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Tuesday, 4th June, 2002, 11:15 PM #101
Gallant (Lvl 3)
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Tuesday, 4th June, 2002, 11:16 PM #102
Wednesday, 5th June, 2002, 12:19 AM #103
That's what I figured, but I wanted to make sure.Originally posted by nemmerle
I figure you could go head-to-head with the winner of this for the title of ENworld Iron DM. . .
You are, of course, entitled to your opinion.
When you offer it to me, I reserve the right to trade my own for it.
Turning 40: It's better than the alternative.
Wednesday, 5th June, 2002, 03:45 AM #104
The Mirror of Being
The Mirror of Being (suitable for parties level 8-10, I think...)
150 years ago the drow archmage Thraxis D’Gall created the Mirror of Being. It consisted of three large mirrors set in a triptych frame, with three magical gems set in the centerpiece of each frame. It was used to transform anyone in the reflections into any living creature the user desires. Unlike polymorph spells, someone transformed by the mirror into another creature becomes that creature in every respect permanently. If their new form is intelligent they will retain memory of their previous form. The mirror also has the effect of forcing the creature who has been transformed to obey the person controlling the mirror. Finally, if the controller’s willpower is strong enough, they can trap a creature within the mirror, rather than transforming them.
Thraxis used the mirror to create a small army of driders, using the people of the nearby town of Windfield as unwilling guinea pigs. Thraxis began a campaign of conquest and destruction. He was finally stopped by the Company of the Silver Sundial. Cat’s Eye, half elven bard and leader of the company, engaged Thraxis in a mental battle for control of the mirror while the rest of the party fought off his minions. Cat’s Eye was able to seize control of the mirror, but was unable to trap Thraxis in the mirror or transform him into a harmless form. He was, however, able to transform Thraxis into a drider (effectively lowering his maximum and current wizard level to 6-see monster manual entry on driders). The transformation broke Thraxis’ control over the driders. Horrified at what had been done to them, they turned on him. Together the company and the driders managed to defeat Thraxis, scarring his face horribly in the process. Being unfamiliar with the mirror’s powers, Cat’s Eye was unable to force Thraxis to obey him, and Thraxis escaped via teleport. Cat’s Eye used the mirror to return the villagers to normal. The company did not possess the means to destroy the mirror, so they removed the gems that focused the power of the mirror and magically hid them in the large sundial the town erected in their honor in the square. Cat’s Eye wrote a short riddle explaining how to retrieve the gems and recorded it in his journal. Mirisal Argent, a paladin in the service of Pelor and member of the company, swore that his family would forevermore guard the mirror and keep it safe.
Present day: The current guardian of the mirror is Simiran Argent. Unlike his heroic ancestor, he is a fop with a drinking problem. His butler, Jared, is actually Cat’s Eye. He has served the Argent family in the capacity of butler all this time in order to help protect the mirror. Only Mirisal was aware of the deception. Argent Mansion, an estate a few miles outside of Windfield, is where the mirror is kept. Simiran is unaware of the mirror’s powers; he simply thinks of it as another family heirloom. Thraxis has finally located the mirror. He wants it back so he can attempt to return himself to his original form. He has created a lair in some nearby underground caverns and recruited a quartet of driders for bodyguards. There is no surface entrance to the caverns; all entrances and exits come through the underdark. He has acquired a ring of elemental command (earth) to allow minions and underlings access to the caverns via the passwall and stone shape abilities of the ring. Having learned his lesson the last time, he stays in the shadows this time and hires the local thieves’ guild to get the mirror back. They send Darion, a werebear enforcer, and Whisper, a gnome rogue, to get the mirror back. Darion is needed to carry the mirror as each frame of the mirror is 8 feet high and four feet wide; the entire thing weighs over 800 lbs. Whisper handles the breaking and entering. They encounter Simiran and Cat’s Eye and beat them soundly. They steal the mirror and return it to Thraxis using the ring. Upon noticing the missing gems, Thraxis flies into a rage and orders them to recover the gems.
