Excerpts 04/07/2006


Fields of Ruin Excerpt
By Richard Pett



Fantastic Locations: Fields of Ruin features two double-sided poster maps designed for roleplaying and miniatures skirmish play. An accompanying 16-page adventure can be dropped into any campaign. Enemies include creatures from the recent D&D War Drums miniatures expansion. The two poster maps can be put together to form a ruined stronghold, while the reverse sides feature more ruins and battlefields players can explore. The excerpts below include introductions to the adventure and various areas, plus two encounters.

Keep of Fallen Kings and Hall of Kings

2: THE KEEP OF FALLEN KINGS

Many years ago the keep served as a forbidding watch on the countryside. The Old Kings were cruel and evil men with powerful tools at their disposal, including the Earthcrown. They also allied themselves with powerful evil creatures, including a covey of night hags. The night hags not only served the kings but also sired some of their children. These children were raised and trained in the dungeon beneath the keep and eventually grew to become generals in their father's armies.

The evil reign of the Old Kings ended with the collapse of the keep. The fortress was subsequently abandoned, although many creatures have claimed the ruins since. Although the Old Kings are no more, one of their night hag concubines recently returned to claim the dungeon beneath the keep. Accompanied by two fiendish girallon pets, she sought to transform the dungeon into a spawning ground for fiendish creatures, which she would then unleash upon the enemies of the Old Kings to exact vengeance. However, her plans were thwarted by the untimely arrival of the sorcerer Raseris.

Determined to find the Earthcrown, Raseris boldly entered the dungeon without escort. There, he happened upon the night hag. Raseris killed the night hag but could not escape the rending claws of the fiendish girallons, who tore him to pieces. Without their evil mistress to guide them, the fiendish girallons began looking for trouble. They shattered one of the four crystal pillars in the main temple of the dungeon, releasing a blue slaad bound within. Startled by the slaad's sudden appearance, the fiendish girallons fled to another corner of the dungeon, leaving the slaad to revel in its newfound freedom.

10. HALL OF KINGS (EL 8+)

This once-great hall lies in ruin. Light enters the hall through holes in the 40-foot-high roof, and choking clouds of dust fill the air. Two chipped statues standing against one partially collapsed wall depict somber kings clad in armor.

One of the kingly statues radiates a faint necromancy aura under scrutiny of a detect magic spell. It is discussed further under Trap, below.

Two half-fiend ogres named Skarvog and Vaazrak scour the keep for treasure. Their starting positions on the battle map are marked S and V. They and the orcs accompanying them (see area 12) are supposed to be scouting the ruins as a possible staging area for future raids into civilized lands, but they have become distracted by the environment.

Creatures: Skarvog and Vaazrak answer to their mother -- an ogre shaman allied with the chieftain of the Death Moon orc tribe. They also like to boss around the orcs in area 12.

Half-fiend Ogres (2): See below.

Treasure: Each half-fiend ogre carries a nonmagical blowing horn made of gold-inlaid ivory (worth 250 gp). The horns have no special properties other than their ability to summon the chimera Malafex.

Tactics: As soon as they spot the PCs, one of the half-ogres yells to the orcs in area 12. The other spends a full-round action blowing his ivory horn (see Treasure, below). The horn summons a chimera that patrols the skies high above the fields surrounding the keep. The chimera, Malafex, is the cherished pet of Skarvog and Vaazrak; it takes 6 rounds to return to the keep (see area 11). The sound of the horn also causes several sections of the overhanging roof to collapse (see Hazardous Area, below).

Once they have alerted the orcs and the chimera, Skarvog and Vaazrak fly into a rage and fight until they or their foes are slain. If their enemies are tightly clustered, one or both brothers might try engulfing them with an unholy blight spell. Otherwise, they like to use their Power Attack feat while raging, taking a -4 penalty on attack rolls to gain a +8 bonus to damage.

Hazardous Area: The first time a half-fiend ogre blows his horn in this area, or the first time an area spell detonates in the hall, the sections of the roof above the squares marked X collapse (see Keep Features for details). Any creature of Large size (or larger) struck by the collapsing roof is only buried under the debris if all the squares it occupies are marked X on the battle map. No matter how many marked squares it occupies, a single creature takes only 8d6 points of damage from the collapse (not 8d6 points of damage per square). Use dice, scraps of paper, or tokens to indicate squares filled with dense rubble from the collapse.

Trap: One of the statues has a crushing despair trap placed on it. Any creature that enters a square adjacent to the statue triggers the trap, and a terrible moan issues from the statue at the moment the spell effect activates.

Crushing Spirit Trap: CR 4; magical device; proximity trigger; automatic reset; spell effect (bestow curse, 5th-level cleric, DC 14 Will save negates); Search DC 28; Disable Device DC 28. Creatures affected by the trap take a -4 penalty on attack rolls, saves, ability checks, and skill checks.

Half-Fiend Ogre CR 6
Half-fiend ogre barbarian 1
CE Large outsider (augmented giant, native)
Init +0
Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Listen +7, Spot +7
Languages Common, Giant, Infernal

AC 18, touch 9, flat-footed 18
hp 55 (5 HD); DR 5/magic
Immune poison
Resist acid 10, cold 10, electricity 10, fire 10; SR 15
Fort +11, Ref +1, Will +0

Speed 50 ft. (10 squares); fly 50 ft. (average)
Melee mwk falchion +15 (2d6+15) and
bite +8 (1d8+7)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 10 ft.
Base Atk +4; Grp +15
Special Actions rage 1/day (10 rounds), smite good 1/day (+5 damage)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 5th):
3/day -- darkness
1/day -- desecrate, unholy blight (DC 14)

Abilities Str 30, Dex 11, Con 20, Int 10, Wis 8, Cha 10
Feats Power Attack, Weapon Focus (falchion)
Skills Climb +17, Intimidate +6, Jump +21, Listen +7, Spot +7, Survival +3
Possessions metal plates (equivalent of studded leather), masterwork falchion, sack containing 300 gp

Hook "Brother, slay the spellcasters! The fighter is mine!"

When Raging
AC 16, touch 7, flat-footed 16
hp increase by 10
Fort +13, Will +2
Melee mwk falchion +17 (2d6+18) and
bite +10 (1d8+9)
Grp +15
Abilities Str 34, Con 24
Skills Climb +19, Jump +23

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