Tracking after the enchanted items stolen from them the night before, the PCs unknowingly walk into a grove of biddlytrees and are attacked by a swarm of the magic consuming creatures!
The biddlywinks don’t actually pose that great of a threat to the PCs; the real danger is the loss of magic items and what awaits parties that remain in the area for too long. The adventurers aren’t the first to be lured into this trap and the corpses of a few wayward explorers fall from the trees! Read the following as combat begins:
As several more of the creatures leap from the brush and attack you, the probiscii from their mouths frothing with agitation, the bones and tattered remains of bodies in various states of decay fall from the branches above and scatter among the grove!
(10) BIDDLYWINK CR 4
CN Diminutive fey Init +9; Senses darkvision 120 ft., arcane sight, see invisibility; Perception+12
DEFENSE AC 18, touch 18, flat-footed 14 (+4 Dex, +4 size) hp 38 (7d6+14) Fort +3, Ref +9, Will +8 Weakness silver, vermin qualities
OFFENSE Speed fly 60 ft. (perfect) or 40 ft. (see text) Melee force fronds +11 (1d8+3 force) Ranged +11 Space 0 ft.; Reach 0 ft. Special Attacks force fronds Spell-Like Abilities (CL 7th; concentration +10)
Constant—arcane sight, nondetection, see invisibility At will—glitterdust, mage hand 5/day—dimension door STATISTICS Str 6, Dex 18, Con 12, Int 8, Wis 14, Cha 16 Base Atk +3; CMB -2; CMD 13 Feats Improved Initiative, Skill Focus (Sleight of Hand), Toughness, Weapon Finesse Skills Escape Artist +14, Fly +15, Perception +12, Sense Motive +11, Sleight of Hand +17, Stealth +26, Survival +12; Size Modifiers Fly +6, Stealth +12 Languages Druidic SQ Freeze, hide in plain sight
SPECIAL ABILITIES Interdimensional Sac (Su) While biddlywink can (and often do) consume enchanted items as quickly as possible, they also store them to digest later in an invisible extradimensional sac not unlike a handy haversack or bag of holding, but only capable of storing up to 30 pounds. When a biddlywink is killed, the sac appears on the material plane and bursts open dealing 3d8 force damage (DC 20 Reflex negates) to any creatures or items in a 10-ft. radius (though not to anything within it). Force Fronds (Ex) The tendrils extending from a biddlywink’s mouth can be devastating when employed to attack a creature. On a successful melee touch attack, they deal 1d8+3 force damage. Light Flier (Ex) When a biddlywink’s interdimensional sac is holding at least 2½ lbs. of items or a number of caster levels worth of items equal to twice the biddlywink’s hit die, it cannot maintain a sustained flight. Its speed is reduced and it moves in long bounds and hops that don’t exceed 5 feet in height or 10 feet in length—the biddlywink effectively now has a base speed of 40 feet until items in its Interdimensional Sac are digested. Ranged Legerdemain (Su) A biddlywink can use Sleight of Hand at a range of 30 feet. Working at a distance increases the normal skill check DC by 5, and the biddlywink cannot take 10 on this check. Only object that weigh 5 pounds or less can be manipulated this way. Wyrd Digestion (Su) These strange insectile-fey literally eat magic to survive. As a standard action, a biddlywink can ingest a magical item of Diminutive size or smaller. As a full round action, it can consume a magical item of Tiny size and over the course of a minute (ten rounds), a Small size magical item. Once eaten by a biddlywink, an item is not instantly destroyed—instead it is secreted inside of its Interdimensional Sac. Potions are digested quickly within and are destroyed after a number of rounds equal to caster level. Wondrous items are more resilient and last for a number of minutes equal to caster level; any other enchanted items (rings, staves, weapons, armor) are destroyed after ten minutes per caster level. Any item recovered from a biddlywink’s interdimensional sac before it is fully digested operates at two caster levels higher than normal for one week. The first time it is stored in an extradimensional space, it remains empowered this way until removed again (though afterward, the increased power diminishes and it returns to normal). Biddlywink that consume enough magic items (1000 gp x hit die) transform into a biddlytree and sprout 2d12+4 biddlywinks with the young template after 1d10 days. Weaknesses Biddlywink are vulnerable to silver and take x1.5 damage from all attacks made with the material (by spell or weapon). Moreover, whenever being treated as a vermin would prove negative for the biddlywink, such as when fighting an opponent with favored enemy (vermin), they are treated as the vermin type.
This battle shouldn’t be too dangerous; the biddlywinks put up a genuine assault but won’t be much of a problem for the PCs. Only 7 engage directly while 3 more attempt to pilfer more enchanted goods from the party.
When the combat begins to near a close, the troublesome creatures take to the woods and the adventurers are likely to give chase. Following the trail of the insectile fey is a simple task—it seems as though their flight is a reckless retreat, but in truth, the biddlywinks are only drawing the PCs farther into their trap.
After chasing the mischievous monsters about 100 feet farther into the woods, give the PCs DC 25 Perception checks to realize that their magic items or active spells (if they lack obvious effects, such as fly or an activate +1 flaming scimitar) have suddenly stopped functioning. Immediately afterward, the trees literally comes alive and attack them!
Chasing after the troublesome creatures you dash deeper into the forest, hot on the trail of the magic-eating insects. Suddenly something in the air seems to take on a strange quality and before you know any better, a truly exotic tree appears from the treeline, moving towards you with a clear malevolence!
Find out just what attacks the adventurer’s in tomorrow’s Statblock Sunday!
While sleeping during the evening and making camp in the forest, the PCs’ magic items are stolen from them as they rest! Each loses one or more wondrous items—and eventually they find they are short an enchanted ring a piece as during the night, the party is visited and re-visited by strange creatures of the woods that abscond with their goods!
In the unlikely event that none of the adventurers have the requisite items, the smallest (and least powerful) magic weapons targeted first. Otherwise the party loses a total of 1d4+1 random potions and 1 wondrous magic item (minor first and medium second; never any items that hold an extradimensional space) each time they are visited upon by the thieves. The final visit ends with the theft of a ring from every PC that has one in addition to the other purloined items. Only items that weigh 5 pounds or less are stolen—anything heavier is too heavy for theft by the stealthy robbers.
Thieves in the Night!
There are a total of four of the mysterious robberies during the night; the creatures stealing the items are not only diminutive (and thus undetectable with the alarm spell) but also extremely talented at blending in with their surroundings and constantly under the effects of a nondetectionspell. Particularly difficult to see or hear (DC 36 Perception check) and not idiotic (they have an Intelligence of 8), the PCs are unlikely to find them but if they do, their quarry teleports away with a prepared dimension door spell-like ability unless the adventurers are able to hide themselves (though the thieves have arcane sight and see invisibility, so the chances of that are slim; they have a +12 bonus to Perception checks and 120 ft. darkvision).
If the PCs don’t take turns at watch during the night…
As you wake up and take account of your surroundings in the light of the rising sun, something doesn’t seem quite right. Rooting about your belongings, checking your gear, and looking over all your equipment, you realize that some of the items are missing! All of you are similarly dismayed as it becomes clear that everyone has been robbed during the night!
Or give everyone opposed Perception check (vs +12) with a -10 penalty for being asleep as something employs Sleight of Hand against the adventurers.
As the initial change of watch occurs and one of the PCs is awoken to take the next shift, read the following:
Stretching your limbs and taking account of your surroundings, you notice that something isn’t quite right and with a little investigation you quickly realize that a potion is missing from your pack! Looking at all of your companions you notice something else—one of your wondrous items has disappeared as well!
You did NOT just do that!
