Return to Castle Greyhawk in a new adventure book that gives you the adventure tools you need to get started on a grand expedition. You can do a few preliminary explorations of your own by reading our excerpts from Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk.
Chapter Four City of Thieves
At the close of Chapter 3, the player characters should have discovered that the leaders of Iuz's army are living within the Tower of Magic, but they have no easy way to access the sealed dungeon levels. Simple reconnaissance of the crumbling tower ruins brings them into contact with the enigmatic Grandfather Magic (see page 110), who reveals that the clerics of Zagyg congregating around the tower have orders not to let the PCs pass unless they produce an obsidian artifact called Zagig's Key. None of the clerics except their leader, Grandfather Magic, knows any more about this item, and no one in the Free City of Greyhawk seems to have any information as to the key's whereabouts.
This temporary break in the action provides the party with an excellent opportunity to explore the Free City of Greyhawk, finish any remaining side quests from Chapter 1, and engage in the sort of unpredictable player-driven exploration and development that is impossible to predict in a printed adventure. Take this opportunity to reintroduce favorite NPCs and to let the PCs take care of business (such as crafting or purchasing new magic gear) and enjoy the food, drink, and atmosphere of the Green Dragon Inn.
A few days into this slow period, an elf rogue named Tirra (see page 17) approaches the PCs and presents them with an offer they cannot refuse.
ENTER THE THIEVES' GUILD
Greyhawk's Guild of Thieves boasts the most powerful and perceptive information network in the city. Because of the PCs' remarkable new equipment, the goods they have sold since they first delved into Castle Greyhawk, and perhaps even the stories they have told in the Green Dragon taproom, word of their exploits in the Tower of War has already reached the guild. And when the leaders of the Guild of Thieves smell opportunity, they act swiftly.
At some opportune time after the PCs have slain General At-Ur Rehmat, the elf rogue Tirra, Master Thief of the River Quarter, approaches them with an invitation to a private meeting at a guild safe house in the Thieves' Quarter. She openly admits her affiliation and simply asks that the party hear her out.
INTERACTION ENCOUNTER: A MEANINGFUL MEETING
Assuming that the PCs accompany Tirra to Old City, she leads them up a flight of rickety stairs to a run-down apartment in a musty old tenement. Once inside, she opens a small cabinet to reveal an ornate bottle made of yellow glass, as well as a plain green metal ring wrapped in a red silk handkerchief. Taking them out, Tirra addresses the party.
"The guild has learned of your exploits below Castle Greyhawk," Tirra states confidently. "As you might imagine, we know quite a lot about the castle -- enough to guess that you must be looking for a way into the dungeons below the Tower of Magic. Getting in means dealing with that addled old Grandfather Magic, and getting past him requires the key -- Zagig's Key. Well, we know where it is -- and I'll tell you if you want to know."
If the PCs affirm that they want the information, Tirra continues.
"About two hundred years ago, Zagig founded Greyhawk's Guild of Wizardry and established a six-story ziggurat in the High Quarter as its headquarters. He kept private rooms on the building's top floor, which was completely sealed after he abandoned the city for Castle Greyhawk. The obsidian key you seek is in that secret section. But getting there is not easy -- you can't just walk in through the front door. We know of a secret entrance, and we are willing to share that information with you in return for a small service. Interested?"
If the PCs ask about the terms of the proposed agreement, Tirra explains further.
"Zagig's Key is not the only treasure reported to be in the sealed study. A patron of the Thieves' Guild has placed a bounty on another of Zagig's treasures -- a bronze statue of a monkey about the size of a halfling child. The statue is not magical, but it's worth a great deal to this collector, who has asked that we obtain it for him. But the Guild of Thieves is forbidden by pact and magic from robbing the Guild of Wizardry. You, however, as 'independent operators,' are not bound in this way.
"Since we both have an interest in the contents of this chamber, it only makes sense that we should aid one another. Zagig's Key means nothing to us, but the bronze monkey is important. If you agree to obtain it for me, I will give you the means to penetrate the Guild of Wizardry and tell you how to locate the secret entrance to the chamber. And if you are as good as your word, I'll make sure that you're very well rewarded for your efforts when you turn over the bronze monkey. What do you say?"
