**Note: the following material is copyright 1998 by Kenneth McDonald. Copying and/or distribution is allowed only on the condition that no part of the material be used or sold for profit. All other rights are reserved by the author. The following is a work of fiction, and any resemblance to real persons or events is purely coincidental.**
Additional Notes: a map of the dungeon is available at the bottom of this page.
An Introductory D&D adventure for first level characters.
(note: while the description below is based upon my own campaign setting, it can be easily modified to make the adventure fit better into any existing campaign)
The eastern marches of the great state of Rigal are filled with jagged hills and ranges of steep mountains that divide the isolated frontier baronies of the kingdom. The forces of "civilization" are weak here, with small villages, homesteads, and isolated outposts throughout the area. Bands of roving humanoids, bandits, and treacherous mountain passes make the region hazardous to travelers.
In the rugged hills in the waste between the towns of Windmore and Rivark, a gaping hole in the earth opens onto a natural complex of caves and tunnels, created centuries ago by the patient forces of earth and water. The place gained preeminence some fifty years ago, when an evil priest named Gol-Baer turned the place into a chapel dedicated to the worship of fell demons. Expanding the cave complex, he used his unholy powers to expand his motley band of human followers to a sizable force of brigands, humanoids, and even a giant troll that Gol-Baer managed to impress into his service. For a time the evil priest's insidious influence spread throughout the local area, but before he could develop his power base sufficiently he made the mistake of allowing a raid by his humanoid servants on the then-infant township of Windmore. Fifty people were killed, including the son of a Rigalian aristocrat. The action provoked a major response, and a hundred armed warriors led by Knight of the Realm and a Curate of Merikkose destroyed the evil den. Gol-Baer himself was killed as part of his cave complex collapsed on him and his acolytes as they tried to escape. His servants were either killed or fled into the mountains, no longer to trouble the forces of good.
For decades the place lie fallow, shunned as cursed or "haunted" with the spirit of Gol-Baer. The place sunk into the legends of the nearby human communities, who established the township of Rivark to the northeast and rebuilt the village of Windmore, expanding it until today the place is a prosperous community of some 200 persons. Eventually only a few people remembered that the pit existed at all.
Six weeks ago, though, a group of traveling priests was assaulted by orcs in the hills to the east. Only two of the dozen survived to reach Windmore, and they sparked a minor panic. The incident was immediately connected to the disappearance of four hunters a month earlier, and a rumor began to circulate that the Pit of Gol-Baer was becoming active again. The mayor of Windmore dismissed the attack as the work of a wandering band of humanoids, but intensified patrols around the area of the town. The rumors persisted, and began to include tales about a "lost treasure" of Gol-Baer still hidden in the caves. These rumors are reaching their peak right about the same time that a group of strangers has arrived at Windmore—just the sort of people who swallow up tales of buried treasure.
The Mayor is right; the recent activity is unrelated to any goings-on at the Pit. The place is dangerous, though, both natural and unnatural hazards existing within its depths. The place is located about forty miles southeast of Windmore, in the rough terrain at the base of the Kilmar Mountains. Travel is slow due to the steep slopes, loose rocks, and crevasses that dot the region.
The pit currently serves as home for an odd band of humanoid misfits, led by a renegade half-human spellcaster. The group has taken up residence in part of the complex, avoiding the natural caves near the main entrance after a few accidents and a run-in with a giant snake. They know nothing of the cavern's history.
I have not included details about the towns of Windmore and Rivark, but the DM is free to develop these settings if he/she wishes. The PCs can learn legends about the history of the pit in Windmore, in addition to the rumors described above, and with a little asking around can get vague directions to the place (though no one in the village has actually been to the pit, and no one will accept requests to guide the party there). The DM may also decide to create possible encounters on the way to the Pit or between the two towns, if desired. Windmore is a small community of farmers and trappers with about 200 people in all, while Rivark is about twice that size and has a small church dedicated to Braeto (god of air and weather) led by a 5th level cleric (this information might be of use- see area 12 below). In fact, the DM can use the possibility of players seeking aid for diseased comrades as a springboard for additional adventures- perhaps the curate has a task for a group of adventurers in exchange for a cure disease spell...
