Monastery of the Mad Monk

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Monastery of the Mad Monk
Type Dungeon
Status Explored October 907 TA
Location Monastery of the Mad Monk
Hex 7813
Campaign Voyage of the Wanton Wench
Adventure # 122
Map-mad monk.jpg

Overview

The Legend of the Netted Gate

For almost two hundred years, the Monks of the Netted Gate, have kept evil behind the Netted Gate. The evil is a large sea monster of sorts - titanic in size with hundreds of large black tentacles. It shows signs of intelligence, but it communicates only in images projected into the dreams of the monks. Able to destroy the largest ships, the creature was trapped in its current prison by monks with the power of telekinesis. They have worked tirelessly to keep the creature trapped inside the mountain.

They call the monster, "The Netted One".

Four monks are always on prayer duty at the gate. The other eight rotate doing the tasks of the daily living.

The abbot (the Mad Monk) lives in the tower.

Each monk appears to be human except their eyes are completely blue. This is due to a drug farmed from blue flowers that bloom on the island. The flowers allow the monks to sleep without dreaming. The blue flowers are dried and ground with it being used to spice all food and drink. The spice smells and tastes like cinnamon and is called "dram".

The island described in Henry Hyde's log book is small, rising steeply from the sea. It appears to be an ancient volcanic uprising as it has a conical shape with the east side of the cone collapsed to form a small harbor. Trees have grown up along the shore and even from a distance you can see a waterfall cascading from the top of the island mount. Above the waterfall, a series of low buildings have been constructed, hanging precariously from the cliff's edge. It is difficult to make out many details, as a thick smoke pours from the volcano's peak. In the fog, you can just make out the outline of a second structure - a single stone spire set away from the rest of the buildings. The buildings do not seem to have any windows, and you cannot see any signs of life.

More importantly, a ship is pulled up in the small harbor. It is a small sloop. It flies the yellow and blue anchor flag of the Sea Barons. Most notable about the ship is that its main mast is missing. You can see some crew in the rigging of the ship working on a temporary mid-sail.

Map of the Monastery of the Mad Monk

Map-mad monk2.jpg

The Cruel Doubloon

The ship is that of Captain Rooking, a pirate. His ship is the Cruel Doubloon. He is in service to Oliver "Three Fingers" Winters, Sea Baron of East Winds. They will attempt to parlay.

Captain Rooking is a thin man with grey, unkempt hair. He is unshaven and has beady black eyes. He is dressed in leathers with a cutlass and several daggers. He wears a number of rings, necklaces and earrings. He squints periodically.

Rooking wears a Communique Ring - the other of which is on Little Timmy Freeday.

Aye, those damn monks stole our main mast - I have no idea how or why. I sent some of my boys up to the monastery to get it back, but they never came back.

Crew is 12 pirates - nobody goes into the hold except the cook.

Captain Rooking, Nathaniel Livings (First Officer), Eddie Rourke (Sailmaster), Tasha Buck, Stanley Pikeherd, Matt Hatfield, Ivan Tracewell

AWAY - Little Timmy Freeday, Alfred Buckler, Marcus Moats, Mary Knipple, Sonia Knipple.

Each has a bag of 60 gold on them - well paid.

The Cruel Doubloon is in en route from Courtshore to Hidden Skerry where they are to meet up on October 28 to exchange their cargo - dwarven siege weapons, guarded by a sleeping hill giant, with Captain Abigail Bates of the Old Kingdom warship, the Mayfly. She's part of a convoy to take out Dragonsford Castle. Payment is 10,000 gold upon delivery.

The Cruel Doubloon

Officers Quarters

This room has been recently converted to having three sleeping pallets. A small desk and chair is pushed up to the stern. The room is tidy, but has an unpleasant odor. On the wall of this small room is a strange metal box mounted to the wall. It is square in profile and about 6 inches thick. A strange pattern on the front.

Monk-puzzle01.jpg

Opening the box, reveals:

  • A letter
  • A blank log book with a single page in it (which when a page is used goes back to the Oliver "Three Fingers" Winters)
  • 1200 gold
  • Pirate's Eye Patch

Contract for Delivery of Goods - June 23, 907 TA

Captain Rooking and the crew of the Cruel Doubloon will pick up four magical dwarven trebuchets and its crew of two hill giant engineers at Courtshore on or before Jesterscap 907 TA. The cargo has been paid for by Overlord Theodric XIX. In addition, an advance of 10,000 gold has been paid to Oliver Winters, Sea Baron of the East Winds upon contract signature.

