Winged Vulture

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Winged Vulture
Type Dungeon
Status Explored March 884 TA
Location near the Land of Bogs
and the Little People
Hex 3110
Campaign Dragonsford Campaign
Adventure # 86
Map-land of bogs.jpg

Introduction

It is springtime, and the snows have melted off the roads and the ice has disappeared from the bay. The party gathers for lunch, as usual, at the Wicked Lady Pub. Normally, the pub is busy at noontime, but today there are no tables to be found. Sitting at your table is a group of eight gnomes dressed in rough cloaks and sandals. Two other tables are filled with similarly-clad gnomes. They eat in huddled silence. One gnome is dressed in finer robes with leather boots, a small walking staff and a small cloth bag sitting next to him. Upon your arrival the barkeep, Dugal Whistlerock, hurries over.

Sorry lads, there's no room to sit inside today. It's a beautiful day, I'll have some food and drink brought outside for you. We have a special on fish and chips, thanks to them gnomes who caught one off the coast up north. It'll cost you an extra 100,000 gold, though. I need the money to buy my castle. Lord Whistlerock of Havelock's Keep. That's a grand one.

Vulture intro.jpg

If questioned about the gnomes....

Those are Salvage Gnomes from across the Inner Sea. They have come to raise the Winged Vulture from its watery grave off Havelock's Keep. Their leader, Zamish, said that they will only be in town for a couple of days, but their gold is good and they seem a hungry lot. Zamish said that he heard old Janvel Swayne kept all his valuables with him on board. Of course, I've heard differently, and I told him so. There was an old man who used to come to the Wicked Lady years ago, Martin Stormweather, who claimed to have been a cabin boy for Janvel. He died some ten years ago, but he claimed that the real treasure was buried in a cave under the castle, guarded by ghosts. When he was drunk, we would ask him what sort of treasure the old pirate had, and he would sing this little ditty over and over until he passed out.

Gold, gold's a sailor's death.
Drags you down to the watery depth.
A swimming fish is a pirate's treasure,
A golden belly and an airy measure.

DM's Notes

There are actually three parts to this adventure: the gnome ship, the Winged Vulture (sunken ship), and the complex underneath Havelock's keep.

The gnomes are actually what they appear to be. However, their leader is looking for more than just gold. He is seeking a small medallion in the shape of a mermaid. This medallion is rumored to control merfolk. And a small group of merfolk near Dragonsford could help harvest a special kelp from the sea that is thought to provide magical healing powers.

The first twist is that the sunken ship is home to the merfolk (see Magic cards), who do not yet know of the existence of the medallion. They were drawn to the ship by the gold and other finery there, although they mysteriously do not remember their past further back than 100 years. The Winged Vulture does indeed hold a good deal of Janvel's treasure. If disturbed, the merfolk will move to take over Havelock's Keep.

The complex underneath Havelock's Keep was once the royal dwelling for the king of the merfolk. They were driven off by Janvel when he captured the medallion which controlled them. He used the medallion to make them forget about their home and enslave their spirits to guard his submersible boat. Ironically, the merfolk eventually came to inhabit the ship where Janvel's body lies (with the medallion). Since they were commanded to forget, they don't know about the medallion.

Room 1: The Cave Entrance

Wingedvulture01 new.jpg

At low tide, a small cave entrance can be seen on the rocky beach beneath the sheer drop from the wall of the Havelock's keep.

The path leading to the cave is strewn with rough boulders and large rocks which have fallen onto the shore from the sheer cliff face above.

The cave is dark and smells of seaweed. Water drips from the roof of the cave, and a number of large pools can be seen scattered about in the rocky sand which forms the floor. It is obvious that the cave is natural, formed by the erosion of thousands of years of surf. The cave is sixty feet across, almost circular. However, a narrow passageway in the north wall leads to a second chamber beyond the first. A large pile of kelp is near the entrance to the cave.

Inside the kelp are two large blue crabs who will move to attack the party if they enter. They will not leave the cave until high tide, and they can be tricked with food. There is no treasure here.

Room 2: Upper Merfolk Entrance

This room is similar to the entrance only about thirty feet in diameter. The sandy floor slopes from the edges of the room to the center, where a large pool of murky water has collected. Around the edges of the pool is piled kelp.

Careful examination shows a set of man-made steps carved into the north wall. These lead up to a small niche. The niche has a makeshift rock bench just large enough for one man to sit on. A skeleton faces away from the party, its skull resting on a large rock outcropping in the southern end of the niche.

A small slit looks down upon the room below.

Moving the kelp, reveals a sizable stone with two brass plates anchored to it. The first is in some unintelligable language, the other is in common.

