Friday, December 16, 2011

Mini-Adventure One: Zilgor's Repose

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Zilgor's Repose

Out past the Obelisk Waste and deep within the region known as the Kalaramar Drifts there are countless old crypts, ancient tombs and long-lost burial sites. So many in fact that the profession of grave-robbing and tomb-looting has become an honorable profession within the city-states bordering this area.

One such old burial chamber is Zilgor's Repose. Most grave-robbers know of it and it is usually clearly marked on the more common maps of this region.

It was broken into and stripped to the walls long, long ago and yet it does not stay empty. Old coins, golden ornaments and other wonderful things have been recovered from this place as recently as only a month ago. There are those who believe this to be some sort of sorcery. Others say that it is some weird effect of the Drifts or that perhaps old Zilgor's sarcophagus has become unhinged in time or some superstitious drivel like that. Rumors abound and wild claims proliferate, but the fact remains; those who return from Zilgor's Repose often have some sort of loot to show for it.

Those that return.

Occasionally a caravan will use the place as a refuge from a particularly fierce sandstorm or to set-up camp during the long nights of the cold season when the jackal-apes go on the prowl.

However you got here, why not see what's inside?

Maybe you'll be one of the lucky ones.

Exterior Encounters
  1. Rulak (1) [AL C, MV fly180'/slither60', AC 7, HD 3, #AT 1 (spit-beam), DG 1d8+spores, SV F1, ML 9]
  2. Pilgrims (Ochre-scale Squamid-hybrids) (1d6) [AL C, MV 120' (40'), AC 4, HD 3, #AT 1 (weapon, wand or bite), DG 1d8, 1d6+1 or 1d4+poison, SV F3, ML 12] Ochre-scale Squamids will attempt to approach anyone they spot hanging about in front of Zilgor's Repose. They are not immediately hostile. In fact, they are lost and are looking for the way to Amdrada's Vortex. They will leave peacefully if unprovoked. Each pilgrim carries a wavy-bladed sword, short bow and a scroll of 1d4 random spells.
  3. Sandstorm Reduces visibility to 1d12 feet for 1d4 hours. Save vs Petrification or lose 1d4 random items or suffer 1d6 damage (player's choice).
  4. Scrapmongers (2d4) [AL C, MV 120', AC 5, HD 2, #AT 1 (weapon), DG 1d6, SV F3, ML 9] Scruffy-looking humans with patchwork armor and mechanically-augmented weapons cobbled together from wrecked machines. They will attack anyone who appears to have any sort of machine that they can take by force, but if they feel at a disadvantage they will withdraw for 1d4 hours, then come back around to see how things stand then. There's a 30% chance that they will follow the party into the dungeon...
  5. Giant Burrowing Worms (3d4) [AL N, MV 180' (60'), AC 4, HD 3, #AT 1, DG 2d6, SV F2, ML 7] There is a 20% chance of burrow collapsing into loose rubble—save or fall into collapsing rubble. Depth of burrow is 10' (+2d10). There is a base 10% chance of sustaining a minor injury (twisted ankle, etc.) by falling down into the tunnel. The worms are otherwise mostly harmless, but edible if roasted.
  6. Gray Worm (1d3) [AL N, MV 60' (20'), AC 6, HD 6, #AT 1 (bite), DG 1d8, SV F3, ML 9] The worms will only approach as far as area 2, no matter how tempting the prey. If they know that there is meat inside the place, they will wait for 2d4 hours, after which time they will forget why they are there and move on to look for something to eat.
  7. Undead Giant Wasps (4d4) [AL C, MV 150', AC 7, HD 1d6 hit points, #ATK 1 (sting), DG 1d4, SV F2, ML 11] Mindless undead husks come swarming around any open fire-source and will attack anything that moves until they are destroyed.
  8. Random Procession of the Damned (see Spell Description for details)


Area 1
This area immediately in front of Zilgor's Repose is heavily packed-down and strewn with the offal, remnants and cast-off bits from dozens of previous camps, caravans, and bandits that have used the place for shelter over the last few months.

If anyone cares to check, or has the ability to determine such things, the last visitor seems to have been here approximately 1d4 days ago. It was a small group. On foot. Moving away from the place.

Checking the immediate area will have a base 20% chance of finding some potentially useful odd-bit mixed in with the trash such as a small sack, some rope, a broken 4' pole, that sort of thing.

