Turn Again, Turn Again

by Stephen Yeardley

A 3.5/Pathfinder compatible adventure for 4-6 PCs of Levels 8-12

Cost: Juriendor has had his clerical team undertaking extensive research into the whereabouts of a forgotten chest, one which is meant to respond to the person opening it. This has taken a lot of time, effort and no small amount of money, as he and his team have had to conduct their studies without giving too much away, so questions of sages and summoned creatures have been expensive. He won't ask for anything from the PCs for the map giving the location, but does ask for half of all they find and first choice of items as well; he and the PCs can then alternate to choose what they would like as reward; as it happens, all he wants is the Tome the chest contains. Juriendor will quest each of the PCs to return with all of the items found in the chest unused, which is the real cost to the PCs.

 

Adventure Background

When the minor gods and demi-gods were young, fresh and inexperienced, they were often taken in by the duplicitous nature of some of their "worshippers", falling for flattery and deception from those who were a little more "worldly-wise". So some of the newer demi-gods devised a series of chests (not just one, as Juriendor believes - he has found out about the one which best matches his alignment, which GMs can decide best fits their campaign) that responded to the actual nature of the person opening it, thus revealing their true selves. These chests were filled, placed in a hidden and challenging spot and watched by two of these deities' representatives - to ensure fair play - for when experienced followers, whom a particular demi-god or goddess wanted to help develop further, came along. Once a follower had proved herself to be true or otherwise, she was never able to find the chests again; the test had been passed or failed as appropriate and that was that.

 

Adventure Hook

After many months of researching – both without and within sage’s homes and dusty clerical libraries – Juriendor has found the path to the Forgotten Sacred Treasure Chest and hopes you are able to follow it. Its return carries a fabulous bounty, whilst its contents will bring a fabled glory to each of you, one which will open doors for the rest of your life! Juriendor offers you a deal which is "to the benefit of all of us!" (See 'Cost')

 

 

The Caves

The caves are set in a ravine that cuts through a shallow hill on the edge of an plain of semi-desert which is sandy and strewn with rocks. The entrance is not particularly hidden, but it would be fairly straightforward to mistake for a similar way into another series of small caves. Several of the others around here appear to have been lived in at some stage, although this isn't actually the case - the stone tendriculos sometimes drags bodies away and the possessions of these former adventurers are scattered about. If you want the PCs to wander around various possible caves before finding the actual one, there is a chance of finding non-metallic adventuring equipment as follows:

Low Value (01%-50%)
Medium Value (51%-80%)
High Value (81%-100%)
%Item%Item%Item
01-30Nothing01-58Nothing01-72Nothing
31-35Bedroll59-61Backpack (no buckles)73-74Block and tackle (wooden)
36-40Candle62-64Barrel (wooden sides)75-76Chest (large, wooden)
41-45Chalk (1 piece)65-67Bridle (camel, leather)77-78Cleric's vestments (Evil)
46-50Firewood (3 days)68-70Bridle (horse, rope)79-80Cleric's vestments (Lawful)
51-55Flask (clay, empty)71-73Case (leather, map or scroll)81-82Flask, acid (clay)
56-60Ink pen (peacock quill)74-76Holy symbol (wooden, good)83-84Monk's outfit
61-65Jug (clay, empty)77-79Holy symbol (wooden, evil)85-86Musical instrument (drums)
66-70Ladder sides (2, wooden)80-82Pouch, belt (leather)87-88Net (25 ft. sq., thin rope)
71-75Ladder rungs (11, wooden)83-85Rope, hempen (50 ft.)89-90Rope, silk (50 ft.)
76-80Mug (wooden)86-88Scales (wooden, merchant)91-92Saddle, pack (leather)
81-85Oil (1 flask)89-91Sealing wax (wooden box)93-94Signet ring (bone)
86-90Sack (empty)92-94Tindertwigs (2)95-96Spell component pouch
91-95Signal whistle95-97Travelling outfit (silk)97-98Tent (canvas and leather)
96-100Torch98-100Waterskins (2, leather)99-100Tools, artisan (wooden)

The fact that no metallic or gem-based items are found may give the party a clue about what could be ahead of them.

No magic items are found during these searches, other than in front of the main caves. For whatever reason, the close links to deity-affected ground draws them away from this plane after 1d3+2 days. In fact the whole area has a strange, hazy feel to it if any PC chooses to concentrate and contemplate the area.

A Knowledge (the planes) DC 35 roll (-2 per hour spent in contemplation and concentration, as if research had been undertaken) allows the PC to realise that they can feel their alignment being tugged at, as if various forces are attempting to draw them away from and back to what they know, believe and trust in.

A Knowledge (nature) DC 35 roll (-2 per turn spent in contemplation and concentration, as if research had been undertaken) allows the PC to realise that the natural nature of what this type of terrain should be like is blurred and incomplete because of the closeness of other-worldly influences.

If a player asks to make a check using Knowledge (religion) and is successful against a DC 25 roll, this means the PC concerned has a minor crisis of religious conscience, similar to when moments of doubt make your life-time of future belief stronger, as other alignment-based ideas spring into his or her head. A Will save DC 12 plus the number of points the previous roll was exceeded by is required, otherwise the PC will lose a some spells, the total number of levels of which are the same as the amount the Will save is failed by, starting with 1st level spells.

For example, if the PC makes the Knowledge (religion) roll with 28 (3 more than required), the Will save becomes DC 15 (12 plus 3). If the PC gets 9 for this save, it is failed by 6. Then they will lose 6 levels of spells, starting with 1st level spells and moving on to 2nd level as necessary.

1. Entrance Arch

A series of non-metallic adventurers items are scattered around the marked area from just 2 days previously. The stone tendriculos has absorbed any metal and gems as food sources, but has left the following:

+1 Leather armour

+1 quarterstaff

Leather boots

(All Lawful Evil)

 

Padded armour

+1 short bow

Leather quiver with arrows

Boots of Elvenkind

(All Chaotic Good)

 

Brass Dragonhide armour

Pipes of the Oasis (as Pipes of the Sewer but attracts 1d2 Locust swarms)

Hide boots

(All True Neutral)

 

Depending on the PCs' actions, these groups of items may rise up as 3 Animated Objects and defend “their find”; even in this state, they don't want others to succeed in overcoming the puzzle of the caves. They belonged to a trio of adventurers that was defeated at the entrance and because of the nature of the caves, each group of items has become infused with the alignment essence of their previous user. As such, they will now only work properly for something that has the same alignment. If a PC of the same alignment as them takes hold of them, they will go along willingly. If PCs of a different alignment to their own attempt to hold them, they will fight. If defeated as Animated Objects and taken by a PC of a different alignment, they become cursed items with the mirror opposite statistics to their beneficial statistics. A remove curse on each of the items overcomes these fairly easily, whilst dismissal on any set of items allows them to be used normally as the "spirit of alignment" leaves the items.

If the party leave the objects outside, they will wait until the PCs are overcoming the trials within the complex and follow behind them, waiting for their chance to attack again, probably in Area 3B, although they may wait in area 3 for a returning party. The Animated Objects may also encounter their former users in Area 2 if the party doesn't deal with them, in which case they will flee back out of the caves.

If taken by the party, these items will manage to break free and present themselves as Animated Objects at an unwelcome moment, just as the party reach Area 4. They will fight until half their hit points and then flee on that occasion, stalking the PCs from there on in.

If the items of clothing are closely inspected, a Knowledge (geography) or Knowledge (local) DC 25 roll reveals them to have been made by a gnomish tailor call Ozwald Doaveng.

(Foreshadowing for another possible adventure: Whilst not an arcanist himself, Ozwald was known to have the ability to make items which were beyond masterwork quality and he was able to precisely match the descriptions given to him by wizards and clerics alike, often exceeding their ideas and expectations. Ozwald was known to only spend a short time on each plane, however, as his works were in high demand. Even now, many hundreds of years on from his first items being made, he is thought to still appear on occasions, but only when the time is right. His charges seem to range from 1 cp to the wealth of a realm.)

