The Djinn's Labyrinth

From realm
Revision as of 14:07, 12 November 2016 by Cmatney (Talk | contribs) (Pushed from realm.)

(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to: navigation, search
The Djinn's Labyrinth
Type Dungeon
Status Explored March 901 TA
Location Valdemar's Castle
Hex 7131
Campaign The Tang Empire Campaign
Adventure # 113
Map-valdemar.jpg

Prologue

At the end of the previous adventure, the party gave a few gold pieces to a beggar. That beggar turned out to be Nihilo, a mage in the employ of Baron Valdemar of Sandal. The gold was needed to trap the party in the Djinn's Labyrinth - which was succesfully completed in the winter 900-901 TA. This adventure begins with the party trapped inside the Djinn's Labyrinth holding a single clue from No Cha as to what is going on. Exiting is easy, but there is trap which will allow all of Valdemar's imaginary dragons into the Realm!

Once the party escapes from the Djinn's Labyrinth, events will unfold to trap them again! Assuming they give up more gold voluntarily, they will need to follow the creation of the new ball of binding and Nihlo - the current owner of the Labyrinth - through the steps of its creation.

  1. Melting the coins - Lair of Sura-An-Nami the Djinn - Furnaces of Ssruthu, Forbidden Lands
  2. Forging the ball - Forge of Hellsmouth - Calinshold
  3. Binding the souls - Nihlio's Lair - Wyrmwyld

No Cha will give them magical pipe weed to do this. If successful, the party may gain possession of the Labyrinth and the formula for using it.

The Djinn's Labyrinth is small wooden cube that can create an alternate reality for six years for up to six people.

  1. Gold ball made from items freely given by each victim.
  2. The alternate reality can be anything the caster imagines.
  3. It can last up to six years – during which the victims are completely trapped.
  4. There must always be an exit back to the real world.
  5. At the end of six years, the party is released (near the cube’s location) regardless of whether they wish to leave the labyrinth.
  6. They can be trapped again.

Putting the ball in will cause the labyrinth to begin. Taking it out will cause the labyrinth to end. If the party escapes, the ball will just roll out of the labyrinth into Nihlio’s hand. A new ball will be needed to recast the spell.

Djinn 00.jpg

The Awakening

Hand out the initial puzzles – to determine who wakes up.

Your mind is restless as runes flicker in front of your eyes – a blur of numbers and circles that you just can’t quite figure out. The riddle seems so familiar, and yet you know that you have never seen it before.

As the generations grow, so to does their separation. A wise man lets his children wander, but only as far as they need. For each of ten generations (from one to ten) place them so that they are farther away from their parents.

Djinn 01.jpg

It’s a nightmare. You are running across a field towards an immense stone circle in a field. You are being pursued by unseen horrors – monsters whose leathery wings you hear only as a whisper in the distance, whose fetid breath is as stale as death. Your spells and weapons are useless – baggage being carried without purpose. The stones are bound in steel and five large steel platforms sit along its perimeter, equally spaced. On the other four platforms, your companions wait – silently urging you onward. As you climb your platform you can see lines of power connecting your friends. Looking back, you seem to have outrun your pursuers. As you reach the top step, lines of power to your comrades start to form, you feel yourself falling, escaping…

In a dark cave, you stand triumphant over the dragon – oddly hued like that of rusted iron – and carefully extract several wineskins of blood from the beast. As you leave its cave, you look down on the great stone circle. Your comrades are already filling the lines of power with the blood of nine other great beasts. Finally, you will be able to leave.

Djinn 02.jpg

You awake with a gasp as if your lungs have been void of air for ages as you lay drowning in a pool. Your head swims a bit as you attempt to sit up; the fog slowly peels back as the room comes into focus.

You remember a great lightning storm outside last night as you were going to sleep – deep rumbling thunder and flashes of light in the distance. Looking out, you see that the day is now grey and overcast with ceiling of black roiling clouds. It is not raining, but the air smells damp and thick. The leaves are off the trees, reminding you that it is late Fall in the Realm. It is quiet and calm.

The first unusual thing that you notice is that everything is covered with a layer of dust, as if several months have passed. The castles are empty of all people. There are no birds. The wind is still (no sailing).

Discarded next to your bed is a copy of a familiar bedtime story book. You had been trying to figure out something about an odd printing of the story that had come from Sandal via your spy network.

