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Sidequest Saturday (Duty in Drak’kal): Lair of the Bard Monkey

lair of the bard monkey mapDrak’kal’s newly minted tax collectors are called into Antonio Casta’s office with an urgent request (after dealing with Rabblerouser and the Klavekian Mob outside, of course, though some parties may do so reluctantly). Dispensing with the usual niceties, the Dockmaster gets straight to the point.

Friends, a golden opportunity has arisen with the two skinflints, Mason and Roberto: quite a sum of overdue taxes. These two are some of the Three Sisters’ most prominent merchants and purveyors of fine goods—that they should withhold any taxes at all is scandalous, but in this case I think we have some leverage. You see, each of them lost an entire barge and crew, their shipments ruined and likely at the bottom of the Serpent’s Tail! This is a sore blow for them indeed, and I doubt that either can afford for another catastrophe like this. Were the docks rebuilt and all the debris from the river removed, the chances of their turning a profit this quarter is far greater; this is the perfect time to convince them to pay up their taxes so we can get on with cleanup and rebuilding operations. The sooner we collect the coin, the sooner we rebuild and safer river commerce prevails.

Antonio Casta - Rick HersheyWhen the PCs ask for more information, Antonio knows a little and is happy to share. The two barges were loaded with exotic cloth, foodstuffs and other perishables. Yesterday around sundown, the vessels veered towards one of the storm exits in the sewer and struck debris, causing them to sink along with the entire 4-man crew of experienced rivermen on each barge—something must have been awry. The route through the river can be dangerous, but not for experienced rivermen such as these, and an eyewitness reported that shortly before sinking, the ships were overrun with rats and a strangely attired monkey was seen screeching at the disaster before returning inside the passages beneath Drak’kal.

The offices of Mason and Roberto are quite easy to find; the two offices are nestled in an upscale business district and share an entrance. A single receptionist sits behind a large desk which mostly blocks a door that allows interior access to the rest of the offices. When the PCs ask to see either Mason or Roberto, they are politely asked if they have an appointment, and if they do not, they are politely rebuffed and told that both merchants are unavailable for the foreseeable future.
A DC 20 Diplomacy check convinces her to let the party in right away. Adventurers who mention that they are here to collect taxes receive a -4 penalty, but mentioning assistance in dealing with the barge incident grants PCs a +10 bonus. Otherwise, the party can trespass into the office straight away (she offers no physical resistance) and quickly find both men; this course of action, however, incurs a -2 penalty to all social-based skill checks until the adventurers leave the premises.

human-male-klavekianBoth men are distraught about losing their barges, genuinely listening to and contemplating what the PCs have to say. When the party is done with their sales pitch, Mason offers to pay the taxes on one condition: he wants a thorough investigation of the crash site to discover what really happened to the sunken ships. Adventurers that can verify what happened and keep it from happening again get paid a bonus 10% of the taxes collected from both traders. Since the area is difficult to navigate to from land, they also offer the PCs the services of a small skiff big enough to hold the party.

Getting into the river and near the sewer is pretty easy but navigating a vessel within 30 feet of the sewer exit requires a DC 10 Profession (sailor) check or DC 20 Acrobatics check at the end of each turn to keep the skiff from being drawn towards the sewer entrance at a rate of 20 ft./per round. Failure on any of these checks forces creatures on the vessel (including the PCs) to make a DC 20 Reflex save when the boat strikes the sewer entrance or be tossed into the water. Due to the turbulent nature of the current here, a DC 15 Swim check is required to stay afloat (allowing 5 ft. of movement per round + 5 ft. for every 5 points exceeding the DC). The gate around the storm exit is easy to enter and once inside, a single DC 10 Swim check pulls a creature from the water and onto the stone platforms that run along each of the sewer tunnels beneath Drak’kal. A successfully controlled skiff can be tied near the gate, and from there a simple DC 10 Swim check takes a creature into the subterranean passages.

While all of this occurs the party is being watched from inside the sewers of Drak’kal. Once the skiff gets within 30 feet of the storm exit a DC 20 Perception check reveals a small, oddly dressed monkey wearing a red fez [tomorrow’s Statblock Sunday! –RT], screeching softly and watching the party from just inside the gate with uncharacteristic interest. As soon as the adventurers try to control the boat, the little simian conjures a hypnotic pattern (DC 12 Will save, 7+2d4 HD affected) in the middle of the vessel before running down the tunnel a moment later.

When the PCs follow (DC 15 Survival check to track) they find that the monkey has fled to the very back of the sewers, to a large, cross-shaped complex that was once a casual place for the detritus of Drak’kal to relax in concert. As the party enters they see two tunnels that lead off to small side chambers and a tunnel ahead that leads to a larger chamber. In the center of the cross chamber are several small boxes of valuable goods (about 300 gp worth) all stamped with either Mason’s or Roberto’s logo.

shadow-ratJust inside the western tunnel are two rat swarms that use Stealth to hide from and then surprise the party. Once the rat swarms have engaged the PCs the bard monkey appears at the entrance to the northern tunnel and uses its spell-like abilities to create chaos for the adventurers! It runs away when damaged, trying to get past the party as it does so (as it is cornered in this area).

