Random Encounters
City Scenes, Part 5
By Skip Williams

Watch Your Step

Most cities feature an extensive network of underground tunnels in the form of sewers, freight tunnels, hidden temples, catacombs, and hidden vaults. Such a subterranean environment isn't likely to remain uninhabited. Many underground dwellers would find it handy to live directly below an active city, which can provide a source of trade, prey, or supplies.

Sometimes, creatures dwelling under a city might attempt to dig new tunnels of their own, and this excavating can have disastrous consequences for the surface dwellers when new diggings undermine the streets or building foundations.

Not long ago, an umber hulk found its way under the city. It has been preying on the denizens of the undercity, but its delvings have seriously undermined many buildings and several streets. The buildings haven't yet fallen over, but their walls are sagging and cracking. So far this damage concerns only the buildings' owners. The streets are a different matter. Sinkholes up to 30 feet wide and 30 feet deep have been appearing here and there.

If the PCs come upon a sinkhole after it has appeared, it's just a hole in the ground. However, what happens when a sinkhole collapses under them?

Sinkhole Trap: CR 3; mechanical; location trigger; no reset; DC 18 Reflex save avoids; 30 ft. deep (3d6, fall +1d6 falling debris); multiple targets (all target in a 15-foot radius); Search DC n/a; Disable Device DC n/a. Market Price: n/a.

When a sinkhole appears, characters in the radius can attempt Reflex saves to avoid falling in. Creatures that make successful saves move to the closest edge of the pit. This movement doesn't count as part of the creature's movement for the round.

The umber hulk responsible for the sinkholes tends to hang around the sinkholes, looking for prey. When a new hole forms, the monster races to the area, hoping to scoop up creatures that have fallen in.

Umber Hulk: hp 71, see Monster Manual, page 249.

Bringing the Parts Together

When the PCs encounter the sinkhole, a few philosophers with clubs (see Part Two) in the vicinity may try to blame the PCs for the incident. Oyin the ogre (see Part One) might be on hand to help clean up the mess or he might need rescuing from the hole. The collapse might reveal the lair of the assassin jelly (see Part Three). Stevan (see Part Four) might hurry to the scene of the collapse, where he quickly gives the PCs his sales pitch and invites them to Madame Phadra's shop.

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