Wednesday, October 10, 2018
A couple of years ago I was going through some papers saved by my mother and found a folded stack of notebook paper. Opening it up, I was amazed to see a comic I had scribbled in a composition book back in the height of my teenage D&D craze.
Here was the beginning...and end....of the adventures of Orik the Barbarian of the Eastern Plains and Menden, Elf of the Ethenwood, Orik's faithful friend.
Not hugely original but I recall being thrilled while drawing this tale, largely inspired by Basic and Expert Dungeons and Dragons.
The two were on a quest to find a lost wizard's tower and claim his treasure--well, Orik was, but Menden knew that prophecy and destiny were afoot.
I was reading the Fahfrd and Gray Mouser series at the time as well so that was probably an influence as well.
There is atrocious grammar in it, some mispelling, plagiarized names, and a hilarious bit about the Elf noticing the age of rocks and saying, "Gee, these are even older than me."
Well aren't you the Elven Sage--DUH!!!
Menden apparently sucked at geology.
Maybe he meant "stonework" and not "stones".
Here it is, for better or..probably...worse. THE SAGA OF ORIK OF THE EASTERN PLAINS!
(Click images for larger view, case you didn't know...)
Sunday, September 16, 2018
This is Part 1 of a four part review, the other parts may be viewed at the Youtube channel, Magic Penny Productions.
Thursday, September 13, 2018
Monday, September 10, 2018
Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Greetings my fellow D&D players! It is with humble well wishes that I offer you something I have not done ins some time, and that is Free Dungeon Content.
Well of the Oracle was written at the same time I wrote the other dungeon adventures that I uploaded here almost a decade ago. It was originally entitled Overlords of the Sunken Temple, then changed to another title which was changed again but has finally ended up as now titled.
I played this adventure with some friends of mine and we had quite a full table. It went off wonderfully and was a rousing good time. Back then, it existed only as some rough notes and sketched maps as you see here.
I welcome you to download and print it up for non commercial use to pit your players against the perils and ancient magic that await them in the Sunken Temple.
In fact, this adventure is in the process of editing and revision and is currently in the hands of a very capable illustrator.
The Well of the Oracle adventure has been begun in a proper, more attractive digital format, with several full color paintings already completed. The artist is from New Mexico and possesses a fine arts degree, cut his gaming teeth playing Original Dungeons and Dragons, and is a very capable painter in several mediums.
I had hoped with all my heart that this would be ready by early summer, but the project has stalled due to several big real life issues confronting the artist, an older gentleman with a very wonderful heart, so I have no foreseeable timeline at this point for what was planned as a very pretty project for what I think is a fun adventure.
My main concern is only that life gets a little calmer for him and he has the leisure to return to the easel without worries about other things.
Seeing that it will not be coming to fruition in the immediate future, I wanted to get it out to you so that you can simply enjoy the adventure with your party!
So, while I hope I can announce soon that a very decent work of rpg art will be available with illustrations and fine maps, for now I just give you the original draft with maps.
Please enjoy, and give your feedback!
WELL OF THE ORACLE:
In the original draft I did not yet pen a nice flowery introduction to be read aloud to the players, which I still have not done, so I will simply give it to the DM to introduce to his or her players as fitting.
Essentially, the plot concerns the exploration of a Temple to Poseidon (or other sea god from your personal setting) which, in centuries past, sank into the earth along a stretch of coast, becoming a dungeon. The whole place was enchanted, and though it was lost from the world above, the magic that preserved its architecture left it for the most part intact.
The Temple was originally a Shrine where a marvelous Well called the Well of the Oracle stood.
In this well, legend told, is the soul of a demi-goddess, a daughter of Posiedon who incurred the wrath of a goddess who contrived her death. Poseidon intervened, and though his daughter's temporal form was destroyed, the god of the Underworld agreed to suspend her spirit between this world and the next.
The demigoddess was trapped in the Well, and in time, pilgrims would seek her Shrine to find healing, before the earthquake which was to bury the holy place. It was also discovered that her spirit could be summoned to inquire of for counsel and divination of the future.
A tumult between Poseidon and the offended goddess eventually arose and in a quarrel of the gods, the Shrine and later temple built around it shook down into the angry earth.
But the magic and treasures of the Sunken Temple still await the brave!
As you can see, I have left this background for you to perfect for your own campaign--change as much as you like!
With that, I leave you to your own devices.
Beware! It's not an easy adventure, and it will require wits as well as will and warfare to see it through!
Please feel free to use the comments section to ask any questions or seek clarifications where this draft is not perfectly clear.
J. Becker May 23 2018
The entrance to the Sunken Tomb will be up to the Dungeon Master, depending on where in the campaign map the DM wishes the Tomb to be.
