The Cleansing of Loftwood

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The Cleansing of Loftwood
Type Dungeon
Status Explored July 887 TA
Location Loftwood
Hex 1008
Campaign The Elven Watch Campaign
Adventure # 96
Map-loftwood2.jpg

Legend: The Tale of the Unspoken Valley

In the middle of the Second Age, the elves brought a large shipment of gold to the Reaches. It was meant to be used to fund the elven interactions with the humans and orcs who were quickly expanding their reach into this wilderness.

With the elves went four dwarven stone masons and several gnomish wizards. They were to use secret plans drawn up by the wizards to protect a stone temple whose building was to be overseen by the dwarves. The only concern was the location of the temple. In a small valley, more of a deep crevice in the thick forest floor, lived an ancient presence that the elves could sense but could not identify. While not evil, it concerned the elves that their path would take them past the entrance to that shady vale.

When the treasure arrived in twenty great iron chests, the expedition left with a guard of one hundred twenty elven warriors, the dwarven and gnomish masters, the elven Forestral of Loftwood, Zoe Pathfinder, and her hand-picked guide of nine Druids of Oakentree. This formidable party was thought to be more than a match for any ancient threat from the crevice.

It is known from the magical transmissions from the druids, that the expedition passed the valley without incident. Building had begun on the stone temples when something went terribly wrong. At first, a scouting party was late checking in. Then, they went missing. Next, the party sent after them disappeared. Soon, the Forestral was faced with a dilemma. She quickly decided to personally lead a party into the valley to determine the nature of the presence and negotiate peace. Shortly thereafter, the last message from the Forestral was received. It was simple and short.

Abandon treasure. Do not attempt rescue. Avoid this valley forever.

And so the Unspoken Valley was sealed. Complex and powerful Druid magic formed a maze to keep all out the area. No expeditions were sent to the valley and the temple was never visited. All traces of the expedition were removed from the general histories of the elven people. Still, rumors have persisted of an ancient evil deep in the boughs of Loftwood sitting atop a pile of elven treasure.

Now, one of the six pillars of the maze which guarded the Unspoken Valley has failed. The druids who investigated discovered a party of Orcs of the Red Axe encamped around the now-destroyed pillar. It is unclear whether they have entered the Unspoken Valley, but their goal is clear - gain the lost treasure of the elves to supply their efforts against the newly-united forces of dwarves, elves and humans of the Reaches.

Your mission. Stop them and recover the gold if possible. Cleanse this blight from Loftwood and make the area safe for elven settlement.

DM's Notes

The orcs have broken into the area. Knowing that they cannot face what is in the crevice, they have devised the following plan:

  • Hide the fact that the treasure is still in the temple. The evil in the valley did not want gains. Instead, it wanted peace and quiet.
  • Leave clues at both the war camp and the temple that the treasure is in the valley.
  • Once the party kills or is killed by the valley denizen (or while they are battling), the orcs will take the treasure and leave.
  • The party will fail but assume that the treasure is safe.
  • Such a clever plan for orc shaman...

There are several encounter areas to this dungeon:

  • The orc war camp and the dwarven temple.
  • The orc war camp at the broken pillar
  • The orc war camp at the chests and waterfall.
  • The unspoken valley.
  • The real orc war camp (outside the dungeon area).

Dwarven Temple

Loftwood06.jpg

"The stone temple is a short squat building approximately 50 feet on a side. It is only about 10 feet in height. The roof of the building is rimmed in stone carved with runes, but the vast majority of the roof has been mounded with earth and a thick carpet of grass and several trees grow on it. Four small obelisks raise another 10 feet above the rim of the building's roof. The forest has grown up to the edge of the temple."

"On the south wall are two entrances. Around the entrances, five tents have been setup. One is larger than the others."

Carved around the edges of the temple are dwarven runes that are actually an ancient script that reads as follows:

I bend my limbs to the ground.
I cry, yet without a sound.
Let me drink of waters deep.
And in silence I will weep.

This points the party towards the real entrance, the willow tree. By pulling a carefully disguised "limb", an entrance opens up on the top of the temple. The orcs have already figured this out.

The five tents are currently occupied by a number of black orcs, several goblin shaman, and two red dragons who are sleeping near the two tunnels. The following journal entry will be found once this party is destroyed. The leader is sub-commander Glig Axebiter. He reports to the commander Brang Red Axe.

