Monday, March 31, 2014

Quick Note - Cover's almost there!

Here is a second test cover for "Joy in a Flask" my next two-page-adventure for Swords & Wizardry. This one has the thumb nail of the art that will be used in the adventure.

Thoughts?



5 Minute Adventures - What Auto Dug Up

While originally a part of a larger serialized adventure, "What Auto Dug Up" became a stand alone low-level adventure. Made with White Box in mind the adventure is a small dungeon delve full of undead and a few nasty surprises.

~*~
What Auto Dug Up (Banned & Banished Part 1)

A Swords & Wizardry: White Box Adventure for 4-6 players of 1-3 level

Introduction
There comes a time in any campaign that the party finds itself idle, a time between campaigns, between adventures long and spanning. They go to their homes or sit listlessly at an inn, whiling away the time until the next evil threatens the kingdom or the next rumor of dragon hordes pass their ear. Or perhaps a night comes by; that night, that glorious once in a blue moon night, the night when friends long separate come together once more to throw dice and pretend they are dwarves!

That’s where the five minute adventures come in. A quick and easy adventure that can usually be completed in one sitting and can be shoe-horned into nearly any setting. These quests are not meant to be huge, spanning things of epic intent or even wholly original in their story telling. No, these are meant to entertain for a night around food and good friends while the referee plans their untimely death in the next epic campaign.

Good Luck, and Enjoy!

Background

Long ago in better times (or worse depending on how you look at it), a group of adventurers came across an ancient crypt deep in the hills outside of town. Curiosity and gold lust drove them to explore these crypts. However, something went wrong. When the adventurers returned to town days later one of their number was missing, and the remaining adventurers looked older, more tired and with the thrill of live driven from them. None would talk of what happened, none would tell where the crypt was. As time went on the questions ceased, people forgot and the adventurers aged and died.

The Band of The Crimson Banner was a local adventuring party who came to some minor fame when they breached and dispatched a local Orc Lord and freed the roads of the Orc's highway men. The six members of the The Band were all brothers, save for the mage, who had no relation to the rest of the band before joined them during his own quest into the Orc held forest outside of the town.

Auto Von Rector is a local historian and a mage of some minor ability. He has made it his life’s work to find and discovery the forgotten past. As such he has formed the Historical Society, a gathering of adventurers, scholars and those who always question, explore and excavate the lost places and stories of the world.
Summary

Months ago Auto discovered the journal of one of the adventurers of that ill fated quest. Using details he discovered in the journal the location of the crypt and dispatched a team to excavate the site. A week ago the team stopped sending reports back to Auto. Worried, Auto put out the call for aid. As of yet no one has answered that call.

The reason the excavation team has not sent their report is due to them being trapped in the caves the crypts is located under. Besieged by undead, the team has been separated and unable to get word to either each other or the outside world. The reason for the appearance of the undead is due to the discovery of an ancient stone tablet found by the team outside the entrance to the crypt.

The team will be split and located in one of several caverns. They do not know why the undead attacked only that the attacks came suddenly. The leader of the team a bard named Willhim will give the adventurers the tablet to return to Auto alongside their report. If asked what they intend to do, the team will respond that they will stay at their camp until Auto sends word to close down the excavation.

The Historical Society

The Historical Society’s headquarters are located in a two-storey brick and wood house on a narrow back street of the town. A large sign of an open book under a magnifying glass claps back and forth in the breeze denoting the building.

Inside, the building is littered with over-stuffed bookshelves and books left in stacked piles. Five or six people sit at tables or in easy chairs around fires reading books or examining old scrolls. The second floor has three rooms. Two of these rooms search as temporary housing for the members of The Historical Society and the third has been converted into the office/laboratory of Auto Von Rector.

Auto Von Rector (Human M-U 5): HD 5; HP 17; AC 8 [11]; Atk 1 (1d6); Move 6 [30’]; Save 13; AL N; CL/XP 5/240; Spells equal to 5th lvl Magic-User

Researchers: HD 1; HP 4; AC 9 [10]; Atk 1 (1d6 dagger); Move 6 [ 30’]; Save 18; AL N; B/10; Special 1 in 6 chance of being able to backstab.

Auto will be very warm and welcoming to the adventurers as he is concerned about the well-being of his field team. He explains to the party about the finding of the journal and the excavation of the “ruins”. His society doesn't have much to offer the party, but will can pay 50 standard currency to each person in the party. He will draw a map for the party and send them on there way.

