A place wherein this Dwarven Cleric can share his love of maps, dice, miniatures, and all things involving gaming and general geekery--not to mention the occasional witty non-gaming observations--whilst escaping from the humdrum existence of his routine Terran existence.

Hail and Well Met, fellow traveler! May my Stronghold provide a place for enlightenment and amusement, and somewhere to keep your dice dry. Enter and rest awhile.

29 September 2011

[OSR Challenge] Dank As A Ditch

Dank As A Ditch: A Get Ready, Get Set, Go! 3.5 Edition adventure set in a Dwarven Stronghold, but easily dropped into any stronghold or similar structure. (With apologies to Theodore Roethke and his ‘Root Cellar.’)

Get Ready:
  • Something is wrong in the stronghold’s storage room; dwarves go to the cellar and do not come out. The adventurers boldly volunteer to root out whatever is down there...for a price, of course.

Get Set:
  • The newly-reclaimed Glittering Hall has issued a call for assistance. The young Darlode clan had few true warriors to begin with; the battles to reclaim the ancient dwarven home from the Orcs cut those numbers down drastically. They were successful, but at a great cost. They were still proud, however; they were the first dwarves to set foot in the Hall since the founding Glorcral clan had been destroyed by the vicious Orcs.

    They have a problem, however. A storage room in one of the lowest levels is an enigma--a dangerous enigma. Shortly after it was re-discovered, the Darlode clan realized that something was seriously wrong: dwarves sent to this cellar usually failed to ever return. Unfortunately, the clan has no real warriors and the proud dwarves have been forced to ask for help from outsiders. Seeing a chance for glory and gold altruistic charity work, the adventurers ride to the Glittering Hall to volunteer their services.

  • The storage room is deep in the bowels of the Glittering Hall. The door has been locked and ensorcelled from the outside. The powerful glyph placed on the door must first be dispelled before the adventurers can advance. Once inside the adventurers first notice a terrible stench filling the room. Any creature within 10 feet of the open door must succeed on a DC 15 Fortitude save or be sickened for 1d6+4 minutes.

    The room itself is dark and shadowy. The only source of light is whatever the adventurers have brought with them. It is a rectangular room running west to east, 50' in length and 30' in width, with random alcoves and nooks along the walls. The floor space is littered with crates and barrels, some of which have been broken open; splintered wood, spoiled foodstuffs, and broken crockery litter the floor. Combined with this detritus are bones and remains that can be identified (DC 12 Knowledge (local) ) as being from the missing dwarves. Moving across the floor at more than one-half speed requires a creature to make a DC 15 Balance check or the creature will slip and fall to the ground. In addition, any movement at more than one-half speed requires a DC 12 Move Silently check if the creature wishes to move stealthily.

    A pack of ghasts has made this their lair. A rough tunnel dug through the south wall of the room leads to a system of dank caverns and ultimately to the cemetery of a village several miles away. The three ghasts have a retinue of seven ghouls that trail along with them and fight over scraps the ghasts leave behind. When the adventurers enter the room, four of the ghouls are hiding near the tunnel exit on the south wall of the room. A large stack of crates block them from the adventurers view. Unless the adventurers succeed on a DC 18 Knowledge (nature) or (dungeoneering) check as to the source of the smell, they will be surprised by the ghouls’ attack. Three of the ghouls will attack while the fourth leaves to bring back the ghasts and other ghouls. Those six creatures will return within 2d6 rounds from the initial attack.

    Depending upon the adventurers’ levels, the DM may consider either a monetary award of 4,500 gp (for an EL 9 encounter) or perhaps gifting the adventurers with a group of masterwork weapons of similar aggregate value, or one magical weapon (+1) of the group’s choice. These awards reflect the Darlode clan’s gratitude. The adventurers, of course, could choose to turn down the reward as being too inadequate for their skills and insufficient to feed their egos being unnecessary because they performed this work out of the goodness of their hearts. This choice could lead to an entirely new set of problems for the adventurers.

    This can also serve as an adventure hook. The adventurers may decide to return to the cellar to explore the dank caverns that lie beyond the storage room, or even travel to the cemetery where they may encounter a town under siege by another group of ghouls, ghasts, or similar nasties.

Notable Creatures:
  • Ghasts (3): See 3.5 Monster Manual, p. 119.

  • Ghouls (7):: See 3.5 Monster Manual, p.119.

This is the twentieth of 26 adventures that I will be sharing over the month of September. They are designed for use with edition 3.5 of the world’s most popular fantasy RPG, although they can be easily dropped into any fantasy setting (or modern/sci-fi setting with a little work). These posts are a part of Asshat Paladin’s OSR Short Adventure Challenge , and utilize his Get Ready, Get Set, Go! Format.

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