Difference between revisions of "The Invasion of Sandal"

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Your protection of the Forbidden Library is paramount to the safety of the Realm.  Opening even a single volume could loose upon the lands a terrible scourge.  Hopefully, you have completed your task without fail.
 
Your protection of the Forbidden Library is paramount to the safety of the Realm.  Opening even a single volume could loose upon the lands a terrible scourge.  Hopefully, you have completed your task without fail.
  
But, the Council of Elders also feels that this task cannot be done in a lawless land – torn by the ravages of war.  Sandal is in need a strong leader – not a known king who might be despised by the people – but a virtuous and pious man – one who will help the people rebuild, defend them from their enemies, and allow prosperity to return.
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But, the Council also feels that this task cannot be done in a lawless land – torn by the ravages of war.  Sandal is in need a strong leader – not a known king who might be despised by the people – but a virtuous and pious man – one who will help the people rebuild, defend them from their enemies, and allow prosperity to return.
  
 
We believe that you are that man.
 
We believe that you are that man.
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Draw a path that moves horizontally and vertically that starts at S and finishes at F. The path can only change direction when it hits a black square, a square that contains part of the existing path, or the edge of the grid. The path must dead end at F, meaning no continuation of the path is possible.
 
Draw a path that moves horizontally and vertically that starts at S and finishes at F. The path can only change direction when it hits a black square, a square that contains part of the existing path, or the edge of the grid. The path must dead end at F, meaning no continuation of the path is possible.
  
'''Room 18:  Chamber of the Guild Spirit Hate'''
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'''Room 18:  Chamber of Hate'''
  
 
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This is the guild spirit.  Many years ago, deep in the Volgran Mountains, the High Wizard of the First Council, Drebb, persuaded (some say through the use of a powerful suggestion spell) his fellow Magicians that the great cities of the Realm were destroying the source of magic from which they all drew power. United and misled by Drebb, the sorcerers created an entity which would cause discord among all organized groups. Drebb miscalculated the being's power, and the creature caused such a calamity upon its creation that Drebb's control over the council was broken. Drebb retreated into the mountains, and the creature, Hate, escaped the wizards into the night. Hate wandered Middle Earth causing minor treachery until it came to Teufeldorf. There it found a following to carry out its original destiny.
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This is the lair of [[Hate]].
 
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Hate manifests itself as a thick grey fog with a few red orbs resembling eyes. It communicates telepathically with its followers. While few in number, Hate's following is greatly feared for its single-minded purpose - The Destruction of All Civilization.
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The book is actually a deck of cards.  Which is in the pocket of Isambard the Mage.  Along with KEY 18 and a magic hourglass.
 
The book is actually a deck of cards.  Which is in the pocket of Isambard the Mage.  Along with KEY 18 and a magic hourglass.

Latest revision as of 14:48, 12 November 2016

The Invasion of Sandal
Type Dungeon
Status Explored March 902 TA
Location Sandal
Hex 7131
Campaign The Tang Empire Campaign
Adventure # 114
Map-valdemar.jpg

Prologue

It is the last day of March in the year 902 of the Third Age.

The time has come to finish off the Kingdom of Sandal. With Valdemar fled to the Tang Empire, the Orc Nation subjugated, and Sandal in revolt – a fourth and final campaign season would promise to bring an end to the bloody fighting and the elimination of troubles at the southern border.

Ah, the Tang Empire – the ratmen and their damned ships, doom wheels and lightning cannons. Sandal needs be conquered and fortified against attacks from the sea – otherwise it will always be an easy landing place for the Emperor Shiba. Of course, if Valdemar were gone – the Emperor’s interest in the Reaches might wane. Ah, Valdemar – still causes trouble from afar – something never end.

Your reverie is broken by the arrival of a messenger calling the heroes together to meet with No Cha, Grandmaster of Thieves. Well, one good thing came from the expedition behind the 1000 year gate – No Cha has proven himself invaluable at gathering information and doing tasks of a delicate nature.

No Cha is a middle-aged man who is impossibly thin and rakish. He is of average height with strangely forgettable features. He tends to cock his head when being spoken to. He appears to have no weapons, armor or magic.

“Friends, I bring you two pieces of news – both are dire and require immediate attention. Both are, I’m afraid, well beyond my abilities to tackle.

First, I made an emissary to the Great Eagles of the Whispering Hills. As I have explored the Reaches, I have found you have many powerful allies – and the Great Eagles are dedicated to Arch Druid Falstaff and surprisingly interested in the affairs of mankind.

Among their kind is a seer Meneldirin – an eagle whose vision in the real world is so poor that she can’t even fly or hunt for herself. She would have perished years ago, according to the natural customs of the Eagles except that her lack of sight in the physical world is matched by her extraordinary powers of vision in the spiritual world.

As you know may not know, the Great Eagles revere a young fey by the name of Misha – a wind sprite born to immortality in the First Age. On several occasions over the years, she has used her powers to aid the Eagles in their battles with the Dragons of the Wyrmwild – she is, to them, a patron spirit of the Winds.

Now, the fey have never been known to hold to the political borders that Man fights so ardently over. And Misha had always followed the wind and her own fancy – but at least once a decade she would return to her beloved eagles in the Whispering Hills.

Almost a century ago, Misha disappeared from the Reaches and did not return. And three months ago, Meneldirin (the eagle seer) sensed that Misha is coming home. However, she is coming home as a prisoner – trapped under the sea – and being used for some nefarious reason. It is most important that you know – Misha, a child of the wind, will be destroyed if submerged in water.

Having discovered this, I traveled far to the south – taking up residence in the ports of Sandal – listening for rumors or tales that would explain Misha’s return.

There, I learned of a great storm coming north from the Tang Empire. This is not an ordinary storm, I fear – for it has not varied its course or speed. It is traveling straight towards the Sandalese coast.

And here is what terrifies me, my Lords. A seer in Sandal has foretold the arrival of a vast armada of flying ships – the entirety of the Tang navy – no longer slaves to transportation on the sea. No longer slaves to marching on the ground. An entire flying army that can move more rapidly than our own over any mountains propelled by an evil wind – what an advantage this would be.

The eagles have attempted to fly into and over the storm without avail – and many of their warriors were lost. They have, however, seen the ships moving within the eye of the storm – faster as the hurricane gathers strength and widens its arms.

The only hope lies to attack the storm from beneath the waves, but I have no information on what lies below the sea – except monsters – and those, I fear will be the least of your worries.”

My second bit of news is distressing, but by comparison incredibly vague and insubstantial.

Initially, I picked up a rumor that the children of Sandal were disappearing – captured by slave traders for the slave pits. With the revolts in Sandal and three years of warfare, the fact that the slave traders were more active than normal isn’t that strange – although they typically capture mostly grown men to work in the fields of less civilized lands.

It is a mention from a slave trader that the dragons were paying for children that caught my attention. Now, this man told me his secret while assuredly drunk – but it was his mention of the Furies – who he incorrectly thought were a type of dragon – that stuck in my mind. He kept cursing Vince and saying that the Furies were coming to eat out his dark heart – no offense intended. And he was laughing that the children he captured were being teleported – so he only had to take them an hour offshore to collect his booty – urchins in town were like gold pieces with legs!

Last week, while I was flying back to Teufeldorf to report these findings, I stumbled across a magical circle – one which was of recent construction – a teleport circle large enough for an entire legion of soldiers. It was in the Southern Reaches, not far from the Sandalese border. I didn’t discover who constructed the device, but I realized that the symbol for the summoning power was that of the Fury of Darkness.

As always, I am at your command. I hope my information proves to be valuable to you.”

Storms

Storms: The Flying Ships is a timed adventure. Each time interval the party fails to meet, the ships get another Witenagemot turn in the air and the storm is a wee bit larger. You must make it obvious that the party is racing against the clock throughout the adventure.

