Caverns of Depth
In this game, a mysterious benefactor hires the heroes to stop an evil necromancer. While short in scope, the necromancer may well flee, as well may a dragon living above him, both of whom can be Enemies in a longer campaign.
For this adventure, the group should be of about four 250-point GURPS Dungeon Fantasy characters. A smaller group can play it, though its players should add the multi-class lenses in GURPS Dungeon Fantasy 3: The Next Level to the characters to cover for their lacking roles. A larger group may need some more foes in some encounters.
There are two main events in this adventure: Poiút, a shady merchant, hiring the heroes, and the heroes going to the mines to stop Haugolo, the goblin necromancer. There are more goals in the mines of which one can learn in Sitton, but the basic adventure flow is for the group to learn of and accept the adventure, then go to the mines and explore.
While this adventure is a dungeon combat grind, there are hooks for more roleplaying in Sitton. A group with a good cleric or a holy warrior may take more interest in the events at the Church of Plentingud. A group with a dwarf can lead to Tikivar and thus the dwarf horde more easily, as well as bypassing the golem at the rear way out.
A GM can supplement or replace the lead-in with Poiút with one better suited to his players. A group of religious characters could learn of the adventure from Necaria at the Church of Plentingud. This group would be more interested in the altar that Haugolo has defiled. A dwarf or thief would want the dwarf horde; a dwarf would also want to destroy the Gate to Hell. An evil party may want the altar for itself — its clerics would gain a power boost from it — or want to further open the Gate to Hell.
Groups that like mindless combat will find enough of that in the mines. In the town, this may be an issue. The fight with the Banervus Gang lets the group blow off steam with an early, easy bar fight. A group more interested in fighting could instead fight a rival adventuring group at that stage.
The Duchy of Carilia is set near the subarctic in a world borrowing trappings from medieval Europe. It not tied to this; the adventure could be in a desert of a world with the trappings of Mayan Mexico. It does need somewhere that would work as a mine, which sets the minimum Tech Level at 1. The Village of Sitton sits at the edge of a backwater part of the world.
Using Conflicts With Your Own NPCs
Instead of Poiút working for the goblins, he could be working for an Enemy of someone in the group. If the group learns this, it will want to keep Haugolo’ staff, Sprugcutter, and the altar out of its Enemy’s hands.
If there is a non-human hero in the group other than a dwarf, the mine could have belonged to that race. Be sure to change the trappings, since some players will find it odd for the group to go into the underground elf mine.
One change that will suit a group into roleplaying intrigue is to the tie the adventure to the rumors about the new mayor, which are but red herrings in this adventure. Calumet could be the wizard mastermind instead of Haugolo, and he has disappeared, right after the Duke appointed him mayor. Gwelsin, the assassin on the lam, becomes his lieutenant.
The altar of Plentingud could be a lure to evil for a good cleric in the group. Such a lured cleric would kill Haugolo, use the altar to boost his spell-casting skill and weaken that of his foes, and lead any of Haugolo’s zombies that the group did not kill to take over Sitton.
Finally, the dwarves want their horde back. If the group sells or keeps it instead, it would earn their wrath, setting up a conflict with them.
Stuff You Can Use
As this is designed for Dungeon Fantasy, most unusual abilities are expected. Even some otherwise forbidden abilities, like teleportation, are limited as the group is handling hitherto unknown foes in hitherto unknown places, giving penalties to teleportation or clairsentience rolls. If the group somehow has the might to destroy the mine, say through high-tech devices, let them do so, and destroy all the treasure with it.
A mighty group could go through the Gate to Hell instead of trying to shut it. An evil group might want to go there to make new Allies.
If Haugolo or Gemore flee, either would be a tough Enemy. If Gemore flees, feel free to move up his age category the next time the group meets him.
If Haugolo flees, he will take his time getting his revenge, especially if the group has stolen his staff. For him, revenge ends with a new zombie.
The dwarves will want to retake their mine. If the Gate to Hell is still open, it could suddenly grow in power and unspeakable new foes could step through it, giving the group another task to finish.
This town is an out-of-the-way place. It needs some place for heroes to stay, but any small town on the outskirts of civilization should work.
All events that happen before the group sets forth on its quest happen here. These include learning of the job, meeting Poiút, checking for rumors, and maybe hearing of the theft of the altar or of the dwarven history of the mine.
Sitton is a large village on the north edge of the Duchy of Carilia. To the north of the village lie wastes, but a few days to the south lies the rest of the duchy. Sitton is the last outpost of civilization before travelers meet the less-civilized creatures of the Nordeast. There is a small dwarf community here, a leftover of a time when dwarves ruled the whole area.
In Sitton, folks can buy basic gear worth up to $10,000. If they to sell loot, there is about $400,000 cash in Sitton. If anyone needs to buy and sell among greater wealth, the Duke’s capitol of Newcombe lies about a week’s trip to the south. Coins are as in GURPS Dungeon Fantasy 2: Dungeons; a copper coin is a farthing, a silver coin a penny, a gold coin a crown. Most business is handled in farthings.
The local tongue is known as Common. Assume all civilized humanoids in Sitton know it at Native/None. Assume that all other humanoids, including the kobolds and goblins, know it at Broken/None unless stated otherwise.
A Lord Mayor, an appointee of the Duke, rules Sitton. There is a new Lord Mayor, Calumer, as Gwelsin, a known assassin, murdered the last one, Murbodí, two weeks ago. Gwelsin has been caught and thrown into jail to await hanging. While meaningless to the adventure, these happenings are the village’s gossip.
The tavern is a generic tavern, known well to fantasy roleplayers. It needs to be busy and low-class—no one giving a task assigned by goblins will do this in a well-to-do place!
In the tavern, the group will meet Poiút and, if boisterous enough, have a bar fight.
The Rain of Anvils Inn
The adventurers’ dive in Sitton is the Rain of Anvils. Its barkeep is Librip, a balding middle-aged man who is missing an eye. His helper is Kaega, a plain woman a few years younger than Librip who ties her brunette hair back in a bun. Librip sleeps behind the bar and offers a spot on the main floor at night for five silver pennies. For six farthings, one can buy a meal: a mug of ale and stew served on a plate of hard bread. For two more farthings, one can buy another mug of ale. The GM can assume that the Cost of Living for Status 0 and higher covers expenses here.