1) THE PIT
The pit is located at the bottom of a broad gully, and is visible from the higher surrounding terrain from about a half-mile distance. Brush and foliage clutter the lip of the gully but strangely no vegetation exists within 100 yards of the opening. As the party approaches the lip, it can be seen that a circular ledge on the inside of the hole descends steeply to the floor of the pit, some thirty feet below. The air in the pit is moist and warm. A 10' high opening is visible to the south; a smaller opening (4' diameter) provides access to a NE passage. All passages and caverns are natural unless noted.
2) DARK CAVE
This small cave has a ceiling of varying height, from 6' to 9'. The walls and ceiling are jagged and rough. Concealed within these cracks are three giant ticks. One is located directly above the passage to area 1. The place itself is barren except for the shriveled hulks of two rats.
Giant Ticks: Small Vermin, CR½, AC15 (+1 size, +3 dex, +1 natural), Init +3, Mv15, HD1d8+1, hp 9,7,4, Atk bite +4 melee, D1d4-2 +disease, Fort +3, Ref +3, Will +0, Str 7, Dex 17, Con 12, Int -, Wis 10, Cha 2, Weapon Finesse (bite), Climb +8, Hide +10, Jump +14, Spot +7, SA blood drain, jump
Blood drain: similar to a stirge, a giant tick attaches itself to prey and drains blood. If the tick scores a hit against a target, it latches on (losing its dexterity bonus to AC in the process) and drains blood for 1d3 temporary Constitution damage per round. Once it has drained a total of 4 points, it leaps away to digest its meal.
Jump: giant ticks receive a natural +10 bonus to jump checks and are not limited to a maximum distance based on their height.
Disease: Filth Fever—bite, Fortitude save (DC 11), incubation period 1d3 days; damage 1d3 temporary Dexterity, 1d3 temporary Constitution (see Disease, page 74 in the Dungeon Master’s Guide).
3) WEST CAVE
This place has a rough floor surface, with alternating terraces. The ceiling ranges from 7' in the west to about 15' once the floor drops out and gives way to area 5. The southwest wall is covered by a fuzzy yellow mold- it is completely harmless.
4) WET CAVE
This cave is wet and dismal, with walls and ceiling slick with moisture. The floor is slippery; anyone moving quickly in the place has to make a dexterity check or fall. The water is crystal clear, but the place is so shadowy that unless the party is using multiple light sources they will probably miss the giant lizard lying near the east end of the room; it is completely submerged except for its eyes and nostrils. While young, it is still a dangerous adversary. It will wait until someone comes within 10' then rush out of the water and attack, gaining surprise unless someone makes a successful Spot check (DC19). If no one comes near its hiding place, the beast will lumber out of its pool of the party moves to leave, but it will not pursue beyond the boundaries of area 3. It has no treasure.
Giant Lizard: Medium Animal, CR2, AC 15 (+2 dex, +3 natural), Init +2, Mv30 (swim30), HD3d8+9, hp17, Atk bite +5 melee, D1d8+4, Fort +6, Ref +5, Will +2, Str 17, Dex 15, Con 17, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 2, Climb +9, Hide +7, Listen +4, Move Silently +6, Spot +4
5) EAST CAVE
This place is flatter than area 3 and has a ceiling that vaults to 20' high at the eastern end. Near the ledge at the area marked (a) on the map is the remains of a giant constrictor snake, killed by multiple blows from edged weapons. Dried blood surrounds the creature, but it has been dead for almost two weeks and there is little left save for bones.
In the southeast corner, near the dead snake, is the remnant of an unholy altar. A large block of black stone lies sundered in two, cracked down the middle as if struck heavily with a single massive blow. It is surrounded by a 2" deep, 4" wide trench that surrounds the altar and drains off into cracks in the walls. The trench and altar both bear the remnants of drained blood and burn marks. A natural stone platform, 2' high, stands behind the altar.
To the east, a passage and staircase of worked stone leads down to a cave-in that completely blocks the passage. To the north, a partial collapse leaves the northern passage partially blocked by rubble. It can be traversed safely (if slowly and carefully) without hazard.
A 2' wide, 6' high passage provides access to this small chamber. A 4' wide hole reveals a narrow shaft dropping 30' to the floor of room 11 (Climb DC15).
The passage leading into this room is ankle deep in murky, muddy water, slowing movement by 10%. The chamber itself has water 1' deep, with mud slowing movement by 50%. A 5' high ledge provides an exit to the east.
