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.
Type magical; Perception DC 31; Disable Device DC 31 Trigger location (detect magic); Reset none Effect bound by magical masterwork manacles (DC 24 Reflex save negates); spell effect (antimagic field, suppresses all other magic effects for 2 hours) and multiple targets (all targets within 10 ft. of the bound creature)
Every court of the Sanctioned Arcane Practitioners of Mohkba is equipped with a caster cuffs trap. Although the organization makes use of unmagical manacles on those brought into these halls of “justice”, the enchanted shackles are more than a simple security measure. Some unwise mages attempt to make their escape during a trial, but any attempt to cast a spell within the boundaries of one of the meticulously prepared court rooms binds them within a caster cuffs trap. Not only is the potential escapee shackled twice—their guilt becomes unquestionable!
DESCRIPTION These light gray steel shackles are emblazoned with arcane markings that look like they were burned on, each radiating subtle magical auras.
In addition to functioning as a pair of masterwork manacles (DC 35 Escape Artist check to escape or DC 28 Strength check to burst through), when wearing a pair of unmagical manacles a creature’s magical abilities are suppressed by a field of spell resistance that inhibits magic going outward as well as inward (granting spell resistance 25).
Any attempt to use a spell-like ability or cast a spell of 4th level or higher by a creature wearing unmagical manacles automatically fails. Spell-like abilities and spells of 3rd-level and lower may function, but only if the creature succeeds at a caster level check (gaining any bonuses they would normally gain for attempting to overcome spell resistance) against DC 25; even on a success the spell-like ability, prepared spell, or spell per day costs twice as many uses or prepared spell slots as normal (if only one use is available, two equivalents of the next lowest level spell are used up instead). On a failed caster level check, the spell-like ability or spell turns back on the wearer if it is a hostile (damage dealing) spell.
CONSTRUCTION Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, spell resistance, spell turning; Cost 7,400 gp
MOHKBA MAGE ENDER CR 5 XP 1,600 Human fighter 6
LN Medium humanoid (human) Init +2; Senses Perception +10
DEFENSE AC 20, touch 12, flat-footed 18 (+6 armor, +2 Dex, +2 shield) hp 55 (6d10+18) Fort +7, Ref +4, Will +4; +2 vs. mind-affecting effects Defensive Abilities unflinching +2
OFFENSE Speed 30 ft. Melee longsword +8/+3 (1d8+2, Crit 19-20/x2) Ranged composite (+2) longbow +8/+3 (1d8+2, Crit x3, Range 110 ft.) or net +4 touch (entangle, Range 10 ft.)
TACTICS Before Combat Knowing the penchant spellcasters have for fire, the Mohkba Mage Ender drinks a potion of resist fire if any arcane or divine opponents are expected. During Combat The Mohkba Mage Ender focuses on spellcasters, working them into corners to be beaten unconscious or grappling mages and priests to prevent any use of magic. Morale Mohkba Mage Enders are famously devoted to their duty and rarely retreat, almost always fighting to the death.
STATISTICS Str 15, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 8 Base Atk +6; CMB +8 (+12 grapple); CMD 20 (24 vs. grapple) Feats Combat Reflexes, Die Hard|B, Disruptive|B, Endurance|B, Greater Grapple|B, Heroic Recovery|B, Improved Grapple, Improved Unarmed Strike|B, Step-Up Skills Climb +7, Knowledge (local) +4, Perception +10, Sense Motive +10, Survival +10 Languages Common (Klavek) SQ armor training 1, tough as nails Combat Gearpotion of cure light wounds, potion of resist fire, tanglefoot bag; Other Gear chainmail, composte (+2) longbow (20 arrows), heavy steel shield, longsword, unmagical manacles [tomorrow’s Magic Item Monday! -MM]
The Sanctioned Arcane Practitioners specially train promising members of the city guard to deal with spellcasters. Mohkba Mage Enders have become more prominent as of late—many citizens demanded it after the debacle with the Cultus Sanguineus—and they’re now a major element to the capital’s defenders.
Use the “Veteran” NPC with the following changes: HP 49; CON 12 (+1); Saves Intelligence +3, Wisdom +3; Feat Mage Slayer.
After returning to Jesker the Great with the P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R.S. contraband—shlyappa ore—the mage finished a ritual to undo the blood thralls wandering Mohkba, but the something went awry and it brings down the aggressive attentions of the city guard! The capital of the Klavek Kingdom is well known for being intolerant to magicians and after all the trouble with the Cultus Sanguineus last year, have become particularly vigilant as of late; they quickly break into the building, swords drawn and shields readied.
Though the old mage manages to occupy most of the armed response, he yells for the party to run out the back and throws them a map. When unfurled (preferably at a less critical moment) the adventurers find it marked with a path towards an Amber Road in the Underworld; PCs that make a DC 22 Knowledge (geography) check recognize the location as a bridge to a zwerc kingdom, the Shlyappa Enclave.
As the PCs flee from the theater they run into 6 guards coming down the alleyway [some of Mohkba’s city watch are detailed in tomorrow’s Statblock Sunday, and for combat you can use the map from Sidequest Saturday: False Findings! -MM]. 1d4 rounds after the fight starts, one of them leaves to get reinforcements, shouting that he’ll be back with twice as many of his fellows. The adventurers have 5 rounds before an overwhelming force appears further down the alleyway, and if the PCs haven’t pieced together that it’s time for a tactical retreat a DC 5 Intelligence check reveals that this is a fight the party definitely cannot win (not today, anyway).
