Dungeon of the Darkling

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Dungeon of the Darkling
Type Dungeon
Status Explored circa 833 TA
Location The Netherworld
Hex n/a
Campaign Netherworld Campaign
Adventure # 63

The Dungeon of the Darkling was located in The Netherworld - not the Realm. The Netherworld was destroyed in 833 TA.

Ariandor - Places of Interest

The Legend of the Darkling

When the multiverse was still in its infancy and the mists of chaos flowed freely over the world and the lands had not yet taken a stable form, it is said that a beast was formed from the utter blackness and chaos. And this beast was alone and wandered the face of the world with no purpose, a random creation of a universe deaf to reason and justice. And so it was until the beast, the Darkling, stumbled into a great pit from which he could not escape. Without thought, the Darkling rested for thousands of years, ignorant of his captivity.

But the world changed about the Darkling. The mists of chaos cleared and from them walked the first vestages of mankind. Great empires were built and crumbled into dust. And still the Darkling rested. Until one of great power spoke his name. And the beast opened his eyes, flexed his dormant muscles, and followed the conjuration. It was the great conqueror Baradar who summoned the Darkling to his side. Bound by some foul pact sealed by a deed of great evil, the Darkling became the left hand of Baradar. To this strange and alien being, Baradar confessed his dreams and desires, his fears and weaknesses, all was told and nothing remained. Baradar and the Darkling become one.

But there were many that would stand in the progress of evil. Most notably, the righteous King Gregory the Even Handed and his knights and heroes. There were, at the time, eight kindred spirits which caused the King of the Shadowland Empire unmatched grief. But one among these great heroes would turn, and it fell upon the misshapen head of the Darkling to perpetuate the deed. And so, Sirfexx Ivancevio, once a great scout in the service of good, was taken. His mind transformed, his will broken, Sirfexx became the right hand of Baradar. Together, the Darkling and Sirfexx fulfilled the twisted evil deeds of the Ruler of Pentacle. The Darkling, in its primative thoughts and powers, did not understand the magics of Sirfexx. It is said that a jealousy between the two henchmen arose. A jealousy which turned malicious when Sirfexx was allowed to humiliate the seven great heroes of Teufeldorf at the Troll's Bridge. But Baradar did not gain his great power by being ignorant of the situation around him, and the King of the Shadowland Empire kept a careful watch on both his left and right hands.

Created from the mists of chaos, the Darkling was immortal, limited by a mind which understood little more than that of a child. But even a child can reason. And so the Darkling decided to make his way from the Courts of Baradar and retrieve the magics lost by the heroes of Teufeldorf. Magics which, the Darkling thought, would give him great power over Sirfexx, the treacherous usurper of his master's favor. It is said that Baradar tricked the Darkling to falling once again into the great pit which had held him for thousands of years. There, in the bowels of the world, a great pyramid of stone was built against the tree known as Lywam-an-Esh. The Darkling was trapped in a small obelisk of the blackest stone with a single key kept by Baradar himself. Around the obelisk were placed two and twenty Sentinals of Time, knights of great power who would keep all who trespassed in limbo. Nearby, two great hounds slept, their muzzles blackened from the sooty fire that escaped from their nostrils. And finally, the bones of six great mages protected the area from magics which would free the beast and bring chaos to the world.

The Dungeon of the Darkling

Dungeon of the Darkling 1
Dungeon of the Darkling 2

The Dungeon of the Darkling was constructed recently by workmen of Baradar. Its purpose is to seal the Cave of the Elder Gods from the heroes of Teufeldorf. The dungeon contains no treasure (except that on the monsters), 35 denizens, and 8 rooms.

A Description of the Exterior of the Dungeon

Far from the surface of Rimworld, the area surrounding the Dungeon of the Darkling is in perpetual twilight. The warm rays of the sun never strike the black, wet, and broken ground at the base of Lywam-an-Esh, the great tree of creation. The sheer sides of the pit are scores of leagues from the dungeon building, and the terrain nearby is marked by several small hills and small trenches. There is a peculiar stench to the entirety of the area. This is thought to be attributed to the gigantic purple worms that live beneath the surface of the floor.

