Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The White Reef


The White Reef
An Naval Horror One-Shot
Zenith Games


The White Reef is a short Pathfinder adventure for 3-4 Level 4 PCs.  The adventure starts on a ship and has a horror feel, and is perfect for either an aquatic campaign or for a Halloween special.  The Floating Reef is easily adjusted for characters of any level, and makes for an enjoyable encounter between one port and another.  Running a pirate campaign?  This fits in perfectly.

The White Reef is designed to take 3-4 hours to play, and can be completed in a single session.


Hook

If you are running The White Reef as a stand alone adventure or at the start of a new campaign, then the following hook may be used to get the PCs started.

The PCs have been hired aboard The Mammoth trade ship as combat support, defending a valuable cargo of rare spices from the southern isles.

The Mammoth is a wide-bellied, single masted cargo sloop with 50 crew members.  Slow and ponderous, she has been carrying valuable and non-valuable goods between continents for nearly a quarter century.  Her crew are skilled sailors, average fighters, and dedicated professionals.  Her figurehead is a carved mammoth with iron tusks jutting out into the sea breeze.

“Skinny” Pete Goruuk is the half-orc captain of The Mammoth.  A morbidly obese sailor barely able to fit through his cabin door, Goruuk is none-the-less an extremely capable and experienced captain with a proven history of flawless naval trade.  Stern, intelligent, and distant, Goruuk is highly respected by his crew for his maritime knowledge and ability to react quickly in dangerous situations.

James Goruuk is the first mate, and the captain’s adopted son.  A spoiled human and unforgiving task master, James is completely dedicated to his father and The Mammoth.  Due to his cruel demeanor, golden hair, and obnoxiously handsome looks, James is only tolerated by the crew members because of his relation to Goruuk.

Gilligan Gimroy is the night’s helmsman, charged with steering the ship from sunset to sunrise.  Quiet, uncertain, and lacking any sort of leadership qualities, Gilligan often lets the night crew nap if there are no obvious threats.  A human with a pock-marked face and permanent pained grin, Gilligan is chronically apologetic and guilty about minor offenses.  Despite these flaws, Gilligan is an excellent navigator and responsible enough that Goruuk trusts him with The Mammoth for up to 12 hours a day.


The Fog and Landing
Shortly after midnight near the end of The Mammoth’s journey, the cargo ship enters a dense bank of unseasonable fog.  Slowing her pace, the helmsman presses forward, encouraged by the lack of any hazards on his maps.  If any PCs are prone to nightly walks or keeping watch through the evening, the helmsman will assure them that there is nothing to worry about.  He will let any sleeping PCs continue to doze.

Even if a PC has both darkvision and the ability to both see through fog, the speed of the ship will prevent the PC from warning the helmsman of the approaching danger in time.

A few minutes later, the entire ship is woken by an immense crunching sound.  The front of The Mammoth lifts a few degrees and the ship’s movement is suddenly and violently arrested.  Sailors jump from their hammocks as the alarm is sounded, and the deck of the ship is lit with dozens of torches in a matter of moments.

Up on deck, the fog reduces visibility to 30 feet.  The ship appears to have partially beached itself on a what looks something like a giant white sponge.  A cursory glance reveals no obvious damage to The Mammoth but, before investigations can commence hostile figures lurch out of the gloom and attack.


Skeleton Ambush

Black Fire Skeletons (6)                                     CR ½
The eyes and weapons of this humanoid skeleton glow with eerie black fire.
NE Medium undead
Init +7; Senses darkvision 60ft.; Perception +0
DEFENSE
AC 15, touch 13, flat-footed 12 (+3 Dex, +2 natural)
hp 4 (d8)
Fort +2, Ref +3, Will +2
DR 5/bludgeoning; Immune cold, undead traits
OFFENSE
Speed 30 ft.
Melee 2 claws +2 (1d4+2)
Ranged shortbow +3 (1d6/x3)
STATISTICS
Str 14, Dex 16, Con —, Int —, Wis 10, Cha 10
Base Atk +0; CMB +2; CMD 15
Feats Improved Initiative
Gear shortbow with 30 arrows
SPECIAL ABILITIES
Black Fire (Su)
A black fire skeleton’s arrows glow with an otherworldly black flame.   A creature hit by an arrow must success on a DC 14 Reflex save or become enveloped by the fire, taking d6 negative energy damage for 1d4 rounds at the start of its turn.  A burning creature can attempt a new save as a full-round action.  Positive energy counters and dispels the black fire.


