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SCAP Ch 5 - descriptive text

Page history last edited by Section8 11 years ago

 

The Cauldron Tax Riot -The streets around the City Hall are packed tight with loud citizens rallying against the recent tax increase in Cauldron. Several guards stand in a ring around the building and use the hafts of their halberds to keep people out. Presently, a small group of dignitaries, easily recognizable as the town tax collectors, make their way to the entrance. The citizens boo and scream insults at the tax collectors as they scuttle inside the building.

 

 

 

<added text>

As soon as the tax collectors disappear behind closed doors, prominent local businessman Maavu Arlintal climbs up onto a dais, raising his hand for silence. As the crowd slowly settles down, the tall and handsome 50-something man speaks, with firm resolution in his voice; "The Old Law of Peers has been invoked! The people will tolerate no more abuses! When those that claim to serve the law, and the people who live by the law, cease to abide by the very people they serve, then it is time for change. Is it not?"

 

The crowd roars to life at Maavu's words. His oratory is manner skillful, and full of sincerity. It does not sound rehearsed; it seems a passionate and intelligent appeal of common sense from a man who is educated in the field on which he speaks.

 

"Captain Skellerang, once our so-called defender, and keeper of the peace, and now bully and enforcer of the crippling extortions handed down by our governing officials, has been challenged to a duel of valor by none other than Alex Tercival! "

 

 

The crowd roars once again, many with loud approval, some with slanderous comments aimed at Captain Skellerang, but others merely seem to be adding indiscriminately to the noise.

 

Maavu continues to speak, further inciting the passion of the crowd with his bold oratory, as he carries on about the injustice which is being committed against the good

of the city, the crowd grows angrier and angrier.

 

"Certainly many of you are aware, that the laws of the city mandate that an issuance of the Old Law of the Peers MUST be publicized by the city council, why then has our governing body been silent? Why then have they tried to keep this matter from the attention of the public? Their omission is illegal, and proof of the ill will the lord mayor's advisors bear Cauldron's good citizens."

<end text>

 

The words of the fervor-filled merchant continue to imbue the citizens with a mounting rage. The people's anger culminates when Maavu points out the fact that a group of armed half-orcs is already harassing the town: "Skellerang is feeding a band of filthy half-orc thugs a large share of our bread!" he screams. Then, wading in the crowd of people, a human watch sergeant escorted by several half-orc mercenaries approaches the dais to arrest the merchant: "In the name of Terseon Skellerang, Captain of the Town Guard, I must arrest you!" he declares, addressing Maavu.

 

Suddenly, from within the angered crowd an unassuming youth draws a dagger from underneath his robe, and screams out, "Let's kill these half-orc brigands!" As his voice is drowned out by the roar of a hundred other people, the lad lunges at the nearest half-orc. In seconds, the mob erupts into a full-fledged riot.

 

==============================================================

 

A fire in the night -

 

<added text>

It is a few hours past sunset. The cloudy sky blocks out the stars and most of the moon, shrouding the city in darkness. The peal of the City Hall bell breaks through the relative silence, as it rings out an alarm. An orange glow quickly fills the night sky, over the city coming from the southwest side of Crater Lake. Fire!

 

The entire building is wrapped in flame, with a glow coming from the inside, as flames gut the building from inside out. A line of people, all dressed in nightclothes, robes and underclothes, stand out front, forming a bucket brigade in an attempt to douse the flames. Several burly half-orcs start chopping down the outlying wooden structures near the inn with their double axes in an attempt to prevent the fire from spreading to nearby houses.

 

As a crowd of people starts to assemble in a ring safely outside the disaster, but close enough to witness, whispers and screams against the half-orcs can be heard; "Go back to the hell you come from mongrels!" , "Have a taste of fire, spawn of the Unwinking eye!", "Let's burn away the rot from your human half, freaks!" Not all shout the racial epithets however, as some citizens rush in to help the half-orcs fight the fire.