The party is approached by a battered Cat’s Eye (Simiran is comatose). He invites them back to the mansion, where he requests their help in recovering the mirror. Use whatever will motivate the party; Cat’s Eye is wealthy and has acquired a lot of unique or magical items. He reveals the mirror’s history and powers, as well as the fact that it is useless without the gems. He also reveals that the gems can be used as lodestones to locate the mirror. He tells the party where the gems are, but realizes he can no longer remember how to get them out, due to age and being knocked around by a werebear. He advises them that the riddle with the key is in his journal.
Meanwhile, Darion and Whisper have returned and have been eavesdropping. Once Cat’s Eye reveals where the riddle is, Darion bursts into the mansion to attack/distract the party while Whisper tries to sneak into Cat’s Eye’s room to retrieve the journal.
The riddle (written in elven)
The gems of being are locked in time-
Sapphire at dusk,
Ruby at dawn,
And Opal at noon.
Name the gems
at the proper time
to set them free.
In order to release the gems from the sundial, one need only speak the elven words for dusk, dawn, and noon at each specific time of day. They must be spoken in order, and they must be spoken in elven. If asked, Cat’s Eye will remember that the words must be spoken in elven, but that is all.
Whisper will try to avoid the fight and flee with the journal. Darion will fight until he is taken out or Whisper has escaped. If the party defeats Darion and Whisper, they are free to take the journal to the sundial and attempt to solve the riddle. If the party defeats Darion and Whisper escapes, the party will probably race to the sundial in an attempt to stop Whisper before he can get the gems. Due to the fact that it will take almost a full 24 hours before all three gems can be removed, Whisper will seek the guild’s help. Depending on the party’s actions, the guild may stake out the sundial, send assassins after the party, hide Whisper in a safe house while he figures out the riddle, or even try to steal any gems they retrieve. Whisper will try to retrieve at least one gem if possible and take it to Thraxis. Darion had the ring, so if the party beat Darion, he will have to get Thraxis to let him in.
Once the party has any or all of the gems they can be used to track the mirror. The gems vibrate as they get closer to the mirror. The gems will lead the party directly to a dead end tunnel. This is where Darion and Whisper gained access to the caverns using the ring. If the party doesn’t think to use the ring (which Cat’s Eye can identify), they can break through the wall using mining tools in approximately 15-30 minutes. Of course, this will alert Thraxis and his drider bodyguards, who will be prepared for a fight..
If Thraxis gets the mirror and all 3 gems, he will use the mirror to return to his original form, with all knowledge, levels, and spells. Fortunately, the mirror takes complete concentration to use, and transformation takes 1 minute (10 rounds). During this time the party can still stop him by either removing Thraxus from in front of the mirror or removing the gems. His drider guard will try to prevent this. Removing the gems will create a magic backlash that will trap Thraxis in the mirrors and shatter them, trapping him forever.
Darion-8th level human/werebear barbarian.
Whisper-10th level gnome rogue.
Cat’s Eye-12th level half elf bard.
Thraxis-6th level wizard/drider
Drider Bodyguards (4)-standard driders
Thieves Guild-use standard rogue and fighter templates from the dmg, levels 2-10.
(this was a lot harder than i thought it would be...)
Wednesday, 5th June, 2002, 03:50 AM #105
btw, my ingredients were:
ring of elemental command
i forgot to list em, but i didn't want to cheat and edit, so here they are...
Wednesday, 5th June, 2002, 07:52 AM #106
Superhero (Lvl 15)
- Ring of Elemental Command
A Sundial in Shadow
A short adventure for characters level 5-7
Many a long year ago (records are not available to specify the era) a sage widely regarded by contemporaries as a crackpot made his way to the mountain village of Arid View to oversee the construction of an unquestionably odd work of architecture. This was to be his home for many years to come until his unexplained disappearance (and presumed demise) caused the villagers to once again take notice of his strange work. The sage was rumored (but not publicly proven) to be a master in the arcane arts and particularly interested in the theory of “chronomancy.”
Arid View was a small trading and mining town on a cliff peak of the northern face of the Black Mountains—just above the cloud-line. Not too far below, a savage tribe (or, perhaps, several tribes) of dwarves hunted the thick woods of the mountain and fought to contain the drow and driders inside the mountains.