Tang to establish permanent stronghold at Dark River. Mage predicts dragons help. Muster all forces to converge. A feint in east.

You find a message crumpled in the pocket of your travelling clothes.

You are trapped in the djinn’s labyrinth – seek the portal in the South back to the world as it is – but beware, that is exactly what your enemies want you to do. No Cha.

Unknown to the party, each of the three castles - Teufeldorf, Dwarrowdelf and Dragonsford – have circling above them two hundred dragons. They will follow the party to the teleport circle.

The last time the party members remember being together was attending a masked Harvest dance in Teufeldorf in early October. It was a typical affair with jugglers, acrobats, and magicians entertaining the audience while a court dances went on with a stringed quintet. One magician did request a gold coin from each person – and turned it into a white dove which was released to sky. The man was very old, but his movements were swift and sure. The strange thing about it is that he appeared to be a dwarf to U-Gene, a gnome to Hylax…

The Emperor’s Dragons

Tie into Witenagemot – obvious. For each dragon that gets through the teleport, create a corresponding dragon counter for the game!

  1. Fire - red
  2. Lightning - blue
  3. Cold - white
  4. Acid - black
  5. Poison - green
  6. Sonic howling sounds - bright red
  7. Shrinking - brown
  8. Light - yellow
  9. Paralysis - goldish-brown
  10. Rust – reddish brown
  11. Force - teal
  12. Fear - silvery-grey
  13. Stone - grey
  14. Mana Loss - grey-blue
  15. Insanity - purple
  16. Light - yellow
  17. choose two
  18. choose two
  19. choose two
  20. Shrinking - brown

The dragons appear thinner and more serpent-like than the traditional dragons of the realm. Their wings are leathery, but their entire body is covered in scales. And it is the scales which make them most unique, as they slowly slide between colors passing through a prism of possibilities from snow white to ink black – including yellows, browns, teals and purples. Subtle shades, but clearly distinctive.

Each dragon pod has 20 dragons in it of the ancient variety. The master facilitates communication within the pod. If the master is killed (a 20 on a d20), then the pod disbands and joins other masters. The masters can communicate with their brethren – either to call for aid or to pass along information. They will cast spells to build up immunities/resistances for all the dragons in their pod (cast once, use many).

Finally, there is a grandmaster (20-20 on a d20). He controls all 200 dragons (10 pods) in the school. He is a most ancient dragon and can pull a scale from his hide to prevent a character from casting any particular spell. The scale flies through the air, striking its victim, a missed saving throw, and the victim cannot remember how to cast that particular spell.

The Teleport

A large stone disk is set among the low hills and rolling grasslands. It is enormous – several hundred yards in diameter. The stones appear to be mundane with clear edges and masonry points. The structure is level and at its thickest point about 8 feet deep. The outside edge of the disk is bound in a steely metal. The inside shows an intricate pattern, of which the most notable features are deep grooves that run like the points of a five-sided star. At the tip of each point is metal pedestal which has been built into the stone base. Each pedestal is 20’ high and has a simple set of steps leading up.

Near the center of the disk are five shadows sitting atop nightmare steeds with flaming hooves and snouts. The figures are watching you patiently – no attempt has been made to move on their part. Each faces outward towards one of the pillars.

These are, of course, the party’s worst nightmares – creatures meant to drive the party insane as soon as the teleport is activated. They will not move prior to activation – sinking into the ground to protect themselves as needed. They will wail, create apparitions and generally distract the party to allow the dragons time to enter through the portal. They are real – not illusions, but they are unable to manifest in the real world.

Hame

After a brief blur and the whirling of clouds, indeterminate in the inky blackness, the scene about you begins to brighten. You realize that you are still standing on the teleport disk (around you dragons swarm?). It is the same time of day, and it appears to be springtime – early March. The day is overcast, as before, but there is a strong wind and the smell of storm on the horizon. Periodically, lightning flashes can be seen.

Unless the party is looking for him, Nihilio will toss away the “used” gold ball, pocket the cube, and teleport to the castle. The ball, if found, is finely wrought and etched with the symbol of the dark elves and the Forge at Hellsmouth.

The dragons will head into the clouds and flee (if losing the battle). The strays will make a bee-line for the castle and circle it low. A few may stay behind to harass the party.

At this point, Witenagemot can be started!