Merfolk from their watery home
By pirate's hand and sword drove
Janvel's curse made spirits slaves
Inside deep and watery graves
Pirate's code and commoner's fear
Beware all who enter here

Diving into the pool will reveal, a large metal wheel protrudes from what looks like a round metal door.

Turning the wheel will cause the door to spring open, filling a dark room below with the water from the pool.

Room 3: Upper Wheel Room

This small man-made room has a rung ladder mounted on the north wall entending from the ceiling to the floor. Large circular plates in the ceiling and floor each have small metal wheels attached to the face. Two small metal plates in the south wall have the following symbols above them."

Wingedvulture02 new.jpg

Turning the left valve will cause the dungeon level below to be pumped clear of water in about 10 minutes. - sounds like rushing air.

Turning the right value will cause the dungeon level below to be flooded with the water from above in about 10 minutes. - sounds like rushing water.

Make sure the ceiling or floor is closed, as appropriate.

Room 4: The Merfolk King's Retreat

This room is dark and very damp with large puddles of water on the floor and water dripping from the ceiling.

Lighting the room, the party sees a small chamber about twenty feet across with passages leading east and west. The walls have been finely carved to resemble an ocean scene. Kelp relief, carved schools of fish, and a ceiling carved in the shape of the inside of a clam shell provide tell-tale signs of the former magnificence of the room. It is obvious that nothing has been done to upkeep the room for some time. Moss grows abundantly in patches on the ceiling, floor, and walls.

Careful examination reveals a secret passageway in the north wall.

Room 5: Dining Hall

This room resembles the previous in its intricate design and carving. A large table dominates the center of this room. Around the table are a number of chairs formed from large clams. The table and floor are strewn with broken pieces of shell dishes and goblets made of fantastic sea creatures. Several of the chairs have been broken.

Two merfolk spirits will move to attack. Male merfolk spirits can be harmed only by magical weapons and spells. They fight either by passing through party members (doing 2d6 and making them choke on water) or by their song of charming (1th level). If a party member does not move, they will choke to death in 2d4 rounds.

There is also a strangely shaped mother of pearl plate here. #2

Room 6: Throne Room

This room resembles the previous in its intricate design and carving. The walls of this room are carved with an intricate fresco of a large merfolk king (as evidenced by his crown) battling and defeating what appears to be a large aquatic dragon with flippers instead of wings. Passageways lead from the north wall and the east wall. A large throne made of small shells sits against the south wall. In the western part of the room is a large black stone which glows with a purple light. The stone is warm to the touch and radiates a strong aura of magic.

Careful examination shows a slot cut in the top of the stone, a broken plate of mother of pearl is wedged into the slot. #1

Careful examination reveals a secret door in the southern wall.

The stone was why this place was built, although its powers can only be activated by the merfolk in the sunken ship. The merfolk spirits will not enter this room.

Putting the plate together magically fuses the pieces. When placed in the slot, a projection appears on the throne. A translucent merfolk spirit sits wearing a crown. His eyes are downcast as he sits before the party. Looking up, he mimes the following actions.

  • Smiling and looking out over his people.
  • Covering one eye (pirate) bows.
  • Smiling shaking hands.
  • Covering one eye and snatching something.
  • Smiling, looking down, clutching his chest.
  • Frowning hands together as in shackles.

This is repeated three times. Then the merfolk king melts back into the rock.

Room 7: King's Bedroom

This room resembles the previous in its intricate design and carving. A large shell dominates the center of the room. The shell is filled with seaweed and kelp. Passageways lead to the east and west.

Careful examination reveals a pearl necklace of very fine craftsmanship is hidden in the kelp.

There is also a strangely shaped mother of pearl plate here. #3

Room 8: Harem

This room is less grand than the others in its design. While well made, much of the undersea ornamentation is missing. Placed about this room are a dozen small shells each filled with seaweed.

If entered, four female merfolk spirit banshees will attack. They fight either by passing through party members (doing 1d6 and making them choke on water) or by their song of charming (4th level). If a party member does not move, they will choke to death in 2d4 rounds. Female merfolk spirits can be harmed only by magical weapons and spells.

Careful examination reveals twenty large black pearls hidden in the kelp of the shells. There is also a strangely shaped mother of pearl plate here. #4

Room 9: Kitchen

This room is less grand than the others in its design. It room is filled with vessels made of shells, several square bales of kelp held together with fine golden thread, and a number of shell dishes and goblets.

Two merfolk spirits will move to attack. Male merfolk spirits can be harmed only by magical weapons and spells. They fight either by passing through party members (doing 2d6 and making them choke on water) or by their song of charming (1th level). If a party member does not move, they will choke to death in 2d4 rounds.

Room 10: Passageway

This room is less grand than the others in its design. The room has passageways to the north, south, and west.

