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 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.

Level 11 is designed for 3 – 4 level 11 adventurers, though it is easily adapted for more players or fewer. It rewards 220,000xp and provides up to 77,156gp upon completion.

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 1b. 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 (it appears to be stuck at that time). This cacophony is unbearable to listen to, and the vibrations affect even the deaf. Whenever the grandfather clock tolls, all heroes, animal companions and other compatriots in the level are dealt 5d6 sonic damage and deafened for 2d6 rounds (Fortitude DC 20 save halves damage and negates deafness). Sleep is impossible to achieve.

All doors upstairs and downstairs are locked and impenetrable, except for the doors to the den. The door to the dining room is slightly ajar.

2: 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 (2a) is covered in massive scratch marks.

As they investigate the room, our heroes notice that there is not a single scrap of food. For whatever reason, this increasing unnerves 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 character, 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 the damage dealt. On each successful hit his jaw grows, and the bite damage increases by d6. He does nothing else with his turn.

On each successful bite, the character inflicts an fast moving disease:
    Ravenous Wasting    Bite—injury; save Fort DC 16
    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 Den may be found near the grape.

3: Den

The den is lavish Victorian, with padded seats, tall bookcases, and a roaring fireplace (3g). 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 is something like talking to a broken record. They do 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 return within 10 minutes, lacking any memory of the event and no worse for the wear. The ghosts disappear permanently as various tasks are undertaken, leaving an empty room if all quests are completed.

3a: As soon as our heroes enter the room, a stern ghost dressed in a butler’s outfit hastily approaches our heroes. “You are late,” he whispers angrily, “and our guests are parched. Run down to the wine cellar and fetch some drinks.” He hands the heroes the key to the wine cellar and a small roll of parchment, and angrily refuses 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 ignore any stimuli.

3b: 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 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 makes a +7 incorporeal touch against our hero’s flat footed AC for d6 strength damage, and then disappears. If he is discovered cheating, the character also loses his money.

3c: A thin and anxious looking ghost hails our characters as they pass by. He nervously explains that he is trying to woo his second cousin, the lovely lady sitting in the corner reading a book (3d). 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 laughs in our heroes' faces and then disappears along with the anxious ghost. If our heroes make the check, then the ghost steps in between our heroes and his second cousin. As he and the lady disappear into mist, the ghost winks and drop a +2 Merciful Sap.

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

3e: 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 explains 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.

3f: 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 grabs 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 reveal that the dragon’s egg is worth 15,000gp and the mythril compass is worth 10,000gp. Success reveals that they are both replicas, and worth a handful of copper each. After the sale or refusal, the Halfling ghost disappears.

4: 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 cubby holes.

Hanging from a hook in the corner of the room is a key labeled “Servant’s Quarters” (4a).

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 is 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 reveals 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 regions are not listed on the wine bottles, so our heroes need a DC 25 Knowledge (Geography) check to find a town within Corik.

Father Josiah, a priest of Mirth, has requested wine for a ceremony of some kind.” A DC 25 Knowledge (Religion) check picks 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 picks 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 successfully avoids picking a wine that might offend Gertrude.

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

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 (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 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 opens 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 DC 18 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 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 + Cloak of Resistance, but a DC 37 Spellcraft check reveals 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 contains a single, immense grand piano (9a). The unnerving shine to of the piano’s black lacquer fills our heroes with unnatural dread as they approach.

When the first hero enters the room, the piano begins 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 21 Will save. 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, but a blind and deaf person can still feel the vibrations

The consequences for failure depend on the creature’s state of mind. A creature who is not shaken, frightened or panicked becomes shaken, takes 1 Wisdom damage and is pushed 10 feet directly away from the piano. A creature who is shaken, frightened, or panicked is dealt 2 Wisdom damage, and is pushed 30 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 2d6 bludgeoning damage for every 5 feet of movement that is wasted.

A shaken, frightened, or panicked character finds himself unable to leave the room, the doorways acting as solid walls. He may only pass through a doorway with a DC 18 Will save.

Go into rounds at this point, and give the piano an initiative modifier of +10. Ever round in its turn, the piano imposes another Will save.

To stop this onslaught, the piano must be destroyed. The Piano has an AC of 4 and 120 Hit Points. It also has resist 10 for all energy types except for fire and immunity to sonic and piercing damage. It is vulnerable to fire 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 is 10 feet tall, meaning the room is 30 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 that 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 do 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 rust, cobwebs, and a thick layer of dust. A few objects around the room block movement, such as the bed, cabinets, and an armoire. There is a large wooden door in the wall 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 immediately attacks.

The Rokurokubi drops her nightfall aura on her turn. If she can ever catch more than one target with confusion, then she will.  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 amoung characters evenly.

You may purchase printable PDFs of the entire dungeon here, including the secret final level not available online and an expanded foreword.

Jacob's Tower, Levels 1 - 13 ($9.99)


  1. As always, entertaining, inspiring, and exciting. A couple of editing things, you said the chandelier falls when a character touches 8a. Did you mean 7a? Also, a player who is blind has a ... how much bonus exactly?

    It's always good to see a new level published just as I go to run the next one, it means I won't run out! Granted, I'm only up to lvl 2, but, having read all 11 levels, I'm enjoying it greatly so far.

    I'm still hanging out for that time travel level, haha.

    1. Thanks, I knew I missed a few things! Fixed those errors.

      I'd love to hear your feedback as you run through the other levels!

  2. Oh gosh, I cannot realize I never got around to finishing my updates for these, and it's been over a year now. Let's see what I can remember for this.

    So, I recall having to do this level over two sessions; The lower level took a bit of time for the group - which now included a poorly built oracle. Poor guy wanted to be a melee character, but while he took the ancestor mystery, did not build his stats accordingly.

    The group had a fun time in the party room, messing with everyone. I recall the rogue tried to cheat a little too much, and pissed off the last ghost, much to his chagrin.

    The piano and clock were amusing; I know none of the group planned to sleep here, for sure. The library was handled preeeetty easily - they kinda suspected everything was planning to murder them at this point, so the arcanist let loose with the eidolon.

    The boss fight gave some worry - at least until they realized the illusions were there. Then they just firebombed it down as the eidolon ate all the attacks.

    Overall, went well enough. Though I recall some grumbling about some of the checks.