The biggest difference between the “worlds” is a nearby structure.

Atop a hillock, a large tower is surrounded by on open courtyard. A squat gatehouse tower guards the only entrance to this castle. The most noticeable thing about this setting is that there is a complete lack of wildlife around – even the buzzing of bugs is silent. While the wind provides some sound, the quiet is eerie. Near the keep, you see some impossibly big ogres milling about.

An old man dressed in dirty brown robes, dilapidated sandals with a long white beard and crooked teeth, appears out of a nearby bush and approaches Hylax – “No Cha. No Cha. No Cha has sent me with a message. I am Bindin, a messenger in service to the Grandmaster. He has told me to wait for you and to give you this gift.”

Bindin hands you a simple pouch of pipe weed. Inside, a small note has been cleverly hidden from casual view. There are four smokes of pipe weed.

Your freedom is still far from certain. This magical pipe weed will allow you to follow your jailer – for he is impossibly clever –with luck you can use the djinn’s prison against your enemies. Johan at the King’s Crown in the village just south of these hills may be able to contact me – but use him discreetly.

The first smoke will point to the castle on the hill.

The Village of Frontline

The village, Frontline, is a collection of a dozen small shops around a circular town center – a well providing the focus for the area. Surrounding those, about twenty small huts stand inside an outward-leaning stone wall which seems too high for its contents – about 15’ with iron spikes on the top. A single stone portal provides entrance to the village. Several children are playing outside the walls. A large mechanical statue stands near the entrance, a spear in its hands.

The King’s Crown is an armory – a squat building with two side workshops attached. The sound of hammering can be heard at almost any time of the day or night. The faded wooden sign out front shows a weathered crown sitting atop a green cushion. A crude hammer and anvil have been drawn over the sign.

The establishment is run by Johan, a taciturn man in his mid-fifties with grey hair and a muscular build. He is weather-beaten and is dressed like an armorer.

The children have been promised that they will get 20 gold pieces for every one that they can get from the party – but the man that promised them (or was it a woman, or a girl, or …) told them that they must be “given” the coin. And, they must keep track of which one was given by whom. An odd request, but for 20 gold!

They may tell of getting coppers for catching rats and putting them into traps.

Other villagers: Darvin (barman), Bartok (jailer), Missy (wife)


Valdemar’s Castle


Valdemar's Castle 3D

There is a strange musty smell to the air here. Any spell cast will require a saving throw or the caster will turn into a small rodent – which will be attacked by any rats around OR controlled by the Emperor’s Sage or his four apprentices.

The Emperor’s Sage is continuing the mutation of ordinary rats into Rat Ogres - gigantic Tang monstrosities many times the size of an ordinary Tang. This is done by submersing them into a bath of warpstone.

Valdemar's Castle Overview

The Emperor’s Sage is dressed in green robes which seem to envelop him. He carries a gnarled staff and walks with a limp.

The Sage will summon his guardian creatures which are three-headed dragons. One head (dragon) can morph into any color to spew its breath weapon, one head is that of a cateobleopas, and the third is that of draggone (roar).

NOTE: Most carry a small bag of warpstone dust.

Clanrats – this encompasses the workers and overseers, the miners and warriors, and the lowest of all - the slaves. Their lives are as nothing in their masters' eyes – mere fodder to be expended for the greater good. They wear little armor and carry an assortment of hafted weapons and shields emblazoned with Tang runes.

Rat Ogres are employed as bodyguards and shock troops. Large and clumsy, and not especially intelligent, they are nonetheless very strong and few would-be assassins would dare to face one.

Several large dragon-like creatures can be seen here, although they appear more as shadows than actual dragons. Their forms are shifting as they roil in and out of existence. Nightwing dragons are the phase spiders of the dragon world. They are able to change shape and move anywhere very quickly. Their breath weapons cause blindness. Their roar causes deafness. And sight of them causes fear which mutes victims.


Valdemar's Castle, First Level


Djinn 05.jpg

Room 1-1: Gate

Hundreds of huge rat-looking ogres and smaller ratmen are milling about outside of the stone gates to this keep.

Room 1-2: Gate Tower

This room is filled with mechanical ratmen. They have whirling blades and rapid fire arrows.

Room 1-3: Courtyard

A huge multi-tenacled grey tree-like creature sits in the center of the courtyard. It appears to be slumped and withered. This was the brains of the castle – now deceased.