Room 11: Barracks

This room is less grand than the others in its design. Twenty large shells, filled with seaweed are arranged in two rows of this long narrow room. Passageways lead from the east and west. Each of the shells has the sleeping form of a vaguely-crawdad looking creature in it.

If the party enters this room, four undead guards rise and move to attack the party.

Room 12: Guard Room

This room is less grand than the others in its design. Passageways lead from the east and south. Four vaguely-crawdad looking creature are slumped around the walls of this room.

If the party enters this room, four undead guards rise and move to attack the party.

Room 13: Entrance to the Lower Chamber

This room is less grand than the others in its design. Passageways lead from the east and north. A large metal disk in the floor has a wheel protruding from it. This is the only unusual feature of the room.

Room 14: Lower Wheel Room

This small room has a rung ladder mounted on the north wall extending from the ceiling to the floor. Large circular plates in the ceiling and floor each have small metal wheels attached to the face. Two small metal plates in the south wall have the following symbols above them.

Wingedvulture02 new.jpg

Turning the left valve will cause the dungeon level below to be pumped clear of water in about 10 minutes. - sounds like rushing air.

Turning the right value will cause the dungeon level below to be flooded with the water from above in about 10 minutes. - sounds like rushing water.

Make sure the ceiling or floor is closed, as appropriate.

Room 15: Lower Chamber

This large room has a sandy floor which is strewn with large piles of kelp. The kelp seems to be growing from the floor. The western half of the room is roughly carved and definitely not natural. The eastern half of the room is a natural cavern except for a large metal door which is hinged at the bottom.

In the center of the room is a large wooden tubular craft. A single propeller and two rudders (one horizontal and one vertical) extend from small holes near the back of the craft. The front of the craft has a large metal corkscrew like device. A hatch on the top of the ship is open.

A small metal box is attached to the western wall. It looks like a treasure chest that has been set into the wall. On the southern wall a niche has been cut with a metal rung ladder leading up to a circular door.

The metal box contains the Beaker of Air. This is needed to keep the boat filled with oxygen. It is also needed to run the wheel rooms.

The interior of the ship is very simple. Seven wooden seats are positioned over a large circular timber that stretches the entire length of the ship. Pedals and a series of gears allow for the timber to be rotated either clockwise or counterclockwise, forming a draft shaft of sorts. Two seats in the rear have poles nearby to work the large rudders. The seat nearest the front of the craft has a small crystal window which allows for very limited visibility.

The Winged Vulture

The merfolk who live here fight with shells with sharpened edges that are formed into knives. They do normal damage and require a saving throw at 5th level versus poison or the affected body part turns into a fish part using the following table for 1d4 days:

Roll

Human

Merfolk

1-5

Right Arm

Flipper - no weapon, shield, etc.

6-10

Left Arm

Flipper - no weapon, shield, etc.

11-14

Chest

Scales - can't breathe air, must breathe water

15-19

Legs

Tail - no armor, boots, etc.

20

Head

Fish head - can't breathe air, must breathe water - no spells or talking!!!

Room W1: Captain' Cabin

This room is lavishly panelled in fine wood. At the far end of the room is a large bunk bed built under a window which streches almost the entire length of the curved wall. The center of the room has a table and four chairs (all nailed down). A number of locked cabinets and drawers line the straight walls of this room.

Merfolk Captain

Room W2: First Mate's Cabin

This room is made of wood with two small portals on the far wall from a single door which leads in from the hallway. A large bunk bed, small table, two chairs, and several large wooden chests are scattered about the room.

Merfolk Lieutenant

Room W3: First Wench's Cabin

This room is made of wood with two small portals on the far wall from a single door which leads in from the hallway. A large bunk bed, small table, two chairs, and several large wooden chests are scattered about the room.

Room W4: Officer's Dining

This room has two long wooden tables with wooden benches to either side. A railing around the edge of the table keeps various lamps, pewter tankards, plates, and bowls from sliding off. A smaller square table near the small end of the room is similarly arranged.

Room W5: Galley

This oddly shaped room obviously served as the ship's galley, as pots and various cooking implements are strewn about. A set of stairs in the northwest corner of the room leads down. The straight wall of the room is lined with shelves, protective bars slid into place to keep items from sliding off. A large table and two large tubs are pushed against the outer wall."

Room W6: Seaman's Birth

The long room is reached by climbing up and down the nets that lead between the deck and the cargo hold. The room is very roughly furnished with sixteen bunks lined up along the north and south walls. A door in the starboard wall leads into a room beyond. Each bunk has a small wooden chest nailed to the floor at its foot. A hole in the side of the ship and the floor mark where a catapult entered and left this room.

Two Kelpies will move to attack here.