In it's original use in my Atlantean Campaign, it was placed deep within the sewers and caves that honeycombed the ancient rock beneath the City of the Erlking, Lord of Goblinkind. But it could lie below any modern city, a shrine or temple, or through a cave on a deserted island. It should be placed right next to the sea, however, since the Tomb was dedicated to a daughter of Poseidon. The DM may change the sea divinity to correspond to his or her own campaign material.
Wherever the entrance is placed on your map, it will lead to a seemingly bottomless round shaft that falls away into to the cold darkness of deepest earth, an ancient sinkhole with dangerous sheer walls. The characters will find a narrow stone stair carved into from the wall that leads down in a steep, curving flight to a mysteriously constructed bridge that spans the mammoth chasm.
Although the stair and the bridge are treacherous and the DM should build an atmosphere of the peril of this precipice with a description of it's decaying nature and the cool still air falling away into blackness that is barely lit by the character's tiny torches, there is in fact no real danger to the characters if they use every precaution.
The stair and the bridge were constructed long after the Tomb were buried by a terrible earthquake as a means of access and they are still quite reliable.
However, if anyone drops a torch into the vastitude, as it falls it will briefly illuminate what suggests an opening of a cave entrance in the side of the shaft some seventy or so feet below the Upper Enterance.
1.Threshold of the Tomb
On the opposite side of the bridge, characters will step forth upon a jutting cliff of stone. Built against the wall of the bottomless shaft is an ornate entrance to the Tomb which is constructed, as is all of the Sunken Tomb, in the Greek style. A great stone "porch",mounted by five ascending stepped platforms leads to the porch and its ionic column lined alcove portal. The great portal itself is a great square opening without doors, a vast square of impenetrable darkness beyond.
The porch has a roof that rests upon the ionic columns and upn this roof is an array of statues of armed Mermaids in beautiful sculptures that evoke both movement and amazing detail for statues so large. These flank, on either side, a great nude Nymph rising from stylized sea foam, her arms outstretched beneficently. The Mermaids seem to be guarding the Nymph and they are armed with short swords and shields.
There are, scattered about the cliff grounds in front of the Tomb Door, a number of skeletons in rusting armor in various states of decay. These appears to be the remains of other explorers who perished on the porch of the Tomb...
Unbeknownst to the players, hiding behind the statue of the Nymph, having the appearance of the stone wall of the shaft, there is a Greater Gargoyle named Giridax. Giridax displeased a demon lord and so was sent to this lonely place ages ago to guard the Tomb Door of Poseidon's Daughter that the lawful relics inside would never be restored to the lands above.
Giridax is far more than a normal gargoyle. His race were once the Princes of the Gargoyles. He is three times the size of a normal gargoyle and highly intelligent and to pass the boredom of his vigil he plays a game with would be trespassers. As soon as anyone approaches the steps of the porch, he will fly down with a flourish and land in front of the door, saying "Greetings, O You From the light Above."
Knowing that anyone who enters the Tomb must return by the same way, he offers them a game. He will permit them to pass without trouble if they can but answer a riddle. They may work as a group but they have but three tries by the ancient rules and if they fail, or refuse to play, Giridax will simply attack. If they guess correctly, he will keep his word but warn them that when they go to leave they must play the game once more to be allowed to leave without his attacking them.
Giridax will never leave the porch area as he is bound there by the demon's curse but should any party ever win the second riddle game with Giridax he will not keep his word the second time!
Giridax:AC-5 /Move-9" / HD -8/ HP -40 /3 Attacks/Can Fly. Treasure Type: C (Any Treasure Hidden on Roof) Special Power: Demonsong, works as Harpy Charming Song except Clerics and Elves are immune, other Lawful characters save at +1.
Giridaxs' 1st Riddle: "Two bodies have I but joined as one. The longer I stand still, the faster I run. Who am I?" Answer: Hourglass.
2.Hall of Statues
The Tomb door leads to a vast pillared hall with Three statues at the north end. There are no dangers here. The statues are Posideon at center, his Nereid wife on his right, and at left his daughter Nerea, recognizable from the porch likeness. Ornate and lifelike, they radiate magic if checked for but it is only the "common" enchantment of the Sunken Tomb, a spell of preservation which greatly impedes decay. There is however a secret niche in Posideon's statue pedestal and if searched for and found by the usual means, there will be found a Ring of Fire Protection inside, as well as 237 ancient golden coins with the sea-god's likeness upon them. Anyone standing in the north end of the hall will hear a sound as of a bubbling fountain--the sound comes from a door in the north east corner of the shamber leads a flight of steps descending 30'to Room 3.
