Excerpt from
Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk

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 Six In Zagig's Shadow

The Tower of War was built to house Zagig's army, and the Tower of Magic to house his students, but the central structure was to be Zagig's alone. The wizard intended it to be a place he could call home -- a retreat to which he could escape when the pressures of ruling a city or teaching at an academy grew too tiresome. The dungeons below the Tower of Zagig were the last chambers to be created, because it wasn't until Zagig discovered the Obelisk deep under the Tower of Magic that the possibility of becoming a god began to consume him.

As Zagig's obsession grew, he expanded the dungeons below the Tower of Zagig still further. They became his favored haunts, and although he invited several of his most trusted friends, allies, and students to live on the second level of his underground empire, the deeper levels remained his and his alone.

Of the three dungeon complexes, the one below the Tower of Zagig offers PCs the greatest opportunity for peril and reward. It was here that Zagig spent the last days of his life and became a god. During this part of the adventure, the PCs can explore two of the levels below the Tower of Zagig, as well as three of many alternate dimensions and strange realms that the Mad Archmage discovered or created in his life. During their exploration of these chambers, they can discover more about the false Iggwilv's plans to transcend the limitations of her simulacrum body, recover the Obelisk shards that she has hidden throughout the planes, and ultimately free two gods from imprisonment.

STARTING THE CHAPTER

After the PCs defeat Vayne and witness the arrival and subsequent imprisonment of Iuz the Old, they might believe they're finished with Castle Greyhawk and the perils it contains. But by defeating Vayne, they have inadvertently brought an even greater threat to the world. Iuz's army no longer poses a threat to the city of Greyhawk, but the simulacrum of Iggwilv has become free-willed and is now intent on gaining a soul of her own. She plans to use the divine power of a trapped demigod to fuel her transformation into a true, living duplicate of Iggwilv. If allowed to achieve this goal, she becomes a threat even greater than Iuz, since an epic-level wizard in command of the dungeons below Castle Greyhawk represents a terrible menace indeed.

If the PCs have been particularly observant during their explorations of the previous dungeons, they probably already suspect that one of Vayne's agents remains to be rooted out. If they have recovered Vayne's journal, they know that such an agent exists, and also that she is a simulacrum ofone of the world's most nefarious villains. Yet they still might not fully comprehend the danger she represents. Thus, in this chapter, an eladrin seeking her mistress provides them with the necessary impetus to undertake their final mission. Once the PCs hear what Vexia has to say, only the most callous characters will be able to resist extending their expedition into the most notorious region of Castle Greyhawk.

CHAPTER SYNOPSIS

The PCs meet a tiny eladrin named Vexia, who tells them that her mistress -- a ghaele eladrin named Shenda -- entered the dungeons below the Tower of Zagig to confront Iggwilv and prevent her from achieving her goals. She is certain that her mistress needs help, but Vexia is no match for the perils that await within the dungeon. Thus, she begs the PCs to enter the Promenade, seek out Shenda, and rescue her.

Many of the encounters in Zagig's Promenade are optional. However, PCs who thoroughly explore the dungeon are much better prepared to face the dangers that await them within Zagig's Ziggurat (where Shenda has been imprisoned) than those who do not.

WHAT HAPPENED TO IUZ?

Although the PCs witnessed Iuz's capture by the Godtrap, they probably have no idea what that event really signifies. They know only that the demigod seemed fearful, and that he was drawn bodily through the dungeon wall toward the east. A successful DC 20 Knowledge (history) check or Knowledge (religion) check allows a PC to recall that Iuz was once trapped in a special prison below the Tower of Zagig by the mad wizard himself. From that information, the PCs might speculate that Iuz's return to the castle might have triggered some sort of contingency effect left behind just in case he should ever return. Consultation with sages in Greyhawk yields disbelief at first, but when rumors begin to manifest that Iuz is no longer present in his capital city of Dorakaa (see page 7), the PCs' story gains credibility. As long as Iuz remains trapped, his clerics cannot prepare spells. His empire begins to collapse on itself in a rapidly escalating civil war as opposing factions struggle to claim command of the Throne of Skulls. Although most of the Flanaess greets this development with profound joy, a few wise souls rightfully worry that Iuz's disappearance bodes ill. For all his cruelty, Iuz was a known quantity -- a threat that could be measured and defended against. But now, a being powerful enough to remove Iuz from circulation has appeared. Whispered speculation that Zagig has returned to his castle begin to spread, as well as rumors that an even more powerful threat -- perhaps Graz'zt or even Iggwilv -- has come to the world to capture the Old One for some fell purpose. After all, if those who prevailed over Iuz had good intentions, wouldn't they have come forward with news of their victory? The fact that no one has claimed responsibility is evidence that the vanishing of the Old One foreshadows some truly disastrous event.

