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Quauhnahuacby Gilles Leblanc
Disclaimer : This was done by me and for me as play notes to help me when running my Mystara campaign. I tend to improvise so this assumes that if you use it you will have to flesh out some stuff and improvise. I have changed the notes so they look as a quest and not notes to myself.
Author's Notes :
I used this adventure as a way for my characters to escape the Hollow World, which they were trapped after the second quest from the WotI boxed set. One of my player is an Atruaghin shamani so it is more "normal" for him to be contacted by Atruaghin and given the location of the elevator Atruaghin constructed that links the two worlds ( see either GAZ14 Atruaghin Plateau or HWR1 Sons of Azca for more information on this ).
In this adventure the player's ( KW natives stuck in the HW ) are contacted by Atruaghin in a dream, he offers them a way out of the HW if they can do him a great favour. The player must be from the KW and looking for a way-out of the HW. As they pass near Azca, Atruaghin contacts them.
The adventure assumes the PCs came from the HW via Aegos in WotI or are KW natives in the HW in that time frame.
The player first must journey near the Midworld Gate into the Mist Caves. There they are captured by Heldannic Knights who bring them to occupied Oostdock, the gnomish floating continent. The PCs must flee Oostdock to arrive to Hiak-Lor, a floating continent mentioned briefly in the Hollow World Boxed Set Player's Guide under Neathar Tribes. It is home to the Hiakrai Neathar. After which they are landed near Azca in search of the ruins of Quauhnahuac. Upon reaching those ruins they must find the entrance to Atruaghin Mystical conveyor and prove their worth. After they are brought back to the KW near Tiger Clan Territory.
Even tough it may seem that way, it WON'T be an easy way out for the PCs.
The Dream :
One of the players should be contacted by Atruaghin ( known as Atruatzin in the HW ) during their sleep period. This can be done when/where you want. Choose the player which would most likely accept Atruaghin's call.
You are dreaming but yet feel a strange feeling of reality. You are in a jungle clearing near a campfire, the rest of your party is asleep. For an instant the campfire flames changes in a man form and from out of it steps out an Azcan/Atruaghin ( depending on PCs knowledge ) fellow. Greetings, I am Atruatzin, an Azcan ruler from before the twisted Atzanteotl corrupted my people. I know you are looking for a way out of this land, the land of the eternal sun, and I can offer you a way out, if you bring the Black Opal pendant to the ruins of Quauhnahuac which are north of the Bay of Tlapac. You will find clues the Pendant in the Caves of Mist near the Midworld Gate. And with this the dream fades and you fall back to normal sleep.
The player's should take up the quest the next morning. The ruins are known to many Azcans who know they are hunted, dangerous and best left undisturbed. The Midworld Gate can be found easily by looking at the HW map, it is north of the land of the Gentle Folk and of the Alphatian Neatharum. It seems to be in Beastman territory.
The Journey :
The player's next task should be to reach for the Midworld Gate by the fastest and safest route possible since their point of origin. As the PCs can start this trop anywhere in the HW, I will leave it to you to generate some random encounters.
When nearing the Midworld Gate the following encounters are given. You should run them at appropriate times.
- The player's will see and Heldannic Warbird fly overhead which is patrolling the lands. The Heldanners have a camp, from which they have launched the attack on the town of Haldemar. It is not detailed here and the Heldanners do not notice the PCs or either leave them be.
- Later the PCs will begin to see a low floating continents of the HW pass overhead. This is the floating continent Hiak-Lor of the Hiakrai, a Neathar tribe which is detailed on page 62 of the Player's Guide from the Hollow World Boxed Set. There Neathar ride giant eagles called Hiak and live on a floating continent. The continent ( rather island as it is not that big ) is following it's regular floating pattern.
- The PCs will encounter a group of Beastmen. Hark-kosh, tall with white skin, deep blue fur and long fangs. RothBal, who a shorter, fatter and has green skin and black hair, with large hands and only one eye. Valthatmat, who looks like a tall man with reddish skin, long braided hair and all white eyes. And finally, Bustuk, which resemble a common ogre expect he is a bit shorter and slimmer and his hair is red and has rabbit tooth's. They are armed with axes and hammers and wear leather clothes. They are looking for adventure in the southern lands and may swap stories with the player. The will share information on the Beastman wastes for some information on the southern lands.