The pool is the home of a half-dozen scum creepers. Scum creepers are rubbery-skinned leeches that wait in stagnant pools and affix themselves to any warm-blooded creature that approaches. They are very difficult to see until they attack. The creepers will go after anyone entering the room proper but won't leave the place.
Scum Creepers: Small vermin, CR1/4, AC12 (+1 size, +1 natural), Init +0, Mv10, HD1d8, hp 4 each, Atk bite +1 melee, D 1d3-1 +poison, Fort +4, Ref +0, Will +0, Str 8, Dex 10, Con 10, Int -, Wis 10, Ch 2, Great Fortitude, Climb +4, Hide +8/+13*, Spot +3
Poison: when they bite, scum creepers inject a mild anesthetic toxin into the wound, which numbs it to feeling. Fortitude DC11, primary and secondary damage 1 point temporary Dexterity. If a creeper is not spotted before it attacks, and if the character remains underwater afterward, she must roll a spot check (DC7) to notice that the creeper has attached. A new check may be rolled each round that the creature drains blood.
Blood drain: scum creepers that hit attach themselves to their victim and drain blood for 1 point of temporary Constitution damage per round. Once the creature drains a total of 6 points of Constitution, it drops off, sated.
Hide: scum creepers gain a +5 natural bonus to Hide checks when underwater.
8) GOBLIN WATCHPOINT
(note: if the party doesn't have a light source they will spot the fire from this area while still in the passage to area 7. If not, the monsters will be alerted by any loud noises [including battle with the scum creepers] in area 7 and will have doused their fire and be waiting)
This small room contains a spiral staircase of worked stone that descends 30' to area 9. Three goblins currently occupy the place, crouched around a small fire in the southwest corner of the place. Several deep cracks in the walls and ceiling provide ventilation, although none are large enough for even a halfling to enter. Each goblin carries a club and javelin, as well as 2-20 copper pieces and several worthless personal items. If they hear intruders in area 7, the goblins will douse their fire and wait near the uppermost ledge to their room. If enemies (basically, anything moving) appear they will hurl their javelins and then attempt to retreat to the dungeon level and summon help from their comrades.
Goblins: Small humanoid, CR1/4, AC 15 (+1 size, +1 dex, +3 studded leather), Init +1, Mv30, HD1d8, hp 4 each, Atk club +1 melee (1d6-1) or javelin +3 ranged (1d6-1), Fort +2, Ref +1, Will +0, Str 8, Dex 13, Con 11, Int 10, Wis 11, Cha 8, Alertness, Hide +6, Listen +3, Move Silently +4, Spot +3
9) SPHERICAL ROOM
This room is spherical with a concave floor sloping down to a 1' wide opening in the center of the floor. Similarly the ceiling forms a dome 15' above the sunken floor. The chute in the floor curves out of sight and rapidly shrinks down to 6" diameter, eventually opening into a tunnel filled with an underground river.
10) PARTIALLY COLLAPSED TUNNEL
This tunnel is partly natural, partly worked with wooden beams supporting the ceiling. The corridor is nearly blocked by a collapse, with beams and boulders obstructing the way. The southern fork of the passage becomes completely blocked after 20'. Just past the fork, the decomposed body of a goblin lies pinned under a fallen beam.
The corridor is unsafe. Every character moving through the area must roll a dexterity check (DC10) or set off a minor collapse, doing 1d6 points of damage to that character. If a 1 is rolled on the check, a general collapse will result: the character that set off the cave-in takes 3d6 points of damage (Reflex save DC15 for half damage) and everyone within the tunnel must also save or take 1d6 points of damage. It will take 1d4 person-hours to clear the passageway to continue after a cave-in.
11) DANK ROOM
This place is wet with several shallow pools and a narrow ledge to the north below the shaft from area 6. A red glow can be seen to the south.
Lying in the dirt in front of this alcove is a small red gem, glowing dimly from within. The alcove itself is oddly dark- it is shielded by a permanent deeper darkness (dispelled vs 9th level magic). The gem is magical: in addition to glowing it possesses the power of a ring of shocking grasp. If held in a closed fist the gem will emit brief electrical sparks (tingly, but not harmful to the holder). If the wielder touches anyone in this state the gem will discharge for 1d8+6 points of damage. The gem has 12 charges, and once expended it will shatter.