Room 1-4: Birthing Pits (open)

A series of large pools filled with a grey mud emit a foul stench. They bubble and mist swirls around the pools. Periodically, a lumbering creature steps from the pool – moving towards the front gate. Almost immediately, an apprentice moves to throw more warpstone dust into the pool along with a rat from the rat cages piled on the west side of the pits.

Room 1-5: Great Hall

This large room is filled with a banqueting table and a large throne. The table is spread with maps and counter representing armies.

Baron Valdemar is here – plotting his revenge with the help of the Emperor’s Sage and his four assistants. He is currently carrying the Sword of Languages and wearing an Amulet of Masking.

Room 1-6: Kitchen

This room contains chopping tables, bubbling pots and other cooking utensils. Two ogres are here preparing a meal.

Room 1-7: Fireplace

This large fireplace is burning a strange grey wood – creating a soporific mutation gas that permeates the castle.


Valdemar's Castle, Second Level


Djinn 06.jpg

Room 2-1: Nihilo’s Room (trap)

The door to this room is locked with a riddle. On the battlefield, many equations are needed – to keep men and support, enemies and terrain in balance. Balance your forces from one through nine so that this battlefield makes sense.

Djinn 09.jpg

This room is plainly furnished for sleeping quarters – with a bed, chairs, wardrobe and large desk. It is protected by very strong enchantments which do not allow any to enter via teleport, etc. The windows are guarded by a force barrier as well.

It is here that Nihilo waits for more gold before moving on to his next stop – the Furnaces of Ssruthu. He will never confront the party – always attempting to flee if cornered.

Several small children will be found tied up here. They are used as sacrifices to the efreet, and he will grab one (using the others as shields) before teleporting.

Room 2-2: Apprentice’s Rooms

Three beds line the walls here. They are simple without adornment. A number of grey cloaks hang on the walls. Linens and personal items can be found on small tables, and a number of chairs are scattered about the room. A wardrobe in the room contains four red cloaks.

An apprentice will generally be sleeping here.

Room 2-3: Sage’s Room

This small room contains a simple sleeping pallet.

Room 2-4: Library

This oddly shaped room is filled with shelves of books on transformation. A number of tables have notes scattered upon them. Several show the dissection of elves and dwarves – grafted with giant pincer hands and multiple legs. One particularly revolting drawing shows a half-gnome/half-dwarf.

Room 2-5: Watch Tower

Four Rat Ogres are here guarding.

Room 2-6: Fireplace

This large fireplace is burning a strange grey wood – creating a soporific gas that permeates the castle.


Valdemar's Castle, Third Level


Djinn 07.jpg

Room 3-1: Valdemar’s Room

Balance is key while nature throws at us a great diversity. Place each of nature’s gifts, one through nine, in a circle so that the sum of each box balances its bretheren.

Djinn 10.jpg

This small room has a large square bed atop a number of pillars. A curtain is closed around the bed.

The bed contains a succubus named Nithimore who will transform in order to trap the party. She will pretend to be a slave.

Room 3-2: Guard Room

The arrow slits are guarded by six mechanical statues of ratmen, facing outward.

Room 3-3: Staff Room

Valdemar’s household staff is here. They will be used to try and ply gold from the party.

Room 3-4: Fireplace

This large fireplace is burning a strange grey wood – creating a soporific gas that permeates the castle.

Room 3-5: Roof

This rooftop perch is used to oversee the activities in the courtyard.

Room 3-6: Wooden Platform

A number of mechanical guards are stationed on this platform.


Valdemar's Castle, Towers Level


Djinn 08.jpg

Room 4-1: Mutant’s Rooms

The door to this room creaks when opened – showing that it hasn’t been used in a long time.

Rows of specimen jars line the walls. Two tables have glassware and other laboratory equipment on them.

In a number of cells, mutations can be seen. These include: several ogre/elf golems, two partially mechanical giants with the tiny heads of dwarves, and a number of captured owlbears.

Room 5-2: Landing

Ten stone gargoyles circle this landing. Each is a grotesque, vaguely rat-shaped stone beast. They look out over the countryside below. They will alert the castle to anything that approaches. They can attack if the castle or courtyard is stormed.

Room 5-3: Empty Room

This oddly shaped room has a small square table in it.

