Excerpts 06/13/2007


Expedition to Undermountain



Heroes, beware. Undermountain awaits those foolhardy or brave enough to walk its passages, but step lightly and with care. Undermountain's welcome is not that of a gracious friend who seeks to make you comfortable. Learn more about this superadventure by reading a few excerpts, including the introduction, various adventure sections, plus a couple of encounters.

1. ENTRY WELL (EL 5)

The last echoes of the crowd's toasts and betting whisper about you as you descend into the well. As the flickering light from the torches above fades, a chill overtakes you, and you find yourself still sinking with no end in sight. You drop slowly and steadily deeper on the rope, almost as if you were the bait on an unweighted fishing line in placid waters, but the cold and the quiet of the well that surrounds you is anything but peaceful. The silence has more of a threatening quality to it.

After being lowered for what seems like too long a time, you at last see the bottom. Below you stretches sand-covered ground and whatever fate awaits you in Undermountain.

When the PCs reach the bottom of the well, read:

Several inches of sand covers the floor of this roughly square room. Broken and dented shields hang on stone walls covered with chalk and charcoal graffiti. The ceiling looms a mere 10 feet above you -- as it does in the hallway that leads out of the room to the south -- but a 30-foot-diameter hole in the ceiling forms a chimney that rises up over a hundred feet.

This is the bottom of the Entry Well, and the hole above leads up to the Yawning Portal Inn.

Graffiti: The writing on the walls consists of dire warnings, snippets of popular songs and poetry, and the crude commentary common to graffiti everywhere. It's written in Common, Elven, Dwarven, Halfling, Gnome, Orc, and Goblin. (DMs should feel free to add other languages to suit their campaigns.) Many people have written in Common that " 'So-and-so' was here." These messages were often left as proof of fulfillment of a bet or a dare to spend a night in Undermountain. The writing could say almost anything you like. Here are a few sample inscriptions:

In Orc: "Durnan is a bastard. I swear by Gruumsh that when I get out of here I'll stuff his throat with gold pieces until he chokes. Signed, Slurg."

In Common: "Hesod -- Went to check out strange music only Jayce can hear. Have a few drinks until we get back."

In Common: "It's been two days. Leave a message if you have returned. Signed, Hesod."

In Common: "It's been two weeks. I can wait no longer. I'll search for you myself. None of our friends would come with me. If you are not with me when you read this, then I am dead. Avenge my death on those who abandoned us in our time of need. Signed, Hesod."

In Goblin: "Many swords come here. Do not stay."

In Common (on the secret door): "Here waits a secret door, but you will not find it or you won't be able to open it, and then you'll rot here in this pit. Ha ha."

In Common: "Beware the she-wolf and her night hounds. They killed Sarth."

In Common: "You came here unbidden, now you'll die in this midden."

In Common: "Tymora, remember me."

In Dwarven: "Durembar Ironshanks was here and killed more orcs than he could count."

In Elven (below the preceding): "That means eleven."

In Common: "Beware the eastern passages. The Metal Mage has made them his home, and he is not to be trifled with."

In Halfling: "When you hear screaming, go the other way."

In Halfling by another hand: "Coward!"

In Gnome: "Sorci Laughmantle died somewhere in that maze. She wears a heart-shaped brass ring. If you find her, say a prayer over her bones. We didn't have time."

Treasure: The shields decorating the walls are worthless, although some bear the mark of noble houses and dwarf clans.

Secret Door: The secret door at the west end of the north wall is a one-way door that can be opened only from the far side. The right combination of knocks and whispered phrases (spoken in Goblin) convince the goblin guards on the far side to open it (see location 2 below). A successful DC 15 Search check reveals a trail of dried slime leading under the door.

Creature: Although no creatures reside in this chamber, wandering monsters (see pages 50-51) pass through here on a regular basis.

If the PCs have drawn the ire of the Sluggard tribe by attacking Sluggard patrols, or if the Sluggards discover that the PCs are carrying a valuable treasure (such as the horned ring), then the goblins plan an ambush as the PCs seek to leave the Dungeon Level.

Tactical Encounter: 2-1, Sluggard Ambush (page 58).

Ad Hoc XP Award: If the PCs escape up the well without killing the metalmaster, award them 300 XP plus 50 XP per goblin killed.

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