3.Chamber of the Sea Nymph's Fountain
This chamber is square and has a door in each of it's walls as indicated on the map. Each of its four corners contain an ionic column supporting the high square ceiling. Each door is an open square portal without any barrier. In the center of the chamber is a bubbling fountain nearly five feet in circumference, set within a four foot circular retaining wall and having in it's center a pretty mermaid holding a horn from which the pure clean water flows. Her face is turned towards the door leading to the ancient shrine. The water is clean and inviting, rising from an underground freshwater spring. It will also confer a +1 bonus to any saving throws other than non-magical ones for 1 Turn after drinking. Ant heroes who taste of it will note not only it's freshness but feel a magical warmth spread through them upon drinking, which will wear off after one turn. It should be noted that although the water can be saved and drunk elsewhere, it will not confer anymore than +1 per Turn, and upon departing the Sunken Tomb, the magic fades so that that further use of the enchanted water will work but once more.
4.The Shrine of Posideon
When the Sunken Tomb's entrance was in the upper world (before the upheaval buried the place) worshippers of the sea god and his priests would come to the Tomb Shrine to honor his likeness (and that of his family) in the Hall of Statues. They also made ritual use of the fountain for purification and would retire to this square chamber to sing hymns and pray or leave offerings to the god. As with the previous rooms, a row of ionic columns on the east and west walls rise to support the high ceiling. Upon the South wall is a raised platform where Poseidon's mysteries were enacted by his officiants. The entire South wall is covered in richly painted and elaborately detailed murals of the sea god's domaain, bearing only the slightest traces of aging. Beyond the wall in the South east corner is a secret door leading to a treasure vault. However, hiding in the shadows of the pillars against the East wall is a Medusa. She is behind the pillar nearest the secret door and will attack when that area is approached. She has heard the party's goings on since they entered the tomb and has been lying in wait. She is also armed with a +1 Sword and a shield
Medusa: AC-7/HD-4/HP 32/Move-9"/Treasure Type-F
DM Note: When the Medusa springs forth, the character closest to her is in danger of being surprised and looking into her eyes immediately. To simulate this, give them a save vs. Deathray or Poison. A character who succeeds will glimpse the legendary serpentine hair first and be forewarned of the nature of the Medusa. A character failing this roll is caught off guard and meets the Medusa's gaze but the character still gets a Save vs. Stone. All other characters after this will be at -4 to hit as they try to battle the Medusa without meeting her gaze. Inform any player who wants to be heroic that the -4 penalty can be avoided by repeating the formula above--saving vs. deathray or poison to avoid her gaze and failing that, having to save vs. petrification. It is assumed that all characters will have heard legends of the Gorgons and their sister Medusa and her offspring called by her same name, like this one.
Here is where the priests of Poseidon hid the material offerings the devotees of the sea god would bring in times past. The DM should treat it as Treasure Type B and roll accordingly. In the event of completely fruitless rolls, roll again. No god's temple is barren!
6. Skull Catacomb
This small maze is a chilling spectacle indeed. Herein are a series of carved stone shelves lined with piles and piles of ancient skulls and bones, many crumbling. It was here that the remains of the priests and acolytes who attended the Tomb Shrine were brought to rest after being laid in tidal pools and allowed to be picked clean by tiny creatures and scavenging beasts upon the beach. An inscription in an ancient script is carved into the wall just left of the entrance. If a thief of the appropriate level is present or if mgaical means are used, the writing may be deciphered: "Be reverent to Poseidon, ye who enter here, and disturb not the remains of his faithful." If anyone enters the catacomb and searches it, it will take one turn. Within 2-5 rounds of entering, from 10-40 (roll d4 x 10) giant rats will suddenly emerge and harry the party in the confined quarters, leaping from shelves. If any character disturbs the bones on purpose, they will be at a -1 for all saving throws from that point on as long as they are in the Sunken Tomb. There is a 50% chance the rats will pursue fleeing characters beyond the catacomb and if this happens roll a percentile dice to determine what percentage of the rats follow. There is no treasure or any other items of interest in the catacomb.
7-A. Baths Antechamber
This was a room where people disrobed and came to bathe in the healing waters of the Tomb Shrine. They believed if they had been faithful and brought offerings of monetary wealth to the priests they could be healed by these springs. As indicated by the DM Map, the antechamber is flooded partially. In the 5' deep pool marked with a T on the DM Map, careful inspection with a light just above the water will reveal a dull gleam below water's surface. The DM should place a treasure or magical item of some value here in the hand of a submerged and fossilized skeleton. With some effort it can be pried loose. The DM may relate to any cleric the probable reason for the baths being located in the temple. Other characters have a 20% chance of having heard of such things.
