Four: Final Reflections
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. On their way to
the lighthouse, they encountered the "sea serpent" the villagers
had seen, 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. Further
investigation revealed that Perri was researching a powerful mage, though
the reason remained a mystery. In this installment, the PCs find Perri
and discover whether the ancient war mage Silas Enger is actually dead.
A terrible smell
greets you as you open the door to this area. Only alchemy could
generate such foul odors, and the array of glass tubes, containers,
and small, controlled fires in the chamber attests that this alchemical
lab is quite active.
This is Perri's
alchemical lab. In this room he concocts his elixers and identifies
potions for passing adventurers. A successful Search check (DC 15) reveals
five magic potions: fire breath, heroism, lesser restoration, reduce
and sneaking. Any character whose Search check result is
20 or better also finds a broken beaker labeled "Danger! Ooze!
Do Not Break!"
Even to those skilled
in alchemy or the magic arts, it is unclear what Perri was working on
when he last left the lab.
in this room has been smashed beyond recognition. Bits of wood,
glass, and stone are scattered throughout the chamber.
A successful Search
check (DC 20) reveals footprints through the rubble. A character with
the Track feat can follow these prints with a successful Wilderness
Lore check (DC 22). They lead to Area 3.
Six large iron
chests hug the curved outer wall of this chamber. A seventh chest
stands in the center of the room. Hunched over it, manipulating
the lock, is a hooded man with leathery, white wings protruding
from tailored holes in a large gray cloak. He has smooth, cream-colored
skin, bare feet, and a strange, almost peachlike odor about him.
At your intrusion, he stops what he was doing and turns to face
The man is the lost
sorcerer Silas Enger, now dreadfully transformed into a half-fiend/half-medusa.
Years ago, as an up-and-coming power in the Duchy of Urnst, the young
human decided to make a bid for rulership. Deciding that he needed extra
personal might to pull it off, he made a secret pact with a devil for
support. But he was betrayed, and the devil took his due, laying upon
Silas a dreadful curse that transformed him into his current form and
stripped him of his sorcerer abilities. Upon learning of Perri's investigations,
he came to the lighthouse to find out why the gnome was so interested
in him and whether, as an exceptionally talented alchemist, he might
be able to help Silas regain his sorcerer abilities.
Perri saw Silas
flying toward the lighthouse and, having no means to escape, cast dispel
magic into the light room, hoping to deter or delay the monster's
approach. Then he hid in one of the chests in this chamber.
Silas had tracked
Perri here and was about to open the chest when the PCs arrived. Not
wanting to let anything jeopardize his capture of Perri, Silas attacked
Half-Fiend/Half-Medusa: CR 10; Medium-size Outsider; HD 7d8+14;
hp 50; Init +4; Spd 30 ft., fly 30 ft. (average); AC 18 (touch 14, flat-footed
14); Atk +9 melee (1d4+2, 2 claws) and +4 melee (1d6+1, bite) and +6
melee (1d4+1 and poison, snakes); or +11/+6 ranged (1d6/x3, shortbow);
SA petrifying gaze, poison, spell-like abilities; SQ darkvision 60 ft.,
acid, cold, electricity, and fire resistance 20, poison immunity; AL
LE; SV Fort +4, Ref +9, Will +6; Str 14, Dex 19, Con 14, Int 16, Wis
13, Cha 17.
Bluff +13, Diplomacy +11, Disguise +13, Intimidate +5, Knowledge (local)
+8, Listen +6, Move Silently +13, Sense Motive +6, Spot +11. Feats:
Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Weapon Finesse (snakes).
SA -- Petrifying
gaze (Su): turn to stone permanently, 30 feet, Fortitude save (DC 16).
SA -- Poison (Ex):
from snakes, Fortitude save (DC 15), initial damage 1d6 temporary Strength,
secondary damage 2d6 temporary Strength.
SA -- Spell-like
Abilities: 3/day -- darkness, poison, 1/day -- desecrate,
unholy blight (both as 7th-level cleric).
Cloak of minor displacement (specially fitted to allow wing function),
ring of counterspells (hold monster), ring of evasion,
shortbow, 10 arrows.
Silas tries to turn as many PCs as he can to stone before joining melee,
and he uses his gaze attack during battle as well. If he fails to turn
half the PCs into stone and sustains more than 35 points of damage,
he attempts to flee.
The chest that Silas was trying to open is the one that contains Perri.
The other six chests contain coins and gems worth 30,000 gp collectively.
Each is locked with a sturdy iron lock (pick DC 20; hardness 15, 25
The main feature
of this area is a stairway leading up to the mirrors of the lighthouse
Atop the lighthouse
is a fantastic array of mirrors and large crystal lenses. A 2-foot-diameter
silver mirror with a continual flame torch at its center
dominates the array. Another magical aura visibly crisscrosses the
array and is reflected in seemingly random directions as the assembly
slowly turns. This aura becomes invisible outside the glass case
of the lighthouse.
The lighthouse uses
a magical silver mirror to project its continual flame light,
as well as the dispel magic ray that affected the PCs on their
way to the lighthouse. Using his alchemical expertise, Perri has coated
the mirrors with a material capable of catching, reflecting, and projecting
specific magical energy -- in this case, dispel magic and light
effects. He has made the development of this material his life's work,
but thus far, light and dispel magic are the only two
spells for which Perri has perfected a coating.
The Proper Count
Once Perri is safe,
he dismantles his light room assembly and uses the silver mirror he
has packed away (in Area 15) instead, believing that the magical
array was what attracted Silas in the first place. Then he completes
the count and awards the trident to the appropriate village (DM's choice).
Regardless of which one wins, both villages treat the PCs as honored
guests from now on. The two mayors invite the characters to return for
next year's competition, which promises to be as every bit as exciting
as this year's.
There are a number
of areas the DM can exploit for future adventures.
- Perri Ultharn,
the reclusive gnome alchemist and spellcaster, can become a recurring
character in an ongoing campaign.
- If Silas Enger
got away, he will certainly attempt to harass Perri again -- undoubtedly
using a new tactic to do so. He also has a grudge against the PCs and
may decide to harm them in some way in the future.
- After Perri dismantles
the mirror assembly, what becomes of it and the alchemical secrets it
represents? Right now, only the PCs, Perri, and Silas know its true
capability. If the secret of the mirror gets out, will that threaten
Perri or the villages?
- The PCs might think
of a use for the magic mirror in the future, perhaps to help them out
of a tight spot. Perri might be willing to lend it to them -- but at
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.