Friday, September 16, 2016

DCC Shiz: The Caverns of Ter

Instead of battling the crazy Dallas/Irving 5 o'clock traffic, decided to sit at my desk and work on some more DCC shiz.
This is a thing I ran my home game through last month. They seemed to like it. I didn't make this for a specific level. The party consisted of mostly 3rd level characters, but they had a few 1st, and 2nd level people. I want to say 8-9 PCs in total. Scale it up or down to fit your needs.

Ter is the patron goddess of the deep ocean. Like many creatures in the deep sea she's scary looking, has a lot of razor sharp teeth, and is most definitely evil.
Her followers, once sailors, pirates, and other nefarious sea dogs, are now insane and faceless monks.
I'll put her write up in a separate post.

Anyway, the party picked up some rumors of the caverns in Punjar from a group of salty pirates who lost a companion in a seaside cave. The pirates hired the party to recover their companion's belongings. Looking to get out of the city after a wild adventure underneath the Bazaar of the Gods (and beautifully destroying the priceless Jewels of the Carnifex) the party agreed to this seemingly simple task. Little did they know this cave held more adventure than initially perceived.

Rumors and Magical Items below. An "Index" of creatures will be listed at the bottom, as well as throughout the post when they are encountered.


Rumors
1. Caverns of Ter once housed a group of monks who worshiped Ter, an ancient patron goddess of the sea. (T)
2. The Monks collected many lost treasures of the sea and offered them to Ter (T)
3. Ter is able to control the sea itself.  She granted a sliver of this power to her followers. (T)
4. Ter's Monks surfed the backs of large mutated dolphins. They're known to terrorize fisherman, and raid cargo vessels. (F)
5. It's said that greedy fishermen that take to much from the sea feel the wrath of Ter. (T)
6. Ter's followers could breath underwater. (T)
7. Ter still waits for someone worthy enough to retrieve her "Tears" (T)
8. Ter is actually a young water dragon, and not a true goddess (F)
9. Ter's followers were born of the ocean. (F)
10. Ter's followers defended her treasures with weapons made of coral. (T)

Add more if you need a better hook for you party!


Magical items found within the cavern
Area 3 - The Blood Conch
Area 6 - The Saving Stones
6 loose stone discs with holes in the middle (quarter sized)
Simply stringing them together on a cord is enough to activate the magic. The quality of the thread impacts the power.
 - Simple threads (hemp, cotton, leather, etc).
Worn as a necklace grants the wearer +1 to all saving throws.
- Fine material (Silk, etc)
Worn as a necklace grants the wearer +2 to all saves. In addition 1/day the character may re-roll any save and take the better roll.
Despite the material used to string them. They can be smashed (thrown on the ground, hit with a weapon, etc) to add +10 to any save. Once smashed, they are useless.
Area 7 - Torchfish Torch, Torchfish Scale
Torch: The torch, when chopped off remains glowing for 6 turns. During this time, if the PCs spend time examining the torch, they will find it's slowly leaking blood. Anyone can fill the torch by cutting themselves (for 1 point of stamina damage) and "feeding" the torch their own blood. It glows as brightly as a normal torch.
Scale: Any scales collected from the torch fish can be crafted into a magical shield by either an Elven smith, or someone knowledgeable of such magics. It's incredibly resilient, can can be used to resist magical attacks (magic missiles, dragons breath, etc) It absorbs 1 magic missile per level of the wielder. It turns away 1d6 points of breath (or similar damage) per level of the wielder.
Area 9 - King Yu's Crystal Crown
3/day fires a beam. 2 configurations
1) a single ray against 1 target for 1d12+4 dmg. Ref DC 16 for half. 2) a cone up to 3 adjacent targets for 1d8+3. Ref DC 15 for half.
Area 10 - Ter's Tears
Can be used to patron bond with Ter.