 

In front of the inn, the innkeeper, Pilok Minuta, is loudly arguing with a mercenary sergeant; "Your thugs are demolishing my inn! Stop them!" he yells and cries. The half-orc sergeant turns, ignoring the smaller man, and barks orders at his crew in orcish. As the half-orc mercenaries continue working to prevent the spread of fire, Pilok Minuta grabs the sergeants sweaty, and fire scorched arm, shouting; "Make them stop, for the love of Fharlanghn!" The big half-orc seems to lose his temper, screwing up his face in a grimace, he shoves the innkeeper to the ground. He quickly jumps over to the fallen man, and grabs him by the shirt collar, picking him straight up into the air with one hand, his foaming mouth just one inch from the man's face, he yells; "You tiny idiot! You don't get it! Flame demons inside kill us! Fire unstoppable! Blades useless!" As Pilok whines incoherently, the half-orc puts his scimitar before the innkeeper's face, showing its twisted and melted blade.

<end text>

 

=============================================================

 

Tygot's Old Things -

 

Alek's acquisitions;

- The Volcanic Gosling: A life-size statuette of a small goose carved in deep gray, polished basalt. It is one of twelve created by the heroine Tlimida about eight centuries before, on a mid-summer's day. According to legend, Tlimida also set the foundation stone of Cauldron's City Hall. Tlimida, a descendant of the legendary Surabar Spellmason, was deeply moved by the sudden flight of a flock of ducks over the lake, and chose to immortalize its protagonists with these carvings.

 

- The Knight in Brown: A 250=year-old painting of a standing knight in brown robes. The knight carries a bastard sword at his side and leans on a decorative sill. On the sill sits a horned helmet. Thought to be th portrait of Axel Herewall, bailiff of the distant town of Basan. The portrait is signed A. A. on the lower right corner.

 

- The Baboon mask: A gold-plated,darkwood mask of an unknown baboonlike divinity once worhsipped in the jungles west of Cauldron. The last reported sighting of a were-baboon dates back more than a century.

 

- The God of the Lake: A bust of a fish-like monster's head, finely carved in pink marble. The neck bears signs of damage, and was probably severed from a life-size statue of a kopru divinity. Its eye sockets are hollow, for the statue's gemstone eyes were stolen long ago. The head dates back to a time well before the first settlers  reached Cauldron, the histories of which never mention the presence of kopru in the area.

 

- The Hegemonic Plate: A rectangular plate of silver etched with odd figures and ciphers. A crude map and a few notes in Giant are scratched into the opposite side of the plate, which would be smooth otherwise. These scratched notes seem to be quite recent, but the plate itself has a definite aura of ancient weight about it.

 

======================================================

 

Trip to Redgorge -

 

<added text>

Within an hour of leaving Cauldron, a deep rumble can be heard, rolling across the mountain range of Therigree, drawing everyone's attention to the rapidly drawing clouds, dark and heavy, they sag low in the sky. Lightning flashes illuminate the distant horizon, triggering another round of rumbling thunder.

 

Before long, torrential rains are pouring down, pounding everyone with drops the size of a gnomes fist. Puddles form in the dirt road, growing deeper with every step closer to Redgorge.

 

The road winds sharply downhill, with numerous switchbacks, until it reaches the bank of Red River. The drama played out by the heavy rains grows to a symphony, as the drops splash and sploosh into the rapidly rising river. And then, just as quickly as it came, the rains peter out and stop.

 

The road continues winding alongside the Red River for close to ten miles, before the village of Redgorge becomes visible, nestled in the crook of the  beautiful red cliffs on one side, the river forks and splits around it, forming a natural moat of sorts.

<end text>

 

=============================================================

 

Redgorge -

 

This old village sits in a narrow strip of flat ground between a cliff and an immense quarry of red pebble gravel. West of the village, a prodigious line of fortifications, huge walls of red basalt, draped with vines, towers over the village itself.

 

Sections of this village are visibly abandoned, with buildings lying empty and in ruin. The rest of the town is inhabited by farmers and miners.

 

Noise filters out from a two-story building, which looms ahead. Over the door hangs a dirty sign; "The Redhead Miner's"

 

Inside a big smiling man with long red hair tied back in a ponytail, puts out dozens of delicious looking snacks on the bar; calling out to the few haggard and tipsy patrons that occupy the large common room; "Come on over beggars! You won't starve as long as Mikimax lives!"

 

In a corner of the large common room, a handsome man in his mid-thirties quietly plucks the strings of a lute. This man, dark-haired and rather short, wears a fine blue robe and polished knee-high boots.

 

"What can bind with water, sand, and lime?"

