As the PCs approach the area, have the PCs and the spectre make Listen checks, and consult the Relevant Checks sidebar for the results. Read aloud or paraphrase the following text if a PC can hear the spectre crying before entering the chamber.
A spectre named Sasha resides in the chamber surrounding the well. Sasha was brought to Undermountain by her parents, two criminals fleeing justice in Waterdeep who hoped to find a hiding place in Undermountain for a short time. Her parents met their end at the hands of traps and monsters, and for two days Sasha fled through Undermountain, terrified, hungry, and thirsty. Halaster saw this and took pity. His illusion of sweet-smelling water drew Sasha to this room, where an orc put her out of her misery. Sasha then rose as a spectre and took revenge upon her murderer. Now Sasha haunts this chamber, weeping at her fate but hateful of anyone drawn by her sobs or the scent of clean water. Most who see Sasha have fled, so now the spectre tries a new tactic of tricking her victims.
When the PCs look into or enter the chamber, read or paraphrase the following text.
Next to the well lies a pile of bones, armor, and clothing. If the PCs have a chance to look at them, the bones are the remains of an orc. (DMs can call for a DC 11 Knowledge (nature) check if the PCs aren't familiar with orc remains.)
At this point the PCs might simply attack. If such is the case, simply have Sasha attack and the other spectre appear from the floor on the following round. PCs who do this likely never learn of the secret door in the well and the treasure it holds.
If the PCs talk to Sasha, this encounter offers a good opportunity for roleplaying. Sasha wants one or more of the PCs to enter the well where she and her spectre spawn attack the unfortunate PC. To this end, Sasha talks to the PC and tries to trick one of them into going into the well. Most of what Sasha says is true and requires no Bluff check on her part, but any untruths should benefit from the PCs' penalty to Sense Motive described in the Relevant Checks sidebar. Below are a number of questions the PCs might ask and Sasha's responses. Use them as a guideline if the PCs ask questions not on the list. In all cases Sasha should seem hesitant until she decides that the PCs do not mean to attack her. This is truthfully how she feels, but mainly for fear that the PCs won't fall for her trick rather than because she fears for her wellbeing.
Who are you?: "My . . . my name is Sasha." (TRUTH)
What are you?: "Um . . . I'm a girl, a human." (TRUTH)
Are you a ghost?: "What? No. Are you?" (LIE) Sasha doesn't know the difference between spectres and ghosts and in fact thinks she is a ghost, but she pretends not to know and to hate the idea if confronted with it. If pressed on the matter, she holds her hands over her ears and screams, "I am not a ghost! I am not a ghost!" (LIE)
How did you get here?: "My parents brought me. They're gone now. The things got them, and I ran away because mommy said to run. I always do what mommy says." (TRUTH)
Why are you here?: "I was thirsty and I smelled the water. Can't you smell the water?" (TRUTH)
Why don't you leave?: "My dolly fell in the water when I was trying to get a drink, and I haven't gotten a drink yet. Can you get me a drink? Can you find my dolly?" (TRUTH) These statements are true and the questions aren't lies, but this isn't the reason why she doesn't leave. In truth this is her preferred hunting ground. A PC who tries to discern whether she is lying can make a DC 20 Sense Motive check (with a -5 penalty if the PCs think she is a ghost) to get a hunch that she is dodging the question.
Can't you fly down and get it?: "Fly? I'm not a bird." (TRUTH) Although true, Sasha is dodging a direct answer to the question. A PC who tries to discern whether she is lying can make a DC 20 Sense Motive check to get a hunch that she is dodging the question.
How did you die? [or] You can float through stone. [or] You're dead. [or] You know you are a ghost.: She holds her hands over her ears and screams, "I am not a ghost! I am not a ghost!" (LIE).
Did you fall in the well?: Sasha shakes her head vehemently and fearfully but says nothing. (TRUTH and LIE) While this is true, Sasha's fear of the well is not true and a PC can oppose her Bluff with a Sense Motive check (no penalty if the PCs are getting suspicious). A success results in the PC getting the sense that she's not being forthcoming.
What's in the well?: "Water, silly, and my dolly." (LIE and TRUTH) Sasha knows that there's no real water in the well, but her doll is still down there.
Is there anything else in the well?: "I don't think so." (LIE) Sasha knows there is a secret door in the bottom of the well that hides thetreasure (see below).
Did you know the water was an illusion?: "No! Don't say that!" (LIE or TRUTH) If the PCs ask this and seem to imply the time when Sasha was alive, her response is the truth; otherwise, it is a lie.
What happened to this orc?: "I don't know." (LIE) Sasha persists in this lie until confronted with lying. Then she admits that, "I . . . I touched him and he fell down." (TRUTH) If pressed more on this issue, she says, "I didn't want to do it! He wouldn't leave me alone, and so I pushed him and he fell down." (LIE) Sasha gleefully killed the orc.
If the PCs catch Sasha in her lies and seem to be leaving or attacking rather than going in the well, she drops her façade and quickly tries a new lie. "Wait. I'm sorry I lied to you. I just want my dolly and then I can rest. If you get my doll out of the well, I'll show you the secret space behind the wall and the treasure there. Don't worry about the water. It's not real."
Well: Halaster cast a permanent image of clear, sweet water in the well about 10 feet from the top of the well. Any creature interacting with it (touching it, dropping an object in to see what happens, and so on) can make a DC 23 Will save to see through it. Any creature that enters the illusory water automatically understands it's an illusion and need not make a save. See page 173 of the Player's Handbook for more rules about illusions and saving throws.
A character who trusts the water is real and leaps into the well is in for a surprise. The well is 50 feet deep, causing 5d6 points of damage to a falling character.
Spectres (2): Use the statistics for the Goblin Skirmisher (31/60) from theHarbingerminiatures set. If you don't have that miniature, use the statistics from the Monster Manual.
Sasha and her spawn, the spectre of the orc she killed, attack either to defend themselves or when someone reaches the bottom of the well. They focus their attacks on one individual at a time, hoping to add another spectre to their forces before attacking the rest of the party. Note that although Sasha pretends not to understand her incorporeal state, she takes full advantage of it once combat begins, even going so far as to only extend half her body out of the floor, providing herself cover at the expense of giving the PCs a higher ground benefit.
Treasure: A circlet of persuasion is hidden behind the secret door at the bottom of the well, left here long ago by one of Halaster's apprentices. She feared that it was cursed because she found it so easy to attain. It isn't cursed, and despite her intentions, the apprentice never returned to study it further.
Adventure Hooks and Tie-Ins
Check out the Return to Undermountain: An Introduction for more details.
About the AuthorOnce Editor-in-Chief of Dragon magazine and now a game designer at Wizards of the Coast, Matthew Sernett wrote in a Dragon editorial that there's nothing in D&D he likes better than when the adventurers flee through the dungeon, running pell-mell through traps and past monsters because what chases them is worse. When he wrote that, Matthew was thinking about Undermountain.
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