7,000xp / Max 4,946 gp (2.5 - 3.5 Hours)
Given that the walls are made of glass, it is easy to see across the entire level, including into other rooms. Our heroes can view most of their opponents ahead of time and plan accordingly.
At the center of the level, trapped by an enlarged Forcecage and visible from all angles due to the glass walls, is a raging 5-Headed Pyrohydra. This terrifying CR 6 monstrosity is roaring, smashing himself against the walls of his prison and periodically filling his cramped quarters with fire. He’s a pissed off and deadly beast, and our heroes should pretty much immediately realize that he is way out of their pay grade. A DC 16 Knowledge (Arcana) check will reveal exactly what he is, what his weaknesses are, and his CR.
However, as our heroes proceed throughout the level, they should be able to damage the Pyrohydra. If they fail to damage the beast, then this could easily be a TPK when the monster finally attacks.
Rooms 1, 3, 5, and 7 each contain a riddle that appears on the ground in giant glowing letters after the room’s threat has been dealt with. For each room, a single riddle is written four times in four different languages. If our heroes are unable to read any of these languages, or cannot make a DC 18 Linguistics check to read it without knowing the languages, then they cannot decipher the riddle and must move on. Note that the answers to the riddles are often related to the languages, so knowing what the languages are could be helpful. A DC 10 Linguistics check for each language will reveal what the language is.
At the same time each riddle appears, a giant three dimensional illusion of an hourglass appears in the room. As the GM, take out a stopwatch, set it to count down from three minutes, and put it on the table where all the players can see. After reading the riddle, or, if none of the players can read any languages, after stating that the riddle appears, start the timer. If the players cannot guess the answer to the riddle in three real time minutes, then the riddle disappears and they cannot gain the benefits of solving it. If your players are not particularly good at riddles, feel free to extend this time.
For each riddle, a DC 15 Wisdom check can be made to get the first letter of the answer. A DC 15 Intelligence check can be made to get the number of letters the answer has. Each character can only make one Wisdom and one Intelligence check per riddle. Feel free to let the players know that this is an option. If multiple characters pass the same check for the same riddle, no added bonus is given.
If the PCs answer the riddle out loud and correctly in any language, a brilliant flash of light and crack of thunder explode from the center of the level. When they can see and hear again, they notice that the Pyrohydra is missing one of his heads, which lies unceremoniously at his feet. Heads destroyed in this way will not return. For each riddle that they get right, the Pyrohydra permanently loses one head and his max number of heads decreases by one as if it had just been sundered and then burnt with acid.
Room 1: Executioner’s Hood
However, they do not have long to admire the view. An Executioner’s Hood lurks on the ceiling. It will drop two rounds after our heroes have entered the room and attack the character closest to the stairs. To spot the Executioner’s Hood, our heroes must beat the Hood’s Stealth roll with their initial perception check. However, the Executioner’s Hood gains a +5 bonus to Stealth given all of the other distractions in the Level for a total of +18 Stealth.
After the Execution’s Hood has been dealt with, giant glowing letters appear to spell out a riddle is written in Auran, Celestial, Tengu, and Sphinx. The riddle asks:
“What surrounds the world, yet dwells within a thimble? All men need it, no men own it, and without it you would die.”
The answer is air.
Room 2: Healing Corridor
A character can identify the spell that will be cast from the rune with a DC 17 Spellcraft check.
Room 3: Chessboard Oozes
Along the Eastern wall is a marble pedestal (3a), upon which float a small green crystal and a small red crystal. These will detect as magic, and a DC 11 Knowledge (Arcana) check will reveal that each will probably set off traps on their respective colored square.
As a standard action a character standing on or adjacent to 3a may attempt a DC 11 Use Magic Device check to activate either of the crystals. Activating the Red Crystal will cause flame to shoot up from the red squares, dealing 2d6 +1 fire damage to any creature on those squares (Reflex 13 halves). Activating the Green Crystal will cause a small geyser to shoot up from the green squares, dealing 2d6 +1 acid damage to any on those squares (Reflex 13 halves). These can be activated as much as our heroes like.
After the PC have spent about a minute puzzling over the room, three Giant Amoebas will seep from the walls (3b). Any characters in these squares will have the opportunity to step back if they like. These oozes are just as susceptible to the magical traps as the heroes, but are not intelligent enough to avoid them.
Once the oozes have been dealt with, a riddle appears on the floor in Common, Aboleth, Grippli, and Aquan. The riddle reads:
“What always runs but never walks, often murmurs, never talks, has a bed but never sleeps, has a mouth but never eats.”
The answer is a river.
A small hidden compartment lies behind a false wall on the western wall (3c). Instead of marble, this false wall is just a thin sheet of lead painted convincingly to look like marble. Normally, it is a DC 20 Perception check to notice the false wall. However, each time the green crystal is activated the some paint burns off the wall in that location, decreasing the Perception DC by 4. If the DC decreases down to 8 or less, our heroes automatically notice it.
The wall can easily be knocked down. Behind it is a small iron chest that can be unlocked with a DC 20 Disable Device check. The chest contains Bandages of Rapid Recovery, Bracers of Armor +1, Silversheen, the cursed item Ring of Truth (which, short of a DC 34 Spellcraft check, appears to be a Ring of Arcane Signets), and 500 gold.
Room 4: Another Healing Corridor
A character can identify the spell that will be cast from the rune with a DC 17 Spellcraft check.
