Blackrose and the Amethyst Dagger
|Status||Explored May 888 TA|
|Campaign||The Elven Watch Campaign|
Letter to King Fleetwood of Teufeldorf
What follows is a letter that was delivered to Sir Hugh Sterndale, a highly placed Ranger in the Order and Vincent Fleetwood's captain in Teufeldorf for the rebuilding. Sterndale researched the note and has added his comments to the bottom of this document.
|My Esteemed Liege Teufeldorf.
As you know, my small barony lies on the edge of what many in Teufeldorf consider the wilderness. As such, I have always been besieged by sightings from those under my protectorate which are oftentimes mysterious and unexplained. The dark woods of the Grimore Jungle are a constant source of these tales. And since the great tragedy of 883 and our loss at the Battle of the Wilderland River, tales of ghostly soldiers and wailing mothers is commonplace. However, eighteen months ago, a tale was told to me by two soldiers, both trustworthy, and completely independently. In fact, these men were stationed at different villages in Weremouth. They spoke of a thin man, more of a shadow, that crept through the towns of the barony at night. I would not have connected the stories except that they both talked of a dagger which glowed in an eerie purple light. The man spoke in low tones to the weapon, as if it were alive. The strange man was searching for someone or something. Later that week, the commander of the garrison at the Wilderland Castle went missing. Searches of his rooms found empty bedclothes lying under the covers, undisturbed. A single black rose on his pillow.
I sent out messengers to determine if anyone else had seen the assassin or the strange purple dagger. After a week, a single report came in that a cloaked figure matching the description boarded a ship late at night headed for Dier Drendal, the capital city of the Dark Elf island of Dor Daedeloth. I have heard rumors of the release of the Dark Elf ruler Asmodan in July 885, and I am sending this report to you in case I have stumbled upon some matter of great importance. Please advise me on what actions to take.
Sir John Weremouth, Baron.
In the hand of Sterndale, the following message has been appended to this document.
|Vince, I have taken it upon myself as your captain to do some research into this document. As you know, the Baron has been a trustworthy man and is hardly one to make up stories. We all know that the battles with Sandal have hit his barony very hard.
My men have questioned the Baron and his men. They appear to be telling the truth, and their stories match the accounts above exactly. Normally, I would not bother you with such matters, but in my research in the Archives, I have found a disturbing trail. In the process of doing my research, I have had to buy some information from sources which you might find disreputable. However, the evidence all points in the same direction. I don't think you are going to like what I have found.
It is well-established that Asmodan and his followers are practitioners of the Dark Arts, and it is also known that this sinister brotherhood uses all the weapons at its disposal to wreak chaos on the peoples of the Realm, especially the High Elves of Elothian. As the swords of the Druid order, our fates have always been closely intertwined with the elves. I have even fought dark elves before, an experience that I am not keen to relive.
However, amongst the tools that Asmodan has under his control, it is not his evil legions that are at play here. No, Asmodan has a secret weapon, an assassin so gifted that she has never failed, never been caught, and only a few have ever glanced upon her form. Two hundred years ago, the Dark Elves held a tournament of sorts in Dier Drendal. They invited the greatest thieves and assassins of the time to participate. The goal was simple. Within the city lay an ancient chapel. Within the circular altar of that chapel lay a weapon of incalculable worth - called then the Amethyst Dagger. The dagger's origin was clearly from an earlier age, but the power of the dagger was to reputed to grant the wielder invulnerability to death. As the tale is told, and here the story becomes somewhat murky in its origins, the contest was won by the Grandmaster Assassin Jillian Blackrose. It is said that she piled the bodies of her victims into a great pyramid and escaped through a hole in the chapel's dome.
Shortly thereafter, the Dark Elves had a new weapon, an assassin who carried a purple blade and seemed to walk through walls immune to death. How the Dark Elves gained control over Jillian is not known. It is rumored that Jillian longs for the weapon, to feel its power running through her veins. However, the blade is kept hidden from her most of the time, and she is allowed to touch it only during a mission. It was assumed that Blackrose was dead. Now, this recent sighting has stirred up those in Teufeldorf who walk the Dark Path.
