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Escape from Hule Part 2

by David Keyser from Threshold Magazine issue 23

Note that this is the second and final installment of this adventure, Parts 1 through 6 can be found in Threshold Magazine #22. As noted in that issue, this adventure is designed for B/X D&D rules as written in the 1981 D&D Basic and Expert rules, and is written as a new conclusion to the two adventure modules X4: “Master of the Desert Nomads” and X5: “Temple of Death”.

Part 7: Escape by Sea

If the PCs manage to plunder the two chests1 in the Master’s personal quarters, they obtain, in addition to everything else, detailed and accurate maps of the nation of Hule and the Savage Coast. From these maps, they can plot a faster route to take home that will allow them to travel much of the way by ship.

They must first follow the trail which skirts the western shore of Lake Tros and continue to follow it south as it leads out of the Dark Wood. Once clear of the forest, they can leave the trail to make their way southeast across clear grasslands and farmland until they reach the town of Iskilu. From there they resume following the trail which leads to the city of Azurun and the Temple of Uzumir.2

[Image: Map of the Savage Coast]

http://pandius.com/Eastern_Savage_Coast_6c.jpg

[Image: Map of Southern Hule ]

http://pandius.com/dragon172-southern-hule-8.png

The Red Haze

Proceeding into southern Hule, the PCs enter a region of land known as the Red Haze. This is a borderland that surrounds a region of the Savage Coast that suffers under what is known as the Red Curse. The PCs begin to notice a slight reddish tinge to the color of earth as they travel further and further into southern Hule. They soon see that reddish tinge on the flora, fauna, people, and even the air, constituting a reddish haze, as they get closer and closer to Vilaverde. If they proceed east to the city-states, the reddish haze becomes less and less pronounced, although it is still faintly present in the city-states.

The red haze does not affect the PCs or the people of southern Hule. But anyone who has gained legacies from the Red Curse is able to use those legacies normally within areas of the Red Haze.

Red Curse Legacies

Individuals who suffer under the Red Curse acquire powers which are referred to as legacies.3 The following rules apply to all characters who have legacies in this adventure. Legacies are similar to spells and can be dispelled with dispel magic. Legacies may be used up to three times per day. A character with multiple legacies may only invoke one legacy in any given combat round. A character can generally activate a legacy in addition to moving and attacking in a combat round, though they cannot attack with their legacy and another weapon in the same round - they can only do one or the other.

Not all legacies are useful in combat, NPCs in areas of the Red Curse with no legacies listed may be assumed to have some legacy which is a minor magical power for the DM to describe.

Blocked at Azurun

From Azurun, the PCs have several options of leaving Hule and reaching a seaport. First, they can travel overland to the southwest to read the nation of Vilaverde. Second, they could travel east and cross the border into the city-states of either Nova Svoga or Zagora, although those city-states are landlocked. Lastly, they can proceed further south and try one of Hule’s seaports on the coast of the Gulf of Hule.

Unfortunately for the PCs, by the time they arrive, southern Hule’s military forces have been mobilized. Diviner police are actively searching for the PCs within the city itself, while orcs from the Arzarum and Galibolu reservations and several Hule military divisions are spread out to the west, south and east, heavily patrolling all possible routes to the border and the Hulean towns near the Gulf of Hule. The PCs find accurate sketches of their likeness on a wanted poster nailed to a tree before they reach Azurun.

The PCs can either camp outside of town a safe distance from patrols or attempt to infiltrate Azurun while invisible or in disguise. As they do this they note on at least one occasion a dragon winging its way overhead in what is clearly a search pattern. The distance or the lighting makes determining the type of dragon impossible.4

The Knave

If the party contains a thief, then at some point while the PCs are scouting for an unguarded avenue of escape, the thief notices some hidden code in what appears to be ordinary graffiti scratched into wood with a knife. This graffiti might be found on the wall of a barn or on a tree as the PCs explore the farms and wilderness just outside of Azurun. It might be found etched on the floor in one corner of a rundown tavern where the PCs are hiding out inside of Azurun. The message has been scrawled in several locations both within Azurun and in the surrounding countryside. The markings are fresh, having been carved in the last couple of days.

If the thief makes a successful read languages roll, or a magic-user casts read languages, he or she decodes a two-line message. The first line reads- the fellows of a thief are other thieves. This is a common saying in Darokin5, and the PCs realize it likely was written by a Darokinian. The second line reads- river wreck east side, northwest of temple, midnight. If the PCs explore the east side of the river north of Azurun they find an old, rotted riverboat partially sunk and leaning against the riverbank. If they visit the location close to midnight, they find someone has mounted a torch sconce onto the mast which sheds a flickering light that is mistaken for a campfire from a distance.

The PCs are being observed but nothing happens for a few minutes. Read the following text out loud to the PCs:

You hear the hooting of a nearby owl, and a moment later the sounds of movement come from within the rotted hulk of the riverboat. A lone figure pulls himself up on deck from within the cargo hold. You can only make out he is human with a black cloak and leather armor with a couple of blades sheathed at his belt. He holds up his hand and with a snap of his fingers you see the glint of gold in his hand…a gold coin is held between his forefinger and thumb. He rolls the coin across his knuckles with the coin catching the torchlight, momentarily it disappears only to reappear in his other hand. He tosses the coin in a wide arc toward you. One of you reaches out and catches it. A closer look and you see you are holding a Darokin crown. A voice behind you speaks your homeland’s Common tongue with no trace of accent, “You have need of my services, I appreciate you coming here to listen to my offer.”

