Serpens Sanguis

SERPENS SANGUIS

 

A 3.5/Pathfinder Adventurer's Journal Side Quest for 4 PCs of levels 9-11

Cost: 20,000 gp or retrieval of three draconic magic items for a local wizard in trade for the information. Alternatively the GM may utilize the available adventure hooks.

 

 

Adventure Background

Serpens Sanguis was once a powerful cult of wizards whose members preached word of the true gods of antiquity, the dragons.

A conclave of these dragon-worshipping wizards constructed a complex in a series of caves hidden within a small mountain. They required a safe haven from the harsh and at some times downright violent opposition to their existence.

The wizards prepared for the inevitable incursions by their opposition, and built a secret entrance to the lower conclave caverns, then constructed an enormous life-like statue of a dragon and placed it over the secret door. Adding magical effects permanently created a deterrent for any would-be intruders in the form of a mist/smoke breathing wyrm.

What the wizards did not expect is the terrifying creature Crucianus, which arose from the underworld lake within the very center of the Serpens Sanguine cavern. This maniacal creature was cunning, malevolent, and obtained its sustenance through the forced suffrage of others.

Possessing extremely powerful psionic and metamagic powers, Crucianus dominated all that lived within the conclave, forcing them to fight amongst themselves. This generated jealousy, anger, and hatred, all of which the abhorrent creature channeled into the creation of the Orb of Despair, a magical item capable of feeding a vicious cycle of negative energy. This provided a source of sustenance upon which Crucianus greedily fed. After just a few short weeks of the introduction of the Orb of Despair, the wizards had completely destroyed their home and slain those they had once called friends and comrades. One particularly powerful wizard, driven to madness and forced to slay her husband was the sole survivor. The woman, her mind utterly destroyed begged the dragon gods for deliverance from this world. After many days of praying the wizard finally drowned herself in the water of the lake.

The creature Crucianus, finding no further sustenance here, withdrew to the depths of the lake, entering a hidden dimensional conduit and returning to the realm from whence it came.

Fifty years have passed since these events occurred, and the members of Serpens Sanguis in the form of tormented undead wizards now roam the conclave caverns. They are tied to a physical existence through their eternal suffrage, a curse manifested by their unwillingness to forgive one another, even in death.

 

 

Adventure Synopsis

The PCs have heard tales of a dragon lair nearby and come seeking treasure. Instead they find a secret conclave of undead dragon-worshipping wizards protecting a powerful magical item created by a malevolent entity of antiquity.

The entry cave provides a brief puzzle for the PCs to figure out before discovering the dragon is only a statue with magical enhancements. A brief search reveals the trapped secret entrance to Serpens Sanguis.

The door to the sanctum is protected by a magical spell which summons the sanctum’s guardian, a young red dragon which the PCs must dispatch in order to proceed.

Stairs descending into the cave proper are magically trapped and the upper chambers are flooded with foul gases from below possibly nauseating the party. Those that fall from the stairs, fall to their death.

The main chamber contains a large underworld lake of unknown depth. A path skirts the lake’s edge on both sides leading into a smaller cave on the far side of the lake. A few corpses can be found in the area and treasure retrieved.

On the other side of the lake are the ruins of buildings, one of which contains the Orb of Despair, hidden among the rubble. Perhaps the Orb can shed some light on the state of things within Serpens Sanguis and the possibility to set things right and lay the dead to rest.

To put the wizard’s souls to rest the PCs must destroy the Orb of Despair. Once this is done, the undead members of Serpes Sanguis turn to ash, removing the long held curse on the souls which once called these secret caverns home.

Once the foul curse has been lifted there is much to plunder in the form of gems, gold, and magic items. All of the magic items have draconic symbols and markings leading the PCs to believe a dragon really did once frequent these caverns.

 

Adventure Hooks

The PCs have heard rumors of a cave containing an ancient dragon’s treasure hoard hidden somewhere in the surrounding mountains.

If the PCs require additional motivation, it could come in the form of...

  • A rival adventuring party taking up the quest
  • A local entrepreneur offering to fund a quest in search of this long lost treasure hoard. (Perhaps he or she is actually a member of Serpens Sanguis attempting to locate the local conclave which ceased communication with the rest of the sect many centuries ago.)
  • An attack on the local village which appears to have been made by a dragon which in turn gives rise to ancient stories of the dragon cave in the mountains. (The fire was in fact caused by a dragon, but it was only a very young red dragon which recently learned how to breathe fire. The naive wyrmling was simply testing out his new talent in the middle of the night on the local town as it seemed as good a place as any.)
  • A local villager disappears. Rumors persist of a dragon who lives in the nearby mountain and snatches up travellers for dinner once or twice a year. (The villagers actually slipped and fell off an embankment and into the river, washed far downstream and located by the time the adventurers return from their quest.)