The PCs may be giving you nasty looks as the night goes on, but don’t worry—encourage the party to have faith in their sense of adventure! The AaWBlog might be devouring their loot now but we promise, there are great rewards that await the strong of heart and anyone that endures the whole of Mischievous Meadows!
There’s virtually no hope of catching the thieves in the act without the party actively watching all their goods or keeping an eye out with detect magic. The latter proves fruitless but the former gives them opposed Perception checks (vs +12) for each item stolen as three more robberies occur while the night drags on.
Following their trail is another matter entirely!
The mysterious thieves only steal from a distance (of 30 feet) and take the time to hide their tracks, making them move away at only 20 feet a round and leaving a meager trail—opposed Survival checks (vs +16) reveal the marks of their erratic retreat, but anyone with detect magic receives a +10 bonus to the check as drops of spilt potions appear every teen feet or so.
Eventually the PCs are led to a grove and a DC 25 Perception check finds the fresh markings of whatever left the trail leading up into a tree. Detecting the creature in the branches is virtually impossible (requiring a DC 47 Perception check as it utilizes the freeze special quality) and just as in their camp, it teleports away with a prepared dimension door spell-like ability as soon as it feels endangered. If caught this way more than five times, half the stolen items reappear and the creature flies away until another day.
As the adventurers give up on the chase and realize their quarry is too elusive to find them, a chittering emits from the brush and a small stick-like insect latches onto an item held by one of the PCs—either a bag of holding, glove of storing, handy haversack or other wondrous item that provides an extradimensional space!
Stay tuned to the AaWBlog tomorrow to find out what the 1d4+3 creatures attacking the party are in the first Statblock Sunday for Mischievous Meadows!
The paranoia and chaos reaches a fevered pitch as midnight nears before Countess Veresovich enacts the final portion of her plan—the large floor of the ballroom suddenly drops out from under the attendees of the masquerade, dumping all of them onto a steep slope that slides each into an unremarkable hewn stone chamber hundreds of feet below.
If the PCs fall with the nobles, read the following:
The muffled panicking of the crowds of lords and ladies has grown as every member of the masquerade suddenly understands the excruciating experience of being locked in a cage with portent of only doom. Then, in a moment that immediately draws silence from everyone present, a loud, ominous clockwork gear can be hear turning somewhere along the wall.
Before anyone can react, however, the floor drops out from underneath! The crowds of nobles fall a few feet (or in some cases, a few more feet) and slam into a pitched slope that funnels them all down into a pile of frantic limbs in a nondescript cavern roughly hewn from the stone.
If the PCs are in another room when the nobles fall, read the following
A loud grinding of gears reverberates through the walls as the consternation in the main hall suddenly quiets in response. A moment later scores of crying voices ring out briefly before disappearing—the floor of the entire room dropped out from under the masquerade’s guests, funneling them directly into a large chute that goes down for hundreds of feet into the darkness. Their cries for help are easily heard and whatever uncertainty about what troubles Veresovich Manor that remains is sure to be brought to an end below.
The nobles are all too cowardly to venture farther down the cavern until the party arrives, at which point all of them assure the PCs that they are clearly better suited for danger. A good thing too; the only exit from the chamber is a narrow, 200 foot long hallway that leads down a small motley of miniature bluffs inside of a larger chamber and at its end are a dozen of the Countesses’ most fanatical acolytes. They lie in ambush, waiting to massacre anyone that’s fallen into their master’s trap, filling the sloping rooms with blood that pool in the final area.
(12) Sanguineus Acolytes; CR 4 (XP 1,200)
Male or Female human (Klavek) fighter 4/sorcerer 1 HP 44 (4d10+1d6+19); AC 18, touch 14, flat-footed 14 (+6 armor, +3 Dex, +1 dodge) Init +3; Speed 30 ft.; Atk mwk rapier +6 (1d6+3, Crit 18-20/x2) or mwk light crossbow +8 (1d8, Crit 19-20/x2, Range 80 ft.) Base Atk+4; CMB +5; CMD 18 AL Neutral Evil; SV Fort +3, Ref +6, Will +3; Str 12, Dex 16, Con 15, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 14 Skills Bluff +8, Intimidate +7, Knowledge (religion) +4, Perception +5; Feats Combat Casting, Dodge, Greater Spell Focus (necromancy), Spell Focus (necromancy); Eschew Materials, Toughness, Weapon Focus (rapier), Weapon Specialization (rapier) Sorcerer Spells Known (CL 1st; concentration +3, +7 defensive; spell chance failure 25%) 1st (3/day)—ray of enfeeblement (DC 15; CL 2nd), ray of sickening (DC 15; CL 2nd) 0th—acid splash, detect magic, mage hand, touch of fatigue (DC 14; CL 2nd) Bloodline undead (sanguine) Gear masterwork breastplate, masterwork rapier, masterwork light crossbow, 78 gold The Blood Is the Life (Su) Sanguineus Acolytes can gain sustenance from the blood of the recently dead 5 times a day. As a standard action, they can drink the blood of a creature that died within the past minute. The creature must be corporeal, must be at least the same size as them, and must have blood. This ability heals the Sanguineus Acolyte 1d6 hit points and nourishes them as if they’d had a full meal.
After the cultists have been bested, Countess Veresovich makes her second attack: she orders her corpse companion and a second squad of 8 acolytes to assault the party.
With the blood of the fallen acolytes spilling onto the floor, you notice this entire cavern slopes towards another chamber. Inside of the next area you can clearly see Countess Darah Veresovich—her dress gown is gone, replaced by a set of vicious looking full-plate armor. She gestures at you and screams, “Kraujas, loyal followers, attack the interlopers! Coat the walls in blood! Sate your hunger for the crimson wine and drink your fill from the fallen!”
Once the battle seems to be going the adventurers’ way, the Countess decides to use one of her last cards: she enacts the binding rituals placed to affect the Items Sanguineus, conjuring forth whomever wore the vampiric amulet, mask and cloak (under her mental control, although it is not complete).
Countess Darah takes a brief instant to survey the battle and makes a split decision, screaming, “MORTUUS VIVENS!” Wards and spiritual markings flare along the walls and roof of the ceiling in spurts that become more and more frequent before they all pop with darkness that coalesces in the center of the main cavern. In the matter of a moment, a pallid, familiar figure emerges from the inky black cloud, prominent fangs jutting from their mouth…
Should one of the PCs have worn all three of the Items Sanguineus, they must make a DC 20 Will save each round or are under a dominate person effect controlled by Countess Darah Veresovich. If a member of the cult wears them (like Count Krev Ragata) they automatically fail their save each round unless they roll a natural 20.
“Vampire” is an acquired template that can be added to any living creature with 5 or more Hit Dice (referred to hereafter as the base creature). Most vampires were once humanoids, fey, or monstrous humanoids. A vampire uses the base creature’s stats and abilities except as noted here. CR: Same as the base creature + 2. AL: Any evil. Type: The creature’s type changes to undead (augmented). Do not recalculate class Hit Dice, BAB, or saves. Senses: A vampire gains darkvision 60 ft. Armor Class: Natural armor improves by +6. Hit Dice: Change all racial Hit Dice to d8s. Class Hit Dice are unaffected. As undead, vampires use their Charisma modifier to determine bonus hit points (instead of Constitution). Defensive Abilities: A vampire gains channel resistance +4, DR 10/magic and silver, and resistance to cold 10 and electricity 10, in addition to all of the defensive abilities granted by the undead type. A vampire also gains fast healing 5. If reduced to 0 hit points in combat, a vampire assumes gaseous form (see below) and attempts to escape. It must reach its coffin home within 2 hours or be utterly destroyed. (It can normally travel up to 9 miles in 2 hours.) Additional damage dealt to a vampire forced into gaseous form has no effect. Once at rest, the vampire is helpless. It regains 1 hit point after 1 hour, then is no longer helpless and resumes healing at the rate of 5 hit points per round.
