Pit your PCs against a formidable rakshasa villain in Tiger's Palace, a free online adventure from designer Owen K.C. Stephens. Use this scenario as a site-based adventure the characters simply stumble across, or build up the wily Bhishana Bhaga as a recurring villain, with this module serving as a climactic final confrontation. It's suitable for four 9th- or 10th-level characters.
Bhishana Bhaga is an old rakshasa searching for a comfortable place to retire. No fool, she knows she must find a place secluded from the eyes of civilization to have any hope of escaping constant battle with the forces of good. She also wants a place that allows her to live in the rich manner she has become accustomed to, able to support one or more guardians and near some form of settlement to provide her with amusements. Bhishana Bhaga has finally found a locale she likes -- a small gnomish mine deep in a mountain range.
Making a pact with a metal-hungry delver named CrushStone to guard her new home, the rakshasa has driven out most of the gnomes and begun to make preparations for her occupancy. Taking the form of an elf maiden, she ordered rich furnishings and decorations to make the mine an underground palace. The Bhishana Bhaga has also charmed the gnomes she's captured and convinced them to build traps to protect her home from unwanted intruders. Eventually she'll hire more expert artisans to build truly formidable defenses, making her underground home a fortress as well as a palace. If she is to be rooted out of these mountains and the mine returned to the gnomes, the best time to do it is now.
Is this adventure right for your group? Decide for yourself how you might work it into your campaign. Several possible character hooks appear below.
- The mines Bhishana Bhaga has chosen are famous for providing high-quality ores, including mithral. While the local gnomes are too terrified to act against Bhishana directly, the smiths in far off cities who depend on these ores for their businesses want to know why the supply has dried up. They are offering a 2,000 gp award to anyone who can restore the precious flow of metals.
- A retired adventurer who hunted but never caught Bhishana has found her lair, but is no longer young enough to face her himself. He may be an old contact of the characters or simply someone who has heard of their exploits. Either way he contacts them and asks for their help.
- The company that has been hired to ship thousands of gold pieces' worth of high-quality accouterments and furnishings is concerned about the safety of their shipments in a wild region of the mountains. The firm hires the characters to check out the point of delivery before it ships the precious goods.
- The folk in the town where the gnomish miners live are worried about the disappearance of 10 of their miners (whom Bhishana has charmed). They contact the heroes to ask them to investigate the mines where their loved ones were last seen.
- While exploring a different section of underground caverns, the characters come upon a cross-shaft that leads to Bhishana's lair.
- Bhishana actually invites the characters to come deal with her if they dare, as a way of testing her current defenses.