Special Notes for the Game Master

In an Adventureaweek.com side quest adventure, the story is kept loose so that the GM may fill in the gaps to accommodate his or her setting or campaign. Feel free to adjust, change, or add to the adventure as you see fit.

1. Dragon Cave Entrance

This cave entrance is fairly large and shows signs of heavy use. Large claw marks mar the ground and walls of the cavern.
If the PCs search the ground further they will find that the marks stop just outside the cave.

Skill Checks

Perception/Spot DC 20

Success = The deep marks in the stone disappear just outside the cave entrance as if a large flying creature has been coming and going from this entrance.
After the PCs step into the cave itself they may hear some sounds echoing off the cave walls.

Skill Check

 

Perception/Listen DC 10

Success = You can just barely make out a deep growling sound emanating from somewhere within the cave, if you didn’t know better you might think it was a large beast snoring.

Effects of the Orb of Despair

Once the PCs progress at least 30 feet into the cavern they will come under the effects of the Orb of Despair. Any living creature within a ¼ mile radius of the Orb of Despair is affected by rage and crushing despair simultaneously, while causing them to attack the nearest living creature, regardless of friend or foe. DC 16 Will save negates both effects.

Note: the Orb of Despair is described in detail at the conclusion of this side quest adventure.

 

 

 

2. Dragon Guardian (Statue)

The cult constructed this statue to protect its inner sanctum from intruders. Although the dragon statue does have some offensive measures in place, it was primarily designed as a deterrent to any inquisitors from the nearby town.

Firstly, the statue is crafted as a lifesize dragon by skilled hands and painted by equally skilled artists. Each scale is painstakingly painted with such detail that only one well educated in the lore of dragons would be able to spot it as a fake and would need to be within 10’ of the statue. Permanent illusions have been placed upon the dragon to create eyes which open and close, and smoke/mist which rises from the nostrils and mouth of the beast. Since the statue itself is real, these illusions are very difficult to detect without magical means (Spot/Perception DC 40).

Secondly, hundreds of permanent magic mouth spells provide snoring, growling, and even a series of questions and automatic responses to the PCs (all predetermined so nonsensical answers or questions from the PCs will receive pre-programmed responses immediately revealing that something is amiss.)

Thirdly, appropriate offensive spells (based on dragon color and determined by GM) are poised to target the PCs immediately following the first question if not answered correctly. This is designed as a final deterrent to potential invaders.

A huge dragon, mist or smoke rising from its nostrils sleeps comfortably sprawled out upon a large stone platform before you. The dragon opens its eyes and looks you over. “Who dare disturbs the slumber of the great Serpensanguis?”
If the PCs answer “Ssssss” (like a snake hissing) the magical incantations performing the show will cease and the secret door hidden under the dragon’s tail will slide open, trap disarmed.

If the PCs answer incorrectly or do not answer within a round, a single spell (GM’s choice and appropriate for color choice of dragon) will discharge upon the party and the dragon will roar so loud it deafens the PCs for a moment.

After the final offensive spell is discharged the PCs will no longer be in danger (unless the GM decides otherwise) and may proceed to investigate this area further which may lead them to discover area 3.

 

3. The Dragon’s Secret Door

The secret door to the outer sanctum of Serpens Sanguis is located underneath the dragon on a section of the tail. A small panel located here will open if pressed gently and the words “Serpens Sanguis Aeternum” are uttered. The PCs may then progress inside the tail of the hollowed out dragon statue, down through the foot and into the stone platform, emerging on a stairwell in the caverns below, the hidden sanctuary of Serpen Sanguis.

If the words are not spoken, the panel will still open, but instead a trap will be instantly triggered effecting anyone standing on the stone platform which holds the dragon statue.

Shocking Floor Trap CR 9

XP 6,400

Type magic; Perception DC 26; Disable Device DC 26

 

EFFECTS

Trigger proximity (alarm); Duration 1d6 rounds; Reset none

Effect spell effect (shocking grasp, Atk +9 melee touch [4d6 electricity damage]); multiple targets (all targets on stone platform).

 

 

 

4. Entry to the Sanctum

After passing from the dragon statue down the stairs into the caverns the PCs enter a perfectly square (20’x20’) room made from solid stone. Before the PCs is a large stone door, the final entry into the inner sanctum of Serpen Saguis. A dragons claw is imprinted upon the door with a red human handprint in the center. Those with ample knowledge (Perception/Spot DC 15 or Knowledge: Arcana) will discern that the dragon print is in fact real (as is the human print). The door is not locked, but it is trapped. To safely open the doors one must press their hand into the human sized indentation and speak the words “Verba vero mea spondeo rerum dominos, dracones” which translates to “My allegiance I pledge to the true lords of the world, the dragons”. If anything else is spoken aloud whilst a hand is inserted into the indentation, or the door is otherwise tampered with, a trap will be triggered, summoning the dragon. Combat with the dragon will be very dangerous considering the close quarters.