 

Animated Objects (3) - CR 2 each

Animate Object (Medium) (3.5E)

Animated Object (3.5E)
Size/Type: Medium Construct
Hit Dice: 2d10+20 (31 hp)
Initiative: +0
Speed: 30 ft. (6 squares)
Armour Class: 14 (+4 natural), touch 10, flat-footed 14
Base Attack/Grapple: +1/+2
Attack: Slam +2 melee (1d6+1)
Full Attack: Slam +2 melee (1d6+1)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Object with +1 quarterstaff attacks and damage are at +1
Special Qualities: Construct traits, darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision
Saves: Fort +0, Ref +0 , Will -5
Abilities: Str 12, Dex 10, Con 0, Int 0, Wis 1, Cha 1
Skills: N/A
Feats: N/A
CR: 2
Treasure: None (Items themselves)
Alignment: Neutral
Languages: N/A

Animated Object CR2

XP 600
N Small construct
Init +1; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception -5

Defense

AC 16, touch 12, flat-footed 15 (+1 Dex, +4 natural, +1 size)
hp 21 (2d10+10)
Fort +0, Ref +11, Will -5
Defensive Abilities hardness 5; Immune construct traits

Offense

Speed 20 ft.
Melee slam +3 (1d3) [Quarterstaff is Bludgeoning +4, (1d6+1)]
Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft.

Statistics

Str 10, Dex 12, Con -, Int -, Wis 1, Cha 1
Base Atk +2; CMB +1; CMD 12
Feats N/A
Skills N/A
SQ 1 construction points
Languages N/A

Entrance - A Stone Tendriculos (as standard tendriculos but with the Elemental type and Earth subtype [3.5E] and Elemental and Earth subtype [PF]. It is not Extraplanar) patiently waits above the cave. This creature's squat body is crowned with a series of smaller stones, its arms are thin bands of whipping rock and it has a wide, deep brown maw. It forms part of the capstone of the entrance and will fight to prevent entry. When it reaches one quarter of its hit points, it seems to expire but actually retreats into the surrounding stone and regenerates, to be faced again on the way out. This is a pre-programmed action rather than a conscious one.

 

Stone Tendriculos - CR 6

Tendriculos (3.5E) - Use general stats with differences as listed below

Stone Tendriculos (3.5E)

Stone Tendriculos (3.5E)
Size/Type: Huge Elemental (Earth)
Hit Dice: 9d8+54 (94 hp)
Initiative: -1
Speed: 20 ft. (4 squares)
Armour Class: 16 (-2 size, -1 Dex, +9 natural), touch 7, flat-footed 16
Base Attack/Grapple: +6/+23
Attack: Bite +13 melee (2d8+9)
Full Attack: Bite +13 melee (2d8+9) and 2 tendrils +8 melee (1d6+4)
Space/Reach: 15 ft./15 ft.
Special Attacks: Improved grab, paralysis, swallow whole
Special Qualities: Elemental traits, low-light vision, regeneration 10
Saves: Fort +12, Ref +2 , Will +4
Abilities: Str 28, Dex 9, Con 23, Int 3, Wis 8, Cha 3
Skills: Hide +9, Listen +1, Move Silently +1, Spot +1
Feats: Alertness, Iron Will, Power Attack, Stealthy
CR: 6
Treasure: None
Alignment: Neutral
Languages: N/A

Stone Tendriculos CR6 - Use general stats with differences as listed below

XP 2400
N Huge elemental (earth)
Init +3; Senses Low-light vision; Perception +7

Defense

AC 19, touch 7, flat-footed 19 (-1 Dex, +12 natural, -2 size)
hp 76 (9d8+36); regeneration 10 (bludgeoning or water)
Fort +10, Ref +4, Will +4
Immune lightning, elemental traits

Offense

Speed 20 ft.
Melee bite +11 (2d6+7 plus grab), 2 arms +6 (1d6+3 plus grab)
Space 15 ft.; Reach 15 ft.

Special Attacks paralysis (3d6 rounds, DC 18), swallow whole (2d6 crushing damage plus paralysis, AC 15, 7 hp)

Statistics

Str 24, Dex 9, Con 18, Int 3, Wis 8, Cha 3
Base Atk +6; CMB +15 (+19 grapple); CMD 24 (can’t be tripped)
Feats Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes, Power Attack, Skill Focus (Stealth)
Skills Perception+7, Stealth +1 (+9 in stoney areas); Racial Modifiers +8 Stealth in stoney areas
SQ N/A
Languages Sylvan (cannot speak)

General information

A stone tendriculos can rear up to a height of 15 feet. It weighs about 6,000 pounds.

Plant creatures and other earth creatures are unnerved by the presence of a stone tendriculos; they avoid it and any place it has been within the last 24 hours.

Combat

Prowling deep underground or waiting in rocky areas (looking like nothing more than a small hillock), a stone tendriculos attacks savagely, showing no fear. It attempts to swallow as much flesh as it can, as quickly as it can.

Improved Grab (Ex)

To use this ability, a stone tendriculos must hit a creature at least one size smaller than itself with its bite attack. It can then attempt to start a grapple as a free action without provoking an attack of opportunity. If it wins the grapple check it establishes a hold and can try to swallow the opponent in the following round. A stone tendriculos can also use its improved grab ability on an appendage or stone tendril attack. If it wins the grapple check, it establishes a hold, picks up the opponent, and transfers it to the mouth as a free action, automatically dealing bite damage.

Swallow Whole/Paralysis (Ex)

A stone tendriculos can try to swallow a grabbed opponent by making a successful grapple check. Once inside the elemental's mass, the opponent must succeed on a DC 20 Fortitude save or be paralyzed for 3d6 rounds by the stone tendriculos’s thick layers of internal digestive dust and shale, taking 2d6 points of bludgeoning damage per round. A new save is required each round inside the creature. The save DC is Constitution-based. A swallowed creature that avoids paralysis can climb out of the stomach with a successful grapple check. This returns it to the creature’s maw, where another successful grapple check is needed to get free. A swallowed creature can also break its way out by using a light bludgeoning weapon to deal 25 points of damage to the stone tendriculos’s interior (AC 14). Once the creature exits, the creature’s regenerative capacity closes the hole; another swallowed opponent must break its own way out. A Huge stone tendriculos’s interior can hold 2 Large, 8 Medium, 32 Small, 128 Tiny, or 512 Diminutive or smaller opponents.

Regeneration (Ex)

Bludgeoning weapons and water (including ice) deal normal damage to a stone tendriculos. A stone tendriculos that loses part of its body mass can reform it in 1d6 minutes. Holding the severed portion against the stony mass enables it to reattach instantly.

(Foreshadowing for another possible adventure: A Spot/Perception DC25 roll, or Search/Perception DC 20 roll if the creature is defeated, will reveal a rune carved into the chest of the stone tendriculos. A Knowledge (religion) or Knowledge (nature) roll DC 20 allows a PC to recognise this as the symbol of an ancient stone giant goddess. The creature was at least in part created, along the lines of a stone golem, but fused with a tendriculos's spirit. Returning the creature to her may gain a reward, whilst finding her temple might bring about a greater one!)

 

2. Ovoid Hall

This cavern widens slightly to make an ovoid space. It contains three allip-type creatures, which are the spirits of the adventurers whose equipment is outside. Whilst they didn't commit suicide, they had spent years searching for the Forgotten Sacred Treasure Chest and months travelling to this place, only to be defeated at the first hurdle just 2 days ago; this drove them collectively insane and, at the last moment of their existence, as they were almost dead from their wound, they fell on each other, each one blaming the other two for their combined failure.

If the PCs have the items from outside, the three spirits enter a vicious rage which affects their stats in exactly the same way a rage does a barbarian.

 

Raging Spirits (3)

Raging Spirit (3.5E)

Raging Spirit (enhanced allip) (3.5E) - Creature can rage as below
Size/Type: Medium Undead (Incorporeal)
Hit Dice: 4d12 (26 hp)
Initiative: +5
Speed: Fly 30 ft. (perfect) (6 squares)
Armour Class: 15 (+1 Dex, +4 deflection), touch 15, flat-footed 14
Base Attack/Grapple: +2/-
Attack: Incorporeal touch +3 melee (1d4 Wisdom drain)
Full Attack: Incorporeal touch +3 melee (1d4 Wisdom drain)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Babble, madness, rage, Wisdom drain
Special Qualities: Darkvision 60 ft., incorporeal traits, +2 turn resistance, undead traits
Saves: Fort +1 Ref +4 , Will +4
Abilities: Str 0, Dex 12, Con 0 Int 11, Wis 11, Cha 18
Skills: Hide +8, Intimidate +7, Listen +7, Search +4, Spot +7, Survival +0 (+2 following tracks)
Feats: Improved Initiative, Lightning Reflexes
CR: 4
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always Neutral Evil
Languages: N/A

Rage (Ex)

When one of the 3 takes damage in combat, it flies into a berserk rage on its next turn, clawing and biting madly until either it or its opponent is dead. It gains +4 to Strength, +4 to Constitution, and -2 to Armor Class. The creature cannot end its rage voluntarily.

