Level 4: Bernard’s Prison
9,500xp / Max 9,775 gp (2.5 - 3.5 Hours)
9,500xp / Max 9,775 gp (2.5 - 3.5 Hours)
Not to fear though. Weapons and other goodies will be found along the way, and halfway through the level, one stolen item, such as a weapon, spellbook, or holy symbol, will be returned to each hero. Level 4 contains fewer encounters than other Levels to make things a bit easier. None-the-less, fights like the Aberrant Masterpiece can still be very, very difficult.
The walls, floor, and ceilings in Bernard’s Prison are made of large, grey granite blocks. Every room is lit by burning torches in evenly spaced wall sconces. The ceiling is about 15 feet high in all Rooms except Room 10.
In Transit: The Sentence
After the transgressions have been read, each of our characters feels a thousand rough hands ripping his possessions from him. If the character made the previous Will save, he may attempt a single DC 20 Sleight of Hand check to keep a small item, such as a light weapon, hand crossbow, holy symbol, or spell book. Characters are at a +2 bonus to conceal a dagger, and a +4 bonus to conceal very small items such as a single coin, shuriken, or ring. Any animal companions or familiars are taken as well, though tiny or smaller animal companions or familiars may be concealed instead of an item.
Room 1: You Wake Up in a Cell…
By the time our heroes wake up, they will have been without food and drink for a full 24 hours. Penalties due to thirst will start to set in for each character in a number of hours equal to his Constitution score. Check the Starvation and Thirst rules for more information on how to apply these penalties.
Any familiars or animal companions who have been taken may make a DC 15 Escape Artist check, and then a DC 15 Stealth check. If the creature makes both of these checks, he escapes from his captors and sneaks into Room 1 with our heroes as they are waking up. However, the familiar lacks any memory of his captivity beyond a vague notion of being tied up and escaping.
The hands and feet of each PC is bound. Fortunately the knots are poorly made, and a mere DC 10 Escape Artist check or Strength check is all that is needed to break free.
The cell is locked, but keys dangle loosely from a hook 15 feet away (1d). These keys will open all cells in this room, but nothing else on the Level. A shaggy, friendly looking dog sits next to the keys and pants, staring vacantly at our heroes (1e).
A DC 35 Escape Artist check will see a Medium sized character wriggle through the bars. Small characters need only a 30. Anything smaller (such as Tiny Familiars) can leave the cell automatically. Every DC 27 Strength check to bend the bars lowers the Escape Artist Check by 5.
A DC 20 Handle Animal check will get the dog to retrieve the keys. Every failure confuses and excites the dog, and the DC is temporarily raised to 25 for half an hour. If they can figure no other way out of the cell, our heroes may spend a long time trying to get the dog to cooperate, slowly dehydrating in the process.
At any point, a DC 30 Handle Animal check on the dog will get him to fight alongside the PCs for the rest of the Level. Otherwise he will be friendly, but will not leave the room.
There are two other cells in this room. The cell immediately next to the heroes (1b) has a Human named Doug, and the other cell (1c) has a Half-Elf named Bethany. Both will be taciturn and sullen until they see the other heroes escape. If pressed, they will explain that they were heroes who tried Jacob’s Tower but were captured and put in this prison. They have been here for months, if not years. Without daylight it is impossible to tell.
When the heroes escape their cells, Bethany will start pleading with the heroes to release her. She says she can fight with them and get them past the guards. However, a DC 22 Sense Motive check will reveal that she will work against them to curry favor. If released, Bethany will produce but refuse to hand over a dagger. She has the same stats as a Beggar.
Doug will remain taciturn despite the heroes’ escape. He tells the heroes to leave him in his cell, as he doesn’t want to get in trouble with the guards. Our heroes will have two chances to make a DC 22 Diplomacy check to convince him to help. If they succeed, he will attempt to escape with them until he dies. Doug has the stats of CR 1 Initiate.
On a table along the southern wall (1f), there are many scraps of leather, string, wood, and metal. The PCs may attempt three DC 12 Craft (Weapon or Bow, depending) checks to create weapons before all materials are either used up or broken. Each success results in one of the following items with the fragile feature: shortbow, sling, club, dagger, heavy pick, light hammer, or 10 arrows.
For each failure or non-attempt, one improvised sling and one improvised club can be salvaged. Because they are improvised, these salvaged weapons impose a -4 penalty to attack. Regardless of successes or failures, our heroes can salvage a lockpick and 30 sling bullets from the junk.
