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Stone Mountain (AC1020)

by Sean Meaney

Stone Mountain AC1020



Thirty two miles west of Sablestone Keep, the village of Estin sits in the shadow of the Kurish Massif beneath a mountain carved with the face of a skull. The community has experienced clashes with the Kobolds who have taken up residence in the Caves on the Mountain. A few villagers have gone missing and the Villagers have asked for someone to look into negotiating with the Kobolds for their return. The Locals have no problem trading with Kobolds and frankly see a mutually beneficial opportunity for growth from a diplomatic relationship as the Kobolds hunt wild Game and scrounge the Mountains for semiprecious rocks like Obsidian.


Originally a Dwarven Goldmine, a thousand years ago they broke through into something and all manner of fiend poured from the Pit to ravage the surrounding lands in a torrent of Entropy. Civilized peoples eventually sent a Powerful Wizard who pushed back the tide and entering the caves of this pit of Entropy found the source. A Goddess had been shackled to an altar and violated with dark magic that opened a Gate of Entropy in her womb.
Now she birthed Shadows straight from the deepest madness of Entropy. The Arch-magi Yan Madol retreated for a time to find a solution while his apprentices perished one after the next to hold the line. Eventually he created great Seals to contain the problem.

It is only recently that Kobolds have taken up residence in the Skull Caves and relations have degenerated to the point where the Kobolds have kidnapped some villagers.


The Agricultural Dome of the FSS Beagle in the lowest chamber has been home to the near immortal Green Lady for longer than anyone can imagine. The Green Lady in the dome is Lt. Anita Hoffman, Scientist and one of the original crew. When the Ship went down the Agriculture Dome was cut loose and somehow survived.
The Green Lady has achieved some level of immortality by exploiting her Biochemistry knowledge.

At a certain point Dawrves broke into the chamber and while they were unable to encounter the Green Lady, they sought to exploit the ‘Dark Water’ that surrounded it like a sea.
Fortunately Yan Madol was a Charlatan who encountered what the Dwarves had discovered too late to save most. The Fuel is by its very nature exotic - The Oil of Etherealness is some sort of discharge from the agricultural dome. The Dwarves were simply saturated with it turning them into living ghosts. The Locals freaked out at the unleashed evil and all hell broke loose. They called in the Wizard Yan Madol who sold them on a scam. After a really powerful wizard arrived to investigate he came into contact with the Oil and simply went boom the first time he used Magic. Young and Adventurous Wizards (certainly not those of Yan Madol) travelled to the Mountain to make their fortune. Yan who had recognized the threat posed by this Oil being exposed to Magic Sought to Create some story where he had compelled the last of the Dwarves to Craft great seals to contain an evil beyond measure and it worked. For a thousand years people have believed in the story of the Seals holding back the darkness that imprisons a Goddess for all time.
Yan Madol the Charlatan probably saved a lot of people.

The Kobolds are fleeing the presence of Larger Humanoids in the Great Crater. They have been seeking a more civilized way of life.

Unfortunately the problem is not the Kobolds. They didn’t kidnap any of the villagers. That was the Work of a Hag who has taken up residence at the Bottom of the Pit – a deep natural shaft that drops down into the earth a half mile. Having heard of the legend of Yan Madol she sought out the Stone Mountain. Eventually she found the way past the Wards and Seals was to ride a Nightmare into the pit. An act that allowed her access to the sacrificial chamber and it’s Altar.
The Hag is planning a ceremony that will breach the ‘wards’ and unleash that which has been held back for so long.


Rules of Columns

Rules of Subsidence
Using Disintegrate to get around will trigger instant collapse of the rock strata. It’s all very unstable around here and a major tremor will have 25% chance of destroying a support Column and triggering the collapse of the entire Mountain.


The Entrance
The great dark skull that is stone mountain stares back at you during your approach. The entrance to the caverns beneath Stone Mountain is a dark cave through the mouth. The eyes of the colossal skull seem to shift disturbingly as you approach the cave entrance.