Don't judge my map! I'm no Jeff E, or Doug K


Keep in mind, unless noted there is no natural lighting in the caverns (except for area 1 where the sun peeks through)

Area # 1 -- Cave Entrance
"Almost as if you could only see it from the corner of your vision, you spot the mouth of a cave."
"The mouth of this cave is a short slope upwards about 10'. A simple, but slippery climb. A hand full of puddles indicate this cave fills slightly when the tide is high. Near the edge of the sun's illumination you see someone slouched against the wall."


There aren't many notable features in the cave. A few starfish lay in the shallow pools in this cave. Leaning against the northern wall a skeleton is resting. It holds a rusty and pitted saber.
These are the remains of the pirates companion, Jimothy. His skeleton contains nothing else.

At first glance this cave is simple. One way in, one way out. Further inspection reveals the pool in the back of the cave is actually an underwater tunnel.


Area # 2 -- The Hidden Room. 
The tunnel to this chamber is 45' long, and close to 6' wide. It's completely natural, and fully submerged.

The room is completely dark after a light source is produced you can read off the "boxed text"
"You notice a passage to the south that slopes upwards. A set of stairs descends to the east. 
The most captivating portion of this chamber is the massive bass relief carved into the walls of this room."

The bass relief depicts a coastal village being set upon by scaled men. Scenes show villagers being brutally murdered, and drowned by these men. A later scene on the wall shows a great wave being summoned by a single figure. The wave washes away the village. The survivors are set up by giant fish.

There are no other notable features in this room.

Area # 3 -- Coral Shrine Room 
"A 10' slope leads up to this small chamber. Inside sit three robed figures, all facing a glowing shrine. They don't appear to notice your approach."

3 of Ter's followers are meditating this room. If the PCs are making a commotion in area #2, the monks will investigate.
The last monk standing will break away from combat in area 2 to rush towards the Blood Conch. If blown, not only will it effect the PCs, but it will alert the entire cavern of intruders.
If PCs are scared by the conch have them each roll 1d3.
1) PC flees back towards the tunnel to area 1
2) PC cowers in the north part of chamber 2
3) PC flees down the eastern stairs in chamber 2.

Monks (3)
Init: +1
AC: 14, HD 3d8 (20 HP)
Atks: Coral Mace 2d20+1, 1d6+bleeding damage
Each monk gets 2 attacks per round. If damaged by one of the coral maces, PCs bleed. Unless attended to, they loose an extra 1 HP/round (this affect compounds each round. i.e. 1 point for 1st round, 2 points for 2nd round, etc.). Bleeding damage can be removed magically, or with 1 round of compression per "Bleed point".

Coral Mace


Investigating the Shrine: The shrine is carved of coral. A thief searching for traps can find a well hidden cabinet near the base of the shrine (DC15). Concealed within are bags of treasures long lost to the sea. varying gems, jewelries, fine dinner ware, etc. Total 500 GP in value.
Atop the shrine rests The Blood Conch (link to description above).



Area #4 - Home of The Glowing Stars

"A set of stairs descend into darkness" 
The stairs leading to this chamber are covered in a thick algae. Descending safely requires an agility check (or climb for thieves DC13). Those who fail slide down 100' into chamber 4. Regardless of success there are 2 jellies hiding on the ceiling about halfway down. The ambush the party by targeting a single PC.

Jellies (2)
Init: n/a
AC: 9, HD: 2d8 (HP 15)
Atk: Drown +4 & Acid

If both manage to land an attack against the same target, the defending character starts drowning.
In addition the jellies burn their victims with acidic goo that deals 1d8 damage/round until washed off. PCs can help the "drowning" character by either pulling off the jellies (Str check), or by attacking them. If the attacks miss, re-roll VS the drowning character's AC. The Jellies stick to whatever touches them. If one of the party attempts to pull the jelly off it sticks to them and burns them with its acid.