Raging Spirit (enhanced allip) CR4 - Creature can rage as below

XP 1200
NE Medium undead (incorporeal)
Init +5; Senses Darkvision 60ft.; Perception +7

Defense

AC 14, touch 14, flat-footed 13 (+3 deflection, +1 Dex)
hp 30 (4d8+12)
Fort +4, Ref +4, Will +4
Defensive Abilities channel resistance +2, incorporeal Immune undead traits

Offense

Speed fly 30 ft. (perfect)
Melee incorporeal touch +4 (1d4 Wisdom damage)
Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft.

Special Attacks babble, rage, touch of insanity

Statistics

Str -, Dex 12, Con -, Int 11, Wis 11, Cha 16
Base Atk +3; CMB +4; CMD 17
Feats Improved Initiative, Lightning Reflexes
Skills Fly +16, Intimidate +10, Perception+7, Stealth +8
SQ N/A
Languages Aklo, Common

Rage (Ex)

When one of the 3 takes damage in combat, it flies into a berserk rage on its next turn, clawing and biting madly until either it or its opponent is dead. It gains +4 to Strength, +4 to Constitution, and -2 to Armor Class. The creature cannot end its rage voluntarily.

 

The Animated Objects won’t fight against their previous owners, but they don’t want to be returned to such insane creatures either. If the items have been defeated as Animated Objects and are now being used by party members, even those of the same alignment, they will simply shut down in this area and fall to the floor if possible, petrified and useless. After 2 rounds in this state, they will attempt to flee from the cave.

 

3. Guardian of the Ways

A Guardian Naga (Neutral alignment) rests in this area. The naga is only there the first time the PCs pass through; after that, it leaves the area until the PCs either succeed or fail and are possibly killed and it is required to welcome a new group of adventurers in the future.

It offers a four-tray balance to the PCs, one tray marked for each of Law, Chaos, Good and Evil, and invites them to put coins in each one, explaining that a small donation to the Caves of Balance is required to continue . The naga allows the party to place coins onto the balance until they are all agree on the content. Then the balance moves as appropriate. The PCs are offered a second chance to add coins to the trays - they find they can't remove those already in place - and after that their decision is final. The worth of coins to balance the trays works as follows:

 

1 pp = 2 gp = 4 sp = 8 cp

 

The total in each tray affects the outcome of being able to walk through 3A or 3B.

If the trays are out of balance, the PCs will have to face the Neutral Defender of the Loop. Whichever tray contained the greatest value of coins will mean those with that alignment in any way will not be able to interact with or harm the Neutral Defender - it just won't be detectable by them in any way. After this first challenge is overcome, the rest will operate as described. Archway 3A can be passed through, archway 3B is blocked .

However, anything other than balance also activates the traps into 3A and 3B. The party will need to go through 3A, setting off the trap unless it is found and disabled, and face the Neutral Defender, before returning to Area 3 and finding the way through 3B passable.

If the PCs head for 3B before facing the Neutral Defender, they set off the trap, but find that they can only pass about 15ft through the gap and along the tunnel at this time. They need to pass round the Loop and deal with the Neutral Defender before returning to Area 3 and then passing through 3B. If only one PC passes through to find this out, the GM will need to make a note of who it is, as the first PC will suffer the effects of the trap in combination with the next PC to go through the arch if the trap isn't disabled. The trap details are below.

If the trays are balanced once the PCs have donated coins, or they have faced the Neutral Defender as required, 3B offers a clear way forward with the trap disabled, whilst 3A is blocked. This can mean that each PC is granted immediate access to the Four Marks of Balance without having to face the Neutral Defender of the Loop as a first challenge. The first challenge is considered complete and the PCs gain experience as if they had defeated the Neutral Defender.

 

Guardian Naga - CR 10

Guardian Naga (3.5E)

Guardian Naga (3.5E)
Size/Type: Large Aberration
Hit Dice: 11d8+44 (93 hp)
Initiative: +2
Speed: 40 ft. (8 squares)
Armour Class: 18 (-1 size, +2 Dex, +7 natural), touch 11, flat-footed 16
Base Attack/Grapple: +8/+17
Attack: Bite+12 melee (2d6+7 plus poison) or spit +9 ranged touch (poison)
Full Attack: Bite+12 melee (2d6+7 plus poison) or spit +9 ranged touch (poison)
Space/Reach: 10 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Poison, spit, spells
Special Qualities: Darkvision 60 ft.
Saves: Fort +7 Ref +7 , Will +11
Abilities: Str 21, Dex 14, Con 19 Int 16, Wis 19, Cha 18
Skills: Bluff +18, Concentration +19, Listen +13, Diplomacy +8, Disguise +4 (+6 acting), Intimidate +6, Sense Motive +18, Spellcraft +17, Spot +13
Feats: Alertness, Combat Casting, Dodge, Eschew MaterialsB, Lightning Reflexes
CR: 10
Treasure: None
Alignment: Neutral
Languages: Abyssal, Celestial, Common, Infernal, Undercommon

Guardian nagas usually warn off intruders before attacking. If the warning is ignored, they may begin a spell assault or spit poison.

Poison (Ex)

Injury or contact, Fortitude DC 19, initial and secondary damage 1d10 Con. The save DC is Constitution-based.

Spit (Ex)

A guardian naga can spit its venom up to 30 feet as a standard action. This is a ranged touch attack with no range increment. Opponents hit by this attack must make successful saves (see above) to avoid the effect.

Spells

Guardian nagas cast spells as 9th-level sorcerers, and can also cast spells from the cleric list and from the Good and Law domains. The cleric spells and domain spells are considered arcane spells for a guardian naga, meaning that the creature does not need a divine focus to cast them.

Typical Spells Known (6/7/7/7/5; save DC 14 + spell level)

0 - cure minor wounds, daze, detect magic, light, mage hand, open/close, ray of frost, read magic; 1st - cure light wounds, divine favor, expeditious retreat, mage armor, magic missile; 2nd - detect thoughts, lesser restoration, see invisibility, scorching ray; 3rd - cure serious wounds, dispel magic, lightning bolt; 4th - divine power, greater invisibility

Guardian Naga CR10

XP 9600
N Large Aberration
Init +6; Senses Darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +23

Defense

AC 24, touch 15, flat-footed 18 (+6 Dex, +9 natural, –1 size)
hp 114 (12d8+60)
Fort +9, Ref +12, Will +12

Offense

Speed 40 ft.
Melee bite +13 (2d6+7 plus poison)

Ranged spit +14 touch (poison)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 5 ft.

Spells known (CL9)

4th (5/day) - divine power, greater invisibility

3rd (7/day) - cure serious wounds, dispel magic, lightning bolt (DC 17)

2nd (7/day) - detect thoughts (DC 16), lesser restoration, see invisibility, scorching ray

1st (7/day) - cure light wounds, divine favor, expeditious retreat, mage armor, magic missile

oth (at will) - daze (DC 14), detect magic, light, mage hand, open/close, ray of frost, read magic, stabilize

Statistics

Str 21, Dex 23, Con 20, Int 16, Wis 19, Cha 18
Base Atk +9; CMB +15; CMD 31 (can't be tripped)
Feats Alertness, Blindfight, Combat Casting, Combat Expertise, Eschew MaterialsB, Improved Trip, Lightning Reflexes
Skills Bluff +16, Diplomacy +16, Knowledge (arcarna) +18, Perception +23, Sense Motive +20, Spellcraft +18, Stealth +17
SQ N/A
Languages Abyssal, Celestial, Common, Infernal, Undercommon

Special Abilities

Poison (Ex)

Bite—injury or spit—contact; save Fort DC 21; frequency 1/round for 6 rounds; effect 1d4 Con damage; cure 2 consecutive saves. The save DC is Constitution-based.

Spells

A guardian naga casts spells as a 9th-level sorcerer, and can cast spells from the cleric list as well as those normally available to a sorcerer. Cleric spells are considered arcane spells for a guardian naga.

Spit (Ex)

A guardian naga can spit its venom up to 30 feet as a standard action. This is a ranged touch attack with no range increment. Opponents hit by this attack must make successful saves (see above) to avoid the effect.

Ecology

Environment usually temperate plains
Organization solitary, pair, or nest (3–6)
Treasure none

The naga is able to speak Abyssal, Infernal and Undercommon in addition to Celestial and Common.

As the PCs approach it, it will have cast expeditious retreat in case of any duplicity on the party's part. If challenged, it will fight defensively, attempting to drain the PCs of resources prior to them facing the real tests. Its scales can have the same effect as if it is wearing a Robe of Scintillating Colours; it will activate this effect as soon as anyone attempts to strike it. When the naga falls below 25% of its hit points, it will attempt to leave the cave and, if successful not return until the PCs have gone (it will see them leave) or are killed .