Getting out of the metropolis while being chased by the city guard is no easy task, however, and the adventurers face a number of obstacles if they’re escape from Mohkba and uncover what the P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R.S. cabal is up to. Going east is untenable as beating security all the way to the docks—by the fairly patrolled Trade Yards—is unlikely, and the city wall to the north blocks any escape that way, leaving the party with no alternative than to head generally southwest.
The PCs come out of the alleyway on the southeast corner of the theater, but the route they take afterwards is up to the adventurers. Mohkba teems with people, and only PCs with the Run feat can take the run action on anything but the largest pathways.
The metropolis continues to curve to the northwest, and only routes west, south, and southwest actually leave the city. City guards that follow a party member don’t give up until after the adventurer has left Mohkba, chasing them for another 1d4+1 miles outside the city limits.
For the purposes of determining distance, consider the outside of the “O” in “MOHKBA” to be a quarter mile long. Once the city guards have given up on chasing the party, they have no troubles reaching the cave network leading to the far larger Underworld.
Civil Dispute Two ox traders have mixed their herds in their rush to the trade yards and any movement through the intersection counts as difficult terrain. Worse yet, the jostling of citizens allow pickpockets to attempt to pilfer the PCs of their goods (Perception DC 23 to avoid losing a minor magic item or half the PC’s gold).
Mohkba Guards All of the major pathways in this area of Mohkba have large contingents of guards placed around the quarter, cordoning off the area around the theater at 531 Ripkorski Way. At the indicated areas, there are concentrations of these defenders completely blocking the thoroughfare. PCs require a DC 20 Bluff or DC 25 Diplomacy check to move past them, and a failure by 5 or more on one of these checks changes their attitudes to Hostile rather than Indifferent.
PRANKSTERS The criminals still want their Shlyappa ore back and several of their agents are after the adventurers. When the PCs get within a quarter mile of one of these areas, 1d4+1 P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R. Thugs and 1d4+1 P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R. Hirelings drop into the street from either side of the party, flanking them and forcing a confrontation.
A DC 14 Wisdom (Survival) check recognizes the location on the map as the Shlyappa Zwerc Enclave.
A DC 4 Intelligence check reveals to a PC that the guards are a truly overwhelming force and that retreat is the best option.
A DC 15 Wisdom (Perception) check is required to avoid losing a minor magic item or half the PC’s gold.
A DC 15 Charisma (Deception) check or DC 18 Charisma (Persuasion) check gets the adventurers past a band of Mohkba guards they haven’t encountered yet.
The old mage gestures for Justahn to continue, not at all distracted by the task of meticulously preparing an ornate arcane ritual on the floor of the old theater’s stage. “Well that’s about it, really,” the dwarf mumbles, slightly in awe at Jesker’s cavalier attitude while working magic far beyond the stout sorcerer’s talents. “Oh, and the dream. It was strange, right enough, a shared sort of thing. Everyone but Mykhail and Nehpets had it, but it nobody had quite the same experience.”
“Dreams!,” the old man scoffs, “I’ve never taken any stock in all of that and I’ve of the mind you shouldn’t either. There are rumors of a deity of dreams somewhere in Aventyr, but our world is vast indeed—stories of all types of gods exist, but you won’t see me trust in the existence of one because of a tavern tale!” With a sigh of satisfaction, Jesker raises up from where he was floating just above the floor and onto his feet, arching his back. “Looks easy, but trying to keep stable enough to do this correctly isn’t an easy task.”
The dwarf looked down onto the stage with interest; painted in blue blood (liberally mixed with some sort of reptilian creature’s crushed scales) across nearly the whole of the theater’s floor was a complex arcane diagram, filled with intricate symbols of power. Most of it was far beyond his understanding, but Justahn couldn’t help but venture a guess as to what its purpose was, asking, “this is for undead, right? Does this have anything to do with the blood thralls?”
Jesker grinned, stroking his beard and nodding, “yes, yes it does. For a sorcerer you’re remarkably astute, sir dwarf! When all’s said and done, this ritual will painlessly remove every one of those freakish creatures from Mohkba. That’s to say, rather, that it should do that—I must admit it’s been many decades since the last time I attempted something like this.”
“Decades?,” the much younger sorcerer asked. “Just how old are you?”
The old mage only offered up a wink and a smile before dropping his head back and swallowing a bit of liquor before spitting a glob of fire onto the diagram, setting it aflame. With a sickening lurch a nexus of violet power appears above the floor for just a moment. Then it explodes outward to the psychic cry of something out in the metropolis, followed by identical screams increasing in frequency.
“Oh my,” Jesker stutters, “that’s…that’s not good.”
Then the room erupts in a kaleidoscopic array of light that shines through flesh, stone, and wood alike.
Despite his ancient frame the mage is spry as he rapidly collects his alchemy kit, haphazardly checking to make sure each container is fastened. “That is definitely not good! Collect the Shlyappa ore! Now, quickly! Quickly!”
Sure enough the sound of ringing bells—a callsign of the superstitious guards of Mohkba—can be heard from every direction and when the adventurers rush onto the stage with their belongings, Jesker is surrounded by three opsjena and awash with magic. He looks at them incredulously and yells, “what in the backbone of the Dracoprime are you still doing here!?”
Just then the door thumps loudly—once, twice—before going silent. The old wizard rushes the party backstage just as an explosion blows the entrance to the theater into wooden shrapnel, followed by the enthusiastic cry of scores of voices. A fusilade of crossbow bolts and arrows fly towards them all, blocked just in time as Jesker throws up a field of force. “Stop dallying about! Fly, you fools!”