Ordered to prevent
anyone from entering the tower, Stanniss mightiest creation, a
shield guardian, waits for the adventurers. Although the undead Stannis
(detailed in Episode 3) still possesses the amulet that controls the
guardian, the madness that consumed him during his transformation to
undeath prevents him from exercising control over it. Without new orders,
the guardian is an implacable foe to anyone trying to explore the tower.
Characters who know
something of Stanniss background, either from talking with the
villagers in Episode 1 or through skill use (Bardic Knowledge DC 25,
Knowledge History, Knowledge Local [Greyhawk] DC 30) know that Stannis
had a shield guardian like the one attacking them.
CR 8, hp 82, see the Monster
Spell: The guardian has fire shield stored (cast at 12-level),
set to be cast as soon as it begins combat.
The shield guardian fights with mindless intensity, but it is limited
by its instructions. If the party retreats from the chamber, the guardian
does not pursue. Attacks from outside the tower will, however, draw
the guardian out.
The entry chamber
itself is full of broken masonry and the remains of wood furnishings.
Stannis kept most of his possessions in the inner chamber, but a large
chunk of masonry in this room served as a makeshift desk. Papers and
a vial of ink rest on the stone, giving evidence of its use. The room
is covered with a thick layer of dust, obscuring most of the original
Stannis spent a
fair amount of his time in the entry chamber, and its interior contains
several items of interest to the party:
Stannis communicated with his scholarly associates mainly by means of
whispering wind or similar spells. When his travels took him
beyond the range of such spells, he occasionally sent brief letters
to describe his progress. One such letter is on Stanniss makeshift
desk. Finding the letter is easy (Search check, DC 5). The letter is
addressed to Duran Highson of Greyhawk and states simply that Stannis
found what the two believed to be hidden here and that he was staying
to study the contents.
Stannis was a careful researcher who strove to maintain a balance between
keeping accurate notes and concealing his discoveries from others. Two
pages of sparse notes are concealed by secret page spells. When
examined normally, the pages look like a simple accounting list of Stanniss
expenses. The actual contents of the first page reveal that Stannis
uncovered whatever hidden lore hed sought. The actual contents
of the second page document his attempts to master a new divination
he discovered. (The new divination is actually a trap designed by the
drider lurking in the chambers below the tower.)
The secret pages
cannot be located by a normal search. A detect magic spell reveals
a faint aura around the pages, but does not reveal their contents.
Although it wont tell the PCs much, anyone making a difficult
Search check (DC 20) notices that the original stonework looks quite
creepy. Relief carvings along the walls and ceilings show thousands
of little spiders rushing up the wall. The carving shows the spiders
coalescing into the form of a giant spider in the center of the ceiling.