The Highgate Crown

From realm
Jump to navigation Jump to search
The Highgate Crown
Type Dungeon
Status Explored January 919 TA
Location Old Kingdom
Hex 2829
Campaign The Old Kingdom Campaign
Adventure # 155

Alfric's Amulet, Part 2: The Highgate Crown

The "real" Highgate Crown worn by King Quintin Howers, Master of the Heptarchy 918 TA has been substituted for one that allows a counselor (grey figure) to whisper in the king's ear. The "real" Highgate Crown is in the display of Crown Jewels at the Palace - guarded, of course, in Oblivion.

NOTE: This is located in the Newspaper Rooms - forming a five-room circular tour.

The Grey Counselors

Malloc is a mind flayer who believes that he is the most intelligent creature in the Realm. Since it cannot control every living creature, it attempts to control the leaders - the most powerful - not the smartest.

To accomplish his goals, Malloc uses small quantities of a singular meteorite made of the sky metal Malloc calls Illithium. This substance makes even the most well-protected, resistant to mind-effects creatures susceptible to charm and influence.

Malloc stumbled upon the Illithium meteorite in the First Age while trying to determine the most suggestible races in the Realm. Those living in the proximity of the stone were completely unable to resist Malloc's magic. When first discovered, Malloc noticed that the meteorite was surrounded by a number of grey, shadowy figures - which he calls Rumors. Whenever, a bit of Illithium is removed from the meteorite, a Rumor follows it. Malloc communicates with the Rumors via telepathy, and they follow his command to whisper in the ears of the leaders of the Realm.

Knowing the Old Kingdom was the most advanced civilization, Malloc set up a small workshop with which the Illithium is processed. He makes forgery items of crowns and other items that would be in constant contact with kings, queens and lords. Each has its own grey counselor - and dozens have been distributed.

NOTE: Of course, Malloc is the instrument by which the grey counselors attempt to take control of the Realm.

Encounter 1: Entrance

You find yourself at the elbow of two long hallways.

Extending to the south is a 40' wide hallway broken into several large galleries. The first appears to filled with painting and artwork. Bookshelves can be glimpsed further to the south. After 150', the hallway ends in a large pair of bound brass and copper doors carved with the figure of a medusa.

To the west is a smaller 20' wide hallway also broken into galleries - alternating between what appear to be study carols and rooms lined with bookshelves. The floors here are covered with thick carpets woven in reds, blues and greens.

On the north wall is a set of double doors that appears to be covered in hammered gold, silver and copper - the surface appearing with hundreds of discs - giving the surface the illusion of coins. The doors appear to open out, although there is no handle from this side. You can hear voices from inside the door - one male, one female.

They appear to be having a normal conversation.

"I wonder where Milena and her crew are? I'm told that the Countess of Oakenfield and her children and staff will be here in a few minutes. There is no way the two of us can handle that lot."

"So, what's the gig, Aya?"

"Simple, Logan, we are to open up the rooms for the cow and her urchins and give them free-run of the rooms for an hour. At which time, the chamberlain will come to our rescue and take the whole lot to tea."

Encounter 2: The Military Gallery

The Coin Door opens up into a room 60' long and 30' wide running north and south.

The walls are lined with cases filled with suits of armor - exquisite etched plate mail, ceremonial gold and gem-encrusted suits with no military value, and several sets of actual field plate with small plaques denoting which Overlord wore the suit into battle.

The center of the room is filled with a row of five smaller cases each about 10' long. These are filled with a vast variety of weapons - again some purely ornamental encrusted with jewels, some of actual military use. The cases themselves appear to be made of mahogany with fine glass and soft velvets of dark and expensive hues.

Four guards - two at each door - stand at the ready. They are dressed in chain mail shirts with heavy leather greaves and battle-sharpened weapons.

If magically examined, several of the items - a nasty, battle-nicked longsword, a jewelled dagger, etc. shimmer softly, as if blurred by several images of the same item overlaid but slightly off-centered.

In Oblivion. These items will glow brightly - the rest will be dull. The guards are replaced by huge tentacled creatures with a stocky barrel-like body. The tentacles and body are covered with eyes and rows of wickedly sharp teeth.