 

This isolated chamber is quiet and cozy, with a great oak table sitting in the middle of the room. On the walls, beautiful frescoes depict the glorious moments of Surabar Spellmason's life;

 

- Surabar's arrival at the foot of a dormant volcano, recognizable as Cauldron.

 

- An encounter between Surabar and a sword-wielding angel, in which the angel gives Surabar a glowing quarterstaff.

 

- The foundation of Redgorge.

 

- Surabar's magical construction of the Basalt Bastions.

 

- The battle o Redgorge against the demonic denizens of the Demonskar; Surabar leads Redgorge's forces and a towering hyena-headed glabrezu leads the Demonskar forces.

 

- The transformation of Surabar into a mountain, symbolizing his death.

 

Sitting at the head of the table is a tall man, dressed in brown, with gray hair and a short, well-trimmed goatee.

 

============================================================

 

The Meeting -

 

<added text>

The tall man nods to everyone entering the room, before pressing his hand to his chest; "I am Oliron Masht. Thank you for coming. Can I get you some wine while we wait for the others? We have a lovely vintage here;" he gestures to an old oak cask supported by a  young wood stand in the corner.

 

(idle chit chat - until the others arrive)

 

The speech -

 

"The Chisel today is not what its founders meant it to be. It is not only our duty to support artisans and craftsmen, but to protect the region as well. We cannot afford to sit idly by while forces work to destroy that which we have built."

 

"I do not speak simply of politicians and power brokers, no. Those of you who have looked at the foundation have seen the shift in balance. There is a great force of chaos and evil at work, of that I have no doubt. The divinations have been cast, the oracles have been visited, all indicate some great disaster on the horizon. Our greatest prophet, the earth weird, is silent, and cannot be raised. Surely this does not bode well!"

 

"Maavu, I must speak to you of your actions recently. I know your intent was pure, but you may have done more harm than good. I fear the Chisel is becoming a scapegoat for the noble class, and considering current trouble, there may very well be action taken against us! Drastic action at that!"

 

Maavu responds; "I only meant to organize a peaceful demonstration, for if we remain silent, what then? Some villain stirred up the riot to discredit any opposition. I wouldn't put it past Skellerang himself to be involved!"

 

Honest Minstrel; "Sucker! It was the Last laugh if it was anyone! They tricked you, nothing else!"

 

Maavu and Honest Minstrel soon break out into a squabble, and the talk dissolves into an exchange of insults.

 

Maavu; "Better dead than slaves! A wandering strummer like you should know!"

 

Honest Minstrel; "Peddler! You count lives like money! No difference to you, eh?"

 

The foreman scowls at this exchange and puts his arms up in the air; "Silence! We cannot break down like this!"

 

Honest Minstrel; "Well, you may not like what I have to see, but hear it nonetheless, for there is more indeed! My informants in Cauldron tell me Skellerang plans to invade and search Redgorge, with his army of half-orc thugs!"

 

Foreman; " A problem indeed. I think the Hall of Carvings would withstand such an assault, but if the villagers stood up to that bully, there would be a lot of blood spilled. I think it would be best if Skellerang was <i>persuaded</i> to renounce such a course of action. I think if we could convince Alek to renounce his challenge that would do the trick, unfortunately, nobody has seen him in a good while."

 

"In fact, I'm more worried about Alek's absence than anything else"

 

((pitch for heroes help))

 

Short Walk -

 

As the meeting is concluded, the Foreman dismisses the other members, and then turns to his guests; "I would be honored if you would all join me for a short walk." He turns and leads the way out across the town to a small path which leads along the basalt bastions. He looks intently toward the west  at one point....toward the Demonskar. He sighs, then says philosophically; "Surabar's spells raised this wall in seven days, but his guidance has failed to build a righteous society in as many centuries."

 

"I'd recommend you try Jenya Urikas. She and Alek have long been friends. If anyone knows his whereabouts, it would be Jenya. I do know that Alek had been spending a great deal of time exploring the jungles near Redgorge, he often used a rowboat to enter the jungle via the Red River."

<end text>

 

============================================================

 

The Journey to Demonskar - 

 

(thick overgrown jungles, teeming with animal life)

 

Red River -

 

<added text>

......(journey length? exact mode?)

 

 

The boat slowly follows the current along....