Entering the chamber at the bottom of the stairs.
"The floor of this chamber is flooded with clear, waist deep water. Beneath the surface you see a colony of large glowing starfish. Their illumination reminds you of moonlight above the open sea. 
The algae from the stairs has spread into this room, covering the walls." 

There are a total of 10 starmen spread throughout this room. They are evil, and always hungry.
Disturbing the water excites them. They begin slowly moving towards the disturbance. Once within range they flip over and launch their twisted, fanged human faces at their would be prey. If the attack lands, they latch onto their prey, and begin to eat the flesh.
This is where their true danger is realized. Starmen are incredibly heavy. For each starman latched to a PC, their speed is reduced by 5'. Their strength is also reduced by 2 for each starman attached. If enough are attached to reduce the speed or strength to 0, the PC makes a Str check. If passed, the PC is immobile but remains standing. If failed, the PC falls over, into waist deep water and begins the drowning process.

Starmen (10)
Init: -1
AC: 14, HD: 3d8 (HP: 20)
Atk: Bite +0, 1d6+latch. 10' range.


The starmen's flesh can be used for a light source. It will remain glowing for 1 hour after death, and illuminates as a candle.

Behind a curtain of algae on the eastern wall lies a hidden passage leading to area 5.
This passage is crudely masoned.



Area #5 - Steam Room

"This room is incredibly humid, and filled with steam. You see a large rounded rock atop a raised firepit near the entrance, beside it a bucket floating in the water."

When the monks aren't mediating, or patrolling the upper caverns they spend time here, in a steam bath (Who doesn't enjoy a good steam bath?).

The steam is so thick it limits vision, if there is a light source, to only 10'. Like the room before it, this one is filled with waist deep water. There are two doors in this room. The eastern door is simple wood, and leads to area #6. The southern door is a thick slab of coral carved with the image of a massive fish with huge teeth which leads to area #7.
There are no other notable features within this room.
The southern door is trapped (DC20 to find and disarm). If triggered the fish carved into the door lashes out with it's sharpened teeth dealing 2d10 damage to each character attempting to open the door. Additionally each character struck gains a point of bleed damage.

Area #6 - Sleeping Quarters
"This room is also filled with steam. It appears to be some sort of sleeping quarters. There are rows of beds, and chests near the end of your vision."

There are 6 floating bunks in this room. There is 45% chance the party will enter when the shift change is happening. If so, 3 monks attack in the 1st round, while the other 3 attack in the following. If not, all monks lay sleeping.
Their bunks float atop hollow, gas filled coral "balls". If punctured, the coral released its hallucinogenic gas that fills a 5'x5' area. Character's within this gas must make a DC15 fortitude save. If passed they temporarily loose 1 point of stamina. If failed roll 1d4 on the below table. The effects of this gas last for 1d3 turns

1) The PCs surrounds turns into a field of flowers. They frolic through the field in a random direction.  This could lead to them frolicking their way into a "sticky" situation.
2) Everything the character sees terrifies them. This caused them to run in fear. There is a cumulative 10% chance for each creature the character sees that they will "loose it" and start attacking.
3) The gas has heightened the character's senses. They gain +3 to all rolls while the effect lasts.
4) Bad Trip! The character sees into the realm of the dead. Ghosts and spirits distract the character, causing a -3 on all rolls.


Inspecting the floating chest
The chest is unlocked, and un-trapped. You should still scare characters who don't practice caution with a reflex save anyway.
Inside are the loose saving stones (detailed above) and some symbiotic face rays. The number of rays is really up to you. The goal is to leave some PCs behind when moving into the next chamber. I had 6 in my game. I think that left behind 3 characters and a hireling behind. The pirates will eventually make their way in, and kidnap the characters who were left behind.