7-B. The Bathing Hall
Players who enter the door of this room will find a column lined hall completely submerged with surprisingly fresh water. Strange white subterranean fish are seen to jostle each other in the murky water. It is not drinkable, but fresh water continuously trickles in strong rivulets from cracks in the ceiling. The place looks as though someday the slimy ceiling will give way but there is no immediate danger. Unless they accidentally step into a bathing pool, characters will find the water four feet deep upon entering and the western side will be as deep as 5.5 feet (It is sloping after long decay). If anyone slips walking over one the ancient tubs, they will be submerged in as much as 10' of water since the old tubs had five foot centers where the bathers could submerge themselves. This will amount to little more than an unpleasant surprise unless the adventurer is wearing very heavy armor and/or battling the aquatic monster within the baths! The tubs are shown on the map, they are not visible to the PC's. If a player is next to one they have a 30% chance of slipping into one the first time, 15% chance once they are aware of the danger.
In the northwest corner of the Bathing Hall is a door opening into a half sunken tunnel whose far west end in a dead-end of impassable collapsed rubble and debris. Dwelling in this tunnel is a monster who has been living here for many years, having gained access by an underwater spring and living upon fish here ever since, the Nameless Horror. The Nameless Horror is descended from abominations of old. It is serpent like but having 4 tentacles and a mouth like a Purple Worm. The beast is over nine feet in length. It will submerge itself to slither beneath the water upon unsuspecting characters and you, DM, should check for surprise for every character in the room when first it slithers forth upon the disturbance of it's feeding ground. It cannot be surprised. It will typically wait to attack until as many characters enter the chamber as possible or when someone approaches the sunken tunnel where it lairs.
You should treat the Nameless Horror as a Purple Worm with respects to it's ability to swallow creatures whole. It gets 4 attacks with it's tentacles, the front 2 being devoted to seizing prey to devour whole as the Purple Worm so calculate the hits of these tentacles as a Purple Worm attack for each. Any character hit by the front tentacles is seized and if their hit scores are 20% above the minimum total required to hit the character AC or 100% in any event, the character thus attacked suffers the same fate as inflicted by a Purple Worm. A natural 20 rolled on the monster's behalf is a for sure devour attack. Otherwise, successful hits by the tentacles do crushing damage of 1-4 per hit and any character hit is seized and at a -2 to hit the Nameless Horror is using a melee weapon. A character so seized may try to break free each subsequent combat round by making a successful save vs. deathrays/poison, but each round the tentacles attack again, the Purple Worm effect is applied. In the case of a character who is not free, this simulates the tentacles getting a better grip to gorge the maw of the Nameless Horror. If a character is not swallowed, the mouth of the beast gets an attack which can inflict d6 damage. However, should any character be swallowed, the mouth cannot attack again while devouring prey and the forward tentacles cannot attack again for 1-4 rounds after swallowing a hapless victim.
For characters fighting the beast who are not in direct danger of being bitten or devoured, the rear tentacles will attack with their crushing damage attacks and the same method of escape if required, a save vs. deathrays/poison.
There is a further danger--if any character loses his or her footing and slips into one of the bathing tubs, they will be in danger of drowning if in heavy armor or in the grasp pf a tentacle. During battle with the Namless Horror, the percentage chance of a slip into a tub should be checked every combat round by the DM (see above).
A submerged character in heavy metal armor must slip their armor to climb out and this will take from 1-4 rounds. The character may hold his or her breath for a number of rounds equal to 25% of his or her Constitution with no consequences. When this term expires, each round a character is submerged he or she must make a save vs. deathrays to survive drowning and escape the pool. They can only do this if they have slipped their armor (take note of their new AC). If their breath holding expires and they fail this saving throw, the unfortunate character has drowned! Slipped armor may be easily retrieved after the battle.
If a character not wearing armor slips into the pool(going by the percentage chances given above), they can easily recover themselves in 1 combat round--unless they have been struck by a tentacle, for the beast will try to pull them down into deeper water. In that case, the character can hold breath for a number of rounds equal to 25% of their constitution and get's a saving throw vs. deathrays every round to escape the grasp of the tentacle and the pool.
A submerged character can only attack by giving up a chance to save. vs, deathrays!
In the event of the beast's demise, the GM should make it's Treasure Type rolls with a generous hand, perhaps ignoring barren rolls altogether, for the creature is a formidable opponent and players deserve some recompense both monetarily and with respect to magic items. Any treasures will be in the sunken tunnel (the creature has no use for treasure but likes shiny things...). the Nameless Horror will not leave area 7.B. Like a Purple Worm it does not check morale and will fight until dead.