Serpens Guardian Summons CR 9

 

XP 12,800

Type magic (conjuration); Perception DC 28 Disable Device DC 28

 

EFFECTS

Trigger proximity (any light source); Onset Delay 1 round; Reset automatic (after 15 minutes)

Effect spell effect (summons a young dragon (the summoned dragon vanishes upon being slain, or when the trap resets)

Red Dragon, Young (3.5)

Young Red Dragon

Size/Type: Large Dragon (fire)

Hit Dice: 13d12+39 (123 hp)

Initiative: +5

Speed: 40 ft., fly 150 ft. (poor)

Armor Class: 21 (+12 natural, –1 size), touch 9, flat-footed 21

Base Attack/Grapple: +13/+24

Attack: bite +19 (2d6+10), 2 claws +19 (1d8+7), 2 wings +14 (1d6+3), tail slap +14 (1d8+10)

Full Attack: bite +19 (2d6+10), 2 claws +19 (1d8+7), 2 wings +14 (1d6+3), tail slap +14 (1d8+10)

Space/Reach 10 ft./Reach 5 ft. (10 ft. with bite)

Special Attacks: breath weapon (40-ft. cone, DC 19, 6d10 fire)

Special Qualities: Darkvision 60 ft., Immunity to fire, paralysis, and sleep, vulnerable to cold

Saves: Fort +11, Ref +8, Will +10

Abilities: Str 25, Dex 10, Con 17, Int 12, Wis 13, Cha 12

Skills: Appraise +15, Bluff +15, Fly +9, Hide +10, Intimidate +15, Listen +12, Move Silently +10, Sense Motive +15, Spot +12

Feats: Cleave, Flyby Attack, Improved Flyby Attack, Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Power Attack

Challenge Rating: 7

Alignment: Chaotic Evil

Languages: Common, Draconic, Undercommon

 

Red Dragon, Young (Pathfinder)

Red Dragon, Young

 

Young Red Dragon CR 10

 

XP 9,600

CE Large dragon (fire)

Init +5; Senses dragon senses, smoke vision; Perception +15

 

DEFENSE

AC 22, touch 10, flat-footed 21 (+1 Dex, +12 natural, –1 size)

hp 115 (11d12+44)

Fort +11, Ref +8, Will +10

Immune fire, paralysis, sleep

Weaknesses vulnerability to cold

 

OFFENSE

Speed 40 ft., fly 200 ft. (poor)

Melee bite +17 (2d6+10), 2 claws +17 (1d8+7), 2 wings +12 (1d6+3), tail slap +12 (1d8+10)

Space 10 ft.; Reach 5 ft. (10 ft. with bite)

Special Attacks breath weapon (40-ft. cone, DC 19, 6d10 fire)

Spell-Like Abilities (CL 11th)

At will—detect magic

Spells Known (CL 1st)

1st (3/day)—shield, true strike

0 (at will)—mage hand, message, prestidigitation, read magic

 

STATISTICS

Str 25, Dex 12, Con 19, Int 12, Wis 13, Cha 12

Base Atk +11; CMB +19; CMD 30 (34 vs. trip)

Feats Cleave, Improved Initiative, Improved Vital Strike, Iron Will, Power Attack, Vital Strike

Skills Appraise +15, Bluff +15, Fly +9, Intimidate +15, Perception +15, Sense Motive +15, Stealth +11

Languages Common, Draconic

 

SPECIAL ABILITIES

Smoke Vision (Ex)

A very young red dragon can see perfectly in smoky conditions (such as those created by pyrotechnics).


After the dragon has been slain, or the trap has expired, the PCs are able to open the door and proceed.

The large stone door slides open, revealing gray stone stairs descend into natural caverns. Warm air rushes up from below, carrying the strong stench of stale death, threatening to drive you back the way you came.
The intense odor of death which culminates and builds within this area is so strong players must succeed on a Fortitude DC 20 or experience extreme nausea making movement near impossible. Take in mind that remaining in this area with the stone door open may result in door’s trap being reset and triggered again. Of course, by closing the door the PCs will be sealing themselves in with the nauseating fumes and will grow increasingly ill the longer they remain here. Those that succeed on the Fort save still experience the normal effects of nausea as detailed below.

If the PCs wait in this area for 1d6+10 minutes (note the trap reset time), the air will clear and they will be able to progress down the stairs without the nauseating effects.

Nauseated

Creatures with the nauseated condition experience stomach distress. Nauseated creatures are unable to attack, cast spells, concentrate on spells, or do anything else requiring attention. The only action such a character can take is a single move actions per turn.

 

The Stairs

The stairs which descend into the inner sanctum are made from gray stone and wrap neatly around the existing cavern walls. There are no handrails on the stairs and permanent grease spells in place along the first two levels. If no one in the party has dispel magic they will have to risk slipping and falling into the depths of the cavern which is certain death at this height.