 

 

The Headless Demon -

 

A large beach runs along the northen bank of the Red River here. A badly weathered stone statue of some sort of humanoid creature stands at the edge of the jungle, overlooking the beach. The statue's neck ends in a stump, and its expressive canine head lies in the sand a few feet away/ Patches of mold and moss grow on the statue, but the vegetation around it seems to have been cleared away recently. A narrow trail winds off to the northwest and into the jungle just beyond the statue.

 

The Old Ogre's Home -

 

<added text>

The path continually threatens to vanish completely in the thick leafy arms of the countless plants that press ever inward, only to reopen and widen enough to allow passage without much interference. Brambles and stinging spiny leaves are frequent, sticking to fabrics, and scraping armor, they bite exposed flesh with stinging needles and hooked thorns.

 

The path gradually eases out of the thick leafy growth, climbing up the side of a low hill. Bushes and plants become less common, and the ground becomes less muddy, offering a thick carpet of moss to walk on. Trees dot the hillside, their own trunks covered with fungus, and branches strewn with hanging moss.

<end text>

 

Alongside the path is a clearly visible cave, in the side of the hill. A horrible odor of decay emanates from the interior.

 

((sloth descrip))

 

 

The Hunting Trail -

 

((8 % per hour of wandering monster))

 

<added text>

The trail is well trodden, the foliage continually thins out as the trail climbs, only to thicken as the trail drops in elevation once again. Various signs indicate that this is a hunting trail, used both by human-sized biped hunters, and larger carnivores.

<end text>

 

Wings of Justice -

 

<added text>

The sounds of wildlife are rich and plentiful. Small insects maintain a constant chorus, while toads croak intermittently, presumably between snacks. Various chirpings, and twittering can be heard from the tree tops, while the distance carries barks, and cries, and sounds of much larger things.

 

Instantly, the entire cacophony drops silent. There is a sudden flapping of large, powerful wings; Moments later, a beautiful woman emerges from the dense foliage. She has perfectly white skin and stern, sparkling eyes of silver. A pair of feathered wings spread out behind the woman's back and she raises a flaming sword, which emits a myriad of flickering beams of light.

 

Though immensely foreign, something about her is somehow familiar; It takes a moment, and then the pictures from the Redhead Miner's Inn, the frescoes depicting Surabar Spellmason standing next to a movanic deva so many centuries ago.

 

"I am Nidrama, and your actions do not go unnoticed!"

<end text>

 

(discussion leads to monologue)

 

"Powerful forces of chaos and evil are afoot. I dare not remain here long lest my presence attract the attention of those forces. Yet I could not sit by and watch you march into danger without warning you. The Lord of the Demonskar knows of your approach, and even now his minions prepare for your arrival. They shall use deceit and treachery against you, just as they have done with Alex Tercival before you. You must remain absolute; Alek Tercival must be saved."

 

"I have no aid to offer you but knowledge. In ages past, I provided to Surabar Spellmason a powerful weapon to assist him in his conflict with the Lord of the Demonskar. This was <i>Alakast</i>, a quarterstaff infused with an undying hatred of the fiends of the outer rifts. Unfortunately, <i>Alakast</i> was stolen centuries ago, ripped from Spellmason's tomb by a grave robber. Yet do not despair, for it is fated that <i>Alakast</i> should be wielded again against the Lord of the Demonskar. It has found its way to you, and all that needs be doe is for you to claim it. Seek <i>Alakast</i> in the lair of my false sisters, beyond the watchful eyes of the north.

 

"That is all I can offer my friends.....I wish you well in your travails, heroes, and never lose sight of your goals."

 

 

 

The Round Cavern -

 

The hunting trail ends abruptly here and the trees thin out considerably to the north, granting a clear view of the sky. To the north, rolling yellow and brown clouds billow above a jagged, barren horizon. You can just make out the jagged line of the Demonskar's rim brooding at the base if these clouds. The ground itself between here and the rim is strewn with razor-sharp ridges of volcanic glass and jagged stone . Ruined strips of what can only be the metal framework of ancient structures protrude from the ground like broken fingers from a shallow grave. One particularly large structure juts from the ground only 20 feet from the end of the trail. The ruin appears like nothing more than a massive pipe protruding from the ground, its 20-foot-wide, 2-foot-thick frame sloping down into the tortured ground at a gentle slope.