If this were not bad enough, here is the twist in the story. My research suggests that the Amethyst Dagger is actually part of an ancient reliquary. It is said that the dagger belongs to the Relics of the Voice. Three years ago, when Archdruid Falstaff became the Paladin of the Voice, it seemed like an answer to our prayers. However, if I am right, the relics he seeks are very dangerous. Each item has an alignment, based on its function. The scabbard is obviously neutral, as it is the impartial wielder of justice. However, the dagger is clearly evil. I can only imagine that it acts out of a need to balance the forces of good and law. My concerns should be obvious. Should the Archdruid gain possession of the dagger without a corresponding good item, he may become tainted. However, his quest for the Reliquary will undoubtedly push him to use the item before its time.
And finally, the kicker. It seems that Jillian Blackrose has a new target. The dockmaster overheard the assassin speaking to her weapon, petting it while she was huddled in a corner waiting for her ship to leave. She kept repeating a single word: Fleetwood.
I do not know if you wish to attempt to defend against this threat from the safety of Teufeldorf Castle or strike out to Dier Drendal in search of Blackrose and the Amethyst Dagger. I would caution you about allowing this information to fall into the hands of the Druids, however. I await your command on this matter.
Sterndale, Ranger of the Wilderlands.
DM's Note: Blackrose is following Vince. She will come to his court disguised as Faldirion, as the real Faldirion has been captured and is waiting at the lighthouse. She is ready to get on board the ship and cause some mayhem. If the party suspects something, she will pretend to fall overboard during a sea voyage.
A Visit from Faldirion
Faldirion has arrived in Teufeldorf for an audience with King Fleetwood. His grandson, Falstaff, is on a secret mission for the Elves with King U-Gene. So Faldirion has come to Vince for help.
"As you know the Elves of the Radiant Dawn came across the Great Sea in their finest ships, called Foamskippers. These ships have few armaments, but they are very fast and maneuverable. As they hover just above the water, there have never been known to have been caught by pirate or sea monster. It was three weeks ago that two foamskippers left Teufeldorf on a supply run to Timberway. The weather was clear, and with the orcs at bay, there was no were no signs of trouble. The ships never arrived at their final destination. We assumed that the problem was natural, so a fully armed human warship was sent to investigate. After ten days, they discovered several elven sails floating in the water off the coast of the Orc Nation near a natural whirlpool called "The Tumult". Preparations were made to dive the next day to the wreckage. That was the last message we received from the warship. I implore you to send a mission to find out the source of these disasters."
"The Tumult is a slow-moving whirlpool that is formed by the current sweeping down the coast of the Orc Nation and catching the rocky outcropping known as Smuggler's Point. The whirlpool is well-known but still dangerous for ships that pass too nearby."
Beach of Souls
"This long stretch of soft white sand is named for the propensity of ships wrecked on the Shark's Teeth to have their cargo and bodies wash up here. The beach is at the bottom of a sheer cliff of white stone."
As the party approaches, they can see whale bones on the beach.
"Most of the dragon's bones still arch upright, piercing the air, with the massive head lying on the ground facing the traveler. Many of the features that once marked the face have worn away with time and weather, leaving only empty eye sockets, a long nose, a few teeth, and a pair of curved horns. The neck winds backward to the massive torso, which sits on the ground with the ribs embedded in the earth. The space underneath the torso is over 100 feet across and 150 feet long. The remains of a tail stretch away across the plain; what remains clearly indicates that the tail was probably 150 feet long as well. Nothing remains of the wings or legs, though shattered bone fragments litter the entire area and have worked into the sand."
Inside the bones are human bones and a large treasure chest.
Entering the bones, brings the skeletons to life, including the dragon. Breath of the undead. The chest has tumblers and marked with a puzzle.
The chest contains: 800 platinum, Arrow of Direction, Figurine of the Golden Lion, Girdle of Cloud Giant Strength, Potion of Water Breathing (2), very large garnet, small sapphire.
"A small man in a dinghy is attempting to pull the sail back to shore. He appears to be failing, although undaunted."