Room 6-4: Prison

A set of bars look into a small circular room. The room has a bed and table, although a set of impossibly thick looking chains hang from the wall. There are no keys, and the bars seem to be on some sort of portcullis system.

This room has magically completely dampened. It is usually used as a prison.

Room 7-5: Screaming Bell Tower

The Screaming Bell is a gigantic warp-forged bell mounted upon a huge platform. It is of alien shape and design, oddly asymmetrical and filled with odd protrusions.

It is usually pushed into battle by the hordes of ratmen. From this great altar-machine the tolls of the bell send waves of discord over the battlefield - driving the ratmen into an excited blood-thirsty frenzy whilst the enemies of the Tang are thrown into a state of despair.

Room 6: Fireplace

This large fireplace is burning a strange grey wood – creating a soporific gas that permeates the castle.

Room 6-7: Guardroom

Two mechanical guards are here, looking into the room behind the bars. They will not activate unless the prison is open and someone is placed inside.

Monsters

Valdemar
Succubus
Emperor’s Sage
4 Apprentice Sages
Nihilo
Three-Headed Dragon
Clanrats
Rat Ogres
Gargoyles

Treasure

Pouch of Tobacco
Sword of Languages – Valdemar
Amulet of Masking – Valdemar
Staff of Polymorph - Sage
Necklace of Three-Headed Dragons – Sage
Staff of Growth – Apprentice A
Necklace of Nightwing Dragons – Apprentice A
Superior Staff of Lightning – Apprentice B
Necklace of 3-Headed Dragons – Apprentice B
Staff of Rust – Apprentice C
Necklace of Nightwing Dragons – Apprentice C
Staff of the Senses – Apprentice D
Necklace of Nightwing Dragons – Apprentice D
Amulet of Masking – Nihilo
Necklace of Nightwing Dragons – Nihilo
Necklace of 3-Headed Dragons – Nihilo

And Back Again

Furnaces of Ssruthu

Nihilo’s first stop will be the lizardman furnaces at Ssruthu.

The smell of sulfur is strong in the hot, heavy air. You feel as if an oppressive weight is pressing down – only to realize that you are at some great depth underground. You have appeared in the middle of a cavern about 60 feet in width with tunnels moving off in two directions. Directly across the room from you is a door which glows with flickering runes. Several words are carved above the door in what you would assume is lizardman.

The passage is labeled “Efreet’s furnace”.

Trace the maze from left to right – always forwards and never retracing. Along the way you must collect one sacrifice of each color to please the Efreet.

Djinn 11.jpg

The door shuts with a resounding thud. You hear a heated conversation beyond ending with one guard shouting: “She will take care of them”. On a small ledge at the beginning an ancient set of wide stairs leading up, a small chest sits slightly akimbo. Rune flicker on its cover. The chest is labeled antidote.

Djinn 12.jpg

The solution is a mirrored set of runes for the numbers 8 and 9. Inside the chest are four vials – each containing a bright red liquid that it suspended in oil. The liquid looks thick and viscous. It smells of sulfur and tastes like rotten eggs.

The ancient wide spiral stairs wind upward. Several sets of footprints can easily be seen in the dust here – some human, some lizardman. It is noticeably warmer here – as both the column in the center of the stairs and the outside walls are radiating heat.

The walls are, of course, filled with magma. And this is how the Magma Spider queen travels. She is able to cast lava nets and gouts of magma – and she is harmed mostly by cold. She will separate the party by setting off traps which will create curtains of lava – which will flow down to kill her prey. If the antidote is drunk prior to encountering her, she will simply pass by. Of course, there are only four vials.

After several hundred feet of ascent, the stairs transition to a smooth passageway carved into the stone. About 60 feet in front of you, a screen of lava is falling through a fissure. Beyond the waterfall of magma, you can see that the path continues onward. Every few minutes, there is about a one-second gap in the magma curtain.

Timing is: 8 minutes, 6 minutes, 6 minutes, 6 minutes, 9 minutes, 7 minutes, 6 minutes. (names of the days of the week).

The party must jump through a lava curtain by figuring out the timing of the intervals. Just then, they will be attacked by Xorns – sort of a troll under the bridge scenario.

Beyond the curtain, the passageway continues for another 60 feet ending again in a sealed door which flickers with a now-familiar set of runes.