Popping into Oblivion while in the room will set them off:

  • A piercer-like incredibly loud wailing sound.
  • The real guards will abandon their posts to come to the room - sending those nearest the main doors into the hallways to seek help.
  • The mundane doors between the rooms will slam shut.

Encounter 3: Heads of State

This room is smaller than the Military Gallery running east and west with a single entrance. The walls of this room are filled with elevated display cases again done in mahogany and glass. The floor of the room has been inlayed with a map of the Realm. Gold lines in the floor run from the map towards the cases.

In each case is a wax casting of a Realm Head of State. Indeed, there is a likeness of the three kings - carefully labeled Vincent Fleetwood, King of the Western Reaches; Ernest Goodfellow, King of the Eastern Reaches; and U-Gene, King of the Durinshold Dwarves. Each is an uncanny likeness. Each is wearing a crown.

  • The model of Durin's Crown, normally worn by U-Gene, is somewhat crude as is the model of the head - clearly the sculptor has not spent much time in the company of dwarves.
  • Vince's head is much more realistic and the model of the Circlet of the Vain Warrior is exquisite.
  • It is Ernie's crown, however, that shimmers slightly. Replacing his normal Helm of Teleportation, the Crown of the Eastern Reaches was fashioned from the crown taken by the false King Trafford at the end of the Hastur Rebellions.

This case is locked with a puzzle:

Highgate crown puzzle.jpg

NOTE: The crown in Dragonsford is infused with Illithium to keep Ernie from making a judgment against an Overlord's agent - if one were to be discovered. The "real" crown is in Oblivion. The difference is that this crown has eight jewels. The one in Dragonsford has nine jewels.

Drgonsford Crown

In a case in the southeastern wall is the head of a young man, labeled King Quintin Howers, Master of the Heptarchy 918 TA. On Quintin's head is a stone crown - seemingly made of interlocking puzzle pieces.

Highgate crown puzzle 2.jpg

NOTE: The puzzle piece is in the crown that Quintin is currently wearing in Seaedge. That piece is what keeps Highgate Kings from declaring war on the Overlord. Switching the crowns will give the party puzzle piece #2. And allow them to use the Narrows to park ships in the Haar Depths landing at Hopeshire.

Quintin Hower is a young man with blond hair and rugged good looks. He is, however, somewhat rube-like in his speech. Clearly, his background is in working the land - not at high court. He is bright, however, and will listen to his elven counselor - Galathil.

The court at Seaedge is very efficient - in stark contrast to the ornamentation of the Old Kingdom. Woods and stones are carefully blended in straight-lined furniture and fixtures. Buildings are typically painted white. Everything is built with quality - just lacking the baubles.

Encounter 4: Morgan's Demise

Morgan is a wizened elf, wrapped in dark green cloak. His eyes shine brightly, and he looks as he normally does except that he is wearing the Crown of the Eastern Reaches.

If mentioned, Morgan will offer it to Ernie (the real target). Morgan, however, will not act against Molloc or the Rumors while wearing the crown.

Encounter 5: Molloc's Appearance

When the party goes to Oblivion to open the two cases with the crowns, Molloc will be alerted to their presence - intelligence that he has gained by using the crown on Morgan back in Dragonsford.

Thinking that he can nab Three Kings in one fell swoop. Knowing that he cannot deceive the Three Kings, we attempts to meet with them in the real world as himself - something he never does.

Standing before you is man-shaped creature with four tentacles by its mouth. It is dressed in simple white robes with a dull, grey belt of metal. Its hands are covered in grey gloves and are outstretched in a sign of peace. It is walking slowly forward.

Molloc will sneeze and attempt to get the party within a cloud of Illithium dust - which will summon dozens of grey counselors. These will be attempting to create confusion throughout the party - giving strange advice, warning of non-existent threats, etc.

If needed - make Molloc a projection from his cave. Molloc cannot travel through Oblivion. He requires the Constable of the Crown to place the items in the vaults in Oblivion.

The Rumors swarm the party - unaffected by most magic - driven at bay by some. For any who are hit by the dust, their voices sound like a cacophony of whispers. All saying something twisted - all trying to control the players actions.

For those protected, the voices are muted like the buzzing of an angry insect.

The grey counselors will be relentless.