Mad Bilgy wants the material to make more "experiments" to solve the map riddle. If done correctly, the party gets a rough map of the pirate caves. Mad Bilgy will eventually be captured and the puzzle can be found elsewhere.
"The pointed line of white rocks appear at first glance to be a row of giant shark's teeth. They are uninhabited except for a number of seagulls and small nesting birds. From a distance, these birds give off a shrieking cry that sounds like those of a banshee. As a result, these rocks are often marked as haunted on old sea maps."
The rocks are inhabited by Piemarchin, a male aquatic pixie. He employs special arrows that deal no damage but have special effects:
Memory Loss: An opponent struck by this arrow must succeed on a level 18 save or lose all memory. The subject retains skills, languages, and class abilities but forgets everything else until it receives a heal spell or memory restoration with limited wish, wish, or miracle.
Sleep: Any opponent struck by this arrow, regardless of Hit Dice, must succeed on a level 18save or be affected as though by a sleep spell.
Spell-Like Abilities: 1/day -- dancing lights, detect chaos, detect evil, detect good, detect law, detect thoughts, dispel magic, entangle, lesser confusion, permanent image, polymorph self. Caster level 14th.
Greater Invisibility: Piemarchin remains invisible even when he attacks. This ability is constant, but he can suppress or resume it as a free action.
"Built as a warning for the Tumult and the Shark's Teeth, an old lighthouse stands at the tip of Smuggler's Point. It is a simple stone building approximately 60 feet high. Its light source is a magical spell which has been refreshed periodically over the years. Although there are several rooms at the base of the lighthouse, it has not been occupied for years."
Room 1: Main Hall
"This room has a low ceiling and very thick walls. It is remarkably quiet in here compared to the pounding surf and constant winds of the point. An ancient wooden table is in the center of the room. Around the table are eight chairs, also of ancient hardwood. At the end of the table sits Faldirion the elf, tied to a chair. The other chairs are occupied by pirates with crossbows trained on Faldirion's head. A stairway leads down. A curtain in the northeast corner is pulled shut."
Room 2: Waleran's Room
"A simple bed is pushed up against the far wall."
Room 3: Reading Room
A small sitting room has a single chair which is slowly collapsing. A small round table piled with maps and a locked sea chest are also here. The chest is festooned with a number of small silver sailing icons. A script is etched near the lock.
Anchor - pressing this opens the chest.
The chest contains: 400 gold, Gauntlets of Master Dexterity, Potion of Water Breathing (2), and a very large amethyst.
Room 4: Storage
"A small well is in the center of this room. Around this are piles of boxes and barrels, mostly very old, but a few new ones have been brought here by the pirates. A small cask of rum sits on the edge of the well."
The well leads down into the Smuggler's Caves. A secret door drains the pool and reveals a passage down.
"Several caves have formed along the northern edge of Smuggler's Point, carved out by the swirling waters of the Tumult. Once a home for a small infamous group of pirates, known as "the Silver League", these caves were cleared sixty years ago by the Admiral of the Western Reaches. No pirate activity has been reported since."
Room 1: Maraglynis' Cave
Maraglynis, female sea hag rogue. Maraglynis carries a Wand of Wonder and Medium Star Ruby.
Evil Eye: Three times per day, Maraglynis can cast her dire gaze upon any single creature within 30 feet. The target must succeed on a level 34 save or be dazed for three days, although remove curse or dispel evil can restore sanity sooner. In addition, an affected creature must succeed on a level 34 save or die from fright. Creatures with immunity to fear effects are not affected by Maraglynis's evil eye.
Horrific Appearance: The sight of Maraglynis is so revolting that anyone (other than another hag) who sets eyes upon her must succeed on a level 34 save or instantly be weakened, taking 2d6 points of Strength damage. This damage cannot reduce a victim's Strength score below 0, but anyone reduced to Strength 0 is helpless. Creatures that are affected by this power or that successfully save against it cannot be affected again by Maraglynis's horrific appearance for 24 hours.