Grease (spell)

Grease

School conjuration (creation); Level bard 1, magus 1, sorcerer/wizard 1, summoner 1

 

CASTING

Casting Time 1 standard action

Components V, S, M (butter)

 

EFFECT

Range close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)

Target one object or 10-ft. square

Duration 1 min./level (D)

Save see text; SR no

 

DESCRIPTION

A grease spell covers a solid surface with a layer of slippery grease. Any creature in the area when the spell is cast must make a successful Reflex save or fall. A creature can walk within or through the area of grease at half normal speed with a DC 10 Balance/Acrobatics check. Failure means it can't move that round (and must then make a Reflex save or fall), while failure by 5 or more means it falls (see the Balance/Acrobatics skills for details). Creatures that do not move on their turn do not need to make this check and are not considered flat-footed.

The spell can also be used to create a greasy coating on an item. Material objects not in use are always affected by this spell, while an object wielded or employed by a creature requires its bearer to make a Reflex saving throw to avoid the effect. If the initial saving throw fails, the creature immediately drops the item. A saving throw must be made in each round that the creature attempts to pick up or use the greased item. A creature wearing greased armor or clothing gains a +10 circumstance bonus on Escape Artist checks and to their Grapple/Combat Maneuver Bonus checks made to escape a grapple, and to their Grapple/Combat Maneuver Defense to avoid being grappled.

 

 

 

5. Underworld Lake of Despair

After descending the stairs the PCs enter the inner sanctum of Serpens Sanguis.

The stairs finally empty into a vast cavern, the ends of which you cannot see. The entirety of this cave is dominated by a large underworld lake, the light which reflects from its surface reveals it to be a deep murky gray-green coloration with tiny waves rippling across its surface. Something floats out near the center of the lake, although it is hard to see what it is at this distance.

The walls of this cave are painted with twisting murals of great dragons covered in arcane symbols. Portions of the arcane writing glow, giving off just enough light to safely skirt the walls around the edge of the lake without a light source.
The devout once used this lake as a scrying tool to seek out dragons in the area and channel their prayers in the form of magical energy to their draconic lords. The remains of a small wooden boat can be found at the lake’s edge along with three skeletons, one of which appears to tightly grip the pebble-covered shore with its finger bones. A golden necklace is twisted many times around this skeletons neck. If the skeleton is poked or prodded nothing happens, but if the necklace is removed the spirits of all three skeletons begin to drift across from the other side of the lake, approaching the PCs at full movement speed.

(3) Fye (3.5)

Fye
Size/Type: Medium undead (incorporeal)
Hit Dice: 4d8+12 (30)
Initiative: +2
Speed: fly 50 ft. (perfect)
Armor Class: 15, touch 15, flat-footed 13 (+3 deflection, +2 Dex)
Base Attack/Grapple: +3/+3
Attack: incorporeal touch +5 (1d6 plus possession)
Full Attack: incorporeal touch +5 (1d6 plus possession)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: possession
Special Qualities: darkvision 60 ft.; Aura despair (10 ft, DC 15)
Defensive Abilities: incorporeal; Immune undead traits
Spell-Like Abilities: (CL 4th)

  • At-will-detect thoughts (DC 15)
  • 3/day-cause fear (DC 14)
  • 1/day-feeblemind (DC 18)

Saves: Fort +4; Ref +3; Will +6
Abilities: Str -, Dex 17, Con -, Int -, Wis 14, Cha 16
Skills: Fly +10, Listen +2. Spot +2
Challenge Rating: 4
Alignment: Neutral

When a traumatic event occurs within the vicinity of a temple or other holy place, energy often lingers in the area polluting and contaminating an object or the ground itself. This sometimes leads to the formation of a mindless entity-the fye. A fye has no memories because it was never alive, nor does it feel emotions toward any creature living, dead, or undead. Fye do not communicate nor reason, they simply exist. Though it is not bound to the area where it was created, a fye rarely moves more than 100 feet or so away from its “birthplace”.

A fye appears as a translucent humanoid about 6 feet tall whose lower torso tapers off around the knees into vaporous nothingness. Its face always has the appearance that the creature is screaming or howling though it never utters any sound.

A fye usually does not enter combat unless it is directly approached or molested. In combat, a fye uses its cause fear spell-like ability against its closest target, followed in the next round by its feeblemind ability. If opponents continue to harass the fye it uses its incorporeal touch and possession ability.

Special Abilities
Aura of Despair (Su) A fye continually emanates an aura of despair in a 10-foot radius. Any creature within or entering this area must succeed on a DC 15 Will save or take a -2 penalty on attack rolls, saving throws, ability and skill checks, and weapon damage rolls for as long as they remain within the area. A creature that successfully saves is immune to the aura of despair of that fye for one day. The save DC is Charisma-based.

Possession (Su) Once per round by making a successful incorporeal touch attack, a fye can merge its body with a creature on the Material Plane. This ability is similar to a magic jar spell, except that it does not require a receptacle. The target can resist the possession by succeeding on a DC 15 Will save. If the save fails, the fye disappears and enters the target’s body. The save DC is Charisma-based.