The Midworld Gate :
The PCs should then come into the Midworld Gate, which is a large valley with Tall Mountains on both sides. First, tough, there is an escarpment which is easily show on the map.
As they approach the plateau, the player's will encounter first encounter a hungry Owlbear with 25 hp as they approach.
After a while they can see some cavers in the escarpment walls. These are the caves of mist. A map is provided. The caves get their name from natural mists and steam which forms as the hot springs inside the caves hit the cold cavern rock of this northern region. The caves are filled with natural chimneys which produce steam, small pools of bubbling waters which sometimes sprout and leave much vapours. The caves are noisy as sounds of bubbling, steam being produces and the occasional sprout make quite an effect with the echo. Also large parts of the caves suffer from some level of vision obscuring mists.
When the player's are exploring the caves a group of Heldannic Knights will enter and find the Black Opal Pendant before the players.
The Mist Caves :
The Mists :There are 4 levels of possible mists in the cave.
Max : Reduces vision to 5 feet and provide light cover to everyone in the mists.
Heavy : Reduces vision to 10 feet but does not provide cover.
Low : Reduces vision to 20 feet and does not provide cover.
No : The mists here is non-existent or so sparse that it does not affect anything.
The caves are natural but have once been used by Azcan and later Beastmen followers of Ka.
1: This is the largest entrance into the caves. It appears ominous, like all other entrances and the sounds of the caves can be heard faintly.
2: This entrance is similar to 1.
3: This entrance is similar to 2.
4: This is a large room which holds a bubbling pool and low mist due to a small air current.
5: In this room the player can find 4 shrieker fungus. Because of heavy mists they cannot see them until it is too late. If the player's do not destroy the Shriekers, they might prove useful later on.
6: This room is 10 feet lower than the rest of the caves, tough the slope is gradual. Here Max mist is present. Water is dripping from the roof.
7: Low Mist. Here the player will encounter 2 wandering Rock Baboons who went into this cave under curiosity. They try to scare the heroes. If a fight breaks out, they attack one round and then flee.
8: Max mist, this rooms hold chimneys, springs and everything. If the player take the time to search the room ( each player has 10% chance of discovering something every 10 minutes ) they can find either a 50gp value Pearl, 13 Azcan copper pieces or an hand axe +1.
9: At this intersection the PCs see the bones of a human body long dead. Heavy mist.
10: When the player's reach this point they hear the Shrieker's wail if they haven't killed them. This is because a group of 2 Heldannic Knights have entered their chamber. Max Mist.
11: Low Mist. This room used to be a sacred shrine to Ka for Beastmen and Azcans many years ago. The players can find two skeletons, an Altar with the Feathered Amber Serpent on it. They also find a locked chest. The chest can easily be broken up as the wood as absorbed much moister. It is locked but not trapped. Inside are a ring with an amber ( worth 15 gp. ), some spoiled food and a potion of healing. This room is now also home to 2 Megalo Centipedes ( Monstrous Manual p.42) with 14, 16 and 18 hp.
12: Low Mist. Here the PCs find the corpse of a rock baboon which has been hacked by slashing blades. Probably swords judging by the wounds. The baboon seems to have been killed just a few minutes ago ( less than 15 minutes ). He was killed by Heldanners.
13: Max Mist. In this room is filled with a large pool of bubbling waters.
14: Ooops.... Seems I forgot the number on the map, well I won't redraw it... Heh... now you can see where your 15$ go when you buy a module.
15: Low Mist. Contains one Megalo Centipede ( Monstrous Manual p.42) with 16 hp.
16: Heavy Mist. The rooms contains a chimney and nothing else.
17: No Mist. When the player are in this room. They hear distant shouts. Unfortunately, because of other sounds they can't make out the direction. If a thief tries an Hear Noise check, he won't be able to hear anything has sounds aren't being emitted anymore.
18: One round after a PC enters this room. The left wall sprouts spikes and begin to move to crush any character in the room. A door falls down from the ceiling to fall into place. The door can be lifted. Which necessitate 32 combined strength, but one player from each side can push. The Door can be bashed, but all open door rolls have -2 penalties due to weight of door and iron bands ( if the party has no thieves ignore the -2 penalty ). The door can be picked form either side but because of the complexity of the lock it imposes a -20% penalty. The trap will require 5 rounds to finish. Since the PCs are far from easy healing. Try to be easy on them. Even allowing more than one Open Lock rolls as long as the player's have time before they are crush and such things.