A unlocked iron door separates Room 1 from Room 2. The door is reasonably soundproof, so the denizens of Room 2 will not hear the heroes escaping unless they start shouting.
Room 2: Gambling Orcs
If Bethany has been saved, she will start shouting “The Prisoners are escaping” as soon as she enters the room, draw her dagger, and engage in combat with the PCs. If Bethany’s dagger has been taken from her, she will shout, then run and cower in the corner.
Each Orc has one falchion and one javelin. Each of these items are made for medium characters and can be looted.
A iron door (2d) sits in the northern wall of this room. A heavy duty combination lock keeps the door closed, although a DC 30 Disable Device check or DC 30 Strength check will open it. A roll of parchment is pinned to the handle. It states:
“Note to self –
Gear for Guards. Keep locked. Don’t forget!
Right: Rank of Wizard Spell ‘Vision.’
Left: Region of Heaven that belongs to Andoletta.
Right: Year of the First Siege of Absalom.
A DC 11 Knowledge Arcana check will tell the heroes that Vision is a 7th rank Wizard Spell. A DC 11 Knowledge Planes check will reveal that Andoletta is the 4th region of Heaven. A DC 11 Knowledge History check will reveal Absalom was first besieged in the year 23. If our heroes can get all of these, then the door opens. However, each character can only attempt each Knowledge checks once. After three failed attempts the lock will stop working, fuse, and no longer open.
Room 3: Guards’ Armory
Tucked away in a corner (3b) is a pouch with spell components, an Extend Metamagic rod (Lesser), and a Wand of Cure Light Wounds with 10 charges (CL1).
Room 4: Torture Chamber
Littered throughout the room are 4 lifeless corpses and one skeleton draped among the devices. If touched or attacked, the corpses will come to life as Zombies to attack the heroes. If they are not touched or attacked, wait two or three rounds and then bring them all to life. The Zombies must take a full round action that provokes to spring to life and stand up.
The Skeleton (4d) carries a small fiddle, and will begin to play a chilling song. Every round, the sounds of a different instrument will join the tune until the sounds of a full blown orchestra emanate from the fiddle. As long as he is playing, all Zombies in the room gain +1 to attack and damage, and will be clear that all Zombies are swaying slightly to the music.
The fiddle is actually a magical item, functionally identical to the Pipes of Sounding except that it takes a Perform (String instruments) check to activate.
A heavy iron door to the west is locked with a DC 30 lock.
A small table in the south western corner of the room houses three books on torture, as well as a note (4e). The note reads:
“Note to self –
Real key in my favorite book. Fake keys in those inaccurate books I got on my birthday. They don’t even understand basic anatomy. Garbage.
Upon examining “On Pain,” our heroes will find a copper key. A DC 15 Heal check will reveal that this book appears to be accurate. Placing this key in the door will open it. Additionally, “On Pain” will act as a masterwork tool for the Heal skill.
Upon examining “Breaking the Spirit,” our heroes will find a silver key. A DC 15 Heal check will reveal that this book has a number of serious mistakes regarding humanoid anatomy. Placing this key in the door will set off a Poison Dart Trap that automatically aims at the nearest PC.
Upon examining “Beyond Sanity,” our heroes will find a golden key. A DC 15 Heal check will reveal that this book far overestimates the individual’s capacity for pain. Placing this key in the door will set off a Poison Dart Trap that automatically aims at the nearest PC.
The DC 15 Heal checks may only be made once per book, and failing a check reveals the opposite answer. This roll should be made secretly.
Room 5: The Loose Beast
The cages on the western wall have been torn open in a tangle of bent bars and shredded steel. The northern most cage is empty, and the other cages contain piles of blood and guts that may have once been animals.
It is immediately apparent what has caused this carnage. A Yeth Hound stands with his back towards the door, feasting loudly on one of the corpses. Normally frightening enough, this emaciated (and recently emancipated) canine is splattered with blood, his skin matted with flecks of pink flesh and brain. He eats loudly, and is at a -4 penalty to notice our heroes approach. When he does notice them, his first attack will be to bay. After that, the Hound will attack whomever is closest.
There are a number of large boxes along the southern wall of the room, one for every PC. Each PC’s name is pinned to the top of one of the boxes. Ask each player what one item he wants back, be it holy symbol, spellbook, weapon, familiar, animal companion, or potion. That is the item inside the box.
At this point, prepared spellcasters and others may want to sleep for the night. If they still do not have access to water or food, let them know that thirst and starvation rules will apply. If they still wish to rest, apply the rules appropriately hour by hour. Otherwise, our heroes will be unmolested.
