Recap: After staying for a few days with the Order of Devon, the party prepared to set out for Tugren's tower, as indicated in the spellbook that Faeradd had. Sam performed mock combat with some of the monks, trying to open up their narrow views of hand-to-hand combat, while Faeradd pored over some of the texts and tomes of their library with Phoenix. In the end, young Poy was chosen to accompany the party in its journeys, in the event Faeradd was the gnome of Prophecy, as set forth by Brigain's will.
Zan was accused of theft by Oorhl, and detained by the members of the monastery. In truth, he had discovered a clue to something within the monastery that he needed to research further; being an experienced rogue, he opted to catch up to the party later, armed with the same maps the party possessed.
After nearly a week and a half of travelling through horrible blizzards, frigid temperatures, and bone-chilling winds, the party arrived in the small valley that Tugren had claimed as his own, while he was alive. The tower itself, however, had been taken over by some sort of carnivorous tree, whose roots and vines were slowly wearing the tower apart. Tugren's tower was not overly large, but several quick battles and an extensive foray into the upper levels assured the party that Tugren's hidden magical items had to be in the basement, if in the tower at all. The roots of the massive tree creature that infested the tower sent the party in retreat, only to discover that Oorhl was under attack.
A score of bandits and nearly a hundred goblins, along with a man riding a minotaur lizard and mounted with a ballista, had taken Oorhl captive and confiscated the Skull of Passage. Thinking Oorhl a goblin king because of the skull, they moved off towards their secret encampment -- but not before destorying Tugren's tower, and ensuring Oorhl's 'friends' would not follow. The party followed anyway, though at a discreet distance, managing to stay warm despite the theft of their pavilion and equipment. The Skull of Passage went with twenty hobgoblins that the main army met up with, and then the army -- and Oorhl and the minotaur mount -- went on. Through a set of narrow, winding valleys, the party followed the army to its massive cave, which hid the bandits from everyone else.
Using Faeradd's spells and Phoenix's abilities, a quick reconaissance of the interior of the cave -- and a rescued Oorhl -- let the party make plans. Using a natural choke point within the cave, coupled with obscuring mists and stone-softening spells, the party let the bandit army come to them. Between the leader of the bandits, his cleric, and the minotaur lizard, the party was almost destroyed. Quick thinking and hard work salvaged the battle, allowing them to retake the advantage, and reduce the remainder of the army into surrendering.
The party now rests within the cave of the bandit army, with the goblins having been paid to return home, and the remaining bandit mercenaries heading back towards Vridara. With their choice of equipment and donkeys, and the return of their equipment, the party is outfitting itself for a return to Tugren's tower with a welcome and must thankful Oorhl.
The current date is the 20th of Gril, on a cold, still morning somewhere in the Mule Mountains.
Earl*: male goblin; Rog1; CR 1; Size S (3 ft., 2 in. tall); HD 3d6 (16hp); Init +2 (+2 Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 16 (+2 Dex, +1 Size, +1 leather armor, +1 buckler, +1 ring of protection); Attack +2 melee (shortsword, 1d6-1, crit 20 x2), or +7 ranged (+8 w/in 30ft) (hornet dagger, 1d4+2 [1d4+3 w/in 30ft], rang inc 20, crit 20 x2); SV Fort +1, Ref +5, Will +1; AL N; Str 8, Dex 14, Con 11, Int 12, Wis 11, Cha 8. Languages Spoken: Goblin, Common. Skills and feats: Craft (wood carving) +6, Disable Device +5, Escape Artist +6, Hide +11, Listen +7, Move Silently +7, Spot +7, Use Rope +3; Alertness, Evasion, Uncanny Dodge, point Blank Shot, Precise shot. Possessions: ring of protection +1 (silver with gold-rune inlay) (2,000 gp), Amaran hornet dagger (32,000gp), three-note 3" flute on a leather cord about his neck, 2 healing potions, travel rations, waterskin, woodworking tools, donkey named 'Steven'.
