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Foul Machinations: Stealing Stones part 2

granite grottoThe adventurers have made it into the Shlyappa zwerc enclave and are shadowed by a mysterious dwarf soon after: lysyy the hat merchant. He pleads with them to investigate the strange happenings in his storeroom, and the PCs find a bit of dust (as well as a deadly earthen mimic!) that can only lead to the Granite Grotto. The party uncovers P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R. smugglers in the unique cavern and would put an end to the illicit operation right there, but are held at bay by ignis the stonespeaker.

Though the trail is momentarily lost, a young dweorg boy flags the adventurers down and directs them to a side tunnel where the criminals fled. Unfortunately the dwarf reveals itself as a lethal and maddened gitwerc underterror not long after and when the PCs catch up to the P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R.S. the ne’er-do-wells cause a cave-in that threatens to kill everyone! Finally after prevailing against these deadly challenges, the adventurers take one last long walk through tunnels before emerging in a marsh somewhere in Aventyr.

 

bailey's hatStealing Stones has been designed with a sandbox approach and there are several other articles to use when running this part of the AaWBlog Adventure Path [the first post tying this month together is located here. —MM]. Six dwarves—all whom once knew Doc—lost their lives in or near Shlyappa and many of them are still tethered here, haunting the numerous passages and tunnels (and ideal for a sidequest of a GM’s devising: sneezing bell haunt, Bailey’s hat, graceless cackle haunt).
Of course we’ve also got traps galore (the replacement hat trap, festering crown fireball trap, hat rip trap) as well as a treatise on Subterranean Adventures by Justin Andrew Mason, and then of course, several new magic hats (infested tam o’shanter, maculos mask, Klavekian mining cap). Unlucky adventurers may even pick up the cursed amber attenuator somewhere along the way and have an even tougher time in the zwerc enclave!

 

It’s been an exciting build-up and we’re steadily moving toward a crescendo, so make sure to join us throughout August as we take the party through the Vast Swamp of Aventyr in Bogs of Bane!

 

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Stealing Stones: Cursed Amber Attenuator

cursed Amber AttenuatorCURSED AMBER ATTENUATOR
Aura moderate illusion; CL 8th
Slot —;Cost 16,000 gp; Weight 2 lbs.

DESCRIPTION
When used to navigate, a cursed amber attenuator blocks junctions and side tunnels while traveling underground or on the Amber Roads, covering the openings with illusions of walls and barriers seamlessly blended into the existing passageway. The image is projected to all creatures within 100 ft. of the bearer, but only the creature who has possession of the cursed amber attenuator can break the illusion (any other creature that tries to touch an illusory wall or barrier treats it as real). A cursed amber attenuator always leads its user to the closest aggressive monster instead of the correct path to reach their destination; this increases the chance of a random encounter by 10% every thirty minutes traveled. A DC 18 Will save allows the bearer to see through an illusion created by the cursed amber attenuator (this save may be attempted every time the bearer physically interacts with an illusory wall).

CREATION
Magic Items improved amber attenuator

[Submitted by Tim Snow!]

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Stealing Stones: Hat Rip Trap

Hat Rip Trap     CR 6
Type magic; Perception DC 30; Disable Device DC 30
Trigger location; Reset none
Effect spell effect (greater command to cause targets to remove and destroy headgear, DC 17 Will save negates); multiple targets (up to 9 targets within 70 ft.)

hat rip trapOne particular zwerc mage could not forgive his rival for stealing a spell of his invention, taking so great an umbrage that he crafted a contraption that saw him instantly banned from Shlyappa. To exact revenge he threw a grand party in honor of his nemesis and invited a veritable who’s who of guests to attend as well (along with many of his foe’s spell-casting friends). At several places both inside and outside he placed well concealed hat rip traps that commanded the targets to remove their headgear—and destroy the beloved chapeaus, instantly causing many to violate one of the settlement’s taboos! Before being cast out of the enclave, the wizard set many more of these traps throughout the tunnels as revenge and some still appear from time to time.

[Submitted by Rory Toma!]

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Stealing Stones: Klavekian Mining Cap

Klavekian Mining CapKLAVEKIAN MINING CAP
Aura faint universal; CL 1st
Slot head; Price 2,900 gp; Weight 1 lb.

DESCRIPTION
A small, nondescript hemispherical metal helm emblazoned with the Klavekian Mining Corporation logo.

