Side Trek: The Deeper Darkness

Overview

The passage beyond the Great Chamber is choked with cob webs and the bony remains of uncountable, unknown creatures. The bones crunch underfoot as your party travels through the narrow passage for mile after mile; no other passages and no other chamber are revealed. Your group is considering returning to the caves of the Shattered Skull when the first hint of the sounds of the living can be heard ahead of them.

Following the sound to its source reveals an even narrower side passage branching to the left. The passage begins immediately to sharply descend; a warm wind wafts its way up the passage past the party, causing them to break into a sweat.

The noises the party heard becomes more obvious; the hammering of metal on metal ringing through the passage, as well as the increasing heat, makes the party think of a blacksmith’s forge.

The passage ahead (below) begins to glow with the heat of fire…

Details

Exiting the caves of the Shattered Skull via area 22.a sends the party on the above journey. The passage the party is traveling opens into a huge chamber. The cavern is lighted by numerous huge forges. The forges are manned by dozens of small demi-human creatures. Dozens more of the creatures are pounding red-hot metal with heavy hammers.

The party’s current vantage point is a small, rocky ledge at one end of the cave. Directly opposite the party’s location is an enormous water wheel; 50-ft or more in diameter. The wheel is powered by a narrow waterfall which enters the cave via a hole in the ceiling 25-ft above the wheel. The water pools at the base of the wheel, creating a pond that is 100-ft in diameter, and 10-ft deep at its deepest point.

As the party watches the wheel, they spy a figure that is lashed to one of the buckets, and at the lowest point on the wheel, the figure is immersed in the pool for several seconds as the wheel makes its rounds.

The demi-human figures in the chamber are deep dwarfs, and they are smithing hundreds of weapons; hammers, short cruel scimitars, maces, light crossbows, and more weapons typical of the subterranean creatures. Among their numbers are also 6 humans ; 2 wear the robes of spell-casters while the other four wear dark plate armor, and carry large black swords.

The figure strapped to the wheel is a red-haired human, and is stripped of his clothing. Though clearly human, he is obviously not a full grown man, but a youth, perhaps 15 years of age; tall and thin, the boy is obviously not a warrior.

Antagonists

80 deep dwarfs; nude save for leather aprons. HP 12. Can be armed with any of the weapons or smithing tools found in the chamber.

2 human magic-users; 5th level. AC 10; HP 16. Each is armed with a +2 dagger. Each can cast the following spells; burning hands, charm person, magic missile, shield, pyrotechniques, ray of enfeeblement, acid reflux (information on the acid reflux spell is found in the Usherwood Adventures Expansion for OSRIC).

4 human fighters; 5th level fighters. AC 2; HP 28. Each is armed with a black +1 bastard sword, and armored with black +1 plate mail.

Protagonists

Simon; human male, 15-years old. 6-ft tall, 150 lbs., 0 level fighter. HP 2 (of 4). Commoner and castle scullion. Does not yet realize that he is descended of kings Ultimately will grow into powerful fighter and hero of hereditary homeland. If rescued will insist he must rejoin with his lord; Prince Joshua. He is being tortured on the wheel by the humans for information on this ‘Prince Joshua’.

 

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