Symbiotic Face-Ray
These creatures resemble small (6-7" wide) sting rays, but without tails. They have eyes and mouths like that of a ray, but their gills are on the outside of their wings. They're affectionate, and swim around playfully.
If any non water breathing creature dives beneath the surface of the water in their presence the rays will attempt to attach themselves to the persons face. They mount the face, covering the nose and mouths (they can grow or shrink to fit the wearers face exactly). If put on, the wearer makes a Fort save (DC13). If failed, loose 1 stamina as this creature inserts a long tube into your lungs. If passed, the same thing, but no stamina loss. The "mask" allows the wearer to breath underwater. As long as they are fed regularly, and kept in a decent body of salt water they can live up to a few years. Once the wearer surfaces for more than a few seconds the rays detach, and return to the water. They can be trained over time to perform simple tasks (swim to specific areas, stay put, etc).

Area #7 - Deep Chamber/Home of The Torchfish

"When the massive coral is pushed aside a dark, submerged tunnel is revealed."
"This chamber is fully submerged, and completely dark, save for a bright "torch" on the far side that's somehow light underwater. 

The tunnel to area 7 is dark, deep, and cold. The tunnel itself descends for about a quarter of a mile.
The PCs would surely not survive the swim without aid of the rays from area #6.

This chamber is home to the Torchfish. An ancient creature of legend that has slept in this chamber for decades. When the waters around the Torchfish are disturbed, it awakens, hungry and angry.

Torchfish
Init: -3
AC: 15 HD: Hella, (HP: ∞)
Atk: Bite +3, 2d10+grapple

When attacking, the Torchfish "grapples" its meal with its many jagged teeth. (PCs struck make a strength check to break free).
Its one true weakness is the "Torch" atop its head. Attempts made to chop it off are against AC: 15. Once it takes 30 points of damage it becomes severed. When the torch is severed, the Torchfish flees, smashing the cavern floor, and fleeing out into the open ocean. Anyone grappled when it flee's is lost to the abyss. If you're feeling nice, you can allow a reflex save or something to save them.

Additionally, attacks against its body have a 10% change of knocking a scale off. These scales are shield sized (and indeed can be turned into magical shields).  Any scales collected from the torch fish can be crafted into a magical shield by either an Elven smith, or someone knowledgeable of such magics. It's incredibly resilient, can can be used to resist magical attacks (magic missiles, dragons breath, etc) It absorbs 1 magic missile per level of the wielder. It turns away 1d6 points of breath (or similar damage) per level of the wielder.

Torchfish
Area #8 - Ray Breeding Nest
"The path to this chamber slopes up to reveal a flooded room. 30' in front of you there is a massive ray chained to the ground. Near the backside of this chamber there are large coral spikes. A group of men are attaching sacks to these spikes. The entire chamber is filled with 3' of water." 

Perhaps one of Ter's greatest offenses was the capture, and enslavement of Mother Ray, friend and ally to Pelagia. The Monks have her chained to coral spikes. They steal her egg sacks, and birth the rays that are found in area #6. There are 10 total in the chamber. 4 move forward to attack, while 6 hang back and begin chanting. If one of the monks in melee falls, a chanter breaks off and enters the fray. If only 3 monks remain they all stop chanting and move to melee.

The chanting monks are casting a spell (totally stole this idea from The People of the Pit)
Wave Spell
1-11, no effect
12-13: Small waves roll towards the target. Target must make a Ref save (DC10+1/monk chanting) or be knocked prone.
14-17: as above, but targets 3, and DC starts at 12
18-19: a large (20') wave crashes down on up to 4 targets. Each takes 1d10 damage from the blow, and are washed back 1d10/number of chanters feet. Ref save (DC10+1/chanter), for half.
20-23: as above, but targets take additional 1d6 damage for anything in their path (walls, other PCs, etc). Ref save (DC13+1/chanter), for half.
24-27: A low, but powerful wave rushes forth striking everything in it's path. Anyone stuck is knocked prone, and takes 2d6 damage from the fall. Ref save (DC15+1/chanter), for half.
28+: Tsunami strength waves bash everything in front of the caster(s). All caught in the torrent take 3d10 damage, and are washed away 10d10 feet. Any contact with a solid object inflicts an additional 3d6 damage.