If the party speaks to the naga, it points out that going through the archways out of the cave will "cleanse you of pre-formed misconceptions." If the scales are balanced, it will relay the first piece of information to the party (see below).

 

Trap - 3A

Prismatic Spray Trap - CR 8

Magic device; proximity trigger (alarm); automatic reset

Spell effect (prismatic spray, 13th-level wizard; DC 20 Reflex, Fortitude or Will save depending on the effect)

Search/Perception DC32, Disable Device DC 32

This trap works when a PC walks through

 

Trap - 3B

Polymorph Any Object Trap - CR 8

Magic device; proximity trigger; automatic reset

Spell effect (polymorph any object, 20th-level wizard)

Search/Perception DC32, Disable Device DC 32

This trap works in a very specific way. It polymorphs any two creatures that pass through it into exact duplicates of each other, but only works once per month per creature. Otherwise the effects are permanent (unless the PCs concerned come back a month later and step through the archway again or they reach area 4 and take the items from one of the chests). The trap will work once for each member of the party and then remain unset. For game purposes, players should swap character sheets if they are affected by this trap.

 

The Ways Within

A i

When looked through, this archway offers a clear view to B i, but it is an impenetrable barrier from this side. It can only be crossed through from the direction of B i. If a Spot/Perception DC30 roll is made, 5 softly glowing tiny red runes can be seen moving around the arch, 1 each for Law, Chaos, Good, Evil and Neutrality. DC 35 notes that the rune for Good is at the top of the archway most frequently.

 

A ii

When looked through, this archway offers a clear view to B ii, but it is an impenetrable barrier from this side. It can only be crossed through from the direction of B ii. If a Spot/Perception DC30 roll is made, 5 softly glowing tiny red runes can be seen moving around the arch, 1 each for Law, Chaos, Good, Evil and Neutrality. DC 35 notes that the rune for Evil is at the top of the archway most frequently.

 

A iii

When looked through, this archway offers a clear view to B iii, but it is an impenetrable barrier from this side. It can only be crossed through from the direction of B iii. If a Spot/Perception DC30 roll is made, 5 softly glowing tiny red runes can be seen moving around the arch, 1 each for Law, Chaos, Good, Evil and Neutrality. DC 35 notes that the rune for Law is at the top of the archway most frequently.

 

A iv

When looked through, this archway offers a clear view to B iv, but it is an impenetrable barrier from this side. It can only be crossed through from the direction of B iv. If a Spot/Perception DC30 roll is made, 5 softly glowing tiny red runes can be seen moving around the arch, 1 each for Law, Chaos, Good, Evil and Neutrality. DC 35 notes that the rune for Chaos is at the top of the archway most frequently.

 

Once the runes have been noticed on one of the arches, the DCs for the others rolls reduce by 5.

 

The Loop and its Defenders– Various challenges

Depending on when the PCs walk around the Loop, they face different challenges in the form of creatures to deal with. They will pass around the Loop at least 4 times, possibly 5 times, and maybe more if they choose to, facing a different creature as follows. However, no creature can be faced more than once.

How they deal with it is up to them, but fighting and killing it is by far from the only solution; deals, diplomacy and deception are all acceptable and will gain the same xp for the party.

As the PCs pass around the Loop, they will be different alignments as a result of the archway(s) they have walked through to get there. This will affect the way the various creatures will interact with them. If they are of the same alignment in any way, the creatures will talk with them and tell them a little about the task they face and how to complete it. If they are too dissimilar, the creatures will be more inclined to attack to kill.

The creatures are all found at the base of the Loop.

 

1st Defender – Gray Render - N (CR 8)

Gray Render (3.5E)

Gray Render (3.5E)
Size/Type: Large Magical Beast
Hit Dice: 10d10+70 (125 hp)
Initiative: +0
Speed: 30 ft. (6 squares)
Armour Class: 19 (-1 size, +10 natural), touch 9, flat-footed 19
Base Attack/Grapple: +10/+20
Attack: Bite+15 melee (2d6+6)
Full Attack: Bite+15 melee (2d6+6); 2 claws +10 melee (1d6+3)
Space/Reach: 10 ft./10 ft.
Special Attacks: Improved grab, rend (2d6+9)
Special Qualities: Darkvision 60 ft.; low-light vision, scent
Saves: Fort +14 Ref +7 , Will +3
Abilities: Str 23, Dex 10, Con 24, Int 3, Wis 12, Cha 8
Skills: Hide +2, Spot +10, Survival +3
Feats: Cleave, Power Attack, Improved Bullrush, Track
CR: 8
Treasure: None
Alignment: Neutral
Languages: Abyssal, Celestial, Common, Infernal, Undercommon

A gray render attacks to kill, whether to bring down prey or to protect itself or those it has adopted. When hunting, it sometimes attempts to hide and wait for prey to wander close.

Improved Grab (Ex)

To use this ability, a gray render must hit with its bite attack. It can then attempt to start a grapple as a free action without provoking an attack of opportunity.

Rend (Ex)

A gray render that wins a grapple check after a successful bite attack establishes a hold, latching onto the opponent’s body and tearing the flesh. This attack automatically deals 2d6+9 points of damage.

Skills

Gray renders have a +4 racial bonus on Spot checks due to their six keen eyes.

Gray Render CR8

XP 4800
N Large magical beast
Init +1; Senses Darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision, scent; Perception +13

Defense

AC 21, touch 10, flat-footed 20 (+1 Dex, +11 natural, –1 size)
hp 100 (8d10+56)
Fort +13, Ref +7, Will +4

Offense

Speed 30 ft.
Melee bite +14 (2d6+7), 2 claws +15 (1d8+7 plus grab)

Ranged spit +14 touch (poison)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 10 ft.

Special Attacks rend (2 claws, 1d8+10)

 

Statistics

Str 25, Dex 13, Con 24, Int 3, Wis 14, Cha 8
Base Atk +8; CMB +16 (+20 grapple); CMD 27
Feats Awesome Blow, Improved Bullrush, Power Attack, Weapon Focus (claw)
Skills Perception +13, Survival +6; Racial Modifiers +4 Perception
SQ double damage against objects
Languages Giant

Special Abilities

Double Damage Against Objects (Ex)

A gray render that makes a full attack against an object or structure deals double damage.

 

Ecology

Environment usually temperate marshes
Organization
solitary (plus bonded creatures if any)
Treasure
incidental

 

If the party manage to balance the scales the guardian naga offers them, they won't have to face this creature. Remember, the alignment rune of scale that had the heaviest weight of coins in means PCs of that alignment can't help defeat the Neutral Defender, or indeed even see, hear or smell it. There is a 5% chance that the render will instantly form a bond with any PC that is true neutral. It will leave the Loop and cavern and wait outside for the PC to return. This may initially seem beneficial, but the creature will attack anyone or thing that seems to be disagreeing with the recipient of the bond, which could cause problems. The render will only stay for a week, after which it returns to the cavern.

If the PCs do have to face this creature, they find that the Loop is dry and dusty, with a feeling that the air wants to become earthen as it enters their lungs. The walls are crumbly, with flakes coming away from them when they are brushed against. A Listen/Perception DC 25 roll allows them to hear a soft, contented humming coming from deep within this section of the caves. It is the render, which is slowly pacing around the Loop by itself, drawing the 5 runes for each alignment category on the walls. It also draws lines between them, seemingly in a random way, but that can't be the case as every now and then it stops humming, looks at a particular link, rubs it out and draws a different line in.

These actions are partially what give the caves their magical ability to transform and transport people. The render's runes are drawn in such a way that the innocence of the creature bleeds through the chalk and into the images, feeding them with the complete impartiality of a neutrally-aligned being's perception of all the possible extremes.

The PCs will find that they are unable to affect the runes themselves. However, if anyone was to spend 24 hours (over three continuous days) studying the links between the various runes, they would gain a +2 insight bonus to any Knowledge skill of their choice, as the roll alignment plays in overall understanding becomes clearer.

As the PCs approach, the render stops writing on the walls and watches them, waiting for their next move. It readies an attack action, but will only follow through with this if the PCs attack first. If offered 3 further insights to the links between alignments, the render will take the party to the first line of enlightenment information and the test is passed. What these are can be at the GM's discretion, but 3 successful Knowledge (the planes) or Knowledge (religion) roles, the first DC 22, the second DC 25 and the third DC 28, will achieve the same end. These can be a mixture of the two Knowledge types. There is no chance to retry on a failure, or to take 20 as there are repercussions for failing the roll.