Every 30 minutes of real time a compartment breaks on the cube is crushed – this is the ship using up its energy to supply protection against the crushing force of the sea.

Underwater, the storm looks very different:

The storm before you is massive – from a distance, it appears as the giant swirling tempest is 100 miles in diameter. The walls of storm shoot straight up from the sea blending in with the dark thunderclouds overhead. Almost continuous lightning strikes can be seen jumping between the clouds – creating an eerie otherworldly illumination. Below the seas are churning – sufficient to break the bow of any ship. Waves cresting 30 feet swell and release their energy in concentric rings of deadly force. Even from a distance, the sound of the storm is deafening – the façade dark and terrifying.

And even further down:

DM’s Note: There is a fake cube – a bomb being towed by a single leviathan in front of the real one. This is just a room with a timer and a bomb. The party will have a puzzle to solve – which will revealer a timer counting down. Run!!!

Color some of the arrows below tan. Each white arrow should point at exactly 1 white arrow, and each tan arrow should point at 2 tan arrows. Each puzzle below has a unique solution.

Invasion 01.jpg

A twisting tornado of water snakes several thousand feet down from the surface – concentrating its energy from the miles-wide storm to a small vortex lost in the inky blackness.

Further down is an incredible sight – two mighty leviathans – whale-like creatures with flippers bigger than the king’s warships. Black backed with white bellies, they move in powerful strokes at the vortex of the storm. Easily the largest creatures you have ever seen, each is perfectly synchronized. Nearby a school of what look like massive sharks, rays and jellyfish follow the two beasts – careful to stay out of their way.

As you approach the leviathans, it is apparent that a strange ship is following just behind them – its movement synchronized with theirs.

The ship – although it resembles nothing you have ever seen before – is a jet black geometric form. The form is that of a cube with its eight vertices removed. There are no apparent oars or means of propulsion. While there are no ropes connecting the ship with the leviathans, it appears likely that they are the source of the ship’s movement. A bright yellow glow comes from a single window at the front of the ship.

Surrounding the ship is a shimmering globe which moves as the ship moves.

Riding atop one of the leviathans is a merfolk, dressed in flowing kelp robes carrying a glowing trident. He is watching the seas around the ship, pointing the trident in sweeping arcs. At times, you see a shark or ray respond to his trident, moving off in a particular direction to scout.

If the merfolk mage is attacked, he will call his monster friends to assist him. He will hide in the leviathan’s mouth, if needed, as a final sanctuary. He wields Wave – Trident of All Merfolk.

The leviathans will use their song to bring other leviathans into help – thus providing an infinite supply of monsters.

The magical link can be re-forged instantly from within the ship linking to the leviathans.

Killing the leviathans will cause the ship to stop, although it will hover and the storm will continue to rage. Only shutting off the ship’s power will stop it from functioning. Destroying the ship will kill Misha.

The shimmering is an anti-magic shield against: etherealness, water breathing, and teleport – from the party only.

The hull of the ship appears to be made out of a thick hardened exoskeleton – as it does not have the ring of metal or the thud of stone. The black material is very smooth with no visible seams of apparent means of manufacture.

All the walls are the same with the following exceptions:

The middle front of the cube is glowing with a bright yellow light – like a beacon or portal. The center of the top and bottom of the cube appear to be open with some sort of creature inside – as periodically inky black tentacles can be seen coming from these compartments.

DM’s NOTE: The ship is filled with a gelatinous cube-like substance – to keep it from bursting. Dots on the map denote passageways between rooms.It has the following effects on game play:

  • Can’t breath without a spell. But, you don’t need food!!! Can’t talk very well.
  • Direct contact causes a tingling sensation – which will turn into an electric shock if the cube detects that anything has gone wrong.
  • No fire spells, lightning hits everybody nearby, acid nope, cold turns into ice and floats, arrows drift off course unless point blank, but swords are good – albeit slowed from moving through a viscous liquid. 

Rooms 1 and 2: Aging Monsters

These large 60 foot cubes are made of a thick black exoskeleton material although they appear to be open to the sea. Inside the cube, you can see an unnatural inky blackness – and the periodic movement of tentacles.

Any hit by the tentacles cause 1d100 years of aging. These creatures fight as large octopi. They can communicate with the jellyfish in the sea around the ship – which cause stinging attacks.

One tentacle from each creature actually poke into the ship’s central chamber where Misha is kept in a sealed tube. If the creatures are killed, a magical seal will close. The only thing that is keeping her from aging is her ability to keep the storm above the ship.

Room 3: Bridge

An impossibly thick pane of glass allows dim visibility into the room beyond. In the room is a male gnome figure – middle aged with red hair and a look of ragged determination. He is floating several feet off the ground near the window. In front of him is some sort of control panel – a series of strangely drawn runes, buttons and levers. He seems to be intently looking at a glowing picture drawn on the top of the panel. Behind the figure are two cubes about six feet on a side – each with four large circular saw blades mounted on retractable arms. Behind the cubes are two man-sized glass tube-like apparatus which are dark. The room appears to be a 60 foot cube.

This is Gnoblin the pilot.

The control panel is divided into four distinct areas.

  1. Two central pictures which appear to move
    1. Sonar - the first shows a sweeping hand with a red blip on it. The party can determine that it points to the lighthouse beacon.
    2. A female gnome and two small gnome children. They are dressed in rags and huddled in a lit glass tube that is suspended in a room of ink blackness. They are hugging and the smallest boy is crying.
  2. A left hand image clearly shows the leviathans and ship with a strange rune between the two – creating the rope to pull the station. Puzzle #1
  3. A lever between the central picture allows for the ship to be steered. It is tuned only to Gnoblin’s hand – and will only work for his hand (attached or not).
  4. A right hand image shows four tubes with arrows pointing up. This is the “release” button. It will not activate until the cube reaches the lighthouse. Puzzle #2

Gnoblin has been “recruited” by Valdemar by the capture of his brother, wife and children.

He is “steering” the cube towards the lighthouse. Any variation by more than a few degrees will cause the room to glow red (instead of yellow) and cause the tube of his wife and children to be shocked – they are in goo.

He believes that pushing the “release” button will stand all the monsters down and allow all the tubes to be released to the surface. It will activate once it gets close to the lighthouse.

Of course, what it really does is kill all the gnomes by turning the goo solid and sinking the cube so the storm becomes permanent. Only Misha in the tube would survive – held in place by the aging monsters!

Ropes - Fill in the grid with squares (of any size) that do not touch or overlap, even at the corners. The numbers below and at the right indicate the number of grid squares that are filled.

Invasion 02.jpg

“Release” - Shade in some of the squares in each grid so that there are two shaded squares in every row and column, and shaded squares do not touch, even at corners. The numbers on the side of the grid indicate the number of white squares between the shaded squares in that row or column.

Invasion 03.jpg

Room 4: Tinkerer’s Room

This room is empty except for a series of metal workbenches in the center arranged in a circle. From the center of the circle a yellow light illuminates the tables and the strange figure of a gnome floating mid-air his wild red hair floating in all directions. The gnome appears to be of middle age and is intently working on what looks like a large brass valve of some sort. Just at the edge of the visibility are four cubes with large metal blades attached to retractable arms.

This is Gnarley. He is the mechanic on the ship – and Gnobbin’s brother. He is here to make sure that mechanical repairs are made to the ship. He is summoned by a red light that appears in the appropriate rooms – although nothing has happened so far on their trip.

Room 5: Misha’s Room

This room is accessed by crawl spaces in the corners of the rooms above and below.

In the center of this room, a large glass tube is suspended by brass fittings that secure it from the ceiling and floor. The fittings are approximately 8 feet in diameter. A metal platform has been built in the middle of the tube – on which sits a small fairy child – of impossibly delicate features, high cheekbones, glowing blonde hair and gossamer wings. Her eyes are closed in rapt concentration. Coming through both of the glass fittings are long black tentacles which snake menacingly towards the fey. They are clearly alive and could easily reach her, but seem content to swirl about her without touching.