These are old abandoned mines, once the home of dwarves or a like race. Unlike other locations in this adventure, these mines are not easy for a GM to replace, as most of the action happens here. They need not be mines. Any underground labyrinth will do, so long as it has a somewhat plausible reason for being and housing its current dwellers.
The bulk of the adventure happens here, which is mostly the group going from room to room and facing its dwellers.
The Mines of Sneerglaw
Dwarves made these mines, digging mostly for iron here. They had tapped a small gold vein. Digging up it led the dwarves to the Gate to Hell. After a short fight, demons overran the mines. However, over the years, the power of the Gate has waned, and most of the peshkali demons have gone back to Hell.
The Market Square
This event opens the adventure. In it, the group learns that there is a mission and of some of the other happenings around Sitton. This event needs to happen in a public place in the base town, though the GM can change exactly where and how it happens to fit his game.
Summarize or read aloud the following text:
It is cheapstow day in Sitton and, like every cheapstow day, folks from all over the land gather in the town folkstead. Nikolet, the saddler, is fighting for a stall with Insmuthluk, a wayfaring fishmonger. Lord Sonkorl, always looking to better his standing from landless to landed lord, has newly bought a painting of the Duchess and is proudly showing it to anyone nearby. Clergy are buying food to start the cooking for the coming Saint Barrett’s Feast, still two weeks away.
All of the sudden, the hubbub dies as everyone turns to the middle of the folkstead. A beefy man clad in green stands in sight of everyone, opens a scroll, and reads aloud from it. “In the name Saiserit, Duke of Carilia, I bid you greetings! While the Duke is sad to hear of the murder of Murbodí, Lord Mayor of Sitton, he will have a new Lord Mayor for the town soon. The Duke further keeps the town safe by bidding the hanging of Gwelsin, killer of Murbodí, on the next cheapstow day!” The crowd roars as it claps. The beefy man starts to go, but then stops and turns toward the crowd again. “One more thing. Poiút has a job for heroes. Go see Librip at the Rain of Anvils Inn to set up a meeting. Tell ‘im Noshud sent you.” And with that, Noshud rolls up his scroll and leaves.
The group needs some reason to be in Sitton. This adventure assumes that they are already there and know each other, but that need not be so. Non-humans could be from nearby lands, looking to make contact with mankind for whatever reason. Humans can be emissaries from the Duke, here after the recent political strife, or they could be from Sitton. If the latter is so, they can already know of specific avenues for further knowledge on successful Area Knowledge (Sitton) rolls. Be sure to apply difficulty modifiers. Even the village idiot knows about the death of the Lord Mayor, but the Church of Plentingud is trying to keep hidden the theft of its altar.
At this point, the group is assumed to try to set up a meeting with Poiút. The players may not bite at the obvious bait. Someone religious is bound to go by the Church of Plentingud sooner or later, and there Necaria, the priestess of Plentingud, can snare him and tell him about the theft of the altar, setting off the adventure. Some groups may try to learn more of the death of the Lord Mayor. If so, they can meet with Churgace, the town constable, who will show them Gwelsin in his cell. Gwelsin freely confesses to the murder, but does not tell his motives.
What is important is that, for whatever reason, the group goes to the mines to face its dwellers.
In the end, this event is like all other events in Sitton — only important to send the group to the mines. If it skips this event, tell its information some other way.
Summarize or read aloud the following to the players:
The tavern door opens suddenly, and the bar drinkers stop to see who has come. They shake their heads in loathing when they see coming through the door a fat man, dressed in dark maroon robes and a gold necklace falling atop his belly. His blond mop of curly hair falls into his mug, but he does not touch it. Instead, he beckons to the keep who, after a sigh, come toward the fat man with a mug of ale. The fat man grabs the mug, takes a swig, and then drops a coin onto the floor. “Ye need to bring me dinner too!” The keep looks around before picking up the coin and walking back to the bar. He comes back to the fat man, staring at the keep and tapping his foot, now bearing a thick bread-plate with stew on it. The fat man pulls out a knife and sticks it into a piece of meat atop the pile of stew. He eats the meat, breaks, smiles, then pats the keep on the head. “Good work, boy! Now, where are those heroes?”
The keep looks toward you, and you see his lips open and close as if talking. They look like they are saying, “Over there, sir,” but the keep speaks softly and his words do not carry above the din of the bar patrons, who have gone back to the eating, drinking, and chatting they were doing before the fat man came into the bar.
The keep leads the fat man to the empty seat at your table, on which he puts the bread-plate of stew. The fat man sits in the seat in front of the food and eats a few bites before speaking. “I am Poiút! Ye must be the strapping heroes!”
After eating a bit more, Poiút talks again. “This stuff is all right, but there’s a place athwart town that makes a mean sheepflesh steak.” Behind Poiút’s back, the keep scowls at him. “Anyhow, to the job. There’s this goblin wizard who’s in league with the evil groundswells of Darkness — witches or demons or some such — and he needs to be stopped. My friend is ready to give each of you five crowns of gold if ye bring him the goblin’s staff. How ye get it is up to you, but my friend won’t shed a tear if something bad were to happen to him. The wizard, that is. He has two other goblins with him, both skilled in weapons.”
Note that Poiút’s goblin friend has offered to give the group ten gold pieces each, but Poiút plans on pocketing the extra gold, as well as his “finder’s fee” of five gold. He will immediately add additional gold if someone asks, but each additional piece beyond that needs a Quick Contest of Merchant against Poiút’s Merchant!-11. If the heroes do reach ten gold, he will whine about “going hungry.”
Poiút knows little else beyond what he tells the party. He won’t admit his friend is a goblin, and he knows not what magic Haugolo does. He does have a map to give to the party.
Some common questions and answers are below.
“Who is your friend?”
“Oh, my friend.” Poiút pauses before he puts his knife in a bit of liver, which he then eats. “Old business buddy. His father and mine go way back.”
“Why isn’t he here to hire us?”
“He likes to stay outside of town. He also does not want you to be able to tell of him to the wizard in case you’re nabbed. The two have some kind of bad blood. I didn’t want to know more.” He takes a swig of ale before his next bite.
“Where do we go?”