Alternatively, appearing as another render (through polymorphing or something like it) and "reasoning" with the creature in some way will win it over if 3 successful Wisdom rolls against the creature's rolls are made. Otherwise the party must defeat it. When it reaches 0 hp, it melts away into the dust of the floor, to return when another party appears.

 

2nd Defender – Avoral - NG (CR 9)

Avoral (3.5E)

Avoral (3.5E)
Size/Type: Medium Outsider (Extraplanar, Good)
Hit Dice: 7d8+35 (66 hp)
Initiative: +6
Speed: 40 ft. (8 squares), fly 90 ft. (good)
Armour Class: 24 (+6 Dex, +8 natural), touch 16, flat-footed 18
Base Attack/Grapple: +7/+9
Attack: Claw+13 melee (2d6+2) or wing +13 melee (2d8+2)
Full Attack: 2 claws+13 melee (2d6+2) or 2 wings +13 melee (2d8+2)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Spell-like abilities, fear aura
Special Qualities: Damage reduction 10/evil or silver, darkvision 60 ft., immunity to electricity and petrification, lay on hands, low-light vision, resistance to cold 10 and sonic 10, speak with animals, spell resistance 25, true seeing
Saves: Fort +10 (+14 against poisons), Ref +11 , Will +8
Abilities: Str 23, Dex 10, Con 24, Int 3, Wis 12, Cha 8
Skills: Bluff +13, Concentration +15, Diplomacy +7, Disguise +3 (+5 acting), Handle Animal +13, Hide +16, Intimidate +5, Knowledge (any one) +12, Listen +13, Move Silently +16, Ride +8, Sense Motive +13, Spellcraft +12, Spot +21
Feats: Empower Spell-like Ability (magic missile), Flyby Attack, Weapon Finesse
CR: 9
Treasure: None
Alignment: Neutral Good
Languages: Avorals speak Celestial, Infernal, and Draconic, but can speak with almost any creature, thanks to their tongues ability.

On the ground, an avoral can lash out with its wings to deliver punishing blows. However, it prefers to meet its foes in the air, where it can employ its talons and make full use of its aerial speed and agility. It can’t make wing attacks while flying, however.

An avoral’s natural weapons, as well as any weapons it wields, are treated as good-aligned for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.

Spell-like Abilities

At will—aid, blur(self only), command(DC 14), detect magic, dimension door, dispel magic, gust of wind (DC 15), hold person (DC 16), light, magic circle against evil (self only), magic missile, see invisibility; 3/day—lightning bolt (DC 16). Caster level 8th. The save DCs are Charisma-based.

Fear Aura (Su)

Once per day an avoral can create an aura of fear in a 20-foot radius. It is otherwise identical with fear from an 8th-level caster (save DC 17). The save DC is Charisma-based.

Lay on Hands (Su)

As the paladin class feature, except that each day, an avoral can heal an amount of damage equal to its full normal hit points.

Speak with Animals (Su)

This ability works like speak with animals (caster level 8th) but is a free action and does not require sound.

True Seeing (Su)

This ability is identical with true seeing (caster level 14th), except that it has personal range and the avoral must concentrate for 1 full round before it takes effect. Thereafter the ability remains in effect as long as the avoral concentrates on it.

Skills

An avoral’s sharp eyes give it a +8 racial bonus on Spot checks.

 

Agathion, Avoral CR9

XP 6400
NG Medium outsider (agathion, extraplanar, good)
Init +6; Senses Darkvision 60 ft., detect magic, low-light vision, see invisibility, true seeing; Perception +23
Aura fear aura (20 ft., DC 17)

Defense

AC 25, touch 17, flat-footed 18 (+6 Dex, +1 dodge, +8 natural)
hp 94 (9d10+45)
Fort +11, Ref +12, Will +6; +4 vs. poison
DR 10/evil or silver; Immune electricity, petrification; Resist cold 10, sonic 10;
SR 20

Offense

Speed 40 ft., fly 90 ft. (good)
Melee 2 claws +16 (2d6+3), 2 wings +10 (2d6+1)
Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 9th; concentration +12)

Constant—detect magic, see invisibility, speak with animals

At will—aid, blur (self only), command (DC 14), detect magic, dimension door, dispel magic, gust of wind (DC 15), hold person (DC 16), light, magic circle against evil (self only)

3/day—lightning bolt (DC 16), empowered magic missile

 

Statistics

Str 17, Dex 20, Con 23, Int 15, Wis 16, Cha 16
Base Atk +9; CMB +12; CMD 29
Feats Dodge, Empower Spell-like Ability (magic missile), Flyby Attack, Weapon Finesse, Weapon Focus (claw)
Skills Bluff +10, Diplomacy +7, Fly +22, Handle Animal +9, Intimidate +15, Knowledge (any one) +14, Perception +23, Ride +7, Sense Motive +15, Spellcraft +11, Stealth +18; Racial Modifiers Perception +8
SQ lay on hands (4d6, 7/day, as a 9th-level paladin), true seeing
Languages Celestial, Draconic, Infernal; speak with animals, truespeech

Special Abilities

True Seeing (Su)

This ability works like the true seeing spell (caster level 14th), except it only affects the avoral, the avoral must concentrate for 1 full round before it takes effect, and it remains as long as the avoral concentrates.

 

Ecology

Environment any air (Nirvana)
Organization solitary, pair, or squad (3–6)
Treasure standard

 

On walking around the Loop to meet this challenge, the PCs find that it is incomplete, with open skies above and below them and floating blocks appearing beneath their feet at just the right moment. No particular roll is required when they just walk around, but if they run or a fight takes place, these individual stepping blocks bob up and down due to the extra momentum, and a Balance/Acrobatic DC 8 roll is required for a move and single action and a DC 13 roll required for a full attack, otherwise the PC misses with one attack. The avoral isn't affected by this as it is able to fly, and any PC with this ability will also be free of the effect. The avoral is microscopically cleaning the area with gust of wind spells as the PCs approach, but will ready a flyby attack as they approach, only using this if they attack first.

If the party is able to give 3 additional pieces of information about the ability to see beyond normal vision or gain insight through the most careful and thoughtful study - basically something linked to true seeing and the natural ability to see beyond normal ranges - the avoral will take them to the second line of enlightenment information and the test is passed. What these are can be at the GM's discretion, but 3 successful Knowledge (arcana) or Knowledge (nature) roles, the first DC 22, the second DC 25 and the third DC 28, will achieve the same end. These can be a mixture of the two Knowledge types. There is no chance to retry on a failure, or to take 20 as there are repercussions for failing the roll.

Alternatively, appearing as another avoral (through polymorphing or something like it) and "reasoning" with the creature in some way will win it over if 3 successful Intelligence rolls against the creature's rolls are made. Otherwise the party must defeat it. When it reaches 0 hp, it melts away into the air around the bobbing platforms, to return when another party appears.

 

3rd Defender – Night Hag - NE (CR 9)

Night Hag (3.5E)

Night Hag (3.5E)
Size/Type: Medium Outsider (Evil, Extraplanar)
Hit Dice: 8d8+32 (68 hp)
Initiative: +1
Speed: 20 ft. (4 squares)
Armour Class: 22 (+1 Dex, +11 natural), touch 11, flat-footed 21
Base Attack/Grapple: +8/+12
Attack: Bite +12 melee (2d6+6 plus disease)
Full Attack: Bite +12 melee (2d6+6 plus disease)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Spell-like abilities, dream haunting
Special Qualities: Change shape, damage reduction 10/cold iron and magic, immunity to fire, cold, charm, sleep, and fear, spell resistance 25
Saves: Fort +12*, Ref +9* , Will +10*
Abilities: Str 19, Dex 12, Con 18, Int 11, Wis 15, Cha 12
Skills: Bluff +12, Concentration +15, Diplomacy +5, Disguise +1 (+3 acting), Intimidate +14, Listen +15, Ride +12, Sense Motive +13, Spellcraft +11, Spot +15
Feats: Alertness, Combat Casting, Mounted Combat
CR: 9
Treasure: None
Alignment: Neutral Evil
Languages: Abyssal, Celestial, Common, and Infernal.

Night hags attack good creatures on sight if the odds of success seem favorable.

These creatures rip through armor and flesh with their deadly teeth. They love to use sleep and then strangle those who are overcome by it.

A night hag’s natural weapons, as well as any weapons it wields, are treated as evil-aligned for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction. Its natural weapons are treated as magic weapons for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.

Disease (Ex)

Demon fever — bite, Fortitude DC 18, incubation period 1 day, damage 1d6 Con. Each day after the first, on a failed save, an afflicted creature must immediately succeed on another DC 18Fortitude save or take 1 point of Constitution drain. The save DC is Constitution based.