Area 1A
This niche holds a spore-pod from a recent victim of a Rulak attack. The pod is wrapped in green gauze saturated with a peculiar, nasty-smelling grease or rubbing compound of some sort that seems to have rendered the spore-pod dormant. For now.

Area 1B
This niche is occupied by the long-dead skeleton of a Drilg. It has been stripped of all possessions and summarily defiled at least twice by recent visitors.

Area 2
There used to be large statues in each of the alcoves flanking this entrance. You can tell by the battered remnants of their feet which are all that remain of the things. The sand from outside will not blow in any farther than this point. Passing beyond this point will cause a slight popping of the ears as everyone adjusts to a slightly different air pressure. Someone might notice that they can no longer hear what's going on outside.

Anyone looking closely will notice that there is a human-sized skeleton lying behind the over-sized statue-feet in one of the alcoves. Their skull was burst apart from inside from the effects of a Cerebral Conception spell. The thing that erupted forth from this unfortunate adventurer might be prowling around in the nearby area (30% chance), otherwise it has probably long gone on to better hunting prospects.

Area 3a
What was once a lovely painted bas relief has been smashed and broken down to reveal the passageway into the rest of the tomb. The gypsum-plaster employed by the tomb-builders contains several wax-coated Gore-worms that have lain dormant here for a long, long time. Passing over the rubble and collapsed mounds of plaster raises a good bit of dust and each person passing this area needs to make a Save (+1 bonus), or else release 1d4 Gore-worms.

Gore-worms (1d4) [AL C, MV 20', AC 9, HD 1d4 per worm, #AT 1, DG 1d4 blood drain per worm or infest, SV F2, ML 4] see entry at Hereticwerks for more details.

Area 3b
After a slight break, there is another mound of rubble and debris from the destruction of another false wall by a previous party of grave-robbers. This area has no real threat, other than to make anyone who encountered the Gore-worms in area 3a to seriously think about how they want to cross this space. There could be a slight (15% base chance) that the debris might shift and subside or collapse a bit more, possibly inflicting 1d4 damage to those caught in the sliding rubble.

Area 4
The Main Chamber. There is garbage strewn randomly about the floor and signs of at least three different camps. The walls are extensively defaced and covered in graffiti in a hundred languages, most of which are completely alien and unknown to the player characters.

This is a reasonably safe spot, though the air circulation leaves something to be desired, so any fire will require some effort to maintain, unless the player characters have magical means to assist in this sort of camp-making effort. Not taking proper precautions will fill the space with choking smoke for 1d4 hours.

Area 5
A small, square room once richly decorated with lots of hammered gold sheets—you can tell by the heavy nails still sticking out from the battered walls and the slight trace of gold here and there—nothing worth scraping up, just enough to tell the tale of former glories. The floor is covered with a foot-deep layer of fine, black sand that seems to be both full of static and slightly magnetized. Lying prone in the far corner is a body. Examining the body reveals it to be a goat-featured hybrid completely riddled with holes that pierce completely through him. Whatever killed this adventurer hit him hard and fast and all at once.

Careful examination of the black sand will reveal 1d4 disparate shards of bones, some of them possibly formerly human, mixed into the gritty sand, all of them splintered and pierced at regular intervals by some sort of almost mechanical-seeming series of blades. Just like the body. However, there is also a bone bottle containing a potion that has miraculously survived the horrific trauma that killed the hybrid adventurer.

The potion is a potion of Cure Critical Wounds. It has only one dose left.

NOTE: There are no wandering monsters until after the party enters this room. Once the Player Characters have entered this room, or even only disturbed the black sand, then all wandering monsters will originate from this very room each and every time one is called for by a roll of 1 on a D6.  See the Wandering Monster Matrix (below) for more details. 

Area 6
False Tomb. A heavily pitted and acid-scored dais rests at the center of this room. Atop it is the shattered, broken, burned and otherwise sorcerously defaced wreckage of a false sarcophaus. The wall paintings are barely discernible through the blasting and discoloration from acid. The floor is ankle deep in cold, gray grit. Crossing this floor requires a DEX check, once you succeed, it's no real problem to adjust posture and pace to keep from slipping and falling. Anyone who does fall takes 1d2 damage and will then spot a tumorous mass of wet-looking nodules crusted onto the ceiling. These are the egg-sacs of a small group of down-on-their-luck Arachnomites who've taken refuge in here after escaping from a sorcerer who tried to enslave them as dungeon-exploring cannon-fodder.