Overgrow Skeletons (2)                                     CR 3
This massive human skeleton staggers forth on creaking limbs, sharpened claws rending the air in search of prey.
NE Huge undead
Init +4; Senses darkvision 60ft.; Perception +0
DEFENSE
AC 11, touch 8, flat-footed 11 (-2 size, +3 natural)
hp 14 (3d8)
Fort +1, Ref +1, Will +3
DR 5/bludgeoning; Immune cold, undead traits
OFFENSE
Speed 30 ft.
Melee 2 claws +10 (3d6+10)
Space 15ft; Reach 15ft.
STATISTICS
Str 31, Dex 10, Con —, Int —, Wis 10, Cha 10
Base Atk +2; CMB +14; CMD 24
Feats Improved Initiative

Combat begins 30 seconds (5 rounds) after The Mammoth has beached itself on the white reef, regardless of if the PCs are above or below deck, buffed or un-buffed, armored or unarmored.

The enemies approach in four waves.  To begin combat, two black fire skeletons approach out of the gloom to the east. On the second round of combat, one black fire skeleton and one overgrown skeleton approach out of the gloom to the west.  On the third round of combat, one black fire skeleton and one overgrown skeleton approach from the east. On the fourth round of combat, a two black fire skeletons enter the field, one from the west and one from the east.

The lanterns from The Mammoth will provide light 30 feet from the ship.

The black fire skeletons will approach to within 20 feet of the ship, then begin firing glowing arrows towards the PCs.  Missed arrows lodge themselves in the wood of the ship, and the sailors struggle in vain to put out the darkly burning shafts.

The overgrown skeletons, which appear to be hunched and massive human skeletons with sharpened teeth and claws, will lumber toward the ship, using their height and reach to attack any on the ship.  Although they hit hard, they lack the health or armor to stay around for long, and will shatter dramatically when destroyed.

The skeletons will fire exclusively at the PCs, ignoring the sailors.  However, the first shot they miss every turn will lodge itself in the side of a sailor.  With positive energy or a DC 14 Reflex save as a full round action, a PC can put this fire out.  If the fire is allowed to burn for two whole rounds, the sailor perishes.
Barrels can provide cover for the PCs on board, though the melee fighters of the group may want to get up close and personal with the archers.


Exploring the Reef
When the combat is over, the PCs will have a chance to examine the ship and reef.  Goruuk will bark out orders to inspect the ship for damages, while James will aggressively berate the sniveling Gilligan. There appears to be no damage to the hull, but the ship is firmly rooted in place. Goruuk will order the PCs to get onto the reef and inspect the ship from the outside.

The reef is a tightly woven briar patch of spongy, bone-white vines that give slightly with weight.  It is remarkably flat for its complexity, and provides no penalties to movement. As they watch, the white vines snake up the sides of The Mammoth, sticking thousands of tiny tendrils into the divots and pock marks in the ship.  These vines adhere to the wood like glue and immediately re-grow if torn off, but seem content to hold the ship firmly in place rather than tear it to pieces.

Although the reef appears somewhat plant-like, it is neither organic nor susceptible to fire.  In fact, it registers with a faint necromancy aura if detected.

There is no damage to the ship.

After making these observations, the adventurers may make a DC 20 Knowledge (planes) or Profession (sailor) check to gather more information.  If either of these checks succeed, the PCs remember stories of giant floating reefs, set as webs by undead monsters to catch prey.  However, given that these webs are so rare, the PCs know nothing else.

When it becomes clear that the vines are impossible to remove, Goruuk enlists the PCs to explore the reef and come back with any information.

The PCs may set off in any direction.  The fog reduces vision to 30 feet, and there is no light except that which is brought. Every minute or so, the PCs come across pieces of decomposing wood stuck into the reef: planks from a ship’s deck, a mast leaning at a crazy angle, even a figurehead of a crying woman.  In some areas, the ocean shows through gaps in the reef.  The fog and silence are oppressive, and there is no movement to be seen.

If the PCs can gain a bird’s eye view, they will be able to determine that the fog bank is approximately 100 feet high, and covers an expanse of about 5 miles in diameter.  However, they will not be able to see the reef underneath, which is only about a mile in diameter at the center of the mist.


The Northern Explorer

Before long, a shape looms out of the fog.  A small ship with “The Northern Explorer” emblazoned in crimson on the side, this single masted schooner looks almost serviceable if not for large sections of rot on the port bow.  A rope ladder hangs off the stern of the ship, but the PCs may climb any part of the outside of the schooner with a DC 15 Climb check.