At the end of the northern tunnel are more goods (another 300 gp worth) and what looks to be the lair of the bard monkey.

Recovering the goods and returning them to Mason and Roberto causes the merchants to pay 200% of their taxes (as now there are quite a few more valuables to claim) and as a result, Antonio Casta pays double for this week of work (and with a DC 15 Diplomacy check, the traders cough up the extra 10% owed to the PCs as well).

If the bard monkey is returned to its owner alive (Otto lost him during the recent Disaster in Drak’kal) the thankful old man teaches the PCs a secret tune only known to carnival folk; when performed by a bard (three full-round actions), it grants a number of temporary hit points equal to ½ the singer’s hit dice (minimum 1) for 1 hour (usable once per day).

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Sidequest Saturday (Duty in Drak’kal): Klavekian Mob

Klavekian Mob mapThrough a friend, posted signs, or by catching the right conversation in the right tavern, the PCs have found that one of the Three Sisters (settlements in the Klavek Kingdom south of its capital, Mohkba) is looking for tax collectors—an easy gig for great pay.
Recently a showing of the Broztavya Circus went awry in Drak’kal and the resulting destruction has weighed heavily on the settlement, as a particularly large and out-of-place aquatic sideshow attraction tore apart the city’s docks. Summer is right around the corner and it is vital for repairs to be made, so the pay for tax collection right now is extremely high (and for good reason; Klavekians are quite hardy, can be incredibly stubborn, and are generally not terribly fond of taxes.)
As the PCs arrive in Drak’kal there’s some commotion outside of the home of Dockmaster Antonio Casta—they may soon find out just how violent and dangerous a Klavekian mob can get!

As you near the middle of the Three Sisters the bustle of a city reaches your ears, but something else comes along with it on the winds—the sounds of dissent. Drawing nearer you make out a mob of common folk outside of one of the settlement’s nicer homes, a panicked looking fellow frantically pleading for help from inside the dwelling. Just outside is a huge Klavekian with the kind of face one only earns through many, many brawls; he’s shouting loudly, inciting the crowd to violence. It seems that if someone doesn’t do something soon, this might become a most unhappy day for a certain someone in Drak’kal.

Antonio Casta, the man responsible for gathering the taxes from Drak’kal’s citizens to repair the damaged docks (something for which he is complicit), is frantically waving and pleading for help. A Perception check (DC 10 + 1 per 5 feet away from the house) overhears his shouts for aid (“along with an increased salary if you like!”), but if no PC notices he resorts to crude, hastily made signs instead.
The man leading this small rebellion, Ivan Creed [or “Rabblerouser”, tomorrow’s Statblock Sunday! —MM], is a retired Klavekian soldier. Unlike his angry peers he’s stayed in shape adventuring, but all of them are upset with the unexpected tax (as there are normally some exemptions for those who’ve served in the Klavekian army).

If the PCs deal with Ivan quickly enough or manage to diffuse the situation without resorting to violence, they receive experience points as if they had defeated both enemies, but otherwise they face the harsh wrath of the people of Aventyr’s cold northern climes!

JC-ANGRYMOB-SMKLAVEKIAN     MOB CR 2
XP 600
Human (Klavekian) commoner 4
N Medium humanoid (human, troop)
Init +0; Senses Perception +5

DEFENSE
AC 13, touch 11, flat-footed 12 (+2 armor, +1 Dex)
hp 28 (4d6+12)
Fort +5, Ref +1, Will +1
Immune grappled condition, single-target spells, multiple-target spells
Weaknesses vulnerable to area effect spells

OFFENSE
Speed 30 ft.
Melee troop attack (1d8+2)
Space 20 ft. (contiguous 5-ft.-squares); Reach 5 ft.
Special Attacks chaos of combat

TACTICS
Before Combat A Klavekian mob only seems to be a bit rowdy at first, but not overly aggressive—although not an intentional deception, it often leaves those lacking social awareness (DC 14 Charisma check) wandering directly into the center of the creature’s space as it forms.
During Combat Klavekian mobs move into enemy squares and grapple, pummeling foes into submission. Never keen to authorities, after an opponent is felled they ignore them, moving on to other targets. Anyone who survives is severely humiliated afterwards, but left alive.
Morale A Klavekian mob disperses when reduced to 5 hit points or less (becoming 5 commoners without the troop subtype, each with 2 hit points left).

STATISTICS
Str 14, Dex 10, Con 14, Int 9, Wis 10, Cha 8
Base Atk +2; CMB +4; CMD 15 (cannot be bull rushed/tripped)
Feats Armor Proficiency (light), Great Fortitude, Toughness
Skills Climb +6, Craft (common items) +3, Perception +4, Profession (common career) +5, Survival +4, Swim +6; Racial Modifiers +2 Survival, -4 Charisma checks with non-humans and non-dweorgs
Languages Common, Klavek
SQ Klavekian proficiency (longsword), skilled
Gear leather armor (15), longswords (15), slings (15), sling bullets (150)

 

Once the adventurers have successfully driven off the Klavekian mob (through force or silver tongues), Dockmaster Casta thanks them profusely and offers them lucrative (10 gold a week!) jobs as tax collectors, assuring them that even greater opportunities await anyone who will come to know the people of Drak’kal so quickly!