The PCs turn and see a second man in a black cloak and leather armor, of average height and lean build. His skin has a reddish tint, but his facial features are common among the gold class of Darokin. This man is known only by his title, The Knave. He is the leader of a Thieves Guild that operates from a hideout in Azurun. The man on the riverboat is one of his apprentices, along with six others that are spread out and hidden along the riverbank.

The Knave, thief (AC 2; T12; hp 47; #AT 1 (+1 Strength bonus); D 1d8+2; MV 120’ (40’); Save T12; ML 9; AL C)

The Knave carries a sword +1, and wears leather armor +3. He also wears a ring of invisibility, that has the additional power to summon an air elemental once per day.

The Knave also picked up a legacy from the Red Curse after spending time in the Savage Baronies. It is the luck6 legacy, which allows the Knave to re-roll a failed saving throw.

7 Apprentices, thief (AC5; T4; hp 15; #AT 1 ranged bow (+2 Dexterity bonus) or 1 sword; D1-6 or 1-8; MV 120’ (40’); Save T4; ML 8; AL C or N)

All apprentices wear leather armor and carry swords and shortbows.

The Knave is a former native of the Republic of Darokin who was forced to flee years ago to avoid a death sentence for robbery and murder. He knows who the PCs are and what they have done through his contacts at the Temple of Uzumir. Despite being utterly reprehensible, the Knave does retain some loyalty to the nation of his birth. He is also highly intrigued that anyone was able to penetrate the temple at Greatrealm and respects their achievement.

The Knave makes the PCs an offer. He will smuggle them and their belongings to the Villaverde border. In exchange, he wants 750 gp for each person he will smuggle across the border, payable in either coin or valuables, as well as a detailed description and map of the Temple of Death. If the PCs negotiate, he can be reduced to 500 gp per individual if they succeed on the Reaction Roll table. He will also accept any gold tablets of safe conduct bearing the Master’s seal7 as acceptable payment, each tablet purchases one individual’s transport. A valuable magic item may purchase transport for two, three or even four people. If the PCs have horses, he will accept their value as part of the trade.

The Knave is sincere in his offer and will accommodate any reasonable requests made by the PCs to verify this. The PCs have until dawn to provide payment. If the PCs decline his assistance, he will shrug and depart amicably. Unfortunately for the PCs, he will soon tip off the Diviners as to the party’s approximate location. If the PCs don’t depart from the vicinity of Azurun in the next twelve hours, the military will find them. Use the statistics in the Going Their Own Way section for details.

If the PCs insist that some of their number will use fly or invisibility to follow the rest of the party in the barrels, the Knave will warn them that the Master has accounted for that possibility and they risk being detected by the Diviners and military forces along the route. The Knave will reluctantly agree if the PCs continue to insist, but anyone following the barrels instead of hiding in one still has to pay the Knave’s fee and must agree to follow any order given by his apprentices. He makes it clear his apprentices know the route and are the only ones who can get the PCs safely through, and if the PCs disregard his apprentices’ instructions they will be abandoned.

Smuggling Route

The Knave’s plan is to bring the PCs to a warehouse on the riverfront in Azurun, where he and his apprentices will pack them and their equipment in barrels. The barrels are floated down the Tilkit river past the river village of Izkacoy to the port town of Yenigaz. The PCs barrels will be marked for the town of Yenigaz, although the barrels will be stopped and sorted at Izkacoy before continuing further. Two of the Knave’s apprentices will be escorting the barrels on a small raft and keep an eye out to prevent any mishaps.

The apprentices will pull the party’s barrels to the west shore a few miles upriver from Yenigaz where the plateau cuts to the west and the PCs are only eight miles away from the forested Villaverde border. If the PCs object, the Knave replies he has successfully smuggled people and goods this way before, and if the PCs ask if anyone has ever drowned in one of his barrels, his reply is; “Only once, and it was his own fault for panicking.” What the Knave will not mention is that normally any person smuggled in such a manner gets a rest and reprieve from the barrel for a few hours overnight in the sleepy town of Izkacoy, but he knows that Hulean troops are currently in the town and the apprentices will have to leave the PCs in the barrels overnight.

The trip will cover a distance of almost sixty miles, and the barrels can make that trip in about fourteen hours, with an additional delay of ten hours at Izkacoy where the barrels are collected and sorted overnight. The PCs will leave the warehouse in the barrels in the morning and arrive at Izkacoy by nightfall. At dawn the next morning, they depart once again and will be fished out of the river before noon on the second day.

The Knave is true to his word and the PCs will be delivered to the promised destination. The apprentices are under strict instructions not to steal weapons, equipment or any documents from the PCs, but any barrel used to store coins, gems or jewelry will be slightly lighter at the end of the journey as the apprentices take a cut as a “tip”, while in Izkacoy.

Despite the assurances of the Knave, and the straw padding provided in the barrels, the trip is not quite as safe as planned. Every character in a barrel suffers a violent collision with another barrel, boat or other obstruction d4+2 times during the journey. Each time this happens, the character must make a saving throw vs Magic Wands at a -2 penalty or take 1-6 hp of damage. Additionally, the characters must make a saving throw vs Dragon Breath at a -5 penalty (dwarves and halflings make the saving throw at only a -2 penalty) approximately every three hours they are within the barrel, for a total of eight checks taken over the course of the trip. Each time a character fails a saving throw vs Dragon Breath, they suffer a temporary one point loss in Constitution. Drops in Constitution cause a corresponding loss in hit points according to the Ability score table. Additionally, any spellcaster loses one spell, determined randomly, each time they suffer a Constitution loss. Any character whose Constitution drops below 3 is unconscious and senseless when their barrel is opened at the end of the journey. If a character’s Constitution drops to 0, the character is dead. Once PCs are retrieved from the barrels, any lost Constitution is regained at the rate of one point per hour, with hit points lost due to the drop in Constitution regained as Constitution is restored. Spellcasters must regain spells normally. If Narellus is still with the PCs he will survive the journey by barrel, bruised and weakened, but alive.