Anyone attacking the eyes with a missile weapon will force the scout to retreat from his observation post. If they cast sleep, the Kobolds will not be alerted to their penetration of the Caves.

Examining the Pit
The View from up here is incredible. You can see numerous communities in the far distance, what looks like far off Keeps sitting on hilltops near the horizon, and Ruins protruding from the distant forest. It is all pretty awesome. Closer to hand a large sinkhole descends into the Mountain as a rough shaft. There are sounds of some sort of bird nesting far bellow in the darkness .It doesn’t look like a particularly safe entrance.

This Pit is a sinkhole on the Mountain up behind the Skull. It is pretty much inaccessible to anyone other than a flyer or Mountain climber. The Shaft is nesting grounds to thousands of Stirge and they are utterly hostile and easily disturbed. Half a mile down at the Bottom of the Chimney is a Cavern.


Behind those Eyes
Beyond the twenty casks of Flammable Oil, you see two huge holes through which can be seen the open sky. Each Eye has its own Scout watching for intruders. Camped here behind the eyes are a group of seven Kobolds armed with unusually nice weapons (Short swords and Blood Red Studded Leather Armour fitted for each individual).

If the Scouts see intruders they prepare to dump Oil from the Casks down a Hole into the Hall of wooden Columns. They will be alert to anyone coming up the stairs unless the Scouts were put to sleep at their posts. The Kobold leader is a wizard.

The Brains behind This
Like the Hall directly below it, the ceiling of this great hall is supported by heavy wooden Columns holding up timber beams on which the roof of the cave rests. This one is however somewhat different. The Columns are all carved into Men. At the end of the Hall, a shifting dark figure sits on a throne.

The Wizard sitting on the Throne is an illusion. The Kobold Wizard decided to add something that would draw the attention of Adventurers while he could escape.
The carved wooden throne is worth 500gp (weight: 500lb).
Dimensions: 50’ hexagon x 20’ high


Down The Mouth
The cave entrance is lined with a stone ridge that are obviously meant to be teeth both below and above forcing you to slip through the space by bowing your head as you straddle the lower teeth. The Cave is rough and dark and there is a Cut Stone tunnel in the back wall leading you in further.

{Three Crab Spiders drop from webs behind the upper teeth on those few stepping through the narrow space between the teeth}.

The Hall of Wooden Columns
Beyond the Mouth of the Mountain which is little more than a large cave, a Cut tunnel leads you into a great hexagonal hall with rows of Wooden Columns supporting Timber Beams running the length of it. The Stone of the Ceiling seems to be supported by the Timber. A terrible creaking noise comes from the Timber and Ceiling and Dust continuously falls from the ceiling. There is a pile of rubbish out of view which has for a long time been the nest of rats.

As the PCs enter the Hall, Oil is poured on them from a Hole directly above the rubbish heap and set on fire (this happens only if they fail to take out the sentry standing in the Eye above the entrance). The Ceiling is at 100% chance of collapse and will do so if the Timber Columns are damaged in excess of 10% of their 100hp - the oil fire will do that- or a Knock spell. The Noise of the Creaking timber and stone masks the presence of dire rats that sort for scraps in the rubbish pile beneath the hole the Kobolds use to dump trash from the upper chamber.
Stairs are cut in the stone walls from the hall allowing access up to the next level as well as down to a lower one.
Dimensions: Hexagon 100’ across x 20’ high


The Mine-workings
Descending a distance of one hundred and thirty feet by stairs, you enter a vast hexagonal chamber whose ceiling is propped up by great stone columns some thirty feet in diameter and set seventy eight feet apart – centre column to centre column.
The Stone floor is wet and there are large pools of water, but unlike the upper chambers that creak with the suffering of their timber columns this great chamber is silent.
At the Centre of the Chamber surrounded by columns is a huge gold seal is embedded in the stone floor.

