Living combatants have had dire need to cross the River of Contempt for centuries, and some still remain. Almost universally their legacy has been to take the lives of those who’ve come after, preventing intrepid fools from seeking out salvation or victory in the Shining City. These bitter souls reach into the lungs of the living, drowning even the most skilled swimmers with arms of water.
FLOODED LUNGSCR 12 XP 19,200 NE haunt (1 hex of water where a mass drowning occurred) Caster Level 12th Notice Perception DC 20 (to hear the sounds of panicked swimmers drowning) hp 24; trigger proximity; reset 1 minute Effect When a living creature enters the haunt’s area, the water becomes turbulent. Every creature in the haunts area becomes the subject of a mass suffocation spell (CL 12th, DC 23). Destruction The flooded lungs haunt is permanently destroyed if the flow of water is stopped in its location until the riverbed is exposed.
Near the sections of the River of Contempt come nearest to Salamangka, some small number of holy warriors who crossed the river in search of justice and mercy gave their spiritual purity to the water as they died. Even paladins and priests might succumb to the temptation to curse their enemies with their last breath, but the last gasp of the most devout was one for hope. The next Festival of Night, the waters over their sunken corpses changed to reflect their prayerful tears and flasks of holy water. While the current remains lethal and the miasma of undeath hangs over the waters like a frigid mist, travel above the bodies of the holy dead brings peril only to the forces of evil. Fortunately for the innocent spirits who forever swim over their mortal coils, most undead troops who dare to walk or swim through this section of the river don’t survive long enough to warn others about the hallowed haunt.
HOLY WATERSCR 9 XP 6,400 NG persistent haunt (1 hex of the river flowing over sunken corpses) Caster Level 9th Notice Perception DC 20 (to hear the desperate prayers of drowning holy warriors) hp 40; trigger proximity; reset 1 minute Effect When this haunt is triggered, white light shines from the riverbed and illuminates the corpses of those who held on to faith until their very end. The water in the affected area temporarily becomes holy water, and affects any evil creature in the area as holy smite (CL 9th, DC 16). Destruction The haunt is permanently destroyed when every corpse in its area is exhumed and given a burial according to the traditions the corpses each observed in life.
[The way a location gets its name means something. With multiple undead armies endlessly warring over an ancient city, the nearby River of Contempt begs for a bitter, murderous history. So compelling that today we offer you a pair of haunts that give the river a storied past, and a supporting role in the battle for Salamangka. There’s no denying—the river hates both the living and the dead. -SH]
This draconic creature is a pale blur of incredible speed, the glow from its horns leaves tracers in the air as it streaks past.
Savithrin CR 13 XP 25,600 Young adult vortex dragon
LE Huge dragon (augmented, fire) Init +1 (+6 with anticipate peril); Senses dragon senses, see in darkness; Perception +21 Aura alien presence (150 ft., DC 21)
DEFENSE AC 34, touch 12, flat-footed 33 (+3 deflection, +1 Dex, +4 mage armor, +18 natural, -2 size) hp 157 (15d12+60) Fort +14, Ref +11, Will +13 DR 5/magic; Immune fire, paralysis, sleep; SR 24 Weaknesses vulnerable to cold
OFFENSE Speed 60 ft., 200 ft. (good) Melee* bite +18 (2d8+19/19-20), 2 claws +18 (2d6+16/19-20), 2 wings +15 (1d8+12), tail slap +15 (2d6+19) [* includes Power Attack] Space 15 ft.; Reach 10 ft. (15 ft. with bite) Special Attacks breath weapon (50-ft. cone, 10d8 fire, DC 21), crush Spell-like Abilities (CL 15th; concentration +19)
At will—anticipate peril, entropic shield 2/day—plane shift (DC 19)* [* Salamangka has altered Savithrin considerably, granting him early access to plane shift at the cost of slowing his movement through space. The Vidrefacte’s presence there further changed him, and now when he uses the ability a gyeongsa warp storm appears in his wake.] Sorcerer Spells Known (CL 5th; concentration +9)
2nd (5/day)—mirror image, resist energy 1st (7/day)—mage armor, magic missile, shield, vanish 0—detect magic, ghost sound, ray of frost, read magic, resistance, touch of fatigue (DC 14)
TACTICS Before Combat Savithrin keeps anticipate peril and mage armor active at all times. When combat is imminent he casts shield, resist energy (cold), mirror image, and entropic shield. Against formidable opponents he uses his wand of stoneskin. If surprised he buys time using vanish to maneuver and raise his defenses. During Combat In battle Savithrin relishes the crunching of bones between his jaws. He opens with a breath weapon blast on as many opponents as possible, then rushes them beneath his bulk. Once on the ground he delivers full attacks, focused on destroying one foe at a time. Morale Savithrin flees using his plane shift spell-like ability once reduced to below 30 hp.