Nameless Horror: AC-4/HD-6/HP-30/Move 12" (in water)No. of Attacks-4(5)see above. Treasure Type B. DM Note: If a tentacle is attacked as if to sever with an edged weapon, 5 points of damage will accomplish this, and this cumulative. 5 points or more of damage against a tentacle will cut it from the Namless Horror. Surplus damage is applied to the body of the monster's body. To be clear, all points of damage inflicted drain the creature's Hit Points, but to sever tentacles, the player must declare intent and get 5 points of damage to actually cut the tentacle loose.
8. Chamber of Convocation
This square room is quite large. It is exceptional in that a massive bronze door is set here to bar entrance and it is fixed with an ancient Hold Portal spell. Anyone who tries to pass the door will receive a shock worth 1-4 points of damage upon touching it. A detect magic spell will reveal that magic is present--only a Knock Spell, Dispel Magic, or Dimension Door spell can give entrance to the party. Clever players may devise a means of passage even the DM has not foreseen through various magic items they may possess, such as Helm of Teleportation or a spell or scroll of that nature. It cannot be passed without magic in any event. If a magic user successfully uses a Contact Higher Plane Spell or a cleric casts Commune,a magical word can be divined which will also cause the doors to open.
Inside,the four corners are set with ionic columns but as the map indicates there is a circle of six statuesque columns facing outward from the open space in the room's center. The floor here is inlaid with silver that was poured in it's melted form into a pattern of ancient magical circles with an image of Poseidon at it's center.
The columns are stylistically carved in the likeness of mermen clutching tridents. their eyes are valuable sapphire gems (200 gold each eye, 12 in all). Painted frescoes of the adventures of Nerea in her undersea relm and her dalliances with her human beloved.
In the southwest corner of the West Wall runs a waterfall fountain, pouring from a slit in the stonework near the ceiling. It pours into a large basin set with in a retaining wall about 4' tall. The water never overflows ince it comes from a spring and flows into myriad splinter cracks below the basin which keep the water level til time shall close them with deposits, but the preserving spell set upon the Tomb Shrine endures.
If any character reaches behind the falling water, they will feel a portcullis. It is hidden from view unless an Elf is present and scores properly on a concealed door check. Caked with deposits, the portcullis is well rusted and can be pulled forth by a combined strength of 20, giving egress to area 9 beyond through a four foot square window of sorts over the basin behind the falls. Any character passing through it will be soaked to the bone with ice cold water.
The columns in the Chamber of Convocation radiate magic, as does the whole room. If they are all turned on their pedestals to face the center of the room, the sapphire eyes will begin to glow with blue light and the images upon the floor will also glow with magical power. The section of the floor within the circles will become ethereal within minutes and the party will note this as it will take on a hazy, insubstantial form, revealing just barely the top step of a spiral staircase leading down against the wall of a circular pit. If any characters descend the steps they will find themselves taking the path to Level 2 of the Sunken Tomb and the Tomb proper. Once they have passed this point the DM should consult the Level 2 Dungeon Key. They may return safely from level 2 by the same way--if the statues are turned to face away from the circle again, the magic will fade and the floor and indeed the pit will once again become impenetrable stone. Note that the players must think of this statue moving--if they get stuck and don't think of it, the Dm might drop a hint or two to an elf or Dwarf ("You notice that the column has an unusual thin crevice at it's base between the column and the floor...".
There are no other treasures nor any perils within the room.
DM Note:If any thief is impious enough to pry the valuable sapphires from their eyes, note that the spell of entry to Level 2 is broken! It can be restored by setting them back again. If anyone decides to take the gems upon leaving the Sunken Tomb, they will be valuable and still radiate magic but whosoever carries them will have to save vs. spells or become ethereal during times of high stress. Furthermore, if a cleric of Poseidon or any sea god is within 10' of the character, a Geas will be laid upon them to confront the thief and demand their surrender upon pain of death. If returned to such an one who is of sufficient level, Geas or Quest will be cast upon the offender or offenders to return to the Sunken Tomb and restore the eyes. Players may become stuck in this area and never enter Level 2 if they take the eyes before discovering the moving columns. In this event, the DM might suggest to a cleric that taking the eyes strikes them as an impious act, regardless of the cleric's chosen deity.
9.Pool of the Nixies
Crawling through the hidden portcullis behind the waterfall fountain in Room 8 will bring the character into a cavern with a very vast pool. The cavern is lit by strange blue light emanating from the pool's depths. The characters can walk around the pool on a circling stone shore and when they do they will find themselves gazing upon menacing giant statues of imposing figures 9' in height with webbed feet and hands clutching tridents and gazing sternly at all onlookers. There are 10 such statues around the pool. All is cool and moist with the sound of the laver in the opposite room filling the strange cave. Looking up, they will see a carved relief of Poseidon looking down grimly, his own mighty trident clutched in his hands.