Weaknesses: Vampires cannot tolerate the strong odor of garlic and will not enter an area laced with it. Similarly, they recoil from mirrors or strongly presented holy symbols. These things don’t harm the vampire—they merely keep it at bay. A recoiling vampire must stay at least 5 feet away from the mirror or holy symbol and cannot touch or make melee attacks against that creature. Holding a vampire at bay takes a standard action. After 1 round, a vampire can overcome its revulsion of the object and function normally each round it makes a DC 25 Will save.
Vampires cannot enter a private home or dwelling unless invited in by someone with the authority to do so.
Reducing a vampire’s hit points to 0 or lower incapacitates it but doesn’t always destroy it (see fast healing). However, certain attacks can slay vampires. Exposing any vampire to direct sunlight staggers it on the first round of exposure and destroys it utterly on the second consecutive round of exposure if it does not escape. Each round of immersion in running water inflicts damage on a vampire equal to one-third of its maximum hit points—a vampire reduced to 0 hit points in this manner is destroyed. Driving a wooden stake through a helpless vampire’s heart instantly slays it (this is a full-round action). However, it returns to life if the stake is removed, unless the head is also severed and anointed with holy water.
Speed: Same as the base creature. If the base creature has a swim speed, the vampire is not unduly harmed by running water. Melee: A vampire gains a slam attack if the base creature didn’t have one. Damage for the slam depends on the vampire’s size (see Natural Attacks). Its slam also causes energy drain (see below). Its natural weapons are treated as magic weapons for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.
Special Attacks: A vampire gains several special attacks. Save DCs are equal to 10 + 1/2 vampire’s HD + vampire’s Cha modifier unless otherwise noted. Blood Drain (Su): A vampire can suck blood from a grappled opponent; if the vampire establishes or maintains a pin, it drains blood, dealing 1d4 points of Constitution damage. The vampire heals 5 hit points or gains 5 temporary hit points for 1 hour (up to a maximum number of temporary hit points equal to its full normal hit points) each round it drains blood. Children of the Night (Su): Once per day, a vampire can call forth 1d6+1 rat swarms, 1d4+1 bat swarms, or 2d6 wolves as a standard action. (If the base creature is not terrestrial, this power might summon other creatures of similar power.) These creatures arrive in 2d6 rounds and serve the vampire for up to 1 hour. Create Spawn (Su): A vampire can create spawn out of those it slays with blood drain or energy drain, provided that the slain creature is of the same creature type as the vampire’s base creature type. The victim rises from death as a vampire in 1d4 days. This vampire is under the command of the vampire that created it, and remains enslaved until its master’s destruction. A vampire may have enslaved spawn totaling no more than twice its own Hit Dice; any spawn it creates that would exceed this limit become free-willed undead. A vampire may free an enslaved spawn in order to enslave a new spawn, but once freed, a vampire or vampire spawn cannot be enslaved again. Dominate (Su): A vampire can crush a humanoid opponent’s will as a standard action. Anyone the vampire targets must succeed on a Will save or fall instantly under the vampire’s influence, as though by a dominate person spell (caster level 12th). The ability has a range of 30 feet. At the GM’s discretion, some vampires might be able to affect different creature types with this power. Energy Drain (Su): A creature hit by a vampire’s slam (or other natural weapon) gains two negative levels. This ability only triggers once per round, regardless of the number of attacks a vampire makes.
Special Qualities: A vampire gains the following. Change Shape (Su): A vampire can use change shape to assume the form of a dire bat or wolf, as beast shape II. Gaseous Form (Su): As a standard action, a vampire can assume gaseous form at will (caster level 5th), but it can remain gaseous indefinitely and has a fly speed of 20 feet with perfect maneuverability. Shadowless (Ex): A vampire casts no shadows and shows no reflection in a mirror. Spider Climb (Ex): A vampire can climb sheer surfaces as though under the effects of a spider climb spell.
Ability Scores Str +6, Dex +4, Int +2, Wis +2, Cha +4. As an undead creature, a vampire has no Constitution score. Skills Vampires gain a +8 racial bonus on Bluff, Perception, Sense Motive, and Stealth checks. Feats Vampires gain Alertness, Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Improved Initiative, Lightning Reflexes, and Toughness as bonus feats.
As the vampire appears and some of the wards around the chamber fizzle away, a second wave of acolytes pours in from behind the nobles and a true slaughter commences as the PCs fight against the leader of Cultus Sanguineusand her vampire thrall: either a fiendish Krev Ragatanow with the vampire template, a Sanguineus Acolyte (use their statblock above) with the vampire template or a turned member of the party!
Blood Sucking Leech Pits
Each of the pools in the main chamber is only a few feet deep but hides a greater danger than slipping down; a DC 20 Perception check reveals that leech swarms occupy the blood ponds. These creatures have been specially prepared by Countess Veresovich and are a rare breed from exotic lands that instantly latch on to anyone that steps into one of the slough—traveling through these squares requires a DC 15 Reflex save for each 5 ft.-square entered. On a failed save, creatures are subjected to one swarm attack from the vermin as they eat their fill. Otherwise the creatures are content to stay in their confines and lap up the wave of crimson nourishment sure to pour their way.
LEECH SWARM CR 4
XP 1,200 N Diminutive vermin (aquatic, swarm) Init +4; Senses blindsight 30 ft.; Perception +0 DEFENSE AC 18, touch 18, flat-footed 14 (+4 Dex, +4 size) hp 39 (6d8+12) Fort +7, Ref +6, Will +2 Immune mind-affecting effects, swarm traits, weapon damage Weaknesses susceptible to salt (see giant leech) OFFENSE Speed 5 ft., swim 30 ft. Melee swarm (2d6 plus poison) Space 10 ft.; Reach0 ft. Special Attacks blood drain, distraction (DC 15) STATISTICS Str 1, Dex 18, Con 15, Int —, Wis 10, Cha 2 Base Atk +4; CMB —; CMD — Skills Stealth +16 (+24 in swamps), Swim +12; Racial Modifiers +8 Stealth in swamps, uses Dexterity to modify Swim checks SPECIAL ABILITIES Blood Drain (Ex) Any living creature that begins its turn with a leech swarm in its space is drained of its blood and takes 1d3 points of Str and Con damage. Poison (Ex) Swarm—injury; save Fort DC 15; frequency 1/round for 2 rounds; effect 1d4 Dexterity drain; cure 1 save.
The Battle Behind Them! The Countesses’ grand plan has led both the nobles and the acolytes (of which, there are about 50 each) to fall into states of adrenaline borne of bloodlust, fear, magic and exotic spices. During this side encounter (which occurs in the cavern the adventurers were fist ambushed in), both sorties receive the advanced template though once the PCs engage them and their master is gone, the cultists lose their fervor and cease to be a unified force (if they were an army, they aren’t anymore and disperse: see below for details).
Mass Combat in Cultus Sanguineus
There are a number of waysto incorporate this enormous melee combat into your game, but the AaWBlog recommends using this opportunity to try out Paizo’s excellent Mass Combat Rules. Because of the space restriction and build of the map however, their movement and space rules differ slightly. 1) Each army always occupies 10 contiguous squares until reduced to ½ the unit’s hit points, at which point its DV and OM are both reduced by 2 and it only occupies 5 contiguous squares. 2) When reduced to ¼ hit points, the army disperses, reverting to single creatures; take the total number of the army’s remaining hit points and divide it by its maximum hit points; multiply this by 25 and round down for the total number of remaining units (which are too ineffectual to engage an army unit and are sure to die soon).