I have been assigned to the Dwarven Temple detail after the death of my predecessor from a falling stone block. I am not sure of the reasoning for holding this position since the chests have been discovered at the entrance to the ancient crevasse. I wish that I could have accompanied my master to that place for while it will undoubtedly be dangerous, the glory of bringing the treasure to Gruumsch is certainly worth the risk.

This is of course a diversion. His predecessor succeeded in figuring out the puzzle and finding the entrance through the willow tree. So, his orcs have gone into the dungeon, and these orcs have replaced them. Unknowing of the real truth. 100 Black Orcs, 5 Goblin Shaman, 2 Red Dragons.

The Crypt

Loftwood01.jpg

The dwarves never finished the temple before they were killed by the Unspoken Pool. The pool sought them out and killed them. The orcs have discovered the first gauntlet, and it is armed and dangerous.

"A ten foot wide hallway is made of cut stone leading down a set of stairs. Towards the bottom of the stairs, the blocks of stone give way to carved stone as the tunnel passes into the bedrock below the forest."

The hallway is clean swept.

Room 1: The Gauntlet

"In the center of this octagonal room is a small stone pillar. On the pillar is a brass hand bell. Seven doors ring the room. The hallway to the outside is in the northern wall."

This is a trap of orc archers. When bell is rung, all the archers fire at the bell. They have been assigned to ignore what they see. The bell casts a high level dispel magic (30th level) to cancel any spells that are in effect. This was originally a safeguard that the dwarves put into place. 30 Black Orcs.

Room 2: Hallway

The hallway leading down has several blocks of stone that have been recently moved into it to form a makeshift maze. Black orcs and goblins are hiding behind the blocks.

Once it looks like the battle is lost, both red dragons will fill the hallway with fire. The dragons will then retreat into Room 3 to battle.

"Great iron portcullis' run diagonally along the hallway. The iron bars glow with a blue light that crackles along their length. Touching the bars when activated causes 30d6 points of lightning damage."

The hallways near A and C slope very severely and are very slick, although a dwarf will be able to detect this 80% of the time.

Goblin shaman at A, B, C and D will attempt to Push the party into the bars. 8 Goblin Shaman.

Room 3: Meeting Hall

Loftwood02.jpg

"This room was clearly meant to be a meeting hall of sorts. A large table has been pushed up along the north wall of the room, and two large leather chairs have been tumbled next to a stone hearth in the southeast corner." 2 Red Dragons.

Room 4: Storeroom

"This room is packed full of crates of dried meat, sacks of flour, and other basic essentials. From the shape of the contents, it is apparent that these items are fresh. There seems to be enough food for a very large squadron of warriors."

Room 5: Unfinished

"This room is unfinished, as dwarven pick axes and shovels are discarded along the sides of the room. They are packed full of supplies, mostly fresh."

Room 5a smells of blood as a number of deer carcasses have been hung from hooks that have recently been attached to the ceiling.

Two black orc guards are in each room. 6 Black Orcs.

Room 6: Dwarven Quarters

"The hallway is filled with straw pallets and blankets. The smell of dung and sweat are overpowering here. It looks like almost fifty black orcs might sleep here."

"One small room has four proper beds, although dwarven in size. The beds are now afoul, obviously the sleeping accommodations for the orcish leaders."

"This small room has one large table with four chairs, a cooking pot and several small tables that were most likely used for food preparation. Two black orcs are always here cooking something foul for the soldiers." 2 Black Orcs.

Room 7: Control Room

"This room is plain unadorned stone. On the wall are three large levers. These raise the corresponding portcullises. A platform in the hallway holds eight black orcs suspended over a set of stairs leading down. Another eight are in the room."

"On top of the platform are hidden two switches (F and G). These are made of stone and have a slight magical aura. They are currently in the up position."

These orcs will shoot down the hallways if the goblins are killed. The block is actually a trap, as it will fall on the party as they descend the stairs unless the hidden switches at F and G are held up when the stairs are touched. 16 Black Orcs.

Room 8: Cavern

"This large natural cavern was obviously breached by the dwarves during the construction of the temple. A portcullis like the others sits at the entrance of the hallway into the cavern. A number of sleeping pallets have been pushed up against the north wall. A quick count shows about fifty of these filthy beds. Several tables have been set up in the southern portion of the room. Two fires burn here neatly contained in stone circles. Many crates along the eastern wall, barrels of water and the like contain the supplies needed to support a small band in these caverns." 26 Black Orcs.

