The tunnel widens ahead as it rises to the surface. You can see the edges of the cave’s maw just beyond the next turn. To the immediate West sits a hastily constructed wooden door.
Light. If it is daytime, the area is lit with dim light from the surface which is at its brightest in the late afternoon hours. Looking into Room 8, a character can see the silhouettes of the creatures in that area.
Door. The door is locked, requiring a DC 15 Dexterity check. It is not made of aged, rotting wood, so it requires a DC 17 Strength check to break down, though it will alarm any creatures in the areas 6 through 9.
Guard. A single goblin guards this room with a light crossbow. He will join any fight he hears taking place in Room 8.
Stolen Goods. This room contains merchandise stolen from various caravans and traders along the Trader’s Road. A majority of them are marked as heading to Byr. Three crates heading to Marvin’s Magical Emporium, located in Byr’s noble district, contain alchemical ingredients. A tiny cask of ale is heading to a small tavern in Byr called the Last Stop, located along the city’s southern wall near the gallows. Two crates of unidentified raw ore are heading for Alex & Alice’s Alchemy and Armory in the West side of the city. If any crate heading to Alex and Alice’s is returned to them and the players character have opened it, the two store owners will be able to tell.
Hidden Message. A DC 20 Intelligence (Investigation) check on one of the crates heading to Alex & Alice’s Alchemy and Armory allows the character to find a small, leather satchel hidden amongst the ore. It contains a letter in code that can be deciphered with a DC 15 Intelligence (Investigation) check during a short rest. The only untranslatable portion of the not is the signature which appears to look like the symbol for pi, but with a third line in the center. If it is deciphered, or magically translated, read:
“A&A. Thorn spotted heading North. Track movements and determine motives. Do not engage. The Skye is watching.”
Custom Alternative. The note in the crate is a quest seed for later in the campaign. In our home game, the player characters discovered a doppelganger was trying to replace an elven noble but managed to stop him. The doppelganger owned a cloak with a black rose badge indicating he was a member of a clan or guild: the Thorns. In your campaign, you can slip in a similar quest seed here, or perhaps some treasure.
9. Twisted Cavern Entrance
If the characters enter from the South, read:
This massive, bean shaped cavern is littered with stalagmites of various size and shape. Its southern half begins to slope down into the system of tunnels below. Two hulking, furry, quadrupedal forms cast large silhouettes at the entrance.
If the characters enter from the North, read:
Two, hulking monstrosities chained to stalagmites block your path into the tunnels below. Their fur is stained with the blood of their victims, and rotting flesh clings to their beaks.
Chained Guard. The two owlbears at the entrance are chained to two of the larger stalagmites at the cave’s maw. The chains are each 20 feet long and break with a DC 15 Strength check. A character making a DC 10 Wisdom (Perception) check can hear the rattling of the chains before he notices them. The owlbears are quickly aware of any combat that occurs in areas 7 and 9.
Safe Passage. A character making a DC 15 Intelligence or Wisdom (Perception) check may notice a single 5 foot gap between the owlbears on their chains that creates a safe passage for anyone willing to brave the cave maw.
10. Goblin Raider Camp
A small bonfire sits between two large patches of twisted thickets just outside the cave entrance. A group of hobgoblins are gathered around the fire, eating and bickering.
The entrance to the Twisted Caverns is guarded by four hobgoblins.
Bonfire. The bonfire is just about 4 feet wide and casting bright light for 10 feet, and dim light for another 10 feet. Falling into the fire causes 2d6 fire damage. A character that starts its turn in the fire takes an additional 1d6 fire damage. Then roll a d20, igniting the creature’s clothes and flesh with a roll of 15-20.
Thickets. The thickets are difficult terrain. They provide half cover to creatures attacking through them.
Treasure. The hobgoblins have amongst them 17 gp, 19 sp, and 25 cp.