 

 

Into the Wintery Gale - game set

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Sidequest Saturday: Redemption

A sidequest for four to five 2nd-4th level PCs.

INTRODUCTION
Long ago Sir Regenold Baraman fought alongside his close friend and comrade, Sir Marak Moldune, in a glorious, legendary battle. Both men should great courage and fought with honor, but though their side won the day, it was only Regenold whom walked away from the battlefield—Marak sacrificed his life to save his comrade, stepping into a mortally dangerous blow. Upon returning to their lord victoriously, Sir Baraman and his fellow knights were aptly rewarded with enough gold and silver to live out the rest of their lives comfortably.
In a show of respect for his fallen ally Regenold delivered Sir Moldune’s cremated remains and monetary reward to the fallen knight’s family. It was the least Sir Baraman could do to assure his friend’s remains made it home, and that the widow Moldune and her young daughter would have the means to sustain themselves in the absence of Marak. The Moldune family lived in a hamlet several days travel from the capital city and mere days after the great battle, Regenold found himself on the road, making his way southward to his old friend’s homestead—except the brave knight never arrived at his destination.
Redemption knights - Image_Portfolio_Platinum_Edition_13_Juan_Diego_DIanderas_Page_4_Image_0001Once news spread of Sir Baraman’s disappearance, several of his fellow knights joined in a vast and fruitless search for their comrade. As weeks passed without trace of Regenold, rumors began to mull, and many (if not most) came to assume that he had intentionally disappeared, claiming both rewards as his own. The widow Maldune assumes, and her children spread the tale as well.

When the king heard of what had happened, he ordered the disgraced knight’s name stricken from the records of heroes, unceremoniously stripped of rank. When the absconded warrior is mentioned it is always accompanied by dishonor, and he has come to be known as “Sir Regenold Baraman the Disgraced.”

SCENARIO
As it turns out, Sir Baraman did not betray his honor. During his journey southward to return Sir Moldune’s remains and share of treasure he was waylaid by a sudden and violent storm; seeking a place to take shelter, Regenold discovered a cave nearly completely obscured by overgrowth at the edge of a forest.
Hail pummeled down from the heavens as vicious winds snapped and tossed about tree limbs, and Regenold rushed into the cavern with little heed. Unfortunately for him, the cave was the opening to an ancient mass grave—an unholy site wherein 8 + 1d4 wights dwell.
Caught unprepared as he sheltered from the storm, the wights made quick work of slaughtering the brave knight, ending both his life and his mission. As a victim of a bloody and violent death, and with such an important task left unfinished, Regenold’s spirit clung to the world of the living. His ghost haunts the accursed cavern, unable to leave its confines to complete the quest and restore his honor.
In the Redemption sidequest, the PCs happen across the same cavern while seeking shelter from yet another violent storm—unaware of both what transpired here ages past and the dangers that still lurk within.

Redemption sidequest map - accursed cavern - JAMSetting the Stage: A Call to Arms
When the PC’s first enter the cavern they notice little other than it provides ample shelter from the raging storm outside. As the adventurers begin to explore their surroundings they hear the deep-voiced, distressed shouts of a man coming from down the winding tunnel within the cavern; it sounds as if someone is being violently bludgeoned to death.
As the PCs investigate, they come across a cobweb-covered greatsword and suit of half-plate armor housing a dusty skeleton. When either is approached or disturbed, Sir Baraman’s Rousing Haunt triggers and the knight’s ghost manifests before them. [See tomorrow’s Statblock Sunday for full details on the ghost of Sir Regenold Baraman JAM]

Sir Baraman’s Rousing Haunt    CR 4
XP 1,200
LG persistant haunt (within the winding tunnel)
Caster Level 5th
Notice automatic
hp 30; Trigger proximity; Reset 1 hour
Effect When this haunt is triggered, the ghost of Sir Regenold Baraman manifests. In this state he has limited memory and believes that the PCs are his fellow knights, come to aid against the approaching evil. He refers to the party as “my comrades,” and tells them to bear their arms and fear not the darkness. PCs can recall the story of Sir Regenold Baraman the Disgraced with a successful DC 25 Knowledge (history) check or DC 30 Knowledge (nobility) check.
All creatures in the haunt’s area gain darkvision 60 ft. and a morale bonus to attacks and saving throws for the next 24 hours (anyone that does not venture deeper within the cavern takes a -3 penalty to attacks and saving throws instead; DC 21 Will save negates).
Destruction To permanently end the rousing haunt, the wights must be destroyed.

redemption - wights - JAMIt is only as the ghost steward points his greatsword down the dark and winding corridor that the PCs become aware of the approaching 8 + 1d4 wights. With his presumed allies at his side, Sir Baraman engages in combat alongside the adventurers to help fend off and destroy the vile undead creatures.

When the haunt is destroyed, the knight’s ghost remains, no longer suffering from the delusion that he is living and that the party are his fellow soldiers. When Regenold regains his senses and memories of his long ago death, he realizes that the PCs, though complete strangers, have fought by his side (and should they still be unaware of whom he is, Sir Baraman introduces himself and tells the story of his demise).

