Cliffhangers Adventures

Lorin's Chasm
Episode Four: The Door Swings Open
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.

Lorin's Ghost

After the battle with the xeg-yi and its skeletons, the characters may need to retreat to the monastery for rest and healing. If they decide to spend a night recuperating after the third episode, the devil described below is already in the chamber when they return, having pushed his way through the rubble. If they press on after the xeg-yi battle, they may never have to face the osyluth.

Assuming they press on, the group comes to a smooth-walled, circular passage at the far end of the chasm that ascends up out of the water at about a 15-degree angle. After 25 feet, the passage has cleared the water and levels out, running an additional 25 feet before opening into a circular, domed chamber, half of which has caved in, leaving a small hill of stone rubble, piled 9 feet high in the back left portion of the room.

Opposite the hallway entrance, an arch is carved into the wall with six, rune-covered, bas-relief stones on the right side leading up to a keystone at the top of the arch that is inlaid with the symbol of Wee Jas. The left side of the arch is mostly covered in rubble. A vertical line, carved into the wall, runs down the middle of the archway from the bottom of the keystone to the floor. A broken amulet is embedded halfway up just to the right side of the vertical line. Read aloud the following when the PCs see the broken amulet:

A faint form manifests slowly in front of you, with the symbol of Pelor prominent upon his garb and a faint holy symbol of Pelor clutched in his hands. He looks at you pleadingly and then points to an arm that barely extrudes from the nearby rubble.

If the characters can find some way to speak with the ghost or cast speak with dead after finding Lorin's body, they learn that Lorin did come down to seal the gateway. He had crafted a magical amulet that, once placed on the gateway, would seal the door forever. However, when the comet flashed across the sky, the gateway flared open in an explosion of magic just as Lorin was embedding the amulet. The amulet was ripped in half by the force of the explosion and Lorin was tossed to the ground. Half of the amulet stayed in the doorway, holding closed the right half of the gate. However, the left half of the amulet was flung into the wall above the entrance to the hallway, where it remains still.

Lorin, barely conscious on the floor, watched in horror as an army of demons marched toward the half-open gate. Gathering his courage and determination, Lorin caused an earthquake that brought half of the temple down upon the invading demons, the gateway, and himself. Lorin had sealed the gate, but it had cost him his life.

The Door Swings Open (EL 6)

The ghost of Lorin tries to get the characters to uncover his body so he can be laid to rest. He also hopes that they will complete his mission by placing the left half of the amulet in its place in the gateway. However, to do this, the characters have to clear the rubble, making it much easier for larger demons and devils to come through. In addition, Lorin cannot speak, so it may be difficult for the characters to understand what he wishes. A successful Spot check (DC 25) locates the missing half of the amulet without any help from Lorin.

In addition, the runes in the stones on the buried half of the arch still radiate magic and are protected by glyph of warding spells set there by Manafae. The gateway can open portals to many other planes of existence if the right combination of stones is pressed. But if a person does not speak the words "Wee Jas" when pressing a runestone, the glyph explodes for 5d8 points of damage (acid, cold, fire, electricity, or sonic) or casts the spell searing light depending on which stone is pressed. The glyph of warding spells on the defunct half of the gateway no longer work.

For every ten minutes the characters are in the chamber, there is a 10% cumulative chance that the gateway flares open. Once open, there is a 5% cumulative chance per round that the osyluth notices the open gateway and send his lemures through to give him time to push through the rubble (which takes him two rounds of movement).

Osyluth: hp 26 (injured); see Monster Manual pages 48-51.

Lemures (2): hp 9; see Monster Manual pages 48-51.

Tactics: The osyluth immediately determines the alignment of all the PCs and then charms the most evil member of the group, using his innate telepathy to give commands to the character. If he must retreat, the osyluth commands the charmed party member to follow him through the gate.

The Cliffhanger

If the osyluth retreats with a character, there could be further adventures in another plane of existence where the group attempts to rescue their fellow adventurer. If the group is successful in sealing the gateway and returning Lorin's body to the monastery, they are rewarded by the monks and clerics, who may also have information about other adventures the group can undertake. Dungeon Masters can create their own treasure lists, or they can give out four aquamarine gems (worth 500 gp each) and four potions of cure moderate wounds along with one of the following items: incandescent blue ioun stone, ring of protection +2, bag of holding (bag 3) with 600 gp, or a +2 longsword.

 



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