Unfortunately for the PCs, one junior officer in the Hulean military previously noticed that someone has been using the river for smuggling. That officer took advantage of the recent mobilization to convince his superiors to allocate a small force to patrol this area of the river. He was only expecting smugglers rather than the elite band that struck down the Master, but he launches his attack just as the apprentices have opened the barrels and the PCs emerge.

10 goblin wolf riders (AC 6; HD 1-1; hp 5; #AT 1 bow or sword; D 1-6 or 1-8; MV 60’ (20’); Save NM; ML 8; AL C)

10 dire wolves (AC 6; HD 4+1; hp 24; #AT 1 bite; D 2-8; MV 150’ (50’); Save F2; ML 8; AL N)

12 bugbears (AC 5; HD 3+1; hp 19; #AT 1 spear; D 2-7; MV 90’ (30’); Save F3; ML 9; AL C)

3 orc boar riders from Arzarum reserve8 (AC 6; HD 1; hp 6; #AT 1 lance or 1 sword; D 1-6/2-12(charging) or 1-8; MV 120’ (40’); Save F1; ML 8; AL C)

3 large boars9 (AC 6; HD 5; hp 28; #AT 1 tusk; D 3d4; MV 120’ (40’); Save F5; ML 10; AL N)

3 trolls (AC 4; HD 6+3; hp 39; #AT 2 claws/1 bite; D 1-6/1-6/1-10; MV 120’ (40’); Save F6; ML 10 (8); AL C)

1 human patrol commander, fighter (AC 4; F6; hp 48; #AT 1 (+1 Strength bonus); D 1d8+1; MV 90’ (30’); Save F6; ML 9; AL C)

The patrol commander wields a sword, carries a shield and wears chainmail armor.

All PCs who emerged from barrels suffer a -2 to attack rolls, damage rolls, and saving throws for the first three rounds of combat. They also suffer a +2 penalty to their AC. On the first round, the PCs take archery fire from the goblins before the orc boar riders sweep in for a lance charge and pass through. The Knave’s men flee toward the river and try to escape, although they are likely to be run down by the orcs. On the second round, the goblin wolf riders close and engage in melee. The bugbears join combat on the third round. The orcs return on the fourth round, either engaging in close combat or charging through if any PCs are unengaged and vulnerable to a lance charge. The patrol commander and trolls engage in melee on round five.

Going Their Own Way

The PCs have three possible routes if they try to make their own way. They can proceed to the southwest to try and bypass the Tower of Osmaniye and cross the border into Villaverde. They can follow the Tilkit river into the valley passing the Hulean settlements and then proceed west into the Villaverde lowlands following the same route on land that the barrels follow along the river. Or they can proceed east and try to cross the border into the city-states of Zagora or Nova-Svoga. The PCs should note that the city-states are the least desirable option as they are landlocked and once there, they face a difficult trek through humanoid infested mountains and rugged coastline before they can reach the Gulf of Hule and a port at the town of Raska in the city-state of Zvornik where they can book passage on a ship. If the PCs still consider the possibility of leaving through a Hulean seaport, they soon learn those ports have been locked down with no one allowed to leave.

Whichever direction the PCs take, they must bypass or defeat a significant military force to escape. Stealth is an option, but each Hulean military unit has scouts intimately familiar with local terrain and spellcasters with magical detection. Each military force is distributed to cover a reasonably wide area while remaining close enough to support any troops which come into contact with the PCs.

Any battle will also draw the attention of one of two mercenary dragons which have alliances with Hule and have agreed to fly aerial patrols to find the PCs. Hulean troops will fire a flaming arrow into the sky as a signal once combat is joined with the PCs.

If the PCs attempt to reach Villaverde, they will encounter the following military force barring the way forward at a place of the DM’s choosing…

180 goblin wolf riders (AC 6; HD 1-1; hp 5; #AT 1 bow or sword; D 1-6 or 1-8; MV 60’ (20’); Save NM; ML 8; AL C)

180 dire wolves (AC 6; HD 4+1; hp 24; #AT 1 bite; D 2-8; MV 150’ (50’); Save F2; ML 8; AL N)

120 bugbears (AC 5; HD 3+1; hp 19; #AT 1 spear; D 2-7; MV 90’ (30’); Save F3; ML 9; AL C)

30 orc boar riders from Arzarum reserve (AC 6; HD 1; hp 6; #AT 1 lance or 1 sword; D 1-6/2-12(charging) or 1-8; MV 120’ (40’); Save F1; ML 8; AL C)

30 large boars (AC 6; HD 5; hp 28; #AT 1 tusk; D 3d4; MV 120’ (40’) ; Save F5; ML 10; AL N)

40 trolls (AC 4; HD 6+3; hp 39; #AT 2 claws/1 bite; D 1-6/1-6/1-10; MV 120’ (40’); Save F6; ML 10 (8); AL C)

1 human division commander F10 (AC 2; F10; hp 80; #AT 1 (+2 Strength bonus); D 1d8+4; MV 60’ (20’); Save F10; ML 10; AL C)

The division commander wields a sword +2, wears plate mail armor and shield, an amulet of finding10, and carries two potions of healing.

Several magic-users trained as scouts are distributed among the troops and disguised to appear as a regular member of the unit, though the PCs will likely notice the human scouts are too big to be a goblin or too small to be a bugbear.