STATISTICS Str 25, Dex 12, Con 19, Int 18, Wis 17, Cha 18 Base Atk +15; CMB +20*; CMD 38 [* CMB includes Power Attack] Feats Blinding Critical, Critical Focus, Improved Critical (bite, claw), Multiattack, Power Attack, Weapon Focus (bite, claw) Skills Bluff +22, Diplomacy +22, Fly +19, Knowledge (arcana, geography, planes, religion) +22, Perception +21, Sense Motive +21, Use Magic Device +22 Languages Abyssal, Celestial, Common, Draconic, Infernal SQ agile, galactic emissary, no breath, starflight Combat Gearamulet of mighty fists +1, ring of protection +3, wand of stoneskin (CL 7th, 8 charges), 320 gp worth of jewelry and gemstones embedded in Savithrin’s scales SPECIAL ABILITIES Dimensional Emissary (Su) Savithrin is immune to any effect that bars extradimensional travel.
Savithrin long ago lost the thrill that soaring amongst the cosmos once created within him. His journeys beyond the stars led him to pierce the veil of the planes, and the outer dragon found much to fascinate him across the layers of the multiverse. Savithrin traversed the planar barriers so often and in so many strange places that the energies of the planes themselves seeped into him and altered his very nature. No longer a creature of void and stars, now he finds slipping between the dimensions as easy to him as beating his wings to soar through the skies—for some time now, his sights have been set on Salamangka.
When he encountered the strange city on the Forsaken Frontier, Savithrin swiftly grew to covet its power. Learning the lay of the land and the forces vying for the artifact of Salamangka, he set to work crafting an enormous army of undead dragons formed from the very remnants of the great Dracoprime, winning over the Shining City in the last Festival of Night. Leahcim’s meddling and the Vidrefacte destroyed all of Savithrin’s thralls a year past and he has been furiously scouring the planes since to gather an undead force of devastating potency. The power of Salamangka will be his, no matter how many must die beneath his fangs.
Apotheosis Once Savithrin gains control of Salamangka his body is flooded with energy and undergoes several rapid changes from rituals he painstakingly prepared during his flights across dimensions. First Savithrin grows in power, increasing to the adult age category in seconds, but more importantly his thirst for blood becomes all too literal and he is transformed into a vampire. Savithrin’s stats change as follows:
CR 16; XP 76,800; LE huge undead (augmented dragon, fire); Init +7; Perception +35; Aura alien presence (180 ft., DC 25) AC 44, touch 15, flat-footed 42; hp 212 (17d8+136); fast healing 5; Fort +12; Ref +10; Will +15; Defensive abilities channel resistance +4; DR 10/magic and silver; Immune undead traits; Resist cold 10, electricity 10; SR 27; Weaknesses vampire weaknesses, vulnerable to cold Melee bite +20 (2d8+24/19-20 plus energy drain), 2 claws +20 (2d6+19/19-20 plus energy drain), 2 wings +17 (1d8+13 plus energy drain), tail slap +17 (2d6+24 plus energy drain) [Power Attack included]; Special Attacks breath weapon (50 ft. cone, 12d8 DC 25), blood drain, children of the night, create spawn, crush, dominate (DC 25), energy drain (2 levels, DC 25), fragmented strike Spell-Like Abilities (CL 17th, concentration +24); plane shift (DC 22); Sorcerer Spells Known (CL 7th; concentration +14); 3rd (6/day)—displacement, protection from energy; 2nd (8/day)—mirror image, resist energy, scorching ray; 1st (8/day)—mage armor, magic missile, shield, true strike, vanish; 0—detect magic, ghost sound, message, ray of frost, read magic, resistance, touch of fatigue (DC 17) Str 33; Dex 16; Con —; Int 22; Wis 21; Cha 24; BAB +12; CMB +22 (adjusted for Power Attack); CMD 42; Feats AlertnessB, Blinding Critical, Combat ReflexesB, Critical Focus, DodgeB, Improved Critical (bite, claw), Lightning ReflexesB, Multiattack, Power Attack, ToughnessB, Weapon Focus (bite, claw); Skills Bluff +35, Diplomacy +27, Fly +23, Intimidate +27, Knowledge (arcana, geography, planes, religion) +26, Perception +35, Sense Motive +33, Spellcraft +26, Stealth +3, Use Magic Device +27 Racial Modifiers +8 Bluff, +8 Perception, +8 Sense Motive, +8 Stealth; Languages Abyssal, Aklo, Auran, Celestial, Common, Draconic, Infernal; SQ agile, change shape (dire bat or wolf,beast shape II), galactic emissary, gaseous form, no breath, shadowless, spider climb, starflight