Klavekian Noble Army
N Small (50) army of humans (klavek aristocrat 6) hp 13; ACR 3, ranged DV 14; OM3 Special ferocity Speed 1 (on this map, 4 squares); Consumption 1 Note Due to their hardy survival instinct, the Klavek nobles benefit from the Ferocity special ability if demoralized or routed. It may continue to act for one more Melee phase, and its OM and DV are reduced by 4 for that phase.
Adrenal Klavekian Noble CR 5 (XP 1,600)
Male human [Klavek] aristocrat 6 (temporarily advanced) HP 39 (6d8+12); AC 16 (+4 Dex, +2 natural) Init +4; Speed 30 ft.; Atk unarmed +2 (1d3+2, provokes attack of opportunity), rock +4 (1d4, range 10 ft.) Base Atk +4; CMB +6; CMD 20 AL Neutral; SV Fort +4, Ref +6, Will +7; Str 14, Dex 18, Con 14, Int 17, Wis 15, Cha 19 Skills Appraise +15, Bluff +13, Diplomacy +15, Intimidate +11, Knowledge (geography) +8, Knowledge (local) +8, Knowledge (nobility) +8, Perception +8, Profession (merchant) +11, Sense Motive +11; Feats Deceitful, Persuasive, Skill Focus (Appraise), Skill Focus (Diplomacy)
NE Small (50) army of humans (fighter 4/sorcerer 1) hp 16; ACR 3, ranged DV 15; OM 5, ranged Special armor training, bravery, cannibalize, spellcasting 1, weapon specialization Speed 1; Consumption 1 Notes Once per battle, increase the army’s OM for either ranged or melee attacks by 2.
Adrenal Sanguineus Acolyte CR 5 (XP 1,600)
Male or Female human (Klavek) fighter 4/sorcerer 1 (temporarily advanced) HP 54 (4d10+1d6+29); AC 20, touch 14, flat-footed 16 (+6 armor, +3 Dex, +1 dodge, +2 natural) Init+3; Speed 30 ft.; Atk mwk rapier +8 (1d6+5, Crit 18-20/x2) or mwk light crossbow +8 (1d8, Crit 19-20/x2, Range 80 ft.) Base Atk +4; CMB +7; CMD 20 AL Neutral Evil; SV Fort +5, Ref +6, Will +5; Str 16, Dex 16 (20 restricted by armor), Con 19, Int 12, Wis 14, Cha 18 Skills Bluff +10, Intimidate +9, Knowledge (religion) +6, Perception +7; Feats Combat Casting, Dodge, Greater Spell Focus (necromancy), Spell Focus (necromancy); Eschew Materials, Toughness, Weapon Focus (rapier), Weapon Specialization (rapier) Sorcerer Spells Known (CL 1st; concentration +5, +9 defensive; spell chance failure 25%) 1st (3/day)—ray of enfeeblement (DC 17; CL 2nd), ray of sickening (DC 17; CL 2nd) 0th—acid splash, detect magic, mage hand, touch of fatigue (DC 16; CL 2nd) Bloodline undead (sanguine) Gear masterwork breastplate, masterwork rapier, masterwork light crossbow, 78 gold The Blood Is the Life (Su) Sanguineus Acolytes can gain sustenance from the blood of the recently dead 5 times a day. As a standard action, they can drink the blood of a creature that died within the past minute. The creature must be corporeal, must be at least the same size as them, and must have blood. This ability heals the Sanguineus Acolyte 1d6 hit points and nourishes them as if they’d had a full meal.
With Countess Darah defeated, the acolytes broken and perhaps with a few nobles left alive to tell of their deeds, the party might feel victorious as the conflict draws to a close—their moment of triumph is brief, however, as the pooled blood that now fills the main chamber begins to steam….
[Stay tuned to the AaWBlog for the FINALE of Cultus Sanguineus as the prime evil behind this debacle in Mohkba is revealed in tomorrow’s Statblock Sunday!]
Also, today’s beautiful cartography is brought to us today by Justin Andrew Mason! We cannot thank him enough and are absolutely beside ourselves to add yet another new contributor to the AaWBlog crew!
Either in a previous encounter (from last week’s Sidequest Saturday)—or by chance while in the city of Mohkba—the adventurers acquired an invitation to a masquerade ball and a beautiful mask of diplomacy +1 (actually a mask of thirst). The event is being held on the night after the party’s encounter with the trio of muggers and is lauded as the most grand occasion to come to the city in many months.
Notable persons from all over the realm will be in attendance, and the PCs are sure to meet influential and powerful individuals that hold sway over considerable resources in the Klavek Kingdom while there. Countess Darah Veresovich is the host of the masquerade, and her sizable mansion is located in the affluent area of the city. Adventurers keen to scope out the residence beforehand or wise enough to learn more about the countess may make a Diplomacy check to determine more about the event itself and the property it is being held in.
The countess is the sole heir to the Veresovich fortune after her older brother tragically died in a hunting accident. She is thought to have distant cousins, but they have scarcely visited Mohkba these past ten years.
The whole ward in which the manor is located is one of the oldest parts of Mohkba, and the Veresovich estate is rumored to be coated with small magical enhancements to amplify its presence and grandeur.
While not a recluse, after traveling to oversee Veresovich mercantile interests afar, the Countess began to create odd waves in the social climate of Mohkba that has put much of the nobility ill at ease. It’s thought that this upcoming grand masquerade is her way of mending the fences with her elite peers.
Read the following as the adventurers approach Countess Veresovich’s mansion to attend the grand ball:
A large iron-wrought gate stands open to accommodate the steady stream of gilded carriages entering the magnificent manor gardens before you. A gravelled boulevard leads up to the mansion where servants greet and assist the guests, lit by lanterns hanging from the lowliest bush to the mightiest oak, suspended on the branches of every plant in the gardens. Amongst the masked uniformed servants, a tall, gaunt man stands and surveys the scene in silence.
A servant quickly looks over your invitations and guides you to the door, where another attendant leads you to the ballroom via dimly lit corridors, finally stopping in front of a massive ornately carved door—as it opens you are overwhelmed by light and the sounds of a full-fledged nobles’ ball in Mohkba. Servants dodge dancing couples while carrying trays with glasses full of different liquors as what seems like a full symphonic orchestra provides the fantastic melodies flowing through the room.
Everywhere you look masked guests meet your gaze, some glancing cursorily in your direction. While a few avert their eyes, others seem to take a greater interest in your presence. On a long table in the back of the ballroom there are a panoply of different foods, the countess’ chefs having prepared well for the masquerade. The countess can easily be made out, a tall lithe woman dressed in a black ballgown with gold accents, her face concealed by a white porcelain mask inlaid with rubies arranged in a heart-shape pattern over the left eye. Only her smile reveals her mood behind the mask. The servant behind you whispers, “the countess wishes to make your acquaintance this eve, and wishes you to know that she expects much of you”, before closing the doors again.
Before approaching any of the members of the grand ball, the PCs can reduce the DCs for the checks required to ferret out their secrets (by 3 points) with successful DC 18 Perform (dance) checks. Otherwise, the adventurers find it challenging to get in touch with any of the nobles as the Klavek customs in observance that evening do not allow people of lesser rank to address the elite socialites of Mohkba until the unveiling at midnight. Still, the masquerade element presents an opportunity for cunning and mischievous adventurers to rub elbows with nobility—to earn their trust, however, they’ll have to Hopak!