Room 5: The Praying Demon
A red and incorporeal tentacle connects the demon to his altar, and our heroes will be able to see this clearly when close enough. For as long as the altar is in one piece, it grants him regeneration 5, and will even bring him back from the dead to continue the fight. The AC of the altar is 4, and it has hardness 5, 15 hit points, and a break DC of 18. Alternatively, catching it on fire with any spell that deals 5 fire damage would also destroy it within one turn.
Once the Abrikandilu Demon and altar are destroyed, the riddle appears. The riddle is written in Orc, Draconic, Infernal, and Ignan. The riddle states:
“Feed me and I live, give me drink and I die.”
The answer is fire.
The Abrikandilu Demon has nothing of value on him except for a small golden symbol of Rovagug, inlaid with tiny rubies. This strange and otherworldly piece of jewelry costs 200 gold. Inside the altar is a Masterwork Greataxe, which becomes visible when the altar is destroyed.
Room 6: Magic Missile Trap
A character can identify the spell that will be cast from the rune with a DC 16 Spellcraft check.
Room 7: The Greenhouse
There are four large trees in this room, each with four plump and gigantic purple fruit. The fruit from three of these trees (7a) is toxic, and, if consumed, will mimic the effects of Bloodroot poison. The final tree (7b) yields fruit that will instantly heal d6 hit point, and may be saved for later. Each tree looks different, and identifying one tree will not help with the others. A DC 10 Knowledge (Nature) check for each tree will reveal the true effects of its fruit.
Four small green humanoids (7c) covered in fungus sit motionless in a circle around a halfling corpse (7d). A fifth humanoid sits on the halfling corpse. The rotting corpse is covered in mold, and has a burst chest cavity. A DC 11 Knowledge (Nature) check reveals that these creatures are Vegepygmies, and they are likely staring at the corpse from which they were birthed. A highly dangerous mold known as Russet Mold infects careless adventurers, and once they are killed Vegepygmies burst forth. However, unlike normal Russet Mold, this will only infect the PCs if they actually touch the corpse.
The Vegepygmies are completely infatuated with the corpse from which they sprung, and are at a -10 perception to notice the heroes. However, once they notice the heroes they will attack.
As soon as all the heroes are in room 7 at the same time, whether before, after, or during the fight, the vines on the floor will suddenly reach up and grab our heroes as per the Entangle Spell with a DC of 12. These vines have thorns and deal one damage every time the heroes fail their save or check. Once a PC breaks out of the vines, the vines will not attempt to ensnare him or her again.
The Russet Mold covered corpse has a few items of worth. Characters may attempt to retrieve the items without disturbing the spores with a DC 10 Sleight of Hand check. Failing this check, or entering the same square as the corpse during combat, results in exposure to the highly dangerous Russet Mold.
The corpse has a small bag with a Stunstone, a Masterwork Cold Iron Dagger, and a Masterwork Silver Dagger. The daggers are both small sized.
With a DC 11 perception check, our heroes may notice a small opening in the eastern wall approximately 20 feet off the ground (7e). A DC 10 climb check will get the hero up the vines and into the opening, where a Scroll of Remove Curse (CL 10) and a Potion of Remove Disease lies.
Once the Vegepygmies have been dealt with, a riddle appears on the ground in Elven, Druid, Sylvan, and Treant. The riddle states:
“Reaching stiffly for the sky, I bare my fingers when it's cold, In warmth I wear an emerald glove, And in between I dress in gold."
The answer is a tree.
Room 8: The False Rune
A DC 15 Spellcraft check will reveal that the Rune has something to do with healing. However, a DC 20 Spellcraft check will reveal that the rune was made incorrectly and is actually not active. Furthermore, the rune is not active and will not register as magical. Thus, this “healing” rune does nothing, and anybody stepping on it will instead be greeted with a javelin to the face.
Room 9: The Pyrohydra
If our heroes have successfully answered every question thus far and the Pyrohydra only has one head left, they get no final question. Instead, when the time for the fourth riddle has elapsed, a lever materializes in room 1.
If the Pyrohyrdra sill has at least 2 heads when the time for the fourth riddle has elapsed, a final, fifth riddle appears. The riddle is written in Dwarven, Hobbit, Necril, and Undercommon. The riddle states:
“Cannot be seen, Cannot be felt,
Cannot be heard, cannot be smelt,
Lies behind stars and under hills,
And empty holes it fills.
Comes first follows after,
Ends life kills laughter.”
The answer is Darkness. This riddle, of course, is from Tolkien. When this riddle is answered or the time elapses, a lever materializes in room 1.
The handle of the lever is shaped like the head of a Pyrohyrda. When they flip it, all of the walls in the level instantly shatter. Our heroes must make a DC 12 Reflex save to half d6 slashing damage from the glass. Roll initiative: The Forcecage is gone and the Pyrohydra is rushing at them.
If the heroes are clustered, the Pyrohydra will favor breath weapons. Otherwise, he will lash out with his heads. Our heroes should feel free to lure him into the checkboard, where they can activate the crystals to deal 2d6+1 damage for every relevant square he is on.
When the Pyrohydra is killed, a steel spiral staircase rises from the center of the Level (9a), leading to the Level 3.
If our heroes are playing only in Jacob's Tower and ranking up to Level 3, then distribute 3,550 gold amongst them evenly.
If our heroes attempt to sleep anywhere on this level, they will be attacked by a single Skum who attempts to sneak quietly upon the party. Every additional night, they will be attacked by one additional Skum: Two the second night, three the third night, and so on.
Jacob's Tower, Levels 1 - 13 ($9.99)