 

=======================================================

 

The Pipes -

 

 

.......the last mile of the ancient pipe is dark and almost completely intact. A rhythmic rumbling moan which starts as a distant and faint wail, grows until it is nearly deafening.

 

======================================================

 

 

As you emerge into the open air, the assault on the senses is all but overwhelming.

 

The tube exits on the edge of a gaping rift that descends into the earth.

Set into the west wall of the deep fracture that radiates from the rim of the vast Demonskar, are two openings which descend into the ruins below.

 

V1. Landing

 

- The foul vapors which cling to this area make visibility poor, blocking out the direct sunlight like a heavy fog would.

 

- There is a faint bubbling and whistling sound coming from somewhere within  the deep jagged rift.

 

 

Out of the dark passage, sharp and jagged rocks hang over a small ledge in the southeast part of a wide pit. The pit, roughly 150 feet in diameter, is set at the bottom of a large fissure among the arid, crystalline hills that border the Demonskar. Puffs of eye-watering smoke seep from a pool at the bottom of the chasm, about 50 feet below. On the other side of the chasm, a pair of gigantic metal tubes protrude from the rock, extending nearly 50 feet and out of the fissure. The burning stink of sulfur and acid is everywhere, and the ground and walls are wet with foul-smelling condensation. A ramp of roughly hewn stone steps wind down into the pit. As the wind rises and sweeps through the fissure, the two looming metal chimneys issue a thundering, deep bellow that echoes across the landscape.

 

V2. Mephitic Pool

 

- Daylight filters down through the mist, creating light shadow everywhere.

 

- The bubbling and whistling puffs from the chasm grow louder as you get closer to the chasm.

 

The water in the shallow pool at the bottom of the chasm bubbles constantly, stirred by acrid vapors escaping from deep underground. A whistling puff of smoke erupts sporadically from th water's surface, spraying he surrounding rocks with warm, whitish droplets. On the west wall of the chasm, a 20-foot-tall massive iron gate blocks the way to a passage dug into the rock. Over the blocked passage, a second cave mouth opens on the rocky wall, much like the balcony of a giant gatehouse.

 

V3. Steel Gate

 

- Skittering about in the dim light of this room, a small winged creature quickly takes to the air as you approach. It has pale skin and whisps of vapor which rise from its nose, mouth, and ears. Drops of steaming water shed from it when it moves.

 

- It darts part-way toward you, with surprising speed, it leans forward, veins standing out on its neck as it spews forth a cone of hot steam from its lungs.

 

The end of this narrow canyon contains a large cave opening in the side of the rift. A massive 15-foot-wide, 20-foot-tall, spiked iron portcullis blocks this entrance. About 15 feet above the gate is a much smaller cave mouth; this one barely 2 feet in diameter.

 

V4. Balcony

 

- Faint light filters in from the outside.

 

- The bubbling and whistling noise grows distant as you move inside.

 

- A massive creaking groan can be heard from overhead, followed by the sound of stone scraping on stone.

 

- Standing up on the balcony overhead, a hill giant some 10 feet tall wearing dirty ragged animal hides, one stacked upon the other grits his teeth as he says; "Me Muggo, no say you pass!" He grips a skull-sized stone in each hand, and crouches slightly as he peers down at you.

 

A wide balcony looms over the north face of this passageway. An enormous winch system on the balcony above connects to a pair of chains and pulleys attached to the portcullis. A giant-sized stool sits behind a 3-foot-tall wooden platform that runs along the balcony. Several spherical rocks are heaped near the balcony's edge.

 

V5 Giant Entrance

 

- The bubbling and whistling puffs can still be heard faintly from outside.

 

A 15-foot-wide, 15-foot-tall cave mouth opens on the rocky wall here, constructed by a crude wall of logs and boards bound together with rope and huge iron nails. From the cave, a winding path leads downhill toward the misty, blighted heart of the Demonskar itself.

 

V6. Meeting Hall

 

- Dim light filters down from the ceiling tiles.

 

-The thunderous bellow once again rumbles through the cavern as wind passes over the vertical pipes outside.

 

The walls of this circular, domed chamber are carved and polished with exceptional precision and skill to look like cascades of petrified liquid. Several metal disks on the ceiling 60 feet above, provide a pearly illumination as bright torchlight. The center of the room is occupied by a bizarre, 30-foot-wide, 7-foot-tall metal and stone sculpture made of truncated pillars, short ramps, suspended slabs of stone, and a total of twenty chairs with triple arm-rests.