By the northern most cage, a heavily blood-splattered but still legible note is pinned to the wall:
“Note to self –
Don’t forget to feed the Yeth Hound! If I don’t feed him he might get angry.
Fed Thursday (A little late today),
Fed Saturday (But left most of his food outside, I’ll get it later)
Fed Sunday (Maybe? Can’t remember)
Fed Wednesday (Looks Angry)”
Our heroes can search the corpses if they like. On most they find nothing, although a DC 15 Perception check will reveal that one has a diamond ring worth 200gp.
Room 6: Centipede and Bernard’s Corpse
A patch of ground near the eastern wall has been torn up, revealing dirt and loose stone. This area is difficult terrain.
The Centipede had been eating Bernard’s stomach and thighs, so his face is mostly intact. Bernard is an ugly Orc with massive scars across his face. A note in his pocket reads:
“Note to self –
The Green Door will only open if I tell it to open.
P.S. Gotta get rid of the Centipede. It keeps tunneling in here.”
Along the eastern wall there is a very strange Green Door with two gigantic eyes and a mouth, but no door handle (6c). If our heroes tell it to open, it will simply say “You are not Bernard,” and will not open. To fool it, one of our heroes needs to make a DC 20 Disguise check to look like Bernard. He can use the corpse as reference. Alternatively, a DC 20 Heal check can carefully remove Bernard's face from his skull, which will fool the door if worn as a mask. Propping the corpse up in front of the door will do nothing unless the corpse is somehow made to speak.
At the south eastern corner of the room (6d) is a wooden door with a note attached to it. The note reads:
“Note to self –
Don't forget, do NOT go through this door. There are a ton of traps. Just take the secret door. Don’t forget, [strange symbols and runes]”
A DC 22 Linguistics check will reveal that the strange symbols and runes say “press the third stone on the wall left of the corner in the left cell” in Orc. Alternatively, knowledge of the Orc language will reveal the writing.
The secret door is in the southern cell on the west side of the room (6e). Finding it without reading the Orc on the note takes a DC 30 perception check. Finding it after reading the Orc is automatic.
Room 7: Bernard’s Gear
Room 8: Traps, Traps, and more Traps
8a: Burning Hands Trap, activated by pressure plate.
8b: Rock Deadfall, activated by trip wire and affecting its own square and one square west of it.
8c: Filthy Slasher Trap, activated by proximity.
8d: Ungol Dust Trap, activated by pressure plate. When activated, the gas billows from that area and affects any within the hallway.
8e: Fireball Trap, activated by proximity.
8f: Wall Scythe Trap, activated by location.
After all of that, the wooden door is both unlocked and untrapped.
Room 9: Secret Passage
Room 10: Aberrant Masterpiece
Tiny green-eyed, fanged horse heads with tentacles for bodies wheel through the foreground. A DC 12 Dungeoneering check will reveal these as Sagari, flying aberrations who can sicken with their whinnies.
Among the Sagari, flying humanoid heads flap their incredibly large ears to keep aloft. A DC 14 Dungeonering Check will reveal these as Chon Chon, insane creatures who shoot acid and interfere with spells through their constant jabbering.
Lastly, two squat, frog-like creatures stands on their feet, glowing white eyes appearing to grow brighter as our heroes watch. A DC 16 Dungeoneering check will reveal these as Blindheim, strange magical beasts who can blind enemies with their eyes.
As our heroes watch in horror and amazement, creatures begin to peel off the ceiling and fly towards them. Roll initiative.
On the first turn, 2 Sagari and 2 Chon Chon peel from the wall as a move action in the surprise round. On the second turn, 1 Sagari and 1 Chon Chon peel from the wall as a move action. On the third and the fourth turn, a single Blindheim peels from the wall and lands prone on the ground as a move action. Both Blindeims take 1d6 points of non lethal and 2d6 points of lethal damage from the impact. Each creature should generate in a random square, so roll to determine where each lands.
Once all the monsters are defeated, our heroes have a few moments to rest. Then, once all heroes are in this room, they are suddenly afflicted by a feeling of weightlessness before being pulled up and into the mural. After passing through the mural, they suddenly find that they are re-equipped with all of their gear and falling fast into Level 5, Runewall.
If our heroes are playing only in Jacob's Tower and ranking up to Level 5, then distribute 9,200 gold amongst them evenly.
Level 5: RunewallYou may purchase printable PDFs of the entire dungeon, including the secret final level available only with the package, here for $9.99.
Here's a Roll20 compatible map from Anthony Crain.
Jacob's Tower, Levels 1 - 13 ($9.99)