Klavekian mining caps were originally provided to management personnel assigned to operational mines belonging to the Klavekian Mining Corporation. The wearer of a Klavekian mining cap gains the use of light as an at will spell-like ability (CL = HD). In addition, the metal helm provides the benefits of a continuous detect poison spell, alerting the wearer of any harmful gasses or vapors via a whispered warning (via message).

Unfortunately, the cost of producing Klavkian mining caps often resulted in unscrupulous or down on their luck mine managers selling their equipment, causing many of the helms to ever be used in their original intended capacity.  It isn’t unknown for Klavekian nobles to wear one (disguised by a more ostentatious hat) when they attend social events where they fear the possibility of poisoning by a rival or enemy, and wealthy marsh dwellers may have a Klavekian mining cap to alert them to poisonous swamp gasses. Nefarious sorts seek out these defunct protective headgear as well, and many successful burglars have them as a counter measure to poisonous traps that use vapors.

Various versions of the Klavekian mining cap were made when the Klavekian Mining Corporation first started production; for example, message is replaced with magic mouth to alert all miners in proximity to the cap wearer if there is harmful gas in the vicinity. Due to their significant additional cost, these variations are incredibly difficult to find (obviously not desired by most wearers, who wish for discretion).

CONSTRUCTION
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, light, detect poison, message; Cost 1,450 gp

[Submitted by Martin Blake!]

Gary Gygax Day and Rise of the Drow

Today is Gary Gygax Day and in honor of the celebrated father of tabletop gaming, the Rise of the Drow PDF is on a one-day deal for only $29.99! You’ve got until midnight to get this enormous 500+ page subterranean mega-adventure at this breakneck pace, then take your players into it to (as Mike likes to think Gary would enjoy) break some necks!

The Aventyr Bestiary Kickstarter ends in just days!

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Stealing Stones: Doc, Underworld Horror

Doc - Gitwerc UnderterrorDOC THE UNDERWORLD HORROR           CR 10
XP 9,600
Male gitwerc underterror 11
NE Large outsider humanoid (dwarf, gitwerc, native)
Init -2; Senses darkvision 120 ft., see in darkness; Perception +8
Aura dreadful presence 11 rounds/day (60 ft., -2 vs. fear, DC 18 Will or shaken 1d4 rounds)

DEFENSE
AC 23, touch 7, flat-footed 23 (+8 armor, -2 Dex, +8 natural, -1 size)
hp 133 (11d10+68)
Fort +8, Ref +5, Will +6
Defensive Abilities improved evasion; DR 5/chaos; Resist cold 5, electricity 5, fire 5
Weaknesses light blindness

OFFENSE
Speed 20 ft.
Melee 2 claws +16 (1d8+9 plus 1d6 acid, Crit 19-20/x2) and 2 tentacles +11 (1d8+5 plus 1d6 acid)
Special Attacks extra attacks (2), evolution surge 2/day (self only)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 15 ft. (20 ft. with Lunge)

HEL Pool Spell-Like Abilities (CL 11th; concentration +14; 5 points)
3rd (3 points)—baleful polymorph (DC 16)
2nd (2 points)—deeper darkness, dread bolt
1st (1 point)—bane, forbid action (DC 14), murderous command (DC 14)

TACTICS
Before Combat Doc uses his evolution surge ability to grant himself the increased damage (claws), increased damage (tentacles), and energy attacks (acid) evolutions, then activates his deeper darkness HEL power (centered on something small on his person). Alternatively he may choose grab instead of increased damage  and energy attacks (dealing melee damage as below but able to begin grapples on successful hits, with a CMB of +21 to grapple).
During Combat Doc trudges forward into his enemies using Lunge (taking a -2 to AC gaining +5 ft. reach to melee attacks). When a spellcaster or ranged specialist makes themselves known, Doc uses baleful polymorph on the current melee combatant and wails away at the greater threat. As soon as he is visible, Doc activates dreadful presence.
Morale Doc is quite insane (especially after waiting so long between transformations) and fights to the death.
Base Statistics Without his evolution surge, Doc’s statistics are: Melee 2 claws +16 (1d6+9, Crit 19-20/x2) and 2 tentacles +11 (1d6+5).