 

V7. Hill Giant Cave

 

- Dim light filters in from outside.

 

- The thunderous bellow once again reverberates through the tunnels.

 

- Three massive hill giants, with sloped foreheads and bumpy hairy skin sit on three of the large stone beds in this room. They look up with a start when they sense someone approaching.

 

This place reeks of sweaty, unwashed brutes and scorched meat. Four 12-foot-long stone beds covered with filthy animal skins lie near the walls. A huge firepit dominates the middle of the cave, under a chimney hole in the 40-foot-high ceiling above. The charred, dismembered skeleton of a huge ape lies over the bed of ashes. A pile of 1-foot-diameter polished spheres of rocks is stacked neatly against the south wall, with a hammer, a chisel, and an emery nearby. Four large burlap sacks sit against the west wall.

 

V8. Hallway

 

-A dim light glows from the ceiling, providing shadowy illumination.

 

-Faint rumbling from ahead grows stronger as you continue on down the corridor.

 

This huge, 20-foot-wide, 25-foot-high corridor is blocked by a cave-in at its northern end. Several unusual plates on the ceiling fill the corridor with a soft, gray light.

 

//A bluish gleam emanates from the arcade ahead. ((I guess people in Vapraks voice still use coin-op arcades, since playstations and x-boxes aren't around yet)) //

 

V9. Ettin Barracks

 

-The glow of torchlight can be seen up ahead.

 

- Five hulking giants occupy this room, each with two heads. Each head has a porcine face with a shovel jaw and protruding lower canines like a boar's tusks. The rest of the teeth are large and rotten. Their stringy hair is filthy, just like the rest of them.

 

Five nasty-looking piles of animal skins occupy this filthy cave. Several sacks, clay lamps an vases, cookware, and crude tools are scattered here and there, and six torches have been jammed into cracks in the walls.

 

V10. Smithy

 

- A dim gray light glows from the ceiling and bright fiery blue light comes from the rumbling furnace.

 

- Busy working at the forge is a mammoth 12-foot-tall dwarf, with coal-black skin, flaming red hair, and a prognathous jaw that reveals dirty ivory teeth.

 

This huge rectangular room has a prism-shaped, 50-foot-high ceiling. The walls are sculpted with a complex work. A shiny, metal furnace stands against the north wall, with rumbling, vertical blue flames inside. A large mound of broken anvils are stacked against the side of the furnace, and several more anvil fragments lie heaped inside the furnace, glowing red-hot. An enormous hammer lies on a big iron anvil in the middle of the room, beyond which several more anvils are stacked haphazardly. A great chair sits in the southwestern corner aside a huge metal chest. A 7-foot-wide cubic cage of silver and platinum, its bars etched with mystical symbols, lies nearby, propped up against a pile of metal scrap.

 

V11. Fountain

Six white pillars with capitols shaped like slender hands support a 20-foot-tall ceiling in this rectangular room. A 3-foot-diameter crystal globe is embedded ten feet up on each pillar. These hollow globes are half-filled with bubbling, transparent liquid that seems to replenish itself as quickly as it drains out o a hole in each globe's base. At eh base of each pillar and down a narrow gutter to collect in a basin in the floor in the room's center. There, the liquid turns a deep purple color that evaporates as quickly as it is filled. A golden chalice sits on the bason's rim near the southeastern pillar.

 

 

V12. Explosive Vapors

<added text>

Tiny bits of flint and steel flash into the air, as the door pops open, sending fragments of metal spitting out in sparks.

<end text>

 

V13. Throne Room

The north portion of this room contains a 7-foot-high platform connected to an L-shaped ramp. A strip of bas-reliefs depicting gaunt, magic-wielding, six-armed creatures decorates the base of the platform. Each creature holds a disk in its lowest set of arms,which is represented like a shining sun. The rays emanating from the disks, engraved in the stone as straight lines, form the background of the composition. A white marble throne with triple armrests sits on th platform itself.

 

<added text>

Three ancient women stand here speaking to another figure, a hairless humanoid with mirror-like skin. He wears only a pair of soft boots and a loincloth with a leather belt, but carries a wicked-looking shard of mirrored glass the size of a longsword.