After the PCs have explored most rooms and have at least either A) seen the recently slain rock baboon, B) heard the Heldanners or both and the pace is getting slower, you can run this event. Run it when you think is the best time.
After a while the PCs see the form of 3 armoured men in the caves. The armoured figures flee outside the caves. And at least one will be able to leave. When the PCs get out of the caves, an Heldannic Warbird will be set down near the cave with 20 Knights waiting outside the cave. One of them holding the pendant. This is a no win situation for the PCs.
For the Warbird use the stats of the Waffenadler-Class (Light) Warbird
( by Bruce Heard)
with permission from Bruce Heard ).
I use the stats from WotI on page 47 of The Immortal's Fury for the stats of the Heldanners.
Synopsis of stats from The Immortal's Fury page 47 ( Wrath of the Immortals Boxed set )
Captain (1) ( Heldannic Knight )
10th level Cleric, AC 0, hp 45, Att 1, Dmg 1d8+1, AL LE, Spells see WotI p.47
Marines (20) ( Heldannic Knights )
2nd level Cleric, AC 3, hp 10, Att 1, Dmg 1d8+1, AL LE, Spells cure light wounds, cause fear.
Waffenadler-Class (Light) Warbird
by Bruce Heard ( with permission from Bruce Heard )
Tonnage: 125 tons
Hull Points: 90
Armour Class: 8
Lift Capacity: 175 tons
Cargo Capacity: 10 tons
Air Speed: 360' (120')
Mov. Factor: 1/2
Length: 175' (incl. tail)
Beam: 225' (incl. wings)
Hull: canvas/leather over wood frame
Crew: 60 (1 Knight Bachelor, 1 Abbot, 18 brother knights, 24 brother squires, 9 brother chaplains.)
Weaponry: Blight Belchers (one heavy, three light), three ballistae, catapults (one light, one heavy).
Description: The Waffenadler looks like a large eagle made of canvas, leather, and wood. The deck lies on its back with a tower and the ship's single mast rising in its middle. The deck starts behind the eagle figurehead and extends half-way down the wings and tail. Two more levels lie beneath the main deck. The spread-out wings and tail are made of canvas while the eagle figurehead is made of painted leather. The mast holds the sail that may be used if a breeze is blowing. The siege weaponry is positioned in the tower, at the edges of the decking and inside the eagle's beak. Two ornamental leather and wood claws stretch out underneath the ship's hull, facing forward. The legs can be used as a landing gear is a docking berth is unavailable, but they are fragile, unstable, and may need repair afterward. The lower decks and the tower are made of wood.
Whatever the PCs do, they should either be captured or killed. The Knights for ask for the PCs to surrender in broken Alphatian, than in broken Thyatian ( common ). If the PCs try to flee, they have the caverns on one side and the knights on the other. When the PCs flee or attack all the Marines cast cause fear on the PCs while the captain cast silence 15' radius on the party so that no knights are targeted but all PCs spellcasters are. Then the knight try to overwhelm the character's by jumping at them in numbers and tying them with ropes. If all else fails, the crew from the Warbird also joins the fight. Because of the mist the PCs could hide out in the caves and take a few Heldanners.
The Heldannic Knights will soon accuse the PCs to be Alphatian Spies. They are taken prisoner aboard the ship where the captain announces they will be taken back to the Heldanners base where they will be interrogated and then detained.
The PCs are hold in a small room in the deck. Where two Marines are there with them each with a horn to call for help. The PCs are bound solidly with ropes. Their foots and hands are tied. Their mouths are gagged and the fingers of any PCs who looks like a wizard have also been tied with a heavy rag, preventing spell casting. Their equipment is not in sight. If the players are creative and their characters have special powers you can make them try an escape but eventually they should fail as they are flying aboard a Heldannic Warbird. Should they attempt to flee the Captain and another cleric of similar strength will arrive 2 rounds after the horn is sounded and both will cast cause fear on the PCs.
