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SCAP Chapter 4 Descriptive Text

Page history last edited by Shimrath 10 years, 3 months ago


The center of the Cusp of Sunrise is a room some 100 feet across - a circular tower whose inside surface is covered with bookshelves and iron ladders on sliding rails. A score of nobles are present, but only a few are reading. Most are clustered in conversation as they sip wine from slender flutes. Others play a dice game at a series of circular tables. A few eat, using fine cutlery while ensconced in plush leather chairs. A harpsicord stands on a small stage to one side, but no one is playing it at present. Just past the stage is a bar tended by a man in blue robes. Blue-robed servants scurry from noble to noble, appearing and disappearing through swinging doors to the north, south, east, and west.



This forty-foot-wide pit scars an otherwise unremarkable alpine meadow, surrounded by low mounds of the dirt and rock that once filled the hole. A metal-grate stairway spirals counter-clockwise down the interior surface of the pit. The pit bottom is dimly visible some sixty feet below. With the stairway in the way, the walls of the pit near the bottom are hidden from view.



The Underdark passage opens out into an immense rift cavern at least a half-mile across and several hundred feet deep.  Faintly glowing with phosphorescence at the bottom of the rift is a massive stone structure shaped like a prehistoric spined fish.  A wide stairway can be dimly seen leading up into the fish’s mouth.  A narrow ledge slopes down, hugging the side of the cavern as it descends in a series of switchbacks.



The water begins about a hundred yards from the base of the stairway that leads into the structure – obviously only a few inches deep at first, but impossible to tell by looking how deep it gets.  A thin mist floats a few feet over the surface of the water.

A few moments after you arrive, a long canoe emerges from the mist, drifting slowly toward you.  Crouched in the stern is a froglike creature the size of a human, holding a paddle in one hand and a shortspear in the other.  The canoe stops about 20 feet from the water’s edge, and the creature looks in your direction.

“Seek ye the Smoking Eye?  I’ll guide you through the maw.”



An immense structure of rough, wet stone in the shape of a fishlike creature stands here.  Its eye sockets are empty, revealing darkness beyond, and its slick surface is dotted with patches of faintly phosphorescent moss, giving the entire structure a faint purple glow.  A steep but wide stone stairway emerges from the water and leads to the open mouth of the fish, and from within sound faint, sporadic, froglike croaks.



Red and green tinted frescos cover the walls in this largely empty chamber.  A set of carved stone doors stands opposite the main entrance, flanked on the left by a fresco of a frog-creature carrying a strange staff with two-tined forks on both ends, and on the right by a squat male humanoid in plate armor with a black sphere where his head should be.  Frescos to either side depict hundreds of red, spear-wielding kuo-toas marching through Underdark caverns.  Curved shards of what look like thin, fragile porcelain cover the floor.  Passageways lead east and west from here.  The double doors leading north are carved with an abstract zig-zag pattern.



Behind a ratty tapestry is a room faintly lit by purplish patches of phosphorescence on the floor.  A midden heap sits in the center of the room, and the walls have primitive stick-figure carvings of bipeds with spears on them.  Four slight depressions in the floor hold an inch or two of water.



Beyond the iron portcullis is a hallway running north and south.  Along its east wall is a series of cells, divided by walls of solid masonry and enclosed by portcullises of their own.  The bars are set only a few inches apart.  Inset in the wall to the north is an iron lever pointing straight up.



A seventy-foot-high statue of a lobster-headed and lobster-clawed woman dominates this chamber.  Its eyes glow with a bright crimson that illuminates the room.  A stairway leads out of a pool of water below up to a platform that encircles the midsection of the statue, a few feet below its massive crustacean claws.  An iron-railed balcony rings the room at a height of thirty feet, following the walls three-quarters of the way around the chamber.  To the east and west are stairs leading both up and down.  About thirty feet above this balcony is another balcony, which extends only halfway along the left and right walls.  Frescos of bloody sacrifices – mostly stylized kuo-toas carrying dismembered body parts – cover the walls.  Every single kuo-toa depicted is facing the lobster statue.



A stone cistern about six feet long and four feet across dominates this room.  Shelves cover the walls.  Most are empty, but a few hold moldy scrolls or rotting books.  A lidded clay pot some four feet tall sits in the northern corner.  An obviously magical flame burns in a brazier hanging from the ceiling.