Spell-like Abilities

At will —detect chaos, detect evil, detect good, detect law, detect magic, magic missile, ray of enfeeblement, sleep (DC 12). Caster level 8th. A night hag can use etherealness at will (caster level 16th) so long as it possesses its heartstone (see below). The save DCs are Charisma-based.

Dream Haunting (Su)

Night hags can visit the dreams of chaotic or evil individuals by using a special periapt known as a heartstone to become ethereal, then hovering over the creature. Once a hag invades someone’s dreams, it rides on the victim’s back until dawn. The sleeper suffers from tormenting dreams and takes 1 point of Constitution drain upon awakening. Only another ethereal being can stop these nocturnal intrusions, by confronting and defeating the night hag.

Change Shape (Su)

An night hag can assume the form of any Small or Medium humanoid.

Heartstone

All night hags carry a periapt known as a heartstone, which instantly cures any disease contracted by the holder. In addition, a heartstone provides a +2 resistance bonus on all saving throws (* - this bonus is included in the statistics block). A night hag that loses this charm can no longer use etherealness until it can manufacture another (which takes one month). Creatures other than the hag can benefit from the heartstone’s powers, but the periapt shatters after ten uses (any disease cured or saving throw affected counts as a use) and it does not bestow etherealness to a bearer that is not a night hag. If sold, an intact heartstone brings 1,800 gp.

Night Hag CR9

XP 6400
NE Medium outsider (evil, extraplanar)
Init +4; Senses Darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +16

Defense

AC 25, touch 14, flat-footed 21 (+4 Dex, +11 natural)
hp 92 (8d10+48)
Fort +14, Ref +8, Will +11
DR 10/cold iron and magic; Immune charm, cold, fear, fire, sleep;
SR 24

Offense

Speed 30 ft.
Melee 2 claws +13 (1d4+5), bite +13 (2d6+5 plus disease)
Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Special Abilities dream haunting
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 8th)

Constant—detect chaos, detect evil, detect good, detect law, detect magic

At will—deap slumber (DC 16), invisibility, magic missile, ray of enfeeblement (DC 14)

At will (with heartstone) - etherealness, soulbind

 

Statistics

Str 21, Dex 19, Con 22, Int 18, Wis 16, Cha 17
Base Atk +8; CMB +13; CMD 27
Feats Alertness, Combat Casting, Deceitful, Mounted Combat
Skills Bluff +16, Diplomacy +11, Disguise +16, Intimidate +14, Knowledge (arcana) +12, Knowledge (planes) +15, Perception +16, Ride +15, Sense Motive +16, Spellcraft +15
SQ change shape (any humanoid, alter self), heartstone
Languages Abyssal, Celestial, Common, Infernal

Special Abilities

Disease (Su)

Demon Fever: Bite—injury; save Fort DC 20; onset immediate; frequency 1/day; effect 1d6 Con damage (target must save a 2nd time or 1 point of the damage is drain instead); cure 2 consecutive saves. The save DC is Constitution-based

Dream Haunting (Su)

A night hag can visit the dreams of chaotic or evil targets by using a special periapt known as a heartstone to become ethereal, then hovering over the creature. Once it does so, it rides on the victim's back until dawn. The sleeper suffers tormenting dreams and takes 1 point of Constitution drain upon awakening. Only another ethereal being can stop these nocturnal intrusions by confronting and defeating the night hag.

Heartstone (Su)

All night hags carry a heartstone—a special gemstone worth at least 1,800 gp that is worn as a periapt. A heartstone's magic is fueled by the hag's spirit and proximity—once separated from its owner (or upon the hag's death), a heartstone retains its magic for only 24 hours before becoming a non-magical gem again. The heartstone instantly cures any disease contracted by the holder. In addition, a heartstone provides a +2 resistance bonus on all saving throws (this bonus is included in the statistics block above). A night hag that loses this charm can no longer use etherealness or soul bind until it finds a replacement gemstone.
Ecology

Environment any evil-aligned plane
Organization
solitary, mounted (1 and 1 nightmare), or coven (3 hags of any type)
Treasure
standard

 

On walking around the Loop to meet this challenge, the PCs find that the tunnels become blurred and seemingly insubstantial, as if they are on two planes at once. This is the case, as the Ethereal plane is leaking into the Loop on this challenge. This doesn't really influence the situation other than if a spell is cast which makes use of the Ethereal plane, in which case the caster is considered 2 levels higher OR 2 levels lower (a 50/50 chance for each) than they actually are. This effect doesn't affect the night hag. As the PCs approach, the night hag is peeling extremely thin slivers of the walls away with her finger nails and appears to be forming some kind of heart-shaped stone with these multiple transparent pieces of rock; it is as if she is rebuilding an onion one layer at a time. She readies a bite attack as the PCs come nearer, but only uses this if the party attacks first.

If the party is able to give 3 additional insights into the dreams, aspirations and misuses of alignment and position, the night hag will take them to the third line of enlightenment information and the test is passed. What these are can be at the GM's discretion, but 3 successful Knowledge (history) or Knowledge (nobility and royalty) roles, the first DC 22, the second DC 25 and the third DC 28, will achieve the same end. These can be a mixture of the two Knowledge types. There is no chance to retry on a failure, or to take 20 as there are repercussions for failing the roll.

Alternatively, appearing as another night hag (through polymorphing or something like it) and "reasoning" with the creature in some way will win it over if 3 successful Wisdom rolls against the creature's rolls are made. Otherwise the party must defeat it. When it reaches 0 hp, it melts away into the Ethereal plane, instantly blown beyond reach, to return when another party appears.

 

4th Defender – Zelekhut - LN (CR 9)

Zelekhut (3.5E)

Zelekhut (3.5E)
Size/Type: Large Construct (Extraplanar, Lawful)
Hit Dice: 8d10+30 (74 hp)
Initiative: +0
Speed: 35 ft. in plate barding (7 squares), fly 40 ft. (average) in plate barding (8 squares); base speed 50 ft., fly 60 ft. (average)
Armour Class: 27 (-1 size, +10 natural, +8 plate barding), touch 9, flat-footed 27
Base Attack/Grapple: +6/+15
Attack: Spiked chain +10 melee (2d6+5 plus 1d6 electricity)
Full Attack: 2 spiked chains +10 melee (2d6+5 plus 1d6 electricity)
Space/Reach: 10 ft./10 ft.
Special Attacks: Spell-like abilities
Special Qualities: Construct traits, damage reduction 10/chaotic, darkvision 60 ft., fast healing 5, low-light vision, spell resistance 20
Saves: Fort +4, Ref +2 , Will +5
Abilities: Str 21, Dex 11, Con 0, Int 10, Wis 17, Cha 15
Skills: Diplomacy +4, Listen +9, Search +9, Sense Motive +12, Spot +9, Survival +3 (+5 following tracks)
Feats: Great Fortitude, Ride-by Attack, Spirited Charge
CR: 9
Treasure: None
Alignment: Lawful Neutral
Languages: Abyssal, Celestial, Infernal, and the native language of their first target, in this case, Common.

Zelekhuts are charged with hunting down those who would deny justice—especially those who flee to escape punishment. Expert trackers, they use a combination of natural skill and magic to find fugitives wherever they may hide.

A zelekhut may initially appear rather non-threatening—but when it is about to enter combat, it can cause two spiked chains to spring forth from its forearms as a free action. In similar fashion, it can cause a pair of golden metallic wings to emerge from its back. Retracting the chains or the wings is also a free action.

A zelekhut’s natural weapons, as well as any weapons it wields, are treated as lawful-aligned for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.

Spell-like Abilities

At will—clairaudience/clairvoyance, dimensional anchor, dispel magic, fear, (DC 16), hold person (DC 15), locate creature, true seeing; 3/day—hold monster (DC 17), mark of justice; 1/week— lesser geas (DC 16). Caster level 8th. The save DCs are Charisma-based.

Skills

A zelekhut has a +4 racial bonus on Search and Sense Motive checks.

Feats

Due to its centaur-like construction, a zelekhut qualifies for feats as if it had the Mounted Combat feat.