Shortly after the disappearance of the Sage of Arid View, an obscenely wealthy young man by the name of Corion of the Vale decided that he absolutely must own the former home of the Sage and purchased the site from the town for such a great quantity of money that the town coffers overflowed for several years.
Corion had his eccentricities. His greatest oddity was his tendency to collect rare or odd items—and creatures. Naturally, Corion was no adventurer. Rather, he hired special mercenary teams of “collectors” to acquire the things that he wanted to add to his collection, often at great cost. Unfortunately for Corion, his tastes often ran to sentient and even intelligent creatures and his excesses eventually brought about his end.
Arid View suffered a fate just as cruel. An army of driders entered the town in search of their missing commander—who was, in fact, being held captive by the eccentric collector. The driders, however, had been followed by their enemy, the drow, and the town of Arid View was the unhappy site of a monumental battle—a battle so large that the town was razed and taboo sprang forth so terrible that none would dare approach it. Even taboo faded into history, eventually; that was some five centuries ago.
In order to become involved in this adventure, the PCs need only to be traveling the paths through the Black Mountains in an effort to cross them, or they could deliberately be seeking the ruins of Arid View—for legend has not entirely faded from memory of the fabulously rich town above the clouds. The site could be in another location, if the DM wishes to have the PCs stumble across the ruins unwittingly in another clime, but it must be an arid place with little cloud cover.
Curiosity should prove great enough for the PCs to sustain interest in the adventure long enough to solve the puzzle, but if curiosity does not suffice, it is quite possible for the Sage’s House to still contain a great deal of Corion’s riches—even though this adventure presumes that the place has been fairly thoroughly looted.
As the PCs near the ruins, presuming that they do so during the day, a gleam is apparent as the sunlight reflects off of what looks to be a massive gem. As the party nears the site, it is evident that the bright structure is, in fact, a large mansion, obviously made of glass. Of the town that once surrounded it, little remains. Five hundred years have buried the rubble of the once-thriving town in overgrowth. This is not the case for the mansion, which, the PCs will soon discover, is cylindrical—stretching up toward the cloudless sky. Weeds and vines do creep up the frosted glass wall of the building, but on the whole, time has not touched it.
Inside the building, the PCs may begin to understand why this is so. A few things are immediately obvious. The building consists of a single massive room. A large, frothing bear is suspended in the air—in mid leap—its froth frozen in space. Several types of vermin scurry along the floors and walls. A ring of bookshelves circle the building—all only three feet high and most quite empty.
Two cages are open—one by force and one by some other means. A face peers up from the polished marble floor—it is an image of stark terror, particularly haunting because it is staring directly at the bear. Many other cages are around the room, each containing some unusual, but mostly mundane creature. Each is, like the bear, motionless.
The ceiling is white. Slightly less than half of it allows light to pass through. The most intriguing aspect of the room, however, is that it resembles, more than anything else, a colossal sundial. A smooth marble vane stretches to the ceiling and towers over the carved markings on the floor that should read hours but instead display arcane sigils of some sort (a successful Knowledge: Arcane check at DC 15 suggests that they may have something to do with time).
A large triptych stands conspicuously in the center of the room. Its first panel depicts a tall, lean man casting some sort of spell in the shadow of the Sundial in the morning. The second panel depicts a much shorter and wider man cowering in the shadow of the Sundial at midday the second figure bears a strong resemblance to the face in the floor. The final panel depicts a group of people who look strikingly like the PCs shattering the Sundial in the afternoon.
What might not be immediately obvious is that a man hangs, cocooned, from the white ceiling, that that ceiling is a thick layer of webbing underneath the true glass ceiling, and that an albino drider also hangs motionless from the darkened portion of the ceiling, camouflaged against the white backdrop. These may be easily discovered if the PCs have a means of climbing the vane (DC 20) or the walls (not possible through mundane means), or of flying up to investigate. Otherwise, the PCs have a chance to spot them at DC 28.