Murky water laps just a few inches below the threshold to this room.  The warm light of a fire streams from doorways to the left and right.  The room is empty of furniture, but the walls are covered with crab claws, mandibles, and other crustacean appendages carved in bas-relief.  Some of the claws on the north wall form shallow bowls that spill over into each other.



The passageway leading to this room slopes down slightly, and the omnipresent puddles eventually grow to the point where you’re knee deep in murky water.  The room, lit by a floating brazier in the northwest corner containing an obviously magical flame, has all manner of torture implements: shelves with scalpels, thumbscrews, a large jar of salt, and a well-oiled stretching rack.  Manacles hang from the ceiling and the eastern wall.



Down a long hallway is an alcove, partially covered with a bright red tapestry hanging from pegs in the ceiling.  Beyond it is a primitive forge and a table with woodworking and leathercrafting tools.



Beyond the second red curtain is another alcove dominated by a wooden table covered with mixing bowls, mud-pots, and ceramic jars of paint.



This alcove has a pedal-operated grinder and a table covered with chisels, picks, and shards of flint, some crudely fashioned into spearpoints.



A big loom covers most of the available floorspace in this alcove.  A half-completed tapestry on the loom depicts the green and black legs of what is apparently a kuo-toa, and the swirling black tail of something else.  Another tapestry is rolled up and leaning in a corner.



The final alcove holds a round table with a bag of feathers, wooden shafts of various lengths and thicknesses, and a stitched-together padded mannequin with several crossbow bolts sticking out of its head.



This chamber is mostly empty, but attached to the walls are about two dozen motionless kuo-toas.  Those on the east wall have shields and weapons, usually spears or rapiers.  Some have large slashes in them – wounds that certainly look fatal.  Those on the west wall all have grisly holes in their bellies and carry no weapons.  A basalt altar with a single carved stone crustacean claw is built into the south wall.



This octagonal room has a stone staircase ascending into an alcove in the northwest corner and an iron portcullis in the south wall.  It looks like a net has been woven through the bars of the portcullis, but the net only reaches halfway up the bars.  Most of the western half of the room is covered with standing water.  The water is murky, so it’s hard to tell how deep it gets, but if the floor is mostly level, it shouldn’t be more than a foot deep.  The walls are covered with frescoes of young kuo-toas emerging from eggs and being handed spears by other kuo-toas.



A pool of murky water lies in the center of this room.  The walls are covered with primitive stick-figure drawings of bipeds with spears.  Some carry oval-shaped objects.



This empty room has wall frescos in a zig-zag pattern so busy it’s almost dizzying to look at.  Another carved stone door is in the center of the north wall.



This plain chamber features a stone altar on its north wall and clay pots lining the east and west walls.



A narrow passageway connects these two small chambers.  Neither has any furniture or features beyond the large openings in the south wall, which afford a view of the lake Bhal-Hamatugn sits in and the larger Underdark cavern.  A stone door in the north wall of the passageway connects the two eye-chambers.



This small room has shields stacked on the floor and dozens of spears in racks on the wall.


The room holds 40 heavy wooden shields, 120 shortspears, 10 pincer staffs, and 200 hand crossbow bolts.  Five of the shields have had kuo-toa adhesive applied to them.



The floor of this large, T-shaped room is covered with bell-capped purple mushrooms standing a foot or two high.  Two massive pillars are the room’s only other visible feature.  The southern pillar has partially collapsed and no longer reaches the ceiling.  The northern pillar is cracked but otherwise intact.



This lozenge-shaped chamber has more frescos, this time of kuo-toas emerging from the sea and marching into holes in the ground.  The floor is covered with the same porcelain shards found near the entrance.  The eastern corner of the north wall features a set of double stone doors.



Against the north wall sits a throne made of what looks like stitched-together skin.  Four slender pillars surround a faintly luminescent circle about five feet across, carved into the stone floor.  To either side of the throne hang banners depicting a dwarf in blue and white armor holding a waraxe aloft.  Both banners are apparently upside-down.  Hanging by their feet from nooses attached to the 30-foot ceiling are dozens of rotting corpses, each with the top of its head removed.  The corpses mutter and twitch in a pale mockery of life.


A tired-looking dwarf slumps in the throne, a glowing sphere in his hand and an axe across his lap.  He takes notice of you and whispers harshly: “I prophesy your doom!”

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