After about 15 minutes of flight. The PCs should hear a loud eagle cry and a ballista being fired. This is because the ship has encountered a Hiakrai, which will flee and not be hurt.
After another hour of flight the PCs arrive in Oostdock, which in this time period is still occupied by Heldannic Knights ( from AC 978 to AC 1010 ). For information on Oostdock see either Poor Wizard's Almanac I, II or III, Dragon Magazine October and November 1990 and for information on Oostdock Air Ships see Champions of Mystara Boxed set.
The PCs are then sent to a prison.
After a while, a third Heldanner enters your room on the sky ship and motion the other 2 guards. You are then lead outside the ship. You appear to be in a plaza in a luxurious town that appears to be very refined ( if the players have been to Darokin city mention the architecture resembles it, ( renaissance ) ). Potted plants and small trees grow everywhere. Brick streets are nicely kept. The streets are filled with gnomes and the buildings are clearly made for them. You see the clouds pass by the city as if the clouds are moving fast or the city itself is flying. On the horizon you see more buildings and then some plains. After which the ground seems to stop. Farther away in the distance you see the bowl shaped horizon slowly moving. You seem to be on a floating continent on an orbit around the sun.
After that the PCs are escorted by 20 marines and a captain. They make their way to a building which proudly displays the Heldannic Flag ( A rampart black lion ). The doors seem to have been "enlarged" to allow easy entry for humans. Humans can fit in the buildings as ceiling are always higher than need be. This is a base of operation for the Heldanners in the city. They are lead to the basement and then to cell 7. In the cell they are not bound or gagged, but do not have access to their equipment.
The basement is made of stone and well decorated with tapestries, small tables, vases, potted plants and mirrors. Lanterns are hanged on hooks placed each 20 feet across the corridors and hooked on the ceiling in room 1, 2 and 3. The stairs lead up to the first floor.
There are 3 ways for the PCs to escape. One is by using the secret door leading to room 8 which in turns has another secret door ( not pictured ), leading into the corridor.
An other way is in 24 hours, when the first character will be taken for investigation. Choose this character at random and have 4 armed and armoured marines come and take him. If you think that's too strong an opposition, have the marines be fighters instead of clerics so they don't access to their spells.
And the final way is if all else fails, you can bail out the PCs by having a group of resistance gnomes save them. These details are left to you.
Room Descriptions ( prison ) :
1: This room is a lavishly decorated office with a large human sized desk and chair. A small table with 4 chairs in the centre. Two couches and one closet. The room has a plush red rug and a tapestry of the black rampart lion on two of the walls. This is the office of one of the Heldann captains. He is not present. The room is full of papers all written in Heldann. If the player's bother to check inside the lantern hanging from the ceiling they will find a silver key opening the chests in room 3. The keys are hidden so as they cast no shadows.
2: This is the lavish bedroom of the Heldann captains who has is office next door. There is 50% chance that he is sleeping and 50% that he his dressing up for his day. In a secret compartment behind a closet, they can find a scroll of protection from good, a scroll containing orders in Heldann, a purse with 100 gp. in Heldannic money and a small silver harp worth 85 gp and weighting 4 lbs.
3: This room is guarded by 4 Heldannic Knights ( use stats given for Marines earlier minus the spells) .This is a storage area. In the centre lies a pile of many crates and barrels. On one wall there are weapon racks, on another, suits of armour on dummies, and finally on the last 2 large metal chest. The chest are locked and very heavy. They are also trapped when opened they will shoot a dart which does 1hp of damage and release a sleep poison, save vs. poison to negate. The sleep is not magical and characters can be waken up normally. To avoid the trap to lock must be opened with the right key. They contain all the PCs equipment minus all money, gems, rations, water skins and spare non-magical clothing, which have either been confiscated by various officers or trashed. The crates holds foodstuff such as cheese, apples, berries, pickled fish and potatoes. The barrels hold water. One wall holds 2 studded leather armour, 2 chain mails, 2 banded mails and a plate mail. The other wall holds 10 long swords, 10 short swords, 10 maces, 10 spears and 10 bardiche.
4: This is an empty cell, in fact it looks like it hasn't been used in quite a long time.