If the PCs climb the vane, they will discover that they can pass through some of the strands of webbing that are not so tight and they will be on the other side of the webbing. The intensity of the light reflecting off of the webs will likely blind the PCs for 1d4 turns unless they make a Reflex check at 15 to shield their eyes or take precautions before they ascend.
Most of the remaining books in the bookshelves focus on the theory of “chronomancy” and are nothing more than philosophical tomes. Etched into the side of the vane, an archaic form of the common tongue pronounces the following:
Stand, ye, in the shadow of this vessel.
Know, ye, the hour of your arrival.
Speak, ye, the words of Timeless travel.
Beware, ye, the hour that the sun shines not—
For that is the last hour.
A secret trap door lies in the center of the room, leading to the personal chambers of the former inhabitants of this building. It may be discovered on a Search check at DC 15—the looters of this building had no real desire to keep the door hidden. Below, a few personal effects are evident, including a desk stuffed with records of accounting. These are dated and list a long series of transactions between Corion and various groups of “collectors.”
Two of the later entries include a “snow-spider” and a dwarven werebear—both collected on the same day—less than a week before the final entry. A successful bardic knowledge check at DC 20 will remind the bard that a local legend speaks of the dwarven spider hunter, Raging Bear, who disappeared five hundred years ago. He was rumored to have been bitten by a werebear during his Trial of Manhood.
At the very last, the entries begin to look like journal entries. In the final couple of days, the entries indicate, “the snow-spider has gotten out somewhere; I don’t know where it’s escaped to and now, my butler has gone missing.”
The last entry reads: “The drow and the driders are at war. They’re taking over the town. I may have to leave my beloved collections.”
Little of value has been left in these chambers, but one oddity remains. A hand protrudes from the ceiling, weighed down by a stone ring, which is impossible to remove through mundane rings. The hand, in fact, belongs to Corion, as does the face seen in the floor, above. The ring is the last of Corion’s inanimate collections. He believed that the ring was a cursed ring of meld into stone. In fact, it is a cursed ring of elemental command (earth). It functions in all ways as an uncursed version (and has met the conditions necessary to awaken its greater powers, with Corion’s final ill-fated usage of it), but it weighs the wearer down in such a way as to lower the wearer’s Dexterity score by 8 and the Strength by 4. The ring may only be removed from the wearer if a remove curse is cast on it, or a dispel magic successfully suppresses the magic of the ring. The former does not eliminate the magics in the ring.
A Search check in the lower chambers at DC 25 reveals a secret panel undiscovered by previous looters, behind which lies a sack filled with 5000 gold coins minted no more recently than 500 years ago.
Corion was never much interested in the workings of the creator of this mansion and paid little heed to the warning etched into the vane of the Sundial. His lack of studious attention also led to the demise of his butler. He assumed that the lack of components would render the spell casting half-spider powerless. How was he to know that it needed no components for its suggestion ability? His butler was seduced toward the cage, while feeding the creatures in Corion’s collection one evening, and was captured by the drider when he ventured too close. The butler was relieved of the keys to the cages and the drider escaped, climbing up to the ceiling—with the butler (now hanging lifeless in a cocoon), where it immediately began to spin its web. The web continued to become thicker and thicker until it began to blot out the light of day. Had Corion paid more attention to his surroundings, he may have noticed, but his mind was bent toward his next capture.
During this time, the dwarf, Raging Bear, had begun to learn that he could control his lycanthropy to some extent—that is to say, although he would still become a bear during full moons, he found that he could also change into a bear when he raged. The raging bear possessed a strength that even the sturdy steel bars could not hold back and, on the day that the drow and the driders began to pour into Arid View, the bear burst from its cage and hurled itself toward its hated captor, who frantically slipped on the ring of elemental command and sunk into the marble.
At that moment, the sun passed over the opaque portion of the drider’s web and the Sundial’s progress was interrupted for the first time. Time stopped. The effects were in every way identical to a temporal stasis spell, except that it effected every living creature within the building at the time and that dispel magic does not have a direct effect on the spell. There are, however, a few ways to remove the effects. One would be to reestablish the Sundial’s connection with the sun, most likely by burning away the web (requiring massive amounts of acid or fire). A second solution would be to destroy the Sundial, a feat most easily accomplished with the aid of the various powers of the ring of elemental command. A third solution would be to dispel each of the twelve sigils on the face of the Sundial, in effect, destroying the Sundial in a much less physical manner.