The deck of The Northern Explorer is slightly tilted, but otherwise offers no significant obstacles.  Ruined ropes and broken boxes litter the area.  A stairway from the deck leads down to the sailors’ quarters, where thousands of spiders scurry from the adventurers.  Hammocks and articles of clothing lie in tatters on the floor, and the smell of rot is nearly overwhelming.

A small pile of human bones has rolled to the rear of the ship.  As it is approached, large hairy spiders and long limbed white insects flee out of eye sockets and hollowed femurs. If investigated, it can be determined that this pile only represents three individuals, and that the rest of the ship’s crew is unaccounted for.
A peek into the cargo hold of the ship will reveal the source of the overwhelming scent of rot. Immense quantities of wheat, salted pork, and barely recognizable fruit, brown and nearly disintegrated, lie in broken barrels in the hold.  The entire area is covered in a thick layer of millions of clicking insects, and shining spiders and spider webs coat the room.  Insects squirm in the larger webs as fist sized arachnids gorge themselves on their feast.  The PCs watch in horrors as spiders tear open the hard carapaces of beetles, flies, and even other spiders, showering the area in clear liquid.  However, the insects will not harass the PCs.


The Drowned Sailors

The sailor’s shades are unhappy with the presence of the PCs in the Northern Explorer. If the human bones are touched or attacked in any way, they will decide enough is enough and come forth.  The Sailor’s Shades will also appear if the PCs are leaving the sailor’s quarters, or if the PCs are disembarking the ship without exploring the sailor’s quarters at all.

Sailor’s Shades (3)                                                  CR 3
The underwater screams of a drowning man fill the air as a dark, humanoid shape approaches, two ephemeral hands clawing desperately at a bloated throat.
CE Medium undead (incorporeal)
Init +2; Senses darkvision 60ft.; Perception +5
DEFENSE
AC 15, touch 15, flat-footed 12 (+2 deflection +2 Dex, +1 dodge)
hp 19 (3d8+6)
Fort +3, Ref +3, Will +4
Defensive Abilities incorporeal, channel resistance +2; Immune undead traits
OFFENSE
Speed fly 40 ft. (good)
Melee incorporeal touch +5 (1d6 Strength damage plus drowning touch)
STATISTICS
Str —, Dex 14, Con —, Int 6, Wis 12, Cha 14
Base Atk +2; CMB +4; CMD 17
Feats Dodge, Weapon Focus (touch)
Skills Fly +11, Perception +5, Stealth +8
Languages Common
SPECIAL ABILITIES
Drowning Touch (Su)
A creature hit by a Sailor’s Shade must make a DC 16 Fortitude Save or suddenly finds himself unable to breath air (or water).  The creature may hold his breath for a number of rounds equal to his twice his constitution check.  This duration decreases by one for every full round or standard action the creature takes.  After this time has elapsed, the creature must make a DC 10 Constitution check every round. This DC increases by one for every success.  When he fails this check, he is reduced to 0 hp. The subsequent turn, he drops to -1 hp and is dying.  On the third turn, he dies.  This effect ends if the creature moves more than 60 feet away from the Sailor’s Shade, or if the Sailor’s Shade is destroyed.

The sailor’s shades will approach the PCs from three different directions, floating through walls or floors to deliver their touch.  They will focus on enemies not yet under the effect of drowning touch, as well as any enemies who can damage them easily.


The Captain’s Quarters

The captain’s quarters suggests the quarters of a rich and successful tradesman.  Rotting purple curtains drape the walls, and a fine wooden desk and bed provide furnishing among the cobwebs. Amidst the various trinkets, globes, ruined books, and other odds and ends in the room, the gleam of gold catches the PCs’ eyes.  Several one foot tall golden idols sit heavily on the desk and nearby on the floor, the carved shapes of squat and sneering demons. There is one idol for each character.

These idols are large and heavy, weighing nearly 50 pounds each. Despite their bulging eyes and scowling faces, a DC 15 Appraise check will value each at 2,000gp. However, they give off with a faint Transmutation aura, and a DC 20 Spellcraft check will reveal some primitive, malevolent presence to each of them.   If any character carries two or more idols, their weight suddenly multiplies and the character suffers from heavy encumbrance.


The Aquatic Deathweb
The PCs may choose to keep exploring, or to deposit the golden idols back at their ship.  Either way, a mass of spiders follows them from The Northern Explorer, crawling below and behind them within the tangles of the reef. Within about a minute, the PCs are attacked by the master of the reef.