Poiút grins before belching. “I knew ye kids would come about. I gave you a good one, eh?” He pushes himself away from the table to best grab a rolled scroll of paper tucked under his robes. After pulling it out, he pulls back to the table and hands the map to you [point to someone, preferably one talking and sitting by Poiút]. The scroll is sealed with a dab of wax but no thring of a signet. Once opened, you see a roughly drawn map. “This ‘ere is Sitton.” He picks out a spot on the bottom. “And this is the cave with the wizard.” He points to a triangle at the top of the map. “When ye get back with the staff, tell the barkeep — what’s his name, uh … Librip — tell Librip that ye want to see me.”
Delving into Poiút
A successful Area Knowledge (Sitton) check will reveal that Poiút is a middling dishonest trader who inherited his business from his father. A further successful check reveals that he has friends among both the nobility and the nearby non-humans, including halflings, goblins, and orcs, none of whom are disgusted by him. He runs a trading company, but rarely leaves Sitton, as he hates travel.
Poiút is a trader. Someone, especially a nonhuman, may want to see Poiút for other aims. If so, he may talk about an evil necromancer who is troubling a friend of his, and offer the job then.
Furthermore, what Poiút offers is information. Other townsfolk can give the most important piece of information: there are mines filled with monsters and treasure. The only change is the main boon for the asker.
A rash group will set forth as soon as it can. A more restrained group will ask around town, and it may uncover more events on the Rumor Table.
Like anything that happens in Sitton, a group can skip Poiút so long as it goes to the mines.
If the players are looking for a fight, give them one! The Rain of Anvils can be a rough place, so it is easy to give the players a bar fight there. Librip does not care until folks draw weapons or harm his inn. At that point, he will break up the fight with a bop on the head from behind to a fighter.
The Banervus gang is a group of punk kids who think they are the baddest asses in Sitton. When they hear Poiút offer the heroes the chance for an adventure, they will sulk until Poiút is leaving. As he is walking to the door, Mikvik comes over to the table and sits in the seat in which Poiút sat.
No sooner has Poiút left his seat then a tall, gangly youth with dark hair and a face marked from a long-ago pox sits down. “So, ye maggots have some work, eh? What makes ye little babies think ye can do a man’s job?” Three other teenagers stand behind him.
This event is meant to let off steam for some players. A few insults will let the GM know if the group wants this or not.
Not much will happen unless the group loses. If that happens, Poiút will openly question the skill of the group, though he will not give the job to the Banervus Gang.
If the players do not want to fight, skip this event.
Tales of the Dwarves
If the heroes start asking the folk of Sitton about the mines, they will find the town’s dwarf community has a few tales. Tikivar, an aging dwarf warrior who owns a small supply shop in town, will talk to anyone who asks.
When someone goes into the store, read aloud or summarize the following:
You duck your heads as you walk through the door. Inside, barrels and boxes stacked to the top make it hard to walk. Between the boxes, you can see the metal from old weapons and armor twinkle from the light that a lantern in the back of the room gives. Next to the lantern, there is a dwarf blowing dust off the table on which sits the lantern. He looks up at you, his gray hair falling into his mug, almost enough to cover the scar on his left cheek. “Ah, shoppers! I am Tikivar, and welcome to my store! Is there anything ye would like to buy?”
Tikivar does not proffer anything about the mines, but will talk freely about them when someone asks. Read aloud or summarize the following:
“Ah, the mines of Sneerglaw. My grandfather told me about them. He worked in the mines before the demon things came. A dwarf struck a rock with his pick, and when he pulled away the rock, first one, then six arms grabbed him. The foul demon had six arms and the arse of a snake! Just to make it an even fight, there were two of ‘em for every dwarf! That’s …” —he counts on his fingers— “… twelve arms for our two! My grandpa coulda taken them one-on-one, but the buggers were cowards and wouldn’t fight fair! He had to flee. Others weren’t as lucky …
“We’ve tried to go back to the mines. The last time we did so was 30 years ago. I went along. No use. The place is swarmin’ with those snake-butt things.”
The group should have some questions. Tikivar has some answers.
“Have you ever seen a demon?”
I went along 30 years ago. We went into the caves, and those snake-men called flying demons to come at us. We lost the front line, and Lakinecht—he was my cousin—tried to grab one, and it carried him into the mine, maybe all the way to Hell. We had to get out of there.
“Why did you go to the mines?”
We wanted to take back the mines, and we wanted our horde back. I’m sure those demons took some of it to Hell, but I wanted Sprugcutter, the mightiest of all axes. Sateregor, the starter of my clan, put it into the neck of the fell drake Romlig. I thought I was worthy of wielding that axe, but instead, I was just young and reckless.
There are many ways to reach this event. There could be a dwarf in the party. If so, let him know that there is a small (about 60) dwarf community in town.
Anyone with Area Knowledge (Sitton) can roll at -2 to know that dwarves once ruled the whole of Nordeast.
Heroes lacking necessary supplies can meet Tikivar while shopping in his store and find him curious about their goals.
Someone looking into Poiút will find that he does business with Tikivar, though Tikivar himself dislikes Poiút.
A group that has asked Tikivar about the mines now has another goal, to bring back the leftover dwarf horde. While the dwarves would reward anyone who brings back their horde, they would take most of it. Anyone spending or wielding items from the horde would bring himself dwarves with questions.
This event can be skipped. Doing so may make the group less likely to explore the mines, instead homing on Haugolo.
News and Rumors
If someone goes looking for rumors, this is a list from which the GM can choose or on which you can roll. If the GM rolls, he rolls 3d on the Rumor Table. Some items will not be appropriate for certain adventurer types. If an inappropriate event happens, re-roll the result. If someone rolls a Critical Success or a Critical Failure on a skill roll to find out news, change a list item to reflect the roll.
|3-6||Altar of Plentingud stolen|
|7-8||Assassin Gwelsin has escaped before his execution|
|9-10||Calumer, the new mayor, is a wizard|
|11-12||Noshud, village herald, picked the new mayor himself|
|13-15||The Sneerglaw mines have been overrun by orcs|
|16-18||The village of Nordeast has been attacked by a dragon and kobolds|
Altar of Plentingud stolen
This happens in the church of Plentingud. If someone with Clerical Investment makes a roll against IQ+2, he will have this encounter without need for a roll on the Rumor Table. It will not happen to a thief, or any dedicated to Evil gods. Roleplay the first meeting with her, then, on a Good Reaction or better (she reacts to those with Clerical Investment or Power Investiture (Good) at +3), this happens:
The town’s priestess of Plentingud, Necaria, bids you to come into the back room. A plump woman in her mid-30s with raven hair and ruby lips, she waves her hand, beckoning you to sit. “This does not leave this room. Our altar is gone. The box covering it is covering air.” She breaks her speech to look at your mugs before speaking again. “We have no idea who took it nor why, but surely we fear evil is afoot.” She smiles meekly, but her eyes brighten. “Don’t worry. Our seers in the capital are looking. I am sure we shall have it back by Saint Barrett’s Feast. But we cannot let out news of the theft lest others use our bad happenings for wicked deeds.”
