Prison of Asmodan
It is a hot afternoon at the pub. Ernest Goodfellow sits quietly sipping his ale disguised as the guard, Immundus, of the Dwarrowdelf Gem and Precious Stone Mercantile. The return to Teufeldorf has been more chaotic than expected. There were so many clues and leads to follow, but the answers to how to infiltrate Grim's stronghold elude the fighter.
Suddenly, a thin form is at Ernie's side, a dark cowl covering what appeared to be a young elven face. "I see you have the infliction," the figure whispers. The King of Dragonsford stares at the speaker. Sensing Ernie's confusion, he continues, "You have the mark of Asmodan and the Dark Elves. You must have been suffering for a long time." Both were quiet as the fighter assesses his situation. It is the elf that breaks the silence. "Let me introduce myself. I am Branna, an elven healer and hunter of the dark brethern of our race. You are clearly not born of the dark race, and you do not have the aura of one so completely turned as to be lost to that foul disease. You have not felt The Longing. If you will listen to my tale, I might be able to help you."
"In the eighth century of the First Age, there lived an elven arch-mage named Asmodan. Legend holds that Asmodan believed that the only way to combat the powers of evil was to understand them completely. And so he dedicated his life to the study of the dark arts and raw magical power. In the course of his studies, he discovered foul and dark magics that gave him power over death and immortality."
"This knowledge was abhorred by the elves of the Collegium Magicium, and they tried to cast out Asmodan from their order. In retaliation, the fallen mage vowed revenge. In 787 FA, a terrible winter fell upon the Realm. Whether this was due to the magics of Asmodan or not is unknown. The elves and their forest wards were greatly tested. As the sun slowly melted the snows, many elves were found dead. However, not all had died from the elements. Many showed signs of cannabalism and other dark magics. Others simply disappeared, missing from their posts."
"While most elves remained faithful to their ancient heritage, the following of Asmodan soon grew with promises of power and immortality. What followed was the great sundering of elven society and the creation of the Dark Elf race. In the years that followed, Asmodan and his followers were blamed for many catastrophes, both natural and unnatural. Asmodan spread his power through a number of magical devices, each turning its owner over to the power of Asmodan."
"The elven queen declared Asmodan a traitor, and the Collegium Magicium was instructed to find and destroy the rogue wizard. Years passed. Suddenly, the Collegium Magicium declared Asmodan dead, defeated by a magical champion of good. Time proved out the claim, as Asmodan was no longer seen. The dark elves seemed scattered, leaderless. No longer a force to be reckoned with, the elven nation returned to its old ways, and the path of Asmodan was forgotten."
"However, Asmodan was not defeated. He was simply imprisoned. Asmodan would fall in battle only to arise the next dawn to lead his legions again. Finally, Asmodan's immortality was turned against him, as a magical prison was created to trap and hold the mage in an infinite stasis. And so Asmodan remains today, locked up in his magical prison."
"Now those who stumble across the old magicks are often tricked into using them and so become diseased. Slowly, over the years their physical appearance changes and their tendencies become more and more sinister. In the end, they are called to Asmodan by The Longing, an uncontrollable urge to go to their master. Once you are inflicted by The Longing, you cannot be saved."
"The only cure for those who are caught in time is to teleport to the Temple of the Dark Path. There, you will be tested to enter into the holiest shrine of the followers of Asmodan. Once you have passed the tests, you will be brought to the great altar. There, a High Priest will begin the ceremony to bind your soul to the dark path. As soon as he casts the spell which draws the artifact from your body, you must strike swiftly, killing the priest. Then, your magic will work again, and you can teleport from the Temple. Sometimes you are pursued for awhile, but you will be free from the curse and saved from The Longing. A small price to pay for salvation."
"Come to my shrine in the next few days, and I will teleport you to the Temple. Don't delay or your will may be lost." The elf hands Ernie a crude map showing his shrine's location. Turning quickly, he leaves.
The priest is, of course, a follower of Asmodan. He is trying to trick the party into opening the prison. He is telling the truth about ending the curse of the amulet, but at the price of releasing Asmodan and his legions upon the Realm.
The Shrine of Branna
"The entrance to the shrine is through a simple wooden door halfway along a shopfront in working quarter of the city. It is unmarked and unremarkable. A narrow flight of stairs lead up to a large room above a butcher's shop. A door at the top of the stairs is locked."
The pub is the Black Boar and Bandit. The other side is a wine shop.
