Sunday, 13 May 2012

Dark Weavings - Adventure One

The Slave Lords of Scornubel


It begins in Scornubel and ends in the Dungeon of the Inquisitor in Elturel.

I need twenty encounters - call it 18 - so that makes six batches of three encounters each. So, Level One encounters would be three batches of three encounters; Level Two encounters would be the same. The first three batches are in Scornubel; the final three batches are in Elturel (although that's not entirely true as there is also some travel).


When the Sun is Black (Encounters One to Three)

Uncovering the Zhent nest.

The Forgotten Temple of Bane (Encounters Four to Six)

Down at the Docks (Encounters Seven to Nine)

To Elturel (Encounters Ten to Twelve)

The party can choose to travel by road or by river so the encounters will need to reflect their choice.

The Dungeon of the Inquisitor(Encounters Thirteen to Fifteen)

The Chambers of the Slave Lords (Encounters Sixteen to Eighteen)

The final three encounters are with the titular slave lords.

Who are they?

Markessa, eladrin swordmage
Zhent slaver (see the picture above with the whip)
Gnoll from the Reaching Woods
female drow cleric of Lolth

The final encounter is a with a shadow demon-possessed cleric of Waukeen. This is a 3rd-level solo encounter. When bloodied, the shadow demon is freed from the cleric's body. Alternatively, it's a cleric or paladin of Torm.


Having bearded the Slave Lords in their lair, the PCs find themselves in the Dungeon of the Inquisitor beneath the supposedly holy city of Elturel. They are brought before the High Observer or another senior cleric or paladin of Torm. He will give them their next mission.


The opening scene is a Zhent mage, Dalmanu, attacking a boy-thief, Almon.

A messenger snake soon appears as do the mage's bodyguards.

The Main Idea

The Eye of Justice have taken an aggressive approach to cleaning up the streets, as they see it, in the cities and settlements of Elturgard.

For a long time the rule was that, after being convicted of three crimes, the offender would be gaoled in the Dungeon of the Inquisitor beneath Elturel however, without any official announcement, it seems anyone can be gaoled for almost any offence and a conviction is not required.

With the aid of an heretical cleric of Waukeen (actually a thrall of Graz'zt... and a cleric of Waukeen) from the Merchant's Guild, the Eye of Justice has organised a slaving operation based out of the Dungeon of the Inquisitor.

A council of Slave Lords has been formed to oversee the operation and to represent the interests of the various parties. Actually, there are two councils: a lesser council to oversee operations and a greater council to set prices and policy.

The Slave Lords

This is the lesser council:

fallen paladin of Torm (now blackguard of Lolth or Graz'zt or both)
drow cleric of Lolth
yuan-ti rogue (?)
cleric of Waukeen (actually thrall of Graz'zt)
female eladrin merchant (actually a "body-swapped" drow - per Exemplars of Evil)
Dalmanu, Zhent slaver and mage



Event One: "When the Sun is Black"

Dalmanu the Slave Lord (elite artillery 2), a Zhent mage, is waiting with a bunch of Eye of Justice thugs (minion brute 3) for the arrival of a yuan-ti messenger snake. It is trained to respond to a Zhentarim pass-phrase. It carries a list of the slaves that the yuan-ti want to have.

While Dalmanu et al wait, a boy thief is spying on them. The Zhent and the thugs assume he is a street urchin (which he is) but he is actually a spy for Andar the Torchbearer, an honourable and noble cleric of Amaunator who is trying to find out why so many of the street children etc... are going missing.

Markessa & her Broken Ones

Markessa: elf slave lord from A2 or A3
Broken ones: monsters from the 2E Monstrous Compendium created when polymorph spells go wrong

What if the eladrin-who-is-really-a-drow (cf Exemplars of Evil) is the elf slave lord, Markessa, from the 1E adventures. Rather than cavelings as detailed in the original series she has broken ones, remnants of her experiments with ancient sarrukh magic involving transformations.

"Bonus" Level: The Sarrukh's Tomb

One of the things I really liked about Caverns of Thracia was that there were secret sub-levels that were difficult to find. I want to try and include such a concept in this adventure by incorporating a sarrukh's tomb. 

The sarrukh is either a lich or a mummy, roughly speaking, and its power has deteriorated markedly. However, it will still pose a significant threat to the heroes but I also need to think about its motivations and how it might be bargained with.

Before reaching the sarrukh's actual tomb, there needs to be chambers filled with serpentine guardians. I am thinking iron cobras would be appropriate and, perhaps, an immortal naga of some kind re-levelled as a solo controller or solo artillery.

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