Arachnomites (2d4) [AL C/N*, MV 60', AC 6, HD 3, #AT 1 bite, DG 2d6+poison, SV F2, ML 10] Arachnomites are odd, gnome-sized spider-centaurs with a sickly yellow chitin splotched with brown and gray marks that make them seem suitably drab to lurk in dungeons. The Arachnomites are intelligent and if the player characters care to negotiate with the creatures, 1d4 of the things might be convinced to serve as mercenaries—but they will demand weapons, armor and any obvious poisons that they find in the course of their service.
*Note on Alignment: These Arachnomites are on the cusp between Chaotic and Neutral and it wouldn't take very much to tip them one way or the other, so it is definitely possible to sway them over to a more Neutral outlook if the Player characters make any attempt to negotiate, hire them, or parley with the elders.
Those Arachnomites who remain behind will attack anyone coming back this way from deeper inside the tomb. They are protecting a clutch of eggs and cannot take any chances, now that some of their warriors have left to seek their fortunes...

Area 7
A fabulous golden trapezoid hovers serenely above the floor, slowly turning counter-clockwise in a purplish luminosity that seems to be coming from nowhere. Magic is easily detected. The floor is covered with a fine black sand that is slightly magnetic. Just like in area 5. There is also another body here, this one half-buried in the black grit and as with their fellow victim in Area 5, this body is absolutely riddled with holes that go all the way completely through them. Careful examination or simply looking up will allow the party to spot what look like a thousand little apertures cut into the ceiling, each one of the slits exactly the same size as the wounds on both observable bodies.

Anyone entering the room and approaching the golden trapezoid will trigger the trap that has killed hundreds of would-be looters. When anyone is within 1' of the trapezoid 1,000 razor sharp spears of twisted electrum-chased black metal will slam down, impaling anyone who fails any of three consecutive Saves. Each failed Save means one more spear has gone through the victim for 1d6 damage, however making even one of the Saves means that all damage is halved.

The spears will withdraw back into the ceiling after 3d4 turns. This is a wicked, wicked potentially TPK sort of trap. There is a 50% chance that 1d4 of the Archnomites (if they have joined the party) go running into this room to grab the obvious loot...which will graphically demonstrate the workings of this trap without automatically killing or grievously injuring a player character.

Also, as a matter of trivia, any bodies left behind once the spears retract will slowly sink into the black sand, disappearing after 1d4 turns. Any body left to dissolve into the sand is non-recoverable and will eventually re-appear as a skeleton in Area 5 that will serve as a wandering monster in the future.

The Golden Trapezoid is a cross-planar echo of an object on another plane. It is intelligent and observing things. It has a vicious streak and hates clerics in particular, whom it will attempt to kill at every opportunity.

A combined STR of 24 will allow the group to snap off one or more of the spears before they retract. A spear is worth around 2d100 gp to the right buyer--however they are not of this plane and will draw a lot of sorcerous attention. (Double wandering monster checks both inside this place and out in the wasteland surroundings.)

Area 8
Mostly empty. The floor is covered with guano and there are a few dozen cracks that allow bats to nest in here overnight. The cracks are too small for anyone to use to escape. There are obvious indications that a few others have tried to dig their way out through here in the past, but no one has broken through yet. If anyone looks closely enough (use your discretion) they might spot a small parcel jammed into one of the cracks someone was trying to dig out. The parcel contains a half-full bottle of bourbon, some hardened cheese in crumbly waxed paper, 1d4 chunks of meat jerky and 2d4 copper coins.

The bats will pretty much ignore anyone in this room as they prefer the various nooks and crannies in the now exposed ceiling (the original plaster work has long ago fallen into dust and debris underfoot).

Area 9
More rubble and plaster debris. There seems to have been a passage here at one time but it is now a blank wall, as though it simply ceased to exist.

Trapped beneath this pile of debris is the semi-conscious form of Rudom the Peddler, a Hunchback (Grood)  who wanders the Obelisk Wastes bartering and trading with adventurers and caravans. He is carrying 2d4 Potions of Healing, 1d6 Potions of Extra Healing, and 2d4 random potions, some (50%) of which are merely snake-oil, patent medicine or hair tonic. His legs are trapped thoroughly by the rubble and he is willing to make a deal, should someone consider helping him out of this rather tight spot. Removing the rubble takes 2d6 turns and has a base 40% chance to hurt Rudom's legs, necessitating his use of a potion...which could cut down on the supply available for the Player Characters.