A nearly skeletal knight encased in blackened armor patched together from numerous others. Unholy flames wreath its lance and gleam in its sunken eyes.
Boris BalescuCR 10 XP 9,600 Human graveknight fighter 9
LE Medium undead (augmented humanoid) Init +7; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +19 Aura sacrilegious aura (30 ft., DC 19)
DEFENSE AC 32, touch 14, flat-footed 28 (+10 armor, +3 Dex, +1 dodge, +4 natural, +4 shield) hp 130 (9d10+81) Fort +12, Ref +10, Will +7 Defensive Abilities bravery +2, channel resistance +4, rejuvenation; DR 10/magic; Immune cold, electricity, fire, undead traits; SR 21
OFFENSE Speed 30 ft. Melee* +1 lance +19/+14 (1d8+20 plus 2d6 fire/19-20 x3) or adamantine longsword +17/+12 (1d8+17 plus 2d6 fire/19-20) [* includes Power Attack] Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft. (10 ft. with lance) Special Attacks channel destruction, devastating blast 3/day (30-ft. cone, 6d6 fire, Reflex DC 19 halves), undead mastery (DC 19), weapon training (spears +2, heavy blades +1)
TACTICS Before Combat Boris is rarely without his phantom steed renews the summons every hour. During Combat Boris’ main tactic is to charge every round to maximize his Power Attack, Ride-By Attack, and Spirited Charge feats. His phantom steed has a speed of 80 ft., and Boris deals 3d8+60 plus 2d6 fire damage on a successful charge attack with his +1 lance. If his steed is slain, Boris utilizes his devastating blast to incinerate as many opponents as possible and shifts to fighting with his adamantine longsword and shield. Morale If reduced to less than 30 hp, Boris attempts to flee and warn Savithrin of the grave threat. This is born of his strong sense of duty rather than self-preservation, as Boris knows he will rejuvenate unless his armor is completely destroyed.
STATISTICS Str 24, Dex 16, Con —, Int 14, Wis 14, Cha 20 Base Atk +9; CMB +13*; CMD 30 [* includes Power Attack] Feats Blind-Fight, Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Greater Weapon Focus (lance), Improved Critical (lance), Improved Initiative, Lightning Reflexes, Mounted Combat, Power Attack, Ride-By Attack, Shield Focus, Spirited Charge, Toughness, Weapon Focus (lance), Weapon Specialization (lance) Skills Intimidate +25, Perception +19, Profession (soldier) +14, Ride +20, Swim +16; Racial Modifiers +8 Intimidate, +8 Perception, +8 Ride Languages Common, Draconic, Infernal SQ armor training 2, phantom mount, ruinous revivification Combat Gear+1 lance, +1 full plate, +1 heavy steel shield, belt of giant strength +2, headband of alluring charisma +2, adamantine longsword, ancient crown worth 265 gp
Boris Balescu was once a fearsome warlord on another Material Plane; when he was slain in combat, his soul departed to a plane of eternal battle. Centuries of unending war passed and it wasn’t until the vortex dragon Savithrin arrived through a great tear in the sky that Boris woke from his blood-soaked reverie. Even as he perished in the dragon’s flame, it was a new birth for the lord—his spirit’s thirst for battle wouldn’t be quenched, and Savithrin plied a forbidden ritual to bond Boris’ soul to his blackened armor, raising him as a graveknight. The newly undead warrior immediately pledged his service to the dragon’s cause, and he has not regretted his decision.