This item is true. On their way to the Sneerglaw mines, the goblins stole the altar under orders from Haugolo. Haugolo has defiled it using a ritual he found in a manual and it now sits in his quarters, lowering sanctity for Good clerics. He plans on carrying it into battle to prevent any attacks on his undead army.
Assassin Gwelsin has escaped before his execution
This happens in an alley on the eastern edge of Sitton.
You meet a portly middle-aged woman with her hair in a kerchief and her eyes wide with fear. “He’s out! Out!” She grabs your [pick someone, preferably someone with Empathy or a high Reaction bonus] shirt at the neck. “Gwelsin will kill us! Just like he killed the mayor!” She lets go, somewhat fazed, then steps away from you. “Ye had better hide.” She turns and runs down the alley, shouting, “He’s out!”
This item is true, but irrelevant.
Calumer, the new mayor, is a wizard
This happens in the Rain of Anvils. It will not happen to an obvious wizard.
As you sip your drink, Librip comes to you. “How goes the job?” [Let the player speak his response] “So, what dost thou think that wizard is doing?” [Let the player speak his response] He leans over the bar, coming almost to your nose, and lowers his voice. “I wonder if our new mayor, Calumer, is up to the same stuff. The fellow is a wizard, and they say he does that fell sorcery too.”
This item is true — Calumer is indeed a wizard — but irrelevant.
Noshud, the village herald, picked the new mayor himself
This happens in the village square.
A crowd is gathered near the town folkstead. Noshud stands afore the crowd, reading from a scroll. “In the name of Saiserit, Duke of Sippia, Baron of Shaburn and Creevia and Carilia, I bid you greetings! The Duke, in all His Might and Godly Wisdom, has chosen Calumer, a wise and worthy man, to be the new Lord Mayor of Sitton, and has given him the might to keep the Duke’s laws and levy all duties and taxes the Duke so needs!” He rolls up the scroll. “And clearly the Duke has heeded my words. Your friend Noshud has His ear!” Noshud smiles, soaks in the claps and hoots, then turns and goes.
The Duke has chosen Calumer to be the new Lord Mayor, something that most townsfolk have known for days, but did not pay any attention to Noshud other than to give him the scroll. In any event, this is irrelevant.
The Sneerglaw mines have been overrun by orcs
This happens in the Rain of Anvils.
Librip sees you as you come into the Rain of Anvils. “Hey, I just heard something about those mines whither ye’re going. Ye may have a new foe. The Pig’s Head band o’ pig men — or orcs, if you’re bein’ kind — has been seen near the mines, and may have taken the place.
This is false. Librip heard this from a wanderer who had drank too much.
A dragon and kobolds have attacked the village of Kindespot
This happens in the Rain of Anvils. It will not happen to someone who neither wears armor nor an open weapon.
You sit at bar, and next to you is a grim-faced man wearing a chain hauberk. He strokes his mustache to wipe off the ale before talking. “I am Lemmak. Ah, I see ye are ready for fightin’ too. Are ye going to the village of Kindespot? Kobolds and a dragon beset that village three months ago. Though the townsfolk drove them off, they fear the little buggers and the fell drake will come back. I’m ready for a fight there, and I’ll set forth come the morning.”
The dragon and the kobolds did indeed attack the village of Kindespot three months ago. However, they are nowhere near the village, which is well to the west. Instead, they are in the Sneerglaw mines.
Haugolo was a member of the Ronicum goblin tribe who practiced black magic. After he tried to turn the chieftain’s dead daughter into a zombie, the tribe drove him away. Now, he wants revenge. He has recruited two goblin warriors, his older brother, Fatasek, and a young hothead, Ognas, who are upset with the tribe’s poor military leadership. These warriors now serve as the leaders of the undead army he is making.
Haugolo is a former member of the Ronicum goblin tribe, which wants him to be powerless.
Church of Plentingud
Haugolo’s lieutenants stole the altar of the Church of Plentingud.
Kobolds and Dragon
Haugolo’s band skirmishes with the kobolds.
Cause and Motivation
Haugolo, lusting for power and unhappy with the tribe’s leaders, wants to take over the tribe and rule it behind the front of his brother. He, like many tribe members, is upset that human settlers have driven the tribe from its ancestral homeland on the steppe and into swampland.
Haugolo is busy building his army. He is digging up the bodies of the dwarves in the mines and turning them into zombies. Soon, he will be able to march on his old tribe.
Haugolo is the final foe of the group in the mines. Once met, he will try to fight the heroes, kill them, and turn them into a zombie horde.
Haugolo lurks behind most events, namely the theft of the altar and the hiring of the party. If left unstopped, he will march his zombie band against his old tribe.
If the party kills Haugolo or otherwise stops his plans, it has succeeded in the adventure.
Haugolo can be more than upset, but a goblin jingoist, and seek revenge against everyone. Also, Haugolo need not be a goblin; a man upset with his baron works as well.
Ronicum Goblin Tribe
The Ronicum tribe has suffered much as of late. First, a human with an empty title to their land sent colonists and mercenaries to clear them out. Then, driven to a forest, elves attacked and drove them into a swamp. Now Haugolo, a creepy little goblin who, too weak to fight, took up magic, thinks he would be a better leader for the tribe, and wants to turn the current tribal leaders into his undead slaves.
Enough is enough. The leaders of the Ronicum tribe must stop Haugolo.
Haugolo is a former member of the tribe. Some still think highly of him and especially of his brother, and are thus unwilling to murder him outright.
Church of Plentingud
The tribe knows nothing of the theft of the Church’s altar, and could care less about it.
