You open the door to a crowded chamber slightly larger than the last. Your eye is drawn to two massive stalagmites in the southwest corner where just behind them is a small camp site. A third stalagmite rests to the North, barely blocking your view of a door leading to a further chamber. Several dwarfs go about their business: some are sleeping, a couple are reading from small books, and others are checking their equipment.
This chamber is currently being used as the campsite for the Clan Arcanaxe expedition. They plan to enter the Ancient ruins, but have thus far been hindered by the presence of their hostages, and the goblins that live in the cave system.
Kildrak Arcanaxe is a powerful dwarf mage from a long line of rare dwarf mages, and current head of Clan Arcanaxe. His purposes here are to collect an Ancient relic his research led him to believe was within the Ancient ruins below the cave system. What he wants is whatever item is the power source that keeps the Ancient ruins in the area active, even after centuries of neglect. He is quick to reveal the hostages with daggers at their throats, but would rather negotiate than reduce himself to threats. If the player characters are willing to help him, then he promises to release the hostages upon the retrieval of the item, will allow them to keep anything else they find within, and will pay them 40 gold.
Hostages. The band of adventurers held captive by Clan Arcanaxe consist of the brave human paladin Varsuvius Grandis, the mute dwarven rogue Fargrim Goldenaxe, the fierce halfling fighter Blades, and the cowardly human wizard Willhem Fisher. Their former high elf cleric, Rolen Amakiir, is now a zombie in Room 4. If the players wish to speak to one of the hostages, Kildrak will allow them to talk to Blades as Fargrim is mute and the other two are casters whose mouths are gagged.
If the player characters enter this room as hostiles, all the magic cast at them by Kildrak and his seven acolytes is considered non-lethal. They are not here to build a body count, but are willing to take unconscious characters prisoner and persuade them to help in the search.
3. Dwarven Barricade
This chamber acts as the infirmary for dwarves injured in combat with the goblins and subsequent zombies.
The musty chamber is roughly the same size as the dwarven encampment, though only one stalagmite dots the center. Surrounding the stalagmite are a handful of dwarfs in various states of damage. One dwarf was not as lucky as his companions and now eternally rests under a blood soaked blanket along the eastern wall. A couple of dwarf medics tend to the wounded as another couple guard an exceptionally well barricaded door to the North. Everyone is on edge and jumpy, especially when faint knocks echo from the impassable door.
The door to the North looks as if it is barricaded with wood taken from another door, possibly the entrance to Room 1, or a room beyond. A DC 25 Strength check is needed to break it down from either direction. They refuse to reply to any noise coming from the other side as it can only be goblins or zombies knocking.
The dwarf body along the eastern wall belonged to “poor Eldrik”. He was killed by goblins while setting up the barricade. A DC 10 Intelligence/Wisdom (Medicine) check says that he died from a barbed arrow that caused his wound to open further when it was pulled out.
Kildrak Arcanaxe is a level 5 mountain dwarf envocation wizard. You may also use the Priest NPC stats instead, replacing his divine spells with arcane ones as well as the mace with a battleaxe.
Varsuvius Grandis is a human from the land of Nashari, this world’s equivalent to Spain, and a level 7 paladin of devotion. You may also use the Knight NPC to represent him, adding a few divine spellcasting options.
Fargrim Goldenaxe is a mute level 7 hill dwarf rogue. Nothing is wrong with him physically or mentally, but he gave up his ability to speak in order to break a deal with a demon. He misses singing the most. If needed, use a beefed up Bandit NPC to represent him.
Blades then Knuckles then Brawl then Quickfoot then Brick then Wellby of Family High-Hill, as halflings are properly introduced in this world, is a duel wielding level 7 fighter. An altered Berserker NPC could easily represent him.
Willhem Fisher is a level 7 wizard of evocation. The Priest NPC, altered, is also a good choice for him.