The Wilderness

The crypt is located in the foot hills near the town (if there are no foot hills in your town’s area I suggest a marsh or forest. If that does not exist, be inventive and surprise your players), and is only a few hours walk. The day is winding down toward night when the party sets forth and a cool breeze plays on the twilight air making the trip seem pleasant and relaxed.

While traveling the party has a 2 in 6 chance of encountering one of the creature types listed on the table below.

Dice Roll (d10)
Creature
1-2
1d4 Bandits
3-4
2d6 Kobolds
5-6
Merchant Caravan
7-8
Dryads
9
Bugbear
10
Young Green Dragon
See White Box Monster Section for statistics and information on the creatures.

The Caves

The Caves are a series of seven caverns linked by a winding tunnel work that slowly descends into the depths of the world. About a quarter mile from the cave entrance the party comes across the excavators’’ camp. It is well maintained but doesn't look like anyone has been there in a few days. If the part approaches they will here the growls of several dogs.

Every three turns in the tunnels of the cave the party has a 3 in 6 chance of encountering one of the creature types listed on the table below.

Dice Roll (d10)
Creature
1-2
3d6 Giant Rats
3-4
2d6 Skeletons
5-6
1d6 Armored Skeletons*
7-8
Grey Ooze
9-10
1d4 Ghouls
See White Box Monster Section for statistics and information on the creatures.
*See end of Adventure of new creature stats.

C-1 The Receiving Chamber

A large chamber serves as the entrance to the caves, water drops slowly into puddles and the light of your torches seems to shy away from the dark.

There is nothing overly special about The receiving Chamber and is the one of two places in the caverns that is oddly free of any threat.

C-2 The Falls

The roaring of falling water is nearly deafening to your senses as you enter this crescent shaped chamber with only a single slippery path leading in either direction. Water falls from unknowable height and looking down over the pathway you find that you cannot find a bottom either.

There is a single roaming band of Armored Skeletons in this room who patrol the length of the pathway with unknown intent. Upon discovering the players they will attack immediately trying to push the party over the edge into the bottomless pit below.

The pathway is extremely slippery and the player should make a saving throw every turn to assure their footing. If they fail the throw they slip and fall onto their backs with a 20% chance that they go over the pathway’s edge.

C-3 The Red Crystal Cavern

A soft red glow permeates the air, lending a natural, if somewhat eerie, like to the chamber. Large tree sized red crystals cover nearly ever surface of the chamber and a distant, but constant hum can be heard coming from them.

The crystals in the chamber are nearly as hard as metal and can not be broken off. When hit they release a high pitched sound that will alert 1d6 groups of wandering creatures from the table above and two ghouls.

In the far corner of the chamber, before the exit the party will find the body of one of the researchers who came to the caves. He is in the process of being eaten by two ghouls (unless the party hit a crystal in which case the ghouls would have attacked the party with the wandering monsters) who will attack the party when they see them in the hopes of a fresh meal.

Searching the body the party finds nothing of value or information about what happened at the excavation site.
C-4 The Hot Springs

A nearly circular room dark and uninviting, its only light coming from the ambient glow of the red crystals in the chamber behind you and a strange blue glow from around the corner before you. A single pool of steaming water rests in the center of the room, warm-looking and inviting. To the right of the pool is another dark tunnel.

The pool in the center of the room is not water but acid. If any of the party fall into or willingly enter the pool they have one chance to make a saving throw. If successful they will incur 1d4 acid damage and their armor (if wearing) will be reduced 1 AC.

There are no creatures in this room save for the wandering monsters in the table above.

C-5 Safe Haven

A small cavern, barely big enough to hold the two battered and beleaguered musicians you find huddled into it’s furthest corner.

Safe Haven is the second of two truly safe places in the caves. Inside you’ll find two of the researchers, the bards Willhim and Acuci (who if you ran/played “Rats in the Well” you have already meet). They are scared and somewhat bloody. Willhim will explain that they fought their way to this room and have been surprised that they were not found until now. They will refuse to leave the room unless the party can assure their safety.

Willhim & Acuci (Normal Humans): HD 2; HP 4; AC 9 [10]; Atk 1 (1d6 dagger); Move 6 [ 30’]; Save 18; AL N; B/10; Special None.

C-6 The Blue Crystal Cavern

A soft blue glow permeates the air of this room, giving the chamber a hazy, lazy quality. Water laps at the edges of a small natural ramp leading down into a foot of water and small pin pricks of light float under the water's surface.