5: This room holds a ( 0 level CE ) male gnome named Tolani who claims he was imprisoned for stealing bread on the streets. He his in fact a member of the fifth column, a terrorist group cooperating with the Knights. When he was found stealing from the Knights, he was sent to jail. He will ask the PCs to pick his lock ( if they have found their equipment in room 3 ). The silver key also opens the cells. He will try and betray them later.
6: This room hold a ( 0 level CG ) male gnome named Salvas who claims he was arrested for being part of the resistance against the Heldanners. ( true ). He will ask the PCs to pick his lock ( if they have found their equipment in room 3 ). The silver key also opens the cells.
7: This wooden cell houses the player's. Unknown to the Knights, one stone is actually a button opening a small ( 3' by 3' ) panel near the floor. Characters can crawl into it to go to room 8.
8: This secret room is very dusty yet empty. There are two levers on the back wall. One opens/close the panel leading to the cell. The other just makes a quick click sound. The sound seems to come from the wall next to the corridor. If any pressure is applied to this wall it will swing open like a door ( only if the second switch has been activated ). If characters search for secret doors they discover this on a success. If character search for secret doors after the switch is hit, success is automatic and achieved very quickly.
When the PCs leave the basement they on the first floor of the 2 story building.
Room Descriptions ( first and second floor ):
1: This rooms is a small chapel to Vanya. It is empty except during services. The symbol of Vanya is a lance with two horizontal short swords. The Heldanners seldom use it is only found on a rug. The black lion on a white background is used by the Heldanners and is seen on tapestries and on the altar.
2: These two room are offices combined with bedroom of lesser Heldannic officers. The officers are not in their room often. Each room yields only 2d20 gp. and personal objects such as combs, mirrors, clothes and holy symbol of Vanya ( black lion ).
3: This is the reception area with a desk. 2 Marines ( use previous stats ) are always guarding this room, while 2 others guard outside the front door, on the streets. There are always 2d4 Heldanners talking, waiting or working here.
4: This is a room which controls both staircases. For strategic value a Marine is posted here. Unfortunately he's so bored, he's usually found day dreaming, staring in a bland stupor at the door. The PCs are sure to surprise him if they act careful. If PCs approach the door they hear sounds from room 3. If a thief does Detect Noise, he can know the number of people in the room and that they are talking and doing light act ivies such as walking, paper work and chatting.
5: There are bedrooms which contains 1d4 sleeping guards. There are 8 bunk beds in each room with chest under them. Each chest contains a dagger, an holy symbol, two sets of spare clothes and 2d20 copper pieces from the Heldannic Freeholds. The PCs should make the smart choice of leaving these knights be or the others from the other rooms will wake up and join the fight.
6: This room contains a window but it leads to a 20' drop into a courtyard enclosed in a 10' high fence, locked with a good ( -15 Open Locks ) lock. The room is guarded by a bone golem with only 20 hp instead of 30 ( also known as skeletal golem in Mystara Monstrous Compendium , known as bone golem in Creature Catalogue ). It looks as tough it has been damaged. In the centre of the room lies a stone pedestal 4 feet high on which rest the Black Opal Pendant. From the window they can see the tree from room 7 near room 7's window.
7: This room is collecting dust. It has a window. An oak grows on the ground beneath the window and it's branches reach to the window allowing easy escape. The window is not barred or locked and climbing down the tree only require a DEX check at +2 bonus. Failures result in a fall midway down the climb, which is about 10'. Roll 1d6 for damage. The tree is not in the courtyard mentioned in room 6.
The Black Opal Pendant
The Black Opal Pendant is a leather cord with a tightly bound black opal tied on it, as well as 2 brown condor feathers. The Pendant gives it's wearer a + 5 bonus to AC and saving throws. It also gives the wearer the ability to understand all spoken languages although it does not allow the wearer to speak those languages. Additionally the pendant allows a cleric or shamani of Atruaghin/Atruatzin to turn undead as a cleric of the same level ( normally cleric and shamani of Atruaghin have no power over undead ). If the PCs decide not to return the pendant, they will always be attacked by lions, bears, wolves, snakes and all kinds of dangerous animals while travelling. Atruaghin will only send these after a while and if it seems clear the PCs won't return the Pendant. The Pendant is an artifact very dear to Atruaghin.