Kobolds and Dragon
The tribe knows nothing of the kobolds, though, if it did, would encourage them to attack Haugolo.
Cause and Motivation
The tribe needs to win something. If it cannot show everyone that it can handle one necromancer, then someone else will bully the tribe. The tribe’s leaders also fear an uprising.
The tribe cannot spare any goblin warriors. Not only would they be no match for Haugolo’s band, but they also might join Haugolo. Thus, the tribe has sold some of its relics and waylaid a few travelers to raise the gold needed to hire heroes.
The tribe has hired the heroes. It has taken pains to hide the link between them and the group by having Poiút, a human who trades with goblins, hire the group. Beyond that, it can do little else for them. Its members cannot come into Sitton as the townsfolk hate goblins.
The tribe has hired the heroes. If the group does not take the job, Poiút will instead offer it to the Banervus Gang, half of whom the dragon will eat, Haugolo making zombies of the other half.
If the tribe leaders fall before Haugolo can kill and enslave them, half of the tribe will join Haugolo, and the other half will become small groups of bandits.
The goblins can instead be some other unwelcome group looking to stop a former member. It could also be more cutthroat, though some players may balk at playing pure assassins.
Church of Plentingud
Life in Sitton is mostly boring. The Church of Plentingud takes pride in its festivals, as these liven the town. Saint Barrett’s Feast, a madcap day on which grownups cross-dress and children, dressed as gnomes, play pranks, is the next feast in two weeks. However, some evil folks have stolen the temple’s altar.
His lieutenants have stolen the altar. The Church does not know of them specifically, however.
Ronicum Goblin Tribe
The Church of Plentingud does not admit goblins.
Kobolds and Dragon
The Church of Plentingud does not admit kobolds either.
Cause and Motivation
The Church wants to make sure that no one knows its altar, which raises the sanctity for good clerics and lowers it for evil ones, is gone. If so, a bunch of evil clerics can attack the church at will.
The Church has one priestess, Necaria, and 20 laymen. All its energy is going toward the Feast and it cannot send anyone to look for the altar. Its seers in the capitol are looking as best they can, but have no leads.
The Church will tell any good cleric or holy warrior in the group about the theft. Beyond that, all Necaria can give is healing. Necaria, a plump woman with raven hair and ruby lips, can cast good cleric spells up to Power Investiture 6, but has no combat skills.
If the altar is still missing come the Feast of Saint Barrett, word will spread that the altar is gone. Evil cultists will try to turn the church into a nexus for evil.
If no one talks to Necaria, not much will happen with the Church.
The Church need not sit with its hands tied. It can be what hires the heroes, or it can send its own group of heroes, who will wind up as a snack for the dragon.
Kobolds and Dragon
The kobolds are fighting Haugolo’s band in the mines. Haugolo wants his lieutenants to gain experience, while the kobolds want to feed the zombies to the dragon.
Ronicum Goblin Tribe
The kobold tribe and the goblin tribe know nothing of each other.
Church of Plentingud
The kobold tribe and the Church of Plentingud know nothing of each other.
Cause and Motivation
The kobolds are both the hunters and the hunted. They hunt the zombies to feed Gemore so he will not eat them, while the goblins think of fighting kobolds as sport.
The kobolds are poor fighters, only having makeshift spears. While they fear the zombies, they fear being dragon food more. A GM who wants tougher kobolds can upgrade their weapons, though sticklers for consistency may have a problem with this.
The kobolds want to feed the heroes to the dragon, whether through force or through guile. They think the group will be enough food to the dragon for a week.
If left alone, Gemore will eat half the kobolds before breaking out of the cave. Then, he will lead them in more raids on nearby towns.
The heroes can skip the kobolds and go right downstairs to the goblins. This will keep them form the dwarf horde, but will have no bearing on their mission for Haugolo’s staff.
The dragon can be an age category higher or lower, depending on the group. See GURPS Dragons for how to do this.
Each day and each night, check for random encounters by rolling 3d. Roll for each day and for each night. For the first day only, a random encounter will happen on a 3 only. On that night, and all other days until the last one, a random encounter happens on a 6 or less. On the last day, and until the PCs are a day away from the mines, random encounters happen on a 9 or less. Going back to Sitton, random encounters happen on a 6 or less again. If an encounter happens, roll 3d on the Random Encounter Table.
Random Encounter Table
|15-16||Goblins looking for traitors|
These patrol the wastes of Nordeast looking for fresh meat. There are 2d wolves and an alpha male. Being large, they will not be stealthy in their strike. Their main stratagem is ganging up on the smallest member of the group. Once they have someone, they will drag him away and finish the kill. Use the stats for a dire wolf in GURPS Dungeon Fantasy 2: Dungeons.
These kobolds were separated from the main band and are now looking for them. They are very hungry and will try to steal the group’s food. They know they are no match for armed foes. They will try to sneak but if seen, they will try to take a backpack and run. There are two kobolds for each person in the group.
There is one ogre for each hero in the group. They are bandits looking for travelers. They will try to sneak up on the party. They are wearing leather armor and carrying huge mauls. They will negotiate for shiny metals if the group looks like more than a pushover. If they are clearly overmatched, they will run.
There are two bandits for each person in the group. They will try to sneak up on one party member and rob him while he us away from his friends.
Little Fleshy Badgers
The PCs have trod too close to a badger clan of 2d badgers.
This is a group of 3d humans whose livestock have been slain. All their statistics are average and they have no combat skills, but they are mad. They think the heroes are the killers, and react at -3. The real killers are the goblins, which needed food.
Goblins Looking for Traitors
There are 2d goblins searching for the necromancer and his gang. They have the same statistics as Ognas. They are not looking to fight the group, but they are gruff.
The heroes have wandered or camped too close a man-eating plant. It is not intelligent, but if someone hits it, it will spit out its poisonous blood as a defense.
The rock face opens to show a home wherein two men can walk abreast. A pair of rusty rails goes into the hold. Note that unless written otherwise, all ceilings are three yards high. If the group camps out anywhere for more than a half-hour, roll 3d. On a 9 or less, they face a random encounter — 1d+1 kobolds on the first level or the undead patrol in Encounter 10 on the second.