Radimir Vlasputin, Mercantile Entrepreneur
Male human [Klavek] aristocrat 6; CR 4 (XP 1,200) HP 33 (6d8+6); AC 12 (+2 Dex) Init+2; Speed 30 ft.; Atk unarmed +0 (1d3, provokes attack of opportunity) Base Atk +4; CMB +4; CMD 16 AL Neutral; SV Fort +2, Ref +4, Will +5; Str 10, Dex 14, Con 10, Int 13, Wis 11, Cha 15 Skills Appraise +13, Bluff +11, Diplomacy +13, Intimidate +9, Knowledge (geography) +6, Knowledge (local) +6, Knowledge (nobility) +6, Perception +6, Profession (merchant) +9, Sense Motive +9; Feats Deceitful, Persuasive, Skill Focus (Appraise), Skill Focus (Diplomacy)
Igor Rastvick, Merchant of the Rastvick Trading Company
Male human [Klavek] aristocrat 6; CR 4 (XP 1,200) HP 33 (6d8+6); AC 12 (+2 Dex) Init+2; Speed 30 ft.; Atk unarmed +0 (1d3, provokes attack of opportunity) Base Atk +4; CMB +4; CMD 16 AL Neutral; SV Fort +2, Ref +4, Will +5; Str 10, Dex 14, Con 10, Int 13, Wis 11, Cha 15 Skills Appraise +13, Bluff +11, Diplomacy +13, Intimidate +9, Knowledge (geography) +6, Knowledge (local) +6, Knowledge (nobility) +6, Perception +6, Profession (merchant) +9, Sense Motive +9; Feats Deceitful (+2 bluff/disguise), Persuasive (+2 diplomacy/intimidate), Skill Focus (Appraise), Skill Focus (Diplomacy)
Frieda Manovitovich, Ensconced Socialite of Mohkba
Female human [Klavek] aristocrat 6; CR 4 (XP 1,200) HP 33 (6d8+6); AC 12 (+2 Dex) Init+2; Speed 30 ft.; Atk unarmed +0 (1d3, provokes attack of opportunity) Base Atk +4; CMB +4; CMD 16 AL Neutral; SV Fort +2, Ref +4, Will +5; Str 10, Dex 14, Con 10, Int 13, Wis 11, Cha 15 Skills Appraise +13, Bluff +11, Diplomacy +13, Intimidate +9, Knowledge (geography) +6, Knowledge (local) +6, Knowledge (nobility) +6, Perception +6, Profession (merchant) +9, Sense Motive +9; Feats Deceitful (+2 bluff/disguise), Persuasive (+2 diplomacy/intimidate), Skill Focus (Appraise), Skill Focus (Diplomacy)
Cultus Sanguineus Secrets!
Diplomacy DC 20 The entrepreneur is here in the interests of several other merchants that have heard new and truly exotic (perhaps even illegal) trade will soon be coming into Mohkba, exclusively for Countess Veresovich.
Diplomacy DC 30 Radimir was asked by Count Krev to locate the fastest runners in the land for a very specific courier job; apparently, he did not trust the services available in Mohkba or the use of magic for whatever task he was up to. A DC 24 Sense Motive checkreveals that whatever it was, Radimir doubts it was entirely within the bounds of the law (though he’s smart enough not to pry or say any more on the matter).
Intimidate DC 32 Under duress he recalls that when Krev approached him about the runners, the Count seemed to know Radimir’s thoughts during the conversation and the distinctive black mask he insisted on wearing still gives Vlasputin the chills.
Diplomacy DC 25 Countess Veresovich is an esoteric sort that enjoys exotic delicacies. The Veresovich line has been influential to trade for decades and she has enjoyed the life of a debutante—perhaps too much.
Diplomacy DC 32 Rastvick knows for a fact that Countess Veresovich is quite mad and drinks blood in her wine—not just any blood, but the blood of young women.
Intimidate DC 32 He has several times observed how the Countess has used an exquisite necklace that beats like a heart to instill envious desires in younger women. These lasses—servants or socialites, but always extremely attractive—are never seen again. Once when Igor got close to see the amulet he himself felt an unearthly desire for it and its wearer. With all his mental might Rastvick tore his eyes from the amulet and promptly left. He will remark that the amulet she wears today does not beat like a heart at the moment, but…
Intimidate DC 16 “Well no need to be so rude! Let me tell you, the way you lot carry yourselves about, someone might take…no, will definitely take offense and you might find yourself at the wrong end of a Klavek dueling blade. Proper etiquette mind you, know your place. If you want to talk to someone, do impress them with a display of “Hopak”![a traditional Klavek dance, DC 18 Perform (dance) check]
Diplomacy DC 22 Frieda knows nothing of the details of the accident and is more interested in the problems with hiring good staff. “The Veresovich manor is built in the oldest ward of Mohkba, but there are some rumors that the ward is dangerous. Last year the manor of the Ollianov family fell into a sinkhole and killed half of their staff; considering how horrible it is to get good staff nowadays, can you imagine how hard it is to find so many at the same time. Poor Darah, should it happen here, her servants are so well trained; they are here, but you don’t see them, just like a disciplined dog. Frieda shows no emotion when comparing servants to dogs and openly declares that dogs would make excellent servants, if they had opposable thumbs. She follows this macabre joke with the high-pitched laughter of the bourgeoisie.
Diplomacy DC 32 “Why yes, the countess is an avid collector of Klavek historical items and paraphernalia. Lately she has been actively searching for the cloak of Jaroslav Mandatin, the greatest duelist in Klavek history! Rumors say that the cloak was part of a set, consisting of a mask and an amulet as well, but that must be nothing more than an old wives’ tale, typically the fodder of the peasants. Now where were we, Lubov?” She gives a wolf-like smile before sipping the last bit of crimson wine from her tall glass goblet and heads to refill her glass.
If the adventurers are not looking for the remaining enchanted items from the set the mask of thirst belongs to, Krev Ragata is! His agents are seeded throughout the event and as the night drags on, an expert hired specifically for the task approaches the PC wearing the magical masquerade mask, engaging them in a conversation that seems very friendly…
Daineus Guslar, Master of Lore
Female halfling bard (sandman) 7; CR 6 (XP 2,400) HP31 (7d8+7); AC 22, touch 14, flat-footed 19 (+5 armor, +3 Dex, +3 shield, +1 size) Init+3; Speed 20 ft.; Atk mwk rapier +4 (1d4-2, Crit 18-20/x2) or mwk light crossbow +9 (1d6, Crit 19-20/x2, Range 80 ft.) Base Atk +5; CMB +2; CMD 15 AL Neutral Evil; SV Fort +3, Ref +9, Will +7 (+2 vs fear); Str 6, Dex 16, Con 10, Int 13, Wis 12, Cha 18 Skills Acrobatics +9, Bluff +15, Escape Artist +13, Linguistics +9, Perception +7, Perform (oratory) +18, Sense Motive +9, Sleight of Hand +13, Spellcraft +11, Stealth +12; Racial Modifiers+2 Acrobatics, +2 Climb, +2 Perception; Feats Ability Focus (slumber song), Skill Focus (Perform [oratory]), Spellsong, Voice of the Sibil; Languages Common, Halfling, Klavek, Vikmordere, 4 bonus languages (GM’s choice) SQ Bardic knowledge, bardic performance (move action, 20 rounds/day; countersong, distraction, fascinate [Will DC 17], inspire competence +3, slumber song [Will DC 19; as deep slumber, no HD limit], stealspell [Will DC 17]), cantrips, lore master 1/day, versatile performance (Diplomacy, Sense Motive), well-versed Gear +1 chain shirt, +1 heavy wooden shield, masterwork light crossbow (15 bolts), masterwork rapier Bard Spells Known 3rd (2/day)—charm monster (DC 17), confusion (DC 17) 2nd (4/day)—blindness/deafness(DC 16), hold person (DC 16),suggestion (DC 16), tongues 1st (5/day)—charm person(DC 15), cure light wounds, disguise self, feather fall, summon monster I 0th—detect magic, ghost sound, lullaby, mage hand, prestidigitation, read magic TACTICS Daineus uses Spellsong (swift action, Perform [oratory] vs observer’s Perception/Sense Motive to realize a spell is being cast) to hide charm person and lullaby before using suggestion to draw the member of the party with the mask of thirst away into an otherwise empty chamber, where she tries to convince them to give her the item willingly—even offering another mask of diplomacy +1 in trade. Anyone that interferes is targeted with blindness/deafness or confusion (hidden by Spellsong). If bartering fails, Count Krev (hiding in the shadows; his statistics will be on the AaWBlog tomorrow, but in the meanwhile use the “Freelance Thief” entry in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: NPC Codex if need be) loses his patience and assaults the PC, attempting to wrestle away the mask of thirst physically! Five of his most trusted acolytes, scattered throughout the masquerade, come to back him up and ensure none of the guests realize that there is an attack going on in one of the mansion’s rooms.