The town :
Oostdock is a floating continent detailed in PWA I, II and III. For those who don't have access to these source it's population is 20 000 gnomes. They are more advanced than most Mystara cultures. They have companies, magical blimps and banking services while still being Renaissance. The island was formed when 2 other islands crashed. The gnomes are divided in various clans.
The PCs are currently in the town of Bloin, population 5000, main industries ; carpentry, wood work and gem cutting. They must then survive on their own in Oostdock among gnomes who believe all humans on Oostdock are nasty Heldanners. Tough because these gnomes have had previous contact with other HW cultures, they know that not all humans are as bad and hostile towards them as the Heldanners. Eventually they may receive help from a resistance group against the Heldanners. They must find a way to leave Oostdock, maybe help the poorly organized resistance gnomes a bit along the way. These gnomes have crazy schemes that won't hurt much the Heldanners, including long term economical attacks, funding research for a warfare, secret propaganda which only strong sympathizers have access to. You must remember these are not fighters. Don't let the gnomes and PCs liberate the island as this will happen sometime else in the canon story line. Try to have the PCs spend a bit of time on the island, dodging Heldann patrols, dealing with scared gnomes, resistance gnomes and collaborator gnomes. They could be holed up in the resistance headquarters while Heldanners patrol the streets to find them. Eventually they should try to steal an Oostdock air ship ( they could be given one if they help the resistance a lot ) and before leaving encourage them to steal the Black Opal Pendant ( if they wish don't force them ), if they haven't found it when escaping from prison.
Air Ship :
For this part of the adventure I will assume the PCs have fled Oostdock using a gnomish air ship ( detailed in Champions of Mystara boxed set, tough details aren't important ). Modify this part if the PCs have found other ways to escape ( if they can fly or have a carpet of flying, etc. ).
The airship needs to be manned by at least 2 gnomes who have volunteered or been paid to do this. Even with these two gnomes, 4 other persons are needed to assist the gnomes. If the PCs are not numerous enough for this. More gnomes are required.
An Oostdock airship is a 180' long Blimp powered by steam with a small wooden cabin ( looking like a small galley ) underneath. The engine is powered by a bound fire elemental. The engine build steam to heat the blimp and to work the propellers attached at various places on the ship. The ship is not armed.
As the player are flying down in search of a landing position they spot the float Hiak-Lor lower with Hiakrai flying near it. It is about 1 mile away. After a while tough a Waffenadler-Class (Light) Warbird appears behind the PCs vessel and seems to be catching on pretty quick. After a while ( the PCs are now 200' from Hiak-Lor) the Warbird shoots a ballista bolt on the balloon and also "swoops" in with it's talon ripping the balloon. The PCs vessel is forced to crash land on Hiak-Lor. Fortunately the gnomes crash the ship in a swamp and each PCs only receives 1d2 points of damage from the impact. Seeing many Hiaks and Hiakrais the Warbird flees back toward Oostdock.
The PCs have just arrived on the Floating Continent of Hiak-Lor.
1: Small swamp where the players crash
2: Hiak-Lor Lake
3: Hiakai, the village where most Hiakrai lives
4: The lands of Hiak-Lor are mostly hills with a short range of mountains. Many tall oaks abound with normal eagle nest. In the mountain the giant eagle, called Hiaks, aeries reside.