If the PCs agree to Tirra's proposition, she describes her plan in more detail. Pointing to the yellow bottle and the ring, she says:
"Despite the wards and protections that keep Zagig's study sealed away, the room has a secret entrance that allows access from within the guildhall. An agent of the Guild of Thieves found a mention of this entrance years ago in a book entitled The Yragerne Accord of 393 -- a general history of the Guild of Wizardry that described its founding and the ziggurat's construction. Unfortunately, the agent did not record the details of the entrance -- he merely noted that the book was shelved in a room called Special Collections.
"Getting to that room isn't easy, since potent wards protect the entire structure from teleportation magic, and the Special Collections library lies on a restricted part of the fourth floor. But we have a plan for getting you to the appropriate spot. Once in that library, you'll have to find the book and figure out where the secret entrance is.
"This yellow bottle is more than a thousand years old -- in fact, it dates back to the ancient Baklunish Empire. It is called a refuge bottle, because when the wearer of the ring twists it in a certain way, he and all those touching him are magically transferred to an extradimensional space within the bottle.
Return here tomorrow at noon, and I'll give one of you the ring. When the wearer twists it, all of you will enter the refuge bottle. Then one of our agents will deposit it in a room near the Special Collections chamber. Exactly twelve hours after you entered the bottle, the ring-bearer should twist the ring again to expel everyone from the bottle. At that point, you're free to do whatever you wish deep within the Guild of Wizardry. After you have retrieved the key and the statue from the study, return to the refuge bottle in the room where you appeared, wait another 12 hours, and another of our agents will smuggle it out.
"But whatever you do, don't tell anyone within the Guild of Wizardry about the secret contained in this book. They too are interested in the contents of Zagig's study, and they would immediately plunder it for themselves, denying you your key and us our statue. These wizards aren't good people, and they don't think twice before summoning demons. Allowing the secrets of Zagig's study to fall into their hands would be catastrophic."
The interior of the refuge bottle is exactly like the effect produced by Mordenkainen's magnificent mansion, except that instead of a door, the ring allows passage to and from the extradimensional space.
THE REAL STORY
In fact, the guild cares little about the bronze monkey. Tirra's story is true -- the guild does owe a favor to a minor noble who seeks the statue for his collection of oddities, but the guild's true goals are considerably loftier. When the PCs turn over the statue to Tirra, she plans to "reward" them by giving one member of the group a fantastically powerful weapon called Norebo's Hand. This item is a +3 intelligent chaotic neutral weapon -- in fact, it's the favorite weapon type of the party's barbarian, fighter, ranger, or rogue (in that order). The guild particularly wants this weapon in the hands of a weak-willed character so that its ultimate plan has a better chance to succeed.
Norebo's Hand has Intelligence, 18, Charisma 18, Wisdom 10, Ego 20, darkvision out to 120 feet, blind- sense out to 60 feet, and the ability to hear. It has a +14 bonus on Bluff checks and can use cure moderate wounds (2d8+3) on its wielder three times per day and detect magic at will. It can communicate telepathically, but it chooses not to do so until the PCs reach the Hall of Memory below Castle Greyhawk's Tower of Zagig. At that point, the machinations of the Guild of Thieves become clear.
When the PCs reach the designated spot, the weapon telepathically suggests that its wielder investigate the passage in area J2 (page 168). If that individual resists, a personality conflict occurs (DMG 271), and the wielder must make a successful DC 20 Will save to avoid coming under the weapon's control. If Norebo's Hand gains control of its wielder, that individual attempts to claim the octych at the end of the corridor and ensure that it is handed over to the Guild of Thieves. The guild knows that the octych is one of Castle Greyhawk's most important treasures, and the only reason it wants to help the PCs delve into the castle's dungeons is to gain this potent artifact.
If the PCs refuse Tirra's offer, she warns them that the Guild of Wizardry deals harshly with thieves. In fact, its leaders seldom bother to turn them over to authorities -- they prefer to dole out their own justice. "I have it on good authority," she says quietly, "that trespassers are dispatched to hostile planes." If they still refuse, she shrugs and wishes them well. Then it's up to you to decide the outcome of whatever alternative method they use to sneak into the Guild of Wizardry, and how that plan alters other portions of this chapter.