Proper Count is a short adventure for four 7th-level characters. The
party may consist of any mix of classes, but since the events here are
sequential with no built-in breaks for recuperation, a cleric may be very
useful. This scenario should prove a reasonable challenge for characters
from 6th to 8th level. The adventure is set on the eastern coast of the
Greyhawk campaign setting, but you could place it in almost any
area where coastal fishing villages abound. Print out the map from the
January Map-A-Week archive (the "Lighthouse"
In the previous
installments, the PCs learned about the mysterious disappearance of
Perri, a reclusive gnome who lives in a lighthouse. The local villagers
feared that the sea serpent they had seen lately in the waters near
the shore might have eaten him. On their way to the lighthouse, the
PCs encountered this "sea serpent," which turned out to be
a pair of tojanidas in pursuit of their favorite food. After defeating
the creatures, the PCs entered Perri's home, a lighthouse that emits
a strange dispelling ray. There they battled an ochre jelly and discovered
a clue to Perri's whereabouts. In this episode, the PCs continue to
explore the lighthouse, hoping to rescue Perri from whatever it is that
high with stacks of ledgers dominate this room. Hugging the outer
wall are curved bookcases filled to capacity with books and ledgers.
This is Perri's
record room, where he conducts the official fish counts for the annual
judging. Any villagers who have come here with the PCs are very interested
in finding this year's ledger. A successful Search check (DC 15) is
required to locate the correct book.
The ledger reveals
that the count is not yet complete, and that the two villages were roughly
equivalent in fish production at the point where Perri left off. If
members of both villages are present, they immediately begin arguing
about which village is winning. If the PCs leave them alone here, the
dispute escalates from words to blows. The DM should determine randomly
which villager is victorious in a fistfight, should the PCs fail to
Perri keeps the
trident trophy here, in an unlocked glass cabinet trimmed with fine
wood. The trident is 2 feet long and made of silver, with ornamentation
that resembles waves. It is worth 5,000 gp on the open market, though
its reputation and significance would make selling it in this area extremely
The room also contains
the records of all previous competitions and the fish counts for each.
Any character wishing to examine the records carefully may attempt a
Search check (DC 15) to discover two interesting facts. One is that
Hurmstown has won the trident more often than Rolling Rocks; the other
is that the overall catches in both villages have been decreasing over
the past few years. (The DM is free to decide the reason for the decline
in fish population and use it as a hook for future adventures.)
One of Perri's hobbies
is carpentry, and he has built most of the furniture in the lighthouse
himself. This room is his workshop, where he stores his woodworking
tools and supplies as well as his unfinished projects, which include
tables, chairs, cabinets, and curved bookshelves. All of these items
are small enough to be used effectively by a gnome. A successful Craft
(carpentry) skill check (DC 10) reveals that Perri works only in very
expensive woods and has masterwork tools. The items he's built are likewise
of high quality.
A successful Search
check (DC 15) reveals a book under a pile of discarded wood scraps.
This volume is a treatise on building wooden siege engines. A quick
perusal of the notes Perri has scribbled in the margins reveals that
he must have been trying to figure out a method of defending his lighthouse
from siege engines. This is a curious notion, since no siege engine
the PCs have ever heard of has enough range to threaten the lighthouse
from the shore, and no one knows of a siege engine that can be mounted
on a boat.
A second successful
Search check (DC 20) reveals a hand crossbow, apparently discarded,
in the northeast corner of the room. It is loaded with a bolt tipped
with poison -- the result of one of Perri's early experiments as an
alchemist. The mixture is functionally equivalent to sassone leaf residue
(contact poison DC 16, initial damage 2d12 hp, secondary damage 1d6
Con). Though this weapon is an unusual one for a gnome to own, Perri
purchased it with the intention of using it as part of an elaborate
trap for this room. Eventually, however, he decided against that and
forgot about the whole idea. The hand crossbow is the only actual weapon
in the lighthouse, but Perri didn't have time to get to it before the
events that resulted in his disappearance.
On a small table
in the center of this room stands a wooden scale model of Perri's
lighthouse, complete with the small bit of land upon which it rests.
A tiny longboat is tied to the dock outside it. Around the model
are a dozen or so maps, all spread out.
The maps depict
the Duchy of Urnst. In addition to major geographic features, they detail
the locations of the duchy's various natural resources and the wildlife,
including monsters, near each resource. The notes that Perri has scribbled
on the maps indicate that he was planning a trip to secure all manner
of woods and ores from the duchy. The documents are not dated, so there
is no indication of whether this was a trip he was planning to take
in the future, or one that he took years ago. A successful Knowledge
(local) check (DC 20) shows that some of the maps are quite old and
incorrect in spots, while others are brand new and very accurate.
This room is another
of Perri's libraries, complete with curved wooden shelves along the
outer wall. The books here cover many topics, but one common theme among
them is the history of the land that is now called the Duchy of Urnst.
These volumes contain considerable detail about the area's history,
and some even advance theories on how it was first settled by intelligent
beings thousands of years ago.
The room's other
furnishings consist of a single chair and a table stacked with books
and notes about political figures of the kingdom.
A successful Search
check (DC 20) of the books and notes on the table reveals that Perri
was very interested in a sorcerer named Silas Enger -- a human who served
as a war mage during some of the duchy's many battles. Detailed perusal
of Perri's notes makes it clear that the gnome was trying not only to
trace the origins of this Silas, but also to determine his ultimate
fate. Not one of the books or documents here makes any mention of his
death. . . .
About the Author
is a former Assistant Editor for Dragon magazine.
his various campaigns, he has developed a loyal following of players
and an exceptional talent for surprise endings.