Aquatic Deathweb                                                  CR 6
N Large undead
Init +6; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +15
Aura Infestation (5ft., 1d6 plus poison)
DEFENSE
AC 19, touch 11, flat-footed 17 (+2 Dex, +8 natural, -1 size)
hp 71 (11d8+22)
Fort +5, Ref +5, Will +8
Immune undead traits
OFFENSE
Speed 30 ft., climb 20 ft, swim 15 ft.
Melee bite +14 (2d8+10 plus poison)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 10 ft.
STATISTICS
Str 22, Dex 14, Con —, Int 7, Wis 12, Cha 14
Base Atk +8; CMB +17; CMD 29 (41 vs. trip)
Feats Awesome Blow, Cleave, Weapon Focus (bite), Improved Initiative, Power Attack, Vital Strike
Skills Climb +14, Perception +15, Stealth +16, Swim +18; Racial Modifiers +4 Stealth
SPECIAL ABILITIES
Poison (Ex)
Infestation and Bite —injury; save Fort DC 17; frequency 1/round for 6 rounds; effect 1d4 Str damage; cure 2 consecutive saves. The save DC is Charisma-based.
Infestation (Su)
A mass of poisonous spiders surrounds the aquatic deathweb to a radius of 5 feet. Any creature within the infestation takes 1d6 points of damage at the end of each round and must make a DC 17 Fortitude save or become nauseated for 1 round. Those damaged by this infestation are poisoned as well. Any area effect attack that deals 10 or more points of damage to an aquatic deathweb destroys the infestation for three rounds, after which a new batch of spiders swarms out of the undead's body to replenish the infestation. The save DC is Charisma-based.
Animate Web (Su)
One per day as a swift action, an aquatic deathweb may cause his floating reef to grab on to enemies within a 40 ft. radius.  This effect is identical to quickened entangle (CL 6), and no damage is dealt from thorns.

The aquatic deathweb will enter into the PCs’ field of view at some speed as a surprise round.  He will use Animate Web as a swift action to begin combat (assuming he can catch at least half of the PCs), then move in close for melee. If opportune, the aquatic deathweb will use his awesome blow to knock opponents into the water, where they will have to make climb DC 10 checks to get back onto the reef.


To the Depths

With the destruction of the Aquatic Deathweb, the reef begins to disintegrate.  Within two rounds, our heroes find themselves in the ocean, the bone-white tendrils disintegrating almost instantaneously upon contact with the water.

A million drowning spiders form a thin layer over the ocean for a hundred feet in each direction.  These crawl over the PCs in search of land, and incur a DC 13 Fortitude save when each character first enters the water.  Failure results in the PC becoming sickened for 2d4 rounds.

For every move and standard action that passes, any PC in the water must make a swim check. A swim check of DC 10 is required to move at quarter speed, either up towards the surface or forward.  If a PC fails this check by five or more, he sinks 15 feet straight down into the water. 

Recognizing their chance, the golden idols grown in weight upon contact with the sea water, threatening to drag the PCs to the ocean floor.  For each golden idol that a character is carrying, he suffers a -10 penalty to his swim check.  A golden idol may be dropped as a free action.  If dropped, it sinks out of sight within seconds and is lost to the depths.

A large wooden section of a long destroyed ship floats 90 feet away from the PCs.  If they can reach this wooden plank, they no longer have to make swim checks.

Make sure to keep track of each character’s distance to the plank and, if applicable, his distance underwater.

After all PCs have either made it to the wood or drowned, the fog slowly lifts.  The Mammoth spots the unhappy PCs and slowly comes around to pick them up.




Purchase a Printable PDF of The White Reef here for 99 cents!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Legacy of the Martyr King Overview

The Legacy of the Martyr King was a Pathfinder campaign I ran in 2013.  It spanned levels 1-12 across 29 sessions, and was played by 5 players and one GM.

The campaign focused on five heroes pursued for unknown reasons by a religious empire.  A travel based campaign, our heroes journeyed across five continents as the scope of world events, and their part in it, broadened from political, to military, to religious, to existential.  In addition to the overarching story, each character repeatedly came into contact with a rival draw from his or her backstory.

The world is Cain, a gritty fantasy setting where new civilizations have sprouted in the wake of a global cataclysm.  During their travels, our heroes visit each major cultural and religious center, and piece together the true order of things from bits of truth in each worldview.

Several major plot twists and betrayals meant that the goals and allies of the heroes were in constant flux.  However, by the end of the campaign the objective of the heroes solidified into the prevention of a second armageddon.