(3) Fye (Pathfinder)

Fye (3)

 

This creature resembles a translucent humanoid whose face is contorted and twisted as if frozen in an eternal scream, though it makes no sound.

Fye CR 4

 

XP 1,200

N Medium undead (incorporeal)

Init +2; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +2

Aura despair (10 ft, DC 15)

 

DEFENSE

AC 15, touch 15, flat-footed 13 (+3 deflection, +2 Dex)

hp 30 (4d8+12)

Fort +4; Ref +3; Will +6

Defensive Abilities incorporeal; Immune undead traits

 

OFFENSE

Speed fly 50 ft. (perfect)

Melee incorporeal touch +5 (1d6 plus possession)

Special Attacks possession

Spell-Like Abilities (CL 4th)

At-will-detect thoughts (DC 15)

3/day-cause fear (DC 14)

1/day-feeblemind (DC 18)

 

STATISTICS

Str -, Dex 17, Con -, Int -, Wis 14, Cha 16

Base Atk +3; CMB +5; CMD 18

Skills Fly +10

SPECIAL ABILITIES

Aura of Despair (Su)

A fye continually emanates an aura of despair in a 10-foot radius. Any creature within or entering this area must succeed on a DC 15 Will save or take a -2 penalty on attack rolls, saving throws, ability and skill checks, and weapon damage rolls for as long as they remain within the area. A creature that successfully saves is immune to the aura of despair of that fye for one day. The save DC is Charisma-based.

 

Possession (Su)

Once per round by making a successful incorporeal touch attack, a fye can merge its body with a creature on the Material Plane. This ability is similar to a magic jar spell, except that it does not require a receptacle. The target can resist the possession by succeeding on a DC 15 Will save. If the save fails, the fye disappears and enters the target’s body. The save DC is Charisma-based.

When a traumatic event occurs within the vicinity of a temple or other holy place, energy often lingers in the area polluting and contaminating an object or the ground itself. This sometimes leads to the formation of a mindless entity-the fye. A fye has no memories because it was never alive, nor does it feel emotions toward any creature living, dead, or undead. Fye do not communicate nor reason, they simply exist. Though it is not bound to the area where it was created, a fye rarely moves more than 100 feet or so away from its “birthplace”.

A fye appears as a translucent humanoid about 6 feet tall whose lower torso tapers off around the knees into vaporous nothingness. Its face always has the appearance that the creature is screaming or howling though it never utters any sound.

A fye usually does not enter combat unless it is directly approached or molested. In combat, a fye uses its cause fear spell-like ability against its closest target, followed in the next round by its feeblemind ability. If opponents continue to harass the fye it uses its incorporeal touch and possession ability.

 

Section 15: Copyright Notice - Tome of Horrors Complete

Fye from the Tome of Horrors Complete, Copyright 2011, Necromancer Games, Inc., published and distributed by Frog God Games; Author Scott Greene.

Floating in the center of the lake is a bloated corpse. Somehow psionic and magical manipulation accidentally caused this corpse to become immune to decomposition. The corpse wears a Ring of Wizardry III. If the corpse is touched it springs into action, suddenly screaming and levitating above the lake, howling in agony.

Lich Shade (3.5)

Lich Shade
Size/Type: Medium Undead
Hit Dice: 11d8+55 (104)
Initiative: +8
Speed: 30 ft. Fly 60 ft. (poor)
Armor Class: 20 (+4 Dex, +1 dodge, +5 natural), touch 15, flat-footed 15
Base Attack/Grapple: +8/+15
Attack: 2 claws +15 (1d6+7 plus 1d6 cold)
Full Attack: 2 claws +15 (1d6+7 plus 1d6 cold)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: chill, death throes, spell leech
Special Qualities: darkvision 60 ft., spell sense 100 ft.
Defensive Abilities: channel resistance +2; DR 10/ bludgeoning and magic; Immune undead traits; Resist cold 10, electricity 10; SR 20
Saves: Fort +10, Ref +9, Will +12
Abilities: Str 24, Dex 19, Con --, Int 19, Wis 16, Cha 20
Skills: Hide +18, Intimidate +19, Knowledge (arcana) +18, Knowledge (religion) +18, Listen + 17, Move SIlently +19, Sense Motive +17, Sleight of Hand +17, Spellcraft +18, Spot +17, Use Magic Device +16
Feats: Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Great Fortitude, Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes
Challenge Rating: 9
Treasure: double standard
Alignment: Neutral Evil
Languages: Common, Infernal, plus any four

Lich shades are evil creatures who attempted to achieve lichdom but failed for whatever reason. The creature is not destroyed, nor does it become a lich, it becomes something in between - something in between mortal life and eternal unlife.

A lich shade stands about 6 to 6-1/2 feet tall and weighs about 160 pounds. The robes and gowns it wears often denote its previous life's profession (wizardly robes or priestly vestments for example).