Despite the fact that the columns of this chamber were carved with the same Wards that scar the timber columns in the upper vaults, this chamber is in fact the Dwarven gold mine that was established by the forgotten Hayek-Ur Clan over a thousand years ago. The dwarves extracted a huge amount of gold and an assortment of other Minerals. A huge amount of the gold was mined specifically to craft a huge Gold Seal that would forever contain what they had accidentally released on the world. The hundred thousand gold piece Seal itself can be easily removed by Pry bars or reduced to molten gold slag by a fireball spell but every treasure has its price. Beneath the first Seal is the Crypt where the thousand Apprentices of Yan Madol died to hold back the tide.
Dimensions: 150’hexagon x 20 feet high ceiling


The Crypt of a Thousand Martyrs
Beneath the First Seal a long sloping shaft ten feet in diameter leads you down into a great crypt with a thousand bodies lying in niches in the Walls. These are the remains of the Thousand Apprentices of Yan Madol who gave their lives to hold back the tide of entropy. With each are their spell books.

For those prepared to risk the wrath of disturbing the long dead, The Spell books offer a considerable selection of Magic. Amongst these thousand Apprentice Wizards are every 0-level, 1st level, 2nd level, and 3rd level wizard spell in the PHB and a few magic items appropriate to Wizards between 1st and 5th level. Books with paper pages having not been invented during their time - these are sealed boxes of scrolls of beaten Gold foil in brass tubes with brass stoppers at each end. Amongst the thousand Martyrs are 4 Large Ogre Skeletons which attack from the furthest corners of the chamber.
The Columns propping the Ceiling here are an extension of the Stone Columns in the above Mine-workings.
Dimensions: 200’ hexagon x 20’ high ceiling


An Inconvenient Treasure
This is little more than a long cave perhaps twenty feet wide and fifty feet long. Perhaps what gets your attention is the large vein of gold in the rock face.

There is 30,000cn of Gold Ore in this gold vein (12,000gp processed). Unfortunately the cave is at 19% chance of Subsidence and mining the Gold will bring this up to a whopping 24% (requiring a cave-in check). Mining will draw the attention of any remaining Undead from the Crypt as well as a few of the Guardians from the second seal.

The Second Seal Room
This room is illuminated by three glowing globes of light that float above the Seal. It is almost identical to the one that kept you out of the crypt of a thousand corpses.
Three beautiful voices speaking in overlapping song begin to inform you that this seal was laid in place by the Arch Mage Yan Madol while his thousand Apprentice wizards held back the tide of Entropy pouring from the Pit at the cost of their lives. Apparently on Completing this seal he ventured beyond it and locked it from the inside.

The Three glowing globes are Lantern Archon and will attack if the PCs attack the Seal. Because of the threat posed by the Oil of Etherealness found in the lowest Cavern, they are very much in on the scam to keep folks at bay. Anything with an evil alignment is unable to approach within ten feet of this Seal. It can be opened by the three Lantern Archon – they were deceptive when they said it was locked from the inside. Normally they will not let the PCs pass but if the PCs explain that a Hag riding a nightmare has access to the pit and this is the only way in they will let them pass and lock it again when they are through – warning the Wizards not to unleash magic in the presence of the Darkness.


A Stable for a Dark Ride
As you venture down the Stairs from the Second Seal you find that this substantial cave has but one occupant: A Nightmare of huge proportions thunders toward you from the far side, a hungry look in its burning eyes.

This Huge Nightmare is Ilmayan, Steed to Enyasha the Terrible (the Annis currently preparing the Altar of Bone in the adjacent sacrificial chamber at the bottom of the Pit). The Nightmare was grazing on a few dead Halflings hanging from meat hooks at the far side of the cave but noticed the arrival of fresh food immediately attacks. The Dead Halflings were abducted by a Hag on a demon Steed a few days ago across the mountains in the Republic of Darokin.


The Sacrificial Chamber
This large cave is directly beneath the Pit. There in the centre, illuminated by the light of several tallow fires around the edge of the cave is a little old woman sitting on a Limestone block. She appears oblivious to your entry as she continues polishing a skull on a Staff made from a Human Spine. She has certainly been busy. Around her numerous hundreds of Skulls all appear to have been polished and prepared with carvings of frighteningly intricate designs.