Room W7: Seaman's Mess

This room has three large tables with benches lining them. A number of lamps, pewter tankards, plates, and bowls are strewn about the tables and floor. A single passageway in the eastern wall leads up. There is a door in the western wall.

Two Kelpies will move to attack here.

Room W8: Cargo Hold

This large room is lined with large crates which are held in place along the walls and between the masts with large nets. A number of crates have broken free from their netting and are broken about this room. The floor of this room is scattered with gold dubloons and large silver coins. A large chest is pushed up in the corner of the room, the body of a man pinned behind it. A hole in the roof and floor mark where a catapult entered and left this room. Scorch marks circle the lower hole, obviously from a fire below.

Careful examination shows a small passageway leading down from the eastern wall.

Hold is home to the treasure and the bulk of the merfolk.

Janvel's body: a gold medallion etched with a merfolk, "Hand" Sword of Janvel - Sword + 4 allows the wielder to have Water Breathing with 40 charges, Eye-patch of Janvel - able to cast True Seeing with 10 charges, in a pocket - a pair of ivory dice with ruby and emerald pips.

The chest has the following riddle on it:

Pieces of Eight, The Sailor's Gate,
The Number Said, Or This Gold's Lead.
8, 11, 14, 9, 12, 5 ...

The chest contains: Potion of Water Breathing, platinum and gold chess set, 1000 platinum pieces. Scattered about the floor are: 30,000 silver pieces, 120,000 gold pieces, ruined paintings and bolts of regal cloth.

The merfolk are 6th level fighters. The males use their knives, the females also sing with a song of charming (4th level).

Room W9: Underbelly

This room exposes the timber planks which form the ship's hull. In the floor is a lodged catapult ball blackened by fire. Several dead bodies also charred. There has been material packed around the lodged catapult, but a large hole to the outside still evident.

A giant octopus will move to attack here.

The Tavish Gn'all

Room G1: Captain' Cabin

This room is lavishly panelled in fine wood. At the far end of the room is a large bunk bed built under a window which streches almost the entire length of the curved wall. The center of the room has a table and four chairs (all nailed down). A number of locked cabinets and drawers line the straight walls of this room.

Room G2: First Mate's Cabin

This room is made of wood with two small portals on the far wall from a single door which leads in from the hallway. A large bunk bed, small table, two chairs, and several large wooden chests are scattered about the room.

Room G3: First Wench's Cabin

This room is made of wood with two small portals on the far wall from a single door which leads in from the hallway. A large bunk bed, small table, two chairs, and several large wooden chests are scattered about the room.

Room G4: Officer's Dining

This room has two long wooden tables with wooden benches to either side. A railing around the edge of the table keeps various lamps, pewter tankards, plates, and bowls from sliding off. A smaller square table near the small end of the room is similarly arranged.

Room G5: Galley

This oddly shaped room obviously served as the ship's galley, as pots and various cooking implements are strewn about. A set of stairs in the northwest corner of the room leads down. The straight wall of the room is lined with shelves, protective bars slid into place to keep items from sliding off. A large table and two large tubs are pushed against the outer wall.

Room G6: Seaman's Birth

The long room is reached by climbing up and down the nets that lead between the deck and the cargo hold. The room is very roughly furnished with sixteen bunks lined up along the north and south walls. A door in the starboard wall leads into a room beyond. Each bunk has a small wooden chest nailed to the floor at its foot.

Room G7: Seaman's Mess

This room has three large tables with benches lining them. A number of lamps, pewter tankards, plates, and bowls are strewn about the tables and floor. A single passageway in the eastern wall leads up. There is a door in the western wall.

Room G8: Cargo Hold

This large room is lined with large crates which are held in place along the walls and between the masts with large nets. A number of crates have broken free from their netting and are broken about this room.

Careful examination shows a small passageway leading down from the eastern wall.

Room G9: Underbelly

This room exposes the timber planks which form the ship's hull. There is nothing of interest here.

Salvage Gnomes

The leader is Zamish, a 15th level magic user who is adept at casting breathing spells. The workers are 6th level fighters.

Epilog

If the party returns the medallion to the king, then he will help them (assuming that his castle is returned), allowing the party to use the submarine in the future.

Monsters

Large Blue Crab (2)
Merfolk Spirits (2)
Merfolk Banshees (2)
Merfolk Spirits (2)
Merfolk Undead Guards (4)
Merfolk Undead Guards (4)
Merfolk Captain
Merfolk Lieutenant Merfolk (20)
Kelpies (4)
Octopus
Zamish, Gnome Leader
Salvage Gnomes (24)

Treasure

King's Pearl Necklace (1000 gp)
20 Large Black Pearls (150 gp each)