Savithrin’s forces are gathered from across the planes of the multiverse. His most formidable troops are graveknight clerics, the Sinister. These creatures all deracinate their left hands in a show of grizzly devotion to the vortex dragon, binding their shields to the stump. The hands, in turn, are given unlife of their own and become the Left-Hand Legion. Finally, Savithrin scoured the planes for warriors of the correct spiritual temperament and sheared their very shadows. These undead shades wield black daggers with blades all too real—they are truly the Nighted Blades.
LEFT HAND LEGIONCR ½ NE Huge army of crawling hands hp 18; ACR 4 DV 16; OM +4 Tactics relentless brutality Special bleed, climb, darkvision, grab, undead Speed 2; Consumption 2 Commander: Savithrin; Charisma Modifier +4 [+7 after apotheosis]; Profession (soldier) 0 ranks
NIGHTED BLADESCR 3 CE Large army of shadows hp 22; ACR 5 DV 17; OM +5 Tactics dirty fighters, expert flankers Special bleed, darkvision, flight, incorporeal, undead Speed 2; Consumption 2 Commander: Savithrin; Charisma Modifier +4 [+7 after apotheosis]; Profession (soldier) 0 ranks Note: +1 OM against any unit without mobility advantage
THE SINISTERCR 5 LE Medium army of human graveknights (cleric 4) hp 22; ACR 5 DV 20 (30); OM +8 (ranged) Tactics cavalry experts, sniper support Special breath weapon, channel negative energy, darkvision, mount, significant defense, spellcasting, undead Speed 2; Consumption 2 Commander: Boris Balescu; Charisma Modifier +5; Profession (soldier) 9 ranks
WHISPERS OF QEXAATHUS CR 12 XP 25,600 CE persistent haunt (up to 60 ft. radius, throne room) Caster Level 12th Notice Perception DC 28 (to hear Qexaathus whispering, “Lies! Their smiles, their friendship, all lies! They’re going to take it all from you, kill them before they strike!”) hp 54; Trigger proximity; Reset 1 minute Effect Each round after the whispers of Qexaathus is triggered, treacherous echoes fill the mind of a living creature. The victim must succeed on a DC 23 Will save or be affected similar to dominate person. The victim is given a command to turn him against his comrades. The simplest command is to kill, but the haunt can implant other directives like the sabotage of resources or disruption of plans. This effect is subtle and the Sense Motive DC to detect a change in a creature’s behavior (assuming it doesn’t attack outright) is increased to 25.
Destruction To permanently silence the whispers of Qexaathus, the shadow demon must be utterly destroyed.
Adventure Hook Syfforack Zoi’s doom began with the shadow demon Qexaathus. The mad lich believes he made first contact with the demon, but in truth it was the other way around—Qexaathus long watched Syfforack to learn the king’s weakness, then began whispering into his mind while wearing the flesh of servants and allies. The echoes of the king’s descent into depravity and undeath have stained the very stones of his home, and now the spirits of slain “enemies” revealed to him by the demon’s treachery chatter these ravings into the minds of the living who enter the undead’s cursed domain.
The minions of Syfforack Zoi are aware of the haunt and lead living intruders to the throne room where they quickly turn on one another.
Apotheosis The whispers of Qexaathus have grown in strength over the centuries, the life of each victim claimed within the haunt adding to its power. If Syfforack Zoi gains control of Salamangka the haunt howls into the minds of its victims. The statistics of the haunt change as follows: CR 16; XP 76,800; 1 hex; CL 16th; hp 72, the effect of the haunt becomes dominate monster (DC 23).