Ancient Ruins of the West Wood: Reaper

Ancient Ruins: Rooms 19 and 2019. Special Project Entry

When the PCs enter this chamber, read:

Ancient skeletons litter the floor of this chamber, centered around a large metal door decorated with four colorful stones set in a two by two grid.

Clue. A skeletal hand is clasping a torn piece of parchment from under the collapsed door. The clue is written in Ancient and reads “A compassionate king rules with justice and mercy.”

Skeletons. There are a total of thirteen Ancient skeletons in tattered rags scattered on the floor. As they are found, they are merely bones, not imbued with necrotic magic. If the players correctly guess that the skeletons will come to life, they may try to do something to stop them from doing so. Only entirely destroying the skull will the remove a skeleton from the combat activated by access to Room 20.

Door Puzzle. The four icons can be translated via the Comprehend Languages spell, and are representations of the four pillars of Ancient morality: Truth, Justice, Mercy, and Compassion. Each icon is currently labeled on a stone of a certain color; mercy is blue, compassion is indigo, and both justice and truth are yellow. The text clues found throughout this section of the complex reveal the answer. By touching the stone, the color can be changed in the following order: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and Violet. Once Truth is orange, Justice is red, Mercy is blue, and Compassion is violet, then the door opens, retracting into the floor.

20. Special Project Chamber

When the metal door to this chamber is opened, read:

As the door grinds into the floor, you see a large, long chamber, dominated by a massive tube of glass filled with dark, rolling fog and sparks of black and purple lightning. Two orbs sparking with the same energy rest on five foot high pillars on opposite sides of the room. Seven fleshless skulls turn to watch your entry into their long forgotten tomb. Dark energy from the cylinder is suddenly sucked into the orbs and is redirected to the piles of bones behind you. A cry of anguish echoes from the fog within the cylinder as the remains rise from their rest.

Skeletons. The combat begins with 7 ancient skeletons in the chamber, and 1d4 skeletons rising to attack in Room 19. At the beginning of each round, the orbs draw power from the cylinder again and raise a number of skeletons equal to 1d4 plus the number of characters in the party. There can only be a maximum of 20 skeletons raised at any given time. A skeleton can be permanently defeated by either destroying the dark orbs, shattering the glass tube, or dropping it to zero hit points with bludgeoning damage.

Dark Orbs. These devices were once meant to redirect the negative energy elsewhere, but have recently lost the ability to do so. Each time they draw energy from the glass tube, they cause pain to the creature inside who then screams in agony. The orbs have an AC of 13, Hit Points 7, resistance to piercing, slashing, lightning, and radiant damage, and is immune to psychic, poison, and necrotic damage.

Glass Tube. The thick glass is only warded against damage from the inside. It has AC 13, Hit Points 15, resistance to piercing, slashing, lightning, and radiant damage, and is immune to psychic, poison, and necrotic damage.

When both orbs are destroyed or the glass tube is shattered, read:

The swirling fog and dark energy coalesces into a humanoid form in front of you. He stands seven feet tall, deathly thin and pale as a corpse, dressed in black robes. He summons a long, wicked scythe and leans on it, weak from his imprisonment.

Reaper. The creature is a reaper, an agent of fate. He does not remember much from his captivity due to his lack of corporeal form, but thanks the characters for his rescue and promises a favor to them in the “near future”. He is willing to talk for a brief moment, before he must return to the work to which he has so longed to return. When he leaves, all undead fueled by his presence within the Verdinan region that have not been destroyed collapse into their natural, lifeless state.

Key. One of the skeletons originating from this chamber holds the strangely shaped key that opens the door leading to Room 8.

Conclusion

The characters have discovered the secret energy source powering the Ancient Complex, but what do they do from there?

Missing Adventurers Quest

If presented with the angel, Kildrak Arcanaxe takes a moment to consider the offer, but in the end decides it would be smarter to not find disfavor with the god of storms, risking the possibility that his own people suffer the same mysterious fate as the Ancients. He asks that the characters release the angel outside and sets his hostages free.

If the characters return empty handed, Kildrak is hesitant to listen to them, but is a logical dwarf and is willing to believe them if they have no cause to lie about what they have seen. He will release the hostages after a brief, tense moment.