The Dungeon of the Darkling is made from huge sandstone blocks shaped into a oblique pyramid with one side set flush against the side of the Lywam-an-Esh. The building is rough hewn on all sides. It is quite easy to clamber up on the pyramid. The only entrance to the building is a set of double doors on the wall furthest from the tree. The door is locked and sealed. On the wall next to the door is a triangular depression about 6 inches long and 3 inches wide. The building radiates both an aura of evil and magic.

A Description of the Rooms

All interior rooms are made of rough-hewn sandstone. The floors, walls, and ceilings are plain and unadorned. To the trained eye, it can be seen that the building is of recent construction. The source of the magical and evil aura is the obelisk in the center of the lower level.

Room 1: Entrance Chamber

Entrance to this room can be gained only by use of the magical pennant of Baradar. By placing the pennant in the triangular depression, the doors swing silently and effortlessly open. Otherwise, the door is guarded by a 20th level Magic Lock spell.

The entrance chamber is roughly 20 feet by 20 feet. There is a single door in the north wall. The door is closed, but it is not locked. When the room is entered, a magic mouth spell will be triggered above the door in the north wall. The message is in the voice of Baradar:

Beware ye defilers of the Tomb of the Darkling,
I am Baradar, King of Pentacle and Ruler of the Shadowland Empire,
Leave this place or upon your heads I lay my curse,
"Ethrik durin dok duran,
the shape of the worm shall be your own
til darkness reigns upon the land
and sits beneath my hallowed hand,
Ethrik durin dok duran."

After the message is spoken, a 20th level Fear spell is triggered and the room is filled with a deep and roaring laughter.

Room 2: Hallway of the Mages

Opening the door, there is a 10 foot wide series of stairs and landings. On each landing there is a human sized nook on either side. In the nooks are mummified bodies of dead mages. Around the necks of each of the bodies are crystal amulets. The amulets contain the life spirits of the mages (they radiate an aura of magic and evil). The bodies will animate (and the amulets will begin to glow red) when any party member steps on the colored step (see map). The mages have two purpose (in order) keep their amulet and attack any intruders. To destroy the mages, the amulets must be destroyed. A crushing blow of 100 hit points or greater will shatter the stones. The bodies have AC 10 and are easily cut. The body will disappear after absorbing 100 hit points of damage, and slowly begin to reform in their respective nook. The amulets will remain where they have fallen until retreived by the mummies.

The mages will cast the following spells in a random manner at 12th level (divine): Polymorph Other (into a worm), Paralyzation, Diminish, Hold Person, Charm Person, Fear.

The mages will not follow the party into Room 1 or Room 3. If their amulets are carried out of Room 2, the jewelry will crumble to dust and the mage will be destroyed.

Room 3: Chamber of the Hounds

The open stairway leads into a small 15 foot by 20 foot chamber. The walls of the room are scorched and charred. The smell of brimstone and soot is easily detected from the third landing of Room 2. The northern wall has a plain iron portculis leading into a large room. Sleeping in front of the portculis are two large hell hounds. The dogs are not chained.

NOTE: The obelisk in Room 7 has the following properties that affect all the dungeon within the red circle (see map):

  • Magic items less than 19th level will not function.
  • All spells less than 6th level will fail.

The hell hounds will attack any being entering into the room. They will persue the party up the stairs and beyond the portculis, if possible. The hell hounds are AC 4, HD 14, 2d8 + 14 points of damage (save to 2d8 + 7 points). Hell hounds have keen hearing, smell, and sight. They are surprised only 1 out of 6 times, and they can see invisible objects 50% of the time.

