Type magic; Perception DC 30; Disable Device DC 30 Trigger touch; Reset none Effect rendered helpless (DC 21 Reflex negates); helpless target encased in amber* (hardness 5, 25 hp); immobilized target polymorphed into fly (DC 21 Fortitude negates)
*While encased in solid amber from an amber prison trap, line of effect is blocked and the target is helpless, and the target may not leave the Amber Road. The polymorph effect expires when the target leaves the Amber Road or receives a wish or miracle spell to change back to their original form.
The zwerc designed many defenses to protect the Amber Road. They use special bricks—amber prison traps—in areas to create magical minefields that immobilize and weaken targets. Unwary travelers walking down the Amber Road that step on an amber prison trap and become encased in amber and changed into a small fly. It is thought that some of these specimens are kept by the zwerc as trophies, or even made into jewelry or magic items. The zwerc have helped rumors spread about unwanted trespassers being suspended in amber as a means to frighten away would-be intruders, and every zwerc enclave has at least one dwarf familiar with how to make amber prison traps.
DESCRIPTION This odd compass is made of many different metals—lead, tin, silver, copper, titanium, and a host of others. Oddly, it rarely seems to point true north.
In addition to operating as a regular amber attenuator when used on the Material Plane (pointing toward the direction of the nearest Amber Road), an improved amber attenuator keys itself to avoid false amber roads (like the shadow amber road haunt) after being within 15 ft. of one for 1d4 rounds. Creatures carrying an improved amber attenuator gain a +2 sacred bonus to AC when fighting creatures of the earth subtype and +2 sacred bonus to attack and damage against creatures of the earth subtype, as well as a +5 ft. bonus to speed while on an Amber Road.
CONSTRUCTION Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, 3 lbs. Shlyappa ore, know direction; Cost 1,900 gp
It takes several days of navigating the Klavekian Grasslands to reach the network of caves where the map Jesker threw at the PCs indicates an entrance to the much greater Underworld of Aventyr. Finding the Shlyappa Amber Road won’t be quite as simple as locating this first passage, however, and PCs making their first trek into the world beneath the surface may be at a disadvantage without ample supplies. Remind the party to prepare themselves for the journey as best they can—foraging in the nearby plains for food, fashioning ad-hoc mundane items, giving animal companions a little while to frolic topside, and whatever tasks they come up with for themselves—before making the descent.
Even with the map in hand, locating the precise tunnel leading to the Shlyappa Amber Road area requires a DC 12 Survival check to properly navigate the underground terrain. Once the adventurers reach this territory of the Underworld there are several different passages they can take, each of which presents its own dangers, but they all lead to the true path that takes the PCs to the Shlyappa Enclave.
Westernmost Tunnel This passage is a bit of foreshadowing for what’s to come (a journey through an actual Amber Road).
While traveling through this tunnel, the movement speeds of Medium-sized and Large-sized creatures are halved. Dwarves (all subtypes) and Small-sized creatures retain their normal overland movement rate. Huge-sized and larger creatures lacking the compression ability (or a similar ability that allows travel in the confined passages) are unable to enter or travel through this tunnel.
Every 3,000 ft. there’s a crook in the stone that requires a DC 23 Escape Artist check for a non-dwarf Medium-sized creature to pass through; wearing armor imposes a -5 penalty to this check. At each of these crooks, there’s a 25% chance that a gray ooze drips down from a seam in the rocks above to attack a creature when it fails its first skill check to pass through.
Central Tunnel Two terrible abyssal creatures, a pair of half-fiend minotaur sisters named Ryhtaeh and Rennifej, rule over the territory of the Underworld near the entrance to the Shlyappa Amber Road in a pact with Mailliw the aboleth master of Long Drink Lake. Both can be bribed—the demonic duo prefer gold (at least 1,000 gp) and magic items, whereas the aberration only wants live, intelligent creatures—but their starting attitudes are Indifferent. A DC 23 Diplomacy check is required to keep either from attacking if payment isn’t handed over after 1d4 minutes of talking. Paying one of these tolls earns the party untroubled passage in this area, and paying both earns them an improved amber attenuator [upcoming Magic Item Monday! -MM]
Eastern Road(s) Parties that head eastward find a fork in the passage—going to the far east (“taking a right”) brings them to an Amber Road. A DC 10 Knowledge (geography check) confirms that this isn’t the planar passageway leading to the Shlyappa Enclave, taking travelers to the ruined zwerc enclave of Digbarre’s Rest instead. [Digbarre’s Rest is not covered in this year’s AaWBlog Adventure Path and is intended for GMs to use as they see fit! Feel free to change it to whatever locale works best as a sidetrek for your group. -MM]
After this Amber Road (or for PCs that follow along the western side of the fork, “taking a left”) is another false positive (a shadow amber road haunt), and only adventurers that succeed a DC 15 Knowledge (geography check) recognize that it doesn’t head to the Shlyappa Enclave (though this does not reveal that it is a haunt).
A DC 9 Wisdom (Survival) check finds the precise tunnel leading to the Shlyappa Amber Road area.
