Kingdom of the Blind
By Jeff Quick
Complete Cliffhanger (301k ZIP/PDF)
Episode 4: Snakes Alive
Episode 3: Don't Look Now...
Episode 2: Stairdown
Episode 1: Noise and Motion
Cliffhangers Archive
The Approaching Swarm
Kingdom of the Blind
Into the Forsaken Temple's Crypt
The Trouble in Town
The Light of Despair
Training Grounds
Lorin's Chasm
Bridge Work
Nest of Corruption
A Giant Ransom
Black Water
The Horror of Lannock Hill
Over the Edge
The Proper Count
The Tower of Lore
The Candlemaker's Fire
The Hallowed Hills
The Village of Camiram
Unearthing the Past
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Cliffhangers Adventures
Kingdom of the Blind
By Jeff Quick

Episode Four: Snakes Alive!

Kingdom of the Blind is a short adventure for four 8th-level characters. The adventure is set in a minor duchy that is fairly removed from the ruler of the land. As a result, trouble can brew in the land and the king would not know immediately.

Adventure Background

The PCs faced all manner of fungus last time. Perhaps with a little more investigation, they'll discover what's really going on with Zhanna and Dephyl.

The Third Floor

On the third floor, the PCs find the main room filled with stone statues. These statues display more variety than the ones on the first floor, and few look like carvings. They are almost all petrified creatures trapped by a medusa's gaze. The medusa statue is a self-portrait of Zhanna, and she placed it here to ward off intruders.

Many different kinds of creatures stand about the room in rows, and each stands about 10 feet apart from its neighbors. All statues are humanoid, but otherwise they are very different from one another. In addition to the normal array of humans, dwarves, elves, halflings, and gnomes, the room contains drow, orcs, goblins, and a half dozen other races -- many from the Underdark.

With a successful Intelligence check (DC 20), PCs notice a pattern to the order of the statues. The north half of the room contains martial statues in combat poses. The south half of the room contains spellcasting statues or figures in nonmartial poses. The west half of the room is made of surface creatures, while the east half of the room is Underdark dwellers.

Encounter 6 (EL 11)

Zhanna and Dephyl have a defense contingency plan because Dephyl figured his father would attempt to reclaim the citadel some day. As time permits and once they know that the PCs are in the citadel, Dephyl casts the following spells: First, Dephyl casts fly on both himself and Zhanna. Then he casts shield and mage armor on himself and mage armor on Zhanna. Finally, he casts bull's strength and cat's grace on Zhanna, and cat's grace on himself. Then they move to positions.

Dephyl begins in the doorway to the west room with his wand of magic missiles in one hand and potion of invisibility in the other. He has three-quarters cover as he fires around the corner into the room. Zhanna begins within the bedchamber, just inside the west door.

When Dephyl can see the first PC, he fires his wand in an attempt to draw the target toward him. Once anyone begins moving toward his location, he pulls back, drinks his potion, and flies up and out of the room so that Zhanna can sneak attack with her bow or move out and use her gaze attack.

Throughout the battle, Zhanna tries to stay centrally located while Dephyl flies around the outer edges firing his wand. Any time Dephyl does not know where Zhanna is, he stops and covers his good eye with his eye patch. This blinds him, but it also keeps him from accidentally falling victim to her gaze.

Throughout the battle, Zhanna continually makes comments about what statues she can see. For instance, she might say to the PCs, "I see you, hiding behind the statue of the raging barbarian!" or, "Do not think to topple the derro in hopes of distracting me!"

This is not melodrama. Since the room is arranged in quadrants, this is how she tells Dephyl where she is looking during battle to let him know if he's safe or not. If she mentions a statue that is in a different part of the room than he is in, he lifts his eye patch and fires his wand at available targets.

If the PCs catch up to Dephyl or attempt to take him hostage, Zhanna stops combat and negotiates his release. Though both are thoroughly evil, and they love one another and would prefer to leave the citadel than be separated. If the PCs get the upper hand, they promise to leave rather than risk being killed. If the PCs kill either Zhanna or Dephyl, the other flees the citadel.

