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El Doradoby Tristan Dunigan
Part 1: Divided We Fall
This idea has been discussed before, but never in much detail, so I kind of took the ball and ran. I had messed with this idea a while back but never really did anything with it. I came back to it recently and for some reason, it just spewed onto my word processor.
Everybody familiar with the "Divided We Fall" adventure that came with both the Savage Baronies boxed set and the Savage Coast download will recognise where this is headed. In fact Part one of my campaign begins with that very adventure.
The basic premise of the whole thing is the fabled and legendary Mannequin of Ixion. The Barrier Mask and the Braces of Forbiddance are but part to a larger artifact. There are still 3 pieces of the artifact remaining to be found....legend has it that each can be found in a lost city...made entirely of solid gold! Since there is really no guide to what specifically the pieces are ("Divided We Fall" suggests a few items) I decided to make the remaining items a cloak, a pair of sandals, and a breast plate. As far as powers go, I'm still working on. As far as what the Mannequin of Ixion can do once its "reunited" I'm still working on as well, but if it were to fall into the wrong hands...bad things happen. Actually I'd be open to any suggestions this board has on the remaining artifacts as well as the Mannequin of Ixion.
Thus far my campaign has 5 chapters, with the first being "Divided We Fall". I'll add chapters as needed or as my creative process allows. This first 5 should be enough to keep PC's busy for quite some time. I changed a few things. For one, Balazar will get away to fight another day....this is important as he reappears in a later chapter. The Barrier Mask, DOES NOT, break and become useless in the end of the adventure as it does in the original.....this would make the quest to re-assemble the Mannequin pretty pointless after all.
Part 2: The Knights of Ixion
I borrowed the core idea for this adventure from one of the many Mystara timelines that exist on the web. The basic idea behind this adventure is as follows:
In an effort to better understand the strange artifacts; the Braces of Forbiddance and the Barrier Mask, Don Luis has asked that the sage of Almarrón, Mazrooth, study the objects at his citadel. It is from Mazrooth that the real meaning of the items is learned. The objects are part of a larger artifact...the legendary Mannequin of Ixion. Mazrooth is only more determined to study the objects after this initial finding is made.
The sage, however, is not the only interested party. The Knights of Ixion, a small group of Honourbounds and Defenders of Narvaez dedicated to Ixion, ride into the badlands and assault Mazrooth's citadel. The surprise and tenacity of the attack allow them to "save" the Barrier Mask and the Bracers of Forbiddance. They believe such artifacts should be in the hands of the Church of Ixion in Narvaez, not in the possession of an "infidel Inheritor". The Knights of Ixion themselves are not an evil band of thieves, just a totally devoted group to their patron Immortal. However, the clergyman leader of the band is hiding a sinister goal....a new Inquisition! This time no alliance of Baronies will be able to withstand the power of Ixion's Mannequin!
Once again Don Luis calls on his friends, who helped turn back Balazar and his goblinoid horde, to recover the artifacts for him. Once recovered, they should be returned to Mazrooth for further study.
The adventure should take the PC's deep into the heart of Narvaez....quite a dangerous place...especially if you are a Mage...or an Inheritor....or anything but a human for that matter. The compound of the Knights of Ixion is where the items are being safe-guarded. It would be helpful to have a good B & E man for this adventure!
Part 3: The Heart of the Curse
Variety is the spice of life. So, the next chapter takes us away from the quest for the artifacts for a moment to get involved with the Inheritors.
This adventure idea is one I had posted a while back for a stand alone adventure, but it seemed that it would work well here to spice things up a bit:
PART III: "The Heart of the Curse"
Some Dwarven and Tortle miners in Cimmaron County were out digging up the components that went into making the precious Smokepowder. One of these miners, an old Dwarf named Ortego, found something a bit more; he stumbled into a hidden chamber within the mine. Within he found ancient scrolls, statues, and various artifacts that he could not identify, but most importantly, a gleaming ruby stone about the size of his fist and shaped like a heart. Ortego took care to hide what he had discovered, slipped the stone into his coveralls and took it home with him. Poor Ortego and his family have had a bad run of luck lately. Their small garden had dried up due to an uncommonly rough drought, their meagre hacienda was on the verge of collapse, and just a few weeks ago, Ortego's wife, Rosita, became afflicted when the last of her Cinnabryl ran out. Ortego ran home as quickly as he could. He just knew that this stone was going to be the answer to all their problems. Upon arriving, Ortego found his wife sitting in a rocker on their porch, covered from head to toe to avoid being stared at. His first inclination was to sell the stone so they he could take his wife to Ciudad Real to the Hospital for a cure. He recounted the story of how he had found the stone to his wife and described it to her. At first, she thought him quite mad, "Too many hours in that hole, Ortego! Its rotted what brain you had away!" Then Ortego produced the stone and handed it to his wife. When she took hold of the stone, it began to glow brilliantly, almost blinding the couple before it returned to its normal state. "Rosita!!! Look! You are cured!! Its a miracle!", Ortego screamed, and indeed, his wife was now free from affliction and the chunk of red steel that was hanging from her neck was now slightly pink again ... it had returned to its former state; Cinnabryl.
