|Status||Explored May 883 TA|
|Location||near the Coral Castle|
It is nearly noon when a very tall thin man enters the Wicked Lady pub. As a mockery to his threadbare cloak and tattered clothes, he holds himself regally and calls out in a loud voice. "My master, Baron Aldridge, Commander of the Coral Castle, Lord of Heathrock Downs, Black Marshes, and Weakwood, seeks brave adventurers who wish to journey to his lands on the north shore of the River White and help him gloriously remove a small squad of orcish vermin from his protectorate. The pay is 100 gold pieces per man. I will interview any interested parties here at dusk." The man turns and leaves.
North of Dragonsford lies the destroyed Coral Castle. Once a bastion of strength against the Orc Nation to the north, the late King Gregory's pride is now a pile of broken towers and walls. The castle is occupied by Baron Aldridge, who lives in the only functional building in the compound. The Baron's "army" is a ragtag collection old men and young boys. Baron Aldridge does hold some power, however, as he is the protectorate of three small villages: Heathrock Downs, Black Marshes, and Weakwood.
Rumor holds that last week, a band of ten orcs raided the village of Heathrock Downs. The villagers offered little resistance, and the orcs made off with the following: 20 large sacks, 500 feet of rope, 3 large fishing nets, a cart, food and wine for several days, and a small chest of 120 gold pieces. The orcs bore shields adorned with a single bloody eye. Their leader was a large ogre called Grug by his companions.
An Interview with Tench
Tench greets all who answer his call with a free round of beer. He introduces himself as the Court Magician, and confirms the rumors. A scout sent out by Baron Aldridge has located the orcish stronghold: a cave south of Heathrock Downs on the banks of the River White. The scout reported that the orcs seem to be excavating mud and debris from the cave. Several riverside graves seem to be fresh. The scout has estimated that there are nearly twenty orcs in the stronghold. By land, the journey would be a treacherous one through orc-infested forests and perilously close to the Land of Bogs and the Little People. Tench suggests taking his small boat around the coast and up into the River White, a journey longer than the land route, but much safer. The journey will take fifteen days to reach Heathrock Downs (upstream), and nine days to return to Dragonsford (downstream). While Tench will not join you venture into the orc stronghold, he will act as your guide on the quest. During the adventure, he will wait downstream in the boat, and after ridding the cave of orcs, he will guide you to the Coral Castle for an interview with Baron Aldridge (and your reward).
Room 1: Entrance
Careful examination shows that the stone entrance way is very old and moss-covered. Scraping away the moss on the east wall shows a etching of a human warrior, and the complementary etching on the west wall shows the same warrior, this time a skeleton.
Room 2: Preparation Room
In order to get past the portcullis at the top of the stairs, a guard must turn the crank on the south wall. The guard will require the password "ace" (a passing pun to the fact that guard standing watch won a week's pay off the other guard standing watch with four aces over four kings). This guard will come out of the temple if his suspicions are aroused slightly. If faced with an actual threat, he will get his comrades in Room 4.
Careful perusal of the room leads to the following discoveries: First, the sound of orcish voices can be heard coming up the shaft. While their words are too muffled to understand, it is apparent that the orcs are doing some sort of exhausting labor. Second, an ancient stone dagger is lying in the rubble blocking the eastern passage. Finally, the figure lying in state has a golden ring on one finger with a "+" sign etched in red on it.
Room 3: Warrior Guards
Careful examination shows that there is fresh blood on the floor in front of each of the first two niches. In addition, the dust has been disturbed as if a battle has taken place here.
Very careful examination shows that there are three blood spots on both the west and east sides of the first niche. In addition, the footprints of the orcs extend to the end of the hall, turn north, and end. The hallway continues to the north for as far as the eye can see with niches along the eastern wall every 20 feet.
Room 4: The Orc's Kitchen
This room is regularly checked by the four orcs that patrol Rooms 4-6.
Room 5: The Master's Quarters
Careful examination shows that the chest is unlocked and contains the following treasure: 150 gold pieces (30 of which are coated with mud), a small silver bracelet (20 gp), and a gold ring with a red cross on it (100 gp).
The leader of the orcs is actually a doppelganger. He sleeps in this room in his natural form with the doors locked. Whenever encountered outside of this room, he will always be in ogre form. The Master's favorite trick on humans is to appear as a young woman who is being held prisoner.
Room 6: The Common Room
Most likely, these four guard orcs will be gambling in the center of the room. Each has a small pouch of treasure.
Room 7: The Northern Hallway
Room 8: The Great Pool
Room 9: The Priest's Hallway
Careful examination will show a number of important differences, however. First, the mural opposite each of these niches shows a man in robes, carrying a staff. In addition, a fresh scorch mark can be spotted on the far wall, near the mural.
A very careful examination shows that the secret door behind the first niche is trapped just like the one in Room 3. To disarm the trap, the ring with the red cross (from Room 5) must be inserted into a small cross-shaped depression in the niche.
If any character is wearing the ring with the red cross, the guardians will not attack him. In addition, all those within 30 feet are also safe. The priest guards will attack as zombies. However, they are able to unleash a Burning Hands, Scare, or Spiritual Hammer spell once every six rounds.
Room 10: Priest's Chamber
Room 11: The Widow's Room
Careful examination shows that above each urn on the ceiling is a rust spot (where the "tears of the dead" used to drip). A small alcove in the wall is behind the tapestry in the northeast corner. In the alcove is a small earthen jar filled with white powder.
The sleep powder was mixed with water to calm grieving widows. This jar can be be dropped down the shaft in Room 2 to put the orcs to sleep.
If the characters try to leave the dungeon with any of the treasure from the Temple, a ghost wearing a blue robe will appear each midnight thereafter with an eerie message: Return, Ye Defilers of the Temple of Tears, Or You Will Die In A Watery Grave, By the Powers of the Gods of the Waters, Make Pure The Temple, Make Pure Your Hearts....
20 copper pieces (8 outside guard, 12 inside guard)