Background.The heroes return to Shinar with the book The Last King of Prolia written by Eodwyn the Skald. The book is a journal of the Skald recording his researches into King Arnesson. The following facts may be gained from reading the book:
- Arnesson had the iron crown and ruled from 452 OY to 469 OY
- During his time, the major threat to the country was invasions of goblins and hobgoblins from the north
- The tower lookouts along the norther forest border fell during this time period.
- The last records of his life detail preparations for leading a force of Prolian Knights against a goblin fortress, called Krolak-Nol which seemed to be the locus of where the hobgoblins were attacking from.
History checks can further enhance the reader's knowledge of the time-frame of the events.
- DC 10 - The Prolian conflict with the goblins was ended around 470 OY
- DC 15 - The "goblin fortress" Krolak-Nol was a fortress inhabited by a powerful being named Fendreus who had organized the goblin raids.
- DC 20 - Fendreus was a the name of a Knight of Rhodewho was banished from the Empire in 402 OY.
Gather Information checks can enhance the PC's knowledge of current happenings in the northern forest.
- DC 5 - The past year has seen the re-organization of the goblin and hobgoblin tribes.
- DC 10 - In last summer's raid on Prauld, the hobgoblins of the northern forest have been more disciplined and united than usual.
- DC 15 - Goblin raids on the northern part of Prolia have been severely reduced.
- DC 20 - Hobgoblins seen at the raid in Prauld all had a red tabard with a white wing.
And also unrelated Gather Information
- DC 5 - Last fall a large black dragon and a silver dragon have been seen several times between Beryl and Derros, they have apparently settled there.
- DC 10 - The expected battles against giants have not happened to the dwarves. The second wave of Dwarven settlers is arriving in Beryl and traveling to Caer Dunwen.
- DC 15 - Council of Thanes will decide this spring whether to attempt to settle another fortress in the hills or to consolidate their forces around Caer Dunwen or to attempt to find and bring battle to the giants.
- DC 20 - The party of adventurers that went off into the mountains scouting the giants last fall have not yet returned.
Chapter 1: Travel Through Prolia and the Forest.There are several possible encounters while traveling. Dole out as interest dictates.
On roads: Human Bandits and Human Rabble
In the wilderness: Kruthik Lair.
In a tavern/inn or possibly on the road. The Minstrel "Jorna Iellos", who has apparently been hired by the Dragons Dreasinoleanus and Oranthidirian to announce their presence and territory. In particular they are not levying taxes on travelers, are not taxing or evicting the few resident farmers in the area, but insist that no new buildings shall be erected, no forest may be cleared other than by residents for hearth fires, nor shall the game be hunted by any but residents for food.
A group of halfling Golanists are making a pilgrimage from Belrane to the Dragon's new fiefdom.
In the forest: A hobgoblin patrol - the patrol is not immediately hostile, will give a chance for the PC's to retreat, but will insist that they do. If the PC's do retreat they will follow them as far as the forest border. If they refuse the hobgoblins will attack, unless decent diplomacy and/or role-play by the PC's dissuade them. Exceptional successes could result on the hobgoblins escorting the PC's to Krolak-Nol.
If asked about their leader, or their tabard, they reverently refer to the great Solanthus their new leader. If asked to describe him they say his glory is to bright to gaze upon. They also say that Solanthus will lead the goblins to victory and greatness, and that he is honorable unlike Fendreus.
Chapter 2: Krolak-Nol.The fortress of krolak-nol is a very bad place. The hobgoblins of the region have a basic understanding of what happened in the fortress during its time: Hobgoblins consider that time to be a low point of their greatness. Fendreus's twisted the leadership of the hobgoblins to his will and led the entire region to invade Prolia, with great losses. Hobgoblins desire to conquer the south is present, and with a proper leader they would have won but Fendreus's insanity caused him to drive the hobgoblins to fight without proper strategy or tactics, wasting their strength.
A historian among the hobgoblins may further elaborate on some of the details, and the powers of Fendraeus. None are present in the first encounter.
Krolak-Nol is a tower rising out of a deep fault in the earth. The fault is deep and active, with noxious gas rising out of the ground. The fortress is a black iron tower, it's base surround by ash and volcanic rocks and is quite uncomfortable for living creatures. There is a large gothic styled door with a raised pathway at the base of the tower, which leads into a cavern in the side of the fault, there was also a bridge leading from the tower to the edge of the fault at ground level, but that has been destroyed. The tower is 100 feet tall, 40 feet wide, square. The fault is 40 feet deep, and 80 feet wide. There is about 20 feet between the door to the collapsed bridge and the top of the fault.