Encounter 1: Foul Bats
Read or summarize the following when the group goes into the room:
The warped rails lead you into a room wide enough for the whole group to walk through it shoulder-to-shoulder. However, the wide pit in the middle of the floor keeps you from doing that. The rails stop at the pit. To the sides of the pit, there are ledges wide enough for a man or two to walk — and, from the footprints, you think many have walked there. The sun lights the front of the room, but not the back, and you can hardly see an opening on the other side.
Hanging from the ceiling are maybe a half-dozen of the biggest bats you have ever seen — child-sized bodies, covering themselves with wings bigger than a cloak.
This room was once the antechamber of the mines. Now it is the home of eight foul bats.
The ambient light in the room changes as one moves though the room. In the front of the room, it is at -3. Along the sides of the pit, it is -5. After the pit and in the pit, it is -8, the light coming from the kobolds in Encounter 2.
The width of the sides of the pit is two yards. The adventurers can safely walk along the sides single-file if not beset by the bats.
The foul bats are on the ceiling (5 yards), sleeping. If the heroes are trying to be sneaky, roll a Quick Contest of the lowest Stealth score in the group against the foul bats’ Hearing-18. Be sure to apply distance modifiers. Once the bats hear the group, they will squawk loudly. No one in the mines will care, each side thinking that the other side is trying to sneak past the bats.
After squawking, the bats will fly at the party in waves of four. They will bite someone then fly behind the group for another pass. They lack the minds to use more advanced tactics. Though this is not written in GURPS Dungeon Fantasy 2: Dungeons, the foul bats have Flight (Cannot Hover; Winged), and thus will land once dropped to 0 HP. Once on the ground, one will let out its stench as it tries to slink away.
If the group tries to run through the cave, they will come to the pit. It is 3 yards deep, doing 1d+2 crushing damage to those who fall. The bats will not fly to the bottom of the pit, as it lacks the room for easy flying, and nor will the bats fly out of the room other than to turn around. They will attack anyone who reaches the top of the pit, however.
Encounter 2: Kobold Guard Post
The kobolds here are on alert unless the group somehow snuck past the bats, in which case they will not see the group until it steps into the room. The ambient light in this room gives a -3 penalty.
The kobolds here wield spears and wear leather coats, the latter giving no DR. They await goblins and zombies; the heroes are an utter surprise to them. As such, they want to lure them into the lair and feed them to the dragon.
The kobolds have blocked far exit to this room with a three large rocks, through which a kobold or another being of the same size (SM -2 or smaller) can pass without issue. The kobolds can move the rock out of the way for bigger beings like the heroes.
In the front of the room, the kobolds have shoved two tables together to slow the step of the goblins. They have upended the tables so the tabletop faces the way into the room. In the underside of the tables, the kobolds have pounded small spikes, so someone climbing onto the table will impale himself on a spike. If someone tries to go over the table, it will fall forward, spikes now underfoot. Someone can see the backs of the spikes in the tabletop on a Perception-4 roll, or on straight Perception when it falls to the ground while he climbs over the table.
The rails come back, go a few feet, and lead into a room big enough for the whole group to spread out. However, two wooden tables block the way into the room, turned onto their sides as makeshift walls. Behind them, torches on the walls light the room, letting you see the beings behind them.
They are as tall as a 5-year-old and have scales and snout-like noses. All wear leather jackets and carry spears, and are looking at you. Behind them, you can see a way out, cut to half man-size with three rocks.
If the heroes choose to fight, the kobold in the back will go out for ten more kobolds. They will come in one minute. The other kobolds will make two spear lines — front of four kobolds, back of three — in front of the back way out. They will also turn over the table on which they were playing cards to shield them from the group. This table lacks spikes.
The kobolds are bad fighters. They must make a Cowardice self-control roll (12) to keep fighting once struck. If a kobold has fallen, the other kobolds are at -5 to this roll. The kobolds do not want to fight the group themselves, but rather, lead them to the dragon.
If the heroes choose to talk, one of the kobolds will talk for the group. Since all kobolds speak Common at Broken, he needs to make an IQ roll to make him understood. If he fails, he will spout gibberish; if he critically fails, he will betray his thoughts in a way helpful to the heroes.
We need help. Goblins kill our folk. We take you to goblins. We are scared. We thought you were goblins. Please help. Follow us.
The kobolds will not speak Kobold to the group, but to each other. If the party can understand the kobolds (check IQ to understand if someone knows Kobold at Broken), they will hear them talking about the dragon.
Encounter 3: Kobold Lair
This area is lit by torchlight, giving ambient light at -3. Read the first paragraph if the heroes come in here peacefully, the second if they come fighting.
This torch-lit place has four caves that you can see. In the cave to your right, a place of which you can see the end, you see a group of kobolds, maybe a dozen, with spears. To your left, you see flies buzzing around a rotting carcass of a dead livestock — maybe a horse, maybe a cow; it is carved and skinned beyond you knowing what it is — in a small cave. It has two ways out. One is to the right, just beyond the cave with the armed kobolds, and in it a group of kobold women and children stand around a small fire, from which a foul smell wafts throughout the air. Straight ahead, a cave branches to the left, out of sight.
This torch-lit place has four caves that you can see. In the cave to your right, a place of which you can see the end, there is naught but for a table and chairs. To your left, you see flies buzzing around a rotting carcass of a dead livestock — maybe a horse, maybe a cow; it is carved and skinned beyond you knowing what it is — in a small cave. It has two ways out. One is to the right, just beyond the cave with the armed kobolds, and in it a group of kobold women and children stand around a small fire, screaming and cowering at the sight of you. Straight ahead, a cave branches to the left, out of sight.
If the group comes here fighting, the kobolds in the guard area already have joined the fight. The kobold adults in the living area — the clan’s women — will hold back unless the heroes go into that cave. If that happens, they will fight to the death to guard their children. Four women will grapple someone’s the legs, and a fifth will stab their downed foe in the eye. The teens and children will cower unless threatened, in which case they will punch, kick and grapple.
If the kobolds lead the party into this area, the other kobolds will watch them. Asille, the shaman, will greet them. Read aloud or summarize the following:
The kobold who spoke to you in the other room walks up to a skinny kobold who is wearing robes big enough to fit a halfling. The two speak for a moment, and then the skinny kobold turns to talk to you. “I am Asille. I am leader of this clan. The goblins kill us and eat us. We need strong men like you. Kill the goblins. We shall be your slaves if you do this.”
