It is very unlikely
that all the characters can fly down the cliff, so at least some of
them have to climb. Whether they fly or climb does not materially affect
the encounter in this part of the adventure.
The cliffs are 300
feet high at this point and are fairly level. There are sufficient handholds
to climb down without ropes, but this is very difficult without a number
of ranks in the Climb skill. Climbing the cliff without ropes requires
a successful Climb check DC 20 (rough surface with some narrow handholds).
With a rope, the DC on the Climb check is only 5, but there are no visible
ledges on the side of the cliff to perch on, so they have to tie together
300 feet of rope to use this method all the way down or use pitons.
A successful check allows a character to cover half their base speed
in feet. Lots of checks are required, so you might want to have them
make a check at the start, one at 50 feet from the top, one at 150 feet,
and one at 250 feet. They have to make checks every round while under
About 100 feet down
the cliff, a cavern entrance opens up, though it is not visible from
the top of the cliff. Inside the cavern lives a manticore that hears
the characters on the cliff when they make their Climb check at 50 feet
(unless the players specify that their PCs are taking care not to make
noise and succeed). The manticore flies out of its cave upon hearing
the PCs and fires a volley of spikes at the one(s) nearest his cave
as he circles for another attack. He continues to use spikes until he
runs out, and then tries to pull characters off the cliff with its claws.
If it is reduced to 10% of its hit points, it flies off to heal. It
is defending its home, but it is not suicidal.
62 hp; see Monster Manual page 130.
The manticore gets
a +2 circumstance bonus to attack characters that are climbing, and
climbing characters lose their Dexterity bonuses to AC (and any other
bonuses lost when they lose their Dexterity bonus, like a monk's Wisdom
bonus or a bonus from the Dodge feat). Characters injured while climbing
have to make a Climb check when injured (DC appropriate to their method
of climbing); failure means they fall at least 250 feet and take 20d6
falling damage (and probably die).
Characters can try
to climb faster; see the description in the Climb skill in the Player's
Handbook on page 65.
Assuming the characters
survive this encounter, they can continue downward, or investigate the
manticore's cave before continuing downward. The cave is large and smells
rather like a lion lives there. They find it littered with bones and
ruined armor and equipment. The PCs can discover three ruined backpacks
with normal adventuring equipment (including climbing equipment if the
characters need it), a total of 85 gp in coins, and two broken longswords.
The manticore had not acquired very much treasure, as the equipment
from his victims tended to fall to the water below.
Rest is probably
needed, and the only places to rest are the manticore's cave or the
top of the cliff. The manticore returns in 24 hours, so they should
probably not stay too long. If it returns, it has a new arsenal of spikes
for the day and has healed 9 hit points.
Crossing the reef
bed to the lighthouse should not be hard. They can swim, or they can
climb over the submerged reef, or the group could find something to
use as a boat.