Word spread, and eventually all the Orders of the Inheritors had heard of this "El Corozon" stone and what it had done. Ortego was made many offers for the stone, but was unsure exactly what to do with the precious rock.. Then the attackers came.....almost every evening like clock-work, his hacienda would be attacked. Ortego called on his friends and family, and soon the small hacienda was turned into a tiny fortress. Eventually, after seeing all the trouble the stone was causing and wanting to get his life back to some semblance of normalcy, he relented to turn the stone over to the Order of Crimson as soon as he could gather up a few things and travel to their Conclave.
After completing their latest adventure, the PC's are welcomed back to Torre Manzanas, and yet again asked by Don Luis for a favour. As Don Luis is a Crimson Inheritor, and his good friend, Audra the Masked, is the head of the Crimson Order, he once again begs his friends for their assistance. He asks that the PC's travel to Cimmaron and escort the dwarf Ortego back to Saragón for the Conclave of Crimson, where he will turn over an important artifact for study.
Unfortunately, the Order of Crimson are not the only interested parties. The other two Inheritor Orders believe they have as much right to the stone as anyone else. The Order of the Flame has even gone as far as to say they will take the stone by force if necessary.
In addition to the Inheritors, a small group of Mages in Herath have gotten wind of El Corozon. They want the stone as well ... to study to determine the type of magic and to possibly become masters of the Curse. They plan on attacking the group escorting Ortego.
Looks like bodyguard/escort duty can be hazardous to your health. Within the course of this adventure, several more adventures can be spawned: What happens if the Order of Flame carries out their threat and they gain possession of the stone? What happens in the Aranea.....uhh....I mean...Herathian Wizards get it? Possibilities are numerous
Part 4: Rescue of the Sage
You may have realised by now that I've used Mazrooth, a character from "The Black Vessel"- the only Savage Coast novel I know of- in my campaign. Well, In this particular quest, he plays a large part. I also introduce another character from that novel into the game. We also see the return of an "old friend":
Don Luis has received message of a breakthrough from Mazrooth. Something of great importance has been discovered and Don Luis asks you to travel with him to the citadel.
Upon arrival the band discovers that the sage is nowhere to be found. They also discover that a large group of goblinoids has been here in the past few days. Could it be that the goblinoids have abducted Mazrooth? All signs at the scene point in that direction. Although Mazrooth was abducted, his labs and libraries remain intact. Don Luis decides to stay behind to see if he can find clues as to what the sage discovered. He asks that you go and find the old Inheritor. Its time to venture out into the wide open spaces of El Grande Carrascal. There they run into a group of Honourbound Gnolls, one of whom, called Vupilor Watak, claims to know Mazrooth personally, and be afraid of his safety as he was abducted by a large group of Gosluk led by a hideous looking Inheritor....could this be the return of Balazar? Indeed. As Balazar proved no match for Don Luis, he is now after supposedly less threatening targets. His interest in Mazrooth is not for his knowledge of Oltec Lore. He hopes that Mazrooth, with his vast knowledge of the Red Curse, may find a way to reverse his afflictions. Marshal Watak leads the PC's to where Balazar and his Gosluk cronies have probably taken Mazrooth; to the ruins of an old goblin fort and the catacombs beneath.
Everybody ready for a good old fashioned dungeon crawl? Deep in the catacombs, Mazrooth is being held. Balazar is also here, so PC's beware!
Part 5: The City of the Sun
While more or less complete, I'm still tweaking this particular part of the campaign.
After being rescued and brought back to his home, Mazrooth reveals what he has learned. Inside the Barrier Mask he discovered that someone has taken great pains to scratch or etch something. Using his arcane prowess, he manages to determine what was written on the interior of the mask. In short, the writing gives directions to a "City of the Sun" where, if the words ring true, the remainder of the Mannequin of Ixion lies undisturbed...just waiting to be discovered. It is also discovered that the complete mannequin consists of the mask and bracers, as well as a pair of sandals, a cloak, and an armour breast plate. It is rumoured that this city of the sun is constructed entirely of gold and that booby traps and perils abound. The PC's carry the mask and bracers as well as the new information back to their patron, Don Luis. Where we go from there is up to the PC's.
It should be noted, that the Knights of Ixion, while they had possession of the items, did some research of their own.....to be specific, the Inquisitor has discovered the exact same information that Mazrooth had.....and is readying the Knights of Ixion to go and recover the artifacts.....IS it time to "roast the coast" at last?
It should be pretty clear that if the PC's have this information, then others probably do as well. The PC's should want to go and recover the artifacts....but it wont be till a bit later that they discover they have competition. Eventually, word will spread, and the two groups wont be alone in their race for El Dorado!
The exact location of the lost city is totally up to DM discretion. I'm still not 100% about where I'M gonna plop it down at. I'm looking at future adventure potential before I decide where to place it. The Savage Coast is a pretty big area, especially when you factor in the Yazak Steppes and Orcs Head and all the other spots of interest, so this quest could take quite a while and "side-trek" adventures will be common!