Wednesday 18 December 2013

An Adventure for Every Monster - Devil, Ice

Frequency   Uncommon
No. appearing 1 or 1-4
Armour class  -4
Move  11” 
Hit Dice  11
Percentage in lair 60%     
Treasure type Q, R
No. of attacks 4
Damage per attack  1-4/1-4/2-8/3-12    
Special attack  See below
Special defences  +2 or better weapon to hit
Magic Resistance 55%
Intelligence High
Alignment Lawful Evil
Size   L (10 ½ ‘ tall)
THAC0  10
XP value 4400 + 16/hp

The devil’s abilities include:

Wall of Ice
Detect Magic
Detect Invisible
Polymorph Self
Gate in 2 bone devils (70%) or another ice devil (30%) (60% chance of success)
Cause Ice Storm (once per day)
Charm Person
Teleportation (no error)
Know Alignment
Cause Fear
Animate Dead

The ice devils have been having a bit of trouble recently.  The city in which the adventure is set has recently come under the domination of a fire cult, whose clerics have been strengthening their power until they are on the verge of being able to wield fireball spells, a feat usually reserved for magic users. One particular cleric, a Priest Prince of the city, has been very effective at eliminating ice devils whenever they appear to try and restore the balance between fire and ice. This is also affecting the balance of power on the lower planes.

Hitherto, the ice devils have been using the manifest-fight-destroy model of operations but one particular ice devil, who is perhaps a little smarter than his fellows, has come up with a cunning plan that has resulted from a careful study of the opposition.

His plan revolves around the character of the Priest Prince, who is an arrogant and short-tempered man, handsome but violent. His shortcomings are tolerated because of his skills at devil slaying and his clerical powers. His looks have made him a hit with the ladies of the city, including one who has become perhaps slightly more obsessed with the Priest Prince than others might be. This is due in no short part to the efforts of the ice devil, who has used his Charm Person and Suggestion powers to convince the lady, through dreams, that she is destined to be the Priest Prince’s one true love. She is not particularly comely and, in reality, has no appeal for the Priest Prince. 

Now the ice devil has prepared his arrow, he merely needs to let it fly. The lady will begin to obsessively stalk the Priest Prince, who will brush her off brusquely, causing her to become even more determined. Eventually, he will lose his temper and either assault her or kill her to be rid of her. This will cause problems for him and the Fire Priests since the lady’s family is a powerful merchant clan who wield great influence in the city. Clashes between the spiritual and secular may well spill over into civil strife as there are many who resent the dominance of the Fire Priests.

The party will walk into this situation with little knowledge of the behind-the-scenes machinations.

There are several options for them to be dragged into this scenario.

1. They are hired by the Priest Prince to ‘deter’ the lady from making any further advances towards him. This can involve diverting her if one of the party has particularly high Charisma, ruining his image in her eyes by staging some sort of sham scandal, that sort of thing.

2. Maybe another party had tried option one before and had no luck. The Priest Prince does not need this sort of distraction at a time when he is due to lead a crusade against heretics in the northern wilds and so wants the lady out of the way – permanently. The party need to have her eliminated in a way that will not lead back to the Priest Prince and which will keep them out of prison as well.

3. The lady herself realises that on her own, she stands little chance of getting anywhere near the Priest Prince, so she approaches the party to see if their superior planning and intelligence can achieve what she has failed to do. The party need to come up with a way of getting the Priest Prince to see the lady’s obvious (to her) virtues and concluding a successful match.

4. The lady’s family are getting more than a little concerned about her infatuation and think that it’s for the best if she forgets about it. This is of course not going to happen whilst the ice devil is working his wicked plan. The party are hired to provide diversions aplenty (both social and personal) for the lady so that she has no chance to pine for her (clearly) unsuitable beau.

5. As with option four, but the family have already tried many different ways to break the lady’s infatuation and nothing has worked. Her father now suspects that something fishy is going on and wants the party to find out what. This will require the DM to devise the means by which the ice devil has managed to influence the lady’s mind. It will be no easy task to find and combat him, as he is a cunning and subtle fellow. 