5 mage scouts, magic-user (AC 8; M4; hp 14; AT 1 dagger; D 1d4; MV 120’ (40’); Save M4; ML 7; AL C)

Each mage scout carries a dagger and a scroll with the spell ESP. Each has the following spells memorized:

First Level: detect magic(x2)

Second Level: detect invisible(x2)

Any flaming arrow signal sent by this military force will draw the attention of a green dragon patrolling the area, who will arrive in eight rounds.

Viridescere, female green dragon (AC 1; HD 8**; hp 58; #AT 2 claws, 1 bite; D1-6/1-6/3d8; MV 240’ (80’); Save F8; ML 9; AL C)

Viridescere will prefer to use her breath weapon and remain airborne for strafing attacks until at least some of the PCs have fallen. She won’t be troubled by a few Hulean troops being caught in her gas cloud but will try to refrain from engulfing many of them.

If the PCs proceed east and attempt to cross the border into one of the city-states, they will encounter the following military force barring the way forward at a place of the DM’s choosing…

180 human cavalry, fighter (AC 6; HD 1; hp 8; #AT 1 bow or sword; D 1-6 or 1-8; MV 90’ (30’); Save F2; ML 8; AL C)

180 warhorses (AC 7; HD 3; hp 1; #AT 0 (while ridden) or 2 hooves; D 0 or 1-6/1-6; MV 120’ (40’); Save F2; ML 9; AL N)

120 bugbears (AC 5; HD 3+1; hp 19; #AT 1 spear; D 2-7; MV 90’ (30’); Save F3; ML 9; AL C)

60 orc scouts from Gallibolu reserve11 (AC 6; HD 1; hp 6; #AT 1 bow or 1 short sword; D 2-7 or 1-6; MV 120’ (40’); Save F1; ML 8; AL C)

40 hill giants (AC 4; HD 8; hp 48; #AT 1 club or 1 thrown spear; D 2d8 or 2d6; MV 120’ (40’); Save F8; ML 8; AL C)

1 human deputy division commander, fighter (AC 2; F8; hp 64; #AT 1 (+2 Strength bonus); D 1d8+3; MV 60’ (20’); Save F8; ML 10; AL C)

The deputy division commander wields a sword +1, wears an amulet of finding12, and carries two potions of healing.

Mage scouts are distributed among the troops guarding the route to the city-states. They are in disguise, have memorized the same spells, and are equipped the same as their counterparts guarding the border near Villaverde.

5 mage scouts, magic-user (AC 8; M4; hp 14; AT 1 dagger; D 1d4; MV 120’ (40’); Save M4; ML 7; AL C)

Any flaming arrow signal sent by this military force will draw the attention of a red dragon patrolling the area, who will arrive in eight rounds.

Carminic, male red dragon (AC -1; HD 10**; hp 73; #AT 2 claws, 1 bite; D1-8/1-8/4d8; MV 240’ (80’); Save F10; ML 10; AL C)

Carminic follows a similar strategy as Viridescere in engaging the PCs, preferring to remain airborne and avoiding casualties to masses of Hulean forces.

Villaverde

Once the PCs cross over into Villaverde, they make their way south by southwest as they cross grasslands, cultivated farmlands, ragged forests and a few hills. They travel along the coastal lowlands with the view of the The Great Escarpment, a plateau several hundred feet above sea level, a few miles inland to the west on their right. The PCs now being well within the lands dominated by the Red Curse, they find that the land, the flora, the fauna, and the people all have a deeper reddish-tint color to their appearance than even the people of southern Hule.

The PCs come across several tiny hamlets with fortified keeps. If the PCs ask the locals about any available ships, they are told to continue further south to the capital of Porto Preto.

The Mountain City-States

Should the PCs instead cross over into the territory of either Nova Svoga or Zagora, they will find the local populations hostile and reluctant to provide aid. The PCs will learn that to escape by ship, they will need to make their way south over forested hills and mountainous terrain to reach the port of Raska. The locals will warn them of Hulean patrols near the settlement of Ayskudag, and goblin raiders in the wilderness.

Depending on the route the PCs take to reach Raska, they may encounter a Hulean patrol or goblins. The DM can choose a suitable encounter using the encounter statistics from the Going Their Own Way section above. If Viridescere and/or Carminic is still alive, one or both may also be encountered above the skies near Ayskudag.

Ship Passage

Whether the PCs seek a ship in Porto Preto or Raska, within twenty-four hours of their first inquiries they learn of one ship that is heading east beyond the city-states and is looking for passengers. The PCs find the small sailing ship, the Red Raven, docked at the end of a far pier with several burly marines standing guard. The PCs can gain an audience with the captain provided they can show they have money to the sailors.

10 human sailors, normal man (AC 7; HD 1/2; hp 4; #AT 1 dagger; D 1-4; MV 120’ (40’); Save NM; ML 6; AL N)

3 human marines, fighter (AC 6; F1; hp 7; #AT 1 sword; D 1-8; MV 90’ (30’); Save F1; ML 7; AL N)

1 human ship captain, fighter (AC 5; F4; hp 22; #AT 1 sword; D 1-8; MV 90’ (30’); Save F4; ML 8; AL N)

Amaro de Soto is a Villaverdan merchant trader and ship captain that has established trade ties with a Minrothad guild that he meets periodically in the town of Kladanovic on the west side of the base of the Serpent Peninsula. While most of his wares are legal goods, he occasionally makes use of a hidden compartment in his cargo hold to smuggle contraband.

This time he is attempting to smuggle smokepower13 to the Minrothad traders, which would be of significant interest to the Inheritor orders who control the trade and would not look kindly on Amaro selling smokepowder outside the Savage Baronies and out of their control. Amaro, for his part, is not familiar enough with smokepower to know that it loses its potency once it leaves the lands of the Red Curse and Red Haze.