Enyasha the Terrible (the Annis who rides the huge Nightmare – stabled elsewhere) is currently putting the finishing touches to her Altar of Sacrifice. She is quite aware of the PCs entry into the Cave and intends sacrificing all of them on the Bone Altar. She has a selection of Bone darts enchanted as single use magic missiles capable of auto-hit. She will use her darts of bone against any wizards or clerics mumbling a spell.
Currently she is about to sacrifice the Villager (Janine Barleyforth who would appreciate being rescued) the Hag kidnapped and summon up the Shadow-water that she has heard all about unleashing its legions of shadows on the land. The Other skulls are simply victims she used to make a few potions or snack on as a meal.
The Hag has a few potions (poison, healing, that sort of thing).


The Lake of Shadows
As you lower yourselves from the hole in the ceiling of this vast cavern toward the shore below you, the vast Cavern a half mile across and a quarter mile deep stretching out beneath, you can see there is a Domed Citadel on a distant island at the centre of a lake of dark water.

This vast cavern is near half a mile long and a quarter of a mile in depth. The lake water is in fact a “fluid” made entirely of something like Oil of Etherealness – a discharge given off by the Plants inside the dome. They are not simply food – the Oil was used by the engines as a coolant that discharged waste heat into the Ethereal.
Inside the Dome, if they can ever gain access, is the Green Lady. She has been living off a blend of vegetables and Discharge Oil that has caused her to pretty much extend her life span for millennia.
Unfortunately Lt. Anita Hoffman can never be removed from the Dome and her food supply without getting old and dying.
The Inside of the dome is a five thousand feet diameter Rain forest Ecosystem of very exotic plants. The Moon where this rainforest grew was displaced in reality (It was ethereal as a consequence of Ecosystem discharge).


Option A: Someone destroys a support Column
The Columns supporting the Mountain begin to shatter under the shifting of the load that they have for so long supported. The Destruction unleashed rumbles through the entire complex. As you flee for your lives, you can only wonder at the consequences.

There is a Million Stirges nesting in the Pit. The tremor wakes them and as the mountain collapses in on itself, they flee the destruction in great swarms – some descending on the nearby community to feed.
If the Local Villagers Survive, they are most certainly going to blame the Party. In the years to come the local village well is poisoned by the Dark Water found in the lowest cavern causing the Villagers to become living Ghosts – The Rock Strata has been permanently damaged. The Dark Water is also explosive when exposed to Magic.

Option B: The Hag is successful
The Dark Magic is unleashed as the Hag completes the Sacrifice of the villager. A torrent of Dark Water flows up out of the unknown depths and sprays into the chamber diverting at odd angles into the magic fire that has ignited on the Bone Altar. The Explosion is instantaneous and furious. There is Light. It is the Last thing you see.

The Strange fuel that surrounded the Agricultural Dome in the lowest of the Caverns has encountered Raw Magic – the Very accident that caused the Beagle to crash on this world has been duplicated on a smaller scale and the Mountain collapses in on itself. Unfortunately the PCs perish in the explosion (The Dome will survive).

Option C: Big Damn Heroes
The Dark Magic is unleashed as the Hag completes the Sacrifice of the villager. A torrent of Dark Water flows up out of the unknown depths and sprays into the chamber diverting at odd angles into the magic fire that has ignited on the Bone Altar. The Explosion is instantaneous and furious. There is Light. It is the Last thing you see.

If they can avoid damaging a support Pillar, can butcher the Hag working to summon the darkness from below, and avoid using magic anywhere near the oil, they might be able to live long enough to exploit what little wealth there is to be found.
Seeds from the Alien Ecosystem might be worth a few thousand gold pieces to a wizard – It is up to the DM to decide whether Oil discharge produced by this ecosystem is as explosive when in contact with magic when produced by plants grown in the Mystaran Environment or whether it is possible to relocate the green lady to that new ecosystem.