Oorhl is motivated by self protection, and a growing sense of loyalty towards the party. Outcast from the goblin clan he called home, and further afraid of the Amarans, he feels somewhat comfortable with the outcast gnome, and the goblin-speaking human known as 'Sam'.
DM Notes: Seeker Devray continues to hunt the party, but he lost nearly a month in hunting them because of Faeradd's misdirection. Only the encounter with the Imperial Footmen along the western border let him know to rework his way towards the Mule Mountains. He has only a dim knowledge of the Order of Devon, but as a Seeker, he expects to draft the order to help him hunt the gnome and his accomplices. Imperial Mandate has given Devray free reign to seek the gnome to the ends of the earth, and the King has sent Toth and several retainers to help him.
Just behind Devray are some of Duke Zavastar's hunters. Toth's aide-de-campe has been bought out by Duke Zavastar, unknown to the Imperial Guardsman. Devray is aware of the betrayal, but cares little for it, thinking that the additional, hidden reserve might come in handy.
Cali-bras has rescued Moon Break, and the two have set about to find Travis Duraset and enlist his aid. Travis has moved through the capital of Brevit and left a swath of chaos and church rivalries in his wake. He has freed the Moon clan from the Imperial courts as only a paladin of Rahne can, and forced the Ten Churches of Rahne in Brevit to bow before his logic. Brevit now seethes, and the king can barely control the populace. This chaos is unintentionally aiding the party's escape, as the western border is looking within, rather than without.
Though the tower collapsed under the assault of the ballista, the regenerating plant creature has quickly taken over the jumbled stones that remain. Excavating to find the secreted magic items of Tugren Halbot could prove dangerous.
Assassin Vine: Large Plant; CR 3; HD 4d8+12 (30hp); Init +0; Spd 0ft; AC 15 (-1 size, +6 natural); Attacks Slam +7 melee (1d6+7); F/R 5x5/10ft (20ft w/ vine); SA Entangle, Improved Grab, Constrict 1d6+7; SQ Camouflage, Electricity immunity, cold and fire resistance 20, blindsight; SV Fort +7, Ref +1, Will +2; Str 20, Dex 10, Con 16, In -, Wis 13, Cha 9. Entangle (Su): An assassin vine can animate plants within 30 feet of itself as a free action. The effect lasts until the vine dies or decides to end it (also a free action). The ability is otherwise similar to entangle as cast by a 4th-level druid (save DC 13). Improved Grab (Ex): To use this ability, the assassin vine must hit with its slam attack. Constrict (Ex): An assassin vine deals 1d6_7 points of damage with a successful grapple check against Medium-size or smaller creatures. Blindsight (Ex): Assassin vines have no visual organs but can ascertain all foes within 30 feet using sound, scent, and vibration. Camouflage (Ex): Since an assassin vine looks like a normal plant when at rest, it takes a successful Spot check (DC 20) to notice it before it attacks. Anyone with Wilderness Lore or Knowledge (plants or herbs) can use those skills instead of Spot to notice the plant.
Shambling Mound: Large Plant; CR 6; HD 8d8+24 (60hp); Init +0; Spd 20ft; AC 20 (-1 size, +11 natural); Attacks 2 slams +10 melee (2d6+5); F/R 5x5/10ft; SA Improved Grab, Constrict 2d6+7; SQ Plant, electricity Immunity, Fire Resistance 30; SV Fort +9, Ref +2, Will +2; Str 21, Dex 10, Con 17, Int 7, Wis 10, Cha 9. Skills: Hide +0*, Listen +4, Move Silently +4. Improved Grab (ex): To use this ability, the shambler must hit an opponent of up to Large size with both arm attacks. If it gets a hold, it can constrict. Constrict (Ex): A shambler deals 2d6+7 points of damage with a successful grapple check against Large or smaller creatures. The shambler can still move but cannot take any attack actions when constricting. Plant: Immune to mind-influencing efffects, poison, sleep, paralysis, stunning, and polymorphing. Not subject to critical hits. Electricity Immunity (Ex): Shamblers take no damage from electricity. Instead, any electrical attack (such as shocking grasp or lightning bolt) used against a shambler grants it 1d4 points of temporary Constitution. The shambler loses these points at the rate of 1 per hour. Skills: Shamblers receive a +4 racial bonus to Hide, Listen, and Move Silently Checks. *They receive a +12 bonus to Hide checks when in a swampy or forested area.