If any character enters the pool, they will find it to go down some twenty feet until they realize that the light comes from strange glass globes set on iron pedestals with blazing blue light within. Even stranger, they will see ten dark alcoves set beneath the water directly under where the statues stand. Weirdest of all, they will come to the center of the pool to realize that the water of the pool does not pass beyond some a magical boundary which forms an underwater dome of breathable air which is 10' square. In it's midst is a pedestal with a translucent dome of glass covering some relic within.
The PC's can pass easily in and out of the airy sphere and stand, dripping wet, before the pedestal. As long as no one shatters the dome the alcoves remain dark and silent.
However, the relic within can never be taken otherwise.
If anyone breaks the glass they find an a nondescript bronze helm resting on the pedestal. This helm was crafted by Hephaestus for the sea god. The fire god loved Poseidon's daughter as a younger sister and this helm was left for any worthy hero who might enter the Shrine to contact her spirit for the good of the cause of Law.
The Helm Works as a ring of fire protection but it can be employed only by fighters and will adjust it's size to the head of any such character placing it upon his or her head. It is also a Helm of Alignment towards Law should any non Lawful fighter test it.
Upon breaking the glass though, there will come forth from the underwater alcoves ten Nixies who will attack anyone trying to take the Helm. These Nixies have no desire to Charm captives as per the usual method of attack--they have been asleep in a magical suspension of animation for untold centuries, preserved from age or decay by the magic of the sea god and waiting to awaken as guardians of Nerea's tomb.
They will fight until dead. All characters fighting underwater will suffer -2 to hit and half movement. They have no treasure.
Nixies: AC 5/HD-1/HP-8/Move 12"
Dungeon Level 2
Characters who have passed beyond the magical portal in the Chamber of Convocation will find that the pit descends some forty feet into the earth and the stair winds ever downward along the pit wall until at it's bottom, players stand before a dark portal.
This portal leads to the vast sinkhole shaft and certain doom for anyone who might fall into it. If characters dropped a torch from the upper bridge they would have glimpsed this place. A ledge runs along the wall from the door in the pit to a vast cave mouth that opens into the North wall of the sinkhole.
The ledge should be described as a perilous and spooky climb for the party but as previously if every reasonable precaution is taken, there is no actual danger to the party and they can enter the great cave.
The great cave is in fact a vast tunnel. Characters will pass by ancient stone statues of Poseidon and his court on either side. The DM may describe these as he or she wishes--they have no other import beyond pure ornamentation, but players should feel, from the DM's description, as if they are treading in depths of ruined glory long lost to mankind.
1.Cave of the Fire Guardians
At a certain point, inform them that they see the ever growing glow of firelight appearing in the tunnel ahead. Eventually they will come to another cave mouth exiting the tunnel and find an even greater, dome-like cavern beyond. From their high vantage point (they are coming form the south), they will behold across the cavern another porch area like the one they passed on Level One but without columns.
This porch is a vast raised stone platform that leads to a great bronze door set in the cavern's far northern wall. All along the platform, they can make out strange fire pits (leaping bonfires really) that light the great cave with an unearthly red light and fill it with a discomforting heat. Dispersed among the fire-pits the characters can see what appear to be human sized statues.
The players may cross the Cave safely, feeling ever growing heat as they approach the pits on the platform. Walking up the steps of the platform they will mount it's top level to see a number of bronze skinned warriors, armored like hoplites, standing still and erect with their shields and swords at the ready. Their eyes are closed and they stand in strange glowing circles just large enough to hold their outspread feet within.
The fire-pits are octagonal in shape, each one being roughly ten feet square in dimension.
One is placed very near the steps of the platform--if anyone comes within 10' of this figure or speaks to him, his eyes, and the eyes of all the Fire Guardians will open. They will give a warrior's salute and assume battle readiness, as if awaiting the heroes to enter their ranks.
The Fire Guardians are warriors of renown chosen by Hephaestus to stand watch over the tomb of Nerea. They have been standing in a magical state of suspended animation since being placed here by the god centuries ago. Even those who approach the burial shrine of Nerea with good intent must face these Guardians, such is the will of the Gods. But Hephaestus crafted a ring of fire resistance and a helm of fire resistance to assist anyone of lawful alignment in this test, these are noted in the Key of Level One in the Hall of Statues and the Pool of the Nixies. Each Fire Guardian is a 6th level fighter.
The Fire Guardians are armed with strange weapons which can damage or entangle an opponent, as noted above. Their fighting style is a strange, almost dance like method which is in fact meant to cast an opponent into the flames of a firepit.
If a Fire Guardian scores the number needed to hit the target armor class or two points above, then they fail to entangle the character and the blade projectile on the chain does a die of damage, halved (minimum 1).