There are several rows of shattered sarcophagi in the chamber at the end of the winding tunnel. These vaults once stowed the bodies of the wights, but these have been destroyed and looted by grave robbers even long before Sir Baraman’s fateful discovery of the site.

Regenold leads the PCs to an extremely heavy burlap sack hidden in a narrow crevice in the winding tunnel. Inside are gold coins (5,000 gp), 3d4 gems, and a golden urn (500 gp value) containing the ashes of Sir Marak Moldune. Sir Baraman’s soul cannot rest until his mission has been completed and as his spirit is bound to the accursed cavern, he implores the PCs to assist by delivering the assets to the Moldune family that lives in the hamlet one day’s journey south of the cave, and to let them know that he never betrayed his lifelong friend.

The ghostly knight requests the PCs complete this task then return to the cave to inform him that it has been finished, and to bury his remains so that he may finally find peace. In return they will have his gratitude and he promises to share with them the location of his share of the king’s treasure before his release, so the adventurers might claim it as their own.

Completing the Knight’s Quest
If the PCs attempt to return the urn and treasure to the Moldune family, they locate the knight’s middle-aged grandson, Orik, who in turn leads them back to the family’s run-down homestead where they meet a frail and elderly woman by the name of Hattie. Though she was a young child when Sir Baraman disappeared with her father’s remains (revealing how long ago the knight died), she remembers the story well and explains that her family had always cursed the Baraman name. She is thankful for the return of her father’s remains, and his treasure which—more than enough for her son to repair their farm. When told the truth of what happened to Regenold, Hattie seems relieved and is almost brought to tears.
Gary Dupuis - Onarra-COrik vows to deliver message to the capital city and tell the order of knights there the truth of Sir Baraman’s disappearance so that they might honor him once again, and though she is too aged to make the trip herself, Hattie gives to the PCs a golden ring bearing the crest of the Moldune family (the last memento she had of her father), and requests they deliver it to the ghost steward along with her heartfelt gratitude.

Upon returning to the accursed cavern, the adventurers find the ghost of Regenold eagerly awaiting. After providing him the ring from Hattie and being told that his mission is finally complete, Sir Baraman kneels next to his scattered bones and begins to weep.
Through ethereal tear-filled eyes he profusely thanks the PCs for their aide, promising to carry tale of their deeds with him into the afterlife. He asks as a final favor that his remains are buried outside the cave entrance along with his armor, sword, and the Moldune’s ring.

When they agree to this last request he dictates to the party a map that clearly leads to his buried treasure, two days to the north. The treasure consists of 5,000 gp and 3d4 gems. In addition, he asks that each of the PCs claim one of the finger bones from his body as a keepsake, so that his restored honor may watch over each of them from this day forth.
As his spirit disperses and fades into thin air after the burial of his remains outside, Regenold uses the last of his energies to infuse his spirit into each of the tiny bones claimed by the PCs, turning them into ignominious icons [the next Magic Item Monday details these keepsakes from the dead! –JAM]. Each provides its bearer with a +1 sacred bonus to Sense Motive.

For returning Sir Marak Moldune’s remains and treasure to their rightful place, the PCs should each be awarded an additional 500 XP. For every 1 gp worth of items taken, reduce that PCs reward by 1 XP.
If the PCs attempt to deceive Regenold in any way, he makes a Sense Motive check. Should he suspect that they are lying to him about having returned both the remains and treasure, Sir Baraman assumes they are little more than petty thieves and immediately engages the party in combat with the intent of killing them for their dishonesty.

into the wintery gale promo image

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Sidequest Saturday: Leahcim’s Gauntlet

Leahcim There are many who question how dangerous Leahcim’s Gauntlet truly is. Boasting champions that have managed the trek are often reminded of far less capable individuals that did the same, and of course the detractors are answered with examples of great heroes that lost their lives in the fabled challenge of the Underworld—if it even truly is one, as they say. More often than not, the inexperienced fare best within and often begin careers with claims of successfully traversing the mythical dungeon.
The trickster god of Aventyr is attributed to the design of this deathtrap and the experience a group of adventurers have while within it can be vastly different each time. Below is just one configuration, though the order of the obstacles within Leahcim’s Gauntlet can change seemingly without reason. Sometimes the Halls of Deception are halfway through the dungeon or at its exit, the Repulsor Chasms have been said to be a few miles in or many, and every tale of the caverns is different from the last.

GM Note Due to the Planar Rift and divine influence of the Clever Shadow, the difficulty of the tricks, creatures, and so on scale with APL. All of the DCs within Leahcim’s Gauntlet are calculated by the average level of an adventuring group entering it (round down). Treat all of these obstacles as having a CR equal to APL + the multiplier of the highest check or difficulty class involved.
Higher level PCs will be extremely hard pressed to succeed, and GMs games are encouraged to modify these checks as they see fit (particularly in these cases).

