- Sometimes just getting in is the hardest part for a group of young adventurers. And sometimes a stalactite is just a stalactite...except when it's not.
- Fresh from meeting one another at the Flying Princess Inn, the adventurers sally forth to try their hand at exploring the nearby ancient (and deserted) dwarven stronghold. The stronghold is reputedly home to some spectacular dwarven treasures. However no one seems to know anyone that has ever made it in--or out--alive to verify the rumors. Their sophomoric egos emboldened by their new friendships, alliances, and boasts, the youthful adventurers are determined to be the first to recover some of that treasure.
They just have to get inside first.
- The hazards and dangers associated with exploring ancient dwarven strongholds were not always intended or planned by the original occupants. In this instance, the stronghold is within a mountain, the entrance carved into the wall of a large stone chamber. The adventurers’ initial travels are fairly routine: they enter a cave, stumble around a bit looking for (and finding) tracks and remains of earlier parties, and perhaps meet a random wandering monster or two. The passages are numerous and winding. The stronghold chamber is located at the end of a small side passageway.
When they eventually find their way to the main gates, they find themselves in a chamber of medium size, approximately 30' by 30' with a ceiling of 30'. The natural chamber is asymmetrical and composed of undressed stone, craggy and filled with stalagmites, stalactites, and light rubble on the floor. There is very little natural light; the dim light is provided by the natural light filtering through small cracks and holes leading from the chamber to the outer mountainside. Characters without at least low-light vision will be unable to see.
As the adventurers approach the main gates they meet their first real danger (wandering monsters aside). There is an ornate portico just outside the main gates: seven grand columns and a porch with a detailed and once-spectacular mosaic floor. The two massive 5'-wide stone doors are shut and barred from the inside; the lock, however, is a simple lock (DC 25); these dwarves knew that any lock could be conquered. They relied instead upon their strength, combat skills, and their stonework traps to keep others out. The doors are not trapped.
What the young adventurers do not know is that the cave is the home of a clutch of seven darkmantles. Within one round of the adventurers approaching the main gate, they are attacked. They may choose to retreat, continue to try and move forward into the stronghold, or stand and fight. Of course, any significant noise may draw unwanted attention. If the adventurers manage to open the doors, the darkmantles will continue to attack until they are all slain by the party. If the adventurers retreat, the darkmantles will cease their attack once the adventurers have all left the cavern.
This short adventure continues in the next short adventure: Keep A-Knockin' But You Can't Come In.
- Darkmantles (7): See 3.5 Monster Manual, p. 38.
This is the twenty-first 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.