If a Fire Guardian scores three points above the number need to hit the armor class of a target, roll a die for damage, halving any result with a minimum of 1 point of damage done; that is from the blade projectile upon the end of the chain. Furthermore, the target is entangled and the Fire Guardian will shift his weight to attempt to tumble the target into a firepit! A savings throw vs. deathrays/poison will prevent this but failing that, the character is struck into a firepit and will suffer one dice of burning damage.
If a Fire Guardian scores a natural roll of 20, there is no savings throw against this effect.
Furthermore, once in the firepit, the player must save vs. deathray/poison to escape the entangling weapon and the pit, otherwise they will suffer another dice of damage until they do!
A player who succeeds at this savings throw is free of the pit but will take a dice of damage, halved(minimum 1) the following round from flames on their person.
Notes regarding missile fire upon the Fire Guardians:
A Fire Guardian who is not engaged in melee with a character and who gains initiative will avoid any missile fire by ducking out of sight behind the flames of a firepit, in which case they can only be hit by a natural roll of 20. If engaged in melee and fired upon by a non engaged opponent concentrating upon a missile attack against them, they are susceptible and the normal attack chances will apply.
They are immune to all Charm or spells of suggestion, immune to any fire attacks, and get a +1 on their saving throws against any other magic.
Their immunity to fire is a blessing from their god and their armor and weapons are normal.
Fire Guardians-Level 6 Fighters:AC:6/HD-6/HP 30/Move-12"
DM Note" The Fire Guardians possess no treasure but upon the foremost Guardian will be found a large Key within a pouch upon his belt. This key will open the great door which admits unto the Tomb of the Sea Lord's Daughter.
The portal to Nerea's Tomb is a 10' square bronze door with a key hole directly in its center. On either side of it burn eternally two brass braziers; like the firepits, their flames can never be extinguished.
2.Tomb Entry Chamber
This chamber is magically lit by a cool blue light (as is the entire tomb of Nerea beyond this point) and holds an alabaster ionic column in each of its four corners. It is a marvelous room--the floor is a mosaic of glittering silver coral shells and abalone that gleam brightly after centuries. The walls are painted frescoes which depict various scenes of Nerea's life, amorous ones included. But most striking is the final scene of this mural upon the left side of the door set in the eastern wall...
Inform the players that their characters are shocked to find depictions of themselves, in ancient paint from centuries before their births, shown entering the Tomb of Nerea, who is shown welcoming them as she hovers above a well in the illustration! Each character (and any retainers) are shown in perfect detail so as to be unmistakable to the party.
Obviously, destiny has played a hand here!
Another startling fact is that upon a blue lacquered table sits a decanter, sealed and containing a clear liquid. It radiates magic, but can be opened without any trouble at all--any investigation will reveal that the decanter contains sea water.
There is nothing else in this room.
3. Well of Time
Upon entering this large square chamber, similar in aspect to Entry Chamber, a large round structure is visible, as are two alcoves in the southern and northern walls directly opposite of each other with the round structure directly between them. Each alcove holds a great alabaster statue, 10 ft. tall, of a Sea Nymph looking at the well with a rapt stone expression. On the east side of the room, platformed steps rise to Chamber 4.
The statues in the alcove are priceless but non magical.
Anyone approaching the round structure, which is four feet high, will discover that it resembles nothing so much as a well, but if anyone looks in and asks what they see, ask them the following question:
"Have you ever looked up at the night sky in a place far from any earthly lights and seen the innumerable stars and the galaxies? That is what you see far down the Well, at a great distance--it is as if you are gazing into the heavens at the bottom of a well."
Dropping items down the Well will see them lost forever--the same will happen should anyone be foolish enough to leap in--they will vanish for eternity. Otherwise, the Well will have no other use or manifestation unless the ritual mentioned in the description of Chamber 4 are enacted.
Should any player think to dump the decanter down the well, the DM should inform a cleric that they get the sense that this is an impious gesture--or tell the character doing so that they get a very strong premonition that this is a mistake!
4. Altar of Nerea
Upon ascending the steps from the chamber of the Well of Time, one faces, in this room, a flight of steps that mount to a dais whereon is an exquisite 10' statue of the Daughter of Poseidon. The statue is made of marvelous smooth marble and it's details, such as the eyes, hair, and other features are inlaid with marvelous shells. The artisan must have employed enchantment, for the idol is so lifelike as to unsettle a person and radiates an aura of magic.
In front of the idol is a square altar with a brazier on either side.
This is the altar of Nerea. If anyone of Lawful or Neutral Alignment lights the braziers and makes the proper offering to her her immortal spirit will rise from the Well of Time! The proper offering is, of course, to light the braziers and pour the sea water upon her altar. If players do not guess this, the DM should offer a hint or two.
If for some reason a foolish player has discarded the bottle's contents in spite of warnings to do otherwise, the decanter wil be found to still contain a single drop, enough to enact the ritual.