One of the monks is wearing a thick golden chain with a large sapphire pendant - Worth 300 GP
Mother Ray is also wearing a thick golden chain similar to the one the Monk is wearing.
This chain is magical, and was crafted specifically to subdue Mother Ray, and is how the monks were able to subdue her. Her chain will fetch 700 GP.

If Mother Ray is freed she will allow the characters to raise her children. She will then teleport from the caverns. This also captures the attention of Pelagia. Any cleric who worships her that participates in the rescue gains a boon (luck point, and any disapproval is removed). It's up to the DM at this point to determine how powerful the boon will be. Perhaps she'll grant a calm ocean for their travels for a period of time.

The coral spikes have Mother Ray's egg sacks attached (1d6 total sacks). There is a 50% chance that they will hatch after the combat is over. Otherwise, they were damaged and will not hatch.

There are no other notable features in this room.

Area #9 - King Yu's Shrine/The Coral Room
"This chamber resembles a large chapel. It's high vaulted ceilings are surprisingly well masoned, with a lattice of intricate swirls, and carvings that rival the greatest of Dwarven halls. There are rows of coral benches in front of a large star that appears to be carved from coral as well. Sitting in these pews are men carved of coral. They appear to be worshiping the star."

There are 6 "men" sitting in the pews. Behind the star is a thin, dark passage that leads to area #10.

Investigating the Coralmen/Pews
The coralmen appear to be slightly hollow. The coral can be smashed by attacking an AC of 13 and doing at least 8 points of damage in a single blow. This blow severs one of the Coralmen's arms spilling his "blood" (hundreds of tiny rubies) all over the place. It takes a few minutes to gather the gems, but they are worth 200 GP in total. Further attempts to smash coral are unsuccessful.

There are other notable features in this room.

Area #10 - Blood Trail to Gifts of the Sea
"The floor of this passage is slick with blood, somewhat fresh. You see a faint glow from the chamber that it leads into."
"This walls of this chamber are lined with burning candles. The room is surprisingly dry, save for the bloodied floor. 5 short pillars stand against the southern wall of this room. Atop the center most pillar rests a red silk pillow with a gold lining which holds 3 of the largest, and most beautiful sapphires you have ever laid eyes on. On either side the remaining 2 pillar have intricately carved Urns."

The urns themselves are valuable, and made from the shells of an untold creature of the sea. They are carved with runes of a lost language. Inside the urns are the long lost treasures of the sea.
Each urn is worth 500 GP, and contains 500 GP worth of treasures (various gems, coins, jewelry, etc).

The sapphires are indeed the Tears of Ter, and worth 10K GP each (getting out alive with them is the issue). Staring into them you almost get lost in their beauty. Each of them etched with a single rune.

Returning to Area #9
"To your horror the star, pews, and coralmen have shifted positions, and are now blocking the exit to the far side of this room". 

Once the PCs enter this room the coralmen break from their pews and move towards the party. King Yu breaks from his shell in 2 rounds.

Coralmen (6) 
Init: +0
AC: 13, HD: 3d8 (HP: 16)
Atk: Slam 1d8+1+Bleed

King Yu
Init: +0
AC: 16, HD: 8d8 (HP: 50)
Atk: Beam, or Slam+1 1d10
Beam: 2 configurations. 1) a single ray against 1 target for 1d12+4 dmg. Ref DC 16 for half. 2) a cone up to 3 adjacent targets for 1d8+3. Ref DC 15 for half.

Ending the Adventure
Depending on how the party got to the Caverns of Ter could offer some challenge when leaving. When I played this with my home game, the pirates that brought them to the caverns sneaked in after them and kidnapped the folks left behind in area #5. The party then had to rescue them, and ended up killing most of the pirates, which was an issue since none of them know how to sail a boat.
This turned into another adventure in which they encountered more pirates, and some other crazy nautical stuff.
If you want to go with a less violent route they could pay the pirates with a share of the treasure.