Session 1: Escape from Kathmar
Session 2: The Woven Tapestry
Session 3: The Caravan Raid
Session 4: Leaving Puldash
Session 5: Bayka Explodes
Session 6: Hara the Witch
Interlude 6.5: Turbulent Seas, Turbulent Sleep
Session 7: The Floating Reef
Session 8: The Guard Fight
Session 9: Dungeon and Dragon
Session 10: The Augerian Regroup
Session 11: Meeting With Smith
Session 12: The Angel and the King
Session 13: Bayka's Ambush and the Slate Minaret
Session 14: Maven's Father
Session 15: The Crimson Minaret
Interlude 15.5: The Red Dreams
Session 16: The High Temple of Darkness
Session 17: The Opal Weapons
Session 18: The Sunken City
Session 19: Attack on Emut's Compound 
Session 20: Killing Emut Prime
Session 21: Killing Bayka
Session 22: Saffron's Story and Nut does a Thing
Session 23: Across the Ocean
Interlude 23.5: Dreams on New Lands
Session 24: Wandering the Jungle
Session 25: Exorcising Hervey
Session 26: Ending Maladrok's Reign
Session 27: The Black Dragon
Session 28: Meeting the Reclaimers
Interlude 28.5: The White Dreams
Character Chat 28
Session 29: The Second Cataclysm

Friday, August 22, 2014

Jacob's Tower, Level 11: Mansion

Jacob’s Tower Level 11: Mansion
(220,000xp, 77,156gp)



Level 11 takes place inside a gaudy, Victorian style mansion. Given that your heroes are likely from a medieval inspired world, this change in tone should somewhat feel strange. However, it should be no more shocking than, for example, being transported to the plane of fire or into the stomach of a giant dead god.

The rooms of the Mansion are wooden and ornate, with black paneling, gold trim, artwork, chandeliers, silver chalices, and lots and lots of books. Candles shed flickering light on the decorated walls and marble floors. The air is heavy with perfume and cologne. The Mansion has absolutely no windows, skylights, nor doors to the outside, and the walls are magically protected from any sort of attack or incursion. Our heroes should feel vaguely claustrophobic and unwelcome, as if they are uninvited guests in a place beyond their comprehension. Which, of course, they are.

Note that the map describes two levels, one on top of the other. They are connected by the stairway in the entryway.

Our heroes will move about the map by finding silver keys to various rooms. These keys are clearly labeled and impossible to destroy. Take measures to ensure they are not lost, and don’t be afraid to resort to magic to bring them back. Each room is labeled in complex calligraphy above the doorframe, making it easy to determine where to go next.


1: Entryway

The entryway should set the stage for the rest of Mansion, and feel free to read parts of the introduction to your players.

The floor in the entryway is white marble, and large mirrors, painting, and china cabinets adorn every wall. A massive marble staircase with golden railings leads up to the next level, where a balcony looks down over the room. A crystal chandelier hangs over the stairs, refracting light in every direction.

Our heroes start on 1a.

A tall, intimidating grandfather clock stands against the wall at 11b. It is impossible to destroy, but may be stopped with a DC 35 disable device check. Every hour, starting one hour after our heroes arrive, the grandfather clock tolls midnight. This cacophony is unbearable to listen to, and the vibrations effect even the deaf. Whenever the grandfather clock tolls, all heroes, animal companions and other compatriots in the level are affected as per the Shout spell (CL 13, DC 21). This regular tolling makes sleep virtually impossible.

All doors upstairs and downstairs are locked and impenetrable, except for the doors to the den.


2: Den

The den is lavish Victorian, with padded seats, tall bookcases, and a roaring fireplace (2a). Among these elegant trapping move thirteen well-dressed ghosts. Clearly elite in their time, these spirits seem not to notice their incorporeal state, gossiping, playing cards, and drinking fine liquors.

Questioning these ghosts will be something like talking to a broken record. They will not provide any additional information beyond what is presented below and, if asked an irrelevant question, will simply repeat a previous explanation after a brief expression of puzzlement.

Destroy the ghosts and they will return within 10 minutes, lacking any memory of the event and no worse for the wear. The ghosts will disappear permanently as various tasks are undertaken, leaving an empty room if all quests are completed.

2a: As soon as our heroes enter the room, a stern ghost dressed in a butler’s outfit will hastily approach our heroes. “You are late,” he will whisper angrily, “and our guests are parched. Run down to the wine cellar and fetch some drinks.” He will hand the heroes the key to the wine cellar and a small roll of parchment, and will angrily refuse to answer any questions until the drinks are brought.

The parchment contains a list of wines to bring for various guests. There is no need to go into detail until the heroes have reached the wine cellar. For the contents of this parchment and the remainder of this task, take a look at the wine cellar room.

