Monday 5 March 2012

An Adventure for Every Monster - Cockatrice


Frequency: Uncommon
No. appearing: 1-6
Armour class: 6
Move: 6”/18”
Hit Dice: 5
Percentage in lair: 30%
Treasure type: D
No. of attacks: 1
Damage per attack: 1-3
Special attack: Touch turns to stone
Special defences: Nil
Magic Resistance: Standard
Intelligence: Animal
Alignment: Neutral
Size: Small
THAC0: 15
XP value: 315 + 5/hp

(I’m hypothesising that the cockatrices can choose whether or not to use their petrifaction ability since, if it was always active, they would never be able to eat anything)

This adventure takes place in an area of the dungeon where several schisms in the rock, twisting and difficult fissures converge into a huge underground cavern with ledges, cliffs, overhangs and outcroppings. It is known as the Cathedral and various areas have become home to assorted species and creatures. In the heights of the Cathedral is an area called the Rookeries, where various flying creatures have made their nests; harpies, gargoyles and of course, the cockatrices.

The ledge on which the cockatrices nest is about fifty feet long by twenty feet wide. It has a cliff face behind it and behind a pile of scree and rubble is a narrow cave entrance, down which a human might be able to crawl on their belly. It was once the lair of a flock of harpies who were driven out by the arrival of the cockatrices.

There is a statue of an adventurer on the ledge, who was investigating as she thought it was the lair of a nest of harpies, a body part of which she needed for a potion she was preparing. On a nearby vacant ledge is her backpack and equipment, including the other ingredients of the potion and a scroll that gives the recipe for said potion. The nature of the potion is for the DM to decide but it will be a potent and unique concoction. Her rope and grapnel are still attached to the edge of the cockatrices’ ledge but the rope has long since rotted to a state of uselessness.

The adventurer’s equipment also includes:

+2 spear, the head of which is barbed and hooked at the point where it joins the shaft. There are several odd-looking sigils engraved on the head itself. Its name is Ulcifor and it once belonged to the fighter of a band of adventurers who were reputed to have braved the depths of the Nine Hells themselves in search of the blood of a Prince of Devils in which to steep their weapons.

Philtre of Love – potent and effective, it is contained within a bottle carved of pink crystal, topped with a stopper in the shape of a heart. The bottle bears the legend “Emotional Rescue, Yr Beloved Infatuated w/out Faile or yr monie bakke”

Potion of Heroism – in a small jar shaped like a wine jug, stoppered with a brass plug, sealed with wax. The plug is in the shape of a scowling demonic face.

The treasure on the cockatrice ledge is made up of an assortment of things that have been left there over the years, the cockatrices not being particularly acquisitive. Some of the items may have been brought up by the harpies who previously occupied the ledge. The objects will probably be partly covered by straw, dried grass and droppings.

The total value of the trinkets and ornaments is 2386 gold pieces and consists, amongst other things, of the following (not an exhaustive list)

A bundle of fine silk scarves (10sp each)
An ivory scroll case, empty
A gold snuff box, complete with snuff (23gp)
Two silver bangles (35sp each)
A heavy, leather-bound book closed and locked with iron clasps. It contains the membership of a Thieves’ Guild of a randomly chosen city in the DM’s world.
A set of different coloured stones strung on a length of twine, each with a different rune painted on (significance at DM’s discretion)
A small comb with a number of blonde hairs still tangled in the teeth.
A crystal jar inside which are a number of dried beetles (the jar may be worth 3sp)
A horn, trimmed and decorated with silver (22sp)
A leather case that, when opened, is decorated with figures in erotic poses. Contained therein are ten scrolls, each with the text of a raunchy novel (the whole set is worth perhaps 250sp).
A brass tube with astronomical symbols engraved upon it (15sp).
A shamanic totem made of the skulls of two ravens, the heart of an ox studded with thorns and all bound together with dried nettle stems
Several pewter models of notable buildings in cities known to the party, each engraved on the underside with the motif of an eye (not worth much monetarily but their significance may well lead to greater things).

As well as the foregoing, there is also, stuffed under some nesting material, still gripped by a severed hand and forearm, a silver sceptre set with gems. It is worth 6000gp for its metal and gem value alone but if the first and third sections are twisted clockwise and anticlockwise respectively, the gems protrude and form a key which will unlock a hitherto unopenable door in the Ebony Fortress of Qelghari, a building lost for centuries on the overgrown island of Qng!la. What lies beyond the door is for the DM to decide. If the DM wishes, a ring or other such trinket can be found attached to the arm that links to an organisation which may have been looking for the fortress.

The crawlway back from the ledge leads down a narrow fissure in the rock until it opens out into a small tunnel, covered with eerie hieroglyphs which are clearly many centuries old. Further down the tunnel is the sound of running water. The tunnel opens onto a chamber which once housed a stone sarcophagus; this has now been cracked open by the partially collapsed ceiling of the chamber itself. Some yellowed bones are visible in the rubble, all that remains of the occupant. Something is glinting just under the bones – a topaz and a star sapphire, worth 500gp and 1000gp respectively.

Pouring from the ceiling, cascading through the chamber and out through a space between two tilted flagstones is a fast-running underground stream. However, the chamber is not entirely empty and the noise of the water will mask the approach of two giant scorpions who have made a nest in the chamber and will hunt and (try to) kill anyone who enters.

Frequency Uncommon
No. appearing 1-4
Armour class 3
Move 15”
Hit Dice 5+5
Percentage in lair 50%
Treasure type D
No. of attacks 3
Damage per attack 1-10/1-10/1-4
Special attack Poison Sting
Special defences Nil
Magic Resistance Standard
Intelligence Non-
Alignment Neutral
Size M
THAC0 13
XP value 650 + 6/hp

Much of the treasure that they guard is inside the ruins of the sarcophagus – as well as the topaz and the star sapphire is a death mask, made of gold worth 350gp, a breastplate engraved and inlaid with gold and silver decoration (worth 460gp) a ceremonial sword made of silver inlaid with gold, worth 370sp, a collection of amulets on a gold chain around the skeleton’s neck (worth 30 ep each) – there are seven amulets but a search must be made in the silt and fallen soil.
In one corner of the chamber is a collection of stone jars in which can be found rare ointments (60sp), a selection of hunting knives, the blades made of sharpened copper (250cp), three silver figurines of necrotic spirit guardians (harmless but worth 150sp each) and a gold statue of a horse (325gp).

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