Surrounding the glass tube are glowing reflective mirror-like panels - creating a bright yellow light. There are eight mirrors precisely circling the central tube.

Otherwise the room is empty.

This is Misha – the patron of the winds who is causing the tempest. She most fears aging – which is why the tentacles have frightened her into doing what she does. The mirrors cause her to see her reflection at all times.

Room 6: Family Room

This large room appears to be empty except for a large lit glass tube about 8 feet in diameter in the center. The tube sits on brass fittings and appears to be filled with liquid, as a female gnome of middle age with red flowing hair and two small gnome boys – clearly her sons – float huddled in the middle of the tube.

A large floating eye about 20 feet off the ground is looking into the tube. The eye seems at first to be organic, but you see a large number of mechanical plates, boxes, and wires hanging from it.

This is Gnomela, Gnobbin’s wife and the mother of the two urchins. They are awake and suspended in the goo. Their fate is not good.

Room 7: Bot Room

This large room is dark. When illuminated, six large cubes with rotating blades on articulated arms can be seen. They are stationary, unmoving.

This is the storage room for the bot guards. They will respond to any red light warnings and will attack any living creature that is causing a problem.

The bots communicate with each other via a telepathic link – responding to trouble very quickly.

Room 8: Beholder of the Deep

The walls of this large room shimmer as if their surface were liquid mercury. There is nothing in the room except a very large globe-shaped creature floating in its center. The creature has a dominate central eye and a number of smaller eyes - each on its own stalk and moving independently. Beneath the creature trail hundreds of red, jellyfish-like streamers.

This is the “brain” which communicates with its brethren aboard the flying ships above. It can cast spells like a beholder.

Room 9: Upper Deck Entrance

On the interior and exterior walls of this room are puzzles which allow entrance into ship.

A faintly glowing set of runes flicker about a strange organic looking diaphragm. The runes are traced in green which glow eerily against the black of the ship.

In this room, eight glass tubes hold the floating bodies of merfolk – clearly warriors dressed in shell armor and carrying strange hooked nets. Each appears to be asleep, slowly drifting in their tank. The tanks are very thick glass with a brass cap on both the top and bottom. There are no markings visible on the tanks.

Rooms 10 and 11: Goo Rooms

This room is filled with the same thick substance as the rest of the ship. At the center of the room is a large irregularly shaped dark red mass with hundreds of tendrils snaking from it in all directions – each getting smaller as they radiate out haphazardly. The entire scene looks like some giant living organ with blood vessels filling the room.

This is where the goo is made. The ceilings here are filled with hundreds of holes which allow goo to be pushed through the ship.

Room 12: Power Plant

This room is filled with metal tubes and conduit running from a variety of machines around the edge of the walls. The machines appear to be a complex series of engines, pumps, valves, gears and other mechanical workings. A path runs to the center of the room where a large metal cylinder is capped with a shaft about a foot in diameter that rises from its surface. A silver ball is atop the cylinder which has wires running to each of the machines.

Two bot cubes are here.

These include the pump to bring oxygen to Misha.

Room 13: Misha Trap

This room is identical to the other Misha room (see Room 5) – except it is a fake. Touching it will alert the merfolk guards.


The Lighthouse

A squat stone lighthouse sits on a small rocky island a quarter mile from the land. The island is so small that there is no visible caretaker’s cottage – as is typical for these structures in the Realm. A storm rages here, and the surf is pounding mercilessly on the island. The ceiling is low and lightning dances in the dark, roiling clouds above the building.

A single metal door leads into the building. The door appears to be in recent repair.

A spiral staircase winds up to a single room above.

The circular room has thick glass tanks about 10 feet in height around the outside edge of the wall. The interior space is only about 20 feet in diameter. The light here is blindly bright – generated by a glowing liquid in the tanks. You seem to be able to make out dim shapes – like sea snakes moving slowly through the liquid. With the brightness it is impossible to make out any details.

There are four guards here – all blind – who will throw the switch and really blind everybody.

A small chest made of what looks like a red ruby-like substance is here. It is impossibly heavy. This is actually a fake beacon. The actual beacon is the lighthouse itself which has been magiked.

Darkness

DM’s Notes:

“The second tale I tell you is, well, an odd one – seemingly unrelated to my tale of Misha except for the timing of its arrival. And that it involves the weather and the realms of the sky – O that Falstaff could be found.

Legends from the First Age tell of the Beast of Darkness also known as the Fury of Darkness – the same creature which consumed the Overlord's soul after destroying the magnificent city-state of Rohrdan. In fact, it is believed that the shadow creepers spawned from this vile being as well. These legends are, well, myth – and I would have dismissed them except for the tales I heard during my recent tutelage with the Great Eagles.

It seems that during the First Age, the Emperor of the Old Kingdom with the help of the Collegium Magicium created a flying prison which circles the north pole of the Realm during the summer and the south pole during the winter - always staying in the sunlight. The only time that the prison passes over civilized land is during the Transit – twice yearly during the equinoxes.

In fact, it was a rare solar eclipse during the first Transit that allowed the wizards to “trick” the Fury of Darkness into entering the prison for just long enough that his power was diminished when the sun returned. For the last several thousand years, this prison has remained faithful to its original purpose – and effective at constraining the Beast.

In addition to the Fury of Darkness, the prison is said to contain many demons from the earliest recesses of time snared in sunlight raids on their lairs.

And while the prison floats above most clouds, it can make very basic maneuvers to avoid thunderstorms and great sea hurricanes. Now, however, a great cloud of smoke from the mountain of Ssruthu has streaked across the entire equator – threatening to blot out the sun – and allow the Beast to escape. You must stop this from happening.”

Slave Pits

Below you is a small rocky island with steep cliffs on four side, unbroken except for a small crevice which leads to a natural slip that would allow a single small ship to dock. A winding set of stairs lead up from the stone dock to a small flat plateau surrounded by the jagged edges of the exposed rock. Here, an arena-like structure has been built. Around the edges, dwarven guards in chainmail are stationed with crossbows pointed up. They are scanning the sky. In the center lies a massive teleport ring – glowing slightly.

A pen has been built under the teleport ring and can be glimpsed from the air. In the pen are several dozen children of different ages – all poorly dressed – sitting or slumped in sleep.

In the center of the teleport, a large bald man with a barrel chest and an old man dressed in robes with a staff seem to be conferring. Suddenly, they look up at your position and nod to each other.

The slave pits have a teleport to the dragon Brimstone which is making the stone which will create the smoke.

The old man will pull out a small glass globe and break it to warn Brimstone.

The large man is Tolbert. The old man is Frye. Fanshaw is the merchant liaison. Bardwell is the captain.

The Dragon Brimstone

You teleport to the ledge of a cave. Behind you, mountains – vast and untamed rise like jagged teeth against storm black sky. In the distance above you, you can hear hammering – rhythmic and steady. U-Gene immediately recognizes this as dwarven mining. In front of you, a black cave mouth – some sixty feet wide looms. You can smell the distinct odor of sulfur here.

Dragon inside which will come out as a man dressed in a red and black cloak and fancy clothes to invite the children for dinner. There is a formal dining room in the cave with a grisly kitchen. This is Brimstone who is a two-headed black and red dragon.

If warned, Brimstone will be at the mountain. The party will find a broken warning globe on the floor near the dining table.

The cave is very large. On one side, a massive wooden dining table has been laid out with fine china, silverware and crystal goblets over a black and red tablecloth with a pattern of intertwined dragons. A large chair is at one end of the table, and a small children’s chair at the other. Two exits lead from the room.

The first goes to a grisly kitchen.

This room is a kitchen of sorts. Several large pots are boiling over open fire pits. A stone table is covered with dried blood. In the corner are heaps of discarded clothing – presumably being used as fuel for the fires. An axe is propped nearby.