Once the stasis effects are dispelled, a melee ensues. If the PCs have removed the ring from Corion, he is violently expelled (upward) from the marble floor, suffering 5d6 points of damage. If he still wears the ring, he passes into the chambers below and hopes that the werebear does not find a way down to confront him. The werebear will end its rage after two rounds and revert to a dwarf. When this happens, he will be much more reasonable, but will still be wary and seek nothing more than escape.
Despite the fact that Raging Bear is usually Chaotic Good, he has no control over his rage and will attack the nearest targets in a straightforward manner, while he is under its influence. Despite the force of this creature, the real threat to the party is the drider. If the PCs have not noticed it, they have one chance to do so with a Spot check at DC 25. If they do not, the drider drops down on them and receives a surprise round, then levitates away. The drider will continue to attack the PCs with spells and by jumping in and levitating away for as long as it is able. Ultimately, it will not yield its life in this combat, if it can help it, and tries to escape the building if it is losing its battle.
Corion is a level 3 Expert with 9 hp. He is Chaotic Neutral, extraordinarily self-centered, and almost too attached to his possessions to leave them behind, even when his survival depends upon it. No amount of evidence that the PCs have saved him will influence him to reward the PCs.
Raging Bear is a dwarf from one of the local hunting tribes. He is a level 1 Barbarian with the Werebear template and ranks in Control Shape. He is usually Chaotic Good. He is an afflicted werebear, bitten during his Trial of Manhood, an archaic ritual among his tribe, in which the dwarf goes out alone to survive in the wilderness when he has come of age; it is no longer practiced. In addition, he is claustrophobic—life in captivity does not agree with Raging Bear. He is potentially a good ally and companion for the PCs since the ways of his tribe have changed and even the most venerable dwarves are too young to have ever met him.
“Snow-spider” is an albino drider. Once an albino drow, such an aberration was virtually guaranteed to displease his goddess and be transformed into a drider. Among the driders, albinos tend to either be dominated and subdued or, if they have particularly strong personalities (as “Snow-spider” does) to become natural leaders. Through years of dedicated treachery and maneuvering, “Snow-spider” has become the leader of a small army of driders bent on destroying as many drow as possible. It was a great misfortune for the army when “Snow-spider” disappeared—captured by a group of adventurers. For the next week, the drider army hunted down the adventurers and traced them to the town of Arid View. They planned an attack and began to methodically search the village for their leader when the drow army that had been tracking them for some time ambushed them. The battle that followed destroyed the town of Arid View. “Snow-spider” is Chaotic Evil, cunning, and ruthless. Revenge drives the drider, but he knows the value of patience. His stats are as a normal drider with a Cha of 19.
Wednesday, 5th June, 2002, 02:14 PM #107
Gallant (Lvl 3)
Well, I have looked over both entries in brief and will be judging them more closely sometime today. . .
Oh, and congrats! I was certain at least one of you would email me or post asking me what the heck a "triptych" is. . .
Wednesday, 5th June, 2002, 02:21 PM #108
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
and for the rest of us?
have you ever retired a human by mistake?
Wednesday, 5th June, 2002, 02:37 PM #109
Spellbinder (Lvl 16)
I will admit it - I had to look a triptych up in the dictionary :rolleyes:
And Nemm, I am available all day as far as I know for round 2.
I am in fact drinking my ginkgo laden brain broo even as we speak to get my mental faculties good and perculated.
Wednesday, 5th June, 2002, 02:55 PM #110
Waghalter (Lvl 7)
Well, now that you mention it, I wouldn't mind knowing what a MacGuffin is...Originally posted by nemmerle
Oh, and congrats! I was certain at least one of you would email me or post asking me what the heck a "triptych" is. . .
Sounds like a euphemism for passing wind to me.