Undermountain, that seemingly endless dungeon beneath Waterdeep, remains one of the most recognizable locations in Faerūn. Check out the top three room descriptions from out call to adventurers contest. First place finisher "The Undead Wish" by Jason Milligan, second place "The Auditorium" by sus323, and third place "The Temple of Fortune's Rebirth" by Ohtar Turinson.
The Undead Wish (EL Varies)
Read the following as the party passes through the double doors:
The room itself has no furnishings, nor any light source, until the PCs come to the northern third of the chamber. The six columns toward the entrance hold fading runes of an ancient and archaic nature. Most represent warding symbols with no power left in them and others are indecipherable due to age. The carpet is so worn away it does nothing to muffle footsteps. Carved upon the trigger block for the secret door is the Dwarven word that means "to open."
Once the party comes within viewing distance of the southernmost of the northern columns, read the following text:
Halaster originally created this room as a means to test his seven apprentices for when they eventually, he knew, would come looking for him. As one of his earliest additions to the Underhalls, he sectioned it off from the rest of the complex by two well-hidden secret doors. In this room he summoned, bound, and put into service a genie, or more specifically, an efreeti. After his apprentices finally gathered, Halaster decided to leave the genie imprisoned as both an obstacle and reward for those who decided to delve into his underground fortress.
Contained in a modified binding circle and wall of force, the mad wizard bound the genie to grant 101 wishes before he would be freed. (Review the efreeti's spell-like abilities and the wish spell before running this encounter; Mov'Harath is still bound by daily limitations.) Before he could grant these wishes though, the person must answer a constantly changing riddle. After many centuries, failed attempts at answering riddles, and the occasional success, the efreeti, called Mov'Harath, is down to just one riddle to be answered. Here is where things turn difficult.
During the Time of Troubles, a battle broke out in Waterdeep with Myrkul's minions. Some of the City Guard that died in that battle rose again as curst. One of these unfortunates, Brelson, wandered many years in and around the City of the Dead, Waterdeep's graveyard, looking for a way to return to life. With no luck in his endeavor, the undead almost gave up hope, until he overheard one of the few adventurers to have returned from Undermountain telling of a wish-granting genie. This was his chance. After passing through the Yawning Portal disguising his true nature, he spent many weeks on the upper level of the dungeon looking for this elusive genie. Little did he suspect that when he found him, there would be a riddle to answer to gain his reward.
For the past eleven years, Brelson has stayed here in the genie's room trying to answer his riddles. As of yet, thanks to his low Intelligence and Wisdom scores (6 and 2 respectively), he has yet to correctly answer it. After all, the riddles originally were meant for aspiring wizards of quick wit and great intellect. In his frustration, and due to the chaotic nature of all curst, he has pleaded adventurers that correctly answer to save him from his undeath as many times as he has slain them to keep the genie's last wish for himself.
Most of the preceding information can be gleaned in conversation with both Mov'Harath and Brelson. As a rule, determine beforehand Brelson's demeanor before the party enters the room. Typically, he approaches them from the darkness before they reach the northern half of the room inhabited by the efreeti. He has a 50% chance of being quite docile initially; otherwise he is depressed or arrogant and even violent to the characters. He also has the standard 5% chance per combat round of suddenly acting irrationally.
Mov'Harath has become very perturbed by his predicament over the past eleven years. With only one wish left, adventurers have consistently gotten the riddle wrong, fled Brelson's wrath only to be hunted down and killed, or defeated Brelson only to have him regenerate and annoy the genie with his continued presence.
Sample riddles are provided here:
Fires of destruction praise my touch yet mourn my tears,
Though I am unseen you see my travels,
My voice is as quiet as a mouse, yet louder than thunder's roar,
I tread the very mountains with ease yet water is as impassable as stone.
You feel my kiss when you first see light and know my embrace as darkness falls,
I am king to no one, though everything bows before me,
Empires fall before my might, but the most delicate flower's blooming I cannot stop.
When the characters decide to take on the riddle, only one answer and wish can be granted, so they have only one opportunity. The riddle itself appears as shimmering words upon the wall of force that runs between the four large pillars at the northern end of the room. If correctly answered, the genie's bonds are broken, but it still takes 3 rounds for the magic to fully dissipate. Then the genie is once again free to act and use all of his spell-like abilities (minus any he used earlier). By answering, the party basically has three options:
Help the Curst
In the event the characters correctly answer the riddle, they may wish for the curst to be returned to life. Mov'Harath actually takes offense to this if he has told the party his story of the past eleven years with Brelson. To him, the party has just aided his would-be captor. Once the barriers are down, Mov'Harath attacks the party and curst alike.
Despite being free of undeath, and because he spent so long in his condition, Brelson's alignment remains chaotic neutral and he still has the chance to act irrationally. He could thank the party and offer his services, flee at the first sign of danger from the genie, or even flee so that he can later assassinate the party to prevent word of his own heinous acts ever reaching outside ears.
If the PCs make a wish that helps themselves only, Brelson becomes enraged and attacks the party for 2 rounds. Fearing the genie's retribution, he flees during the third round but promises vengeance on the party for leaving him in his sorry state.
Help No One
If the party decides not to attempt the riddle, Brelson has a 50% chance to become withdrawn and depressed; otherwise he is extremely hostile to the PCs. Leaving Mov'Harath trapped certainly does nothing to engender respect for these "cowardly mortals." If ever freed, Mov'Harath could come after the party while simultaneously planning his revenge on Brelson, if he yet survives, potentially doubling the party's enemies.
Mov'Harath: hp 90; see page 114 of the Monster Manual
Brelson (male curst fighter 6): hp 65; see page 165 of the Lost Empires of Faerūn. You should add a level, replace the leather armor with a breastplate, and replace the bastard sword with a +2 bastard sword. Additionally, make adjustments for his Wisdom of 2.
Treasure: The only treasure is the breastplate and +2 bastard sword used by Brelson.
Adventure Hooks and Tie-Ins
Check out the Return to Undermountain: An Introduction for more details.
About the Author
Jason Milligan of Jacksonville, Florida, answered the Call to Adventurers Contest, and "The Undead Wish" is his winning entry. For more information about this contest, please visit the Call to Adventurers contest main page.
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