A DC 18 Dexterity check is required for non-dwarf Medium sized creatures to pass through the crooks in the narrow tunnel.
Use the “Mezzoloth” monster statblocks for Ryhtaeh and Rennifej; a DC 17 Charisma (Persuasion) check is required to assuage the entities down the Central Tunnel.
A DC 8 Wisdom (Survival) check recognizes the Amber Road leading to Digbarre’s Rest and a DC 12 Wisdom (Survival) check notices that the shadow amber road doesn’t lead to the Shlyappa Enclave (though this does not reveal that it is a haunt).
Amber Roads [The Amber Roads play a critical role for both svirfneblin and zwerc; for more information about the latter get your hands on the Underworld Races PDF, and for more information on both keep your eyes peeled! -MM]
These veins of strange translucent orange crystal are permeable to living creatures, changing how quickly and safely they can travel through Aventyr’s Underworld. What more these pathways are planar, and certain branches lead directly to pockets of demiplane connected to the Elemental Plane of Earth. To the uninitiated and unwary, they can be deadly, but for those who know the Amber Roads, there’s no better means to journey. Finding an entryway to the Amber Roads requires a Knowledge (geography) check that varies in difficulty determined by region (at the GM’s discretion, but typically DC 21).
Amber Roads have the following traits (otherwise they operate as the Material Plane does):
Restricted Spaces: The vast majority of passages that make up the Amber Roads are rarely taller or wider than 10 feet across (90% of it is composed of 10-ft.-radius tunnels).
Heavy Gravity: Acrobatics, Climb, Ride, and Swim checks incur a –2 circumstance penalty, as do all attack rolls. All item weights are effectively doubled, which might affect a character’s speed. Weapon ranges are halved. A character’s Strength and Dexterity scores are not affected.
Finite Size*: The Amber Roads are thought to have limitations, though efforts to map their entirety are not yet complete.
Enhanced Earth Magic: Spells and spell-like abilities with the earth descriptor are easier to use or more powerful in effect on Amber Roads than they are on the Material Plane. Zwerc and svirfneblin are aware of which spells and spell-like abilities are enhanced, but planar travelers may have to discover this on their own. If a spell is enhanced, it functions as if its caster level was 2 higher than normal.
Fragile: The Amber Roads have suffered greatly from the doings of the svirfneblin, making them sometimes unreliable. There is a 5% chance every hour that an Amber Road tunnel suffers a cave-in.
Overland Movement: While traveling on Amber Roads, the overland movement speed of a creature can be impeded or aided depending on its size. The speed of Large-sized creature is halved and the speed of Medium-sized creatures is doubled. Dwarves (all subtypes) and Small-sized creatures triple their normal overland movement rate when traveling on Amber Roads. Huge-sized and larger creatures lacking the compression ability (or a similar ability that allows travel in the confined passages) are unable to enter or travel through the vast majority of Amber Roads. Creatures with the Earth subtype always have their overland movement speed tripled and Amber Roads expand to accommodate their size.
Refractions: Non-dwarves, non-gnomes, and creatures lacking the earth subtype are prone to quickly losing their way in the junctions and passages of the Amber Roads. A Knowledge (geography) or Survival check (DC 15 + 1 per previous check) must be made every 8 hours to properly navigate the planar pathway to avoid becoming lost. Parties that are not tethered together somehow (via rope, chains, or other durable material) cannot share a collective navigation check or aid one another.
*The Amber Roads do have hard boundaries, but they are specifically not mapped out to better provide a plot device for GMs to use that allows for faster travel throughout the Underworld when appropriate.
SHADOW AMBER ROAD CR 6 XP 2,400 CE persistent haunt (two tunnel entryways totalling no more than 30 ft. square) Caster Level 6th Notice Perception DC 10 (to hear see ethereal clouds around the amber) hp 27; Trigger touch; Reset 1 day
Effect When this haunt is triggered, the shadow amber road reaches out to cover and flow over the limb of the creature touching it (DC 19 Fortitude negates). Creatures with a limb encased by shadow amber ore cannot remove armor and is unable to wield or manipulate anything with the limb. If the encased limb is an arm, the creature gains a slam attack as a natural weapon (1d4 for Small-sized creatures, 1d6 for Medium-sized creature) and a +4 natural armor bonus to AC.
Every time a creature under the effects of the shadow amber road haunt sleeps, they receive a Fortitude save (DC 19 + 1 per previous check) or take 1d4-1 Charisma damage (minimum 1); this damage is permanent until the shadow amber ore is removed.
Shadow amber ore encasing a limb is immune to all weapon damage, has 40 hit points (30 hit points if on a Small-sized creature), and has fast healing 10. For every point of Charisma damage the shadow amber ore deals, its fast healing ability is reduced by 1 (to a minimum of 1).
Destruction The site of the shadow amber road haunt must be blessed by a stonespeaker in a ritual that takes 4 hours, then assaulted with elemental damage from extraordinary effects produced by a svirf scientist’s equipment.