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Rating: 4.1
Condition: Normal
ID: 2515

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April 18, 2006, 12:23 am

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Abandoned Mines

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The Empire is growing and demanding more resources. The PCs are hired by local authorities to draw up a map of the nearby mines abandoned by dwarves about two centuries ago.

Plot Description
Long time ago all these mountains belonged to dwarves, then came humans, elves and other folks from the North. The situation was not very easy at the beginning but finally they managed to settle it. All the lands of the nearby kingdoms were united into an Empire. The kingdoms still exist and have their own rulers but all of them are under the emperor. Dwarves agreed to “share” their mountains with others, so the Western part of the large mountain range was cut off their kingdom and given to the neighbor. There were several dwarf mines there. Some of them were taken into work immediately, others forgotten. But now the kingdom and the whole empire are growing and more resources are needed.

So, a local lord (action takes place in the mountain region) offers PCs a good job. If they manage to get into the mines, explore them and draw a comprehensible map they will get a nice reward from the King. If they also find all the traps (either disarm them or indicate on the map), possible hidden locations and possible unpleasant surprises left by dwarves and also kill possible monsters - they will get a double reward.
To get the reward the PCs will have to wait for a week or two when the first group of miners get down into the mines and check all the drawn locations.

In fact there are a lot of unplesant surprises in the mines. Traps, hidden mining locations (with especially valuable minerals), monsters and natural hazards.

Under the mountain there also lives a tribe of some small and quite harmless creatures like kobolds. Their own tunnels led to one of the lower caves of the dungeon. There they might meet the PCs and try to talk.

If the PCS are clever enough not to start a fight these creatures can show them a save pass to some secret location. They are extremely afraid of going there otherwise they would have blocked the passage long ago as they feel some strange vibration going from there. They believe the place is cursed. The passage to that cavern is now full of poisonous gas and anyone trying to go this way will die for sure. But the kobolds have their own safe ways and secret passages. If the PCs use them they will find an artificial passage and a cave of about a thousand year old. In a large hall there is a strange artifact, a mechanism of unknown function which makes those vibrations.

There PCs also meet spirits of some ancient adventurers who tell their sad story. They came here about 600 years ago looking for treasures of an ancient civilization and found this mechanism. They switched it on out of curiosity and suddenly were attacked by a horde some demonic creatures. They were killed and their souls trapped by this artifact. They hope if it is stopped the curse will end.

The mechanism seems to be incredibly difficult to understand but there is only one lever. The spirits say that they pulled it down and all this happened. Then the lever returned to its middle position. Now it may be put either down or upwards.

The clue to the mystery is drawn on one of the walls of the hall. If PCs make a successful Search check under the dust and cobweb they will find a drawing (looking like Egyptian - everything from a side view): there are two groups of humanlike figures with a symbol of the Moon above them and the mechanism sketchy drawn.
The first: the Moon is in growing phase, the lever is in the lower position. Rays of light are descending upon the figures, their hands are lifted up.
The second: the Moon is in decreasing phase, the lever is in its upper position. No rays, the figures are turned away from the mechanism as if leaving.
If asked, the spirits would remember that they came here shortly after the full moon.

The solution of the mystery is in the Moon phase of course. The mechanism was switched on (lever down) in growing phase and switched off (lever up) in decreasing one. This constant process of switching gave eternal life to the creators. A special group of priests was to look after it. If the lever was pushed the wrong way a horde of demons was summoned to kill them and then the mechanism trapped their souls taking their energy. As the creators of the mechanism are absent for many centuries these souls were not absorbed but only kept. Now everything can be finished by pulling down the lever in the decreasing phase of the moon.

As I gave my PCs a calendar with dates and Moon phases at the beginning of the campaign, it won’t be difficult for them to remember or count up that the decreasing phase will begin in two-three days from now (depending on how long they have already spent underground).

In fact, if they do something wrong no demons will be summoned as the powers of the artifact are extremely low now (no one was attending to it for about a thousand years). But the trapped souls will be taken into the Abys, a terrible plane of torture for ever.

In the end there is a choice for PCs: to report about the artifact to the authorities (so that its powers may be learnt and used again) or ask the kobolds to block all the passages leading there forever. Another choice concerns kobolds: to help them sign a treaty with the local authorities or to announce them dangerous and convince everyone of destroying the tribe.

In any case the full amount of experience points will be given to the PCs only if they present a nice scheme of the whole dungeon to the Master at the end of the module.



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Comments ( 9 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Murometz
April 11, 2006, 8:59
0xp
Monsters- the possibilities are limitless really.

Natural Hazards- Rock slides, tunnel collapses, poisonous gas vents, water-filled passages, radioactive mineral deposits, impenetrable darkness, pressurized wind tunels, bottomless crevices.

Dwarven Legacies-

"The Bleeding Door". An two-foot thick Obsidian gate, carved from the surrounding rock, leading into the ancient dust-filled dwarven crypts. Drops of blood ooze from it, coagulating on the floor beneath it. (what it does is up to you).

"The Beard Golem". A hideous creature woven from countless dwarven beards, and ensorcelled to defend the inner catacombs, shambling among the empty halls. (holy crap! I might have to write this one up into a submission!)

"Dwarven Vampire". The rare and deadly dwarven vampire is not often expected by adventurers. This creature is the last of the dwarves!

"The Curse of Hawmeggora". A curse layed on a specific area. Once entered, the trespassers begin to slowly but irrevocably turn to stone over the course of the next several weeks.


any help?
Scrasamax
April 11, 2006, 14:56
0xp
There is a pleasant difference in this delving, the PCs are exployers, cartographers, rather than going in for the loot. I think that is a nice touch Taronga.

Some natural hazards within the mines...

Poison Gas - aka methane, leaks up from the earth, miners would take canaries with them into the mines because the poison gas would kill the small bird quickly, and give the miners a chance to escape before they were overcome with the fumes. (This is not the case now, there are mechanical gas detectors) The gas is also explosive!

Scaling - similar to a cave in, this is a large piece of ceiling deciding it needs to be floor. Can partially block tunnels, squish people, that sort of thing.

Darkness - there is NO light underground

Small squishy bite-y things - more than likely white and eyeless, poisonous to nail rare prey, certainly enough to make an explorer sick.

There are some more mundane ideas, I am sure some of the others can help with the more fantastic, if they don't I will.
Taronga
April 14, 2006, 3:16
0xp
Thank you, guys. That was really helpful.
Voted MoonHunter
April 14, 2006, 13:07
0xp
You should really add extra returns/ line feeds between paragraphs. It will make the post easier to read. High 3! (1 paw) for you. :)
Taronga
April 18, 2006, 0:21
0xp
Moon Hunter, thank you for the advice and for the mark.
I didn't expect such a high one - a very pleasant surprise!

By the way, I gave this module to my players and they liked it. The most interesting was to watch them drawing caverns and the dungeoin itself! Three of the six were doing it in turn and three times they had to re-draw the main dungeon level. :)
Voted Cheka Man
April 30, 2006, 13:23
0xp
This has both natrual hazards and monsters too-and is very well written.
Voted Iain
May 8, 2006, 2:39
0xp
Nice plot with good side-quests.
Voted Mourngrymn
June 15, 2006, 11:20
0xp
In addition to the possible plot lines behind this... try looking into the Demon Gates sub, as this stated that demonic beings or creatures came out of the activating of the mechanism... Awesome idea.
Voted Oakwood
May 1, 2008, 20:00
0xp
I used this for my RPG group, they really liked it :+)


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