The Scarlet Servant, Part 3
I wrote this as a quick interlude while the party explores their new land. I knew my party would be suspicious as hell, and take up most of their time trying to figure out where I had hidden the dragon, or tribe of 20 trolls. They finally found a small cave entrance in the SE corner of their land. That entrance led to the "Dungeon of the Fire Opal".
I wrote this as a quick interlude while the party explores their new land. I knew my party would be suspicious as hell, and take up most of their time trying to figure out where I had hidden the dragon, or tribe of 20 trolls. Actually, all that I hid on their land was this family of Owlbears. They haven't even found them yet. They did find a small cave entrance in the SE corner of their land. That entrance led to the "Dungeon of the Fire Opal".
It was an adventure that was published in issue #84 of Dungeon magazine. I wanted to see how the party would stack up against a published module that was supposed to be at their Challenge Rating. Incidentally, my group hated the published module, so I probably won't use one again. If you can't get a hold of the Dungeon issue, the map that is used in it is the same one from the sample dungeon in the DMG. I included a synopsis of the adventure from the Dungeon Magazine web site at the end of this Interlude so everyone can at least get an idea of what the module is about. You can also just not give your party a lair to hide out in. Tell me if you use my stuff. Have fun!
After paying the back taxes that were owed on your new property, the Royal Exchequer authorizes the Royal Surveyor to present your party with a map of the land. The land covers 100 acres. The crown expects that you will do something with the land and make it useful.
The party will be able to reach their lands in about a week from Pardue. This, of course, means they will need to stock up on foodstuffs before heading out there. Most of their land is covered in forest, with the exception for the Northern third of the property. In that third there is a segment of the river as well as a beach.
As you come into a clearing you see a decent sized house sitting in the middle of the clearing. The house looks to be about 20 by 15 feet. You can see a small porch jutting from the front of the building. Whatever once covered the doors and windows have long since been destroyed. The outside of the building is covered in claw marks, and there is a definite reek to the area.
Any Rangers can make a Wilderness Survival Check at DC20 to notice the tracks and claw marks for what they are. Owlbears. If the party makes no attempt at being silent while approaching the house, one of the two adult Owlbears will charge out of the house at them. The other adult will remain inside until a rear attack can be made on one of the party, or the mate is seriously wounded. The three young Owlbears will stay in the house. If both adults leave the house, at least one will be waiting for the party in the front room when the party gets inside.
Owlbears (5): Large Beast, HD5, hp (adults 40, 45), (young 25, 30, 28, 24), Initiative +1 (Dex), Speed 30', AC15 (-1 size, +1 Dex, +5 natural), AT 2 claws +7 melee, bite +2 melee, dam claw 1d6+5, bite 1d8+2, face / reach 5' x 10' /5', SA Improved Grab (ex), SQ Scent, (f+8, r+5, w+2), SKILLS Listen +8, Spot +7, 1,350xp for each adult and 825xp for each young, 6,000xp total.
There is no treasure to be found in the house.
Dungeon of the Fire Opal
This synopsis has been copied from the Dungeon Magazine website:
The characters explore the ruins of an ancient monastery, learn more about what's in the dungeon under the ruins, find their way into the secret area to the south, and eventually find the legendary fire opal. The players also have a chance to piece together the mystery of what happened in the monastery.
One challenge is going to be finding the secret door that leads to the southern half of the dungeon. In some sense, that's no trick at all. Casting a speak with dead spell on the corpse of Abbot Hollowstrike might reveal more about the monastery and its layout. If the PCs haul the abbot's corpse to a friendly 5th-level cleric, they can get the spell cast for 150 gp.
If the characters don't hit on this stratagem, there are other ways they can find out about the secret door. They can purchase the map that Tordek, Mialee, Jozan, and Lidda found (as detailed in the "Example of Play" in the Dungeon Master's Guide).
Another important piece of information is that there's a ghost in the southern half of the ruins (the ghost of Grandil the gnoll). This particular ghost can possess characters, and that's a potentially deadly power. If the PCs stumble unprepared and at partial strength into an encounter with the ghost, they could all die. Giving the PCs some warning before they face the ghost can make the difference between life and death.