Geet and Gern (the hill giant bridge guards), the group hears ominous
scratching noises echoing in the chasm. A Listen check (DC 20) identifies
the sounds as someone (or something) climbing up the cliff face. A voice
calls out, "A little help, please?"
The climber is Finglos,
the lone survivor of the previous adventuring party sent into the mountains
by the Tringlee merchants. He appears friendly and continues to ask
for help or a rope (if the characters have not already helped him),
telling them that he's been hiding in the manticore's cave below for
two weeks waiting for a chance to escape.
Male human Rog9; CR 9; Medium-size humanoid; 42 hp; Init +4; Spd 60
ft.; AC 18 (touch 15, flat-footed 18); Atk +11 melee (1d6+5/18-20/x
2 crit, +1 rapier); SQ Evasion, Uncanny Dodge (Dex bonus to AC,
can't be flanked), Sneak Attack +5d6; AL CN; SV Fort +4, Ref +10, Will
+2; Str 18, Dex 18, Con 12, Int 12, Wis 9, Cha 11.
Skills and Feats:
Bluff +12, Climb +16, Craft (traps) +7, Disable Device +7, Hide +16,
Jump +20, Listen +11, Move Silently +11, Open Lock +10, Search +13,
Spot +11, Tumble +16; Cleave, Dodge, Mobility, Power Attack, Spring
+1 rapier, +1 studded leather armor, 2 potions of darkvision,
boots of striding and springing, thieves tools, silk rope (100 ft.).
Finglos has actually
been a captive of Kardrako for several weeks and is currently under
the effects of Kardrako's charm person spell. A Sense Motive
check (DC 25) detects the presence of the enchantment, as does a successful
detect magic spell cast upon Finglos. Unless the charm person
is dispelled, Finglos tells the group that the entrance to the manticore
cave is some 200 feet down the cliff face and that with the group's
help he can finally avenge the deaths of his comrades. Further, Finglos
informs the characters that the manticores are currently out hunting
and that he knows of a perfect spot inside the cave to ambush them upon
their return. He explains that fighting the manticores in the open would
prove suicidal because the beasts stay aloft at great range and fire
spikes from their tails.
In reality, Finglos
is trying to lure the characters into the cave to face Kardrako. Kardrako's
charm person spell lasts only three hours, so Finglos has explicit
instructions to return at the end of two hours. Should the heroes hesitate
or wish to rest until morning before venturing down the cliff face,
Finglos pleads with them: Now is the best opportunity he will get to
destroy the creatures that killed his friends. If his entreaties fail,
he attempts to climb back down the cliff face, saying that he will face
the monsters alone if that's what it takes.
Unbeknownst to Finglos,
once he and the characters begin their descent to the cave, the manticores
attack per Kardrakos orders. If Finglos returns alone or doesn't
return at all, the manticores wait until the PCs begin their descent
(waiting until the next day if necessary).
Once the group gets
halfway between the top of the cliff and the cave entrance (100 feet
down from the top), four manticores fly out from behind outcroppings
to either side of the characters and attack.
(4): CR 5, 57 hp; see the Monster
Unless engaged in melee by flying characters, the manticores exhaust
their spikes (6 per round each for 4 rounds) before closing to attack
with their claws and teeth. If the characters are clinging to a rope,
one manticore flies up to the top, lands, and attempts to chew through