Excerpt from
The Sinister Spire

The path of adventure can often lead to dark places. In The Sinister Spire, the darkness grows as the heroes descend into the Underdark. Now you can view a few excerpts from this adventure.



Introduction

Damp, cool air blew across Darend's face. He blinked several times. At least he thought he did. Black was his whole world -- a blank nothingness, hollow for its unknown depths -- eyes open or closed.

The chilly air brushing his cheeks tickled his nose with dust and the musty smell of old rot, reminding him of the cellar below his grandmother's home. It was like that, but somehow wider, wilder. What a strange place to wake. . . .

He'd fallen! The memory burst upon him with images of the startled faces of his companions flashing by, a hoarse scream filling his throat. The rope had failed, and he had plunged down the narrow chimney they'd discovered near the forgotten king's tomb.

How far had he dropped? He tried to lift his hands, but pain flared in answer. A bone or two were cracked, that was certain.

He strained his head one way, then another. "Gods be thanked," he croaked. At least he wasn't completely broken. If he just waited here, his comrades would find him.

How long had he already lain in the dark depths of the earth? Somehow, he had the impression considerable time had passed. Why hadn't they already found him?

"Hello?" he called out. Perhaps they were looking even now but couldn't find him in the dark. "Angelu? Jamarch? I'm down here!" He heard the desperate edge of fear in his voice. Hold it together, he told himself. He tried a few deep, cleansing breaths.

His call echoed into a vast distance before failing. If he was in a cave, it must be gigantic. Dread gripped him. Had he fallen all the way into the Underdark?

At a sudden clatter, Darend jerked his head forward. No matter how wide he opened his eyes, they couldn't gather any light in the unrelieved darkness.

"Angelu?" he called, hopeful.

Nothing. His heart thundered; his mouth dried.

Another clatter came, closer this time. A strange chitter followed. Then a roiling swarm engulfed him.

DD2: The Sinister Spire is a Dungeons & Dragons adventure designed for four 5th-level characters. Player characters who complete this quest should advance one or two levels, depending on where they started in experience and how successful they are in defeating the threats presented herein. Although The Sinister Spire is a stand-alone adventure, it is also part of a series, so the end of this journey could lead to a connecting quest.

What You Need To Play

The Sinister Spire is intended for use with the Dungeons & Dragons game. You need the Player's Handbook and Dungeon Master's Guide to play, and even though this book includes statistics for all the monsters in the tactical encounters, the Monster Manual remains a helpful resource.

Preparation

The action in The Sinister Spire occurs in the Underdark, starting in a surface tunnel located anywhere convenient for you, the Dungeon Master (DM). If your players have just completed DD1: Barrow of the Forgotten King, the hole they discovered in the floor of the forgotten king's tomb leads to this tunnel. The PCs begin this adventure there.

This adventure assumes you have experience as a DM. It is likely you'll run the adventure over the course of several game sessions, so prepare to run the initial encounters the first time you play. In a typical game session, you should make it through three to five encounter areas.

Using the Format

The encounter format used in this adventure uses keyed entries similar to other published adventures. However, tactical encounters are separate from story information.

Tactical Encounters: Numbered, or keyed, areas are described in the initial section of this text. Use the keyed entries as both a summary of the adventure and a flowchart. If a keyed entry involves combat or other action that places importance on position and movement, that entry refers you to a tactical encounter.

A tactical encounter's page or pages include a map of the area in which the encounter takes place, notes on setting up the encounter, monster statistics blocks, and text descriptions of how the terrain and features of the encounter affect play. Every aspect of an encounter need not be used -- the players might not be interested in all the details of an area. Indeed, the characters might avoid whole encounters, either intentionally or unwittingly.

The combat encounters in this adventure are designed for use with D&D Miniatures. If you don't have the exact miniature to represent a monster, or you aren't using D&D Miniatures, just use whatever substitute you choose to run the tactical encounters.

Adventure Background

A yuan-ti pureblood sorcerer named Xeron was part of an evil consortium known as the Vanguard of Sertrous. The Vanguard sent him in search of the tomb of the forgotten king, hoping he would recover the magic items said to lie with the king's body, as well as the king's bones. Xeron and his underlings succeeded, but their activities attracted too much attention.

A day ago, a party of adventurers confronted Xeron, defeating the sorcerer and his band. A couple of the robbers had moved through a small hole in the floor of the tomb, carrying with them the magic items and the bones. Where the opening leads, none now living know. The situation would be bad enough simply because the items stolen from the tomb should not be allowed to fall into wicked hands. However, the actuality is even worse.

Prophecy has it that the forgotten king might return from beyond death to aid the realm in its most desperate hour. However, if his bones are not recovered, the prophecy might never be fulfilled. Worse, the prediction could be perverted to evil ends. (If the PCs are not playing this adventure as a continuation of Barrow of the Forgotten King, this information can be related to them by way of the King's Bones adventure hook; see below.)


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