A TEARFUL ELADRIN

The PCs can meet Vexia in one of two ways, depending upon whether or not they take the initiative to continue exploring Castle Greyhawk.

OPTION 1: EXPLORATION HALTED

If the PCs need encouragement to continue their investigation of Castle Greyhawk, a coure eladrin named Vexia visits them in their rooms late at night, appearing in the form of a sphere of light.

A ball of sparkling white light drifts slowly into the room, illuminating the chamber with the brilliance of daylight. "Can you help me?" asks a melodious voice that seems to issue from the ball.

OPTION 2: EXPLORATION IN PROGRESS

If the PCs have recovered Vayne's journal and set off into the Tower of Zagig of their own volition, they meet Vexia in area I6. After finding her way into Zagig's Promenade (page 152), the poor coure was captured by the redcaps and put into a cage. If the PCs rescue her, she tearfully tells them her tale of woe.

VEXIA'S TALE

Vexia beseeches the PCs for aid in finding her mistress -- a ghaele eladrin named Shenda. If the PCs are willing to hear her out, she assumes her normal form (a Tiny, fairylike being) and launches into her story. She provides the following bits of information in the course of conversation.

  • "My mistress Shenda, a ghaele eladrin, has gone missing from Ysgard, and we need her back desperately."
  • "I've managed to track her to the dungeons below the Tower of Zagig, but I'm not exactly sure where she is, and I'm not powerful enough to battle the creatures that live there."
  • "She left Ysgard in an uncharacteristic display of anger and determination. I suspect she learned that some old enemy had taken up residence in the dungeons here."
  • "If Shenda had been killed, her allies back in Ysgard would have been able to use true resurrection to restore her to life. So I suspect that she has only been captured."
  • "I have only one real clue -- a cryptic verse whispered to me by a lillend oracle who lives in the head of a dead god of prophecy on the Astral Plane. Perhaps you can make heads or tails of it."

The verse is as follows.

Watched above by hawks of gray, deep below old castle's clay,
Guest of madness lost from ken, your mistress waits in Zagig's den.
Under ziggurat crowned with fire, beyond the room of rainbow's ire,
Lonely mistress filled with rage, caught within a pretty cage.

Shenda's Plight

When Iggwilv first explored this level several months ago, she discovered the deck of many things in area I45. Hoping that this item that might aid her in her quest to become a living creature, she drew four cards -- including the Flames, which brought her the enmity of a ghaele eladrin -- namely, Shenda. Suddenly overcome with hatred for Iggwilv, Shenda sought out the simulacrum and attacked it. The battle was furious, but with the aid of her lilitu companion Livashti, the false Iggwilv managed to defeat Shenda and trap her in a prison of Zagig (a minor artifact; see page 221) in area I46, where she languishes still.

Shenda's sudden compulsion to confront the false Iggwilv couldn't have come at a worse time for her estate on Ysgard. She and the small army she commanded were soon to launch a strike against a force of fire giants and drow from the layers below, who had mounted an incursion into her plane. When she vanished, she left her armies without a leader, and now her holdings are under siege. Several of her closest allies have been scouring the planes searching for any sign of Shenda, but so far only Vexia has come close to finding the missing general.

