Cliffhangers Adventures

Lorin's Chasm
Episode Three: Pools of Light
By Will McDermott

Lorin's Chasm is a short adventure for four 5th-level characters that takes place in the caves beneath a remote monastery devoted to the sun god, Pelor. The monastery sits atop a mountain range and has a large complex of caves beneath, most of which are used as tombs for the priests who have died there over the centuries. The monastery and the adventure can be placed easily on almost any D&D world.

Cliffhanger Features

The cave that the PCs travel through are mostly natural, though the priests and monks did add their own touches, such as creating recesses within the walls, even within any sarcophagi chambers. Once inside the chasm, the air grows damper and mustier than before, though it still retains enough freshness that the PCs need not worry for their lives. All construction was created from stone, so the dampness has not deteriorated anything but the corpses of the long-dead priests and monks.

Light: When the monastery door closes behind the PCs, they are in pitch darkness until they reach the first sarcophagi chamber. Once they enter the chasm, there is enough light for low-light vision to work.

Ceiling Height: Unless otherwise noted, the ceiling of the caves stands at about 5 feet, which will make some of the taller PCs need to hunch over to walk without bumping their heads.

Doors: There are no doors to speak of in the caves or the chasm.

The Journals of Lorin

After the PCs vanquish the dusk beasts from the last encounter, they have a chance to find the missing pages of the journal. These pages are in even worse condition than the journal itself, so several details are left out. The gist of the journal pages relates some of what Lorin did after his unsuccessful confrontation with Manafae.

After the battle, Lorin made his way back up to the tombs, only to find that Manafae had turned many of the dead in the tombs into undead. Lorin had to battle his way back up to the monastery. By the time he reached his quarters, Lorin was exhausted. He had left word with his subordinates to close and bar the access to the tombs until he returned.

Here the information in the journals becomes sketchy due to damage. All the characters can piece together is that Lorin was working on some ritual or magic item that would close the gateway forever.

After five weeks, Lorin emerged with a large pack and his holy symbol. He ordered the tombs to be closed behind him and barred to anyone of the order. He hoped that a certain comet's proximity would help him with the task at hand.

Pools of Light (EL 6)

The fight with the dusk beasts has caught the attention of other denizens of the chasm. The light in the distant darkness is gone, but the group hears the sound of something coming toward them out of the still water that fills most of the bottom of the chasm.

Lorin couldn't destroy all of the undead created by Manafae, and six of the evil cleric's skeletons have been surviving in the chasm with the help of the xeg-yi (the floating light the characters saw), which has moved into the stone wall of the chasm and is moving toward the characters, ahead of the skeletons, but invisible within the wall.

The skeletons stop 90 feet out from the edge of the water to draw the group into the water to engage them. Once the characters get at least 30 feet into the water, the xeg-yi comes out of the wall and attacks from behind, which is the signal for the skeletons to charge into melee.

Where the attack occurs, the water is about 3 feet deep, tapering off 1 foot per 10 feet to the water's edge. Characters in 3 feet of water take a -2 penalty on all actions (-1 if they move back to 2-foot depth). The skeletons suffer the same penalty, but the xeg-yi does not.

Here's a quick reminder for fighting underwater (from the D&D FAQ): If you don't have a swimming speed (or a freedom of movement effect), you suffer a -2 penalty to attacks and damage when underwater. Any slashing weapon, blunt weapon, claw attack, or tail attack also inflicts half damage (subtract the 2 points first, then take half of the rest and round down). Remember that a successful hit still inflicts at least 1 point of damage. Even if you have a swimming speed, you inflict half damage with slashing or blunt weapons (but not claws) unless you have a freedom of movement effect.

Skeletons (6): hp 9 each; see Monster Manual page 165.

Xeg-Yi: CR 5; Medium-size outsider (incorporeal); HD 5d8+5; hp 27; Init +3; Spd fly 20 ft. (good); AC 17 (touch 17, flat-footed 14); Atk +8 melee touch (1d6 and negative energy, 4 incorporeal touchs) or +8 ranged touch (1d8, negative energy ray); SA Negative energy lash 5/day, rebuke undead 5/day; SQ Incorporeal subtype, outsider traits; AL N; SV Fort +5, Ref +7, Will +4; Str -, Dex 17, Con 12, Int 7, Wis 10, Cha 18.

Skills and Feats: Diplomacy +6, Hide +10, Search +5, Sense Motive +8, Spot +8; Combat Reflexes, Extra Turning.

Negative Energy Lash (Su): A xeg-yi can make a ranged touch attack or hit with an incorporeal touch attack to infuse a target with negative energy. This deals an additional 2d8+5 points of damage to a living target but heals an undead creature by the same amount. A xeg-yi can control its negative energy enough to avoid healing an undead foe (dealing only the base damage).

Rebuke Undead (Su): A xeg-yi can flood a 60-foot-radius area with negative energy, making undead creatures cower in fear. It rebukes undead as a 5th-level cleric, doing so up to five times per day. It cannot command undead.

Incorporeal Subtype: Can be harmed only by other incorporeal creatures, +1 or better magic weapons, spells, spell-like abilities, or supernatural abilities; immune to all nonmagical attack forms; 50% chance to ignore any damage from a corporeal source (except for force effects, such as magic missiles, and attacks made with ghost touch weapons); can pass through solid objects (but not force effects) at will; attacks ignore natural armor, armor, and shields (though deflection bonuses and force effects work normally); moves silently (cannot be heard with Listen checks unless desired).

Outsider Traits: Darkvision 60 ft.; cannot be raised or resurrected (though a wish or miracle spell can restore life).

Tactics: The xeg-yi uses surprise to attack and then tries to retreat back into the wall when possible to mount another surprise attack. It also uses its negative energy lash to heal the skeletons if they are not completely destroyed early. (Note: Living with the xeg-yi for ten years has made the skeletons much heartier than average.)

The Cliffhanger

After defeating the xeg-yi and its skeleton minions, the group continues down the chasm. The water levels off at 30 feet deep, and the going is slow and cold. After a short time, the characters begin to hear noises. A successful Listen check (DC 20) discerns the noises of some creature wailing in the distance.

 



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