The darkened alcove conceals an intelligent undead creature, a heucuva. It will attack anyone entering the darkness or touching the gem. It will not leave area 11, but will attempt to slay any living creatures within that area.
On the floor of the alcove are a silver holy symbol (of whatever evil deity best fits into the DM’s campaign, value: 40gp), an iron mace (rusted, pitted), and a silvered dagger in a rotted leather sheath (10gp).
Heucuva (detailed in the Creature Catalog): Medium-size undead, CR3, AC17 (+2 dex, +5 natural), Init +6, Mv30, HD2d12, hp 11, Atk claw +2 melee, D 1d4+1 +disease, SA damage reduction 10/+1, turn resistance 2, Fort +1, Ref +2, Will +4, Str 12, Dex 14, Con –, Int 4, Wis 12, Cha 10, Improved Initiative, Hide +6, Listen +5, Spot +5
Disease (Su): Filth Fever—claw, Fortitude save (DC 12), incubation period 1d3 days; damage 1d3 temporary Dexterity, 1d3 temporary Constitution (see Disease, page 74 in the Dungeon Master’s Guide).
Change Self (Sp): 3/day—as the spell cast by a 10th-level sorcerer.
Undead: Immune to mind-influencing effects, poison, sleep, paralysis, stunning and disease. Not subject to critical hits, subdual damage, ability damage, energy drain, or death from massive damage. Huecuva have darkvision with a range of 60 feet.
13) HALL OF SKULLS
This narrow tunnel is in poor shape but is currently safe. The place is very eerie- on both sides, at five foot intervals, are human skulls set into small niches in the walls. Carved into the walls are several unfinished frescoes of unholy scenes involving human sacrifice and combat with supernatural creatures. The end of the corridor is collapsed. A garnet worth 50gp is hidden inside one of the skulls (Search DC 17 to find).
14) LEADER'S ROOM
Note: the eastern part of the complex is set off by a crude wooden door (14A)- it is barred from the east side but is cracked and flimsy and can be broken down by a few heavy blows from an axe or mace. It was put up primarily to keep out animals or other non-intelligent hazards.
Crude door: hardness 3, hp8, Break DC 18 (barred from opposite side), Open Locks DC 20 (to remove bar from this side)
The room itself is sparsely furnished, with a simple cot, writing table, stool, and two heavy oaken chests. Both chests are locked. The keys are in the pocket of the room's occupant, one Khiralt Garrauk (AC9, MV12", HD3d4, hp10, A1, D weapon, SA spells, THAC020). Khiralt is a mix of human and humaniod blood, and bears the worst features of both halves. He dresses in black and violet robes that cover almost his entire body, except for the ends of his fingers and his dark, sinister eyes.
Khiralt Garrauk, half-human conjurer 2: medium-size humanoid, CR3, AC 11 (dex, 15 with mage armor), Init +1, Mv30, HD2d4+2+3, hp 11, Atk dagger +0 melee, D1d4-1, Fort +2, Ref +1, Will +2, Str 8, Dex 12, Con 13, Int 14, Wis 8, Cha 7, Scribe Scroll, Toughness, Alchemy +4, Concentration +6, Listen +3, Spellcraft +7, Spot +3
Spells (4/4, opposition evocation): 0/dancing lights, 0/mage hand, 0/ray of frostx2, 1/grease, 1/mage armor, 1/shocking grasp, 1/unseen servant
Equipment: 2 daggers, 2 scrolls of 1/summon monster I (CL2), potion of cure light wounds, 15pp, keys to chests
Familiar: rat (hp11).
If alerted (and he will hear the sounds of anyone trying to force the door at 14A), Khiralt will retreat and try to gather his minions together to repel the intruders; if surprised or trapped he will yell for help and try to hold his opponents off with his spells. At the first warning of danger he will cast his mage armor spell upon himself.
The first chest contains six weeks iron rations, 20 wax candles, a bag of flints, three throwing knives, six blank scrolls, a vial of quality ink, several sets of spare clothes, and a waterskin. The second chest contains six sacks with 150sp in each, a set of 6 bronze plates (8sp each), a silver bowl (30gps), and a small brass box (15gp) containing 12 azurites (10gp each).
Khiralt's spellbook is hidden in a false top in the lid of the second chest; it contains his memorized spells plus all cantrips, 1/comprehend languages, and 1/summon monster I.