Note that the five guests mentioned on the parchment meander around the den, but will ignore any stimuli.

2b: Three stately ghosts sit around a small table playing cards. Although the game is unfamiliar to our heroes, the rules are simple enough – it is a game of bluffing and deception. The ghosts will welcome one additional player.

Before any game, our heroes should wager up to 5,000gp. He may play three games, and after each game one of the three ghosts fades away. After the three ghosts are gone, no more games can be played.

When playing a game, a character has three options. First, he may pass a DC 18 Profession (gambler) check to win. Second, he may pass both a DC 22 Bluff and Sense Motive Check to win. Third, he may attempt to cheat by passing a DC 25 Sleight of Hand check.

If he loses the game, he loses his bet. If he wins the game, he doubles his money.

However, if he is discovered cheating, the gambling ghosts shriek and lash out. Each remaining gambler will make a +7 incorporeal touch against our hero’s flat footed AC for d6 strength damage, and then disappear. If he is discovered cheating, the character will also lose his money.

2c: A thin and anxious looking ghost will hail our characters as they pass by. He will nervously explain that he is trying to woo his second cousin, the lovely lady sitting in the corner reading a book (2d). If our heroes could act like thugs and intimidate her, then the anxious ghost could step in and save the day.

A DC 25 Intimidate check on the lovely specter is needed, or she will laugh in our heroes faces and then disappear along with the anxious ghost. If our heroes make the save, then the ghost will step in between our heroes and his second cousin. As he and the lady disappear into mist, the ghost will wink and drop a +2 Merciful Sap.

If the lady is told of the nervous ghost’s plan, then she will angrily storm out of the room, and both her and the nervous ghost will dissolve into mist.

2e: An extremely well dressed ghost stands looking at his reflection in a mirror. He is obsessively tying and re-tying his bowtie, and is sweating profusely. If approached, he will explain that he is off to meet the lady of the house, whom he hears is beautiful beyond words. However, he fears that he lacks the confidence to make a good impression.

A DC 25 Diplomacy check is needed to boost this ghost’s confidence. Success means the ghost gratefully hands over an incandescent blue sphere Ioun stone (+2 Wisdom). Failure means the ghost disappears into mist with a sigh. Only one attempt may be made.

2f: The final ghost is significantly less well dressed than the others. This ethereal Halfling wears a shabby, ill-fitting brown suit over his hunched form. He will grab at the heroes as they pass by, explaining that he has two incredibly valuable items to sell: A dragon’s egg and a mythril compass. He will sell each of these items for 5,000gp.

A DC 25 appraise check is needed for each of the items to determine their true worth. Each character may only attempt this check once, and you should make these rolls in secret. Failure will reveal that the dragon’s egg is worth 15,000gp and the mythril compass is worth 10,000gp. Success will reveal that they are both replicas, and worth a handful of copper each. After the sale or refusal, the Halfling ghost disappears.


3: Wine Cellar

Long, dark stairs lead into a dank and foul ceiling wine cellar. The air is chill and damp here, and the ground is thick wet dirt. Over five hundred bottles of wine line the walls in diamond cubby holes.

Hanging from a hook in the corner of the room is a key labeled “Dining Room” (3a).

The parchment from the butler has five items on it. If the correct check is made, a wine may be chosen to fit the appropriate description. If the check is failed, the wrong wine will be chosen. Each check may be made only once by each character.

The Prince of Ettinburg fancies the type wine that his father used to serve, but can’t remember exactly what is was.” A DC 25 Knowledge (Nobility) check will reveal that the royals of Ettinburg fancy wine spiced ground dragon bone.

Bethany Trotter requested a bottle from the Corik region, so any town in the area will do.” Unfortunately the towns and not the regions are listed on the wine bottles, so our heroes will need a DC 25 Knowledge (Geography) check to find a town within Corik.

Father Josiah, a priest of Cayden Cailean, has requested wine for a ceremony of some kind.” A DC 25 Knowledge (Religion) check will pick out the highly alcoholic wines from the Linnorm lands as ideal for Cayden Cailean.

Zazeasal Zalean, a diplomat from the 6th layer of hell, requires something from his home plane.” A DC 25 Knowledge (Planes) check will be able to pick some wine crafted in hell.

Gertrude Gilmoroy is from the small island of Malloy. Malloy has fought nearly everybody at one time or another, so make sure you don’t pick a wine from an old enemy.” A DC 25 Knowledge (History) check will successfully avoid picking a wine that might offend Gertrude.

When our heroes return to the butler, he will take the wine bottles one by one. For each correct bottle, he will tip the heroes 5,000gp. Then he and the five guests will disappear into mist.