Combat
A lich shade attacks with its powerful claws, rending and tearing at its foes. If facing a spellcaster and it leeches one of its spells, it usually releases the first spell leeched as an eldritch bolt against its closest foe. Further leeched spells are used to heal the lich shade or cast back against its foes. If faced with certain defeat, a lich shade wills its own destruction, invoking its death throes ability, hoping to take several of its opponents with it.

A lich shade's natural weapons are treated as magic weapons for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.

Special Abilities
Chill (Su) A lich shade's claws inflict an additional 1d6 points of cold damage on a hit, and any creature that takes this additional cold damage must make a DC 20 Fortitude save or be staggered for 1 round by the numbing chill. The save DC is Charisma-based.

Death Throes (Su) When a lich shade is destroyed, it explodes into a burst of choking dust. All creatures within 10 feet must make a DC 20 Fortitude save or take 1d6 points of Constitution damage from the violent choking and necromantic scouring of this supernaturally vile dust. Those who fail the save are also nauseated for 1d6 rounds, while those who succeed are merely sickened for 1d6 rounds. The save DC is Charisma-based.

Spell Leech (Su) Whenever a spellcaster within 50 feet of a lich shade casts a spell, the spellcaster must make a DC 20 Will save or the spell is lost, as if it were counterspelled. The lost spell's energy is transferred to the lich shade, who can use the magical energy in one of the following three ways. A lich shade can only store the energy of one spell at a time.

  • Cast: A lich shade can cast the spell on his turn at caster level 11th. When casting spells in this manner, he ignores the spell's material component requirements, but not its focus requirements.
  • Eldritch Bolt: A lich shade can release the spell as an eldritch bolt of pure magic energy as a standard action (range 50 ft., ranged touch +12, 1d6 damage per 2 levels of the spell used to create it).
  • Healing: A lich shade can absorb the spell's energy to heal hit points equal to the spell's level × 4. Hit points in excess of his maximum are instead gained as temporary hit points. These temporary hit points last for 1 hour before fading.

Spell Sense (Su) A lich shade can automatically pinpoint the location of any spellcaster within 100 feet who has cast a spell within the previous round. It can also identify spells as they are being cast and all existing spell effects as if it were under the effects of greater arcane sight.

 

Lich Shade (Pathfinder)

Lich Shade (1)

 

This creature appears as a rotting and skeletal humanoid dressed in tattered and worn robes with ancient runes etched on their surface. Its eyes blaze with a crimson fire.

 

Lich Shade CR 9

XP 6,400

NE Medium undead

Init +8; Senses darkvision 60 ft., spell sense 100 ft.; Perception +17

 

DEFENSE

AC 20, touch 15, flat-footed 15 (+4 Dex, +1 dodge, +5 natural)

hp 104 (11d8+55)

Fort +10, Ref +9, Will +12

Defensive Abilities channel resistance +2; DR 10/ bludgeoning and magic; Immune undead traits; Resist cold 10, electricity 10; SR 20

 

OFFENSE

Speed 30 ft. Fly 60 ft. (poor)

Melee 2 claws +15 (1d6+7 plus 1d6 cold)

Special Attacks chill, death throes, spell leech

 

STATISTICS

Str 24, Dex 19, Con --, Int 19, Wis 16, Cha 20

Base Atk +8; CMB +15; CMD 30

Feats Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Great Fortitude, Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes

Skills Intimidate +19, Knowledge (arcana) +18, Knowledge (religion) +18, Perception +17, Sense Motive +19, Spellcraft +18, Stealth +20, Use Magic Device +16; Racial Modifiers +2 Sense Motive, +2 Stealth

Languages Common, Infernal, plus any four

 

SPECIAL ABILITIES

Chill (Su)

A lich shade's claws inflict an additional 1d6 points of cold damage on a hit, and any creature that takes this additional cold damage must make a DC 20 Fortitude save or be staggered for 1 round by the numbing chill. The save DC is Charisma-based.

Death Throes (Su)

When a lich shade is destroyed, it explodes into a burst of choking dust. All creatures within 10 feet must make a DC 20 Fortitude save or take 1d6 points of Constitution damage from the violent choking and necromantic scouring of this supernaturally vile dust. Those who fail the save are also nauseated for 1d6 rounds, while those who succeed are merely sickened for 1d6 rounds. The save DC is Charisma-based.

Spell Leech (Su)

Whenever a spellcaster within 50 feet of a lich shade casts a spell, the spellcaster must make a DC 20 Will save or the spell is lost, as if it were counterspelled. The lost spell's energy is transferred to the lich shade, who can use the magical energy in one of the following three ways. A lich shade can only store the energy of one spell at a time.