Leahcims Gauntlet

  • Entrance
    A bit of shadow falls too far against one wall and with closer inspection, you realize there’s a facade in the very stone! Behind it is a tunnel hewn from the rock, curving out of sight perhaps a hundred feet ahead.
    The entrance to Leahcim’s Gauntlet appears to be hidden, giving explorers the idea that they are in fact quite canny and spotted it of their own accord. Creatures that make a Perception check (5 + APL) see the hidden cave wall that opens to a passage that leads down into the dungeon. A Will save DC 10 + (APL x 2.5) realizes that something influenced the eyes of those that detect the entrance.
  • Hall of Deception
    The hewn rock walls give way to ancient blocks of stone, and in the distance you can see the glitter of something hanging from one of countless hooks in this gargantuan hallway.
    This mile-long (5, 280 ft.) passageway seems utterly benign, but can often be the root of what ends an adventuring group. Every 1,000 feet one random creature makes a Will save DC (APL x 2.5) or is compelled to subtly leave an item hanging along a crook in the rock wall (making a Sleight of Hand check opposed by their allies). Anyone that points out the odd behavior makes a Will save DC (APL x 3) 1d4 hours later or feels as though they left something important about 1,000 feet from the exit (though they can’t be sure of what), hanging along the walls in the Hall of Deception.
    1d6 hours after leaving the Hall of Deception, the entrance to it disappears and cannot be found without a Perception check DC 18 + (APL x 3).
  • cavern torgould's restSecret Tunnel
    Something about the stone here seems wrong and sure enough, when you run your hand along the rock you feel a seam in it! With a little bit of effort it pries open and a section of blocks swings toward you, revealing a secret passage.
    As one would expect, this dungeon devoted to the trickster god has a secret passageway (roughly 10-ft. square), just as safe to travel through as one might expect. Finding it requires a Perception check DC 13 + (APL x 3) Every ½ mile a section of the passage gives out and a vacuum attempts to suck creatures down into the Illusory Caverns [6]. A Reflex save DC (APL x 2.5) allows a creature to remain within the secret tunnel.
  • Magnetic Cliffs
    Not far from where you stand, the ground comes to an abrupt halt before a yawning black abyss. However, a mass of wealth sits along the edge and hundreds if not thousands of gold coins are clearly unattended.
    Creatures that fail a Will save DC 8 + (APL x 2) see masses of gold coins surrounding this rift in the earth, mounded about 10 feet from the edge. As soon as a creature is within 20 feet of the Magnetic Cliff’s edge they begin to feel its pull, dragged 10 feet toward the pit should they fail a Strength check DC 10 + (APL x 2). Creatures take a -1 penalty for every 10 pounds of metal they carry. Any creature dragged down the Magnetic Cliffs takes APL x d4 force damage and is deposited on the southernmost tip of Leahcim’s Gauntlet, devoid of one randomly determined metallic item (note; this is never armor).
  • Repulsor Chasm
    A chasm stretching across this cavern is narrowest at this small gulf—it is certainly the simplest area to cross it at.
    It appears as though crossing this 20-foot long crevice will only take a simple jump, but like everything else in Leahcim’s Gauntlet, this is a ruse. Any creature that makes a jump check or uses a fly speed to cross the Repulsor Chasm is thrown up toward the cavern’s ceiling (30 feet above), taking APL x 1d4 piercing damage against the stalactites above should they fail a Reflex save DC 10 + (APL x 2). Creatures wearing metal armor are at greater risk; if wearing medium armor they instead take APL x 1d6 piercing damage and if wearing heavy armor, APL x 1d8 piercing damage.
    The far side of the Repulsor Chasm has a long plane that descends 90 feet into the Illusory Caverns [6], though cliffs run alongside the walls.
  • Illusory Caverns
    This chamber’s vaulted ceiling rises high above you, and is far wider, stretching away in all directions. Stalagmites and perched piles of rocks are all that litter this disparate, dark landscape and you wonder what else lurks in the shadows.
    Most of Leahcim’s Gauntlet consists of this large 100-ft.-high chamber. Every ½ mile an illusion of a monster or adversary (of a CR equal to APL + 3; as major image, CL equal to APL x2) wanders within the range of perception for any creature that fails a Will save DC 5 + (APL x 1.5).
    However, every 1 and ½ miles adventurers encounter one random creature of a CR equal to APL – 2 + 1d4. These enemies appear in exactly the same way as their illusory counterparts and are indistinguishable until interacted with (though depending on what monster or NPC is encountered, combat may not always be the only resolution).

leahcims gauntlet planar rift - cave-9

  • Planar Rift
    A hollow into the floor of this devious cavern radiates an aura of mystical light that plays out in a kaleidoscopic array, bringing vibrancy to the otherwise dreary environment. Beyond the sheen of energy you can see the skyline of a different place, waters washing onto rocky crags in a place you cannot recognize.
    For explorers that fail to find the real exit [8], this portal to other dimensions seems as if it is the only means to leave the dungeon—and indeed, many take this route. Every hour a random creature (CR equal to APL + 1d4) wanders out of the Planar Rift and into Leahcim’s Gauntlet.
    Adventurers that enter the Planar Rift are transported to a safe location on a random plane of existence (determined by the GM; no save).
  • Exit
    You seem to have reached a dead end in this strange complex, and you can’t help but wonder if it was a mistake coming here.
    The true exit from Leahcim’s Gauntlet is cunningly hidden from view, a cleft in the rock that requires a Perception check DC 15 + (APL x 2), though a Will save DC 8 + (APL x 2) makes creatures feel as if they overlooked something in this area. Searching for the exit takes about an hour, and each hour there is a 50% chance that 1 eye eater wanders nearby (+2 for every four points of APL) [tomorrow’s Statblock Sunday! —MM].
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Sidequest Saturday (Forsaken Frontier): Doc Fell’s Deal

The PCs follow Sulcera as she picks her way carefully across the badlands, steadily heading northeast.  If the party follows her closely they avoid many skirmishes of the different factions—mainly those between the ghasts and ghouls against the undead hordes of Syfforack Zoi. Even if the adventurers ask about lending aid, Sulcera steers them clear of the battles, sometimes taking them off route enough that they lose half a day worth of travel time.