If the ice devil thinks it has a chance, it may lure the party into the fire temple and somehow contrive for them to desecrate it (albeit unwittingly). This will enable the ice devil to gate in infernal support which will give the party a hard time.

Assuming they survive, the party may well become embroiled in the civil strife that follows any clash between the Fire Priests and the merchants. If the ice devils make a comeback following the weakening of the Fire Priests’ power, the party may well become a target for revenge attacks.

Sunday 15 December 2013

Team Adventure - The Ghosts and Christmas Presents.

Three ghosts down, one to go. The fearless phantom swept into the room and headed for Gullhar, who the party had pushed to the front, figuring that the age attack would affect him the least. Garry the Gnome stepped up to support the elf and Ferros came in from behind to joint the fray.

Ferros and Gullhar’s attacks missed, as did the ghost. Garry weighed in with his magic daggers and scored a hit. The ghost had been badly weakened by Elysia’s Sunburst and succumbed to the gnome’s attack, dissolving into a cloud of ectoplasm.

As the party gathered its forces, and Alurax went to pick up and bring back the ancient Elysia, Alagon’s paladin-sense began to tingle and he felt that there was certainly something worth checking out down the staircase in the middle of the room. Elysia cast Leomund’s Tiny Hut so that she could shelter therein, whilst the rest of the party headed down to see what they could find.

At the bottom of the stairs, Garry and Lydia went left, following the passage through an empty room. Whilst they were doing that, the rest of the party, ignoring Adventurer 101, went right and ended up in a room where there were two large stone heads carved into the north and west walls. As Ferros and Alagon stepped into the room, the northern head animated and told them that they must not, under any circumstances, waken the western head or they would be overwhelmed by doom. The cleric and the paladin crept very carefully out of the room, managing not to make any noise. However, Garry, who had been called back by the party managed to trip over his own feet and fall, clattering to the floor. At this point, the western head woke, opened its mouth and from it poured a sea of squirming, slithering and crawling insects, which headed straight for the luckless gnome. 

He hurled an oil bomb at them, which took out a fair few, but the rest just headed round the fire and continued to advance. He used more oil to lay a fire wall which held them up whilst the rest of the party scurried through the room and down the corridor on the far side.

At the end of the passageway, the party found a room in which an ochre jelly lived. It had been a long time since the jelly had eaten a square meal and so it headed straight for Alagon, who was first into the room. Garry rushed into the room and with a combination of arrows, swords and oil, they managed to drive the jelly back until it was against the far wall. Garry watched as it squeezed itself into small cracks in the wall. He deduced that there must be a secret door there and hammered at it until it began to open.

Beyond it was a narrow passage into another room, in which lay the corpse of a long-dead adventurer. While Ferros started to animate it, Garry noticed that there was a barred window on the far side of the room. Beyond the window was another chamber, in which could be seen two suits of armour, each holding a sword. Garry tried to bend the bars with his hammer, but failed miserably and suggested that perhaps Larsh might want to lend a paw. The polar bear lumbered up and ripped the bars from their fittings.

As the dust settled, Garry clambered through the hole and found that there were in fact four suits of armour, one at each corner of the room. A passageway led off both east and west; the eastern passage emitted a faint blue glow that interested the party. Meanwhile, Garry had decided to try throwing a stone at one of the suits of armour. This was greeted with dismay by the party but they were on the far side of the window and could not interfere.
What do I have to do?  Put a warning notice on it?
As soon as the stone hit the armour, it – and its three fellows – animated and advanced on the hapless gnome. Alagon clambered through to help his fellow party member, but the attackers had soon brought the gnome down, assisted by the fact that the wounds dealt by their swords continue to bleed after they had been inflicted. His increased dexterity following the incident with the iron throne helped Alagon to avoid the deadly swords but Lydia and Gullhar were less fortunate, although they did managed to whittle down the animated armour, with some key bowshots by Alurax to assist them.