The second leads to a winding narrow path with periodic stone stairs leading up:

Before you in an unusual mining operation. Several long veins of brimstone seemed to have been exposed to the surface, running in parallel lines up the side of a steep mountainside. At the base of the slope, a large teleport circle has been built. A dozen dwarves are held to the side of the mountain by long rope contraption that allow them to be lowered and raised. Each has a pick and is breaking off large pieces of brimstone – which fall onto the circle.

Every few hours when the circle is full, Brimstone comes up from his cave and works the teleporter (puzzle).

Invasion 04.jpg

Draw a path that passes through each blank hex exactly once. The path can only change direction when it hits a black hex, a hex that already contains part of the path, or the edge of the grid.

Brimstone will summon a number of red and black flying lizards to help. They have a petrifaction gaze, fire breath, acid breath, plus a massive bite attack. They will keep coming while the party solves the puzzle – assuming they kill Brimstone and don’t ask him to solve the telelport.

Teleport ring to the great mountain of Ssruthu.

Great Mountain of Ssruthu

The first thing you hear is the thunder of a great storm. The first thing you feel in rain pounding down on your head from above. The first thing you see is smoke which obscures your vision. The first thing you smell is brimstone.

And then you fall.

Below you is a great wave of heat rushing up, turning the rain into thick clouds of smoke.

You are heading towards the heart of a volcano from just below the rim. Brimstone is pouring into volcano from the teleport. A great storm is dumping rain which is turning into massive plumes of smoke.

If the lizardmen have been warned, then they will have their archers on the rim firing down at the party. The arrows are those to dispel magic – specifically flight-related spells.

DM's Notes

  • The passing of the prison through the darkness has already happened.
  • The first goal of the characters is to stop the smoke – otherwise darkness will pass over the Reaches and the demons will be able to go there and fight.
  • Darkness powers the demon summoning circles. One found in Sandal – countless others are there – each has the potential to summon a legion of darkwalkers.
  • Time will determine how many are summoned and how long the darkness lasts – in months – during Witenagemot.
  • The prison is actually a trap.

From the top of Ssruthu, the view below is of a vast plain of dark cindery land crisscrossed with lava rivers stretching as far as the eye can see in all directions. A massive storm is dumping rain throughout the region causing almost impossible plumes of smoke to rise into the sky – carried northeast by the winds.

In the distance, you can see a ring of stones around which the lava flows. On the edge of the ring are several dozen lizardmen, including a very large warrior. In the center of the ring, is an area of unnatural darkness.

This, of course, is a trap – the teleport to the prison – which is now empty and ready for the party’s arrival.

A number of red dragons with riders on them are in the clouds above the party, making sure they go to the teleport.

The stones of the circle appear to be of recent construction. Each stone is about 20 feet high, flat on top with a wedge shape that allows them to fit together like a puzzle. There are a few gaps between the stones. A circle of lizardmen are armed with bows and swords – all look out vigilantly. A large leader holds a crystal ball in his hands and seems to be periodically speaking into the darkness.

In the darkness is one of the Furies - Nightgaunt. The following “conversation” is overheard.

“We have managed to trap the Angel of Light and exchange her in the prison with the Fury of Darkness. Our time is coming soon – if we can hold off the invaders until the Angel is fully bound, then nothing will stop us.”

This is, of course, a ruse. The Angel is a Fury – being the bait for the party to enter the prison and become trapped.

The Prison

There are actually two identical buildings for the prison. The first is the flying prison – where the trap is being set. The second is under Ssruthu Mountain – where the demons wait for their release into the Reaches.

You appear in the air, in a smoky, dense cloud. Around you, strange yellow and red lightning is flashing and the distant sounds of thunder can be heard. It is very dark here – much darker than would be normal for a thunderstorm.

Before you lies a strange circular building – like a flying saucer – made of bright reflective metal which creates a mirror-like surface. The building is several hundred feet in diameter. The edges of the building are about 10 feet high – expanding out to a central bulge that is about 60 feet in height. The building hovers in the air at a constant altitude, although it appears to be moving towards the north. It rotates slowly.

There are no apparent windows in the building, and in fact there does not appear to even be any seams in the building. A single door rotates into view.

The door is made of the same shiny metal. It has no handle or hinges and appears to be magical in nature. The door is ajar.

A hallway extends 100 feet in front of you moving into the center of the disk. Every 20 feet, an intersecting hallway moves out around the perimeter of the disk creating a series of concentric rings. Each of these hallways is lined with prison cells on both sides. The light in this area is blindingly bright.

The smell in this prison is almost unbearable and the cold is overwhelming. In the cells are pale creatures, emaciated with large bat-like wings. They appear to be comatose or asleep – although their chests rise and fall evenly. Several cage doors appear to be open – their barred gates ajar.

A quick calculation would yield that there are approximately 200 creatures here.

Almost immediately, the party will hear screams coming from the central room.

The center of the prison is a circular room. There are 6 cells in the ring here, each of much larger size – with the ceiling about 50 feet in height. The floor at the very center of the room has been marked with a teleport rune – which has been hastily and crudely drawn in a dried reddish brown paste.

Hovering in the center of the room is a massive demon – winged, red-scaled and muscular. Two black horns protrude from his head. His red glowing eyes are open as he watches you. His arms and legs are bound by silver chains which extend into the floor and ceiling. The demon is massive – about 40 feet tall. He has the rune of darkness carved into his chest.

In five of the cells, you hear whimpering sounds – vaguely human, clearly in distress. You can’t see into the cells as each one is plunged in absolute darkness. The door to each cell is slightly ajar.

In the sixth cell, a demon is wrestling with an angel – a woman with flowing blonde hair and exquisite blue wings. She has clearly been bound and has awakened. Her captor is attempting to put a gag about her mouth.

“Quick. Save my sisters. If this monster gets me locked in here, the Fury will be released. He has to trap all six of us. Hurry!”

This, of course, is a ruse. The sisters are Furies as well – but they are evil I tell you. Once the party enters the cells, they will close and be trapped!

Darkness will fall in the prison and they will hear the demon speaking to the sisters.

“Good job. Our work here is done. We must go now to the Reaches – wherever that is and pay back those who released us. Maybe, if the people there are tasty I will stay awhile and make it my kingdom.”

Assuming they stopped the clouds, then the adventure ends here. The disk will eventually fall into the sea after it emerges from the darkness.

If they didn’t stop the clouds, then give them a puzzle to get out?

The teleport takes them back to Ssruthu Mountain.

The Staging Area

At the base of the mountain, a band of metal appears to have been inset into the rock. The metal band has a dull, black surface which seems to absorb light. The band is 10 feet in height and about 40 feet wide. It is slightly curved, bulging out in the middle.

Close observation shows that the band appears to be moving left to right very slowly – with the right edge disappearing into the mountain while the left edge is emerging.

Inside...

A hallway extends 100 feet in front of you moving into the center of the disk. Every 20 feet, an intersecting hallway moves out around the perimeter of the disk creating a series of concentric rings. Each of these hallways is lined with prison cells on both sides. The area is pitch black.

The smell in this building is almost unbearable and the heat is overwhelming. In the cells are black-skinned creatures, emaciated with large bat-like wings. The doors to the rooms are open, and the banter and anticipation of battle is very strong here.

The center of the prison is a circular room. There are 6 rooms in the ring here, each of much larger size – with the ceiling about 50 feet in height. The floor at the very center of the room has been marked with a teleport rune which is slowly morphing and changing through a number of different forms.

Hovering in the center of the room is a massive demon – winged, red-scaled and muscular. Two black horns protrude from his head. His red glowing eyes are open as he watches you. His arms and legs are bound by silver chains which extend into the floor and ceiling. The demon is massive – about 40 feet tall. He has the rune of darkness carved into his chest.