STATISTICS
Str 26, Dex 6, Con 20, Int 10, Wis 8, Cha 16
Base Atk +8; CMB +17; CMD 25
Feats Extra EvolutionB, Improved Critical (claws), Improved Natural Armor, Lunge, Multiattack, Run, Toughness
Skills Bluff +10, Disguise +8 (+18 as dweorg), Intimidate +8, Perception +8, Sense Motive +7, Stealth +8; Racial Modifiers +10 Disguise (dweorg)
Languages Common, Infernal, Undercommon
SQ change shape (alter self, dweorg only), evolution gift (2 evolution points, 1/day for 11 minutes), fiendish resistance, fiendish sorcery, infernal, skill training (Diplomacy, Sense Motive), mutable form (full-round action, 2 evolution points), undershape (Medium humanoid; alter self, 9 forms)
Evolutions (14 points; claws, damage reduction, improved natural armor [2], large, reach [claws], reach [tentacles], tentacle [2])
Gear +2 breastplate, amulet of mighty fists +1, belt of strength +2, ring of sustenance

SPECIAL ABILITIES
Dreadful Presence (Ex) Doc can transform his body into a hideous writhing mass of flesh that terrifies those that behold it as a swift action (lasting for 11 rounds per day). When activated, every creature within 60 feet of Doc receives a -2 penalty on saving throws against fear for the duration of the effect and must succeed on a DC 18 Will save or be shaken for 1d4 rounds. Transforming back is a free action. This is a mind-affecting fear effect.

 

5E Rules

Use the “Xorn” creature entry but with the following changes: Strength 22 (+6), Armor Class 18, Hit Points 80 (7d10+42), Speed no burrow speed, Skills Bluff +3, Disguise +3, Space 10 ft. by 10 ft., Languages Common, Infernal, Undercommon, no earth glide, no stone camouflage, no treasure sense, able to assume form of dwarf (dweorg and 9 other Medium-sized humanoids), Innate Spellcasting Charisma (spell save DC 11), At will: darkness, Attacks increase to hit bonus and damage of all attacks by +3, increase reach of claw attacks by +10 ft., Challenge 6 (2,300 xp).

 

 

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Stealing Stones: Cascade of Stone

After uncovering the smugglers, the stonespeaker ignis holds the adventurers back while the surviving P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R.s (at least four) run off with their contraband through the secret door in the southeast section of the Granite Grotto and escape into a tunnel leading into the Amber Roads. At first the PCs are likely to have lost the trail of the fleeing criminals, but where they went is revealed when the party spots a young dweorg waving them down. The dwarf boy politely informs the adventurers where the men with the box went and points out an innocuous looking passage.

The young dweorg follows along with the PCs as they try to catch up to the P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R.S., encouraging them to continue their pursuit, constantly pointing out that the smugglers have to be just ahead of them. After 2d4+1 rounds of travel through the tunnel (reaching passages that are 10 ft. across and 6 ft. high) the adventurers’ guide suddenly transforms into a horrific creature and attacks, holding the party back and delaying their pursuit. [Doc is in tomorrow’s Statblock Sunday! —MM]

cascade of stone 2When the PCs catch up to the smugglers one of the hirelings chucks a single potion bottle filled with an explosive concoction that deals 3d6 concussive damage (DC 20 Reflex save for half damage) to any creature within 30 ft. of where it lands (just past the last member of the party). The sudden explosion causes the Amber Road behind the adventurers to collapse in an undulating cascade of stone as the space first expands and then collapses into a finite point; they are all cut off from Shlyappa with no other path than further into the planar byways!

The sudden explosion contained in such tight quarters forces several conditions onto all creatures within 100 feet (including the hirelings): prone, stunned for 1d4 rounds, and deafened for 4d4 rounds (both rolls should be made individually for all creatures in the area). Worse yet the passage continues to degrade, shift, and gradually collapse within 100 ft. of the explosion, changing to difficult terrain immediately and caving-in after 1d6+5 rounds (a DC 20 Perception check or DC 14 Knowledge [engineering] check figures out how much longer the tunnel will hold.) As soon as they recover one of the hirelings starts dragging the cargo away from the deathtrap, but any others take up arms and attempt to hold the PCs back before fleeing to safety at the last possible moment.

cascade of stoneThe adventurers recover the crate holding the Shlyappa ore when the smugglers have finally been dealt with and with no other options available, follow the Amber Roads forward. After 1d4+1 hours of hiking the tunnel leads to a shallow cavern with an opening leading out into a swampy terrain: the Vast Swamp. The mouth of the cavern is fairly well obscured by the vegetation of the exterior landscape, and the PCs may find the location a relatively safe place to set up camp and recover from the trauma of the collapsing Amber Road and nightmarish encounter they experienced within.

5E Rules

The potion bottle deals 3d4 bludgeoning damage (DC 17 Dexterity saving throw for half damage).
Deducing how long the tunnel will hold before caving in requires a DC 14 Wisdom (Perception) check or DC 12 Intelligence (Investigation) check.

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