Captain Rooking and the crew of the Cruel Doubloon will deliver said equipment and crew no later than October 28, 907 TA to Captain Bates of the Mayfly at the rendezvous at Hidden Skerry. The contract balance - 10,000 gold - will be payable at that time. Your signatures below, Captains Bates and Rooking, will be proof that this contract has been completed and payment has been made.

Oliver Winters, Sea Baron of the East Winds

Ironbender and Hardmantle

The hold is filled with 80 tons of siege equipment - 4 magical dwarven trebuchets. 60 feet tall, throwing 80 lb missiles about 1000 feet. These are boxed into 40 crates. There are 4 long poles that could be used as a mast - except for the 2 hill giants that guard them. Ironbender, Hardmantle

One wears a leather headband with a glowing yellow third eye surrounded by red runes.

Smart Talk

When the trebuchet is loosed, the force causes rotational acceleration of the beam around the axle (the fulcrum of the lever). These factors multiply the acceleration transmitted to the throwing portion of the beam and its attached sling. The sling starts rotating with the beam, but rotates farther (typically about 360°) and therefore faster, transmitting this increased speed to the projectile. The length of the sling increases the mechanical advantage, and also changes the trajectory so that, at the time of release from the sling, the projectile is traveling in the desired speed and angle to give it the range to hit the target. Adjusting the sling's release point is the primary means of fine-tuning the range, as the rest of the trebuchet's actions are difficult to adjust after construction.

The rotation speed of the throwing beam increases smoothly until it reaches maximum rotation speed. Then the arm continues to rotate, slowing, coming to rest at the end of the rotation rather smoothly as momentum is transferred to the sling and its projectile. This is unlike the violent sudden stop inherent in the action of other siege engine designs such as the onager, which loses energy thereby. This key difference also makes the trebuchet much more durable, allowing for larger and more powerful machines.

The Island

The Beach

The harbor is little more than the rim of an ancient volcano, although it is large enough for two ships to anchor - one of each of the island's arms. There is no dock here, but large iron rings and a ramshackle path allow for passage to the main island.

The beach made of large black lumps of volcanic rock and require some climbing skills to maneuver. The beach disappears into trees that have grown from the black soil of the island.

The vegetation is thick along the lower slopes of the island. This is because the ground itself appears to be warm. Dense fog swirls wherever the warm ground air meets the colder ocean air. It is difficult to see far in this terrain, but all paths lead to a central lake and a waterfall the feeds it from high up the cliff face.

Within the edge of the forest/beach, are a number of large lizards which can be heard slithering amongst the fog and broken ground. They will always be found close to a lava tube.

A 10-foot long gray lizard with large wide feet and sapphire-gold bulging eyes stares. Balanced upon thick and muscled, its feet cling to surfaces upon small suction cup-like pads. Its head is angular and somewhat flat and its mouth sports a row of long, serrated teeth.

The Forest

The trees of this small forest are thick-trunked and densely packed. Most are of twisty pine and spruce, although several fruit-bearing trees can be seen - oddly out-of-place amongst the evergreens. The other oddity are bright blue flowers which can be found in abundance growing from the black soil.

The soil is black and very pungent. Periodically, a large hole in the forest floor slopes down and east. A number of large rocks are strewn about the forest, although many are hidden by a green moss which grows over the floor of the forest creating a lush and tropical feel. This is heightened by the unnaturally warm temperatures of the island. The air is very still here, although the crashing of the waves nearby creates a fair amount of background noise.

In the evening and night, owls can be spotted hunting in the forest.

A footpath leads from the center of the forest northeast towards a waterfall.

The Waterfall

As you break through the forest into the clearing at the base of the cliff, the sound of a rushing waterfall makes you look skyward. Almost 200 feet up, you see a wall of water cascading over the edge of the cliff face, tumbling down into a pool of crystal clear water.

It would be an idyllic setting except for several bodies floating near the center of the pool where a natural whirlpool has pulled them into a slow, circling embrace. Suddenly, one of the bodies moves. It is a woman with flowing dark hair. She is drowning. You can see her thrashing as the whirlpool pulls her down.

Dead - Alfred Buckler, Marcus Moats

The other three - Little Timmy Freeday, Mary Knipple and Sonia Knipple are in a nearby tree watching what goes on. Little Timmy - a gargantuan man with red hair and a beard - is wearing the other Communique Ring.

A beautiful human female with long flowing dark hair, emerald eyes, and milky-white skin sits nearby. She is cloaked in a robe of green seaweed.

The Stairs

Behind the waterfall is a small cave - more of a depression in the wall of the cliff. A number of empty buckets are here, along with some water skins. Several large machetes and a net are also piled neatly in the room.

In the back of the cave is a large, stone door. It appears to be very old, but the seams around it are tight. Carved into the door is a strange pyramid shape filled with numbers. A rope pull is next to the door - running up through a hole in the stone. A piece of parchment has been tied to the end of the rope.