Djinn 14.jpg

An overbearing heat sears your face and hands. You are at the edge of a great pool of magma. Several stone furnaces have been set over the pool, and a number of long-handled crucibles are nearby. A single stone sits precariously on the edge of the pit, overhanging the flaming, firey, flame fire below. The room shows signs of use, as there are footprints leading between each of the furnaces.

Suddenly the magma begins to form into a massive demon-shaped creature with horns and a muscular body. A long face is accented by a pointy beard of dripping magma. The ground rumbles as the creature speaks, its voice low and rumbling.

I am Sura-An-Nami. You have entered my domain. Where is my sacrifice?

No sacrifice, but there are five of you. Surely, not all of you are needed. Well then, one must stand on the stone and solve one of my riddles. Then, you may use my furnace or ask me any question.

An incorrect answer will plunge the party into the magma. Let them choose from the Big Book of Riddles.

The Forge of Hellsmouth

Second stop to get the ball forged.

This large space is underground and clearly of dwarven construction. You are standing in a natural niche on a broad walkway around a circular shaft which extends two levels above and below you – yours being the middle of five. Passing in the center of the shaft is a mechanical column. Gears and levers are evident on the outside of the column, as it appears to be some sort of lift. Periodically, steam is vented through a hold in the column and you can hear grinding as the lift carries dwarves and supplies either up or down in the room.

Each ramp is circular, about 30 feet wide. Along these are set dozens of forges – with ovens set into the walls at regular intervals. You can see flames in the back of each oven, although there appears no access other than the cold-forged iron doors on each. Most of the forges have a dwarf diligently at work. The dwarves are large and well-fed with long groomed beards that reach the floor. The work seems to be mechanical mostly – gears, bolts, gaskets, and strangely-shaped metal housings.

The sound is deafening and the smell of sweat, steel and dwarves is overpowering. A number of small mechanical “dogs” appear to be dashing about the room eating scraps of metal that fall to the floor.

U-Gene recognizes the dwarven runes as belonging to the Calinshold Dwarves – a rogue group of reclusive dwarves – and not particularly friendly to Durin’s children.

The lift will immediately descend to the middle level, and the doors will open.

You see coming towards you a massive dwarf dressed in chain mail carrying a black axe. Behind him are four mechanized bi-peds. They each have six arms and seem to move with unnatural fluidity. They are not armed with any conventional weapons, although they are certainly menacing in their appearance.

I am Gahmar Steelfounder, Foreman of the Third Level of the Redsmelter Century. Who are you, and what is your business in Calinshold?

Leave immediately or my guards will attack you.

A siren sounds, and you can see each dwarf quickly take a defensive place behind their forge. From the central pillar, tubes suddenly point out in all directions.

If the party investigates the lift, they will find a puzzle required to enter.

Cut the strips vertically, arrange to make four valid equations:

Djinn 16.jpg

Inside the lift, you find a large red, iron lever with 5 positions (one for each level). In addition, a set of stairs leads to an upper control room. This room has windows on all four-sides – although you would swear that the windows appeared to be steel from the outside. One of the windows is also a door, which is currently shut and locked.

If the lift is taken to the top level, the control room fits into the stone at the top of the shaft. The door automatically unlocks and allows exit from this part of the cavern. There are several guarded checkpoints beyond.

At the back of the niche is a secret door. This opens into a storage room – a 60 foot square room carved with several rows of shelves and an open area in the center of the room. The room is musty, as if it hasn’t been used is quite some time.

The shelves are filled with more mechanical equipment including boilers, gauges and several nasty-looking barbed cones. You can hear the sound of hammering coming from the central area of the room.

A single gnome dressed in filthy robes sits among a pile of parts, partially built into a chair mounted on what looks like two large X’s at each end acting as legs. Each leg ends in an open cone the size of a canon barrel. In addition to the two large X’s, the device has a cone pointing forward and backwards. A number of levers in front of the chair are currently disassembled, and the gnome is scratching his head looking at the device. He does notice your arrival.

I am Bink Guildersleeves – gnome engineer. Not a slave, a hired hand – although they will have my head if I can’t figure this one out. I am building a flying chair – works on steam power. Very cool, huh?

Bink can walk freely among the dwarves to gather information – including the location of Nihilo. He will be fairly uninterested unless you show him the magical tools.