If the players enact the ritual, the following should be read aloud:
"As the last rivulets of the ocean's water trickle down the sides of the altar, the air turns suddenly electric around you, raising the hair on your arms. Behind you, from the Well of Time, thunders sound deep within it and a sound of pealing lightning rises. A great swirling mist rises from the Well, illumined by a sorcerous blue light. The entire chamber fills with a roaring wind that comes from the Well and causes your clothing and hair to blow as if you stood upon a stormy shore and indeed, you smell and taste the brine of the sea as a salty mist fills the entire area. After what seems an eternity, the mist above the well takes the shape of a beautiful woman from her lower torso up to her head and her upheld arms. The blue light within her body of swirling mist causes her eyes to blaze with glorious radiance, but in spite of this awesome display, her eyes and her countenance seem to evoke purity, nobility, and compassion. Each of you is smitten with a sense of the divine and feel as though you should kneel or show some gesture of respect. Do you?"
Hopefully, players will take the hint. Some, such as a cleric serving another god or goddess, may feel they should not kneel. If any gesture of respect or homage is given by any character, take note of it as accepted by Nerea. But if any player makes a point of not doing so at all, take note of that as well.
After this transpires, inform the party that the apparition speaks, saying "Stand before me, blessed mortals. I am Nerea, Daughter of Poseidon. I will hear your voice. I shall answer any question that any one of you shall ask, and I will grant each of you a boon. If it is your desire, O you who have proven worthy to enter my Tomb, you may ask, instead of what I have offered, one wish."
DM Note: If you feel that each character receiving a wish is too much and will unbalance your game, omit the last sentence of the above dialogue.
At this point, every single member of the party who showed reverence to the Sea Lord's Daughter will be healed of any disease, affliction, or physical damage they have suffered to this point. They will feel this instantaneously and discern immediately was has occurred. All characters will be healed, even those who did not reverence Nerea.
Inform the players that each them may now ask of Nerea's spirit one question which will be answered in truth as though it were a Commune spell or succesful Contact Higher Plane spell. The DM should provide an accurate answer to any character, whether they ask the location of a magic item or fabled place, a question one might ask a sage, how to find an enemy or ally they have known, or some question of a magical or sacred nature, or anything about the DM's campaign history, past, present or future. If you are refereeing the game with characters who have attained seventh level in your campaign, surely somewhere along the way they have found a matter that bears them asking about now. As DM, you, through Nerea, have the answer! Again, all characters will have their question answered, even those who were impious, if any.
Upon answering every question from those assembled, Nerea will offer one magical item to each of the assembled party as a boon. DM Note: To determine what magic item is given, roll upon the random magic item type table but ignore any Potions and Scrolls result. When rolling for a specific character, also ignore any table that results which has items not able to be used by that character's class. Finally, ignore any roll which grants a magic item the character already owns; in this case, roll again. The idea is that the Sea Lord's daughter will bestow something very worthwhile and wonderful upon the character which he or she does not possess and which they can use.
Characters who did not show reverence towards Nerea in her Tomb Shrine will not be granted a boon!
As previously noted, a character who wishes to forego having a question answered and a magical boon may instead have a wish, subject to the usual caution!
Once this has all taken place, unless the DM has a use in his campaign for Nerea giving the players a quest, she will bid the party farewell. Basically, her exit will be the reverse of her coming, with the wind and mist and awful thunderings subsiding when she has returned to the Well of Time.
At this point, the party should prepare to leave Nerea's Tomb and return to the world above, but they must still face Giridax and his second riddle. As noted in the description of Giridax, he has no intention of allowing anyone to leave the dungeon, though he looks forward to stumping the party with his riddle. The DM should refer again now to the entrance description and the statistics and abilities of Giridax. If anyone answers the riddle correctly, Giridax will become enraged and attack the party. If they fail, he will laugh, boast a bit, and then take the same course with them! Of course, if by chance the party has already attacked and killed Giridax at the beginning of this adventure, they have but to leave.
Thus concludes the adventure in the "Sunken Tomb of the Sea Lord's Daughter". I hope all of your players' characters survive and that you all have as much fun playing this scenario as I had designing and writing it and my old gaming group and I had playing it together! As DM, you may of course alter it to suit your group and your campaign in any way you wish!
Copyright Note: All content in the Sunken Tomb of the Sea Lord's Daughter is copyrighted(including artwork)but you are free to print and use this material, including artwork, for purposes of running this game as a table top rpg for your own personal gaming group. No content may be used for any commercial purpose by anyone other than this author, nor may any artwork or text be reproduced in any other fashion than as expressly permitted herein, except for review purposes. Thank you. Justin Becker