Room 4: The Great Circle of the Sentinels of Time

This room is formed in a huge circle 100 feet in diameter with 22 human-size nooks around the perimeter. The ceiling of the room is only about 10 feet high. In places, the ceiling sags, showing the stress of the large number of stones above. In the nooks are the decayed bones of twenty-two warriors. Their swords are rusted and their armor is in shambles. Unlike the mummified mages, these bodies are not animated.

Careful examination will reveal nothing out of the ordinary except that the bodies are aranged in order from the most decayed (in nook 22) to the least decayed (in nook 1). If the party walks clockwise around the room, pausing to look at each warrior, a magical teleport will be triggered that causes the party to appear in Room 7.

Behind the northern wall is a secret room where Telbar the Black, Ralik-Dir of the Flaming Hand, and the Flame Guards hide. A Glassee spell has been cast on the wall, so the events in the Great Circle of the Sentinels of Time can be watched.

Room 5: Entrance to the Cave of the Elder Gods

This room is half contained in the effects of the obelisk. The walls and floor are of the same material as the rest of the dungeon. A narrow hallway in the northeast corner runs down to the lower level of the dungeon. The northern wall is actually the trunk of Lywam-an-Esh. A thicket of vines grow near the entrance of the cave. The vines are inpeneratable and impervious to weapon or magical attacks. Only by possessing "the key" to the Cave of the Elder Gods can entrance to the north be gained. The key is not within the confines of the dungeon. Besides the entrance, this room is unremarkable.

Room 6: Magical Dais of Unknown Power

This room has been isolated by the building of the Dungeon of the Darkling. The dais is about three feet in diameter. On the stone dais is set a single round black stone. The dais radiates an aura of magic, but the exact nature of the object is unknown. While the power of the dais is unknown, it is assumed to be a teleport device. There are no entrances or exits from this room.

Room 7: The Great Circle of the Darkling

This room is identical to the Great Circle of the Sentinels of Time with the following exceptions:

  • A black stone obelisk sits in the center of the room.
  • The twenty-two warriors are now restored to life.
  • The northern nooks (10 thru 14) contain secret doors.
  • Any damage done to the room above will not be reflected here.

Upon being teleported into the room, the sentinels of time will move to attack. The sentinels are AC 6, HD 18, and have two attacks (+3 to hit, +6 damage) doing 1d10 + 6 points of damage. The sentinels use broad swords and wear ring mail armor.

Upon touching the obelisk, the stone device will slowly begin to open splitting into two halves. The obelisk is actually a teleport device. It can be destroyed by inflicting 800 points of damage to it. When fully extended, the Darkling will step out of the device. He will wave his hand and the Sentinals of Time will disappear. The Darkling will try to convince the party that the way to the Cave of the Elder Gods is thru the obelisk. He will lie and say anything to get the party to voluntarily step into the obelisk. If all else fails, he will summon the attack of his four henchmen and try to force the party into the obelisk.

If the party steps into the obelisk, they will be magically suspended in time for twenty years (Realm time). After that time, the obelisk will reopen. The party will then be able to step out of the device. They will find that they have aged roughly twenty years, the dungeon is now empty, and the head of King Gregory is lying on the floor near the obelisk. The head will tell the party of the great desolation of the Realm at the hands of Baradar. The party will be humiliated at the hands of Sirfexx for the second time.

Room 8: The Room of Annihilation

This room is identical to the Chamber of the Hounds. The walls show scorch marks, but any additional damage done by the party will not be present. The southern wall has an archway through which can be seen only darkness. This archway is actually an area of annihialation. If an object is put into the area, it is disintegrated (lost forever). Note that the face of the archway forms the annihilation border.

Monsters

Mages of the Temple (6)
Hell Hounds (2)
Sentinals of Time (22)
Sirfexx Ivancevio (1)
Telbar the Black (1)
Ralik-Dir of the Flaming Hand (1)
Flame Guards of Blood Creek (2)

Treasure

none