 

The women aren't so much women as they are elderly and viciously ugly looking, green-skinned female beings, bent over and stooped with twisted vine-like hair, long tapered fingernails, and thick wrinkled skin.

 

Each of the women wears a dirty, ragged cloak, and as you approach, you can see all three have two strange and thin, bug-like hairy things growing from their wrinkled foreheads.

<end text>

 

V14. Hag Covey's Lair

 

- Four scrawny six-armed skeletons turn to face you as you approach. Each stands roughly 5-feet tall and has a vaguely birdlike skull, with large gaping holes for eyes. Its elongated neck gives it even more of a bird-like appearance. Each skeleton clutches an iridescent 6-inch-diameter disk which shifts through the spectrum.

 

Three large beds sit in this room Along the north wall hang a set of golden baboon masks. The smooth stone walls and the floor are covered by colorful and bizarre tapestries and carpets. An elaborate weaver's loom occupies the southwest corner. Various skeins of wool of many different colors are piles near the loom, next to a basket of sewing tools. A wooden chest sits in the southeast corner.

 

V15. Starry Mirror

The ceiling in this room forms a four-sided dome, much like an inverted pyramid. The apex of the dome is 30 feet off the ground. An odd, 10-foot-wide pentagonal mirror hangs on the west wall, from where it casts a dark reflection of the room. This reflection is distorted in an unsettling way, and dotted with shimmering, star-like pinpoints of white light. A single chair of white stone with triple armrests sits in the middle of the room, facing the mirror. A colorful hexagonal diagram is engraved in the floor surrounding the mirror.

 

<added text>

- A man sits motionless, facing the mirror, he is slumped against the tall back of the chair.

 

The catatonic man in the oddly shaped throne is none other than Alex Tercival. At first Alek sits there motionless, but as you draw nearer, he begins to stir. He opens his eyes as if waking from a powerful spell, a vague lack of recognition on his face;

 

- "....something terrible...." His voice is weak, "will happen in Cauldron."

 

- "This....mirror," he stands slowly, gesturing toward the shimmering pentagon, "reflects future events......" His lips are dry, and his throat crackles.

 

- "Finding the truth found in the mirrors reflections is a task for someone with greater discernment than I."

 

- He stands fully, walking slowly around the room. In his hand is a dagger, and he acts as if he is not even aware that he holds it. "Maybe one of you could help?" Just then his dagger drops to the floor.

 

- Three hairless humanoids with mirror-like skin jump directly out of the pentagonal mirror, as easily as if it were a window allowing them to come in from outside. One stops and plants, belching forth a spray of reflective glass-like shards. The 2nd gestures to itself, and suddenly multiplies; where there once stood one, now there are four. the 3rd charges, its sword held high overhead.

 

- Alek turns and aiming his hands at you, sends a spray of crystalline shards half of which rip your flesh, the other half buries itself in your exposed flesh and all clothing and armor.

 

- (touching the mirror) The vertical surface is actually a cold, reflective liquid, which ripples like a pond does when a stone splashes in to it.

 

- (looking in) As your reflection and that of the room behind you ripples and distorts, another image slowly becomes apparent. There are five pentagonal windows floating under its dark surface. Four of them show nothing but dull white light. The fifth shows an indistinct image of Alek Tercival sitting next to a large metal door in a stone wall, his expression filled with despair.

<end text>

 

The Starry Mirror (maze) -

 

<added text>

You are suddenly standing alone, in the middle of a red-tinted pentagonal room. Set into each wall of the room is a pentagonal portal of a different color; green, blue, violet, orange, red.

 

You are suddenly standing alone, in the middle of an orange-tinted pentagonal room. Set into each wall of the room is a pentagonal portal of a different color; blue, violet, red, yellow, green.

 

You are suddenly standing alone, in the middle of a yellow-tinted pentagonal room. Set into each wall of the room is a pentagonal portal of a different color; violet, red, orange, green, blue.

 

You are suddenly standing alone, in the middle of a green-tinted pentagonal room. Set into each wall of the room is a pentagonal portal of a different color; red, orange, yellow, blue, violet.

 

You are suddenly standing alone, in the middle of a blue-tinted pentagonal room. Set into each wall of the room is a pentagonal portal of a different color; orange, yellow, green, violet, red.