Brother Aldo.

Figure this one out if you can with that massive brain of yours. You can always ring the bell if you need me to come down and open the wee little door for you.

Brother Gerolf.

Monk-puzzle02.jpg

The thick stone door slides quietly outward revealing a set of stone steps leading up into the cliff. At intervals, the steps double back as the climb continues. The stones are slick, but the steps are wide and in good repair.

The Tubes

About 120 feet up, the stairs level off and a passageway leads past an opening filled with sunlight. You can see the tops of the trees from here and beyond that the black beach and the small harbor. The interior wall of this area, however, is a giant lava tube that slopes downward into the mountain. An iron grate has been built over the tube, and a lock has been placed to keep the gate sealed.

Perception: You notice there is garbage inside the tube - about 20 feet from the grate. They look like the bones of a large creature along with plant leaves, eggshells and other food remnants.

If the party stays long enough, they will see the movement of a tentacle as it probes up the tube looking for food.

The Monastery

At the top of the stairs, the hallway ends with a round boulder of immense sized pushed up against the opening. Most of the boulder is outside the tunnel as if it had been pushed into place to seal the stairs from the outside.

If the party moves the boulder, they find themselves at the junction of two hallways. Immediately, they will be met by blue-eyed Brother Aldo. He is unarmed and wears a simple red robe. "Who, who, pushed the stone?" Do it again. Once he realizes that they are just normal folk, he will admonish them for disturbing the monks. You must leave, we must keep our vigil. It is very dangerous to be here.....

The Monks

We are led by Brother Kiril, although he hasn't been seen in months. He stays in the tower protecting us and calling for reinforcements to help keep the Netted Gate sealed.

Brother Kiril is looking for more telekineticists - nothing else. Brother Kiril is a stout man of middle age. He wears a perpetual frown and has bushy grey hair and a furrowed brow.

At the monastery:

Brother Aldo, Otwin, Conrad (apothecary), and Rayner (brewer) - on watch - 2 healing potions Brother Erfried, Hilger, Ottokar, and Rembert - sleeping Brother Till, Farald, Gerolf, and Gerwin - praying at the Netted Gate

The monks will fight, but tend to use telekinesis to shove folks around.

Each brother wears an strange tentacled amulet around a glowing amber gem. These are generally worn inside their monk's robe.

Monks amulet.jpg

The Monastery Grounds

Monastery of the Mad Monk

Outside it is foggy but quite warm, the heat emanating from the ground. The wind is strong here - constantly battling to sweep away the fog and smoke. The eastern lava cone has steam coming from it while the western one has a small stream pouring from it and down its slope into a holding pond at the edge of the cliff.

The monastery proper is formed by two L-shaped building - both built of grey stone with grey stone roofs. The buildings appear to be very old and are in good repair. The overall impression is tidiness - if somewhat stark and barren. Several owls sit on the edges of the buildings looking for rats and rodents.

A central garden is filled with typical vegetables. The only unusual item are several rows of bright blue flowers - oddly out of place in the utilitarian setting. A small flock of chickens are pecking at the ground in the garden.

The Stable

Attached to the end of one L-shaped building is a small grey stone stable. Five pens hold a pair of sheep, several milk cows, several swine, and a goat. Grass has been cut and placed in each stall.

Inside, the stable has the warm, earthy scent of, well, a stable. Small interior stalls allow the animals to be brought in during inclement weather. Watering troughs line both sides of the center aisle. Towards the back of the stable are piled provisions: some hay, a bag of salt, and some rudimentary tools.

Along the far back wall are built a number of nooks - an owlery for a haunt of large barn owls. A half dozen round faces poke out of the nooks.

These are Kiril's Owls. He can see through their eyes and send them on missions. None of the monks care for them, as they live off small rodents and animals in the forest below.

The Ruins

A large pile of debris is stacked in the walls of what looks like an old outbuilding. While the building crumbled many decades ago, some of the trash is recent and the site is still clearly in use by the monks.

Of note, the center of the pile seems to be heaped around a large metal frame - four long iron "arms" extend out from a central hub in the trash heap. Rotted bits of netting hang from these arms giving the area the appearance of a spider web.

The Chapel of the Net

Attached to the end of the other L-shaped building is a small grey stone chapel. A path leads from the out of the chapel to a ladder leading down the cliff face on the extreme eastern end of the island and to a tower on the southern-most cone of the island.

The chapel is mostly empty, the domed roof carved to look like a giant fishing net arching away from the central transept. It is clear that the center of this room was used for prayer and meditation. You can hear the sounds of water dripping from the eastern end of this room. A breeze comes from the western end of the room - a wet fog of swirling mist.