Branna is inside.
"The shrine encompasses most of a large one-room structure which serves as the second floor of the building. Two small living areas have been created in the far corner with the use of some tapestries and screens. The "shrine" is composed of a circular stone about 12 feet in diameter. Several dozen candles are placed on the floor around the stone. In the center of the circle is a pedestal. On top of the pedestal is a shroud covering the top of the pedestal and its contents."
Branna tells you that to teleport, you must lift the shroud from the crystal. You will feel the wind start to howl and smell the dry aridness of the desert. Then, you will find yourself in the desert facing the Temple of the Dark Path.
Description of finding the Prison of Asmodan
Over the horizon, you see a great billowing storm that appears to be fixed in place. At the center of the storm is the Temple of the Dark Path. As the party approaches the portal, they will notice temperature changes and possibly encounter a few obstacles.
20 Miles from Portal Great Sand Storms Reduced Temperature (20°C instead of 30°C+) Chance of getting lost
15 Miles from Portal Cold Rain Chance of Tornadoes (10%) Temperature: 15°C
10 Miles from Portal Chance of Tornadoes (20%) Temperature: 10°C
5 Miles from Portal Rain turns to sleet Chance of Tornadoes (25%) Temperature: 5°C
3 Miles from Portal Shore of lake in what appears to be the eye of a maelstrom. The portal can be seen in the middle of a basin filled with water. It rests on a solid sheet of ice that starts about one mile from the portal. The players can see water spouts dancing on the lake, and the lake itself is just barely above freezing here. Chance of Tornadoes (10%) Temperature: 0°C
1 Mile from Portal The party has crossed the liquid portion of the lake and has reached the permanent ice sheet. Temperature: -10°C Chance of Tornadoes (0%)
Roll a d6 to determine the direction the party is now traveling assuming a hex grid.. 1 for north, 4 for south, etc.
Getting caught in a tornado tosses each individual character 10d10 feet in a random direction, and does 10d10 impact damage. Save for half damage. Weather related spells (control weather, wish, whatever) reduces the chance of a tornado by half. These weather effects may not be dispelled due to their violent and unnatural nature.
"You finally win your way through the sleet and ice and other nasty weather phenomenon to come to what appears to be an iron door with nothing behind or to either side of it. It is bitterly cold here, and the metal door looks impossibly cold to the touch. Engraved on what you assume to be the front of the door is text in ancient Elven. It reads:"
If you are truly devoted to your master,
then touch the door to gain passage prime
and feel the pain you unleash upon the world.
Those who touch the door feel an icy cold that penetrates to their very spirit and are instantly transported to the entryway area (see map) and take 10d6 points of cold damage.
"The party enters a 10x40 corridor. The stone is well aged and calcification now covers the walls. Stalactites and Stalagmites adorn the ceilings and floors, revealing the age of this place. You can see a room at the end of the 40' corridor. The natural formations are covered in slimy looking water and eerily glowing moss adorns the wall."
Two poisonous phase spiders move to attack. They will avoid Ernie.
As soon as the players step through the entryway, all magic stops working. This includes items, armor, weapons, artifacts, scrolls, etc. The entire point of the prison is that it is designed to keep Asmodan, an extremely high level demi-liche, from ever escaping. Every weapon hits as a normal version of itself, all magic resistances are null and void, all magical weapon to-hit protections are nullified within this place.
The Key Puzzle Room
"You enter into a circular room of stone, similarly aged as the entryway. In front of the group is a pedestal with a flat surface. The surface holds three circles with symbols along the rim of the outer and middle circle and triangles within the center circle. On closer examination, the symbols appear to be buttons that can be pressed."
"At the far end of the room there appears to be a groove in the wall."
Note: this is the passageway that will open when the room spins.
"At the center of the room is a glowing red circle with arcane symbols around it."
Note: this is a permanent summoning circle, where the challenge beasts emerge.
"As the last person in the group enters the room you hear a sound behind you, a door sliding closed from the ceiling."
The outer circle holds the symbols for 0 - 7 traveling in a counter-clockwise position, with 0 residing at the 6 o'clock position. 8 - 15 are on the inner circle traveling in a clockwise direction, with the 8 starting at 1 o'clock. Each symbol is vertically aligned to prevent confusion.