4: Dining Room

A looming sense of dread and stifled panic invades the heads of our heroes as they enter the dining room. Broken chairs, plates, and glassware are strewn around the area, and the toppled table (4a) is covered in massive scratch marks.

As they investigate the room, our heroes will notice that there is not a single scrap of food. For whatever reason, this will increasing unnerve our heroes until they finally discover a single, shriveled grape amidst the wreckage.

When our heroes first spot the grape, a rising cacophony of voices seem to catch in their throats – voices that scream “No food!”, “We are all going to starve!” and “I don’t want to die!

As a panicked, ravenous hunger grips our party, each hero, animal companion and eidolon should make a DC 25 Will save. For any that fail the save, the change over the next six seconds is gruesome. The character’s jaw grows and elongates, painfully sprouting thin, razor sharp teeth. Eyes fill with jet black liquid and focus hungrily on whatever flesh is closest. Any who have the rage ability enter a rage.

Roll initiative.

Each character that failed the save is afflicted with d6 non-lethal damage at the start of each of his turns as his ravenous hunger grows. This non-lethal damage increases by d6 for every round that has passed (up to 6d6 on the 6th round).

Each character that failed his save gains a bite attack (2d6 + strength modifier). Each turn he moves to and attacks the nearest target (player’s choice in case of a tie) with only his bite attack, healing himself for half the damage dealt. On each successful hit his jaw grows, and the bite damage increases by d6. He will do nothing else with his turn.

On each successful bite, the character inflicts an fast moving disease: Bite—injury; save Fort DC 19; onset 1 minute; frequency 1/minute; effect 1d3 Con and d6 non-lethal damage; cure 2 consecutive saves.

At the end of the 6th round, the ravenous hunger subsides and the jaws and attitudes return to normal.

The key to the Servants Quarters may be found near the grape.


5: Servant’s Quarters

Four bunk beds (5a) line the northern wall of this small, dark room. Beside each bunk bed is a locked chest requiring a DC 20 disable device check. The two chests on the ends (5b) have a dozen gold each within them. The chest at 5c is trapped with a Harm trap (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/gamemastering/traps-hazards-and-special-terrains/traps/harm-trap-cr-14) (Perception DC 31, Disable Device DC 31), but contains nothing. The chest at 5d contains a small +3 Glamered Padded Armor.

The door to the kitchen is unlocked.


6: Kitchen

The walls of this cramped room are lined with ovens, cooking equipment, and cutlery, forming difficult terrain.

A human sorcerer in purple robes (6a) slaves over a large boiling pot with a human leg hanging over the side. In the opposite corners, two Wyrmling Umbral Dragons perch on the countertop (6b), waiting for their dinner. As soon as any of these enemies see the heroes, they will attack.

When the sorcerer dies, all of his equipment becomes non-magical and worthless. However, the stick that he was using to stir the boiling pot is a Maximize Metamagic Rod (lesser) and retains its power.

The key to the guest rooms may be found on the sorcerer. Note that the key will open the door to both guest rooms.


7: Upper Thoroughfare

When the first character steps onto any of the squares at 7a, the massive chandelier hanging from the ceiling disconnects and come plummeting down. It deals 4d6 +25 bludgeoning damage within the squares of 7a or 7b, though a reflex save halves. The pressure plate trap may be detected with a DC 30 Perception check and disarmed with a DC 25 Disable Device check.


8: Guest Rooms

The two guest rooms are a complete mess. The beds have been torn up, the walls are covered in claw marks, and shattered glass and china line the floor. More than that, the divider separating the two rooms has been smashed to smithereens, creating a wide swath of difficult terrain.

The cause of this destruction is immediately obvious. A Gug (8a) and a Tentacled Horror (8b) stare blankly at one another in the rooms. When they see our heroes, they will immediately attack.

This fight can get cramped quickly. Either monster may forgo a single attack roll to automatically destroy a 5 foot chunk of wall within reach, creating difficult terrain on either side.

One of the cabinents in the room has been torn open, and a magically glowing cloak sits on the floor (8c). A DC 27 Spellcraft check determines that it is a +3 Cloak of Resistance, but a DC 37 Spellcraft check will reveal that it is actually a Cloak of Immolation.

The key to the drawing room may be found undisturbed on a night stand in the south east corner (8d). Note that this key will open either door to the drawing room.


9: Drawing Room

The Drawing Room has a scattering of padded wooden chairs (difficult terrain) surrounding an immense grand piano (9a). The unnerving shine to of the piano’s black lacquer will give fill our heroes with unnatural dread as they approach.