Just inside the north door, a pile of boxes and crates are filled with meat and vegetables, nicely frozen. NOTE: The source of the cold are a number of small square holes - each about 1" wide in the floor inside the door.

Just inside the south door is an ornate oval pool - carved in marble - and set into the floor. It is still full of clear liquid water.

The dripping is coming from the east chancel. There, a net - this time remarkably rope-like sags down over an altar carved from a piece of black marble to look like an giant baptismal font. Hanging from the net is a long, black tentacle. You can see water running down the tentacle and dripping into the bowl.

The water is black.

The bowl actually has clever holes in the bottom that allow the water to drain out. There are images of elementals on three sides of the font - air, water, ice.

The altar can be opened by turning it so that the correct symbols are in the correct position.

Monk-puzzle03.jpg

ICE = 12 o'clock
WATER = 9 o'clock
WIND = 6 o'clock

The altar grinds to the side revealing a spiral staircase leading down into a shaft about 20 feet in diameter. In the center of the shaft is a large wooden pole - covered in black pitch. Coming up the stairs are two giant beetles - their bodies black and shiny. The shaft descends 60' and ends in a pool of black goo which is slowly leaking out through some holes in the floor.

This black goo creates super-strong wood - which was used earlier to create poles to keep the monster in.

The Netted Gate

A narrow passageway leads from the path of the monastery along the face of the cliff. A long building hangs precariously along the cliff face. A wooden door leads into the building.

The building is essentially a long covered bridge attached to the side of the cliff. The far end of the building has another set of doors that are closed.

A large circular seal - fashioned of stone - looms to the left. Flickering in the light of hundreds of candles illuminate the massive object - almost 60 feet in diameter. A split down the center shows that the seal is actually a door. Across the seal is are two sailing masts - holding the seal closed. Periodically, the room shakes and the masts bend as a great forces hits them from behind.

Four monks sway back and forth, praying in front of the great circular seal.

To the right, a large grate also 60 feet in diameter opens to a ledge with a drop of several hundred feet to the sea below. The air here is cold and the wind whips strongly pulling towards the sheer drop of the cliff. The sun coming through the grate casts a net-like reflection on the gate.

Perception: Down from the grate, you can see the sea is filled with hundreds of broken ship's masts - all of them cracked in the middle. You note that the keelhaul markings on one of the masts is that of the Wanton Wench.

As they bend, it seems that the Wanton Wench mast is stronger than the other in place.

Changing out the gate requires a few minutes, during which the creature behind will sense weakness - a change in thought patterns - and hit the gate once. Roll a d10 to see the strength of its hit:

"normal mast" = 3
WW or hardened mast = 5
priests praying (normal) = 2
priests praying (full) = 4

Releasing the Monster

As the seal bursts, the first sense that is overwhelmed is that of smell - the decay of fish, death and fear mixed into a putrid wave of nausea. DC 20 Fort or pass out.

Then, the rushing sound of slithering - long tentacles coming from the tube behind the gate, pushing across the ledge and then out into the open air beyond. Some of the tentacles are long, tube-like stalks with eyes on them - not glassy, animal eyes - but deep intelligent eyes, ancient and knowledgeable.

And, then, the overwhelming sense of pressure as the body of the great creature - already several hundred feet long oozes from the opening. Protean slime covers the passageway. Perhaps a mouth, teeth or maybe a beak. The horror is too much as the bulk of the creature forces itself out of the building. Suddenly it is dropping, the whip-like tentacles that remain following in a flailing, slimy mess. You can almost hear laughter. But that doesn't make any sense. Your world goes dark.

Kiril's Tower

The stone stairs end at a small exposed platform at the top of the cliff. From here, the view out to sea is breathtaking. It is also treacherous because the winds howl furiously and there is nothing to hang on to or shelter behind.

A single rope bridge leads across a chasm that plummets straight down into the craggy rocks and roiling sea. There are no guard rails, and it seems an impossible tasks to walk to the other side.

A small ledge on the other side has a small iron-bound door built into the stone. From there, a shaft of stone - a naturally-formed tower - continues up another fifty feet. A single window - which is closed - overlooks the bridge.

Perception: You can see protean shapes in the approaching storm. They look like the masts of great ships hovering above the water.....

It is from here that Kiril will "push" players off who try to cross to his tower. Players with telekinesis can stop the winds, cause the bridge to straighten, and make it over the chasm.

The upper room that Kiril is in is a plain round chamber with four small windows - the one from the bridge and three others. This gives him a 360 degree view from the island. He is generally at prayer, although sometime he sits at a small wooden desk in the center of the room reading or writing letters. All the books in the room deal with telekinetics.