15) THE LIEUTENANT
This spacious chamber serves as the quarters of Khiralt's loyal second-in-command, the hobgoblin fighter Orn Throatripper. This brute is cruel, domineering, and mean—and rules over the goblins with an iron fist. He is a virtual arsenal, carrying a sword, hand axe, bow, and two daggers.
The room itself contains only a cheap cot overlaid with poorly tanned furs (the smell is detectible 10' away), two small barrels filled with tepid water, and a stale pine box containing some dirty cloaks and some stale loaves of bread. On the bottom of one of the barrels, wrapped in dark leather, is a silver ring set with a garnet worth 100gp. This will be virtually impossible to see, though (Search DC23), unless the water is dumped out of the barrel first.
Orn Throatripper, hobgoblin fighter 1: medium-size humanoid, CR1, AC16 (+1 dex, +5 chainmail), Init +1, Mv20, HD1d10+1, hp10, Atk longsword +4 melee (1d8+1) or +2 ranged (1d6+1 bow), Fort +3, Ref +1, Will +0, Str 12, Dex 13, Con 13, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 10, Alertness, Weapon focus (longsword), Hide -3, Listen +3, Move Silently -1, Spot +3
Equipment: masterwork longsword, hand axe, mighty (+1) shortbow and 10 arrows, two daggers, chainmail, 20gp and 35 sp in a belt pouch.
16) SMALL CHAMBER
This small area of worked stone has a low 7' ceiling. The place is dark and dirty, as it serves as the home of four mangy goblins. The place is littered with dirty straw and refuse, and smells awful. The goblins are lounging about, drinking cheap beer and singing bawdy songs, and will not surprise intruders. They have a -1 penalty to their attack rolls due to their condition. Each carries only a club and 2-8 cps. Note that the secret door (Search DC 20) is only secret from the east side.
Goblins: hp 3 each.
17) SMALL ROOM
This place is cleaner than area 16, and is the home of a one-armed hobgoblin named Grash (AC6, MV9", HD1+1, hp6, A1, D1-6, THAC019). Despite his handicap Grash is still a fierce fighter, and is respected by the goblins. He carries a heavy mace stuck through his belt. His only treasure is a gold amulet, worth 80gp, that he keeps on a chain around his neck, hidden underneath his jerkin. The room itself contains only a bed of straw and furs, with a few waterskins strewn about.
Grash: medium-size humanoid, CR½, AC15 (+1 dex, +4 chain shirt), Init +1, Mv30, HD1d8, hp6, Atk mace +1 melee, D 1d8, Fort +2, Ref +1, Will +0, Str 10, Dex 13, Con 10, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 10, Alertness, Hide +0, Listen +3, Move Silently +2, Spot +3
18) WARRIOR HALL
This place is dimly lit by an oil map in a small niche. A ladder leads upward 20' to area 19. The place contains five neat bedrolls, a chest (contains 10 oil flasks, 60 arrows, a bowl of expensive unguents [60gp value], a sack with 180cps, and a haunch of semi-rotten meat), and a small cask of water. The occupants are a militant and well-disciplined band of goblins, and include 4 warriors and a burly war leader. The latter thinks of the others as "his warriors" and despises both the drunkards at area 16 and the bullying of Orn. All carry short swords and javelins. In addition, the leader carries a short bow with 8 arrows and 4 arrows +1 as well. Each carries 2-12 sp in personal treasure.
Goblin Warriors: hp4 each
Goblin Leader: Small humanoid War2, CR1, AC 15 (+1 size, +1 dex, +3 studded leather), Init +1, Mv30, HD2d8, hp9, Atk short sword +2 melee (1d6-1) or short bow +4 ranged (1d6), Fort +3, Ref +1, Will +0, Str 8, Dex 13, Con 11, Int 10, Wis 11, Cha 8, Alertness, Craft (fletcher) +2, Hide +6, Listen +3, Move Silently +4, Spot +3
19) NATURAL CAVE
This cave is unremarkable except that the recent tracks of goblins can be made out in the floor. The secret door (Search DC20) is disguised to appear as a stone slab.
20) ENTRY CAVE
This passage is only 5' high and opens onto a rocky hillside. The entrance is shrouded by brush and is undetectable from more than 20' away.