Vellum

The Arrival of Silvarious

An ancient man with flowing white hair, bent and slow moving enters the room. He has impossibly thick lenses of the strangest yellow tint in thick black-framed glasses. Almost glowing, the spectacles light up enormous blue eyes magnified by the glass. He regards each of you, bowing slightly.

Fuzzwort instantly recognizes the man as Silverious, a renowned scholar of the libraries at Sarth – and a master of obscure histories and peoples.

Do you trust these gentlemen with a secret so powerful that until now I was the sole keeper of its knowledge - a tale that could destroy the great library that we have spent so many centuries building?

As you know our great library holds the vast collection of knowledge of the Realm – both the good and bad, the mundane and magical. But there is some knowledge our elders determined was too dangerous – tomes that could not be sheltered at Sarth. In the Second Age of Man, a decision was made to move the most dangerous tomes – those of the Wolfshaunt – to a secret labyrinth far below the earth.

Now, the world was a much smaller place back then, so the decision was made to locate this Forbidden Library in the uninhabited wilds of the continent you now call the Reaches. And indeed, the task was carried out successfully – at least according to the records we have in our possession. It is said that the library resembled more a prison than a place of learning with glyphs and wards sealing every room. When the vault was finally sealed, it is said that all the plant life near it died and a fetid swamp settled over the tomb.

In the dark years between the Second and Third Ages of Man – when all the races were hiding in the depths of their sanctuaries, knowledge of the location of the Forbidden Library was lost. The Guardians of the Forbidden Library disappeared. All that remained was a description of 20 keys that locked the rooms. Keys that each unlocked only one chamber apiece, but when placed together formed a powerful spell that would seal the library in case of dire emergency.

I have in my possession – and give to you now – a key to the Forbidden Library that was recovered centuries ago. And I also give you another key which was taken just a month ago by one of our spies in a small port city in Sandal. It seems the key was being exchanged between a Sandalese loyalist and a Tang merchantman. Before they were killed, the following message was discovered.

I am the black child of a white father;
A wingless bird, flying even to the clouds of heaven.
I give birth to tears of mourning in pupils that meet me,
and at once on my birth I am dissolved into air.

ASRSNUFLDTXTOOKNTWWH.
RIENPROTLREIFCGUKOFST
IYODAANAVMNEOTIYOERLU
BDVIMRSSAAGDNHNSCPOFN
LRCEWEICEEAPIRMELHEOA

KEY: Smoke

Library discovered in swamp near ruins of Castle Valdemar. Tang expedition forthcoming. Keys unlock the power of Wolfshaunt.

Invasion 05.jpg

I’m afraid it falls to you, young master Fuzzwort, to take these two keys and go to the Forbidden Library – discover what has happened there and make sure that each door is locked – each book is on its proper shelf – and all is protected. Do not breach the library, do not burn a single tome, make sure that no harm comes from to its contents. For, you see, the Forbidden Library is part of a greater balance – good cannot exist without evil. We just need to make sure that evil is not allowed to roam freely. KEYS 7 and 16.

You shall become the Master Librarian of the Forbidden Library and protecting its secrets is your task. The entrance is said to lie near the north end of the swamp at the center of six sentinels – guardians set to protect the library. I don’t know what form these sentinels take, but hopefully you can quickly discover the secret. Apart from your comrades, make sure that nobody else learns its location. Those who do know it must be killed.

When you have completed this task – open the following letter – it will reveal another, perhaps more difficult, destiny for you. And now, I must take my leave. Gentlemen, good day.

And with a puff of smoke, the old man is gone.

My Dearest Fuzzwort.

Your protection of the Forbidden Library is paramount to the safety of the Realm. Opening even a single volume could loose upon the lands a terrible scourge. Hopefully, you have completed your task without fail.

But, the Council also feels that this task cannot be done in a lawless land – torn by the ravages of war. Sandal is in need a strong leader – not a known king who might be despised by the people – but a virtuous and pious man – one who will help the people rebuild, defend them from their enemies, and allow prosperity to return.

We believe that you are that man.

By the grace of your traveling companions – the three kings of the Reaches - seek to gain their support in becoming the Priest King of Sandal. While your focus has always been on knowledge, it is time to put that learning to use. Good luck.

Silvarious.

The Forbidden Library

Invasion of Sandal Map.jpg

The swamps and moors here are extensive covering many miles. Rocky outcroppings appear almost as islands among the lush green mire of the bog. The vegetation is mostly scrub bushes and dead-looking trees – all with the sickly pallor of decay. Animal life exists here, although not to the extent that you would suspect in such a verdant wilderness.

There is very little that is man-made in the swamp. A road skirts the north end – running along a rocky rise which forms the northernmost boundary with the bogs continuing for miles to the south. Several game trails lead towards the center of the swamp where Baron Valdemar’s castle once stood before being flown to Teufeldorf and subsequently crashed. Several rocky islands have standing stones on them, although most are ringed simply with dead trees.

A trail can be found with recent magical activity moving up a deserted island with six dead trees circling a seventh, larger tree.

Catoblepas are in the swamps near the island and will come to investigate.

The six trees around the entrance are ropers who will attack any who attempt to enter – although showing them a key will cause them not to attack. Each character must have a key – or they need to pass them between each other.

Upon stepping upon the stone outcropping, Hylax has an odd sense that two things have happened:

  • He is cut off from the other planes of travel – Oblivion and the Land of the Dead.
  • Time seems to be stopped – or at least out of phase. If the party staggers in, the folks on the outside are moving very, very fast. On the inside, time is moving very slowly.
    • Anyone who goes in will appear to be gone for a long time.
    • Spells that are cast on the inside will last a long, long time – including fireball, ice storms, etc.

If approached with a key...

The ancient gnarled branches of the central tree sway unnaturally in the wind. You hear a loud creaking, and the trunk of the tree begins to split – a yellowish sap running openly from the wound. Inside, you can see that the base of the cavity is filled with a pool of black, fetid water. The walls of the tree are carved with a myriad of symbols – easily seen as runes of protection and warding – some in an ancient form not seen in this Age.

Jumping into the pool, the party finds itself in a stone shaft that descends 60 feet into the earth before opening into the ceiling of large stone room filled with a slightly-thick, black water. Visibility is terrible.

Saving throws vs. poison each round – and they must have some form of water breathing.

Room 1: The Pool

The water is black and fetid, slowly swirling thick with what appear to be the decaying carcasses, old tree roots and leaves, and the debris typical of the bottom of a swamp. The walls are made a closely-hewn – without cracks, mortar or any signs of seams. Suddenly, the shaft opens into a large room through a hole in the ceiling.

You find two bodies floating in the water – both appear freshly dead and stripped of all belonging. The bodies are those of two rat men, each has been tattooed with sigils. Most noticeably, each have impossibly long razor-like claws and a barbed tail. They appear crushed and bloated.

TENTACLES !!!

DM: Note the creature at the center of the dungeon can pass through the walls ethereally – so the tentacles appear to just come from the floor and pass into the floor without leaving a trace.

Three shafts are found in the ceiling of the room – spaced equidistant from each other about 60 feet in on the room.

Room 2: The Trapped Chamber

Climbing out of the muck, you find yourself in a simply carved room with a 20 foot high ceiling. The room is 50 feet long and 30 feet wide. Three of the walls of this room are lined with stone bookshelves apparently carved from the stone walls. The fourth wall is plain stone covered with fantastic designs of a dwarven warrior in battle – reading from a red book – in the midst of a great press of dragons. The dragons closest to the dwarven figure are disintegrating in howls of pain that can almost be heard from the life-like mural.

In the center of the room is a stone stand holds aloft a large book covered in red leather. From a distance, the book seems to be giving off a strange red, pulsating light. There is a sense of evil in the room and the tingling of magic is overwhelming.

The bookshelves here are empty.

