Apologies for the rather late posting; I guess I was taking an interlude of my own. In any case, we’ll have this one today (Wednesday) and Friday, after which I think I’ll switch to a Tuesday/Thursday weekly release.
Interlude 1: Crystal Caverns
From Room 18 in the Twisted Tunnels, the characters could find themselves delving too deep, coming into the Crystal Caverns, a large underground forest of crystalline formations of various size and color. Within the Crystal Caverns is the small svirfneblin village of Geosyn.
The villagers have all been enslaved by a gang of duergar that call themselves the Ascenders. They are working their way slowly to the surface in order to conquer it one village at a time. They won’t admit it right away, but when they first encountered Geosyn, the duergar thought they had reached the surface.
The svirfneblin have been enslaved to work the crystal mines, building up the supply of spell crystals the duergar plan to use with all of their future raids. The duergar leader, Faux Irahl, is a wizard capable of feeding spells into the crystals.
When the player characters enter the Crystal Caverns, roll 1d20. On a roll of 11-20, they encounter an escaped svirfneblin slave named Ker Potom running from three duergar slavers. Ker screams for help when he spots the party, and runs toward them. Once all but one of the slavers have been dispatched, the final one will turn invisible and make a run for safety back in Geosyn.
Custom Alternatives: If you do not have access to the duergar stats, then have the slave running from five duergar thugs.
If the characters do not encounter the escaping slave, they find Geosyn, and are initially feared to be drow. Until they get closer, Medium sized creatures will sense fear and paranoia from both the svirfneblin, all hard at work at various chores, and the duergar, all keeping watch or lazily enjoying the day. Small sized characters will be treated with the same respect as slaves.
If Ker is encountered and rescued, he asks the characters to help him drive off the duergar and free his people. Any money earned or looted is in the form of Underdark stone coins. Ker also knows how to properly refine spell crystals, but cannot do so safely with the duergar occupation.
Interlude 2: Versimidor’s Cell
A tunnel from the Crystal Caverns leads to Room 6 of the Ancient Complex and eventually to a large cavern as described in Room 3.
If one or more characters ventures deep into the cavern, the ancient black dragon, Versimidor, appears from high above and blocks their exit. Noticing that they are not the usual svirfneblin that he is offered by Faux Irahl, he intends to use them to free him of his prison.
Versimidor knows that the control panel in Room 3 can open the canopy of his cell, and can direct the characters movements. If Versimidor recognizes any hint of deception, he can easily make an example of one of the characters, making a non-lethal bite attack on one of the party. If they have an expendable NPC with them, the dragon will eat that creature instead. Versimidor is also willing to keep a character hostage while the others complete the task, and will forget them once the canopy opens.