The mechanical dogs are actually cleaners that use a series of small tunnels to do their business, eventually pooping their metal back into the repository for re-smelting. Their warrens run throughout the complex, but you don’t want to run into one while in the tunnels – as they can eat almost anything, digesting only the metal. They are particularly fond of magic items….

Nihilo’s Lair

Djinn 15.jpg

Final stop – race for the cube.

Standing like a tooth in a dragon’s maw, the mountain is an almost perfectly conical volcanic hill formed millennia ago from the slow leakage of lava. About 1,000 yards in diameter at the base, the peak rises about 800 feet above the surrounding mountain tops. A continuous geyser spouts from the very summit. The spray shoots 300 feet into the air, then trails off to the east under the prevailing winds like a great white feather. The water from the geyser collects in numerous depressions downslope that eventually merge, creating a sizeable stream.

Above the clouds, dragons can be seen – not in abundance – circling the area.

You appear on a small ledge overlooking a wide valley of barren peaks. The stone is bright red, and little vegetation can be seen. A ring of mountains create a bowl. The sky above you is leaden, and you cannot see the tops of the mountains through the impenetrable cloud cover. Below, the precipice is a sheer drop into a narrow valley. The sight makes you uneasy, as if you are looking into teeth of a monster.

Behind you, a golden door is set into the mountain. Even in the muted light, the door glows with eldritch light. A single keyhole is in the door. Etched into the door is the number 60. Above it, a dragon’s head has been formed into a very fashionable door knocker.

This is lockpick challenge #1. 60 seconds and the alarm rings.

Room 2: Entrance

A tunnel, lined with gold on floor, ceiling and walls goes into the darkness. It radiates light. Shortly, you come to a three-way intersection. Down each hallway you can see a door with a lock similar to the front door. In the center of the intersections, a snake-like creature rests on a 2-foot-high pile of bones that fills the intersection. The creature’s has the serpent-like face beneath the tangled mat of hair that covers its head.

Bin Wan

I have a mouth but never speak.
I have a bed but never sleep.
I run smoother than any rhyme.
I love to fall but cannot climb.

(Answer: A river.)

If the party tries to attack, the naga will trigger a stunning trap to all within 60’.

It is clear that all footprints lead forward, as the two side passages do not seem to have been used.

Rooms 3 and 18: Dead-End

A ten-foot long pit is in the center of this hallway just beyond the door. After about 40 feet, the golden hallway simply ends with an intricate rune carved at the end.

3 - Listening closely, you can hear the rushing of water behind the end of the hallway. The glyph is that of water. If opened, this wall will have a torrent of water. If the pit is open, then the water will flow down it. If closed, it will flood the dungeon.

18 – You can feel heat behind the glyph at the end of this hallway. A faint pulsing can also be detected.

Room 9: Pool

A large, circular alcove about 10 feet in diameter extends out from the right side of the hallway. Its floor is covered in a dark blue liquid.

Blue Ooze.

Room 10: Watery Room

The hallway opens into a large, water-filled chamber. On the opposite side, a flight of wide stairs leads up out of the water and out through an arched opening. On the east wall is a closed door. A narrow ledge runs around the western side of the room at the same level as the hallway leading in. A little more than halfway up the west wall, the ledge has a 10-foot gap, which is also concealed by the water.

Most of the room’s floor is 15 feet below the ledge.

Within the water lives a great tentacled creature – which has grab and constrict, paralytic tentacles, and madness.

If injured it will squeeze itself into area C.

Room D appears to be a door on the wall above the pit, and at the same level as ledge. It is also locked with a key.

Room D: Nihilo’s Lair

This room is completely made of gold like the hallways. It is brightly lit by an impossibly large diamond that sits in a small stone setting. Narrow shelves line the walls – each stacked with gold pieces. Picking up a gold piece will show that it is carved with a name, place and date. Some of the pieces date back centuries. In addition, gold cloth pillows are heaped upon a bed in the corner of this room. A large golden throne is the only other furniture here.

Nihilo’s Gold, Diamond of Light

Room 11: Hallway

This hallway is filled with small protruding spikes, each of which is tipped with a small ball. A faint smell of ozone and a crackling can be heard coming from this area. The floor is wet here.

A lock is required to pass through this door. Failure causes an electrical discharge. There is a 60 second timer as well.