If the characters do not return to Kildrak, he may be forced to kill the hostages to conserve on rations as he leads his people into the caverns, following the characters’ trail. This could end potentially poorly for him and his clan, especially if they run across the Menagerie filled with escaped and bloodthirsty monsters. Perhaps the Arcaneaxe Clan will return in the future to exact revenge on the characters for failing them.

Ancient Relic Hunting

Drist is pleased with the characters’ acquisitions, but will, of course, try to cheat them out of their proper due. Lord Scrywyld, however, is good to his word. If the characters choose Lord Scrywyld over Drist, he will not rest until he has wronged them in turn.

Death’s Influence

Veris rewards the characters as promised, and gives them a token to mark them as friends of the church. The characters can use the token at any church for any assistance that can be provided.

Svirfneblin Slaves

If the characters have done nothing to save the svirfneblin from captivity, nothing has changed and they can return to finish the job.

Versimidor

If the ancient black dragon, Versimidor, has been released into the world, he will fly toward the coast in the east to try to locate a swamp to settle, leaving a trail of death in his wake. The characters will have to deal with him in the future.

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Ancient Ruins of the West Wood: I Disbelieve!

Ancient Complex: Rooms 16, 17, and 1816. Illusion Control

This room is where the Ancients once controlled what could be seen, or what happened in the illusion rooms.

You enter a small chamber filled with nothing but five marble podiums standing waist high, each holding a head-sized obsidian orb.

The orbs act as an interface between the Ancients and the illusion rooms. Right now, only one of the five orbs is faintly glowing, as it is the only one with a functioning room still connected to it.

When a character touches the glowing orb, read:

Suddenly, an image is projected from the orb into the airspace directly above, in front of your face. It shows a temperate forest environment. Surrounding the image are smaller images, each with a different type of environment.

If a character touches the image, it reacts. They can rotate the main image horizontally, or drag one of the smaller images over to the larger image to replace it with the new environment. This changes the apparent environment of Room 18. If another character is in Room 18 at the time, any characters here can see what that character is doing.

17. Dining Hall

This large room was once where a large number of Ancients could eat their meals. Stone tables and tall buckets filled with decomposing refuse are scattered throughout the chamber.

Bar. A long window with a flat, marble surface below it allows one in the larger section of the chamber to see into the smaller section, and vice versa. A character can easily climb through to the other side, though if they are in combat they will need to make a DC 10 Dexterity (Acrobatics) check to do so while moving.

Cooling Room. The steel door leading into this side room has the image of a snow flake on it. A DC 10 Wisdom (Insight) check reveals that it means the room beyond was designed to keep things cold. Opening the door releases two ochre jellies created from centuries worth of rotting food now turned ooze. The character that opened the door also needs to make a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or they are poisoned for 1 hour.

Tall Buckets. Any character standing next to one of these trash receptacles needs to make a DC 10 Constitution saving throw or else succumb to the poison condition for 1 hour.

18. Room of Illusory Environments

This room is specially crafted to trick creatures into thinking they are in the environment that it represents. If the environment has not been changed in Room 16, then the environment is that of a temperate forest.

Upon initially entering the room, characters may think they have stepped into a portal to the outside. However, it is all merely an illusion that a character can see through with a DC 25 Wisdom (Insight) check. There are no animals, though background animal noises can be heard. There are no materials that can be foraged either. Anything stripped from a plant disappears, and the plant reappears as normal back where it came from.

If the door is not propped open, it closes behind the characters. The nature of the illusion allows the room to seem unending, using visual stimuli and unnoticed nudges of force. If walking together, changes to the environment are minimal. However, if the characters separate from each other by 30 feet, they can find the walls of the room and eventually the door which can swing either in or out. Damaging a known wall by weapon or spell creates a permanent mark to the wall that seems to float in the air.

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Ancient Ruins of the West Wood: The Final Stretch

Ancient Complex: Rooms 13, 14, and 1513. Major Projects Hall

The transport room empties the characters into a long hall with multiple t-intersections. Each intersection provides an opportunity for a random encounter. Roll a d20 when the characters approach an intersection. On a roll of 15 to 20, 1d6 +2 ancient skeletons. If this encounter doesn’t happen before the characters reach Room 19, have the skeletons in the north hall above that location.

Treasure. One of the skeletons is holding a parchment with Ancient script that reads “A man knows the truth of the world when watching the sun set.”