Room 2: Treasure Room
"The floor of this room has been dug completely up. A pit about 10 feet deep fills this room. Around the edges are a dozen shovels, each with a human skull on top. These skulls are actually watchers from the pirates."
Careful study is that two large chests have been drug from this room to the tunnel that leads to the Shark's Teeth.
Pirate Ghost Ships
Tom Sweeney was a pirate. Not a pirate captain, or particularly fierce. He was just a sailor who preferred the life of a buccaneer and enjoyed the company of hard drinking ruffians! He had seen plenty of action over the years.
It was said that Sweeney was born of gypsy stock, although no one knew for sure. Even Sweeney himself did not know exactly where he was born! The one thing that made Sweeney stand out from the rest of his shipmates, was the bird. In his travels he had picked up a marvelous mechanical flying bird made with gilded wings. Brightly colored it is rumored to have been a gift to the Emperor of the Tang. How Sweeney came upon it, nobody knows.
Sweeney took it everywhere. They were inseparable - Until the fateful day that they arrived in Teufeldorf.
The ship was tied up at the dockside. Sweeney, some of his shipmates and the bird had gone ashore. They were all in a quayside alehouse, drinking and playing cards with some of the Teufeldorf locals. As the afternoon wore on, the drinking became heavy and tempers began to fray. An argument developed between a local fisherman and one of Sweeney's pals. In the fight that followed, the fisherman got stabbed.
Now the fight had nothing to do with Sweeney, he was at the bar at the time and was not involved. But the following day, because those in the alehouse had remembered the bird, he was picked out as the ringleader. He was thrown into jail and the bird taken from him. He never saw it again!
Sweeney was outraged at the injustice, and distraught at the loss of his beloved companion. So angry in fact that he placed a curse on Teufeldorf! He became captain of the ships of the Silver League. When these ships were destroyed by the Admiral, Sweeney came back as a ghost to reek vengeance until his bird was returned.
Blackrose made a pact with the Silver League. The life of King Fleetwood in return for the bird. The assassin pirates in the lighthouse are Blackrose's companions.
The ships are always preceded by fog. The four ships are: The Zephyr, The Cruel Shark, The Sea's Strumpet, and The Night's Cry. They travel underwater and shoot cannon balls of seaweed that expand and wrap on contact, water balls (act as cannon balls), whirlwinds which rip up sails, etc.
The ships are always protected by eight giant octopi. These follow the ships and provide protection and an extra punch.
The treasure is on the hold of The Night's Cry. It is in the ballast room. There are two massive chests, both locked with magical puzzles:
The chests contain: 1200 gold, 2000 platinum, a Chime of Opening, Scarab of Protection +5, Potion of Water Breathing, Potion of Grave Healing (2), Medium Ruby, Medium Emerald.
Gross-out: A Dread Pirate can attempt to stun opponents in combat with a grotesque display, by opening its face, taking off its head, exposing a gaping hole in its abdomen, or some other disturbing action. Anyone within 20 feet, facing the Dread Pirate when it performs the Gross-out must make a level 30 save or be stunned for 1d2 rounds. Someone facing a Dread Pirate alone in melee combat must save or be stunned for 1d4 rounds.
Reattachment: Dread Pirates occasionally detach their own arms, legs and head for use in combat, for no reason other than to disturb their opponents. These are easily reattached as a standard action, and should an opponent remove one of the zombie's limbs in battle, the zombie need only recover the limb and reattach it. They do not regrow limbs, however, and usually have to fashion crude replacements with hooks. Its limbs function independently of each other, as does its head.
Spit Fire: A Dread Pirate can eventually spew forth gouts of flame after drinking grog, rum or other alcohol. Quaffing the alcohol is a move-equivalent action, and spitting the flame is a standard action. The flame is a line of fire 20 feet long and 5 feet wide, which does 3d6 damage; Save for half damage.
Dread Fire: A Dread Pirate can light itself on fire as a standard action, doing an additional 1d6 fire damage with unarmed attacks during melee combat and grapples, but doing no harm to itself. The flames are a sickly green hue, and it can use them to set fire to rigging, sails, etc.
Dread Pirates can also cast Kelp Nets and Summon Sirens.