Rudom, Grood Potion-Peddler [AL N, MV 30', AC 5, HD 2+1, #AT 1 weapon, DG 1d6+poison (Save+1 or be paralyzed 1d4 turns), SV F2, ML 5] Rudom poisons his short sword, but he carries the antidote with him as well. He will keep his word, but he is rather anxious to get out of this place. If questioned, Rudom knows of a fortified oasis-monastery about one or two days walk from here where the characters might be able to rest-up, resupply and possibly get some help. 

NOTE: if Rudom has already been used or rescued/killed, then consult the Lone Survivors Table at Hereticwerks.

Area 10
A cool breeze blows towards you from this chamber. It is large and obviously slightly off-center, at least to where you are currently standing. The ceiling is a luminous dome of chalcedony tiles. At the center of the chamber is an elliptical black-edged Portal that changes its destination every three hours. This portal grants access to eight dead worlds. One of them presumably holds Zilgor's actual tomb. This is the secret of Zilgor's Repose. Those who return from this place bearing loot went through the portal.

After each hour spent in proximity to the portal, there is a cumulative 20% chance that something will come through from the otherside.

Encounters
  1. Snake (1) [AL C, MV 90', AC 7, HD 2, #AT 2 (bite and sting), DG 1d6+poison/ad6+poison, SV F1, ML 6] A 9' long, translucent scaled serpent with a large stinger in the end of its tail. It is not happy to see you.
  2. Animated Statue (1) [AL C, MV 30', AC 4, HD 3, #AT 2 (biting maces), DG 1d6+2/1d6+2, SV F3, ML 12] This statue has lost its feet. A quick WIS check will confirm that this is one of the missing statues from Area 2. It seems intent on driving off unwanted intruders and will fight to the bitter end, chasing anyone who flees all the way to Area 2, where it will again take up its usual place of duty. Its partner will appear in 1d10 turns. If this statue is destroyed, it will collapse into large shards, interspersed with diamond dust, which is what it used in place of blood. (There's easily 2d4x100GP worth of diamond dust if anyone wants to recover it.) The Biting-Maces are heavy-duty, +1 magical weapons that bite for an additional 1d6 damage whenever the wielder scores a 19 or better to hit. They are each worth 100 gp in working order.
  3. Phorain (1) [AL N, MV *, AC 8, HD 6 (reduced to -6 hit points), #AT 0, DG 0, SV F6, ML 6] A terribly injured Phorain will lunge out of the portal just before it clicks over to another destination. The creature is mortally wounded and will expire within 1d4 turns. It is clutching a solid gold idol of a squatting, smiling monkey worth 1,000gp. It weights six hundred pounds. Light enough for a burly Phorain to lug around, but a real hassle for most adventurers of lesser stature. Attempting to break or cut the Monkey Idol will deliver a nasty electrical shock for 3d4 damage to everyone within a 10' radius. A second attempt will result in 4d4 damage within a 20' radius. It will escalate three times then it will simply explode for 10d8 damage, leaving no sign of it ever having been there.
  4. Urglun (3d6) [AL C, MV 90', AC 4, HD 2+1, #AT 1, DG 1d8, SV F2, ML 10] These dim-witted homunculi soldiers will march into the room directly from the other side of the portal and proceed to attack any intruders, giving no quarter. Another group will arrive every fifteen minutes until the portal switches over to the next destination. Their weapons and armor are worth the basic prices in the LL rulebook. They will not negotiate nor will they parley. If the party flees, the Urglun will only follow as far as Area 4, where they will set-up a base camp for their masters, a group of adventurers who discovered a cache of Urglun birth-cylinders left-over from some forgotten war on the world they've been exploring through the portal. These people are 2nd to 4th level, and might hire-on a few obviously expendable adventurers to handle some dirty work for them...of course, they'd probably phrase things a bit more enticingly.
  5. Roll on one of the Damned Things Tables to see what comes blowing through the portal.
  6. Toad Zombies (2d4) [AL C, MV 30', AC 8, HD 2, +ATK 1 (bite), DG 1d4+rot, SV F1, ML n/a] A number of hopping, rotting, mindless toads tumble through the portal, some of them obviously missing limbs or with gaping eye-sockets. These wretched things are mindless and will attack the players, and anyone else within range until they are destroyed.
  7. Flytaurs (2d6) [AL C, MV 120' (any surface), AC 5, HD 4, #ATK 2 (claws, weapons or spew), DG 1d6+1, 1d6+1/2d4+1 javelins or 3d4 serrated cleaver/2d6 acid, SV F4, ML 12] These are drone-soldiers, part of an advance guard. There are a lot, a LOT more of these things on the way, with another 1d6 arriving every half hour until the main group reaches the portal on the other side...then it'll be hundreds of the things, and their masters...
  8. Drilg (2d4) [AL C, MV 70', AC 5, HD 2+1, #ATK 2 (horn or scimitar), DG 1d4+1/1d6, SV F2, ML 9] These Drilg are muddy, spattered and splattered with stinking black mud and algae from some vast swamp they've just escaped, or at least this group has escaped. Too bad about the magic-users. They got eaten by whatever those shambling vegetable-things were back there. These Drilg are exhausted from their trek through a terrible slough and they'd prefer to sit down and rest a bit before doing anything as strenuous as killing the player characters. One of the Drilg will attempt to hire the player characters to guard them while they rest-up a bit and then serve as mercenary-escorts to help them get back to one of the near-by coastal City-States. The Drilg have a few spare magic items shared between them and 46 GP. They will promise to pay the player characters the rest of their wages once they reach their commander's camp outside the walls of the City-State. They are telling the truth, and are dealing in good faith.

