Heathrock Downs

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Heathrock Downs
Type Dungeon
Status Explored May 883 TA
Location near the Coral Castle
Hex 2710
Campaign Dragonsford Campaign
Adventure # 78
Map-coral castle.jpg

Introduction

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).

Heathrock Downs

Heathrockdowns01 new.jpg

Room 1: Entrance

A low overhang or rotted wood and mud protects the entrance to the dungeon. The floors and walls of the entrance room (and the rest of the dungeon) are made of rough-cut stone. The entrance is forty feet wide and thirty feet deep with a twenty foot wide hallway extending from the north wall. Overlooking the river are two orcs absorbed in throwing rocks at a skull skewered upon a stick on the far side of the river. The orcs are dressed in rusty armor with long swords and javelins. Their shields bear the insignia of Orcs of the Bloody Eye.

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.

A set of stairs lead into the dungeon proper. The high quality construction of the walls, floors, and ceilings show through years of neglect and moss. At the top of the stairs is a heavy portcullis. The portcullis is closed.

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.

Beyond the portculis lies a hallway heavy with the dust of many years of disuse. The stonework here is similar to that of the outer works. In the niche on the north wall is a long stone slab. The north wall has a painted mural, almost lost to the years, depicting a man lying in state with a sword in one hand and a staff in the other. In the northwest corner of the niche is a small shaft bored into the wall. The shaft is about 1 foot in diameter and drops downward. The eastern passage is blocked by a rock slide where the roof of the temple has seemingly collapsed. The western passage is 20 feet wide and extends into the darkness. About 40 feet down the hall, you see a passageway in the northern wall with light and muffled voices coming out.

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

From this point, the hallway extends for another 60 feet and then breaks north. There are two small niches in the north wall. Each is roughly man sized. Across from each niche is a painting similar to the one in Room 2. These murals depict the life of a great warrior. The men in these paintings are armed with long swords and dressed in chain mail. From their bright red hair, it is very likely that they came from the tribes far to the north. Scattered in front of each of the niches is the petrified remains of a body, presumably the warrior which occupied the niche. A secret door is propped open in the north side of the first niche. From within, light and the sounds of four orcish voices can be heard.

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

Once a place where priests prepared for burial services, this room has been gutted by the foul orc robbers. Currently, there is a fire burning in the corner of the room. It is very smoky and the black soot has stained the otherwise plain walls. A table in the northeastern corner is loaded with food stolen from Heathrock Downs. In addition, a number of fish are boiling in a pot that is sitting on the fire.

This room is regularly checked by the four orcs that patrol Rooms 4-6.

Room 5: The Master's Quarters

Locked.

This room is exceptionally neat with a cot pushed up in the northeastern corner, a small rug placed neatly in the center of the room, and the stolen chest at the foot of the bed. The walls are unadorned.

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

Like the kitchen, this room is filthy. The room is plain, with three wooden doors: two in the south and one in the north. It contains sleeping areas for twelve orcs arranged around the far walls. The center of the room has been cleared away as a meeting place. Five of the mats have helmets, swords, shields, and the like piled on them. In addition, equipment for four other orcs is piled in the northwest corner.

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

This hallway is similar in construction to the southern hallway. There are two destroyed bodies at the west end of the hallway and a sign of a struggle. Several broken tables and chairs are piled in the eastern end of the hall. A passageway in the southern wall has steps leading up. A trail of muddy footprints lead from the hallway to Room 6. Voices and sounds of several orcs working can be heard coming from Room 8.

Room 8: The Great Pool

Once a clear spring where the dead bodies of the worshipers of the temple were placed for burial, the Great Pool is now the consistency of soupy mud. A stairway leads up to a ramp that overlooks the natural cavern walls of the Great Pool room. On the top of the ramp is an ogre of formidable size. He is armed with only a staff, and he is watching the work of five orcs who are wallowing around in the mud for treasure. Each orc has a rope tied around his waist, the other end of which is fastened to the stone ramp with an iron spike. In one hand, each orc has a large sack (for holding their booty). A dagger (for prying) is in the other hand. Their treasure is mostly mud, but occasionally a rusty sword or small coin can be found.

Room 9: The Priest's Hallway

On the far side of the wooden barricade, is a hallway similar to the one on the west side of the temple. Again, the first niche has the destroyed body of a zombie outside.

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

This room is covered with the dust of many years. It is austere plain walls surround only a simple bed, chest full of now-rotted clothes, a small table with petrified foodstuffs, and other common chamber items. On a peg near the southern door is a dark blue robe, now tattered and ruined (will be on ghost).

Room 11: The Widow's Room

This room has been untouched for many years. Near the center of this room, a wooden couch has been placed. The couch, now dilapidated, is piled with pillows and heavy blankets. On either side of the couch is a large stone urn, now filled with a rusty water. In the northeastern corner of the room, is a tapestry of black and white depicting a skeleton warrior and a beautiful young girl walking hand-in-hand.

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.

Epilog

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....

Monsters

1 doppleganger/ogre
12 orcs (four dead)
2 outside guards
1 portcullis guard
4 inside guards
5 working orcs
6 zombie heroes (four destroyed)
9 zombie priests (one destroyed)

Treasure

20 copper pieces (8 outside guard, 12 inside guard)
50 silver pieces (30 outside guard, 20 inside guard)
silver bracelet (20 gp)
golden ring with red cross (100 gp)
120 clean gold pieces
30 dirty gold pieces
Staff of Command (3 charges)
Sleep Powder
100 gold pieces each from Baron Aldridge