The plain wall is actually somewhat hastily put together – allowing several figures behind the wall to see into the room. A cursory search will show that it is not of the same stone and has signs of recent construction. Also, the figures in the mural appear to have modern armor – not from the Second Age. Unable to solve the riddle, the ratmen wait for the party to solve – they will have runes that fire protecting them against the party. They have claws that allow for loppage attacks and a poisoned tail that will strike either the party or themselves. It causes a very rapid disintegration. They use the tails to get out of the wall. One will have KEY 2.

The book has the following rune on it:

Invasion 07.jpg

Find the path is a druid’s trick.

The number in the square tells how many straight line segments it takes to get to the meeting point. The different paths cannot intersect and may go only horizontally and vertically through the grid squares. The meeting point must be an empty square.

Of course, the real trick here is that the party DOESN’T want to solve the puzzle. For this will reveal the books on the shelves and release the demon from its captivity.

NIGHTGAUNT – tail lash causes saving throw vs. charm at -10. Bite attack. All charmed must swing at others. Mirror image. Haste.

As the “false” wall crumbles away, the true size of the room is revealed – a full 10 feet longer with the fourth wall also lined with books.

The ponderous tomes and books that line these walls are scattered with scroll cases and piles of vellum sheets. All appear to be ancient, many are handwritten in different styles and languages. The aura of magic here is overwhelming.

Perusing, you discover that most of the tomes appear to be incantations to subjugate humans to the will of others – creating powerful spells to enslave entire towns, charm kings, and cause fear in the most faithful holy warriors.

A small keyhole (KEY 2) can be found in the stone shaft just outside this room. This allows the room to be locked – and the key can be taken away.

Room 3: The Ransacked Chamber

Climbing out of the muck, you find yourself in a simply carved room with a 20 foot high ceiling. The room is 60 feet long and 30 feet wide. All four walls of this room are lined with stone bookshelves apparently carved from the stone walls. Again, ponderous tomes and books that line these walls are scattered with scroll cases and piles of vellum sheets. The shelves appear to be recently disturbed with some books piled on the floor and several stacks knocked over. The aura of magic here is overwhelming.

In the center of the room is a stone book stand is empty.

Perusing, you discover the bookshelves are filled with books that are incantations to summon nightmares and creatures of imaginary nature – causing the torment and control of others against their will.

A dead ratman can be found here a bloody hole pushed clean through his chest. He is also a trap – knowing the party will throw speak with dead.

He will tell of the successful subjugation of Qix – a demon of the dreamlands. He was defeated by the Tentacled Master who travelled with his group – the second of ten parties to descend into the library – by the use of a special potion which makes them immune to his powers.

If you promise to burn my body, I will tell you a secret that will probably save your lives. I snuck an extra vial of exilir – and it is still in a secret compartment in my boot. The Tentacled Master has the key to this room. I know they plan to ascend into the library, but I do not know where.

Elixir of Dream Protection

A small keyhole (KEY 3) can be found in the stone shaft just outside this room. This allows the room to be locked – and the key can be taken away.

Room 4: Down

Climbing out of the muck, you find yourself in a simply carved room with a 20 foot high ceiling. The room is 20 feet long and 20 feet wide. Each surface of the room has a 10 foot by 10 foot stone “picture frame” – including the floor which you just came through. The center of each picture frame is absolute black without reflection or texture.

On one of the walls, the picture frame actually hides a 10 foot by 10 foot shaft in the middle of the wall. While mundane in appearance, light does not seem to penetrate into the shaft.

Careful examination shows a number of small magical symbols etched into the frame of the east wall. Each symbol glows with the faintest deep blue light.

The passageway is made of 20 foot cube segments – each with the same six black frames.

The character that presses the frame is given a puzzle to solve. This is done in real time – with the rest of the characters battling either rust monsters or carrion crawlers.

The characters may retreat, but the monsters can follow!

This must be done eight times to traverse the entire hallway.

In one room, you find the body of a ratman – this one dressed in a tattered cloak. His staff lies broken next to him. His head is missing, but his hands are more typical paws and his tail is not barbed. His body contains KEY 3 and one elixir similar to the one found before.

Will the party return to the surface through the rooms to LOCK Room 3?

Room 5: The Flooded Scriptorium

The room before you is massive – disappearing into the darkness in all directions. The ceiling is low here, only 10 feet, and the room is filled with hundreds of squat stone pillars. Between the pillars are stone desks and benches – again seemingly formed from the floor. Each table is approximately 20 feet long with a bench on either side.

Most of these are difficult to see, however, for the floor has been flooded with about four feet of black, foul-smelling water. The water swirls and moves unnaturally, and you sense that there is something just below the surface here.

The stench of death and decay is overpowering here.

Searching the tables show signs of ink and wax drippings – all old crumbling and faded. The room appears to be an old scriptorium.

TENTACLES!

In the center of the room the ceiling opens up into a sixty foot hemisphere. This has been painted with an eerily lifelike mosaic of the night sky. From the mucky water, a massive circular stone desk sits perched upon a dais some twenty feet in diameter. An eerie green glow comes from the within the confines of the desk and you can hear a low whispered chanting.

A small skeletal figure wrapped in a dark green cloak is repeating a chant over and over. His teeth have been filed to points and his eyes are bloodshot and circled by black bags accentuated by his fallow skin. The creature’s head and eyes are frantically darting about the room – and he appears to be terrified. Seeing you, his eyes widen and he shakes his head almost imperceptibly.

This is Mannu – a servant of the Tentacled One – who is keeping the tentacles at bay by repetition of a powerful warding. If he is unbothered, the party can pass. If he is attacked or his concentration is broken, then the tentacles attack!

The green glow comes from an open book which has the incantation being repeated by Mannu. A slip of paper sits nearby – on it is written a short verse - "At night they come without being fetched, And by day they are lost without being stolen."

In the center of the desk is a pillar with a secret door which is currently open. A spiral staircase leads down.

Room 6: The Hallway of Teeth

The spiral staircase ends in a long 10 foot wide hallway that curves in either direction. While dark, a very low red light can be seen here – allowing some visibility although accompanied by a foul stench and a rising feeling of nausea. The floor is alternating white and black stones like a giant chess board. On the center of each square is a simple symbol.

Slumped at the bottom of the stairway, a ratman with razor claws and a barbed tale is punctured by dozens of wounds – blood oozing into a large pool around him. Bloody footprints lead from the base of the stairs heading out in both directions down the hallway.

Doing a quick calculation, you can imagine that the hallways would meet again forming a giant circle hundreds of feet in diameter.

This is a guard who was killed by the Hallway of Teeth.

Stepping onto any stone without a star symbol causes the teeth to activate.

From the center wall of the hallway, you hear an angry sucking sound and a death rattle. Suddenly, dozens of long snaking tendril appears dripping a thick viscous goo – each ending in a hideous teeth-filled sucker. Faster than arrows they attack.

After awhile...

You hear a mechanical drumming as if a machine pounding on the ground in a slow rhythmic beat. Suddenly, a massive red stone creature is upon you – hidden by the red light in the hallway. More construct than elemental, it seems to be made of solid, seamless stone. Ancient and deadly, it has impossibly large stone mallets in each hand.

If one appears, the other will appear behind it.

They will attack with massive slam attacks – invulnerable to most weapons – unless shown one key each. Knocking a character off a star tile will cause the mouths to attack as well.

Room 7: Sealed Chamber

You come to a simple stone doorframe surrounding a thick stone door. The feeling of magic, evil and chaos is very strong.

A single keyhole is next to the door. One of the keys from Silvarious opens this door – if tried.

The party shouldn’t go in here – as it is sealed, but if they do...

A short 5 foot wide corridor leads 20 feet before breaking into a room beyond. The darkness of this area is absolute. As you move into the room, your footsteps get more muffled, and your magic items begin to dim.