14. Failed Experiment

This room is very much like Room 3 with a similar amount of destroyed structures, if not more. The glass looking into the chamber beyond is cracked. The light crystal cluster in the larger chamber is turned on, but the marble control panels are unlit. A massive draconic skeleton lays scattered amongst the rocks in the closed off chamber.

Skeleton. A DC 18 Intelligence (Medicine/Nature) check shows that the skeleton is that of an adult blue dragon. If they succeed by 5 or more, then they also can tell that the dragon died about one thousand years ago.

Treasure. An ancient skeleton is trapped under a fallen shelving structure. In its closed hand is a parchment with Ancient script on it which reads “Justice is in the blood of a murderer.”

15. Private Lab

You enter the small chamber, and before you see the floor that is littered with Ancient, decrepit lab equipment, you are greeted by a frayed noose hanging from a light fixture. Below the hangman’s rope is a pile of bones and rags.

Skeleton. The Ancient corpse is long decayed into bone. A DC 5 Wisdom (Insight) check easily reveals that this Ancient took its own life.

Lab Equipment. The Ancient magical lab equipment in this room is decrepit at best, destroyed at worst. It looks as if the best of the lot has long since vanished. Interested characters can find up to 2d12 gp worth of equipment.

Treasure. A DC 15 Wisdom (Perception) check or a DC 5 Intelligence (Investigate) check reveals 2d6 gp and a scroll amongst the Ancient bones. The scroll is contains Ancient text which reads “Mercy is unending when the sky is the limit.”

Ancient Skeletons

Use the standard skeleton statistics found in the Monster Manual, or in the Dungeon Master Basic Rules pdf, with the following modifications: +2 Dexterity, -2 Constitution, AC 14, Hit Points 11 (2d8 + 2).

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Ancient Ruins of the West Wood: The Door to the Menagerie

Ancient Complex: Rooms 11 and 1211. The Menagerie

The teleportation room is the same as the others, but leads to a large hall featuring over a hundred varieties of creatures. Each enclosure is the same as those in Room 10, save for small environmental changes such as temperate, ocean, desert, jungle, etc. If the characters want to identify a few monsters, find a couple that are lower, average, and deadly Challenges for their party.

12. The Delivery Room

This room features a large Path Gate that was used to transport captured creatures directly to the menagerie.

When the characters enter the room, read:

The single standing door reveals a chamber with a high ceiling. The walls on the left and the right have a single, long arrow slit going across them just below eye level. To your direct left, is a door leading into the area behind the arrow slit wall. The right side having lost access to it due to the same cave in that took out the second entry door. The primary feature of the room is an immense, freestanding marble slab in the shape of an arched gate. Ancient geometric designs cover the facade and a single line splits the arched slab down the middle.

Path Gate. Standing 25′ high, 9′ wide and 1′ thick, this marble slab is almost touching the walls on each side. Pushing in the facade opens a doorway to a subspace travel system call the Path. This can function as a third method of leaving the dungeon, though the characters can easily get lost in the Path.

If a characters opens the door to the Path, read:

Pushing in the door, you see a wide, white marble path against a pitch black sky. The path weaves in around dense, gray trees that stretch far below the path to unseen roots. The branches and leaves silently sway and rustle against the eerily still air. Other, smaller doors line the path around the bend.

If the characters explore too long, or stand at the threshold talking for too long, they begin to feel like they’re being watched. The sense of urgency begins to send chills down their spines. If the characters continue to leave the doors open, describe that they now hear the wind that is rustling the leaves of the gray trees and it is increasing in intensity. If they still do not close the door, a faceless being spies on them from behind the trees.

Gray Forest. The forest is a manifestation of a creature called the Outsider. He is a creature of the Far Realm, or perhaps another universe. The Outsider has unknowable motives, but wishes to spread his influence throughout the world. While he may not actually be in gray forest at this time, the gray forest manifesting is not a good sign. If not stopped soon, he could actually begin to manifest on the Material Plane.

Treasure. The rooms beyond the arrow slits each hold 1d2 wands of the protector, and 1d4 rods of elemental force.

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Ancient Ruins of the West Wood: A Ghoulish Turn

Ancient Complex: Rooms 9 and 109. Ghoul Infestation

Upon the initial teleportation into the room, read:

The bright flash of the teleportation leave you blinded, until you realize that the true reason behind this blindness is the lack of light in the room.

