deathbed, years from now, wondering if we could have done it, and wishing we had."
Vlad seems to say this as much for himself as the rest of the party. He stops and takes in the sight for a moment before letting out a long breath of steam into the frigid mountain air. He hops his pack up further on his back and tightens his climbing harness before trudging through the snow up the old Vikmordere path that winds into the mountains.
The PCs will pass three dangerous areas on this path that will require successful ability checks. Those who fail may be injured, separated from the party, or worst of al, die in the cold snow of the jagged crags.
Modifiers: +2 for each person roped together will increase the entire groups ability to bypass this dangerous threat
Failure: Fall from high elevation onto a rocky cliff and snow banks 100' below. (8d6 damage) If strapped on to other party members, failure allows one additional check. If this also fails the next party member connected to the failing member must make a check and so on. If all party members fail the entire group will go over the edge.
Success: Bypass threat.
Obstacle: Potential Avalanche
Skill Check: Dexterity Check vs DC 15 to bypass / If triggered roll Jump check vs DC 25
Modifiers: -2 for metal armor, -1 for each additional object which creates sound waves
Failure: Noise triggers a cascade of snow forming a large avalanche. All party members who fail Jump Check are hit (for 1d6+2 damage) and buried under 5 feet of snow. Other party members have 1d4+1 minutes to dig them out before they begin to suffocate.
Success: Cautiously and quietly bypass threat.
Obstacle: Broken Path
The path the PCs have been following comes to an abrupt end. The natural rock bridge which once spanned a gap has cracked and fallen into a massive ice crevasse. There is a small landing that is lower than the PCs current position. It looks possible to run and jump from the current position across the gap, falling onto the lower platform and continuing. Getting back however, will prove interesting (and up to the GM).
Skill Check: Jump or Acrobatics DC 22
Modifiers: +1 Klaveks, +2 Vikmordere
Failure: PC falls toward their death (over 300 feet into an icy crevasse). If you are a forgiving GM you may allow a successful Dexterity or Acrobatics check to catch a ledge with minimal damage.
(If a PC dies you may opt to hand them the statistics for Vladimir so they may play him until the adventure's conclusion at which point they can roll up a new character.)
Success: The PC takes a running start and leaps across and down to the adjacent ledge. They can now continue on their path.
You round the last bend in the dangerous trek deep into the jagged crags. A solitary giant looms over you, a stone giant with odd angles encased in hardened ice. Gray clouds darken the sky overhead and thick snowflakes begin to fall making visibility poor. You see a rough animal path through the snow leading to the base of this great mount. Vladimir stops and looks the mountain up and down before checking his gear over a final time and preparing for a very dangerous climb. "You'll want to follow me toward the summit just in case I run into trouble. After I get the flower we'll take our time getting down and return to Rybalka."
Vladimir will make for the mountain.
You follow Vlad to the edge of the mountain. He begins to hammer holds into the rocky cliffside preparing to scale the solitary giant. Once ready, he takes the first steps and slams his ice pick into the hardened snow and ice above, pulling himself upwards. "Gwendolyn! I do this for thee. Let the perils of my friends and I not be in vain!" Vladimir climbs with impressive skill and steadfast progress.
Climbing the Solitary Giant
Climb vs DC 25 to climb the icy mountain.Use the climbing modifiers chart to set the DC accordingly.
Just starting out: The PC is just not skilled enough to make the climb. He keeps sliding back down. He may try again after resting for a time but will be a considerable distance behind the rest of the group.
Partway up the mountain: GM determination. Either the PC takes a massive amount of damage or they simply fall to their death. This climb is not for the weak of heart (or muscle).
The PCs should be accompanying Vlad up the mountain. If they do not he looks back down and says "There's nothing to fear up here, the view is quite nice indeed!"
After the PCs are halfway up the mountain (300 feet) Vlad will motion for them to stay put and start to scale the last 1/3 to where the Winterflower grows. When he gets near the spot read this:
As Vlad nears the Winterflower, you notice that the sky suddenly grows darker. Fearing a coming storm cloud, you turn your head just in time to see something large fly directly over you head, disappearing over the top of the mountain and out of view. Vladimir reaches the spot and stares at whatever it was that just flew over your head. His face turns white and he quickly yet gently gathers up something from the ground and starts to descend. "Make ready friends! We have company!" Vladimir starts to make his way down, his pace seems quickened and you fear he may slip and fall! You have little time to worry though as a dark shadow is cast over you and the 'boom' of flapping wings approaches from behind! The promise of death both above and below suddenly becomes quite apparent.
The creature which is so interested in the group is a young Snow Roc who recently left the nest and is looking for its first meal. He is very immature and is easily confused by the PCs actions. Thus, every round there is a 20% chance he does nothing but circle above trying to decide upon a target. Most rounds he attempts to attack Vlad but can be drawn away by fired arrows or spells.
If the PCs are unable to adequately protect Vladimir from this threat he may lose his footing and tumble down the side of the mountain, held only by a rope and a harness. He will fall over 30 feet in this way and sustain 3d6 damage (perhaps enough to kill him). The PCs will have to be quite diligent and resourceful to ward off this enemy.
If the Snow Roc picks up Vlad or a PC he will fly off to a remote cave to enjoy his meal. The PC will have to fight the creature one on one and if they are able to slay it, will still have to figure out where they are and how to get home.