Captain Amaro is looking for passengers as extra insurance. He doesn’t expect any trouble, but if something goes wrong, he would like to have someone else to blame. When he realizes the PCs are outsiders, only his professional skill cultivated as a negotiator keeps him from revealing his pleasure at taking them onboard. He offers them a discount price for passage in exchange for agreeing to serve as marines and protect his ship.

Bounty Hunters

The PCs have six to twelve hours before Captain Amaro is ready to depart. Unfortunately for them, that is enough time for the Master’s reach to catch up with them. The Master has contracted the services of a powerful group of bounty hunters led by an Inheritor through an intermediary.

Six NPCs are provided for the bounty hunter party. If more are needed, duplicate the statistics of either the myrmidon or the local hero as an additional fighter combatant.

Crimson Inheritor, thief (AC 3; T10**; hp 46; #AT 1 (+1 Strength bonus); D 1d6+4; MV 120’ (40’); Save T10; ML 9; AL N)

The Order of Crimson14 is one of three societies whose members are known as Inheritors. Inheritors hold a monopoly trade in the Savage Baronies on magical materials related to the Red Curse, and often have multiple legacies.

This Crimson Inheritor wields a red steel15 spear +3, and wears leather armor +1. He also possesses three legacies. The first is repel metal16 which causes any attacker wielding a metal weapon to suffer a -2 penalty to hit when attacking the Inheritor. The second is invulnerability17, which grants the Inheritor the effects of a potion of invulnerability. The third legacy is luck, which allows the Inheritor to re-roll a failed saving throw. Both repel metal and invulnerability are legacies with a duration of 1 round per level of the character, so the Crimson Inheritor gains the benefit of each legacy for ten combat rounds when invoked.

Lupin18 pistoleer (AC 5; HD 8*; hp 56; AT 1 wheellock belt pistol19 (+1 Dexterity bonus) or 1 sword; D 1-8* or 1-8; MV 120’ (40’); Save F8; ML 8; AL N)

Christophe Dumond is a lupin originally from the nation of Renardy which lies west of the Savage Baronies. He is an elite champion of his people which is reflected in his higher hit dice and abilities.

Christophe wields two wheellock belt pistols. A wheellock belt pistol has a range of 10/30/50, inflicts double damage* on a hit roll of 20, and gets a +2 bonus to hit against any target that is wearing armor due to penetration. Christophe needs a round to reload one of his pistols, though he can move to avoid melee while reloading. When under the effects of haste, he will reload both of his pistols in a single round. Christophe will not fire his pistol while within five feet of the Crimson Inheritor, as doing so will deplete the Inheritor’s cinnabryl,20 which is a valued material in the Savage Baronies.

Christophe has the war cry21 legacy, which can target one individual at a range of 80 yards. The target must make a saving throw vs paralysis, or be unable to attack for 1d4 combat rounds. Christophe prefers to use his legacy on those who try to close with him for melee.

Warpriest, cleric (AC 5; C10*; hp 58; #AT 1 (+2 Strength bonus); D 1d8+2; MV 60’ (20’); Save C10; ML 9; AL N)

The Warpriest wears chainmail armor +1. He has the following spells memorized:

First Level: cure light wounds(x2), remove fear, resist cold

Second Level: bless, hold person, resist fire, silence 15’ radius

Third Level: growth of animals, striking(x2)

Fourth Level: cure serious wounds(x2), sticks to snakes

Fifth Level: quest, raise dead

The Warpriest has the weapon hand22 legacy, which is why he does not normally carry a weapon. His right hand changes shape into a large warhammer for ten combat rounds (1 round/level).

The warpriest also has a trained war dog nearly equal to a wolf in size that obeys his basic commands.

War Dog (AC 7; HD 2+1; hp 11; #AT 1 bite; D 1-6; MV 180’ (60’); Save F1; ML 8; AL N)

Militant23 wizard, magic-user (AC 7; M8*; hp 36; #AT 1; D 2d6; MV 120’ (40’); Save M8; ML 8; AL N)

The militant wizard wields a staff of striking (21 charges) and possesses a ring of protection +1. He has the following spells memorized:

First Level: charm person, magic missile, shield

Second Level: invisibility, mirror image, web

Third Level: dispel magic, haste

Fourth Level: charm monster, confusion

The militant wizard possesses the armor24 legacy, which gives him a -2 bonus to AC for eight combat rounds (1 round/level).

Myrmidon, fighter (AC 3; F9*; hp 75; #AT 1 (+3 Strength bonus); D 1d6+5; MV 60’ (20’); Save F9; ML 9; AL N)

The myrmidon wields a red steel spear +2, and wears plate mail armor.

The myrmidon has the fight25 legacy, which grants him a +2 bonus to attack rolls for nine combat rounds (1 round/level).

Local hero26, dwarf (AC 1; D9*; hp 81; #AT 1 (+1 Strength bonus); D d6+1; MV 60’ (20’); Save D9; ML 10; AL N)

The local hero wields a hand axe and carries a red steel shield +1, he also wears chainmail armor +2. He carries four axes on his person and will throw an axe if he cannot engage in melee.

The local hero has the burn27 legacy, which allows him to target an opponent up to eight feet away with a burst of flame from his mouth. The attack does d4+9 hp of damage with the attack that will also set fire to combustible materials.

Captain Amaro won’t let them board the ship for departure until an hour before, so the PCs can cool their heels at a nearby tavern, check out a marketplace, or just hang out at the docks. The bounty hunters track down the PCs a couple of hours before the Red Raven sets sail. Any nearby people or crowds begin to disperse and the PCs may notice it suddenly gets a bit quiet and deserted before the bounty hunters attack. Both the Inheritor and the local hero have contacts with local authorities, who won’t get involved when a fight breaks out.

