Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Ruins of Soguer - The Mages's Guild Tower, Part 1

Once again we return to the adventure The Ruins of Old Soguer, being posted piece-by-piece here on Tailslap.  Today's post details the first two floors of the Mage's Guild Tower in the central portion of the ruins.  There, a figure from the past languishes under a mysterious curse.

Previous sections of the adventure can be found here:
The Ruins of Soguer - Introduction
The Ruins of Soguer - Start of the Adventure in Aguies Town & Castle
The Ruins of Soguer - River Journey to the Ruins
The Ruins of Soguer - The Western Ruins
The Ruins of Soguer - the Central Ruins

5 - The Mage's Guild Tower, A reclusive old mage named Alidol lives within this tower, trapped by a curse.
Standing here among the ruins of the city is a tall square tower with smooth, windowless, slightly tapered sides. The once-fine facade is cracked and crumbling and vines crawl up the walls. A single wide doorway stands open, the door long gone. You see an old man in tattered clothes and with long, tangled beard and hair peering at you from the doorway.
If the players apprach, the old man greets them cautiously. If not threatened, he will converse with them, telling them that his name is Alidol, and that he was the Master of the Mage's Guild of Soguer before the fall, and that he has lived in the tower since then. He is hesitant to reveal more detail then that, though he can be convinced to reveal some of his secrets with a skill challange (below).

What he cannot reveal are the details of the curse that he languishes under.

Skill challenge - xp 200 (4 successes before 3 failures)
DC - 14 Diplomacy, Bluff, Intimidate and Arcana skill checks to learn the old man's history - that when he was young the pleasures of the flesh and his ambition consumed him and he pledged his soul to Grazz't. After he amassed great power he became the high mage of the guild, and that then he used forbidden magic to share his soul to make simmalacrum of himself (magical copies who share his soul - and therefore his pact with Grazz't). He goes on to tell that when the city was attacked he used up all of his power to ward the tower against the demon god that rose up out of the sea and now has no more magic in him.

He then tries to say "With my power gone my simmalacrum were free to act as they willed. They made separate deals with Grazz't, I believe, then betrayed and cu... cur..." (as part of his curse he is unable to say that they cursed him and left him here to die, and will become angry at this point and begin tearing at his hair and beard in frustration. Once he calms down a bit he will implore the players to help him, though he is unable to say anything about the curse or its nature - he can't even say that he can't speak about it.

If asked about creatures in the tower, he will mention his shield guardian, but will say it should not be hostile - it will just protect him, though that's useless since it is trapped above, where he cannot reach due to the stairs having fallen apart.

If asked about his past and his pact with Grazz't, the old man will sadly relate that he once burned with ambition and lust, but that after spending forty years alone in the tower he has repented those things and now just wishes to live out the rest of his days in peace.

If the players try to leave the tower, Alidol warns them about the hezrou (toad demon) that stalks the ruins. He will go on to say that his final spell - a ward against demons - still protects the tower and that the Hezrou cannot enter.

Minor Quest (Level 10 - xp 500 for each player): Free the guildmaster from his tower.
The curse laid on Alidol prevents him from leaving the tower until he has died there. It also prohibits him from helping anyone lift his curse in any way. If the players kill his simmalacrum he has technically died in the tower and is then free to leave.

Success - If the players free Alidol from the tower, he will thank them gratefully and promise to assist them any way he can. If the subject of the inquisition comes up he will inquire about it, and if the church of Baccob is mentioned he will let them know that one of his simmalacrum was working to join the church of Boccob many years ago. He will accompany them out of the ruins if they will allow him to join them, eventaully making his way back to Aguies with them. While with the party, he will happily share his vast knowledge of the arcane, making Arcana skill checks to identify creatures and help with arcane skill challanges at +30.

Tower Locations

Much of the tower is shrouded with patches of dense fog, all corridors are filled with fog, all doors are Arcane Locked (DC 21 Theivery or Strength to open), and there are some illusionary features thoroughout. The entire tower is also warded by a spell that protects against demons - Alidol's ward from the fall of Soguer - that keeps the hezrou out.

Ground Floor

A - Main Hall
A chair stands alone near the door in this large open room. The floor is littered with dirt and bits of wood and fallen masonry. Pillars support the ceiling twenty feet above, which shows cracks and some dark holes where pieces of stone are missing. A door leads to a hallway with smaller chambers - also with long-rotted chairs and tables. At the end of the hall is a spiral staircase leading up. Empty sconces and burned out torches line the walls.

B - Meeting Rooms - These chambers contain only the broken remains of tables and chairs.

C - Guest Chambers - Here three bedrooms hold simple furniture that looks fragile with age - a bed, chair, table, and empty chest.

D - Kitchen - This kitchen features a large rusty stove, and some tables and shelves still stand among the debris.

A simple wooden spoon lies on the table, next to a worn wooden bowl. The spoon is magical - if it is placed in the bowl or any container it fills with plain-tasting but nutritious gruel (as Everlastng Provisions - it provides food and water for up to 5 people a day). If Alidol sees the players examining with the spoon - his only source of food - he becomes agitated and takes it away from them.

Novice's Chambers

E - Warded Door (Arcane Locked - DC 21 Theivery or Strength to open) - The password is "korth" (draconic for danger), but Alidol's curse prevents him from telling them what it is.

F - Scribe's Workshop

Two long tables with benches and a bookshelf fill this chamber. Scraps of paper and a set of quills sit on the tables. Some books stand on the shelves. A few small vials, bits of paper and a few books sit among the thick dust that coats the floor.
This is where books and documents were copied and some scrolls were made - a search of the papers on the floor (easy perception check - DC 10) will turn up a complete scroll of water breathing. The books on the shelves that have survived the ages and vermin cover arcane and mundane topics, history "Wars of the Fridon", philosophy "Natural Science of the Rivers", "On Rulership", religion "Tracts of Truth and Guidance", fiction "There and Back Again", erotica "Ten Tales of Romance". There are 10 salvagable books all told.

G - Novice's Dormotories
These simple rooms hold a single bed, a footlocker, a small table and a chair in various stages of decay.
The rooms are empty, the novices having taken their posessions with them as they left the city after the fall.

H - Unstable Masonry - Hazard

Level 10 Lurker - XP 500
Small debris litter the dusty staircase here.
Hazard - These crumbling stairs could collapse at any moment - plunging the unwary down to the hall below and leaving a pit that must be climbed or jumped over.

Perception - A DC 21 Perception or Dungeoneering notices the cracked and dangerous stonework on the stairs.

Trigger - The first creature to climb the stairs causes them to crumble under them. The stairs make the following attack.

Attack - immedeate interrupt
Target - the first creature climbing the stairs
+13 vs Reflex
Hit - 2d10 falling damage and secondary attack from falling stones
-Secondary Attack - +13 vs Fortitide, 1d10+5 damage
-Effect - the staircase crumbles, opening up a pit that looks down into the Main Hall (area A). Once the pit opens, a DC 21 Athletics or Acrobatics check is required to cross it.

- DC 16 Acrobatics check to carefully cross the stairs one at a time without triggering the stairs to collapse (player is attacked as above on failure).
- DC 16 Athletics check to run and jump over the stairs without triggering the collapse (player is attacked as above on failure).
- DC 21 Athletics or Acrobatics check to cross once the stairs have collapsed (player falls for 2d10 damage on failure).

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