CR 4 (XP 1,200) Male or Female human (Klavek) fighter 4/sorcerer 1 HP 44 (4d10+1d6+19); AC 18, touch 14, flat-footed 14 (+6 armor, +3 Dex, +1 dodge) Init+3; Speed 30 ft.; Atk mwk rapier +6 (1d6+3, Crit 18-20/x2) or mwk light crossbow +8 (1d8, Crit 19-20/x2, Range 80 ft.) Base Atk +4; CMB +5; CMD 18 AL Neutral Evil; SV Fort +3, Ref +6, Will +3; Str 12, Dex 16, Con 15, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 14 Skills Bluff +8, Intimidate +7, Knowledge (religion) +4, Perception +5; Feats Combat Casting, Dodge, Greater Spell Focus (necromancy), Spell Focus (necromancy); Eschew Materials, Toughness, Weapon Focus (rapier), Weapon Specialization (rapier) Sorcerer Spells Known(CL 1st; concentration +3, +7 defensive; spell chance failure 25%) 1st (3/day)—ray of enfeeblement (DC 15; CL 2nd), ray of sickening (DC 15; CL 2nd) 0th—acid splash, detect magic, mage hand, touch of fatigue (DC 14; CL 2nd) Bloodline Undead (Sanguine) Gear masterwork breastplate, masterwork rapier, masterwork light crossbow, 78 gold The Blood Is the Life (Su) Sanguineus Acolytes can gain sustenance from the blood of the recently dead 5 times a day. As a standard action, they can drink the blood of a creature that died within the past minute. The creature must be corporeal, must be at least the same size as them, and must have blood. This ability heals the Sanguineus Acolyte 1d6 hit points and nourishes them as if they’d had a full meal. TACTICS These cultists have little regard for their own well-being, believing (falsely) that an afterlife of pleasure or existence as an immortal undead awaits them. They will wade into battle, attempting to first weaken and sicken their targets with spells before dashing forward with their rapiers. The instant another of their group falls, however, any adjacent Sanguineus Acolytes are overcome by blood lust—they drop to the ground and feed on their recently fallen peer without regard to any dangers doing so might present.
At this point in the adventure, either Count Krev has the items and dons all three (the mask of thirst, cloak of the dark servant and amulet of the sundered heart) or one of the PCs does: doing so causes them to disappear entirely until the stroke of midnight! However, Countess Veresovich has been prepared for the arrival of the Cultus Sanguineus items for some time and her entire mansion is warded specifically for their use. If a creature dons all three items while within her home, the entire manor and its surroundings are coated in magical darkness for 3 rounds as they are affected by the items’ rituals.
Countess Veresovich’s preparations protect the creature from the harshest of the Items Sanguineus’ effects: only on a natural 1 will they fail the associated Fortitude and Will saves, though they still disappear until midnight. On the end of the third round, the magical darkness from all around the mansion draws back in on itself and explodes into a vortex of blood that splatters everywhere, coating all squares previously occupied by the disappearing creature in a fifteen-foot radius.
Blood Vortex — CR 9
XP 6,400 NE persistent haunt (manifestation) (15 ft. radius) Caster Level 14th Notice Perception DC 20 (to get a feeling of a centuries old hunger which soon shall be sated) HP 40; Trigger (special see text); Reset 1 day Effect When the items transform anyone into a vampire, Exsanguinator’s desire and yearning for blood manifests as a swirling vortex of razor-sharp blood droplets. The manifestation deals 10d6 damage (Reflex DC 22 for half). The vortex remains stationary and lasts for two rounds, after which the vortex harmlessly dissipates. Destruction: A manifestation is indestructible permanently unless the entity behind it is slain or banished back to whatever realm they came from.
After someone has donned all three of the Items Sanguineus, the nobles and merchants at the grand ball become far more talkative and Countess Veresovich is nowhere to be seen—the DCs for them to reveal their secrets drop by 10 and may be attempted again if previously failed.
Were that not enough, the Exsanguinator has been waiting, watching his acolyte Veresovich mastermind the bloodbath about to take place. The blood vortex caused by her rituals of protections and the Items Sanguineus draw his hunger; he locks the building down, barring the outsides with walls of force (CL 14th). On the other side of the walls of force are more of the blood vortex haunts, out to a radius of 20 feet from every surface of the building’s outside walls.
The adventurers (possibly missing one of their own) are trapped within Veresovich Manor, surrounded by the extremely-panicked nobles and merchants, utterly bereft of a host or direction! They must try to divine what is going on before the stroke of midnight, when all HEL breaks loose…
Synopsis Count Krev Ragata rushes through the narrow streets in one of the less wealthy areas of Mohkba having just met with several different black market merchants and keen to quickly reach his next destination. Ne’er-do-wells in the city have something else in mind, however, and a group of them ambush the noble directly in front of the adventurers, wrestling away several prized items as they stab him in the stomach with a wicked looking dagger coated in poison.
During the struggle Count Ragata yells, “the countess requires these for the ball! You cannot have them!”, before falling limp and unconscious. One of the muggers turns to see the job finished while his compatriots bound down the alleyway, making their escape quickly in frenzied dashes.
A Chase Through Mohkba!
As the party (4-6 adventurers of 8th-9th level) travels the less savory backstreets of Mohkba they suddenly hear shouting and commotion from a narrow, shadowed alleyway up ahead.
A giant of a man stands over a crumpled form at his feet—behind him, two other men are starting to run down the alleyway away from you. The inert form on the ground trembles and with great effort rises his hand and points at the man clad in flashy clothes and shouts: “Stop him, he has…”, but a precise strike from the brute cuts his sentence short. The large man raises his fist again, this time with the intention to quiet his victim permanently.
Hrolff runs at full speed to get the items he carries away from the scene. Vasiliev will stop and cover Hrolffs escape with spells and scrolls, while Eignar physically engages the party, to hinder the characters from pursuing. Hrolff reaches a large street in 1d4+2 rounds, where his tracks are lost in the crowd. Should the party almost catch up to him he will duck down another alleyway where Exsanguinator manifests his will (see Alleyway of Blood from the February 5th meal for the AaWBlog!)