Dephyl Fedorel: Male human Ari2/Sor6; CR 8; Medium-size humanoid; HD 2d8+2 plus 6d4+6; hp 35; Init +4; Spd 30 ft.; AC 10, touch 10, flat-footed 10; Atk +4 melee (1d4-1/19-20, masterwork dagger); AL LE; SV Fort +3, Ref +4, Will +10; Str 8, Dex 10, Con 12, Int 13, Wis 14, Cha 17.

Skills and Feats: Concentration +11, Diplomacy +10, Handle Animal +8, Innuendo +7, Knowledge (arcana) +8, Listen +4, Ride (horse) +2, Sense Motive +8, Spellcraft +11, Spot +9; Alertness, Blind-Fight, Improved Initiative, Lightning Reflexes.

Sorcerer Spells Known (6/7/6/4; base DC 13 + spell level): 0 -- detect magic, flare, light, mage hand, mending, open/close, read magic; 1st -- comprehend languages, mage armor, magic missile, shield; 2nd -- bull's strength, cat's grace; 3rd -- fly.

Possessions: eye patch of see invisibility, potion of invisibility, wand of magic missile (5th-level caster), masterwork dagger, clothes.

Dephyl wears his eye patch over his good eye when he's with Zhanna and accepts temporary blindness. When he's not using it to block his vision, it allows him to see invisible creatures and things as the see invisibility spell.

Eye Patch of See Invisibility: The eye patch of see invisibility enables its wearer to see as the see invisible spell whenever the patch is worn. It obstructs normal vision, however. Moving the eye patch is a move equivalent action.

Caster Level: 3rd; Prerequisites: Craft Wondrous Item, see invisibility; Market Price: 16,800, Weight: --.

Zhanna Serpentlock: Female medusa Rog3; CR 10; Medium-size monstrous humanoid; HD 6d8+6 plus 3d6+3; hp 49; Init +3; Spd 30 ft.; AC 16, touch 13, flat-footed 16; Atk +8/+3 melee (1d4/19-20, dagger) and +6 melee (1d4 plus poison, snakes); or +12/+7 ranged (1d6+1/x3, +1 shortbow); SA petrifying gaze, poison, sneak attack +2d6; SQ darkvision 60 ft., evasion, traps, uncanny dodge (Dex bonus to AC); AL LE; SV Fort +4, Ref +11, Will +7; Str 10, Dex 17, Con 12, Int 13, Wis 12, Cha 15.

Skills and Feats: Appraise +4, Balance +5, Bluff +11, Craft (sculpting) +4, Diplomacy +6, Disguise +11, Hide +6, Innuendo +4, Intimidate +4, Jump +2, Listen +6, Move Silently +10, Open Lock +6, Sense Motive +6, Spot +12, Tumble +8, Use Magic Device +4; Alertness, Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Weapon Finesse (snakes).

Petrifying Gaze (Su): Zhanna's gaze can turn an opponent within 30 feet to stone permanently (Fortitude save DC 15).

Poison (Ex): Zhanna can deliver an injury poison (Fortitude save DC 14) on a successful hit with her snakes. The initial damage is 1d6 Strength, and the secondary damage is 2d6 Strength.

Evasion (Ex): If exposed to any effect that normally allows a character to attempt a Reflex saving throw for half damage, Zhanna takes no damage with a successful saving throw.

Possessions: +1 shortbow, 20 arrows, 200 gp worth of jewelry, colorful sarong.

In addition to Zhanna's jewelry, the trunks and dressers in their bedchamber hold 1,120 gp, a set of moonstone and sapphire jewelry (a matching necklace and two earrings worth 1,500 gp), fine silk cloth (100 gp), a potion of cure moderate wounds, a flask of sovereign glue, and 4 vials of oil of slipperiness.

Continuing the Adventure

If either Dephyl or Zhanna gets away, the PCs have earned a lifelong enemy. Jellhyn Fedorel is shocked and amazed that his son is still alive, though he hardly mourns him and seems secretly relieved that he doesn't have to concern himself with his son any more. The PCs might also want to find out where the pair was getting all the blocks of granite and the identity of the mysterious Gremminu. Finally, one of the petrified statues might be of someone Jellhyn recognizes as someone important. If the PCs can turn this individual back to flesh, or at least cart the body to the individual's friends, they would probably express their thanks with gold.

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