Tendriculos: Huge Plant; CR 6; HD 9d8+54 (94hp); Init -1 (Dex); Spd 20ft; AC 16 (-2 size, -1 Dex, +9 natural); Attacks bite +13 melee (2d8+9), 2 tendrils +8 melee (1d6+4); F/R 10x40/15; SA Improved Grab, Swallow Whole, Paralysis; SQ Plant, Regeneration 10; SV Fort +12, Ref +2, Will +2; Str 28, Dex 9, Con 22, Int 3, Wis 8, Cha 3. Improved Grab (Ex): To use this ability, the tendriculos must hit with its bite attack. if it gets a hold, it automatically deals bite damage and can try to swallow the oponent. A tendriculos that hits with a tendril attack grabs as above. If it gets a hold, it picks up the opponent and transfers it to the mouth as a partial action, automatically dealing bite damage as above. Swallow Whole/Paralysis (Ex): A tendriculos can try to swallow a grabbed opponent of Large or smaller size by making a successful grapple check. Once inside the plant's mass, the opponent must succeed at a Fortitude save (DC 19) or be paralyzed for 3d6 rounds by the tendriculos's digestive juices, taking 2d6 points of acid damage per round. A new save is required each round inside the plant. A swallowed creature that avoids paralysis can climb out of the mass with a successful grapple check. This returns it to the plant's maw, where another successful grapple check is needed to get free. A swallowed creature can also cut its way out by using claws or a Small or Tiny slashing weapon to deal 25 points of damage to the tendriculos's interior (AC 15). Once the creature exits, the plant's amazing regenerative capacity closes the hole; another swallowed opponent must again cut its own way out. The tendriculos's interior can hold two Large, four Small, eight Tiny, sixteen Diminutive, or thirty-two Fine or smaller opponents. Plant: Immune to mind-influencing effects, poison, sleep, paralysis, stunning, and polymorphing. Not subject to critical hits. Regeneration (Ex): Bludgeoning weapons and acid deal normal damage to a tendriculos. A tendriculos that loses part of its body mass can regrow it in 1d6 minutes. Holding the severed portion against the mass enables it to reattach instantly.
Underneath all the debris in the basement is a flagstone that is unmortared -- and beneath it, is darkness. Tugren enchanted several dozen steel pitons with darkness, and buried them in the tunnel that leads to his lab. Added to these enchantments were Nystul's undetectable auras, so everything magical comes up as nonmagical, further confusing efforts to pry through the darkness. A large zone of nondetection exists beneath the flagstone, opening up an arena of confusing magics and hidden spells.
The tunnel leading to Tugren's workshop is at the end of an eighty-foot tunnel. A hidden, obscured, undetectable rune lies in the middle of the tunnel inscribed on one of the flagstones. First, it casts a slow spell (DC 15), and then it follows it up with a stinking cloud spell (DC 15). All of this takes place in magical darkness. Twenty foot from the final door to the worshops, and twenty feet past the slow and stinking cloud runes is another rune, of web (DC 14). One round after the web spell ensnares anyone, a gust of wind clears out the stinking cloud, only to replace it with a monster summoning II set to call large, monstrous spiders.
Monsterous Spider, Large: CR 2; Large Vermin (10' wide, body the size of a large ale keg); HD 4d8+4; hp 22; Init +3 (Dex); Spd 30 ft, climb 20ft (40 ft, climb 20ft); AC 14 (+1 size, +3 Dex, +2 natural); Atk Bite +4 melee (1d8+3 and poison); SA poison, web; SQ vermin; SV Fort +5, Ref +4, Will +1; Str 15, Dex 17, Con 12, Int --, Wis 10, Cha 2. Skills and Feats: Climb +14, Hide +14, Jump +2*, Spot +7*. Poison (Ex): DC 11, Initial and Secondary Damage 1d3 Str. Web (Ex): Escape DC 18, Break DC 24, hp 4. DC 20 to notice the web; attempts to break free gain a +5 bonus if there is purchase. Vermin (Ex): Immune to mind-influencing effects.