As long as the party doesn’t resist, nothing happens.

A single case of books is on the far wall of this room. A single chair and table are in the center of the room. Ink and wax stains are clearly visible on the table. The books in the case cover the dark art of torture to gather information – contraptions of diabolical menace diagramed, potions recipes can be found to cause exquisite pain, and even several surgical books are here.

On the other wall are stone boxes, some bound in iron others in the hides of dragons. Each has a protective glyph. There are some twenty boxes in all.

The boxes contain torture equipment which will animate and attack if opened.

Room 8: Chamber of Creeping Doom

As you continue around the hallway, you suddenly see movement in the distance as if the floor, walls and ceiling are shifting ever so slightly with a dark wave. A distant clicking can be heard coming from up ahead.

As you approach, you realize this is a carpet of small insects – literally tens of millions of them slowly creeping and buzzing towards you. About 70 feet down, you see an open stone door on the inner side of the hallway. A hellish yellow light is shining from the room – illuminating a similar carpet of creeping doom in the opposite direction. A large lump of insects is directly in front of the door.

This room has five lumps inside – comprising the original members of the team sent to open this chamber.

In the center of the room a stone dais is open with a book on it. The book is open and from its pages pour forth a literal column of insects. Periodically, a loud clicking can be heard as the book bulges – stretched as if made of skin.

This is the vermin demon attempting to come out.

The party can close the book, but they must seal it by retracing the path – in real time – while finding the Key 8 on the lump (nearest the pedestal) and keeping the demon at bay.

Invasion 09.jpg

Start from the S and move horizontally and vertically through each grid, visiting each square exactly once. When you step on a 1, you may change direction. When you step on a 2, you skid to the next square in the same direction (and ignore the number you are now standing on).

Room 9: Chamber of Souls

You hear the voices and crying of small children coming from down the hallway.

Several ratmen guard three small children all manacled in bright silver handcuffs. The ratmen and the children are peering anxiously into the room where a low chanting can be heard.

If the party is observant – they will notice that a small patch of mist – hanging near the ceiling. Or, they will hear a sniffing coming from behind, as the soul vampire seeks to determine who is “most good”.

Suddenly, a figure is behind you – a man by all looks, but with an albino white skin and long canines – as he glides towards you at a terrible speed, he is slowly becoming transparent.

Passing through the character, they must make a Wisdom save at -15 or have their soul sucked from their body.

One soul vampire has been released and each child will be sacrificed in order to get another to come forward. The handcuffs are not really restraints, but they mask the alignment “smell” of the child – so that the summoned soul vampires will leave them alone. Once sated, a soul vampire must rest in corporeal form to “digest” the soul.

Inside the room, a single tome sits on a stone pedestal in the center of the room. The book is a thin octavio, bound in black leather. Standing over the book is a gigantic skeletal figure dressed in a red cape and crown. The crown unglows with a ghostly darkness. He is incanting a spell, his bony digits clicking slowly as he holds a young child up to a vaporous mist which seems to be pouring from the book. The vapor seems to smell the child – as a distinctive sniffing sound can be heard. Two discarded sets of silver handcuffs and a silver cross lie nearby.

The skeleton looks at the party and smiles – his cracked, bleached teeth gleaming. “You have come sooner than expected. You are, however, too late to stop the master.” And with that he disappears. The child drops to the ground and the vapors continue to swirl about him.

He is protected by a spell which fires to teleport him once the party is within sight. He has KEY 9.

The book is entitled Mythical Beasts.

To put it back solve the mythical beasts crossword.

Invasion 10.jpg

Room 10: Down

A stone doorway on the inner side of the hallway is open and a faint yellow light – like that thrown off by mundane lanterns can be seen. Near the doorway a figure is lurking. You see what looks like a large crossbow jutting out into the hallway.

The crossbow fires bolts that will “follow” a target around corners, down hallways, etc. Once it has “locked on”, it is inevitable that it will hit.

There are bolts of slaying for Vince, Ernie, Hylax, and U-Gene. These will be fired – requiring a saving throw vs. death magic at -10. The device requires a full round to reload. The archer will close the door and reload – waiting for the party to enter again. He also has a whistle which he is to blow if the party approaches.

The room beyond is a simple 20 foot stone cube with a single set of spiral stone stairs leading down.

Room 11: Junction

You descend several hundred feet along the staircase. Periodically, you come to a landing with a large stone slab that slides into the wall. These slab are very heavy and can be pulled across the landing to prevent passage. A small locking mechanism shows that they can be locked to prevent passage up the stairway.

Finally, you break into a natural cavern of sorts. The darkness here seems more profound and the air is heavy with humidity. The smell is overpoweringly musty and tinged with ammonia. You can hear the distant dripping of water and a periodic rumbling groan shudder the floor. Stalagmites and stalactites are abundant here, along with rope like formations that run along the floor.

Two passageways lead off – down into the darkness. In addition, there is a large pool of standing water at the far edge of the cavern. The final oddities of the room are three stone statues of robes figures.

The three statues appear to be women – each appears to be life-like. Their dress is of an ancient style, and the looks on their faces is one of fear and trepidation. These are actually three novice librarians – Elinor (beautiful), Lina (very young), Minella (fat) - who have been summoned by Master Harker to bring their keys into the crypt below. They have never been allowed into the crypt, and are nervous about what they will find. They know that the two passages lead to the Vaults of the Six, including the Wolfshaunt. Another passage is that of the secret protector who “slumbers and should not be awakened”.

They will not initially trust to tell the party that the final passage lies under the pool.

The stalagmites, stalactites and vines are actually tentacles.

They have KEYS 13, 14 and 15.

Room 12: Vault of the Six

The sloping passage from the Junction leads into a large cavern. In the center of the room is a massive column that thrusts up to the ceiling some sixty feet above. The column is made of thick rope-like tendrils which spread out across the entire ceiling and floor of this space – several hundred feet in all directions.

As the cavern shudders, these formations sway – as if made of flesh instead of stone. A few even wriggle.

In the distance you can hear the sounds of fighting. While impossible to see the action, it appears to be coming from straight ahead.

Rooms 13-16: Chambers of Sin

By holding Keys 13, 14, 15 or 16 up, the tentacles begin to shift and wriggle forming a trail that leads to a cave entrance. This allows for easy access to the cave. These rooms – vanity, youth, and gluttony – have clearly not been opened and remain pristine. The party’s key is greed.

Each room will tempt the party with overwhelming desires.

Room 17: Chamber of the Dead

You see in the dim light a number of ratmen fighting against a horde of undead who seem to be pouring from an open door. While mostly skeletons, periodically a much larger creature will appear. The vines in the floor are moving here seemingly more active than near the entrance.

Several ratmen have already been killed with one slumped up against the wall nearest the door and three more prone near the current battle. It seems that the skeletons are winning – and some appear to be heading off towards you.

KEY 17 is still in the door!

Periodically, a flash of bright purple light will strobe from the room – bathing the entire area in a sickly palor.

In the room, a single tome spins in the air. Beneath it, a Tang wizard is heaped in a bloody pile – his robes tattered, a staff discarded at his feet, and his body sliced and chewed from hundreds of wounds. The room – while small – only 30 feet in diameter is FILLED with undead.

The staff is the Staff of the Anti-Magic Bomb.

The tracing to close is:

Invasion 07.jpg

Draw a path that moves horizontally and vertically that starts at S and finishes at F. The path can only change direction when it hits a black square, a square that contains part of the existing path, or the edge of the grid. The path must dead end at F, meaning no continuation of the path is possible.

Room 18: Chamber of Hate

Four ratmen guards stand ready at this door. Each has a crossbow with a bolt loaded. They wear strange copper goggles over their heads and seem to be scanning the room. The door behind them stands open. From it, a eerie wispy grey fog with red orbs resembling eyes escapes – moving through the air in an unnatural fashion. The guards do not seem to notice the creature.