Doc Fells Deal - 151-Prestbury-Old-Hall-q50-1493x1212After a journey lasting 1d6+2 days the adventurers arrive in Fallowfield. They’re invited to rest and relax, entertaining themselves with drinking and gambling at the saloon, a sometimes-neutral ground between these two warring factions. The popular game of choice is Last Azlant. The undead purposely lose at the game as a means to lure the PCs into having a great time. A few hours later (or as soon as the adventurers want to leave) the ghasts start to wage more gold pieces, or even magical items, but now they play to win; a DC 32 Perception check notices that animated creatures are cheating! The night ends when either the party is ready to quit or they after run out of money (or if the ghasts run out of their 45,000 gold pieces, spread randomly between 9 different undead).

The next day Doc Fell meets up with the PCs just after noon, welcoming them with a sturdy hand shake.

“Howdy partners, what can a simple barber do for such fine folk?” the fellow called Doc says with a confident smirk. “Wait maybe I know this—could you people be from that fine craft that everyone saw fall from the void? You must be here for the parts that we commandeered from that no good Syfforack Zoi.”  As he states the name his eyes flash red with malice and hatred. “I reckon that since we did you a favor you, might be good enough to return it. You see that horrible lich to the north, we’re planning a raid against his army to stop him once and for all. If you join us, we’ll give you back your parts; we’ll call it a debt paid.”

A DC 35 Sense Motive check reveals that Doc Fell was taking the parts for himself, but if the party accepts these terms and conditions he grins broadly, saying, “now all you have to do is follow my lead and do as I say.” The instant the PCs take Doc Fell’s deal they are treated like old friends, waiting in luxury for three days before the march north. If the adventurers don’t take the deal he loses his cool, almost yelling at them.

“A perfectly good deal and you ruin it! You burned me, in a way—I disdain those who burn others.” Doc paces a few meters while spinning his hat on top of his head.
“Hey, I got it,” he yells gleefully, “what about a good old contest, one for fun and games. We’ll acquire those parts he stole from yins, but what can you offer in return? We don’t really need money out here, but what about your services—I mean it’s perfect, almost like you don’t lose anything at all! But how to decide on the contest…back in the good ol’ days they had a quick draw event. First hit wins”
Doc pulls out a small flask and takes a quick gulp of the liquid, adding gravely, “and if not, I don’t think we have any other deals for you fine folks.”  

ghoul1__storn_cookWhen the party agrees to the duel, he tells them to arrive in the center of town just before high noon the next day. The whole town has shown up to watch by the time the PCs arrive. As Doc Fell arrives give the adventurers DC 40 Perception checks to realize that something about him is off—it isn’t the pale stranger at all but Syfforack Zoi’s lieutenant, Izali Komandri! Oddly he says nothing, waiting for the party to make the first move; as soon as they do the illusion of undead ringing the ghost town disappears, replaced by seven zombie spellcasters (NE juju zombie half-orc sorcerer 7) activating scrolls of force cage.

Afterward the undead rush the party (imprisoned in the barred cage effect of the spell), unleashing four doses of aerosolized oil of taggit (DC 15 Fortitude save each round until unconscious for 1d3 hours) each and, for those resistant to the poison, salvoes of magic missiles until the PCs are unconscious.

[Submitted by Tim Snow!]

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Sidequest Saturday (Lands of Ludolog): A 2-Bit Quest

2-bit sidequest mapSomething went wrong with the PCs’ trip home from Uklonjen and they’re once more flung among the myriad demiplanes—though until they encounter an instadeath effect on the 2-Bit Plane, only a DC 25 Knowledge (planes) check reveals that they aren’t in Aventyr’s Underworld. The party’s ship is inoperable and has brought them to Ludolog, a strange, geometric set of miniworlds with its own set of peculiar rules (check out the 2-Bit Dimension!).

Give the adventurers some time to regroup, but not get a full rest—after five minutes, the entire miniworld rumbles ever so slightly, repeating after 2 and a half minutes, and so on before this part of Ludolog is destroyed, causing all creatures within to suffer an instadeath, returning any PCs with remaining lives to this location.

2-bit sidequest lava75 feet ahead of the PCs the tunnel separates into and lower and upper passage, the latter of which ends halfway across a 60-ft.-long pit of lava (about 30-ft.-high in the air). Touching the lava causes an instadeath unless the creature is immune to fire.