The keys are 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, and 13 in binary. Thus, the available numbers will be as follows (Symbols key - the symbols are equal to binary numbers. \ = 0 and / = 1):
0 \\\\ 8 /\\\ 1 \\\/ 9 /\\/ 2 \\/\ 10 /\/\ 3 \\// 11 /\// 4 \/\\ 12 //\\ 5 \/\/ 13 //\/ 6 \//\ 14 ///\ 7 \/// 15 ////
To solve the puzzle, the players must fetch 6 'colored gems' in the appropriate order, and place them within the central triangles in the proper order.
The players must depress the primes in ascending order in order to access the 6 specific key challenges and the final exit. Thus, when the players depress the symbol for '2' the room will begin to rotate. The rotation will reveal the '2' corridor (the room rotation is obvious, and will at first obscure how they entered, and later reveal the new corridor) to the challenge for the '2' gem. Once the '2' gem is placed within the central pedestal the room will return to home. To retrieve the next 'key' the players must correctly select the '2' and '3' button. Then the 5, next 7, and so on. If the players either depress a button out of order or press an invalid button they will have to face a challenge beast. After successfully surviving a challenge beast the players, the puzzle is reset to the beginning.
Once all of the buttons are correctly selected and the gems are placed within the pedestal (the gems are shaped to fit specific slots) the room will rotate to the chamber of the spinning column.
"When you press the \\/\ symbol, the room suddenly lurches into a clockwise motion. After a few moments, a 10x10 alcove is revealed."
NOTE: Evil guys are smart too. The best trap for them is to play on their weakness. All evil guys must be subject to one of the seven deadly sins.
Anger is manifested in the individual who spurns love and opts instead for fury. It is also known as Wrath.
"A long narrow hallway leads upwards to a very dark room. You hear the deep voice of a man speaking, asking questions, but nobody is answering."
"This room is 20'x40' with a stage at the far end. On stage is an enormously fat man dressed in outrageous red costume. With him on stage is a large bear, currently balancing on a small wooden ball. Behind the man on the stage is a door. The rest of the room is empty although there are a number of chairs and tables sitting about."
The man will start taunting the party when they enter, asking them if they will pay a few coppers to see his bear perform tricks. He will continously badger the group until they attack. At which time they will be frenzied (all attack all the time) in the main room with lotsa werebears. If the party asks to go through the door three times, then the man will let him pass handing them a slip of paper wrapped around a large triangular ruby with the word DEADLY written on it.
Two, Three (\\/\, \\//)
Gluttony is an inordinate desire to consume more than that which one requires.
"You find yourself in a large stone kitchen. The smell of baking bread wafts from the oven. Two large pots of delicious smelling soup bubble over an applewood fire. Two long tables are heaped with sweets, pies, cakes, and candies. An old woman sits at a table at the far end of the room. She is staring into a triangular orange crystal with a curved edge. As you enter the room, she bids you come and sit and get your fortunes told."
Grianna will offer you sweets (saving throw) and more and more. If the party refuses her three times, she will turn into an old sow. The sweets will be made of rats and toads and snakes. The party can grab the orange crystal and leave. Her parting word to the party is: PUZZLES.
Failing the test will put the party back in the center of the room very sick from overeating and being attacked by ratmen.
Two, Three, Five (\\/\, \\//, \/\/)
Greed is the desire for material wealth or gain, ignoring the realm of the spiritual. It is also called Avarice or Covetousness.
"A stone ramp leads up to a room. Along the walls of the ramp are two prison cells. Inside the cells is an emaciated men, dressed in rags. He beckons to you to come closer."
"The room at the top of the ramp has a very large desk with two chairs. The table is piled with stacks of gold, silver, and copper coins. In addition, four chests sit against the far wall. There is a door between the chests. Behind the desk are two amphibean men dressed in leather armor with yellow capes. One has a key ring with a number of keys on it."
The frogmen move to attack. Each has a wand that shoots boiling oil!
The man is Swindell. He tells the party that he is a merchant jailed for not paying the excessive taxes levied by the frogmen on his village. He asks the party to allow him to return all the money to the people. If the party takes anything, they will find themselves fully loaded with lead coins fighting lotsa trolls in the main room. One chest contains a scrap of paper with the word SOLVED scrawled on it wrapped around a triangular yellow gem.
Two, Three, Five, Seven (\\/\, \\//, \/\/, \///)
Envy is the desire for others' traits, status, abilities, or situation.
"A stone ramp leads up to a well-lit room. The ramp is wide with long racks of weapons on either side. There are axes, swords, and maces in a variety of sizes and types. Several of the weapons are marked with runes, near the top of the ramp is a complete set of crystal weapons, and a mace with a gem-studded head near the bottom is humming slightly."
