Episode Three: Wax
by Jesse Decker
"I would have you imagine, then, that there exists in the mind of a man a block of wax, which is of different sizes in different men; harder, moister, and having more or less of purity in one than another, and in some of an intermediate quality " Plato, Dialogues, Theaetetus, 191
Jesse Decker wrote the short adventure, The Candlemakers Fire, for four 4th-level characters. Player characters who complete the adventure should earn about half of the experience points they need to attain 5th level. Although no particular character class is necessary to complete the adventure, at least one character should have a good Will save. At least one of the characters should have a +1 weapon.
The Story So Far
In Episodes One and Two of The Candlemakers Fire, the player characters traveled to an enchanters cottage to learn why hes been causing mischief with his magical candles. Along the way and in the chandlers hut, the PCs encountered some of the enchanters pet creatures. As Episode Three begins, the party encounters a trap at the exit of the chandlers workshop.
The Chandlers Cottage: The chandlers hut is a small structure 30 feet long by 15 feet wide. The doorway is in the middle of one of the long walls, and the two windows are both covered with boards. The inside of the cottage is sparsely furnished; two large tables rest against the back wall, and to the right of the doorway, a large hearth breaks up the otherwise uninteresting walls.
A 5-foot-tall hole in the back wall leads to a small cave in the ridge behind the cottage.
The Chandlers Workshop: The large cave behind the chandlers cottage is roughly a 40-foot x 40-foot square, with irregularities in the walls due to its natural formation. Candles, books, and workbenches clutter the area.
The Chandlers Storeroom: Beyond the small passageway, three interconnected hexagonal chambers disrupt the mostly natural stonework of the rest of the cave. Two of these chambers have roof holes -- Edarads bees fly in and out of these holes. The bees think of these three rooms as their hive.
Inner Chambers: A secret door in the third hexagonal chamber leads to Edarads inner sanctum. Beyond the door, a short hallway leads to a perfectly square 30-foot x 20-foot chamber containing with Edarads bed, workbenches, and the raw materials required for his research.
The Chandlers Storeroom
This area is described in Episode Two. However, as the group leaves the chandlers workshop, they encounter a pit trap designed by the two mephits serving Edarad Prinn. The trap is a simple, 40-foot-deep pit covered by the same gray wax that coats the walls of the entire cave. It takes only 10 lbs. of pressure to break through the wax covering, so even the light characters will probably break through. The covering is opaque, but a careful search can detect the pit underneath it. Disabling the pit is simply a matter of breaking the wax covering. There is a narrow ledge along the east wall that allows access to the deeper chambers of the chandlers lair. Navigating the ledge is tricky, requiring a DC 10 Balance check to cross at full movement rate. Slowing to half movement rate avoids the Balance check entirely.
Pit Trap: CR 2; 40 ft. deep (4d6); Reflex save avoids (DC 20); Search (DC 20); Disable Device (N/A).
These hexagonal rooms house Edarads giant bees. The few bees that Edarad has currently ambushed the party as they approached the cabin. Any that fled will be found here recovering from the battle. The rooms are hexagonal, reminiscent of the inside of a honeycomb. The hexagonal rooms are actually partitions of one large chamber. The interior walls have the same hardness and hit points as a thin wood wall. The interior walls, floor, and ceiling are all coated with the same gray wax found on the walls of the chandlers workshop.
Three holes, each nearly 3 feet in diameter, penetrate the roof of the chamber. The bees use these holes to enter and exit the chambers. Although the bees are probably not in evidence, Edarad keeps one of his most powerful creations here as well. When the player characters enter the northern hexagonal chamber, read or paraphrase the following description.
|As you look into the third small room, you notice that the gray wax that covers the walls also covers a large humanoid form in the middle of the room.|
When the player characters enter the room, read or paraphrase the following description.
|The form is motionless at first, but as you move further into the room, it takes a slow, menacing step toward you.|
Wax Golem (1): CR 3; Medium-Size Construct (7 ft. tall); HD 3d10; hp 17; Init 0; Spd 30 ft. (cant run); AC 15 (touch 10, flat-footed 15); Atk +4 melee (1d8+2, slam); SQ construct, immunities; AL N; SV Fort +1, Ref +1, Will +1; Str: 15, Dex 10, Con -, Int -, Wis 11, Cha 1.
Construct: Immune to mind-influencing effects, poison, disease, and similar effects. Not subject to critical hits, subdual damage, energy drain, or death from massive damage.
Immunities (Ex): Because their pliable bodies can absorb blows easily, wax golems take only half damage from bludgeoning weapons.
Resistances (Ex): Wax golems have electricity resistance 10.
See the wax golems full description for more details.
The golem attacks with mindless intensity. Other than the golem, the room is empty.
As the party finishes dealing with the golem, a secret door slides open in the southwestern wall of one of the hexagonal partitions. Beyond, Edarad and his final golem await.
About the Author
Before becoming managing editor of TopDeck magazine , Jesse Decker worked as assistant editor for Dragon . His previous Cliffhangers adventure, Unearthing the Past , appeared in August.