The alleyway is 100 feet long by 10 feet wide (its sides are from 10 feet high to 25 feet high, varying as often as the motley architecture of the homes here) and at the end it connects to the veritable maze of narrow corridors that make up Mohkba’s infamous lower class quarter, providing plenty of alleyways to pursue Hrolff through—if the party gets past Eignar and Vasiliev.
Eignar Ravnirson CR 9
XP 6,400 Male human monk (tetori) 9/barbarian 1 NE Large humanoid (human) Init +1; Perception +14 DEFENSE AC 17, touch 17, flat-footed 13 (+1 Dex, +1 dodge, +2 monk, +2 shield, +1 Wis) hp 81 (9d8+1d12+29) Fort +10, Ref +7, Will +7; +2 vs enchantments Immune disease; DR 10/adamantine (currently under the effects of stoneskin; 62 hp left) OFFENSE Speed 60 ft. Melee unarmed +11/+6 (2d8+5) Ranged tanglefoot bags +7/+2 ranged touch (entangle and half speed for 2d4 rounds; Reflex DC 15 or glued to floor, DC 17 Strength or 15 slashing damage to regain movement; Range 10 ft.) Space 10 ft.; Reach 10 ft. Special Attacks stunning fist 9/day (Fort DC 15; fatigue or stun 1 round or sicken 1 minute) STATISTICS Str 20, Dex 12, Con 14, Int 8, Wis 12, Cha 10 Base Atk +7; CMB +16 (+20 grapple); CMD 23 (30 vs. grapple) Feats Dodge, Rapid Grappler, Snapping Turtle Clutch, Snapping Turtle Shell, Snapping Turtle Style; Improved Grapple, Stunning Pin, Greater Grapple Skills Acrobatics +14, Climb +18, Perception +14, Sense Motive +14 Languages Common, Klavek, Vikmordere SQ Break free, counter-grappler, evasion, fast movement, graceful grappler, inescapable grasp, ki pool (magic, cold iron, silver; 5 points), maneuver training, permanent enlarge person, rage (6 rounds/day), purity of body, still mind, unarmed strike Gear 5 tanglefoot bags, potion of invisibility, potion of negate aroma, potion of silence, sanguine antidote (the magical poison afflicting Count Ragata does not respond to mundane cures) RAGING STATISTICS AC 17, touch 15, flat-footed 11; hp 96; Fort +12, Will 9; +11 vs enchantments Melee unarmed +13/+8 (2d8+7) CMB +18 (+22 grapple); CMD 25 (32 vs. grapple) TACTICS Eignar uses his grappling skills to stall the party’s pursuit of Hrolff and Vasiliev—he will not hand over the antidote he carries voluntarily. As the party tries to revive the count, Eignar taunts them from a distance and tries to goad them into rushing him by loudly yelling, “he is as good as dead now, your magics are no match for the power of my master!”, while holding up a flask filled with cyan liquid before slipping it into his pocket and assuming a fighting stance.
Vasiliev Dovrovich CR 7
XP 3,200 Human bard 8 NE Medium humanoid (human) Init +7; Perception +11 DEFENSE AC 17, touch 15, flat-footed 13 (+2 armor, +1 deflection, +3 Dex, +1 Dodge) hp 63 (8d8+24) Fort +3, Ref +9, Will +6; +4 vs. bardic performance, language-dependent, and sonic OFFENSE Speed 30 ft. Melee rapier +9/+4 (1d6-1, Crit 18-20/x2) Ranged shortbow +9/+4 (1d6, Crit x3) Special Attacks bardic performance 21 rounds/day (move action; countersong, dirge of doom, distraction, fascinate, inspire competence +3, inspire courage +2, suggestion) Bard Spells Known (CL 8th; concentration +13) 3rd (2/day)—deep slumber (DC 18), dispel magic (DC 18), displacement 2nd (3/day)—eagle’s splendor, hold person (DC 17), invisibility, mirror image 1st (5/day)—charm person (DC 16), comprehend languages, disguise self, expeditious retreat, lesser confusion (DC 16) 0th—daze, detect magic, light, prestidigitation, read magic, resistance STATISTICS Str 8, Dex 16, Con 12, Int 14, Wis 10, Cha 20 Base Atk +6/+1; CMB +5; CMD 18 Feats Dodge, Improved Initiative, Magical Aptitude, Skill Focus (Use Magic Device), Weapon Finesse (rapier) Skills Acrobatics +14, Knowledge (history) +13, Knowledge (local) +13, Perception +11, Perform (mime) +14, Perform (wind) +14, Spellcraft +15, Stealth +14, Use Magic Device +20 Languages Common, Klavek, Vikmodere SQ bardic knowledge +4, lore master 1/day, versatile performance, well-versed Gearbracers of armor +2, ring of protection +1, scroll of dispel magic (3 total at CL 9th), satchel with papers, a mask of diplomacy +1* (stolen from Count Ragata)
*This item is actually the mask of thirst, but only members of the Cultus Sanguineus are able to identify it as such. BASE STATISTICS Without eagle’s splendor, Vasiliev’s statistics are Bard Spells Known reduce spell DCs by 2, concentration +11; Cha 16; Skills Use Magic Device +18. TACTICS Vasiliev is under the effect of eagles splendor, displacement and mirror image (4 images) when the party shows up. Displacement lasts 6 more rounds. When the party arrives he takes up position in cover behind some barrels down the alley in the same direction Hrolff fled. Vasiliev intends to cover Hrolff’s escape alongside Eignar, using use his scrolls and spells to keep the party from mounting an effective chase until Hrolff is gone—Vasiliev then leaves Eignar and make his own escape with the help of his invisibility spell.
Hrolff Angirsson CR 7
XP 2,400 Human monk 7/barbarian 1 NE Medium humanoid (human) Init +4; Perception +8 DEFENSE AC 18, touch 18, flat–footed 13 (+4 Dexterity, +1 dodge, +1 monk, +2 Wisdom) hp 58 (7d8+1d12+15) Fort +8, Ref +9, Will +7; +2 vs enchantments Immune disease OFFENSE Speed 85 ft. Melee unarmed +7 or +7/+7/+2 (1d8+1) Ranged tanglefoot bags +9 ranged touch (entangle and half speed for 2d4 rounds; Reflex DC 15 or glued to floor, DC 17 Strength or 15 slashing damage to regain movement; Range 10 ft.) Special Attacks stunning fist 7/day (Fort DC 16, stun 1 round or fatigue) STATISTICS Str 13, Dex 18, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 8 Base Atk +6; CMB +9; CMD 25 Feats Fleet x3, Point Blank Shot, Shot on the Run; Deflect Arrows, Dodge, Mobility Skills Acrobatics +15 (+26 to jump), Climb +11, Escape Artist +15, Perception +8, Sense Motive +9, Stealth +15 Languages Common, Klavek, Vikmordere SQ Evasion, fast movement (barbarian 10 ft., monk 20 ft.), flurry of blows, high jump, ki pool (magic, cold iron, silver; 5 points), maneuver training, purity of body, rage (5 rounds/day), still mind, slow fall 30 ft., unarmed strike, wholeness of body Gear boots of striding and springing, hat of disguise, potion of invisibility, potion of negate aroma, potion of cure serious wounds, 5 smokesticks, 5 tanglefoot bags, hidden satchel (amulet of the sundered heart*, cloak of the dark servant*); currently under the effects of a potion of nondetection (CL 9th) *If identified, these appear to be nothing more than an amulet of natural armor +2 and cloak of resistance +2. TACTICS The only thing on Hrolff’s mind is taking the loot back to his master, he will fight if cornered, but will take the first opportunity to continue his escape, and use his hat of disguise.