2-bit sidequest chasm

 

After another 70 feet there is a sizable 120-ft.-long chasm. Any creature that falls further than 5 feet into the darkness of the chasm suffers an instadeath.
A stone platform floats at the halfway point, rising and falling each round with a difficult to discern rhythm; succeeding on a DC 18 Wisdom check reveals the arrhythmic timing, but otherwise, it randomly moves 1d10+4 feet up or 1d10+4 feet down the instant before a creature lands upon it.

These two hazards don’t seem considerable until a creature attempts to fly (using magical or extraordinary means) or touches the walls of force confining the miniworld in the squares directly above either the lava or the chasm. The instant a creature does either of these things, a spectral, otherworldy tentacle appears from the wall of force and attempts to slap them downward into the hazard: slam +18 (4d8+12 plus bull rush), CMB +18 [more details on these this Trap Tuesday! -MM].

An enemy awaits the PCs 100 feet from the chasm’s edge—2d4+3 rolling crabs [tomorrow’s Statblock Sunday! -MM]—but in the distance a few hundred feet away (across another 1d4 hazardous pits of lava 1d10x1d10-ft. long behind the monster) is a strange grille of metal that sparkles with arcane and divine energies, with a crop of strange fungus growing nearby. As soon as they near this anomaly, the sound of hundreds of gold coins clattering to the ground appears from nowhere, and the party find that their packs each now have 100 x 2d6 gold in it (plus 200 gold for every “life” they still possess). Grant the PCs a number of experience points equal to 8 times the number of gold coins they gain this way.


[If you’re scratching your head, you need to read last Thursday’s article on the 2-Bit Dimension! Check it out here! -MM]

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Sidequest Saturday (Uralicans Uncut): Save the Ship!

As the party sails off from Timeaus in their new airship (either a skyfang or black arrow model), a DC 25 Perception check notices that the principal navigation tool—a compass made of crystal—is vibrating slightly. After a minute of quivering, it begins to rattle and the DC of the Perception check lowers to 18, although by then it is too late. The PCs’ vessel flies right into a vacuum mine, denying the engines of any air (along with the adventurers!) as the ship plummets!

The crystal compass [more on that on Monday! -MM] pulsates wildly with light and power as the ship falls, and any PC with ranks in Knowledge (planes) or Knowledge (psionics) can make a DC 15 check to realize that it is trying to tear the veil between realms (and if they succeed and are intent on figuring things out, a DC 18 Spellcraft check reveals that with a bit of aid, it can succeed.

As as soon as any creature makes physical contact with the (now blinking and shuddering) crystal compass, everyone on the vessel makes a DC 35 Will save or is transported away from Aventyr along with the ship (offer anyone that makes the save an opportunity to relinquish their resolve when they see the ship fading away).

The wind whistles wildly in your ears as your vessel plummets through the air, the blinking of the crystal compass encouraging a sense of panic as chaos reigns supreme in the freefall. Someone grasps at the blinking navigational instrument, and the world flashes around you in a kaleidoscope of colors that affront your senses. Nearing the ground it seems the end is near, but then the world seems to fade from existence, replaced by vast blackness intermittently broken by a field of starlight and floating planetoids.

The PCs and their ship have landed in the demiplane of Uklonjen, a light gravity realm nominally ruled over by the ancestors of the Vikmordere, a peoples cut off from an advanced civilization that collapsed upon itself. Unfortunately for the party, their ship arrives in the immediate vicinity of a tyngdekraften, one of the dangerous creatures in this interstellar place! [More on that tomorrow, I swear! -MM]

first sidequest saturday

Anyone piloting the ship can make a DC 34 Profession (sailor) or Profession (soldier) check to right the vessel and avoid the hazardous trap of the tyngdekraften, but otherwise, the vessel is pulled down at 500 feet a round into a magnetized gravity well (the purple swirl on the bottom right hand corner) that holds it in place. While the creature still lives, moving the vessel is nearly impossible and requires five consecutive DC 24 Profession (sailor) or Profession (soldier) checks to break the otherworldy monster’s hold.

1d10+1 rounds later, the tyngdekraften appears and assails the party, or if they’ve holed up inside the vessel, the ship itself!

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Sidequest Saturday (Macabre Manses): Trapped Within

macabre manses map

After the PCs’ strange encounter in the forest during Finding the Macabre Manses, they find themselves facing down a long dark courtyard revealing the mansion’s distinguished foyer. Though the estate’s grounds suggest that there haven’t been any visitors to the site in a long while, the mansion’s interior—with its clean wooden floors and illustrious decor—brings such a theory to question. As the PCs enter the mansion a magic circle appears around the building and across its wooden floors, which begin to glow a deep purple hue. A strong gust of wind forces shut the inward swinging front doors to the foyer, and a strange orange and green glow floods the room.

There are a particular series of rules that govern the way the party is able to interact with their environment, and many hazards to face in their pursuit of freedom. The entire mansion has been manipulated by the cult Fomalhaut in the pursuit of their dark lord’s liberation—both they, their god, and the party are trapped within!

  • Portals of all kinds including doors, windows, and dimensional travel malfunction within the mansion. Instead of leading to the locations desired by the user, they pop anyone to the locations as indicated in  the omnidirectional doorways of confusion.
  • Fomalhaut’s dimension thrives on and feeds chaos; all spells of the chaotic subtype are cast at caster level + 5.
  • Looking outside of the mansion is hazardous for one’s mental health, and can have a debilitating effect on a party’s teamwork.