Keep in mind, fencing large amounts of treasure will surely gain the attention of brigands, thieves, guilds, ect. This could be troublesome for the party. In my play test the thief made 10 contacts to have a network to disperse the wealth and turn it into coinage in Punjar. This cost them 45% of the total value. The thief kept and additional 5% for himself as a "fee".
Ter's Tears should be almost impossible to fence, and would immediately gain unwanted attention.


Creature Index

Monks
Init: +1
AC: 14, HD 3d8 (20 HP)
Atks: Coral Mace 2d20+1, 1d6+bleeding damage
Each monk gets 2 attacks per round. If damaged by one of the coral maces, PCs bleed. Unless attended to, they loose an extra 1 HP/round (this affect compounds each round. i.e. 1 point for 1st round, 2 points for 2nd round, etc.). Bleeding damage can be removed magically, or with 1 round of compression per "Bleed point".

Description: Once humans, twisted by the teachings of Ter. Their featureless faces hide beneath thick hoods. They wield maces carved from coral.

Tactics: They attempt to weaken foes with their double attacks, and coral maces. The bleeding damage can quickly stack, and overwhelm characters.


Jellies
Init: n/a
AC: 9, HD: 2d8 (HP 15)
Atk: Drown +4 & Acid

Description: Usually encountered in pairs. These clear jellies ambush prey and slowly digest them with their powerful acidic enzymes.

Tactics: They usually target the same creatures, and attempt to suffocate them before dissolving them.


Starmen 
Init: -1
AC: 14, HD: 3d8 (HP: 20)
Atk: Bite +0, 1d6+latch. 10' range.

Description: Their outer skin produces a soft candle like glow, and their muscly bodies are incredibly heavy. Weighing close to 200 lbs. each. Each star has a "birthing canal" on their undersides where their "arms" meet in which their twisted human like faces emerge. They're able to launch their faces attached to stretchy necks up to 10'.

Tactics: If poked, prodded, or other wise threatened the Starmen will flip over. This is initially viewed as an act of submission, but in reality it's to reveal their true nature. Once within range they flip over and launch their twisted, fanged human faces at their would be prey. If the attack lands, they latch onto their prey, and begin to eat the flesh.


Torchfish
Init: -3
AC: 15 HD: Hella, (HP: ∞)
Atk: Bite +3, 2d10+grapple

Description: A very large (larger than most ships) fish with a mouth full of razor sharp, sword sized teeth. It has a glowing torch like appendage growing from it's forehead.

Tactics: The Torchfish's only goal is to try and satisfy its everlasting hunger. It's only tactic is to eat whatever swims in front of its face. It will flee if the "torch" is chopped from its head.

Coralmen
Init: +0
AC: 13, HD: 3d8 (HP: 16)
Atk: Slam 1d8+1+Bleed

Description: These "men" are made completely from coral, and stand 7.5' tall. their arms end in heavy stumps which they slam their foes with.

Tactics: Relatively mindless, they will move around to attack, but don't exercise any real caution when fighting.

King Yu
Init: +0
AC: 16, HD: 8d8 (HP: 50)
Atk: Beam, or Slam+1 1d10
Beam: 2 configurations. 1) a single ray against 1 target for 1d12+4 dmg. Ref DC 16 for half. 2) a cone up to 3 adjacent targets for 1d8+3. Ref DC 15 for half.

Description: King of the Starmen. Looks similar to a regular Starman, but much larger. Standing 9' tall at the top of his "arm". He wears a crystal crown on his twisted, little head.

Tactics: He blasts foes with the beams from his crown. He can use the crown an unlimited number of times (unlike PCs if they use it, who are limited to 3/day).

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