The Alchemist's Eyrie takes the characters into a fortified dwarven tower, where they are sent to recover some needed items. When they arrive, they discover the tower has been captured recently by a warband of renegade lycanthrope dwarves. Between the interlopers and the remaining traps set by the late owner, the characters may find themselves in deep, despite the lack of head clearance.
Durzh is -- well, was -- a renowned dwarven alchemist who hailed from a nearby dwarven stronghold. Paranoid, surly, and antisocial, Durzh was nonetheless one of the most brilliant minds the dwarves had in the realm of alchemy.
The Alchemist's Eyrie centers on a tower built by and for Durzh by his people. Here, in relative seclusion, Durzh was able to perform research and develop his strange concoctions, undisturbed by the noise and earthshaking industry common in large dwarven underground cities. Since his research and wares were very valuable to the dwarves, he was given a garrison of soldiers to guard the fort, although they had to abide by his rather strict rules of conduct.
Recently, Durzh worked on a remedy for a contagious illness that had been plaguing his home stronghold. Through the effects of his medicinal potions, the disease was contained and thought to be cured. The dwarven healers were wrong, however; the disease was merely contained. It has now broken out again, and the stronghold needs more medicine to distribute among the populace to put an end to this illness for once and for all.
Sadly, Durzh's fame has become widely known. A variety of merchants drop by his tower from time to time to barter for his wares. They then transport these throughout the land. As Durzh's fame spread, the rumors of his wares and his cures for illness eventually reached the evil ears of a pack of dwarves afflicted with lycanthropy.
These dwarves -- as well as a solitary gnome they "recruited" -- were infected by a wererat deep in their tunnels, and now they are wererats as well. They came to Durzh in the dead of night and assaulted the tower. They slaughtered the guards, captured Durzh, and demanded that the alchemist help them. They wanted him to find not a cure for their disease, but rather a way to control the side effects better. He refused, and was slain.
Enter the characters.