If a character has darkvision, read:

Your eyes finally adjust and your darkvision activates. You find yourself in the same type of teleportation room as the others, but the light crystals have all been removed and several, lanky, putrid humanoid bodies are sleeping around the dais.

The sleeping creatures are ghouls, six in all plus a ghast.

Start a count at 4. For each loud noise created by the characters, add a point. A failed Dexterity (Stealth) check against the monsters’ passive Perception adds the difference to the count. At 10 points, the ghouls start to wake up. Using the teleportation circle adds four points. For each minute of silence, reduce the count by one. Light in the room adds three.

Ghouls. The ghouls were originally captive humans from the time of the ancients. They do not speak or understand modern Common, but instead speak Ancient Human. They come from the open cell in Room 10. If a character has cast the Comprehend Languages spell, ghouls are all apologizing and mentioning how hungry they are.

Treasure. The ghouls each have 1d8-1 gems worth 1 gp each, 1d6-1 gems worth 5 gp each, and 1d4-1 worth 10 gp each. The ghast has 1d10-1 gems worth 1 gp each, 1d8-1 gems worth 5 gp each, and 1d6-1 worth 10 gp each.

10. Research and Development

The hall is a holding facility for creatures involved in experimentation.

West Pen. The holding pen in the west features an array of goblins of different varieties: green, red, yellow, sandy brown, etc. There are at least ten in total, possibly more in the cave. They are all frozen in time, in suspended animation. One or two are actually in mid-air, jumping between the boulders.

East Pen. The holding pen in the east once held a group of humans until a rare quake cracked the glass at the top of the viewing windows, breaking their suspended animation in the process. As they starved, a group of the humans prayed to demons to save them and were transformed into undead abominations, eating the others and using their new found strength to further destroy the weakened window.

Viewing Windows. The windows have Armor Class 2, Damage Reduction 5, Hit Points 15, resistance to lightning, radiant, and slashing damage, and is immune to necrotic, poisons, and psychic damage.

As the characters look into the far room, read:

The door opens to a small room, illuminated by three large glowing tubes, each filled with luminescent green fluids and a silhouetted humanoid figure.

The three tubes hold the preserved remains of three humanoids: the west tube has a goblin, the east tube has a human, and the center tube has an orc. The implications here are that the Ancients are responsible for the creation of all orc-kind.

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Ancient Ruins of the West Wood: Holy Power

Ancient Complex: Room 66. Crystal Caverns Entrance

If this is the first time they’ve entered a teleportation chamber, read the boxed text from Room 1.

 

 

 

Ancient Complex: Rooms 7 and 8

7. Energy Generation Chamber

The teleportation chamber opens to a circular hallway that leads around to a 10′ wide by 10′ high metal door.

When the party sees the door, read:

As you continue to walk around the path, you see that a section of the inner wall ahead is not made of the same white marble, but of metal. Reaching from floor to ceiling, this wide, metallic slab is bare of any Ancient script or design, save for odd, geometric holes sitting waist high in the center of the silvery panel.

Metal Door. The metal slab is, in fact, a door leading to Room 8, without any indication that it can be opened outside of having a few shaped holes (Handout 7-1).

Strange Ancient Pattern

The holes can be identified as a keyhole with a DC 10 Intelligence check. The door can also be picked with a DC 27 Dexterity check. If the key from Room 20 is inserted into the holes, a section of the slab turns with the key. Once unlocked, the door shifts into the Ethereal Plane, leaving the key suspended in midair.

8. Generator Room

You descend the stairs to find a circular chamber barren of furnishings, save for the massive cylinder in the center of the room. Attached to it is a slanted marble slab covered in lights, buttons, and levers. Within the glass cylinder is a large, muscular man with wings draped across his shoulders floating in an unknown liquid. Bio-luminescent lights dance across his opaque blue skin like lightning.

The man in the tube is an “Angel of the Storm”, a planetar to Solm’s tempest domain, that goes by the name Galadil. He was deceived by the Ancients, and imprisioned. He doesn’t remember much after being summoned, save for the tube filling with liquid.

Glass Tube. The thick glass is only warded against damage from the inside. It has AC 3, Damage Reduction 3, Hit Points 15, resistance to slashing, lightning, and radiant damage, and is immune to psychic, poison, and necrotic damage. If the glass is broken, sphere drones teleport into the room from an unknown location. There are a number of them equal to the number of characters in the room.

