Three: Fresh Food for Rotten Vegetables
Miguel Durans The Hallowed Hills, a party of low-level
adventurers must explore a system of underground caverns recently
discovered beneath the Monastery of the Risen Star. But this is more
than just a casual dungeon crawl the group must locate and,
if possible, rescue the three members of the Order who went down before
them and never returned.
four-part adventure is designed for four to six 3rd-level adventurers,
though DMs should be able to modify it for parties of varying sizes
and/or levels fairly easily. For larger parties, simply increase the
number of monsters until the Encounter Levels are appropriate. Alternatively,
if your group comprises especially potent player characters, you can
change the monster types to something more challenging that
is, use ghasts rather than ghouls, bugbears rather than orcs, and
so forth. The Hallowed Hills is adaptable for use in the World
of Greyhawk, another D&D campaign setting, or a world
of your own creation.
Story So Far
Hallowed Hills, the party entered a mysterious set of caverns seeking
three members of the Order who had gone missing after setting out to
explore the caverns. Now, as the adventurers enter a new cave filled
with strange vegetation, they may already have noticed two bodies lying
still at its center.
The Submerged Garden -- EL 4
This roughly oval-shaped
cavern is 40 feet wide by 60 feet long. The exit at the south leads
to Area 5; the one at the west leads back to Area 3. A rockslide in
the eastern wall has covered another possible exit, but the severity
of the collapse is such that it would take days of excavation to reopen
Three shriekers and a violet fungus are positioned in a square patch
at the center of the room, with the violet fungus occupying the northeastern
corner of the patch. The bodies lie in the midst of these creatures.
If the PCs approach to investigate, the noise from the shriekers alerts
the orcs in Area 5 to the arrival of visitors.
hp 20, 13, 10.
Bodies: Once they have dealt with the fungi, the PCs can examine
the corpses. These two extremely pale young men were the acolytes
who accompanied Brother Durham down here. Both are dead, slain by
the violet fungus. They carry basic cave exploration gear, leather
armor, and maces, but nothing else of value.
A successful Heal
check (DC 15) on either corpse reveals something very peculiar about
these bodies -- namely that they have been completely drained of blood,
which explains their unusual pallor. Depending upon the party's experience
with violet fungi in the past, they may or may not be aware that such
a phenomenon is somewhat out of place in these surroundings.
Room: Once the characters move to the southern exit, a successful
Wilderness Lore check (DC 18) made by any character with the Track
feat reveals that a small band of humanoids recently passed through
this area, emerging from the now-sealed eastern entrance and leaving
through the tunnel to the south.
The Reluctant Sentries -- EL 6
stretches across the center of this cavern from east to west,
splitting it neatly in half. Overgrown stalactites and stalagmites
clutter the chamber, making it seem like a pair of giant, open
of this 80-foot-diameter, dome-shaped cavern rises 25 feet above the
floor in the center. The chasm, which runs the entire length of the
cavern, is 10 feet wide and 75 feet deep. A boulder currently covers
the only other exit, which is in the southern wall. With a successful
Strength check (DC 22), a character can move the boulder, revealing
a passage that leads to Area 6. On the southern side of the crevasse
is an extinguished campfire, built by the sentries on duty in this room.
It's been a long few weeks for Homzahk and his scouting patrol from
the Crookedtusk tribe. The orc adept was leading an expedition through
these caverns when the earthquake sealed them in here. The orcs hope
to reopen the tunnel in Area 4 that leads to their home caves in the
near future, but another power has coerced them to stand guard here
until commanded otherwise. Though resentful of the situation, the orcs
have lost enough of their brethren to this creature to know that further
resistance is likely wasted, so long as they are trapped here. Their
fear and fury regarding their situation is so great that they refuse
parley with anyone who approaches.
(6): 7, 6, 4, 4, 3, 2.
Male Crookedtusk orc Adp 4; CR 4; Medium-size humanoid (orc); hp 24;
Init +4; Spd. 20 ft.; AC 10 (touch 10, flat-footed 10); Atk +6 melee
(1d6+4/crit x2, masterwork club); or +2 ranged (1d6+3/crit x2, javelin);
SQ darkvision 60 ft., light sensitivity; AL CE; SV Fort +3, Ref +1,
Will +6; Str 16, Dex 10, Con 14, Int 11, Wis 15, Cha 10.
and Feats: Alchemy +4, Concentration +5, Knowledge (religion) +2,
Wilderness Lore +7; Combat Casting, Improved Initiative.
Spells Prepared (3/3/1): 0 -- ghost sound, guidance (2);
1st -- burning hands, cause fear, sleep; 2nd -- mirror image.
Masterwork club, ruby worth 100 gp, potion of invisibility, potion
of cure moderate wounds.
Tactics: If alerted by the shriekers in Area 4, the orcs split
their forces, posting Homzahk and a few others in the northern reaches
of the room behind stalagmite cover. The others remain at the back of
the cavern beyond the chasm so that they can lay down a hail of javelins
when needed. Their objective is to split the party's forces and then
flank their opponents. Homzahk and his rear guard can then attack the
archers and spellcasters remaining on one side of the chasm while the
troops on the other side deal with any fighters who cross for melee.
They also attempt to bull rush anyone who leaps over the chasm, hoping
to knock such a foolish opponent into the breach.
the characters dispatch the Crookedtusk tribesmen, they can turn their
attention to the boulder in the room's rear. Beyond it lies the darkened
passage that will lead them to the final truth about Brother Durham's
fate. . . .
Duran endured a great deal of pain and humiliation in Skip Williams
after-work game when he first arrived at WotC several months ago. He
insists that this adventure is a by-product of the fond memories those
nights carved into his subconscious. By day, Miguel is the Promotions
Coordinator for the Dungeons & Dragons Game.
By night, he practices writing and consistently forgets to call his
mom and dad. (Hi Mom! Hi Dad!)