"At the top of the ramp, the room opens up into a 30 by 30 room. The floor of the room is a white-blue stone that is perfectly smooth and radiates an aura of cold. A door against the far wall is guarded by two metallic humanoid statues with dog heads. Each is about 15 feet tall and criss-crossed with thousands of small cuts. They both are carrying two magically-glowing longswords. A small green triangular gem hangs suspended in a leather pouch from the handle of the door."
NOTE: The party can gain a magical weapon only by exchanging one of their own. If they take one, then they will need to fight the statues. Also, the floor will melt during the melee, only to freeze solid once the statues are defeated. Otherwise, the statues will move and watch the party, but they will not attack.
The leather pouch is inscribed with the word REMOVE.
Two, Three, Five, Seven, Eleven (\\/\, \\//, \/\/, \///, /\//)
Sloth is the avoidance of physical or spiritual work.
"A short hallway leads to a long T-shaped room. As you approach the intersection of the room, you can hear the sounds of men digging coming from the west."
"At the western end of the hallway are six dwarves digging an extension of the hallway. The six look impossibly tired and worn. Their digging implements seem to be makeshift shovels and picks. At the eastern end of the hallway is a blue door with a relief of a goat in gold leaf. Several dwarven bodies lie against the wall near the blue door."
Careful examination will show a triangular depression inside the goat.
"The dwarves do not stop working to talk with you. However, they will work and tell you their story. They have been trapped here for what seems like years, although they can't rightly remember. The door on the far wall is poisonous, killing any dwarf who touches it. They are convinced that the key to the door lies behind this wall, if they can only reach it. Once and awhile, a dwarf will stop working, go mad, and dash towards the door. Always with the same fate."
After a few minutes in the hallway, anyone who is not working will need to make a saving throw versus "Charm". If they are charmed, they will dash towards the door and touch it.
If the party helps dig, much greater progress will be made. Eventually, they will uncover a small chest with the dwarven word for ANCIENT engraved upon it. Speaking the word will open the chest and reveal a blue crystal.
Otherwise, they will find themselves in the main room up to their knees in poisonous vipers.
Two, Three, Five, Seven, Eleven, Thirteen (\\/\, \\//, \/\/, \///, /\//, //\/)
Lust is an inordinate craving for the pleasures of the body.
"A narrow ramp leads up to an outdoor courtyard. The courtyard is 40 feet in diameter. The sky is so deep of a blue that it almost looks purple. In the center of the courtyard is a large elm tree growing from a circular garden of red and black stones. A man dressed in chain mail with a purple cloak stands under the tree with a large pike in his hands, thrusting it up into the tree branches. Another figure dressed in chain mail is slumped against the far wall his purple cloak singed with black and his face and arms burnt as well. An archway across from you leads from the courtyard."
"After a few seconds, you see the figure of a naked young woman jumping around from branch to branch avoiding the pikeman. She screams to you to help save her from her attacker."
"The pikeman turns to face you. The man's face is hideously scarred by fire. He scowls and returns to his work."
"The archway leads into a small chapel. There, the figures of two priests are slumped over an altar at the front of the room. The priests appear to have been burnt, as their skin is blackened and their robes singed."
When the party kills the woman, they will find that there is a purple triangular gem sitting on top of a piece of parchment with the word CURSES written on it.
Otherwise, they will end up back in the main room with a -8 to saving throws against charm and a gaggle of succubi.
Two, Three, Five, Seven, Eleven, Thirteen and Fifteen (\\/\, \\//, \/\/, \///, /\//, //\/, ////)
Pride is excessive belief in one's own abilities, that interferes with the individual's recognition of the grace of God. It has been called the sin from which all others arise. Pride is also known as Vanity.
"When the above buttons are depressed and all of the gems are placed in the correct order, a great white light will erupt from the pedestal, striking the top of the chamber. The room rotates to the end of the circle, and the wall opens in front of the group."
"Ancient stone door is colored a bright purple. In its center is the symbol of a horse running on top of a giant wooden spoked wheel. The following verse, etched in ancient Elven, is inside the horse."
Portals ancient, made of stone with
Riddles that turn elf to bone yet
In all lands you are the lone soul
Deceived not by this poem and
Every elf now hails your deeds. Enter!
This is, of course, the wrong door. Going through this door leads to the prison.