Control Panel. The slanted marble slab functions as the controls to the tube. A level on the panel sits next to nine unlit lights going down its track and is adjacent to a three by three square of nine buttons, each with Ancient icons on them (see Handout 8-1). These icons are numbers 1 through 9 and if pressed in the correct sequence, allows the lever to empty the entire contents of the tube into the room. The sequence of numbers as presented are 2, 5, 9, 3, 6, 1, 4, 8, and 7. If pressed in numerical order, the level is activated.

Ancient Text 8.1

Galadil. Trapped long ago by the Ancients, Galadil knows who and what they were. He even mentions them by name: Aarakocra. If told about their fate, he may comment about how the world should reek more of death if they all died, even after all this time. He does, however, mention the smell of it coming from another part of the complex, referencing Room 20. Once out of the tube, he is too weak to be of any assistance. He says that he needs to be brought to the surface, to feel the warmth of Solm on his face, in order to find his strength.

Custom Alternative. If you are using the Basic Rules, you will not have access to the planetar (angel) statistics. His abilities are not important as he is weakened and cannot assist the characters in anything they do. All you need to know is that the characters cannot successfully lie to him.

Custom Alternative 2. In this setting, the aarakocra are used as the Ancient race of humanoids. Their name, and the idea of them being bird people, is not common knowledge. In your own setting, you can easily change the identity of the Ancients.

Sphere Drones

tiny construct, neutral

Armor Class 16 (metal shell)

Hit Points 17 (5d4 + 5)

Speed 0 ft., fly 40 ft.

STR 6 (-2) DEX 16 (+3) CON 12 (+1) INT (-3) WIS 16 (+3) CHA 1 (-5)

Saving Throws Dexterity +5

Skills Perception +5

Damage Resistance cold, fire; piercing from non-magical weapons

Damage Immunities lightning, necrotic, poison, and psychic

Condition Immunities blinded, charmes, deafened, frightened, paralyzed, poisoned, and unconscious

Senses blindsight 60 ft., passive Perception 15

Languages understands Ancient

Challenge 1 (+200xp)

ACTIONS

Multiattack. The spehere drone makes two slam attacks, or one slam attack and one lightning blast attack.

Slam. Melee Weapon Attack. +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d6) bludgeoning damage.

Lightning Blast (rechard 5-6) Ranged Magic Attack: +5 to hit, ranged 30 ft., one target. Hit: 12 (2d8 + 3) lightning damage.

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Ancient Ruins of the West Wood: The Path Splits

Ancient Complex: Room 5

5. Teleportation Junction

You find a wide chamber with a long, raised platform stretched across the back wall. Five plaques mark the positions of five teleportation circles, each glowing the same faint blue.

Circle 1. This circle leads to the experimentation lab in Room 9 where the characters learn a terrible secret. It also has a nice surprise waiting for them at their initial jump. The plaque reads “Research and Development” (see Handout 5-1).

Ancient Text 5.1

Circle 2. This circle leads to Room 13, a larger stretch of the complex, and eventually to the major project lab. The plaque reads “Major Projects” (see Handout 5-2).

Ancient Text 5.2

Circle 3. This circle leads to Room 7 and the energy conversion chamber that contains the power source wanted by the dwarves of Clan Arcanaxe. The plaque reads “Generator” (see Handout 5-3).

Ancient Ruins 5.3

Circle 4. This circle leads to the menagerie in Room 11, a mass collection of animal specimens taken and preserved. The plaque reads “Menagerie” (see Handout 5-4).

Ancient Text 5.4

Circle 5. This circle leafs to the teleportation chamber in Room 6 that can access the Crystal Caverns and Versimidor’s Chamber. The plaque reads “Crew Quarters” (see Handout 5-5).

Ancient Text 5.5

If the power source is removed, the now free creatures of the Menagerie have a chance to escape through this room. Roll a d20. On a result of 15 or higher, a random encounter occurs. Roll 2d6 on the random encounter table below. If you do not have access to the creatures listed, use one with a comparable Challenge Rating.

Random Encounter

Freed Menagerie Encounters

If the party takes too long deciding what to do or rests here, then 1d4 ghouls from Room 9 teleport into the room.

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