Extreme Combat Conditions:The PCs are climbing a mountain and are tied in with ropes and securement points. Advise the PCs to use their first round creating a securement point from which to tie off their rope. Now they will be able to proceed in combat from this location. Obviously standard movement will be impossible. The PC may choose to climb, attack with ranged weapons, cast spells, or wait until they are attacked by the Snow Roc to retaliate. Any PC may hold their action until the Snow Roc attacks. The PC may then immediately counter with their attack before the Roc flies out of range. If you prefer to use alternative rules feel free.
This combat scenario calls for an extremely scary yet exhilarating and fast paced narrative. Allow the rules to be quick and loose and keep things moving!
Abilities: Str 34, Dex 15, Con 24, Int 2, Wis 13, Cha 11
Skills: Hide –3, Listen +10, Spot +14
Feats: Alertness, Flyby Attack, Iron Will, Multiattack, Power Attack, Snatch, Wingover
Environment: Cold mountains
Organization: Solitary or pair
Alignment: Always neutral
A snow roc’s plumage is either icy blue or snow white from head to tail. These enormous creatures are 30 feet long from the beak to the base of the tail, with wingspans as wide as 80 feet. A roc weighs about 8,000 pounds.
Icy Gust (Su) As a free action once per round, the snow roc can launch a blast of cold from its wings in a 30ft cone dealing 1d6 damage to all creatures in the affected area.
Skills: Rocs have a +4 racial bonus on Spot checks.
Melee 2 talons +18 (2d6+9/19-20 plus grab), bite +9 (2d8+4)
Space 20 ft.; Reach 15 ft.
Special Attacks icy gust
Str 28, Dex 15, Con 17, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 11
BaseAtk +12; CMB 27; CMD 39
Feats Flyby Attack, Improved Critical (talons), Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes, Power Attack, Skill Focus (Perception), Weapon Focus (talons)
Skills Fly +7, Perception +15
Icy Gust (Su) As a free action once per round, the snow roc can launch a blast of cold from its wings in a 30ft cone dealing 1d6 damage to all creatures in the affected area.
Environment arctic mountains
Organization solitary or mated pair
Climb vs DC 15-20 (badly injured: DC 25-30)
If the PCs and Vlad survive this ordeal they still must make another climb check to descend the mountain. Those who lost more than 1/2 their HP must make checks vs DC 35. Falling is not fatal though, a fall will drop a PC 10 feet to the last securement point where they will slam into the side of the sharp icy rock face for 1d6 damage.
If the PCs survived and were able to save Vladimir from the Snow Roc read the following when they reach the bottom of the mountain:
You take the final step off the steep mountain face and onto the ground with great relief. You immediately feel how sore all of your muscles are. Just thinking about the trek all the way back to Rybalka makes your stomach drop, but you are glad to be alive after this ordeal.
Vladimir soon joins you, his smile is enough to make it all worth it. "Look! Look my friends! It is the legendary Winterflower!" Vladimir gently lifts a blooming blue flower from a small satchel at his side. The green stalk is coated in solid ice and trails down into a complex white root structure which seems to dig straight into the chunk of ice and dirt which Vlad has so carefully cradled from the top of the solitary giant. "We did it. You did it. Without you I would have perished. I owe you my gratitude, my life, and hopefully if all goes as planned an invitation to a wedding someday. First things first though... we must safely return and I must visit Gwendolyn to present her with this gift."
The PCs must now return to Rybalka. You may opt to describe a quick return (after asking how the PCs deal with the obstacle #3, the gap in the trail) or perhaps you want to make progress a little slower and stretch out the adventure with a few encounters. If the PCs crave more adventure feel free to adlib and throw in some obstacles, enemy encounters, or strange caverns with a hidden treasure. map
Once the PCs return to Rybalka and all of the chosen quests have been completed you may continue with the final section of our story.
Conclusion: Heroic Heartbreak
When the first two men offer their gifts, Gwendolyn refuses their propositions, assuming they did not obtain the gifts on their own.
Vladimir presents Gwendolyn with the Wildflower. Although her eyes linger on him for quite awhile, she politely refuses his gift (assuming the newly arrived adventuring group had some hand in its acquisition.)
Gwendolyn has actually already chosen to attend the festival with a local man named Vincent. Vincent is a commoner and has no money or gifts to give. He offered her the rarest gift in the world, something devoid of envy, jealousy, or lust - his pure and everlasting love.
If the PCs intervene and explain Vladimir's struggle to obtain the Wildflower, Gwendolyn will reconsider and ultimately accept his offer. Her original suitor, although hurt will honor her decision and withdraw.
If Vladimir died on his quest yet was able to obtain the Wilderflower then the PCs may give it to Gwendolyn. If they tell her everything that happened she will feel so bad that she will not even attend the festival or dance. Instead she will attend the private funeral for Vlad with a few of his friends and perhaps the PCs as well.
A5 - Experience Awards
200 each - Completing Nicoli's Quest
300 each - Completing Alem's Quest
200 individual - Finding the Solution to the Stone Walk (Death by Pebbles) Trap
500 each - Solving the Puzzle: Door to the Dwarf Realm
500 each - Completing Vladimir's Quest
500 single award - Taking initiative to speak with Gwendolyn and tell her of Vladimir's undying love for her and the risks he took to obtain the Winterflower.
200 each - Support Roles: Cartographer (map-maker), Treasure Keeper, Adventure Log, Time Keeper/Initiative Tracker
100-300 each - Role-Playing experience which varies depending on if player got into their role & changed their voice
Any additional awards you feel are appropriate as well as combat XP.