  • Cast: A lich shade can cast the spell on his turn at caster level 11th. When casting spells in this manner, he ignores the spell's material component requirements, but not its focus requirements.
  • Eldritch Bolt: A lich shade can release the spell as an eldritch bolt of pure magic energy as a standard action (range 50 ft., ranged touch +12, 1d6 damage per 2 levels of the spell used to create it).
  • Healing: A lich shade can absorb the spell's energy to heal hit points equal to the spell's level × 4. Hit points in excess of his maximum are instead gained as temporary hit points. These temporary hit points last for 1 hour before fading.

Spell Sense (Su)

A lich shade can automatically pinpoint the location of any spellcaster within 100 feet who has cast a spell within the previous round. It can also identify spells as they are being cast and all existing spell effects as if it were under the effects of greater arcane sight.

The road a spellcaster travels in his or her quest for lichdom is not without danger. During the dark rituals invoked to achieve lichdom, the caster sometimes errs in his or her calculations or unleashes mystic forces best left untapped. When such an event occurs, the spellcaster is usually destroyed outright. Other times, something is born as a result of this failed ritual - a lich shade.

Lich shades are evil creatures who attempted to achieve lichdom but failed for whatever reason. The creature is not destroyed, nor does it become a lich, it becomes something in between - something in between mortal life and eternal unlife.

Lich shades retain portions of their life's memories, and always retain full memory of the dark ritual they attempted while trying to become a lich. For this reason alone, they have grown to hate the living and particularly living spellcasters whom they blame (in some warp twisted way) for their current condition. A lich shade always attacks any opponents who have a spellcaster in their midst, often targeting that individual directly above all others.

A lich shade stands about 6 to 6-1/2 feet tall and weighs about 160 pounds. The robes and gowns it wears often denote its previous life's profession (wizardly robes or priestly vestments for example).

A lich shade attacks with its powerful claws, rending and tearing at its foes. If facing a spellcaster and it leeches one of its spells, it usually releases the first spell leeched as an eldritch bolt against its closest foe. Further leeched spells are used to heal the lich shade or cast back against its foes. If faced with certain defeat, a lich shade wills its own destruction, invoking its death throes ability, hoping to take several of its opponents with it.

A lich shade's natural weapons are treated as magic weapons for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.

 

Section 15: Copyright Notice - Tome of Horrors Complete

Lich Shade from the Tome of Horrors Complete, Copyright 2011, Necromancer Games, Inc., published and distributed by Frog God Games; Author Scott Greene.

Ring of Wizardry

 

Aura moderate (wizardry I) or strong (wizardry II–IV) (no school); CL 11th (I), 14th (II), 17th (III), 20th (IV)

Slot ring; Price 20,000 gp (I), 40,000 gp (II), 70,000 gp (III), 100,000 gp (IV); Weight

 

Description

This special ring comes in four kinds (ring of wizardry I, ring of wizardry II, ring of wizardry III, and ring of wizardry IV), all of them useful only to arcane spellcasters. The wearer's arcane spells per day are doubled for one specific spell level. A ring of wizardry I doubles 1st-level spells, a ring of wizardry II doubles 2nd-level spells, a ring of wizardry III doubles 3rd-level spells, and a ring of wizardry IV doubles 4th-level spells. Bonus spells from high ability scores or school specialization are not doubled.

 

Construction

Requirements Forge Ring, limited wish; Cost 10,000 gp (I), 20,000 gp (II), 35,000 gp (III), 50,000 gp (IV)

6. Serpens Sanguis Sanctum (Ruins)

The ground in this cave is completely covered in rubble. Large pieces of residential structures litter the ground. This cave is even wider than the lake cave, providing ample room for whoever once lived here. Amidst the rubble are the scattered remains of humans, most of which are wrapped in tattered robes decorated in arcane symbols and draconic writing.

Each of these skeletal forms is actually a Lich Shade and will rise from the ground and attack if approached. If any of the PCs speak Draconic and attempts to use speak with dead, the lich will stop for but a moment to reveal a portion of the history here, and then began to rant and rave about plots and murders, finally reacting with violent rage and once again attacking the PCs.

Haunted Ground

Any location within Serpens Sanguis containing rubble is haunted due to the effects of years of plotting, jealousy, revenge, and murder.

These areas of accursed ground are the sites of horrid crimes or intense and bloody battles. The intense fear of those who lost their lives lingers and saturates the area. This fear and despair affects living creatures that stray within these areas.

A living creature that starts its turn in an area of haunted ground must succeed at a DC 15 Will saving throw or become shaken for 1d4 rounds. If the creature is already shaken, it becomes frightened for the same duration instead.

Frightened creatures become panicked for the same duration instead. Creatures that are immune to fear effects are immune to haunted ground.

Source: Paizo Blog


On the back wall of this cavern is another large passage, completely blocked by rubble from a massive cave-in. It is not possible to proceed any further into the complex. GMs may allow PCs to find a way inside and expand on this location should they wish to extend the adventure or perhaps drop a nice hook for their next adventure.

PCs searching through the rubble in this cave may find a number of trinkets, historical artifacts, or magic items. Use the table below to determine what is found.