This is the lair of Hate.

The book is actually a deck of cards. Which is in the pocket of Isambard the Mage. Along with KEY 18 and a magic hourglass.

Isambard will eventually leave the chamber – taking his guards with him – now minion of Hate. They will attempt to move to the surface. The only item left in the room is a small crystal case – about 3” x 5” x 1” thick. The only way to defeat hate is to destroy all of its followers. Then, the book must be placed back into the vault into the case.

If killed, the party will have to make continuous Will saves at -20 or become followers of Hate themselves.

There is no puzzle here – Hate has no power without followers.

Room 19: Wolfshaunt Seal

As you descend the stairs, you become aware of memories flooding into your mind – childhood nightmares – of the dark, unknown beasts lurking the in woods – chasing you through the trees on a moonlit night. Always, the sounds come closer, urging you to run faster – to flee.

You are alone on a windswept moor – you are late and it is night. All about you the wind rustles, suddenly gusting causing an eerie howl as it moves through the scrub. You can sense the approach of something large, something evil – or perhaps primeval. It is menacing and cannot be stopped by any weapons that you carry. You run, looking over your shoulder as it chases you down. Suddenly, the sounds are all around, you have been surrounded by the pack.

The long sloping hallway ends in a circular door – more of a seal since it does not have handles or any visible means of entry. The image on the seal is in disquieting bas relief – villagers running, some looking back over their shoulders – the look of fear is unmistakable. The workmanship of the seal is remarkable, as if the villagers are struggling to break through some dark membrane and into the room where you now stand. Periodically you sense movement within the seal, although it is clearly just a black, polished stone.

A single key is in the center of the disk. The seal is slightly ajar.

The key is KEY 19.

Room 20: The Hallway of the Village

Beyond the seal, the passageway is round, although with a slightly flattened floor to allow for easy walking. Unlike the rest of the dungeon which is stark stone – simple and utilitarian, this hallway is sumptuous. A woven carpet runner of vivid reds and greens leads down the hallway. Several tables of carved wood support lamps which glow merrily with a warm yellow light. The curved walls appear to be wood – paneled and hung with more tapestries of pleasing, abstract designs. A small book sits on one of the tables.

The hallway is filled with ghosts of Second Age human villagers, chatting merrily amongst themselves. Glasses of sherry and port are evidenced along with a number pipes merrily blowing pipeweed clouds. It is a gay and happy occasion. The sound of lively music can be heard faintly.

Suddenly, the sounds of a sword fight can be heard coming from the far end of the hallway – although the guests seem unaware of any such disturbance – talking merrily among themselves.

The book is a collection of Second Age children’s fairy tales.

At the far end of the hallway, a second seal is also ajar. This seal depicts the head of a large wolf – and like the previous seal – it is carved in stunning bas relief – this time in a tiger’s eye stone. While beautiful and breathtaking in its craftsmanship, the striking realism is marred by the odd treatment of the wolf itself. The head is slightly rounded with eyes more human than beast. The fangs of the beast are bared – and epically proportioned – giving the creature a menacing continence. Like the villagers, it looks as if this wolf – which would be thirty feet long if proportional to the size of its head – is leaping through the membrane of the bas relief into the room.

The sound of sword play comes from beyond.

The key is KEY 20.

Room 21: The Wolfshaunt Library

Like the hallway, this room is exquisite. A forty foot square room with a twenty foot ceiling is sumptuously wood paneled with rugs, tapestries, carved tables and chairs, crystal and silver – all lit by the warm glow of yellow candles which burn from clusters throughout the room. The room is piled with thousands of books – some running along bookshelves, others simply piled near overstuffed chairs and on tables.

In the center of the room, stands a very large man dressed in the courtly fashion of the Second Age. At his feet, five mangled ratmen corpses and one human dressed in plate armor are slumped – all are bleeding from an impossible number of deep slash wounds. The man turns quickly – a snarl of rage on his face – which quickly turns to a broad, toothy smile. He appears unarmed – his doublet unmarked and pristine. In his hand, he holds a key which he twirls absent-mindedly between his fingers.

This is KEY 21.

“You have broken our bargain, Keepers. Why is it that you have disturbed Booth after so many years? Although I guess that it is good that you did - I am tired of looking after…. Him. He nods to a third seal on the wall directly across from the door you entered. And, I have grown tired of the books you have left me. Ah, yes, I have learned much about your peoples and places, traditions and history – but now I wish to see them firsthand. I consider our deal completed – He is your responsibility now. I leave you now.”

Booth will do anything to leave – taking the book of folk tales in Room 20 with him. If the book is missing, he will bargain for it.

Booth is a lycanthrope of immense age. After years of in servitude for the Grandfather – the patriarch of the Wolfshaunt Mountain vampires – the most powerful clan in the Realm, he agreed to guard the Grandfather’s servants tomb in peace and quiet – making sure that they didn’t escape. To do this, he only had to make sure that the seal wasn’t opened.

Wycliffe.

The warrior is wearing a Ring of Donated Skills.

Room 22: The Guardian Slumbers

This room is gained by entering the pool in the Junction (Room 11).

The descent through this passage is hellish. Almost a straight drop down, there is no room to maneuver with many of the passages requiring you to squeeze through narrow defiles. The water here is murky and foul – with the stench of decay becoming more pronounced with depth. The walls of this tunnel are smooth and lumpy – nauseatingly resembling a worm. The sense of being closed in and suffocating is overwhelming here.

After descending several hundred feet, the passageway curls back up slanting off and creating a gradual rise. Suddenly, you emerge into an air-filled chamber. You are in the center of a carved hallway.

Staring down a long hallway, you see six stone seals each about 10 feet in diameter - each opened wide – allowing visibility down the entirety of the corridor.

Investigating the front of each seal, you find a stylized octopus looking creature and a keyhole. Each keyhole contains a key. KEYS.

Approaching the final door, you hear hushed voices inside.

“It is incredible. Who would have thought that it exists today – this is from legends. Part of the prophesy.”

Two figures stand at the far end of the room. They are encircled by a glowing light. The light is a protection from the party – negating their initial attacks.

The Tentacled Master – anyone who drinks the potion will be controlled !!! The Skeleton Man (Room 9)

Nine ratmen warriors are near the door – oblivious to the party as they gawk in rapt attention.

The room is vaguely circular several hundred feet across. It is the ceiling of this room, however, that is fascinating.

Looking up, you can see through the stone that is clearly overhead. You are directly below the most monstrous creature imaginable. Standing almost a quarter mile tall, the beast above you is an amalgamation of tentacles and protean appendages. It appears to be slumbering, although it is clearly alive – as periodic twitches and spasms cause the entire room to shake. Around the creature, you see the rooms of the dungeon you have just traveled – again in a state of quasi-transparency. The tentacles on the beast’s head poke into the entrance pool and flooded scriptorium. Mouths and eyes on the end of stalks below that are circled by the first library chambers you entered. The Chambers of Six and the Wolfshaunt spiral down from that junction – each near a protean hand which encircles them.

(Imagine yourself lying on the ground looking up through a glass topped table to a figure standing on the table).

In the center of the room, a small stone pedestal sits. A small triangular impression in the stone is encircled with the words: “Beware that which slumbers and should not be awakened.”

Once the party kills the bad guys, the creature will randomly start stomping in the room and filling it with tentacles - while somebody puts the cube puzzle together.

Placing the cube on the pedestal will cause the monster to rest – allowing the party to clean up the rest of the dungeon.

THE END

Witenagemot

Sire, we have the location of 15 magic circles being used to summon enemy troops, but the locations are encrypted. We have to use the numbers 1, 2, 3…15 in the correct squares to break the code and get the locations exactly.

Invasion 08.jpg

Since the Forces of Good are the attackers, they set up first. I will give them 15 units if they are successful with the puzzle.