The nature of the prison of Zagig in which Shenda is trapped prevents magical detection, but Vexia is a talented investigator. Though she had a few false starts, she managed to track her mistress to the Tower of Zagig in Castle Greyhawk. Unfortunately for her, the coure discovered that the inhabitants of Castle Greyhawk were far beyond her ability to challenge. She is certain that she is close to finding her mistress but is unsure how to reach her. Thus, Vexia has spent the last week sinking deeper and deeper into depression.

Development: Vexia begs the PCs to search the dungeons below the Tower of Zagig for Shenda, promising them that her mistress -- if she can be rescued -- will reward them well. Vexia has little to offer as a reward, but she gladly hands over her ioun stone if she thinks it will help to gain the PCs' cooperation. Vexia is even willing to accompany the PCs into the dungeon if they wish. Though she's no match in combat against the menaces that dwell there, she can at least provide a light source and free magic detection. She is also an excellent translator, if the PCs have need of such a talent.

Vexia CR 4
hp 29 (5 HD)
Female coure[BoED] eladrin rogue 3
CG Tiny outsider (chaotic, eladrin, extraplanar, good)
Init +8; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Listen +7, Spot +7
Aura magic circle against evil 10 ft.
Languages Celestial, Common; tongues

AC 28, touch 19, flat-footed 20
Immune electricity, petrification
Resist acid 10, cold 10; evasion
Fort +6 (+10 against poison), Ref +14, Will +3
Weakness cannot be raised or resurrected

Speed 20 ft. (4 squares), fly 60 ft. (perfect)
Melee mwk rapier +15 (1d3-2/18-20)
Ranged mwk shortbow +15 (1d3/x3)
Space 2-1/2 ft.; Reach 0 ft.
Base Atk +4; Grp -6
Atk Options sneak attack +2d6
Combat Gear 2 potions of cure moderate wounds, 2 potions of lesser restoration
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 4th):
At will -- dancing lights, detect evil, detect magic, faerie fire
3/day -- magic missile, sleep (DC 15)

Abilities Str 6, Dex 27, Con 14, Int 15, Wis 8, Cha 19
SQ alternate form, trapfinding, trap sense +1
Feats Combat Expertise, Weapon Finesse
Skills Balance +10, Concentration +7, Diplomacy +14, Escape Artist +16, Gather Information +7, Hide +28, Jump -5, Knowledge (the planes) +7, Listen +7, Move Silently +20, Sense Motive +7, Spot +7, Tumble +13, Use Rope +13
Possessions combat gear plus +1 mithral chain shirt, masterwork rapier, masterwork shortbow with 20 arrows, dusty rose prism ioun stone

Alternate Form (Su) Vexia can assume the form of an incorporeal ball of light at will as a standard action. She sheds light in this form, providing illumination with a radius of up to 30 feet. She can change the amount of light she sheds as a free action once per round. This ability functions as a polymorph spell cast on herself as a 2nd-level caster, except that Vexia does not regain hit points for changing form and can assume only the incorporeal ball of light form. She can remain in this form until she chooses to return to her natural form. As a ball of light, she can fly and use her spell-like abilities, but she cannot use her weapons.
Magic Circle against Evil (Su) Vexia is constantly protected by a magic circle against evil effect (CL 8th).
Skills Vexia has a +4 racial bonus on Hide and Move Silently checks.

If Vexia assumes her ball of light form, use the following changed statistics:

CG Tiny outsider (chaotic, eladrin, extraplanar, good, incorporeal)
Speed fly 60 ft. (12 squares) (perfect); can pass through solid objects (but not force effects) at will, moves silently (cannot be heard with Listen checks unless desired)
AC 28, touch 23, flat-footed 20
Immune electricity, petrification, nonmagical attack forms; can be harmed only by other incorporeal creatures, +1 or better magic weapons, spells, spell-like abilities, or supernatural abilities
Resist 50% chance to ignore any damage from a corporeal source (except force effects and attacks made with ghost touch weapons)
Ref +8
Melee --
Ranged --
Atk Options attacks ignore natural armor, armor, and shields (though deflection bonuses and force effects work normally)
Abilities Str --
Skills as normal form except Jump -3


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