Search DCTreasure FoundInformation
102d10+10 gold coinsMinted with dragon heads
15Bag of Holding 50lbs.Filled with spell components
20Amulet of Natural Armor +3Crafted from dragon bone
25Rod of the Dragon**detailed below
30Orb of DespairQuest Item (detailed below)

Rod of the Dragon

Aura moderate necromancy; CL 10th

Slot none; Price 19,000 gp; Weight 5 lbs.

Description

This rod strikes as a +2 heavy mace. Once per day, upon command, the head of the rod becomes that of an actual serpent for 10 minutes. During this period, any successful strike with the rod deals its usual damage and also catches the target on fire. These flames are difficult to extinguish and a full two rounds must be spent doing so. While on fire the target and the target’s clothing, items, and armor take 1d4+4 damage per round. The rod only functions if its possessor is evil.

Construction

Requirements Craft Rod, Craft Magic Arms and Armor, magic missile, flame arrow, creator must be evil; Cost 9,500 gp

If any living creature touches the Orb of Despair, it summons the twenty tortured souls (Lich Shades as above) bound to the orb to the area. They will arrive at the rate of one creatures every 1d6+2 rounds which will mercilessly attack those that possess the orb until it has once again been freed from the hands of the living.

To put the wizard’s souls to rest the PCs must destroy the Orb of Despair. Once this is done, the undead members of Serpes Sanguis turn to ash, removing the long held curse on the souls which once called these secret caverns home.

Once the foul curse has been lifted there is much to plunder (GM’s option) in the form of gems, gold, and magic items. All of the magic items have draconic symbols and markings leading the PCs to believe a dragon really did once frequent these caverns.

 

 

 

New Magic Item

 

The Orb of Despair

The Orb of Despair was left in Serpens Sanguis Sanctum by the horrific creature Crucianus when it left to return home. The wizards of the sanctum are unable to be put to rest and continue to relive the events of their past day after day because of the existence of this horrible cursed orb.

If this orb is found and handled by any living creature, it summons the twenty tortured souls bound to the orb to the area. They will arrive at the rate of one creatures every 1d6+2 rounds which will mercilessly attack those that possess the orb until it has once again been freed from the hands of the living.

The orb itself can easily be crushed between two large stones or obliterated with a warhammer. The blast of negative energy will make all affected feel apathetic and lethargic for a full 24 hours at which point the effects fade. The undead on the other hand will immediately be freed from their torturous prison in the world of the living, their bodies collapse in piles of ash throughout the cavern and the curse of this sanctum has been lifted.

Orb of Despair

Aura strong evocation; CL 20th
Slot none; Weight 3 pounds

This black sphere is streaked with red and dark blue in a constantly swirling storm of color. Created many years ago by the metamagic creature Crucianus, the Orb contains the rage, agony, and despair of members of the Serpens Sanguis cult. Crucianus cast spells upon the cult members to make them tired and angry, using illusions to make the captives believe in things that were not there. Using these angry, exhausted, pain-filled individuals, Crucianus was able to set them against each other and harness the energy that came from them and place it into the Orb of Despair.

Crucianus used his abilities to increase the effectiveness of his spells and increased the negative energy released from the members of Serpens Sanguis.

Once the members of Serpens Sanguis had killed one another, the last was shown an illusion, cast by Crucianus, of her husband, whom she had already killed in her rage. The illusion told her that the only way to relieve her suffering was to take her own life. She did so, allowing Crucianus to take in the pain and suffering from this woman and make it the capstone to the Orb of Despair.

Curcianus took the Orb and placed it in a special cradle, where the Orb floats slightly off of the surface and rotates slowly on some unseen force. This cradle allows the Orb to affect his entire complex by causing the seeds of despair, anger, and hopelessness to be planted in any living creature inside the complex.

As an afterthought, Crucianus had the members of the Serpens Sanguis cult, who now lie dead in rotting piles, reanimated as guardians of the Orb. These undead can sense themselves within the Orb and seek to protect it. Should any living creature touch the Orb, these protectors sense it and are drawn to the Orb to defend it.

There is only one Orb of Despair known to have been created, but another enterprising Wizard may discover its secrets.

 

EFFECTS

Any living creature within a ¼ mile radius is affected by rage and crushing despair simultaneously, while causing them to attack the nearest living creature, regardless of friend or foe. DC 16 Will save negates both effects.

 

CONSTRUCTION
Requirements All metamagic feats, crushing despair, mind fog, rage, symbol of pain

 

 

Conclusion

The PCs may continue to explore the sealed passageway and the depths of the lake (perhaps the dimensional conduit as well), or they may simply return to the nearby town informing the authorities of the existence of this place. Or perhaps the PCs wish to claim this place for themselves as a base of operations and safehold for their acquired treasure. They’ll obviously have to do something about the dragon guardian spell at the front door, but cleaning up the rest of the place shouldn’t be too tough... or so they think.