If the heroes balk at first, Asille says, “They have many things. They have shiny gold and silver and swords. You can have them if you kill the goblins.”
Once the heroes agree, he will open the door, point the way and put an iron bar on the door once they are through. If they balk, the men will try to fight them to push them through the door. If the group came fighting, the men will also try to push them into the dragon’s lair.
Asille will offer anything to the group to have it go into the dragon’s lair. He is not beneath groveling; in fact, he is proud of his groveling skill (he has the Honest Face perk).
If the heroes walk out of the dragon’s lair, Asille will flee. The rest of the kobolds will drop their weapons and grovel in front of their new gods.
Encounter 4: Hic Sunt Dracones
There is not much light in this room, only a hole in the ceiling above the dragon that gives an -8 modifier. The ceiling here is nine yards high. Read aloud or summarize the following:
The door opens to a large dark room, lit only by a small ray of sunlight from the ceiling of the far end of the room. Bones line the floor in a thin layer, and a pool of water is in the middle, its source a drip from the same hole in the ceiling bringing the sunlight. To the left of the hole, the gleam of metal twinkles in the light, and with it a haze of red. From there, you can hear a steady mix of breathing and grumbling.
All of you are now in the room. After the door shuts, you hear bumps and scrapes at it. The kobolds have put the bar back on the door, locking you in the room. After the din, the breathing and grumbling on the other end of the room stop, and first, then two large eyes stand out from the darkness. A low, rough voice rumbles in a strange tongue, then, after a pause, it rumbles again in Common. “Fresh meat.”
Gemore has been sitting in this cave for two months, mostly sleeping. His right wing was hurt, but now it has healed, and he wants to leave. The kobolds have been bringing him zombies to feed him, and throwing unlucky kobolds to the dragon when they cannot find a zombie.
On his first turn, Gemore will fly aloft. Then, he will let loose at the nearest foe with his breath weapon, and then he will come to take them out with his claws. He likes to fight with his claws. He is still a young mage, and casts his spells mostly to awe the kobolds. He did try to cast Blur on himself before the fight; roll to see if it worked.
While in the end he plans to eat the group, Gemore will listen to flattery. While fighting, he will say things to amuse him like, “You mortals should be proud to be the food of a god. You could not have asked for a better end!” If the heroes take the chance to reply, he will pause to listen.
Gemore sits atop the leftover dwarf horde. Much of it is now in Hell, but still left is 8 gold crowns, 39 silver schillings, 78 copper farthings, a silver statue of a dwarf king worth $500, and Sprugcutter.
Encounter 5: The Fifth Beetle
There is no light here. On the ground, there is the skeleton of a kobold, the beetle’s last meal.
The tunnel widens, and more rocks than before litter the floor. Ahead, you can hear something scraping the wall.
When you walk into the room, you see a pile of rocks from a smaller tunnel that has only lately collapsed. To the left, there is a smaller pile of rocks next to a large shell near the left wall. Its moves match the sound of the scrapes, and you can see antennae quivering at its top. It stops its digging, and turns to face you. Its mandibles and the claws of its four arms twitch as it comes nearer.
The rock pile counts as two hexes for movement.
The beetle is unintelligent, and thinks only of feeding. Its tactics are to grab and eat its nearest foe.
Encounter 6: All the Way Down
This place is unlit, but the fire elemental gives torchlight.
The tunnel is now starting to go farther down. The tracks come together with another set from a tunnel off to the side, and go down with the tunnel. The walls are solid, but earlier dwellers did not think them so, as the rotten wooden beams are still holding up the walls over the sinking tunnel.
Why the beams are here you may never know, but you know that the flaming humanoid in the middle of the room has not touched them. Taller than a dwarf but shorter than most women, you can smell the last ties on the track burn after the flaming humanoid has stepped on them. Upon seeing you — yes, it has what looks like black holes where men have eyes — it stops its shuffle, then walks toward you.
The fire elemental came from the same spot in Hell as the peshkali did, and was but now wandering upstairs. It avoided the puddle by leaping over it, thinking it water, and the trap by luck and low weight. It knows only that it should not be here, and nor should the party.
The elemental is not bright, but does know that metal does not easily catch fire. Thus, it will shun foes in metal armor and try to fight those more flammable. If it loses more than 2/3 its HP, it will flee down the tunnel again, going back to Hell. Its flight will not trigger the trap, being too light, but he will singe its board.
The trap is a plank of wood that holds up the rocks above through a weight system the kobolds have made. Someone weighing more than 75 lb. who steps on the trap will push up the plank, setting the rocks above free as the structure holding them falls. The falling rocks do 1d crushing damage to the skull of anyone under them. Anyone in the edge hexes may Dodge at -2 out of the way, putting him in a safe hex next to the one in which he started.
Detect: Per-based Traps.
Circumvent: Automatic (don’t step on plank).
Evade: Anyone in the edge hexes Dodge at -2
Effects: 1d crushing
Encounter 7: The Other End
This area is where the second level begins. It is a wet area — sitting under the dragon’s cave, it has acquired its leak — which the killer puddle uses to its weal. The room is unlit. The tunnel to the left goes to the peshkali, the right to the zombie foyer.
Your legs stop the stumble of going down and find themselves on even ground. The air smells musty, and you can hear a steady drip to your left. The dripping water has made many puddles on the ground. There are two tunnels here — one to your left, another taking a hard right, almost parallel to the tunnel that brought you down here.
Unless the heroes are taking care to not step in the water, one will step in the killer puddle. When one does so, roll its damage; the attack is an Aura.
Encounter 8: From Hell
This area has the last of the peshkali (see GURPS Dungeon Fantasy 2: Dungeons), which is tied to the ebbing gate to Hell. Due to the gate, the area is fully lit.
You have reached a bend in the tunnel. In the wall outside the bend, there comes an eerie green glow that lights up the area. The body of a dead man lies in the path, fouling the air as it rots.
The peshkali is waiting in the gate in the wall until a PC comes within three hexes. It must stay within this three hex limit due to the fell magic that brought it here. It eagerly awaits its homecoming, but is mad that it is still here. It will gleefully kill anyone it can reach. The body is one of a zombie sacrificed to keep the peshkali busy.