If the bounty hunters are able to stage an ambush they will, with the Inheritor joining the fight on the second round with an attempted backstab. But they won’t hesitate to approach the PCs and attack if they have no other choice. The enemy party prepares some spells to cast just before the attack if possible. The warpriest will cast bless on the group, growth of animals on his war dog, followed by resist spells for himself and the myrmidon, and finally striking on his own weapon and the local hero’s weapon. The militant wizard will cast haste on the entire party and invisibility on the Inheritor before casting mirror image and shield. The myrmidon will attempt to melee on the front line, but if badly wounded he can fall back behind the local hero or the Inheritor and still attack with his spear.

The bounty hunters have instructions to bring the party to northern Vilaverde dead or alive, but all is not lost if the PCs lose. Any PCs captured may make a reaction roll after the battle with a cumulative -1 penalty for each bounty hunter slain during the fight. If they can score a 9+, and tell the bounty hunters that they have important information stolen from Hule, they convince the bounty hunters to let them go, as both Villaverde and the city-states are hostile to Hule. Christophe leads the discussion for the bounty hunters, but the PCs will notice that the lupin frequently looks to the Inheritor for signals of agreement or disagreement.

Narellus Goes Mad

If Narellus is with the party when they board the Red Raven to set sail, and he has not been freed from the geas spells inflicted on him, he chooses this time to try and sabotage the ship, just after it departs. He attempts to lose any PCs keeping an eye on him and makes his way down into the cargo hold. There he finds containers of pitch and proceeds to crack open the first container and spread the pitch around before lighting it. If no PC is present to stop him, he is attacked by a marine who spots him before he can set the fire, but Narellus kills the man in one round.

Thief PCs may hear this with a hear noise roll, other PCs have a 1 in 6 chance of hearing the combat and a cry for help. Unfortunately, the flaming pitch Narellus sets alight is right near the hidden hold where Captain Amaro placed the smokepowder. If the PCs hear Narellus killing the marine and investigate immediately, then only one ten foot by ten foot section of the cargo hold is alight and the flame can be put out before it reaches the smokepowder provided at least five PCs and/or sailors begin putting out the fire while at least one PC engages Narellus. However, if the noise was not heard, then the alarm is raised when smoke is seen and two ten foot by ten foot sections of the cargo hold are on fire. In this latter scenario, the smokepowder will explode unless the flames are extinguished by magical means such as by a create water spell. If the smokepowder explodes everyone in the cargo hold takes 8d8 hp of damage and anyone on deck has a 20% chance of taking 4d8 hp of damage. Anyone taking damage can make a saving throw vs breath weapon for half damage. The ship itself takes 6d8 hull points of damage from an explosion.

If Narellus sets any type of fire, the PCs will need to succeed at another reaction roll with Captain Amaro to convince him to let them continue their journey on his ship. Throwing Narellus overboard or leaving him shackled for the remainder of the journey grants a +1 bonus to the roll.

Sea Dragon Attack

Regardless of which port the PCs join the ship, the Red Raven has an uneventful journey as it proceeds along the trade route from Porto Preto to Raska and from Raska south and east navigating between the islands of Kepir and Vlor.

[Image: Map of the Slagovich region]

https://mystara.thorfmaps.com/dragon-171-slagovich-8/

But when the Red Raven clears the southern tip of Kepir and is about to change direction to follow a northeasterly course along the trade route, two strange ships are sighted sailing south at full speed on an intercept course. Captain Amaro is unnerved, and he makes a fateful decision to proceed full speed on a southeastern heading into the open ocean. He trusts that he can lose the ships while maintaining this heading and that will eventually bring him back into sight of the mainland. He might even end up saving a day or two of travel with minimal risk.

The plan works and the two ships are soon lost from sight. Unfortunately for both crew and PCs, their course takes them right over the lair of a large band of sea dragons.

4 sea dragons (AC 1; HD 8; hp 62, 56, 52, 48; #AT 1 bite or 1 spit; D 3d8 or special; MV 180’(60’) (swimming or flying); Save F8; ML 9; AL N)

Elder sea dragon (AC 1; HD 11; hp 88; #AT 1 bite or 1 spit; D 3d8+2 or special; MV 180’(60’) (swimming or flying); Save F11; ML 9; AL N)

The elder sea dragon leading this attack has a particularly potent breath weapon, which inflicts a -2 penalty to saving throws against it. The elder is also a spellcaster, and has the following spells memorized:

First Level: charm person, magic missile (5 missiles), protection from good

Second Level: invisibility, mirror image, web

The sun is beating down brightly in the middle of the day when a cry from the lookout draws your attention to the starboard bow, “Sea monsters!”

Two sea dragons first appear off the starboard bow, swimming along the surface of the water and keeping pace with the ship. They each target the ship with their breath weapon once, one targets the fore of the sailing ship and the other targets the aft. They dive underwater on the second combat round, and two rounds later, the next two sea dragons surface on the port side of the sailing ship and follow the same strategy.

While this is happening, the elder sea dragon is flying behind the ship while invisible, observing the ship’s defenses and noting any PC who is in a leadership position or is particularly effective in defending the ship.

The first two sea dragons surface on the starboard bow a second time for a second use of their breath weapons, only this time instead of diving below they follow a parallel course in an attempt to draw the full attention of the PCs and other defenders. On the next combat round after the breath weapons target the ship, the two sea dragons on the port side fly (which may catch the PCs off guard) onto the sailing ship to engage in melee while the elder sea dragon targets a leader or spellcaster PC with web. On the following round, all four sea dragons attempt to melee on the ship while the elder sea dragon continues to use spells. The elder sea dragon will not engage in melee until after it has cast mirror image.