Room 12: Valdemar’s Outer Room

This room is furnished with a plain wooden table surrounded by benches. A large candle gutters on the table, casting dancing shadows on a large book lying open beside it. Another door leads out of the room on the opposite side.

The book is list of accounts – with Valdemar’s name at the bottom. The accounts are, however, not goods bought and sold but people. Each has a check beside it and a place and date. Careful review shows that each party member’s name is listed in early October – during the harvest dance. These names have, however, been crossed out.

Nihilo’s Account Book - this large book is bound in white – traced in gold. The ink that has been used to write the names in the book are also in gold.

Room 13: Valdemar’s Inner Room

In stark contrast to the outer chamber, this brightly lit room is exquisitely decorated. The floor is covered with fine woven rugs, and the ceiling bears an intricate mosaic depicting a summer sky dotted with fleecy clouds. An impossibly large diamond sits in a stone cup on the center of the table – radiating the light in the room. Lush tapestries and shimmering curtains mask the walls, giving the room an aura of warmth and comfort. In the corner opposite the door stands a large bed, lavishly covered with fine blankets and cushions. Beside the bed is a low table set with a buffet of cakes, nuts, and sweets. Across the room sits an oaken chest bound in brass.

Diamond of Light
The chest contains: Oathbow, Ring Gates, Pebble of Dryness

Room 14: Flanged Doors

The passage ahead is blocked by a large iron door that appears quite thick and strong.

The three iron doors are spaced 10 feet apart in this section of hallway. The north side of each one is flanged to prevent any force applied from that direction from opening it. These are in fact emergency doors intended to prevent the boiling lake (area 15) from flooding the dungeon if the magical bubble in area 17 should burst. The doors are tightly stuck, and each one requires a Strength check to open from either direction. Handles on the north sides of the doors give characters a means to pull them open, but the doors are no less stuck.

Room 15: Boiling Lake

This “lake” is actually an underground pocket of water heated by the activity of the volcano. Water flows into the cavern from the west (at the point marked A on the map) and is heated nearly to boiling as it comes into close proximity to the magma beneath the mountain. The heat causes the water to churn wildly, and that constant action has carved out this tall cavern over the course of many years.

A – B Water flows out from the water pocket near the top of the cavern at the points marked A and B on the map. From there, it cascades down hundreds of feet though a series of lava tubes. Some 800 feet below, it strikes molten rock and turns instantly to steam, which rises up through more lava tubes to the top of the volcanic cone, forming the continuous geyser of steam seen from outside.

Room 17: Ledge

This area is uncomfortably hot. Though the relatively narrow passage seems to open out into a weird, wide cavern filled with flickering light, the corridor actually continues about 30 feet more before opening out into some kind of dome. Its walls and ceiling are not formed of stone; they appear to be made of luminous water that arches upward and meets overhead. The hazy images visible through these watery walls suggest that the floor of this area is actually a ledge in the middle of a gigantic, water-filled cave.

This stone ledge juts out over the middle of the boiling lake, about 50 feet below the ceiling of the cavern and 100 feet above its floor. The naturally luminous water of the lake provides enough light for the PCs to see normally throughout the area. A magical membrane of semisolid water forms a tunnel and dome that rest atop the ledge, but—as the flanged doors at area 14 attest—it offers only scant protection against the fury of the boiling flood beyond. The membrane has burst before, and it will certainly do so again. The membrane is soft, resilient, and hot to the touch. Area spells or intentional attacks can easily puncture it, sending scalding water rushing to fill the available space.

A huge, monstrous crab is at the north end of the dome. On the floor at the north end of the dome, surrounded by the bones of the monstrous crab’s previous meals, is a long, shallow chest.

The chest contains Wave – The Trident of All Merfolk. A prelude to the next adventure?

Monsters

Lizardmen
Magma Spider Queen
Xorns
Sura An-Nami – the efreet
Gahmar Steelfounder, Foreman
Calinshold Dwarves
Mechanical Guards
Scavenger Dogs
Bink Guildersleeves
Bin Wan – the naga
Blue Ooze
Giant Crab

Treasure

Antidote to the Magma Spider
Black Axes
Gold Throne (gold walls, too)
4152 “named” gold pieces
Diamond of Light
Cube – The Djinn’s Labyrinth
Nihilo’s Book of Accounts
Oathbow
Ring Gates
Pebbles of Dryness
Diamond of Light
Wave – Trident of All Merfolk