If the group has beaten Haugolo, someone can use his manual to close the gate. One try. The manual allows a Religious Ritual (Unholy) roll at IQ-5. Failure will make the light surge, giving 1d burning damage to anyone in the three hex area. The reader must be in the area for anything to happen. Critical failure brings another peshkali after the surge. The ritual takes five minutes; the group can take extra time to increase its chances.
Encounter 9: Sigil with Zombie Guards
This room is unlit. However, once someone crosses the sigil in the floor, it will light up and the zombies will attack. The sigil’s blue light gives a -3 modifier. The zombies are in holes in the wall, two deep. There are four holes in the walls, one at each corner of the room.
This room lacks any light aside from your own. The tracks stop a step or two into the room, worn into the ground. Water drips from a crack in the far side of the room, slowly wearing away the walls and giving the place a musty smell. The walls break into dark slits in many spots, in which you would have to leave your gear and hold your arms to fit.
Someone will see the sigil’s carvings on the floor on a Vision check, and smell the rotting zombie corpses on a Smell check. Anyone even touching the markings while not wearing an amulet will trigger the sigil, making it glow a bright blue. Also, anyone not wearing an amulet who touches a zombie or prods one will trigger the zombies, first the one he prodded. One second after someone crosses the sigil or touches a zombie; the first set of zombies will come out of the walls. On the next second, the second set will come out. The first set of zombies is inset one yard, the second two.
The zombies will try to bash their foes with clubs and, once in melee, will try to bite their faces, hoping to eat the juicy brains under the flesh and bone. If the whole group steps five yards out of the room in either tunnel, the zombies will trudge back to their holes and the sigil will turn off one second afterward.
Encounter 10: Goblin Lair
This room lacks any sort of lights. The goblins have Infravision, and will let their undead fight by the light of their foes. The goblins have their three beds and a small fire as well as a table and four chairs.
The tunnel opens into darkness. By your light, you see a teeming mass of standing bodies. Off to the left, the tunnel widens a bit, and you can see man-made — or goblin-made — low boxes covered with cloth, and a table and chairs between the boxes and horde. A few feet past the table is a door.
The undead shuffle toward you.
There are four zombies, two skeletons, and two goblins leading them, Fatasek and Ognas. The goblins will use the undead as a front line and hide behind it. Both will shoot with their bows until the group closes. Ognas, the young hothead, will fight to the death, but not Fatasek, Haugolo’s older brother.
Encounter 11: The Zombie Fields
This room reeks of rotting flesh, and anyone making a Smell+4 check knows this. This room lacks lights other than what the group brings. Haugolo sees by his Infravision. All undead will try to attack anyone with lights due to Haugolo’s orders. On a Vision roll, one can see the freshly dug dirt.
The tapestry conceals a door to lead out to a ravine, past an old dwarf golem.
You step out of the tunnel and into a large cave. No sooner do you step out does the stench hit your nose: rotting flesh. The cave widens then narrows again to become a tunnel branching to the right. As you look to across the cave, a box on the right side of the room: another table holding a large box with two silver spires, covered with what looks like a dark red paint, the head of a kobold in the middle, between the spires. Above it floats a skull in a glowing mist. Behind the macabre box is a black and green tapestry hanging from the wall.
Next to the altar, there stands a short green-skinned man in mouse-brown robes with a jeweled staff.
Haugolo stands alone, with a Skull-Spirit (see GURPS Magic for stats) that he summoned in the morning floating above the altar. Under the ground, there are four zombies in shallow graves.
He will direct the Skull-Spirit into battle. After this, Haugolo will cast Terror on a group of foes, draining the fatigue from himself, and then Hush on an obvious magic user. Then, he will use his Energy Reserve to cast Animate Shadow on someone engaged in combat either with him or with Fatasek, and if someone is using a magic item that is causing Haugolo trouble, he will cast Dispel Magic on it. If someone comes too close, Haugolo will use Deathtouch on him, hitting his foe with his staff to deliver it.
Anyone stepping on a grave will trigger an attack from a zombie, who will try to pull the wayward walker down. The buried zombies are lying down and at a further -1 to hit on the first attack due to the dirt. The first attack is an All Out Attack (Determined) and a Telegraphic Attack. (For those without GURPS Martial Arts, a Telegraphic Attack gives a +4 to strike, but the target is +2 to defend if he knows about the attack.) The zombies will not attack any living person wearing an amulet, nor anyone already dead. Be sure to make Fright Checks the first time a buried zombie attacks someone.
The altar is the stolen altar of Plentingud. Haugolo, from the same manual he used to make the sigil, defiled the altar. It now lowers the Sanctity in this room for good clerics and raises it for evil ones.
If someone digs up the graves, he will find 25 pieces of copper and 6 of silver in them.
Encounter 12: The Last Dwarf
This room is unlit, but the incoming sunlight gives the ambient light a -5 modifier. The zombie bodies were sacrificed to keep the dwarf golem busy.
After you push back the tapestry, you see a door. [After opening] The door opens to a tunnel with light coming through the cracks of the door at the other end. Next to the door, there is a stone statue with a large metal axe; in front of the door are two bodies, a foul smell coming from them.
The dwarf golem is a relic of the old mine, there to attack anyone not or not accompanied by a dwarf.
The door opens into a ravine, the door blending into the rock (-5 to Search checks to find it from the outside). The group will need to climb 3 yards to come out about 50 yards northwest of the main mine shaft to the outside.
The Voyage Home
Any wealth the group carries will be a target for random encounters.
The Poiút wants the heroes to meet him at the Rain of Anvils. If they bring the staff, he will ask, “Is that it? Wow … Put that thing away! Why are you carrying it in the open? Many folks would kill you for it.” If they did not bring the staff, he will berate them. “Where is it? You pledged me a staff! What kind of great fighters are you? I should have picked to those kids over there!” He will then point at the Banervus gang. In any event, he tells the group to meet him the next day at his shop.
In his shop, Poiút is there with Drawosh, a goblin from Haugolo’s tribe. He covers himself with a cloak to hide his race. Once he pulls back the cloak, he talks.
Sorry, I can’t show myself in the open in this town. On behalf of my tribe, I thank you. Haugolo the necromancer is weakened. Is he no more? [Waits for response] Ah, I see. Whatever happens, happens. He cannot do his fell magic here anymore. Poiút, please give them their reward.
With that, Poiút hands over a small sack with the promised gold.