Excerpts 01/04/2002

Lord of the Iron Fortress
By Andy Collins

City of Rigus

Rigus (Large City): Nonstandard; AL LN/LE; 40,000 gp limit; Assets 400,000 gp; Population 20,000 adults; Integrated (human 7,400 [37%], tiefling 4,000 [20%], dwarf 3,600 [18%], hobgoblin 2,000 [10%], gnome 1,400 [7%], half-orc 1,000 [5%], other 600 [3%].

Authority Figure(s): General Nagaro, female human Pal12 (fallen), (general of the Toll of Doom Brotherhood military order),

Important Characters: Captain Thod Direwrack, male dwarf Ftr9 (Mercykiller officer); Tylissa, female tiefling Wiz13 (planar scholar); Cierith Bloodwyn, male human Clr14 (high priest of Hextor); Marris the Forthright, female human Clr13 (high priest of St. Cuthbert).

Others:Mercykiller soldiers, Ftr9 (4), War7 (2), Ftr4 (4), War3 (4), Ftr2 (6), Ftr1 (8), War1 (8); Typical military brotherhood guards, War6 (1), War3 (2), War1 (4).

Notes: Rigus is controlled by a dozen clanlike groups called military orders, of which the Toll of Doom Brotherhood is the most powerful. A general rules each order, with officers below him or her. The generals in turn answer to a group of lichlike spirits housed within a crypt in the center of the city.

Part One: Rigus

The city of Rigus sits on the plane known as the Concordant Domain of the Outlands. It is one of sixteen gate-towns that link the Great Ring of the Outer Planes to the Outlands. Specifically, Rigus provides access to Acheron, and thus shares many of that plane's philosophical bents, including its dedication to cruel, unforgiving law.

While in Rigus, Gather Information checks can gain the PCs some useful information about the city's politics (DC 10) or the location of the portal to Acheron (DC 15). While rumors about disappearing smiths, metal cats, or shipments of ore aren't common, they can be confirmed by a few locals (DC 25).

Welcome to the City (EL 15)

The PCs probably arrive in Rigus via one of two methods: either a short overland trek through the Outlands after a plane shift or by a portal that opens within the city. Either way, they arrive in the outermost ring of the city, at the bottom of the hill.

The city of Rigus is built upon a great hill, with an enormous iron wall separating it from the surrounding barren landscape. Similar walls, all dotted with battlements, divide the city into several rings, each one higher on the hill than the last.

The city seems little more than a gigantic military encampment. Heavily armored soldiers crowd the streets, while reproachable sorts who might be camp followers have set up shops along the avenues. Humans hobnob with a fiendish-looking merchant, while across the way three hobgoblins bicker over prices with a dwarf armorsmith.

Four soldiers led by a fair-skinned officer stride across the street toward you, a determined look in their eyes.

The interested party is a group of Mercykillers -- arrogant, self-appointed interplanar bringers of justice (or vengeance, depending on who you ask) -- who have identified the PCs as newcomers to the city. They aren't initially hostile unless their lieutenant, an aasimar named Andrezhej, has determined that the party is evil or strongly chaotic; they merely wish to issue the characters the Rigus version of a visitor's badge: a slate plaque affixed to an iron chain, worn around the neck. But their gruff nature and arrogant insistence about wearing the plaques could easily anger the PCs, particularly ones who tend toward chaos in alignment. If any character looks around for similar plaques, a Spot check (DC 20) can locate one or more other visitors wearing them nearby. A Knowledge (the planes) check (DC 35) can similarly confirm the claim.

If the characters are cordial, they might be able to elicit useful information about Rigus from the Mercykillers, including the location of the portal to Acheron and news of recent, and as-yet unsolved, deaths of a few local forgemasters. Treat the soldiers' initial attitude as unfriendly, but the lieutenant's attitude as indifferent (or unfriendly if he believes the PCs to be evil or strongly chaotic).

Should the characters fight the Mercykillers, the soldiers battle to the death (though Andrezhej flees if more than two of the soldiers are defeated). No citizens of Rigus interfere in the fight, though if the PCs stick around in Rigus for more than a few hours after the fight, every Mercykiller in town will be looking for them.

Andrezhej: Male aasimar Clr13; CR 13; Medium-size outsider; HD 13d8+13; hp 71; Init -1; Spd 20 ft.; AC 23 (touch 10, flat-footed 23); Atk +10/+5 melee (1d8+1, +1 heavy mace); SA Spell-like abilities, turn undead 6/day; SQ Outsider traits; AL LN; SV Fort +9, Ref +3, Will +13; Str 10, Dex 8, Con 13, Int 12, Wis 20, Cha 16.

Skills and Feats: Concentration +9, Diplomacy +13, Gather Information +7, Intimidate +5, Knowledge (local) +2, Knowledge (the planes) +2, Listen +7, Search +3, Sense Motive +11, Spot +7; Alertness, Blind-Fight, Craft Wand, Spell Focus (Enchantment), Spell Penetration

Spell-Like Abilities:Light 1/day as Sor13.

Turn Undead (Su): The cleric can turn undead, forcing them to recoil from the channeled power of his deity.

Outsider Traits: Darkvision 60 ft.; cannot be raised or resurrected (though a wish or miracle spell can restore life).

Cleric Spells Prepared: (6/8/7/6/6/5/3/2; base DC = 15 + spell level): 0 -- detect magic, detect poison, light (2), mending, read magic; 1st -- command, detect chaos (2), detect evil, endure elements*, protection from chaos, protection from evil, remove fear; 2nd -- bull's strength*, calm emotions, endurance, hold person (2), silence, zone of truth; 3rd -- daylight, dispel magic, invisibility purge, magic circle against evil, magic vestment*, searing light; 4th -- dimensional anchor, discern lies, divine power, freedom of movement, inflict critical wounds*, tongues; 5th -- break enchantment, dispel evil, mark of justice, righteous might*, true seeing; 6th -- blade barrier, greater dispelling, stoneskin*; 7th -- Bigby's grasping hand*, dictum. *Domain spell. Deity: St. Cuthbert. Domains: Destruction (smite 1/day), Strength (feat of strength 1/day).

Possessions:+1 full plate armor, +1 large metal shield, +1 heavy mace, amulet of natural armor +1, ring of protection +1, bracers of health (+2), wand of searing light (6th level; 40 charges), wand of hold person (25 charges), divine scroll of summon monster V and true seeing, divine scroll of heal and greater restoration, potion of fly.

Mercykiller Soldiers (4): Male and female human Ftr9; CR 9; Medium-size humanoid; HD 9d10+18; hp 61, 63, 80, 68; Init +4; Spd 20 ft.; AC 22 (touch 10, flat-footed 22); Atk +14/+9 melee or +11/+6 ranged (1d10+6/17-20, +1 bastard sword or 1d8+5/x3, +1 mighty composite longbow [+3 Str bonus] with +1 arrows); AL LN; SV Fort +9, Ref +4, Will +7; Str 17, Dex 10, Con 14, Int 8, Wis 13, Cha 12.

Skills and Feats: Gather Information +5, Intimidate +5, Listen +3, Sense Motive +5, Spot +3; Alertness, Blind-Fight, Cleave, Exotic Weapon Proficiency (bastard sword), Improved Critical (bastard sword), Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Power Attack, Weapon Focus (bastard sword), Weapon Specialization (bastard sword).

Possessions:+1 full plate armor, +1 large metal shield, +1 bastard sword, +1 mighty composite longbow (+3 Str bonus), 20 +1 arrows, cloak of resistance (+1), potion of cure moderate wounds, potion of endurance.

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