A small chest is hidden in a niche in the wall near the tables. It has a serpent etched on it, and the following verse in Orcish:

Start where you like and end where you may,
Trace as much as the serpent or my price you will pay,
Your finger shant lift or the lines shant they cross,
Lest the contents within will be totally lost.

Loftwood04.jpg

Inside the chest are a small bundle of papers: a logbook entry signed by sub-commander Prod, a map of the upper reaches of the temple with the traps clearly marked in dwarven script (the bottom of the map has been torn off showing the entrance to secret Room 9), a Manual of Quickness of Action, and several pages of supplies and notes on provisions.

I thought that glory would be mine when we discovered the magical entrance to this accursed dwarven lair under the willow tree on the roof. I dreamt that night of finding the gold of the elves and bringing it to Dourmoor myself. Now, I'm not sure why my master keeps me here after we discovered the empty chests at the waterfall. We have searched all the caves here without a sign of a single gold piece. I am still concerned about my brethren that were lost near the silver pool. We have blocked the way with rubble. We will not go there again.

Room 9: Treasure Room Entrance

This room is unremarkable. On a very careful search, the party will discover a very clever dwarven entrance via a trapped door. Three of the corners of the door are marked with glyphs. Two of these are protection from scrying and spells. The third is a cold trap which will fill the room with ice. The center of the door is carved with an intricate pattern of lines and numbers. U-Gene will recognize the pattern as a Dwarven Ground puzzle. The key is to speak the number which corresponds to the most gold that can be taken from the pattern by choosing bags of gold that do not lie along the same line.

Loftwood05.jpg

The answer is 47. 4, 5, 6 in first row. 5 in the second; 4 in the third; 3 in the fourth; 5 in the fifth; and 5, 6, 4 in the bottom.

Room 10: The Haul

"A ladder descends down a shaft about 60 feet deep. Half way along the shaft, a 5' x 5' tunnel leads off the shaft. A black orc stands at the bottom of the shaft talking to another orc who is just beyond him."

The small tunnel extends 20 feet and ends in a small door. The tunnel is, of course, a ceiling dropping trap. Lotsa damage. 20d8. Save to half.

"This room has three large tables piled with gold. A quick estimate that there are 200,000 gold pieces in this room. A large number of sacks, crates and boxes along the walls of this room and the small anteroom beyond. There are 20 black orcs here working the tables. Two goblins runs between the tables with large ledgers, writing down figures and marking the bags with numbers. You sense an evil presence in the far room."

In the far room, six shadowy creatures wait. They are non-corporeal and will move into the stone and strike at the party. Each hit causes 1d6 temporary points of constitution damage. The creatures are not undead, and so they cannot be turned. They are magically resistant mist elementals.

In addition, an evil human mage, Rhys the Red, is here. He is dressed in red robes of protection. His robes will glow brighter as more spells are cast at him and more damage is done. Eventually, it will burst into flames, killing Rhys. He has eight gems in his pocket. 20 Black Orcs, 6 Mist Elementals, Rhys the Red. 240,000 gold pieces, Staff of Augmentation, 4 medium rubies, 4 medium emeralds.

Broken Pillar Camp

"A sprawl of tents has been erected around a blackened crumbled pillar. A number of trees immediately surrounding the area have been blackened by lightning, as if a massive storm swept through the area. The tents are currently bustling with a number of black orcs and goblin shaman. In the large clearing, three red dragons are sleeping."

The following journal entry will be found once this camp is destroyed. The leader is sub-commander Stumpy Wightslayer. He reports to commander Brang Red Axe.

Commander Brang has given me authority over the Expedition for Elven Gold. It is a glorious moment for me, as my success will undoubtedly bring glory to my clan. Our first base camp is at the Dwarven Temple. At first we thought this would be the location of the treasure. However, we soon discovered twenty ancient rusted chests at the top of a large waterfall. They were dumped towards the water, so the goblins have concluded that the treasure has been moved into the caves that we can see from the rim of the canyon. The first expedition has gone down, but no reports have returned. I will wait another day before sending a second squad down into the defile. In less than two weeks, the first runner from Commander Brang will arrive. I must have good news to report to him.