Inevitable, Zelekhut CR9

XP 6400
LN Large outsider (extraplanar, inevitable, lawful)
Init +9; Senses Darkvision 60 ft., detect magic, low-light vision, true seeing; Perception +20

Defense

AC 24, touch 15, flat-footed 18 (+6 Dex, +1 dodge, +9 natural, -1 size)
hp 115 (10d10+60); regeneration 5 (chaotic)
Fort +10, Ref +8, Will +10
Defensive Abilities constructed; DR 10/chaotic
SR 20

Offense

Speed 50 ft., fly 60 ft. (average)
Melee 2 chains +17 (2d6+7 plus 1d6 electricity and trip)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 10 ft.
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 10th; concentration +13)

Constant - true seeing

At will - clairaudience/clairvoyance, dimensional anchor, dispel magic, fear (DC 17), hold person (DC 16), locate creature

3/day - hold monster (DC 18), mark of justice

1/week - lesser geas (DC 16)

Statistics

Str 25, Dex 20, Con 16, Int 10, Wis 17, Cha 17
Base Atk
+10; CMB +18; CMD 34 (38 vs. trip)
Feats Dodge, Improved Initiative, Mobility, Weapon Focus (chain), vital strike
Skills Acrobatics +18 (Jump +26), Diplomacy +19, Fly +16, Perception +20, Sense Motive +20, Survival +16; Racial Modifiers Perception +4, Sense Motive +4
SQ lay on hands (4d6, 7/day, as a 9th-level paladin), true seeing
Languages Abyssal, Celestial, Infernal, and the native language of their first target, in this case, Common.

Special Abilities

Chains (Ex)

A zelekhut’s arms end in long lengths of barbed metal. These chains deal slashing damage and 1d6 points of electricity damage with each hit.

 

Ecology

Environment any land (lawful plane)
Organization
solitary
Treasure
none

 

On walking around the Loop to meet this challenge, the PCs find that it takes on a metallic, smooth and precise form, with the walls, ceiling and floor clear of protrusions and anything that might be classed as "out of place". Periodically along the base of the now-bronze walls, thin slits appear, with runnels leading to them from various directions across the floor.

If the party is able to give 3 additional insights into how items are properly made to fully fit their function or how order is maintained across the lands, the zelekhut will take them to the fourth line of enlightenment information and the test is passed. What these are can be at the GM's discretion, but 3 successful Knowledge (architecture and engineering) or Knowledge (geography) roles, the first DC 22, the second DC 25 and the third DC 28, will achieve the same end. These can be a mixture of the two Knowledge types. There is no chance to retry on a failure, or to take 20 as there are repercussions for failing the roll.

Alternatively, appearing as another zelekhut (through polymorphing or something like it) and "reasoning" with the creature in some way will win it over if 3 successful Charisma rolls against the creature's rolls are made. Otherwise the party must defeat it. When it reaches 0 hp, its components melt into liquid metal which rapidly runs away into the runnels and on to the drains points around the Loop, to return when another party appears.

 

5th Defender – Marid - CN (CR 9)

Marid (3.5E)

Size/Type: Large Outsider (Extraplanar, Water)

Hit Dice: 12d8+24 (78 hp)

Initiative: +8

Speed: 20 ft. (4 squares), swim 60 ft.

Armour Class: 22 (-1 size, +4 Dex, +7 natural), touch 13, flat-footed 16

Base Attack/Grapple: +12/+23

Attack: Slam +17 melee (2d6+6) OR +2 trident +19 melee (2d6+9)

Full Attack: 2 slams +17 melee (2d6+6) OR +2 trident +19/+14/+9 (2d6+6

Space/Reach: 10 ft./ 10 ft.

Special Attacks: Water mastery, drench, vortex, water's fury, spell-like abilities

Special Qualities: Change shape, darkvision 60 ft.,immunity to water, plane shift, telepathy 100 ft., vulnerability to fire

Saves: Fort +12; Ref +12; Will +11

Abilities: Str 23; Dex 19; Con 14; Int 14; Wis 16; Cha 16

Skills: Bluff +18, Craft (any one) +17, Concentration +17, Diplomacy +22, Disguise +3 (+5 when acting), Intimidate +20, Listen +18, Move Silently +19, Sense Motive +18, Spellcraft +17, Spot +18

Feats: Combat Casting, Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Improved InitiativeB, Great Fortitude, Improved Natural Attack

Challenge Rating: 9

Treasure: +2 trident

Alignment: Chaotic Neutral

Languages: Aquan, Auran, Common, Ignan, Terran

 

Change Shape

A marid can assume the form of any small, medium or large giant, humanoid or water elemental

Water's Fury

As a standard action, a marid can release a jet of water in a 60-foot line that deals 1d6 points of damage and blinds the target struck for 1d6 rounds. A DC 18 Reflex save reduces the damage by half and negates the blinding effect. The save DC is Constitution-based.

This marid carries a +2 trident which it uses with two hands. Remember to adjust the attacks figures accordingly; +1 to each hit, +2 to damage and strength bonus at one-and-a-half times usual. This has been done for the stat block above.

Genie, Marid CR9

XP 6400
CN Large outsider (extraplanar, water)
Init +8; Senses Darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +17

Defense

AC 23, touch 14, flat-footed 18 (+4 Dex, +1 dodge, +9 natural, -1 size)
hp 114 (12d10+48)
Fort +10, Ref +12, Will +10

Offense

Speed 20 ft., swim 60 ft.
Melee 2 slams +17 (2d6+6) or +2 trident +19/+14/+9 (2d6+11)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 10 ft.
Spell-Like Abilities vortex (1/10 minutes, 10–50 ft. tall, 1d8+4 damage, DC 22), water mastery, water's fury

Constant—detect evil, detect good, detect magic, water walk
At will—create water, invisibility, plane shift (willing targets to elemental planes, Astral Plane, or Material Plane only), purify food and drink (liquids only), quench
5/day—control water, gaseous form, obscuring mist, water breathing
3/day—see invisibility
1/day—persistent image (DC 18)
1/year—grant 1 wish

Statistics

Str 23, Dex 19, Con 18, Int 14, Wis 15, Cha 16
Base Atk
+12; CMB +19; CMD 34
Feats Combat Casting, Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Great Fortitude, Improved InitiativeB, Improved Natural Attack, Power Attack
Skills Craft (any one) +17, Diplomacy +18, Knowledge (the planes) +17, Perception +17, Sense Motive +17, Spellcraft +17, Stealth +15, Swim +29
SQ change shape (water elemental, humanoid or giant, alter self, elemental body III, or giant form I)
Languages Aquan, Auran, Common, Ignan, Terran; telepathy 100 ft.

Special Abilities

Water Mastery (Ex)

A marid gains a +1 bonus on attack and damage rolls if both it and its opponent are touching water. If the opponent or the marid is touching the ground, the marid takes a –4 penalty on attack and damage rolls.

Water's Fury (Su)

As a standard action, a marid can release a jet of water in a 60-foot line that deals 1d6 points of damage and blinds the target struck for 1d6 rounds. A DC 20 Reflex,save reduces the damage by half and negates the blinding effect. The save DC is Constitution-based.

Vortex (Su)

A marid can transform into a vortex of swirling, churning water once every 10 minutes. This ability functions identically to the whirlwind ability, save that it can only be used while the marid is underwater; a marid cannot leave a body of water while in vortex form.

 

Ecology

Environment any (Plane of Water)
Organization solitary, pair, company (3–6), or band (7–12)
Treasure +2 trident

This marid carries a +2 trident which it uses with two hands. Remember to adjust the attacks figures accordingly; +1 to each hit, +2 to damage and strength bonus at one-and-a-half times usual. This has been done for the stat block above.

This marid carries a +2 trident which it uses with two hands. Remember to adjust the attacks figures accordingly; +1 to each hit, +2 to damage and strength bonus at one-and-a-half times usual.

On walking around the Loop to meet this challenge, the PCs will find themselves wading through knee-high water, for medium characters, and waist-deep for small characters. Naturally, this will have a hampering effect on movement and some actions; running may well be next to impossible, for instance. However, despite this water, the walls above 5 feet aren't wet at all; it is as if the water simply can't get that high. Any attempts to moisten or splash the walls above this height disappear within 2 seconds.

If the party is able to tell 3 additional stories about how people have performed or acted their way through trouble above and below ground, the marid will take them to the fifth line of enlightenment information and the test is passed. What these are can be at the GM's discretion, but 3 successful Knowledge (dungeoneering) or Knowledge (local) roles, the first DC 22, the second DC 25 and the third DC 28, will achieve the same end. These can be a mixture of the two Knowledge types. There is no chance to retry on a failure, or to take 20 as there are repercussions for failing the roll.

Alternatively, appearing as another marid (through polymorphing or something like it) and "reasoning" with the creature in some way will win it over if 3 successful Charisma rolls against the creature's rolls are made. Otherwise the party must defeat it. When it reaches 0 hp, its dissipates into a deep blue pool wave which soon flows away into he rest of the surrounding water around the Loop, to return when another party appears.

