The Trouble in Town
By Eric Haddock
Episode Three: Safe Room
The Trouble in Town is a short adventure for four 10th-level characters. The adventure takes place near a walled town by a shallow river with a nonfunctioning, long abandoned aqueduct. Dungeon Masters can modify the adventure to accommodate higher-level characters by giving humanoid foes more class levels and increasing the HD and/or age category of other opponents.
The PCs have already started investigating the disappearances of citizens of Auldlar, and their discoveries have taken them to the old tower. Inside, they've discovered a few nefarious beings and some interesting magic. In this episode, the PCs reach the safest room in the tower -- and its strangest.
This episode uses the Githyanki Citadel Main Watch Tower from the Map-a-Week feature as the map for the old tower.
The Old Tower, Second Floor
When you arrive in the room, your senses are immediately assaulted by foul odors, horrible screeching noises, and a most unwholesome light that is of a color you've never seen before and which bathes everything in a strange metallic hue that's quite unsettling. Dominating the southern area of the room is a small table, upon which is the body of a human child dressed in a manner keeping with Auldlar fashions. Attached to the body is an array of glass tubes flowing with liquids that glow with that strange color you've never seen. As you look, the child turns its head and looks at you. The screeching and howling is coming from something in the western portion of the room -- a small box with an iron-barred window. The box is shaking madly, but a short, bright silver chain, set a foot above the floor, holds it close to the wall. The ceiling here is stone.
The teleportation area is the easternmost square of the room on the map.
The little boy is named Nevile and is in the process of being converted into a creature under Golgon's control -- and is still alive. He is suffering from the effects of the screeching (see below) and needs to be taken to another area for questioning.
Once questioned, he can say that he was taken by flying creature whose description the PCs can recognize as the yrthak. Then, he says he was put to sleep by a demon, and he woke up with the tubes in him, then fell back asleep again before being woken by the PCs. He doesn't know anything more than this, nor has he seen any of the other victims (nor was he aware of them). If the PCs tell him the identity of the other missing children or of the baker, he feels very sad, for he knows Triona and is fond of her (and of course he knows Walford, as everyone in Auldlar does).
The sound of the screeching is constant, shrill, and maddening. Those who fail a Fortitude save (DC 15) suffer a -2 penalty to attack rolls and skills, and they cannot hear well enough to converse with others for 10 rounds. If a victim remains within the area of effect (the room) until the effect wears off, the victim must succeed at another Fortitude save or suffer the effects listed above again. This is a sonic effect.
The tubing extending from the beakers into the boy is filled with a metallic-looking liquid. The glasswork on the table is normal glass. If they are broken (such as in an effort to quickly free the boy), the liquid splashes everything on the table and within 5 feet of the table.
The metallic liquid acts as a most horrible contact poison. A successful Fortitude save (DC 24) avoids poisoning. Those that fail suffer 3d6 temporary Strength damage initially. Victims must succeed at another Fortitude save (DC 24) to avoid secondary 3d6 temporary Strength damage one minute later.
Boxed Monster (EL 8)
The creature inside the box is actually two versions of the will-o'-wisp created by Golgon. Instead of being a glowing ball of vapor, they're spheres of darkness. They are under Golgon's command and are instructed to remain in the box unless anyone enters the room. If anyone does, they fly out of the window of the box and attack the nearest living target, and they keep concentrating their attacks on that target until it's dead.
Dark Wisps (2): CR 6; Small aberration (Air); HD 12d8; hp 60; Init +13; Spd fly 50 ft. (perfect); AC 29 (touch 29, flat-footed 20); Atk +19 melee (2d8, shock); SQ darkvision 60 ft., natural invisibility, spell immunity; AL CE; SV Fort +4, Ref +13, Will +11; Str , Dex 29, Con 10, Int 15, Wis 16, Cha 12.
Skills and Feats: Bluff +13, Diplomacy +3, Hide +13, Intimidate +3, Listen +18, Search +15, Spot +19; Alertness, Blind-Fight, Dodge, Improved Initiative.
Natural Invisibility (Ex): A startled or frightened dark wisp can extinguish its darkness, effectively becoming invisible as the spell.
Spell Immunity (Ex): The only spells that can affect a dark wisp are magic circle against chaos, magic circle against evil, magic missile, maze, protection from chaos, and protection from evil.
Silver Chain of Teleportation
The chain attached to the box and the wall is magical. At first it may seem that the chain is created to be extra-strong to hold whatever is in the box. In actuality, the chain is the teleportation method Golgon uses to leave the tower and enter his chamber.
Silver Chain of Teleportation: The silver chain of teleportation allows a user to instantly teleport to a fixed location after speaking the command word. The location was designated at the time of creation by the creator. The command word for the silver chain is "spider" (in Infernal) and, when spoken while touching the chain, teleports the speaker to Golgon's chamber only. Because of the fixed location involved, the target location is a "very familiar" one.
Caster Level: 10th; Prerequisites: Craft Wondrous Item, teleport; Market Price: 90,000 gp; Weight: 8 lbs.
The Old Tower, Third Floor
The third floor is little more than a stairway with an attached crawl space. The distance from floor to ceiling is only 5 feet. Stored here are various supplies needed to maintain an alchemical laboratory. If sold, all the material in the space could be sold for 300 gp.
The PCs now have a method for meeting Golgon, the individual responsible for the kidnappings and, perhaps, deaths of the townspeople.
In the next episode, the PCs face off with Golgon in his secret chamber.