It is easy to climb down the side of the fault, or it would be were it not for the noxious gas. Anyone entering the fault must make a save each round or be Dazed. If a Dazed character fails the save, the character is stunned. Stunned characters who are climbing, fall.
Except for the pathway from the cavern mouth to the tower, the terrain is rough, and causes d6 fire damage per round.
Encounter 1: The Cavern.The cavern was once an easier entrance to the tower, but 40 feet in, it has collapsed. The cavern is hand hewn in rough stone, 20 feet high. The ground is littered with skeletons. In addition to the skeletons, covered by a partial rockfall are the remains of a knight clad in black iron scale armor +1. In a belt pouch are 3 poitions of minor healing (10hp for 1 surge).
If a character enters the cave the skeletons aniimate. 3 skeletons and 4 decrepit skeletons.
Encounter 2: First Floor/Chasm FloorThe door to the tower is securely fastened, but is quite rusted, it may be battered, chopped down or blown away with magic. Four rounds of concerted effort will allow a character to pass through the door as rough terrain.
Immediately after the characters destroy the door to the tower, two magma claws, one magma hurler and one imp rise appear and attack. The magma creatures must use a move action in the first round of combat to rise out of the ground, and do not cause surprise.
Fighting these creatures in the chasm is very dangerous due to the Daze/Stun effect of the gasses and the fire damage. The "bridge" across the lava stone is 2 squares wide and 8 squares long.
Two guardian constructs once guarded this room, bits of unmoving golem parts are strewn about the room, littering the floor.
Encounter 3: The second floor (20ft) The Armory.Armory, several dozen suits or armor are displayed on racks as well as a fine collection of weaponry. The leather and hide armor has long since rotted away, but there are functional, non magical suits of plate, scale and plate armor with only a small amount of corrosion. In the northwest corner, readying an ambush is a rather frightened and angry red dragon juvenile (level adjusted to 3). He considered the tower to be a safe place to live away from Dragon society. He is from a fief miles to the southwest in the mountains of Estvald. He is aware of the Spinagons above, the alchemy lab and the temple.
The dragon speaks Draconic and common and may be calmed down, if not bloodied. Once bloodied the dragon's rage overtakes him and he fights to the death.
Encounter 4: The third floor (40ft) Summoning Circle.Two Spined Devils (Spinagons) (purple, spined, winged creatures) stand in an active summoning circle (religion and arcana checks allowed). They've been trapped since Fendreus was interrupted while attempting to recruit him for his defense. Two armored bodies lie outside the circle, charred and ruined. The devils will try to trick the party into to letting them out of the circle. They will switch to begging if the party begins to leave. They will agree (and honor) most deals to let them out, including up to one year's service (however it's doubtful how much the PC's will benefit from such service. If released before a bargain is struck, they will attack.
Encounter 5: The fourth floor (60ft) The Study and Alchemy Lab.The eastern part of this room has a table and a wide book case filled with arcane tomes, most who have been horribly burned to uselessness. The west side has a destroyed alchemy lab. Broken glass-works and potion bottles are everywhere. Scorch marks cover the walls.
Encounter 6: The fifth floor (80ft) Unholy TempleA large polished obsidian carving of a horned Devil dominates the north side of this room. Two armoured bodies lie in the room as well. One body has been pierced through the chest by a longspear (magic frost +2) and is clutching a large book a purple and black silk cloak still rests about it's shoulders but it is long dead. In the corner of the room, slumped against the wall is an armored skeleton with an iron crown about its neck.
If the book is touched Caramnon servant of Illranikus immediately appears and attacks the party. (Who's Illranikus? Dunno. Maybe he'll be a recurring villain! I like to give named Devils a place in the Infernal heirarchy.)
Caramnon is a unique Infernal, four legs, eyes circling it's many horned head, covered in green and black scaled tentacles tipped with fangs dripping of poison. Caramnon attacks without reason, mercy or fear until dead. I'm planning on creating him by starting out with a solo monster (maybe a green dragon) and replacing each of it's powers for something of similar power level that is poison-y or tentacle-y and then level it adjusting it for the party, I'm thinking maybe threatening reach, and/or a "burst of tentacles" attack, with some ongoing poison damage thrown in. A fully fledged stat block will be forthoming.
And with that I've caught up with my backlog. Future updates won't be quite so frequent. I'm hoping to write at least two per week.