On Hiak-Lor, shamans will heal freely all wounds/disease/poison/curse the PCs may have. They will also provide them with food, water and wineskins if need be. And are ready to trade/barter them stone arrows in exchange for other things. The Hiaks will provide them shelter to rest and ask them a few questions. After the PCs have explained the situation they are in. The Hiaks say they need to talk to their elders to get council. In the meantime the PCs are free to rest in huts in Hiakai. After a while the Neathar will come back saying that the giant wooden eagles with their strange men have returned and that the PCs better wake up. 3 light warbirds have come in pursuit of the Pendant. Shamans and Giant Eagle riding Neathar will harass the warbirds as they circle around Hiak-Lor surveying the region and the crashed gnomish air ship. The Hiakrai have two 10th level mages who will attack the ships with fire ball as they get closer. Shamans will then cast Call Lightning on the ships while mounted Hiakrai will swoop with their eagle and attack the ships. One will be driven off, badly damaged, while one will land near the crashed air ship and another near the village the PCs are staying. Although Hiakrai soldiers will attack, try to involve the PCs in the fight. Give them as many Heldanners as you think they can handle, and when they can't handle no more have Hiakrai warriors help them. Both warbirds should eventually flee having suffered heavy losses. The PCs are then ask to help rebuild damage to the village in return for the hospitality the Hiakrai have shown them. If the PCs don't agree the Hiakrai will have giant eagles carry them to the ground near the Midworld Gate. If the PCs agree and spend 2 sleep rebuilding the village, the Hiakrai say they will carry them as long as there Hiaks can go without rest. ( by the way the Hiakrai will help the gnomes get back home ). If the PCs have assisted the Hiakrai in rebuilding they will be carried off into the skies toward the north of the bay of Tlapac. There they will be exactly where the Quauhnahuacsections start. 4 sleeps march from the ruins. Else have the player travel the whole distance and role random encounters have they travel from the Midworld gate up to when they get to 4 days near the ruins. Then use the following section.
The PCs are landed in the plains north of Azcan territory. Just north of the Chitlaloc River. They are four sleep (days) march from the ruins. Although most Azcans still think this is part of their territory, as there are no forts or villages this side of the river it is in reality unclaimed and undefended lands. The PCs will have to travel for 4 days to reach the ruins if they travel at the standard movement rates for unencumbered humans. If movement rate vary, adjust travel time. About an hour after the Hiakrai are left, a great condor flies overhead, circling over the PCs. It emits long cry and then goes off in the direction of the ruins. It then leaves view. About 1 hour later it comes back and does the same routine. It continues to show the player's the way in this matter for the rest of the trip.
You should run random encounters during this trip.
As they approach the city a native of Quauhnahuac will approach them. An old withered Azcan looking man approach the PCs. The man is frail and of a paler skin tone than a normal Azcan. He looks weak and ugly. His face is twisted. He is a witch-doctor of the people living there. As it is taboo for those people to meet outsiders, he is the only one to do so. Because he has been given the right in some strange dreams he had ( actually sent by Atruaghin ). Although he does not speak Neathar or Azcan, the PCs should be able to understand him because of the Black Opal Pendant. These folks call themselves the Atruatolco. He will then lead them to the test.
The test :
The Atruatolco will propose a series of 9 tests to test if the PCs are really the one of which he dreamt of. He argues that only the truly worthy would be sent to him. To prove their worth the PCs must win 5 of the 9 tests. Each time they win a test they are given a stone. A large wooden idol holds a scale filled in one end with gold. When the players have gathered 5 stones and placed them one the empty end, but scales will be balanced and the PCs will be able to access the Mystical conveyor. The Atruatolco explain how many test there are and how many stones are needed. They also state that all test are optional, after hearing what the test will consist of, if the PCs don't want to go through with it, they can pass to another directly. The tests will take place in a training ground for Atruatolco warriors.
For the first test, the Atruatolco say they will ask a riddle. If the PCs accept they are given a riddle to solve. The Atruatolco take out a water clock. They must answer before the time is up. They can only make 3 guess for the riddle. The time is exactly 3 minutes. Time the player's with a clock or a watch. Make sure they have no more than 3 minutes. Here is the riddle : Forward and forward I go, never looking back. My limit no one knows, more of me do they lack. Like a river I do flow, and an eagle I fly. Now can you guess, what am I?
The desired answer is : Time.
Accept very similar answers which could be ok.
For the next test, the followers state it will be another riddle like the first one. The rules for time and everything are exactly the same, 3 minutes, 3 answers maximum. Here is the new riddle : When I am filled I can point the way. When I am empty, nothing moves me.
I have two skins - One without and one within. What am I?
The desired answer is : A Glove.
Accept very similar answers which could be ok.
The next test he claims is a mind puzzle. The PCs are taken to a fountain with two clay jugs. They are told the first jug hold 5 gorge ( their way of measuring liquid, if PCs ask a gorge seems about half a gallon ), the second holds 3 gorge. The PCs need to measure 4 gorge to win. This time, say they have the time it takes two water clocks the fill ( 6 minutes ), but explain to the player's you only leave them 5 minutes as it will require some handling time to fill/empty to jugs. Time them.