Wandering Monster Matrix
  1. Skeleton (1d4) [AL C, MV 60', AC 7, HD 1, #ATK 1, DG 1d6, SV F1, ML 12]
  2. Skeleton (2d4) [AL C, MV 60', AC 7, HD 1, #ATK 1, DG 1d6, SV F1, ML 12]
  3. Skeleton (3d4) [AL C, MV 60', AC 7, HD 1, #ATK 1, DG 1d6, SV F1, ML 12]
  4. Skeleton (4d4) [AL C, MV 60', AC 7, HD 1, #ATK 1, DG 1d6, SV F1, ML 12]
  5. Ape Skeleton (1d4) [AL C, MV 90', AC 6, HD 1, #ATK 2 (claw/bite), DG 1d6+1/1d4, SV F2, ML 11]
  6. Deformed Skeleton (2d4) [AL C, MV 40', AC 9, HD 3, #ATK 1, DG 1d6+1, SV F3, ML 6]
  7. Cyclopean Skeleton (1d4) [AL C, MV 120', AC 5, HD 6, #ATK 1, DG 2d6, SV F4, ML 10]
  8. Onager-folk Skeleton (1d4) [AL C, MV 90', AC 6, HD 1, #ATK 2 (kick, bite, weapon), DG 1d6/2d4/1d8, SV F2, ML 12]
  9. Four-Armed Humanoid Skeleton (1d4) [AL C, MV 60', AC 7, HD 1, #ATK 2 (weapons), DG 1d6/1d6, SV F3, ML 12]
  10. Serpentine Humanoid Skeleton (1d4) [AL C, MV 60', AC 7, HD 1, #ATK 3 (claws, bite, or tail-lash) DG 1d6,1d6/1d4/2d4 (+constriction for 1d4 additional on failed Save), SV F2, ML 12]

Notes
Wandering Monsters have no treasure. Their weapons are corroded and barely effective for them, and when pried loose from their bony grip, the weapons tend to fall to pieces (base 70% chance of crumbling to bits).

All Wandering Monsters originate in Area 5 and will not appear until after the Player Characters enter or disturb the contents of that room.

3 comments:

  1. Porky has volunteered to run a group through this adventure and give us all an account of how it goes at his blog. We're also looking for a few volunteers to run this thing and give us some feed-back--either solo-play or small groups. This adventure is geared to be a real challenge for 3-4 characters of 1st to 3rd level...and that is meant to mean that it is a deadly place and you might not get all the way through on one run.

    We'll be posting some supplementary Tables and other fun bits to jazz things up a little more, and if there is interest, we'll set it all up as a handy PDF.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm interested in a pdf of it. :)

    ReplyDelete

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