 

You are suddenly standing alone, in the middle of a violet-tinted pentagonal room. Set into each wall of the room is a pentagonal portal of a different color; yellow, green, blue, red, orange.

 

(final room)

You now stand alone in the center of a gray pentagonal room. Each wall contains a portal as before, except that these portals are colorless and dim. The room grows dark, with only a dim light streaming in from each of the five portals.

 

Alex Tercival can be seen, sitting on the ground of a dark, windowless room lit only by the faint light of his glowing sword. A large slab of stone blocks an archway nearby, and Alek looks sunk in despair.

<end text>

 

 

 

 

The Ancient Vault -

 

- The room is dimly lit by the glow o Alek's sword.

 

A1 - Underground Chamber

 

A pentagonal, 5-foot-wide mirror is set into a wall of this square room. Twelve 7-foot-tall clay urns stand against the walls to either side, and an iron door, its face covered with countless scratches and chips, blocks an 8-foot-tall archway in the wall opposite the mirror.

 

<added text>

- Alek Tercival slumps against the iron door as you enter through the mirror. His eyes are red, and his fingers are covered with dried blood, the fingernails worn down, and bent back, his fingertips covered with blisters. "The archons, they have abandoned me! I have failed to save beloved Cauldron. Aarrrgghhh!" He cries in a tormented wail.

 

- Alek mutters repeatedly to himself; "When the final cage is shackled the burning doom shall rise."

 

- He squats down, low to the ground, rocking back and forth. Mucous runs from his nose, dried onto his large ragged mustache. He breaths loudly, through his nose, and seems only barely aware that anyone is in the room with him. "Failed.....all is lost....."

<end text>

((prophecies of a madman))

 

- "When the final cage is shackled the burning doom shall rise."

- "The baboons watch and wait, patient and potent, for their empire to reign anew."

- "When thrice by thrice the ancient judgment falls, thunder strikes anew from Jarl Khurok's halls."

- "Seven blackbirds have ye, yet death is not deceived."

- "The striders wander, their history true, yet with each step they grow more cruel."

- "Chant a dirge of gold coins, your pockets fill with lies."

- "Magic and death soon play their hand from windows on high above the land"

- "Beware the unseen mark! Beware the eyes that kill! By treachery and deceit shall the true Lord fall and the false Lord rule!"

 

 

A2 - Entrance Room

 

- Dim light filters in from outside.

 

- A wind can be heard blowing outside.

 

Four pillars support the ceiling of this square room. Along one wall an arcade allows access to the outside, its opening partially choked by sand. The sand has spread into the room, covering half of the floor. A human skeleton juts out of the heap of sand in the middle of the room, an iron pickaxe lying on the ground near its outstretched arm.

 

- The arcade opens out into a massive wasteland.

 

 

 

Nabthatoron's Rage

 

<added text>

-There is an explosion of brimstone and a foul stench which immediately permeates the air, stinging your eyes and nostrils. The air is suddenly thick with black acrid smoke, forcing you to squint against the seering heat of it. Silence pervades, except for the sound of a massive bellow, sucking in air, only to blow it out. The sound repeats itself again, but this time with a low rumble. Its not a bellow, it is something breathing. The rumble turns to a deep grating voice; "You shall not save your friends mortals! This time of peace is at an end!"

 

- The smoke clears, revealing a creature as tall as a giant, with a broad, muscular body. Its four arms end in weapons - two with clawed hands, two with powerful pincers. Its doglike head is topped with horns, and its muzzle drips with sharp fangs. Its eyes have a cold, dark, penetrating quality that suggests cunning and intelligence.

<end text>

 

Conclusion

 

 

Alek lies on the ground. His arms raise up into the air, motioning for all to draw near. With eyes wild and blood frothing at his lips he grabs at whomever stands nearest, looking deep into your eyes. He suddenly grows calm, and a terrible aura of doom settles over you as a voice, not his own, issues from his gaping jaw;

 

"There is naught left for you in Cauldron, heroes! To return is to enter your own graves and to bring doom upon all you love! Seek the sign of the Smoking Eye if you wish to save them all!"

 

His body jerks, and with a last gasp of air, he goes still.

 

You find yourselves sin the middle of  a vast expanse, a desert waste, with sand stretching as far as the eye can see in any and every direction.

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