Here is the way to solve this problem :
1: Fill up the 5 gorge jug to the top.
2: Using the 5 gorge jug, fill up the 3 gorge jug.
3: Empty the 3 gorge jug and pour the 2 gorges left over from the 5 gorge jug into it.
4: Fill the 5 gorge jug again.
5: Fill the 3 gorge jug again to the top.
6: You now have exactly 4 gorges left over in your 5 gorge jug!
After this, they say the next test will involve walking through a pit of deadly poisonous snakes unarmed. They remember the PCs they can forgo any test. One character will have to walk into stone stairs descending into a 10' long, 5' wide underground corridor which leads to stairs back up filled with all kinds of normal poisonous snakes. Atruaghin shamani and druids may pass with no problems. A ranger will have to make a single check to swing the reaction of animals. If he is successful he knows he will be able to pass. If not he knows he will be bitten and should back out. Apart from these characters, other characters taking the test better have good saving throws and lots of cure poison potions and spells, as they will be bitten 4d3 times. For each 2 bites they receive 1 point of damage. For each bite they must make a save versus poison or die in one turn. If they make their save they will fall unconscious after one turn and loose half of their current hp.
The next test they proclaim will require the PCs walk across a wall of fire. The players are brought near an old stone corridor 20 feet long and 10 feet high which just stands there in the jungle. There a huge wall of fire goes from wall to wall and is 5 feet deep. The PCs are allowed to run. The wall of fire is in fact an illusion designed to test courage and faith. If a player agrees to take the test and run through the wall, have run a saving throw versus spell with a +4 bonus ( as the flames emit no heat ). If he passes the saving throw he walks through the flames. If he fails, he does not disbelief the illusion and even tough he is courageous enough to walk into the fire, he falls unconscious. If this happens, an Azcan will get him out of here. If he manages to pass the wall without passing out he wins a stone.
They then say the next test will involve cutting a rope with a weapon. The next test involves cutting a rope which is behind a precipice. The player can either use bows, crossbows and daggers to cut it, but nothing else. The Atruatolco will supply the PCs with daggers. Only one PC can take this test and he is only allowed 3 shots. The rope will give away after one shot and has an AC of 0. The PCs can get as close as 10 feet to the rope ( if they stand near the precipice ) or get as far a way as they wish. They must not use spells to cut the rope.
They say the next test will test pure strength. The next test is a strength test. The PCs will be shown to a clearing where a log is set on a stone circle. Two poles leave from the log which is about 5' in diameter. The stone ring under it is very heavy. If the PCs push it one full turn they win. To do this they must make an Open Door check with a -2 penalty. It takes one round to do this.
The next test will be one of endurance. In which one persons must carry a sack of heavy stones while standing into a murky swamp infested with mosquitoes until the followers of Atruatzin calculate enough time has passed ( 1 hours game time ). The character must not drop the sack. This requires a constitution check with a -4 penalty due to the task combined with the heat, the swamp and the mosquitoes test the character's endurance.
If the player's need to do this test they must be pretty desperate. The next test the say will give 1 stone but will prove to most dangerous of all. The PCs must travel to the banks of the river and hunt the horror crocodile that lurks there. This beast is actually a Deinosuchus. It's 49 feet long giant crocodile with 48 hp. If they bring back it's head they will be awarded another stone. The PCs will have to wait for 17 hours near the river to spot him.
Horror Crocodile (Deinosuchus), hp 48, AC 2, AL N, #AT 2, Dmg , XP 1500
This looks like a gigantic grey crocodile. It is found in lost worlds setting like the hollow world.
What if the players fail to get 5 stones ?
You can handle this different ways,
A) they won't be shown the way to the temple. This must then find it themselves as they know it is in the region and learn how to operate it.
B) The PCs have failed the quest, they have gotten this far, but no farther.
C) You let the Atruatolco be friendly and let them pass anyway ( not likely ).
The Mystical Conveyor :
If the PCs succeed they will be shown the way to the ruins. The map from GAZ14 shows the mystical conveyor. It is also described in GAZ14 and supposed to be described in HWR1 Sons of Azca. The mystical conveyor is located in some old Azcan ruins. It is a large golden head with seats in them where the PCs can sit. If they are all within they can activate it.