Deeper into this chamber the party can here the splashing of feet and the clash and screams of battle. If they follow the sounds they will find a dwarf, bloody and battered looking, fighting 3d6 skeletons and 1d6 armored skeletons with a broken axe.

This is Ghim, the last surviving member of the excavation team and the person with the stone tablet that was found at the doors of the crypt.

Ghim (Dwarf 3rd lvl): HD 3+3; HP 20; AC 5 [14]; Atk 2 (2d6 Dwarven Great axe of Returning); Move 6 [ 30’]; Save 13; AL L; 3/60; Special Stonework, Insight.

If the party joins the battle Ghim will offer his thanks in a tone and manner that belies the situation and continue to fight. After the battle he should approach the party over their reasons for being in the caves. If the PCs decide to lie they must succeed a saving throw with a -4 penalty to be successful.

During the conversation with Ghim the party learns a little more about what happened:

Ghim explains that after they found the tablet, the magic-user of the excavators read the inscription chiseled into it. Soon after the cave started to shake and as if from nowhere the undead started to appear. The excavators ran, but the magic-user hit some sort of invisible wall (if the party has already been to C-7 they already know about the barrier) and was trapped in that area. The others ran but found all their routes blocked.

Ghim was not happy about it but he split the party up in the hopes that someone would find way out and get help.

He also informs you that he cannot read the tablet but that he is certain Auto could. As such he gives the party the tablet and begs them to take it too Auto.

C-7 Gateway to the Crypt

The entrance of this cavern seems to be protected by some invisible magical force and no one can enter it. From the entrance way, however, the site of overturned tables, forgotten tools and dead bodies can be seen. The sounds of something moving in the dark, shuffling, waiting can be heard.

The players can feel a smooth, slightly warm wall of force over the entrance way to the cavern, slightly curved like a dome. If attacked the invisible wall will light up with strikes of energy that will coalesce and shoot at the attack, dealing 2d4 damage (save for half damage).

Invisible Field (magical object): HD 15; HP 75; Special energy strike, regeneration 1d4/4 turns.

Leaving the Caverns

If they players take the tablet from Ghim, then for the remainder of the time they are in the cavern they have a 1 in 4 chance of encountering the creature types listed below

Dice roll (d8)
Creature Type
1-2
3d6 Skeletons
3-4
2d6 Armored Skeletons
5-7
1d6 Ghouls
8
Skeletal Horror*
See White Box Monster Section for statistics and information on the creatures.
*See end of Adventure of new creature stats.

Finishing the Adventure

Taking the tablet to Auto the party will receive their agreed upon reward from Auto who seems distracted by the tablet. He vows to inform the party about the origins of the tablet and what it means when he deciphers it.

He is, however, resolute in his belief that the excavation of the caverns continue even if the Crypt's entrance chamber is locked away. He assures the adventurers that the tablet was the source of the undead infestation and with it gone the caverns will be safe. Auto also believes that the magical protections he placed around the Historical Society will protect the town and him from the undead threat.

Questions remain, however, if the party wants to investigate on their own. Who were the adventurers Auto told them about? Who's crypt buried deep into a root cavern?

New Creatures

Armored Skeletons

Armor Class: 7[12] with Shield, 6[13] with shield and chain shirt
Hit Dice: 1+1
Attacks: Weapon or Strike 1d6
Special: 1 in 6 chances of being intelligent
Move: 12 [60']
CL/XP: 2/30

Armored Skeletons are the animated bones of dead soldiers, warriors and protectors. Typically under the control of an unseen master, the Armored Skeletons may also serve as guardians of forbidden places out of a gessa they once failed to meet.

Skeletal Horror

Armor Class: 5 [14]
Hit Dice: 2+2
Attacks: Charge 2d6, Strike 1d6
Special: Charge, Regenerate
Move: 12 [60']
CL/XP: 2/30

Charge - moves up to its move limit in a lopping sprint, slamming into the target with its shoulder. target makes a saving throw if successful hit by the Charge ability. If the saving throw is failed the target is knocked prone.

Regenerate - Creature regains 2 hit points every two rounds.

Large admonitions created from the splintered, shattered bones of the dead. Skeletal Horrors tower over their prey, growing bigger and meaner as they absorb more bone. Vaguely ape like in appearance the Skeletal Horror is single-minded in its destructive nature and need to rend, rip and kill.