In addition to following the standard morale rules, any sea dragon that drops to one third of its original hit points or below immediately breaks from combat and dives into the sea to retreat to the lair in a cave 400 feet below the surface.

While it is unlikely for the PCs to make the attempt, they can try to convince Captain Amaro to delay long enough for them to search for the sea dragon lair by making a Reaction Roll. Should they locate the lair and slay or drive off any surviving sea dragons, the DM should make six separate checks for Treasure Type H28 to stock the lair with suitable treasure.

The Red Raven does manage to get back into sight of the mainland south of Kastr and resumes following the trade route.

Kladanovic

When the Red Raven arrives at this trade town, the Minrothad agents are waiting for them. Captain Amaro encourages the PCs to come to the meeting, as they may agree to take the PCs on their ship to bring them back to Darokin. At the meeting, the agents test the smokepowder, at which point everyone discovers the unpleasant surprise that the material is almost useless outside the lands of the Red Curse. The agents accuse Captain Amaro of fraud, and disbelieve his protest of ignorance, and the argument looks like it may come to blows. At this point, the PCs will need to succeed at a reaction roll to try and calm down the agents. They can get a +2 bonus to the roll if they reveal they are on a mission for Darokin against the armies of the desert nomads, as Minrothad favors Darokin and Sind in this conflict. If they suggest that the agents will receive a reward from the Republic if they bring the PCs back to Darokin, they get an additional +1 bonus to the roll.

6 Minrothad agents, elf (AC 6; E3; hp 15; #AT 1 sword; D 1d8; MV 90’ (30’); Save E3; ML 8; AL N)

Each Minrothad agent carries a sword and shield and wears leather armor. Each has the following spells memorized:

First Level: charm person, detect magic

Second Level: web

Overland Route to Tyjaret

[Image: Map of the Serpent Peninsula]

https://i2.wp.com/mystara.thorfmaps.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/champions-serpent-peninsula-24.png

The PCs have about a 120 mile hike over grasslands to reach Tyjaret where the Minrothad team has a ship waiting for them. If they couldn’t convince the Minrothad agents to agree to take them on, they can still make the journey and find another ship at the port of Tyjaret willing to take them to Darokin, but the PCs will have to negotiate passage and pay. They also won’t have the Minrothad agents on board to assist with the defense of the ship.

The Minrothad agents have the small sailing ship called the Fast Clipper. If the PCs need to find another ship, they soon find another small sailing ship to transport them, called Barbarosa’s Bastard. Note that only the Fast Clipper has a squad of marines onboard, the crew of Barbarosa’s Bastard are poor locals down on their luck and willing to make the journey to Darokin for the right price.

10 human sailors, normal man (AC 7; HD 1/2; hp 4; #AT 1 dagger; D 1-4; MV 120’ (40’); Save NM; ML 6; AL N)

8 human marines, fighter (AC 6; F1; hp 7; #AT 1 sword; D 1-8; MV 90’ (30’); Save F1; ML 7; AL N)

1 human ship captain, fighter (AC 5; F3; hp 18; #At 1 sword; D 1-8; MV 90’ (30’); Save F3; ML 7; AL N)

Sea Reaver Attack

While the Master does not have a capable navy, efforts are under way to correct that deficiency which will take years to come to fruition. But once the PCs escaped Hule, some of the Master’s elite agents are assembled in Sind and given command of a longship built for troop transport. The commander of the military squadron onboard is an agent of the Master who has crossed paths with the PCs before, his name is Ahmed Khel.29

The ship is named the Sea Reaver, which will also be the name of the Master’s planned navy in the future. The ship musters at the port of Hulean ally Jaibul.

[Image: Map of Sind]

http://mystara.thorfmaps.com/sind-8/

The Master’s forces on the ship include:

30 human archers, fighters (AC 6; F2; hp 12; #AT 1 ranged bow attack at +1 to hit; D 1-6; MV 120’ (40’); Save F2; ML 8; AL C)

30 human marines, fighters (AC 6; F2; hp 13; #AT 1 sword at +1 to hit; D 1d8+1; MV 120’ (40’); Save F2; ML 8; AL C)

Captain of the Longship, fighter (AC 6; F6; hp 41; #AT 1; D 1-8; MV 90’ (30’); Save F6; ML 9; AL C)

The captain wields a sword, carries a shield and wears leather armor.

Jaibul mercenary, magic-user (AC 7; M9; hp 33; #AT 1; D 1-4; MV 120’ (40’); Save M9; ML 8; AL N)

The Jaibul mercenary wields a dagger and possesses a wand of lightning bolts (7 charges). He has the following spells memorized:

First Level: magic missile, shield, sleep

Second Level: invisibility, mirror image, web

Third Level: dispel magic, fireball, haste

Fourth Level: confusion, hallucinatory terrain (already cast)

Fifth Level: conjure elemental

Diviner, cleric (AC 1; C9; hp 57; #AT 1 (+1 Strength bonus); D 1d6+2; MV 60’ (20’); Save C9; ML 10; AL C)

The Diviner wields a mace +1, wears plate mail armor, and carries a shield +1. He has the following spells memorized:

First Level: cure light wounds(x2), cause fear

Second Level: bless, hold person, silence 15’ radius

Third Level: cause disease, locate object (already cast), striking

Fourth Level: create water, protection from good 10’ radius

Fifth Level: insect plague, finger of death (raise dead reversed)

Assassin, thief (AC 3; T8; hp 38; #AT 1 short sword (+2 Strength bonus) or 1 arrow (+3 Dexterity bonus); D 1d6+3; MV 120’ (40’); Save T8; ML 9; AL C)

The assassin wields a short sword +1, wears leather armor +1, carries a short bow, and possesses two potions, both fly and invisibility.