Gruxm Goretooth has let his cultist followers loose upon the mansion with strict orders to detain intruders on site so that they may be offered to Fomalhaut as a living sacrifice, a means to bind its life force the the Material Plane, a process that will likely kill its victims when they reach their destination as Fomalhaut exits the vessel(s). Fortunately for the PCs, the occultists have no advantage over the omnidirectional doorways of confusion, the twisted visage hazard, or any of the other devious obstacles within the mansion, leveling the playing field to their advantage.

Within rooms 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, 30, 34, 35, 38, and 39, Gruxm has placed random summoned monsters. Since dimensional travel is only one way within the mansion, summoned monsters do not dissipate after being defeated and any objects or treasure that they would ordinarily carry is easily collected. Additionally, due to the nature of Fomalhaut’s dimension, there is a 25% chance that any monster summoned within the mansion gains the star spawn template.

Monk-2In room 12, Gruxm is makes preparations to honor Fomalhaut with the living tribute. Should the PCs find their way into this room there is a 70% chance that the goblin is present and preparing for their demise; Gruxm gives a long speech about his master and what the party’s purpose in the mansion is. If the adventurers approach Gruxm, he uses monster summoning VII to conjure a powerful creature to assist in subduing the PCs.

The remaining rooms are filled with beautiful decor, but are otherwise lacking anything of interest. A number of Gruxm’s followers equal to the party’s size (CE Human conjurer 7; see the “Conjurist” entry in the NPC Gallery section of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Gamemastery Guide) were inside the mansion when it traversed the dimensional rift. The odds of encountering an occultist in any of the rooms is 20% and should be checked by the GM every time the adventurers enter a new room. Occultists attack the PCs on sight and without warning, weakening them and depleting the party’s resources.

In the event that the party kills off every foe within the mansion, they are stuck within the demiplane for the rest of their lives, however long that might be (though a sufficient amount of thorough research might yield another means, any hope of escape requires years of study and experimentation that ultimately leads to the same conclusion). It is absolutely necessary to make the living sacrifice to Fomalhaut in order to bridge the dimensions so that they might all travel home. Discovering the specifics about the ritual from Gruxm requires successive Intimidate checks of increasing difficulty, the first DC 25 followed by DC 30  and DC 35.

Bridging the gap not only frees the players to return to the Material Plane, but allows Fomalhaut to hitch a ride on their coat tails bringing a new chaotic element into their world. What impact will Fomalhaut have on their home? Only time will tell.

 

[Submitted by Jeremy Kleve]

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Sidequest Saturday: Finding the Macabre Manses – CR 5

The party begins this journey while staying in a decrepit, sparse forest. The night is unusually dark with heavy storm clouds hinting the start of a downpour. Shortly after midnight the adventurers are visited by a charming, energetic man, This fellow has no truly distinguishing features, and makes no effort to mask his presence when moving into the area.

“I am just but a humble servant from an estate a few mere miles away from here. We noticed your group traveling through the area and I was sent out to warn you about tonight—things are not what they seem. We are requesting your presence; please come and visit the mansion, where we’ll host your safety.” The man bows with a sly smile flashing across his face.

rogue 7 swashbuckler guardsmanAfter the bow and smile, lighting strikes the party’s campfire and blinds them for a round; when their sight returns the man is gone and the only thing left is a gem-studded key.

If the party searches for footprints or tracks, there a none to be found, which anyone that succeeds on a DC 18 Perception or Survival check can easily discern. Even though the forest seems the same, the atmosphere of the woods has become unrecognizable, as though a suffocating pressure weighs upon the adventurers’ minds, dulling any colors that are vivid (something noticed by anyone that succeeds a DC 25 Perception check).

creepy-houses-6When the lighting struck, the PCs were shifted to an alternate universe just slightly out of alignment with their normal dimension. This effect does not hamper the party in any way other than the slight distortion of color. Any detection spell or compass seems to still give out the right cardinal directions, but these always lead to one of the Macabre Manses until adventurers have successfully braved the haunted estate. [Of which there are four across the month of October—the first is tomorrow! -MM]

After the party has traveled roughly a mile in any direction, they find a long, broken cobble road. After about 5 minutes of walking along it the PCs run into a large gate with a pair of overlooking gargoyles statues staring at an unusually large lock hanging from the entrance.

gargoyle-small-cleanWhen the adventurers approach the gate, anyone that succeeds a DC 31 Perception check notices the statues are stirring for a fight.  The creatures take to the air and spread out, racing to see how many of the PCs they can kill.  Once the party has defeated these monsters, they find that the key unlocks the gate—should they dare to proceed into the mansion (though should they walk in any other direction, the PCs walk out of the woods and right back up to the entryway).

SCALING THE ENCOUNTER
To modify this encounter, apply the following changes:
CR 3 (XP 1,200): Remove one gargoyle from the fight and add the young template to the gargoyle (+2 to all Dex-based rolls, –2 on all other rolls, –2 hp/HD. Reduce the DR to 5/magic)
CR 11 (XP 12,800): Change the regular gargoyles to four-armed gargoyles.

 

[Submitted by Tim Snow!]