Once their opposition had been overcome, the party moved down the passage towards the blue light. They had already discovered that Garry’s wounds could not be healed with magic, and so they left him behind, bandaged and semi-conscious. At the end of the passage, they were confronted with a figure, sitting on a crystal throne, a sword across its knees. It was bathed in a column of blue light.  Whilst they tried to work out how to get the sword without disturbing the light, Alurax edged around the outside of the room, finding that on the far side a gateway had appeared that had not been there when they originally entered the room. Fearing a trap, he returned to the party.

Nobody wanted to be the one to enter the blue light, so they used the zombie that Ferros had just animated. The zombie shambled forward into the light and picked up the sword. As it did so, the blue light flickered and went out. Simultaneously, a deep rumbling sounded from somewhere in the dungeon.  As if that were not bad enough, eight identical swords landed on top of the zombie, causing him to fall to the ground with the original.

Soon, water was pouring into the room, swirling around the knees of the party. Ferros ordered his zombie to throw the swords to him, one by one. As the water rose, the luckless zombie did just as instructed and Ferros passed the swords to Alagon to see if they were the Holy Avenger. The second sword turned out to be the right one and the party began to struggle their way back upstairs to Elysia. The water was rising all the while and once it had got to the chests of the gallant band, they decided to make use of Larsh to carry Garry and lead them to safety.

Making it back to the room where they had left Elysia, they found that the water was coming full force through one of the passages that led off the chamber. Leomund’s Tiny Hut was now a bubble of water-free space into which the party piled hurriedly. The torrent was roaring down the shaft up which they had come, and they realised that it would probably not stop until it had filled the entire dungeon. They only had about an hour or so before the spell failed and with that, they imagined that they would swiftly drown.

It was at this point that somebody remembered that the party had acquired the ability of water breathing during their encounter with the statues that sprayed golden dust, way down at the (now drowned) bottom of the dungeon.  With the urgency suddenly off, the party waited until the dungeon was completely filled with water, then moved the Hut to the influx point and swam through it into the bottom of the lake (you will remember – if I put it into that session’s write-up – that there was a lake behind the hill into which the dungeon was built.)  They managed to struggle ashore and lay there for a while, catching their breaths.

When they had recovered, they walked round the hill to find the old ruined temple, with their horses still waiting for them (and, presumably, Ferros’ zombies and skeletons). They pitched camp for the night and the next morning woke to find that Garry’s hearing had returned. His wounds were also slightly recovered.

Whilst they were getting breakfast ready, Elador returned. He had left Wolf at the town to see if the Council of Elders could do anything for him, and had now popped back to see how the party was getting on. Quite how he knew not to teleport into a flooded dungeon is anyone’s guess but he’s a high-level wizard; he knows a lot of things.  Shocked to find his sister an extremely elderly woman, he hit upon the plan of using Polymorph Other to turn her into an elven version of herself. She would then be a 113-year-old elf, which is the equivalent of a human teenager.

As this was taking place, a strange shimmering globe appeared, floating above the ground. It halted just outside the ruined temple and out stepped a very special visitor. It was the extremely high-level cleric from the Christmas-themed adventure.

This lovely little mini painted by Brian from Lead Legion.

He had come to visit them and bring them a special gift – an egg box. No, not an Xbox – a box with six crystal eggs inside it. He explained that there was one for each of them and that they were in fact crystallised time from another universe outside our own. If the members of the party were ever in a situation where they needed to reverse time, they could crush the egg and that time would be released into our universe, forcing the party back five minutes into the past. The party realised that this was a very effective present, and made a mental note to be frugal with the eggs.

As a special gift to the party, the cleric also invited them to visit his winter world for a day or so, to recuperate from their wounds and recover their strength. He then dropped them back at the ruined temple again. 

As the cleric was leaving, he suddenly remembered that he had a message for Lydia. He told her “the chrysalis is awakening”.  She suddenly appeared very alarmed indeed.  When the party asked her what it was all about, she explained that in her homeland, far to the south, there was a legend that an evil magic user had constructed a chrysalis to give himself immortality in his bid for power. Many had discounted the legend as mere fable but the paladins of which she is a member took it seriously and warned about the awakening. Now that day is close at hand and she needs to travel to her homeland and seek out the chrysalis so that it can be destroyed. Is Team Adventure up for it?  We shall have to wait and see.