Ahmed Khel, fighter (AC 0; F9; hp 75; #AT 1; D 1d8+2; MV 90’ (30’); Save F9; ML 9; AL C)

Ahmed wields a sword +2, extra damage (x4 for 1-10 rounds), AL N, Will 17, wears +2 chain mail armor, an amulet of finding30, and carries a shield +2.

Ahmed has the Jaibul mercenary use hallucinatory terrain to hide their ship along the shipping lane after the PCs pass the city of Jaibul. If the PCs take no special precautions Ahmed achieves surprise and the encounter begins with the ships only 10-40 yards separate from each other. If that happens, read the following text:

You are sailing past a nearby reef when the air above the reef becomes hazy as if a wave of heat and humidity is rolling over it. The image of the reef wavers and suddenly collapses as a longship emerges from the mirage. With a burst of speed the longship is upon you, and the Hulean flag flies from the mast!

If the PCs are somehow able to detect the enemy ship earlier, use the rules under the Encounters at Sea section31 should the PCs attempt to evade. Any successful evasion buys the PCs a respite of d3 days before they encounter the longship again. If the PCs can successfully evade the enemy longship four times, Ahmed and his forces will have exhausted their magical resources in tracking them and be unable to continue pursuit. Optionally, the DM may have Ahmed, the assassin, the Jaibul mercenary and the Diviner make their way to Darokin to set up an ambush in one of the cities the PCs visit to redeem themselves for their failure.

Should the enemy longship successfully close to engage, Ahmed’s initial tactics are to have the archers cover the PC’s airboat with volley fire while the Jaibul mercenary and the Diviner cast offensive spells. The Diviner will use bless and protection from good 10’ radius to benefit allies. The Jaibul mercenary will first cast mirror image and shield before starting his offensive spellcasting with fireball. The assassin will be disguised in uniform as one of the archers and will be content to use his bow unless Ahmed is forced to order the retreat. If this happens, the assassin will attempt to sneak aboard the PC’s ship using magic if possible to make a backstab attempt on a lightly armored PC, preferably a magic-user.

If the PCs attempt to board the enemy ship, Ahmed will lead the defense engaging in melee with the most heavily armored PC or, optionally, a PC which he carries a grudge against from the time they spent traveling together with the caravan. The assassin will use his abilities as described above. The Diviner will cast striking on his mace and target PCs from range until an enemy engages in melee with him, at which point he will cast cause serious wounds and then fight with his mace +1.

Arriving at Athenos

[Image: Map of the Atruaghin and Western Darokinian coast]

http://mystara.thorfmaps.com/atruaghin-8/

Once the PCs have dealt with the Sea Reaver, they are able to proceed past the the Bay of Whales and enter Malpheggi Bay where they can dock at the Darokin seaport of Athenos.

At this point, you can proceed to Part 532 of the adventure. The Darokin army will conduct an initial de-briefing in Athenos but arrange a quick transport to either Darokin City or Akorros by fast riverboat, carriage or possibly even teleport. If you wish to begin X10 immediately, the PCs have enough time to rest, train and advance in level before the Darokin military requests their presence in Akesoli to advise the generals on the Hulean front at the border of Sind.

Part 8: Errata

On page 115-116 of Threshold Magazine #22, no height of the airboat is specified for when the PCs drop ropes over the sides for Darokin soldiers. The airboat should be no higher than 30 feet when it drops ropes over the sides to give the soldiers a reasonable chance of climbing up to safety on the airboat. If the airboat is ten feet off the ground when the PCs drop the ropes, shorten the climbing duration by two combat rounds. If the PCs are thirty feet off the ground when the PCs drop the ropes, extend the climbing duration by two combat rounds.

On page 118 of Threshold Magazine #22, optionally add the following sentence at the end of the second paragraph. “Note that if the chamber of the Abbot’s Shrine plunged over the cliff in the original adventure, any bhut’s corpses in that room were lost and are not present among the undead bhuts. Furthermore, the threshold to break the curse drops to seven undead bhuts.



1See X5 Temple of Death, p 25-26

2See Dragon Magazine #172, p 43-47

3http://pandius.com/curseleg.html

4The position of the dragon with respect to the sun, as well as the time of day, can obscure the true color of the dragon as well as present the optical illusion that the dragon appears closer than it truly is.

5See GAZ11 The Republic of Darokin, Dungeon Master’s Guide, p 18

6See http://pandius.com/curseleg.html

7See X5 Temple of Death, p 25

8See Dragon Magazine #172, p 47

9See B10 Night’s Dark Terror, p 41

10See X5 Temple of Death, p 3

11See Dragon Magazine #172, p 47

12See X5 Temple of Death, p 3

13See http://pandius.com/sc_equip.html

14See http://pandius.com/sc_kits.html

15See http://pandius.com/sc_equip.html

16See Dragon Magazine #172, p 44

17See Dragon Magazine #172, p 45

18See X2 Castle Amber, p 25-26

19See http://pandius.com/sc_equip.html

20See http://pandius.com/sc_equip.html

21See http://pandius.com/curseleg.html

22See http://pandius.com/curseleg.htm

23See http://pandius.com/sc_kits.html

24See http://pandius.com/curseleg.html

25See http://pandius.com/curseleg.htm

26See http://pandius.com/sc_kits.html

27See http://pandius.com/curseleg.html

28See page X43

29See X4 Master of the Desert Nomads, p 10

30See X5 Temple of Death, p 3

31See page X64

32See Threshold Magazine #22, p 132