100 Black Orcs, 20 Goblin Shaman, 3 Red Dragons.

Waterfall Camp

"A swiftly flowing stream runs across the low hills of this area, crashing down over a ridge of rock into a defile. The narrow canyon, undoubtedly created by a sinkhole collapsing the underlying earth, is filled with trees. Caves can be seen on the crevice walls and the stream, which pools at the bottom of the falls can be seen flowing down the valley and into an underground cave system."

"Near the edge of the waterfall, twenty large iron chests have been recently cut from the underbrush. Mostly rusted, they have been moved and recently examined. The chests are of dwarven build, although the bear the mark of an ancient druid Forestral in elvish on their exterior."

The chests have recently been moved via Floating Discs to the edge of the waterfall.

"Ten long knotted ropes hang on either side of the falls. These drop to the valley floor below, eventually being lost in the trees that canopy the area. Five tents have been setup along the edge of the waterfall. They seem abandoned."

"On the table, a single sheet of paper has been left under two small rocks."

We have found the gold! The orcs report a feeling of being watched, although nothing has moved to attack us. I am leaving this message for Stumpy in case we don't return. I don't trust all my orcs, so I am descending with the remainder of my personal guard to make sure that all goes smoothly. To the glory of the Red Axe.

Main Orc Camp

  • Brang Red Axe, commander
  • Stumpy Wightslayer, sub-commander (broken pillar camp)
  • Glig Axebiter, sub-commander (at dwarven temple)
  • Prod, sub-commander (down in the temple)
  • Ogld, sub-commander (waterfall) - told to set up camp and then leave the area returning back to the main orc camp.

This camp is at a small hill fort on the plains east of Loftwood. There, Brang Red Axe, clan chief waits to send his next runner to the expedition. His gamble on the interference by the heroes of the Realm had better pay off. Gruumsch will have his head if the gold falls into the wrong hands.

The Unspoken Valley

"Long shadows and dank smells permeate the crevice, a hollow undoubtedly created when a cavern below the surface of the rolling forestland collapsed. Sheer cliffs drop into the gloom, some 200 feet below. The crevice is 300 feet long and 100 feet wide at its widest. From the rim, only a dense canopy of trees can be seen except at the extreme southwestern corner where a waterfall plummets from a river above to a pool below. The place radiates an aura of power, not evil but ancient."

"Twenty ancient iron chests are strewn near the top of the waterfall. Long-buried, they look as if they have recently been unearthed."

There are no paths into the crevice.

The creature that dwells here is an ancient, massively powerful pool. It can read the minds of all intelligent creatures nearby. In fact, it can't help but read the minds of intelligent creatures nearby. Fear, hate, greed, and envy drive the creature to seek quiet and solitude. Any creatures nearby are a disturbance, and the emotions of them cause the pool to react to drive them away or kill them.

The creature is subterranean and uses the myriad of tunnels riddled throughout this area to move and feed. Long ago, it learned the fears of men, elves and orcs. As such, it uses these fears to keep others at bay.

The Unspoken Pool

The pool appears as silvery molten metal. When sentient beings are nearby, its surface ripples with small disturbances. It sends out tendrils to kill those that impede on its peace and quiet. Its tendrils will always have very thin trails back to the pool. DM's Edit: Party did not encounter. Could return. All details classified.

Monsters

100 Black Orcs (Dwarven Temple Camp)
5 Goblin Shaman (Dwarven Temple Camp)
2 Red Dragons (Dwarven Temple Camp)
30 Black Orcs (Dwarven Temple)
8 Goblin Shaman (Dwarven Temple)
2 Red Dragons (Dwarven Temple)
6 Black Orcs (Dwarven Temple)
2 Black Orcs (Dwarven Temple)
16 Black Orcs (Dwarven Temple)
26 Black Orcs (Dwarven Temple)
20 Black Orcs (Dwarven Temple)
6 Mist Elementals (Dwarven Temple)
Rhys the Red (Dwarven Temple)
100 Black Orcs (Broken Pillar Camp)
20 Goblin Shaman (Broken Pillar Camp)
3 Red Dragons (Broken Pillar Camp)
The Unspoken Pool

Treasure

Manual of Quickness of Action (Dwarven Temple)
240,000 gold pieces (Dwarven Temple)
Staff of Augmentation (Dwarven Temple)
4 medium rubies (Dwarven Temple)
4 medium emeralds (Dwarven Temple)