 

 

Gaining Enlightenment

Each time the PCs work their way around the Loop, either they are shown a phrase which gives information to help on the path to enlightenment by the guardian or find it engraved above the archway as 3A as they step back into Area 3. There is never more than one engraving above the archway, and usually there are none. The information from each trip around the loop is as follows:

1st – Forget all you believe and trust what you become (the guardian naga says this to the party if they balance the scales, otherwise it is revealed by the gray render)

2nd – You must be everything and nothing to succeed

3rd – You won’t succeed at first, but a handful of attempts will be enough

4th – Sometimes you have to fully live the lives of others in order to understand them

5th – Once you have experienced all Life has to offer, you can truly follow your chosen path.

 

In order to gain the information to help them along the path to enlightenment, the PCs will need to go through the 'B' archways to gain access to the challenges in the Loop. These archways can be used in any order. In fact, a party of 4 PCs could each use a different arch for each of the challenges, with any attempt to walk through the arches simultaneously being resolved through initiative rolls.

 

The Paths to Experience

B iMark of the Holy

Any creature passing through the archway this symbol will become Good, with all the effects this has on their character. They then appear at A i as if the two paths are one. Once at A i they can not step back to B i. They will also need to pass around the Loop and meet its challenge before they can go back through 3B.

The following mark appears on the far left-hand side of a creatures forehead once they have walked through the archway and met the challenge in the Loop:

 

B iiMark of the Unholy

Any creature passing through the archway this symbol will become Evil, with all the effects this has on their character. They then appear at A ii as if the two paths are one. Once at A ii they can not step back to B ii. They will also need to pass around the Loop and meet its challenge before they can go back through 3B.

The following mark appears above the left eye on a creatures forehead once they have walked through the archway and met the challenge in the loop:

 

B iiiMark of the Axiom

Any creature passing through the archway this symbol will become Lawful, with all the effects this has on their character. They then appear at A iii as if the two paths are one. Once at A iii they can not step back to B iii. They will also need to pass around the Loop and meet its challenge before they can go back through 3B.

The following mark appears above the right eye on a creatures forehead once they have walked through the archway and met the challenge in the loop:

 

B iv Mark of Anarchy

Any creature passing through the archway this symbol will become Chaotic, with all the effects this has on their character. They then appear at A iv as if the two paths are one. Once at A iv they can not step back to B iv. They will also need to pass around the Loop and meet its challenge before they can go back through 3B.

The following mark appears on the far right-hand side of a creatures forehead once they have walked through the archway and met the challenge in the loop:

 

B vSolid Wall

For anyone without the four Marks of Balance, this is a solid wall and the entrance to Area 4 simply doesn't exist and can not do so in any way short of direct divine intervention. It is a barrier created by the agreement of a number of deities and requires agreement between at least three of them for it to be opened for something that hasn't undertaken the five tests.

The entrance to Area 4 won't be open until a person walks through B i, B ii, B iii and B iv and receives the Marks of Balance upon them. Then anyone with all four marks will see that there isn’t really a wall there and will be able to carry on into the last cave. This could mean that some members of a party can see the entrance and walk through it, whilst others can't even see it. If this is the case, any PC that walks through the gap just seems to disappear into thin air to any PC that can't see the entrance.

 

4. The Forgotten Treasure

Once they step over its threshold and reach Area 4 to complete the quest, PCs will find themselves True Neutral, with the four marks gone but vague memories of their original alignment deep within their minds. As all the party members move into the passageway leading to the main chamber, it seals behind them, leaving no obvious way out of the cavern. The PCs are now expected to finish the quest; any attempt to travel out of the chamber is met with failure, as the sealing on the passage way is actually part of a process that transports the cave to the chests, not the other way around. The cave, and PCs in it, are now at the junction of the Planes of Law, Chaos, Evil and Good, where perfect balance between the four is achieved and only those of Neutral alignment can survive without being driven permanently insane. Original alignment can be retrieved and the details how to do so are at the end of this entry.

 

Forgotten Sacred Treasure Chest

A series of five similar chests are placed in this room. Each radiates a philosophical attitude – Neutral, Lawful, Chaotic, Good and Evil. Whatever the chests radiate is their true alignment, although you can project your own “feelings” onto it, thus the Evil chest could read as Lawful, Neutral or Chaotic Evil, depending on what you “expect” it to be. The chests are insubstantial and actually reside in their own plane of existence - Law, Chaos, Evil and Good. As anyone approaches them, that person is entering another plane from the point of Balanced Alignment. This makes the chest appear solid, not because it is appearing in the cave, but because the person is leaving the point where the cave mostly exists and entering a plane where the cave partially exists. As a PC moves towards the chest, she becomes increasingly insubstantial to anyone more than 10 feet away for each additional 5 feet they are apart. Anyone within 10 feet still sees the other person as solid and whole.

 

Only one chest can be opened. Each has its own alignment symbol on it. Once this is done, the rest go out of phase, never to return for these characters (the room is able to sense who has come within 100 feet of it at any time, and once they have entered any of the 'B' portals, their philosophical imprint is remembered.) The content of each chest is as follows:

 

Lawful – An Amulet of Health +2, a Monk’s Belt, a scroll with one each of the Law domain spells on it, a reflecting shield which can be called on 3 times per day to reflect spells with the Chaos descriptor back at the caster, a Bracelet of Friends and Lawful copies of the tome and candle listed below

 

Chaotic – A Golem Manual (Flesh), a Harp of Charming, a scroll with one each of the Chaos domain spells on it, a reflecting shield which can be called on 3 times per day to reflect spells with the Law descriptor back at the caster, a Bracelet of Friends and Chaotic copies of the tome and candle listed below

 

Good – A Horn of Goodness, a Strand of Prayer beads (Lesser), a scroll with one each of the Good domain spells on it, a reflecting shield which can be called on 3 times per day to reflect spells with the Evil descriptor back at the caster, a Bracelet of Friends and Good copies of the tome and candle listed below

 

Evil – A Cape of the Mountebank, a Horn of Evil, a scroll with one each of the Evil domain spells on it, a reflecting shield which can be called on 3 times per day to reflect spells with the Good descriptor back at the caster, a bracelet of Friends and Evil copies of the tome and candle listed below

 

Neutral – One bead for each PC. When grasped, these beads become a +1 weapon of their choice which is as close to the power of a shortsword as possible (for Medium creatures; max 1d6 damage, 19-20/ x2 critical, around 2lb. in weight), with either the Anarchic, Axiomatic, Holy or Unholy ability of their choice. There is also a Bracelet of friends and Neutral versions of the tome and candle listed below.

 

In each chest there is a thick book, and this is what Juriendor will choose as his item when the PCs return with all the treasure they have gained. It is bound in ironwood and lead as well as being sealed with beeswax. It is also shut up tightly with an amazing lock (DC 40 to open) and continually radiates an anti-magic shield around itself. It is a combined Tome of Leadership, Influence and Understanding +2, an artifact completed by the gods themselves, written from the viewpoint of each of the main alignments. The book also contains a cut-out space which houses a 4-use Candle of Invocation. These are usually attuned to a specific alignment, but the version within the tome is set to work for someone with one of the 4 main components regardless of the rest of the users alignment make-up, e.g the Lawful candle will work for Lawful Good, Lawful Neutral and Lawful Evil clerics.

If the PCs return with a tome and candle that match Juriendor's alignment in some way, he will use it as soon as possible. If they return with one that doesn't match his alignment, he will destroy it in an official ceremony and be rewarded by his deity with an increase in experience which takes him to the beginning of the next level. Juriendor will be eternally grateful to the PCs in either circumstance and will ensure their safety and security whenever they are in town and provide them with an Wand of Endless Cure Minor Wounds. Juriendor's deity will also watch over the PCs and provide as the GM sees fit.

 

After taking the items from the chosen chest, the path opens up from Area 4 back to Area 3B whilst the previous route to Area 4 seals behind them. The PCs can leave the site any time they wish. They will lose all memory of how to get to the site unless a wish is used by each of them at the same time to gather and corroborate their stories.

In order to return to their original alignment before leaving the caves, all a PC has to do is go back through the one or two routes which switch them back. No further challenges will occur in the Loop, although the polymorph ability at 3B will reactivate; above the archway at 3B, on both sides, will be a magic mouth which says, "Enter, leave, return once more. Then forget this place." If a PC goes through this entrance, goes back and then comes back again, they polymorph into themselves. This is a slightly unnerving feeling, as if they have stepped into a parallel universe, although this isn't the case. It happens every time they do it.

The return trip to Juriendor will be uneventful, unless the GM wishes differently.