When the first hero enters the room, the piano will begin to play a ghastly, horrific, and altogether too loud melody. All characters who are within 30 feet of the piano, even through walls and floors, must make a DC 19 Will save. Any who fail this save are shaken for three rounds and pushed 10 feet away from the piano. Go into rounds at this point, and give the piano an initiative modifier of +10.

Each round on its turn, the piano will force another Will save. The Will save is 23 for creatures within 10 feet, 21 for creatures 15 to 20 feet away, 19 for creatures 25 to 30 feet away, and 17 for creatures more than 30 feet away who have line of sight. If a character is deaf or cannot hear the music, then he gains a +4 bonus on these checks. If a character is blind or cannot see the piano, he gains a +4 bonus on these checks. These bonuses stack.

The consequences for failure depend on the creature’s state of mind. A creature who is not shaken, frightened or panicked becomes shaken and pushed 10 feet directly away from the piano. A creature who is shaken becomes frightened for 3 rounds, is dealt 1 Wisdom damage, and is pushed 20 feet directly away from the piano. A creature who is frightened becomes panicked for three rounds, is dealt 2 Wisdom Damage, and is pushed 30 feet directly away from the piano. A creature who is panicked becomes panicked for three additional rounds, is dealt 3 Wisdom Damage, and is pushed 40 feet directly away from the piano.

When characters are being pushed away from the piano, it is entirely possible that they will wind up in corners where no direction will take them away from the piano. If this happens, they are dealt d6 bludgeoning damage for every 5 feet of movement that is wasted.

To stop this onslaught, the piano must be destroyed. The Piano has an AC of 1, Hardness 9, and 120 Hit Points. It also has resist 20 for all energy types and immunity to sonic and piercing damage. Remember that all ranged attacks deal half damage against objects. Alternatively, the magic surrounding the piano may be dispelled, assuming a Caster Level of 16 for the piano.

In the wreckage of the piano our heroes can easily find the key to the library.


10: Library

The library is an immense three story room. Each level 20 feet tall, meaning the room is 60 from floor to ceiling. The bookshelves are lined with massive old tomes on topics from Aasimar to Zuvembie. Four Ladder can be scaled with a DC 5 climb check, and the bookshelves can be climbed with a DC 20 climb check. Falling from a bookshelf results in an additional d6 damage from loose books.

The room is filled with constructs who will immediately attack. Two Brass Men stand at the bottom of the library (10a), and half a dozen Aballonians guard the upper floors. Note that the Aballonians do not have any of the listed rebuild options, instead dealing an additional 2d6 electricity damage with each ranged touch attack for 4d6 total.

The key to the Master’s Suite is on a pedestal on the top level of the library (10c). While the pedestal is visible from the entrance, the angle blocks the key. If the heroes can, they should feel free to grab the key and run out without dealing with all the enemies. The constructs will not pursue enemies outside the library.

If our heroes peruse the bookcases with either detect magic or a DC 25 perception check, they can find a Scroll of True Seeing, Scroll of Wall of Force, and Scroll of Hero’s feast, all CL 11 hidden among the books.


11: Master’s Suite

This dark and musty room clearly belongs to the master of the house. It is the only room in the mansion that shows signs of age, sporting cobwebs, rust, and a thick layer of dust. A few objects around the room block movement, such as the bed, cabinets, and armoire. There is a large wooden door at 11b.

There are five separate DC 23 permanent images of tied up figures with gags in their mouths – a man (11c) , a woman (1d), a young boy (11e), a young girl (11f), and a dog (11e). These illusions are human and well-dressed (except for the dog), but obviously malnourished and poorly treated. They are here to distract our heroes, make them waste actions, and worry about getting civilians caught in area attacks, and they serve no other purpose.

A hideous woman in a torn wedding dress hunches by the bed (11a).  Her neck is several feet long, and black eyes rest above a dislocated jaw filled with hundreds of razor sharp teeth. She is a Rokurokubi, and she will immediately attack.

The Rokurokubi will drop her nightfall aura on her turn. If she can ever catch more than one not confused person with confusion, then she will cast the spell.If she can identify a spellcaster, she will use feebleminded. If she can identify an enemy with a poor will save, she will cast charm monster. Note her 20 foot reach with bite and combat reflexes.

Change the frequency of the Rokurokubi's curse to once per round.

The key to “Level 12” may be found on the Rokurokubi's body. It will open the door at 11b, and lead our heroes to the next level.

If you are just playing Jacob's Tower and leveling up after Mansion, distribute 27,000gp amount characters evenly.