Past that lies the iron-banded door (still in darkness) to Tugren's workshop. The door itself has a simple arcane lock upon it (total DC to break down or open is 35). Inside is a cold, musty smell in the natural darkness. The workshop is nearly forty feet on a side, with a vaulted ceiling, shelves everywhere, and a layer of dust and cobwebs on everything. Tugren Halbot himself lies slumped across his desk, his skeleton precariously held together with old, decomposed skin and muscle. The slightest touch will collapse the body. The books have all been eaten through with age, and likely are little more than dust.
The workshop has hundreds of book covers on high shelves, as well as several work tables, benches, a furnace, and other, fragile and antiquated things. Detect magic will work effectively in that room, and will reveal the following: bracers of armor (+2) (4,000 gp), potion of blur (300 gp) [sooty-colored, greasy odor/taste, viscous, cloudy appearance], buckler +1 (1,165 gp), buckler +1 (blinding) (4,165 gp) [something provides a clue to this item's function], spectacles of daylight (8,000gp) [allow the wearer to see in magical darkness], a chest full of small gems of various colors, all uncut (valued at a total of 4,000gp; value of 21,000gp if cut), ring of protection +1 (2,000 gp), Heward's handy haversack (2,000 gp), and quarterstaff +2 (8,600 gp) [curse: possessor must have at least 6 ranks of profession (scribe)].
As well, there are four each of the follownig scrolls: nondetection, protection from elements, true strike, darkness, and tongues.
Lured by the destruction of Tugren's tower, a behir that actually remembers the old mage has come to investigate it, hoping Tugren has returned. The behir, who would actually answer to the name of 'Blue', is a creature not overly fond of goblins, comprehends the Common tongue, has a long memory, and considers Tugren's range his range, for he was fond of the old mage. In fact, the last few references in the book are to a friend known as 'Blue' that cares for him during his periods of infirmity.
'Blue' Behir: gargantuan magical beast (electricity) - 60ft long and weighing 18 tons; CR 8(+7); HD 16d10+85 (224hp); Init +1 (Dex); Spd 50ft, climb 20ft; AC 18 (-4 size, +1 Dex, +11 natural); Atk +16 melee (bite, 2d6+11, crit 19-20 x2) and +11 melee (6 claws, 1d6+7, crit 20 x2); F/R 10x30/10ft; SA Breath weapon, improved grab, swallow whole, constrict 2d8+8; SQ Electricity immunity, scent, can't be tripped; SV Fort +11, Ref +7, will +5; Str 32, Dex 17, Con 21, Int 7, Wis 14, Cha 12. Skills and Feats: Climb +18, Hide +5, Spot +7, Language +2 (Common), Cleave, Power Attack, Track. Breath Weapon (Su): Line of lightning 5 feet wide, 5 feet high, and 20 feet long, once a minute; damage 7d6, Reflex half DC 19. Improved Grab (Ex): To use this ability, the behir must hit with its bite attack. If it gets a hold, it can attempt to swallow or constrict the opponent. Swallow Whole (Ex): A behir can try to swallow a grabbed Medium-size or smaller opponent by making a successful grapple check. A behir that swallows an opponent can use its Cleave feat to bite and grab another opponent. The swallowed creature takes 2d8+8 points of crushing damage and 8 points of acid damage per round from the behir's gizzard. A swallowed creature can also cut its way out using claws or a Small or Tiny slashing weapon to deal 25 points of damage to the gizzard (AC 20). Once the creature exits, muscular action closes the hold; another swallowed opponent mst again cut its own way out. The behir's gizzard can hold two Medium-size, four Small, eith Tiny, sixteen Diminutive, or thirty-two Fine or smaller opponents. Constrict (Ex): A behir deals 2d8+8 damage with a successful grapple check against Gargantuan or smaller creatures. It can use its claws against the grappled foe as well.