Searching at that point will reveal a secret door to leave the dungeon. Magic will again work, and Ernie will feel the curse of the amulet lifted!
The Rotating Column
"You follow a short passageway to a balcony overlooking an immense circular room. Within the center of the room is a spinning octagonal column of darkest obsidian. It seems to suck in all light, not reflecting your torch / lanterns in any way. On one of the sides there appears to be an archway. As you look up and down you realize that the room is infinite, with neither a floor nor ceiling. The column is 100 feet in height. The balcony and door are at the midway point - at the 50 feet level of the column."
"There are several dozen skeletons scattered about this room. They seemed to be primarily dressed in leather armor, although the style of their dress is varied as if they are not associated with each other."
NOTE: The column is the final barrier preventing the escape of Asmodan.
The 'top' and 'bottom' of the room 'warp' into a single point. In other words, if one were to toss something from the balcony, it would hit the person in the head. ie if a player drops something down into the pit, it will circle through and come out of the ceiling.
There is a 100-foot gap between the 'top' and 'bottom' of the column (ie, if one were falling downward, they would pass the 'bottom' of the column, travel 100 meters, and then pass by the top of the column, repeating the entire process). An extremely observant player may notice that at the top and bottom there are iron rings protruding from the same face as the portal. If a player manages to get to the top or the bottom of the column they will notice permanent protection wards and sigils etched into the top/bottom of the column. If a mage observes them they will note that they are extremely intricate protection and barrier sigils.
The 'best' solution to this puzzle is to get one of the players on the top of the pillar, attach a rope, and then figure out some way to repel to the portal. Once at the portal, the player can find a small lever, which will stop the pillar's rotation and cause a bridge to extend to the portal from the balcony.
Thoughtful players may panic at this point because they have completely disabled the ward restraining Asmodan.
The Plain of Asmodan
"As you pass through the threshold of the portal you are blinded by the sudden appearance of a fertile plain illuminated by a sun much dimmer than normal. Arrayed before you are what appear to be legions of Undead and Golem-like constructs, all at 'parade-rest'. Thousands upon thousands of dead things stand in hushed anticipation of what comes next. Off in the distance you see a pavilion."
After the party approaches the pavilion
"Within the pavilion you see a raised pallet with a body on it, piles of weapons, armor, a chest of gold and other trinkets surround the pallet. Against one pole supporting the pavilion you see a corpse. The body is in ancient armor and is holding an ancient looking book."
The text of the book is below.
As soon as the party takes anything other than what is on the body next to the pole, Asmodan will awaken. He will thank the party for releasing him, release Ernie from his curse, promise a reward to his loyal servants and disappear (along with the surrounding legions).
The prison as the party exits
The rotating chamber room now has a bridge between the no longer rotating chamber and the balcony. The sky above and the abyss below are now filled with a sea of flames. Burning embers fall from the sky on occasion.
Once the party exits the prison, they will note that the sky is clearing, the storms have stopped on the horizon, and the ice appears to be melting at the edges.
The Diary of Maloric, Templar of Jusritha
3rd day of Ashomet
The armies of the Alliance have gathered on the plains of Ghent for the coming battle. We see the banners of The Defiled One on the ridge to the south. We all assume that we shall meet his vile host on the morrow.
15th day of Ashomet
The battle has finally ended with the falling of Asmodan. He was rendered immobile by High King Denoragen just as Asmodan struck the High King down. Cyril and Dynen are now conducting a ritual to hold Asmodan in stasis.
6th day of Narses
We have arrived at the prison constructed by the council to contain Asmodan. I have volunteered to take the husk of Asmodan into the prison and close the wards behind me. Asmodan destroyed my family and clan, and robbed me of joy. I gladly carry this thing to its prison, to smile on him as he slowly fades away.
8th day of Narses
I have arrayed Asmodan and all things tainted by him here at his final resting place. The seals are in place. All the tainted object that could call him back are safe.
12th day of Narses
I think this will be my final entry. My thirst grows, and I suffer visions. I see my family beckoning from beyond. Spectral figures wander in and out of the pavilion. I even see you. I beg you, reconsider your goal. Do not unleash him upon us all.
What? So thirsty. He whispers to me. Promises. Gifts. Salvation. I don't believe him.
I don't know what day it is.
Why do I still live? Dryness consumes me. And he still whispers.
Where is death? Is this place sealed even from him?
Someone comes. Who is there?