After the battle, Count Ragata hopefully gets the antidote (otherwise, he dies within 1d4 rounds without a restoration spell) and the party retrieves the stolen items from Vasiliev. The count assures them that all the items are accounted for, but says that the mask is not his (a DC 32 Sense Motive check reveals that he’s lying) and the party should keep it—furthermore, they are all invited to a ball held at his manor in two days time. He hands them each a gilded invitation to the masquerade ball, giving them occasion to wear the recovered mask. Again thanking the adventurers from the depths of his heart, he sincerely looks forward to seeing them at the grand event and introducing them to some of his acquaintances.
The PC’s are making their way through the Underworld and enter a peculiar cave; several patches of mushrooms seem to have grown into truly unusual, vividly colorful patterns.
“The mushrooms in this cave glow with different colors, small puddles of water next to some of the fungus patches reflect the light up onto the cavern walls and ceiling—it is a beautiful and mesmerizing sight indeed in this otherwise dark monotonous realm”
Upon observing the mushrooms closer, read the following: “As you look at the mushrooms, you begin to make out patterns and something that looks like letters or runes—but surely your mind must be playing tricks on you.”
Any kind of check related to visually interacting with the mushroom patches will trigger the trap (Knowledge, Perception, Survival, etc.; this does not include Perception checks made by a character with Trapfinding.)
Somnambula Patch CR 5 XP 1,600 Type magical; Perception DC 30; Disable Device DC 30 Trigger special (looking at the patch); Reset automatic Effect When seeing the symbol of sleep which has been cultured to grow in some of the patches, a character must take a DC 17 Will save or fall into a catatonic slumber for ten minutes.
The somnambula patch is not the most dangerous thing in the cavern—the gardens have been grown to catch prey for Gelwar, a svirfeneblin wizard and his deformed, adopted two-headed brother (Orak and Jeeves).
This small, hairless gnome has gray skin, and large eyes. He wears a black robe with red trimmings that sparkle in the fungal glow.
Gelwar CR 6 XP 2,400 Male svirfneblin wizard (enchanter) 6 N small humanoid (gnome) Init +7; Senses Darkvision 120 ft., low-light vision; Perception +9 DEFENSE AC 21, touch17, flat-footed 16 (+4 armor, +1 deflection, +3 Dex, +2 dodge, +1 size) hp 33 (6d6+12) Fort +7, Reflex +9, Will +10 SR 17 OFFENSE Speed 20 ft. Melee dagger +2 (1d3-2, Crit 19-20/x2) Ranged touch +7 Special Attacks dazing touch 6/day (standard action, melee touch, daze for one round) Wizard Spells Prepared (CL 6th; concentration +9; arcane bond [ring]) 3rd—deep slumber (DC 18), hold person (DC 18),suggestion (DC 18) 2nd—bull’s strength, hideous laughter (DC 17),invisibility, web (DC 15) 1st—expeditious retreat, mage armor, magic missile (2) 0th—acid splash, ghost sound (DC 13), light, resistance Prohibited Schools conjuration, necromancy STATISTICS Base Atk +3; CMB +0; CMD 13 Str 6, Dex 16, Con 13, Int 16, Wis 12, Cha 8 Feats Combat Casting, Greater Spell Focus (enchantment), Improved Initiative, Scribe scroll, Spell Focus (enchantment) Skills Appraise +10, Knowledge (arcana) +10, Knowledge (dungeoneering) +12, Knowledge (local) +10, Perception +9, Spellcraft +12, Stealth +15 (+17 when underground) Languages Aklo, Common, Gnome, Terran, Undercommon SQ Arcane school (enchantment), cantrips, defensive training, fortunate, hatred (+1 to hit vs. dwarven subtype), stonecunning Gear cloak of resistance +2,dagger, potions of cure light wounds (3), potion of invisibility, ring of protection +1, spellbook, spell components, 1,542 gold pieces TACTICS Gelwar casts mage armor before the party reaches the cavern (the +4 to AC has already been included in his statblock). He then casts bull’s strength on his “brother” (also included in the statblock). In combat Gelwar tries to incapacitate opponents using his 3rd-level spells, then hideous laughter and web before switching to spells that deal damage. Invisibility and expeditiousretreat are used to flee should the battle turn against them. If Orak and Jeeves goes down, Gelwar surrenders in the hopes of saving his friend and offers his small treasury if the party will help to kill the drow scouts in the eastern caves (see Alternate Solution).
This large lumbering ad hoc version of a svirfneblin is clad in dirty rags and sports two heads, the right one a filthy, drooling, pig-like face. The left head seems to be well-groomed but only on the left side and repeats the phrases, “jolly good mate”, “we are awfully sorry old chap”, and “pardon me, just flailing through here” while in the midst of combat. The right head merely growls in annoyance over the left head’s chattiness.
Orak and Jeeves (1) CR 6 XP 2,400 CE large humanoid (giant) Init+3; Senses Low-light vision; Perception +14 DEFENSE AC 18, touch 8, flat-footed 18 (+2 Armor, -1 Dex, +8 natural, -1 size) hp 65 (10d8+20) Fort +9, Reflex +2, Will +5 OFFENSE Speed 40ft. Melee 2 flails +14/+9 (2d6+8) Ranged 2 javelins +5 (1d8+6) Space 10ft.; Reach 10 ft. Special Attacks superior two-weapon fighting STATISTICS Base Atk +7; CMB +16; CMD 25 (27 vs. trip) Str 27, Dex 8, Con 15, Int 6, Wis 10, Cha 11 Feats Cleave, Improved Initiative, Improved Overrun, Iron Will, Power Attack Skills Handle Animal +8, Perception +12; Racial Modifiers +4 on Perception Languages pidgin of Gnome and Undercommon Gear a collection of shiny rocks, and a large hand puppet with blonde curly hair (named Mr. Wiggles). SPECIAL ABILITIES Superior Two-Weapon Fighting (Ex) Orak and Jeeves fight with a flail or javelin in each hand. Because each of its two heads controls an arm, Orak and Jeeves do not take a penalty on attack or damage rolls for attacking with two weapons. TACTICS Orak and Jeeves happily wade into combat, hitting the character that most recently dealt them damage in melee, but should Gelwar’s spells put any opponent prone they pummels that foe relentlessly (they let Gelwar deal with the spellcasters).
AREA FEATURES The main cavern is laid out as a garden and a few stalagmites rise up and and provide sparse cover (10% miss chance). A small cavern behind a concealed entrance (Perception DC 25 to spot), make up the living quarters of the pair of svirfneblins.
SCALING THE ENCOUNTER CR 8 (XP 4,800) Add the quick rules young template to both Gelwar and Orak and Jeeves, (+2 to all Dex-based rolls, –2 to all other rolls, –12 hp)
CR 10 (XP 9,600)
Add the quick rules advanced template to both Gelwar and Orak and Jeeves, (+2 on all rolls [including damage rolls] and special ability DCs; +4 to AC and CMD; +12 hp). Increase the number of somnambula patch traps to two.
ALTERNATE SOLUTION The pair lived in relative peace and harmony until a few months ago when they were discovered by a drow scouting party. The dark elves gave them an ultimatum—they wanted prisoners delivered to them by Gelwar or they would drag both back to their fleshcraft laboratories, where the two of them would know the meaning of horror and pain before their minds finally broke. The svirfneblin reluctantly agreed and ever since the gardens have supplied the drow with victims for their vile practices. Gelwar wants nothing more than seeing the scouting party killed, then he and his brother would be free to travel to another part of the Underworld and continue their existence—a place where Gelwar could grow the mushroom patches that soothe his brother.