Ruins of Ancient Redford (3.5e Quest)

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Ruins of Ancient Redford[edit]

Intended for four level 9-10 adventurers.

The ruins of ancient Redford is a good culmination or peak halfway point for a campaign against a goblinoid enemy. The town or city you want to situate the ruins under needs to be very old, to explain the existence of a series of ancient cellars and pathways that have been built over again and again. The players either need to know about the "firebombs under the city" plot before the descend into the ruins, or they could learn of it from an early foe in the ruins themselves (preferably the former).

Nothing in particular makes the ruins below Redford particularly Redford-flavored, so the location and connected quest are easy to adapt to other settings and campaigns, even though the quest is originally for a Years of Gold campaign. Remember to change the goblin stats to standard D&D stats, since the stats used here are for Pansaerian goblins.

  • Prep Time 1 hour
  • Play Time 2-4 hours

Introduction[edit]

sewer_tunnels_again__by_spex84-d5nvjdf.jpg
Do you dare descend into the city
under the city?

The descent into the ruins of ancient Redford is all about the time limit: the firebombs will go off in the near future unless the players stop them, so they need to discover and disarm the bombs before that happens. This lends itself to a hectic, fast-paced dungeon crawl/rush, after which the players can spend time familiarizing themselves with the ruins more.

History[edit]

Redford is an old city, and its inhabitants are famously practical. This means that most of Redford is built on older Redford, meaning it is a layered city: the current city plan is just the frosting. The cellars and ancient streets go deep, especially under the Old Town district. Thieves, robbers, monsters, maniacs - the ruins of ancient Redford has them all.

Hook[edit]

  • After a long campaign against the operatives of the Great Claw everything culminates in a race against the clock to stop their ultimate plan
  • Certain people in Redford know too much: the Mothers Three and their unwitting (or enslaved) cronies will be their end
  • Alternatively, the firebomb plot is done away with, and the players search the ruins for other reasons - perhaps to find someone or something

Background[edit]

The main meat of the quest is the wild chase after the firebombs in the ruins, possibly preluded by an investigation as to an entrance and the specifics of the plot. Since the players will probably be in a hurry to shut the bombs, they'll have little time to explore; take this into account.

NPCs[edit]

  • Viga Toecutter (if she hasn't been fought before and the DM thinks it appropriate)

Defusing the Firebombs[edit]

Ruins of Ancient Redford.png

The players enter the ruins through the southern stairway (or more rarely by falling through the floor to somewhere in the ruins) and begin with the quest: either to defuse the firebombs, or some other objective the DM has thrown their way. In the case of the firebombs, the party has little time to waste: make sure they understand that there's no time to rest once the attack begins, since they goblins will most certainly have their bombs exploded in eight hours. Whoever sends the party on the quest should probably know that there are twenty bombs in total (possibly from having interrogated a knowledgeable goblin - this might even be the previous quest!) to make clear to the players what their objective is.

Some players (and indeed DMs) dislike a time limit, even a suggested and not hard-and-fast one, in their questing. If this is the case, you might want to run a bombless version of the ruins (reaching and consulting the atropal scion in room 10 is a good alternate objective), or a version where the bombs are just being set up and not yet at risk of exploding.

The bombs themselves are complicated, leather-and-woodframe packages with all sorts of vials and bags attached to them. They have a chemical sympathetic detonator built into them, which can be activated by the taskmasters (although they'd never do it before they're all set), but a hard enough acid or fire attack (5 or more damage) will detonate a bomb as well. A detonating bomb works exactly like a fireball spell (caster level 10th), but bears an additional danger in the ruins: the bombs are set up in particularly ramshackle rooms, so if all bombs in a room explode - and chain reactions are common - the roof caves in, damaging and pinning under rubble those in the room (see the earthquake spell for specifics). Disarming a bomb takes a DC 30 Disable Device check, although if the characters plan ahead, ask around and study similar bomb desings, they get a +5 circumstance bonus on the check.

NOTE: Whenever coordinates are present, alphabets are vertical and numbers are horizontal.

1 - Entrance[edit]

You carefully descend the partially-collapsed spiral staircase into a damp, rectangle room: perhaps this was once the ground floor of a tower? Now it serves to provide easy access to the city below the city. The wrecked doorway to the east reveals a sort-of tunnel - it might have been a street once, but now the houses and walls that once made its sides have fallen into waste. It is, in effect, a tunnel of garbage. The low 'roof' and uneven walls give the place a claustrophobic feeling

20ft.-by-20ft. room, 6ft. high. Spiral staircase in the middle of the room (B2-3, C2-3).

2 - Refuse Dump (EL 9)[edit]

Eugh! Judging by the smell, this room was once a lavatory, a refuse dump, or both. The filth has been pushed to the sides, forming tall disgusting piles, but the cleaning has been far from precise: the floor is streaked with a multitude of off-putting colors and consistencies. In the middle of the room, caked with the unmentionable filth, is the mutilated body of a goblin. A rotten chest, its contents spilling from its burst sides, is the only other object of note.

151ft.-by-30ft. room, 6ft. high. All doors unlocked (hardness 1, 2 hp). Piles of refuse (A1-2, B1-2, E3, F2-3) that count as difficult terrain. A thoroughly rotten chest (E2) containing damp-damaged clothes, several moldy books and a leather case filled with various currencies (worth 600 gp). Six gricks that have grown fat and strong (improvements: HD 4 (22 hp), tentacle +5 melee (1d6+2), bite +0 melee (1d3+1), Fort +2, Ref +3, Will +6, Con 12, Listen +7, Spot +7, Improved Natural Attack (tentacle), CR 4) from the recurring traffic through the room hide in the refuse, attacking those who step next to a pile.

The gricks attempt to primitively ambush the party; a Spot check (DC 21) is required to notice avert this. The gricks attack the closest foe with full attacks, attempting to take advantage of their strong, massed tentacle attacks. Due to the cramped nature of the room they sometimes climb the walls to attack the enemy. This being their home as well as their hunting ground, they'll fight to the last.

3 - Hall of Pillars (EL 10)[edit]

You have no idea as to the nature of this room before it was built over: the only defining feature are three pillars dominating the center of the room, with all other furnishing damaged beyond recognition or stolen. The in-betweens of the pillars contain low stone desks, hinting at but not revealing the original purpose of the room. Dangerous-looking packages of chemical vials and acrid-smelling bags are being strapped to the pillars by a sizable force of goblins, who are bossed around by a tall one with the telltale facial painting of a red claw (if the goblins are allied with the Great Claw)/a blue spider (if the goblins are allied with the Mothers Three).

25ft.-by-35ft. room, 10ft. high. All doors unlocked (hardness 1, 2 hp). Three sturdy stone pillars (B3, D3, F3) with stone desks between them (C3, E3: 4ft. high) that probably hold up some structure above. Eight goblin vandals and their taskmaster are strapping six firebombs (B2, B4, D2, D4, F2, F4) to the pillars; this is the most important and destructive part of the bomb plot. They attack anyone who tries to enter the room.

Four of the vandals are on work on the western side of the pillars, and four vandals along with the taskmaster are working on the eastern side. The goblins retreat to the back of the room at the first chance; the taskmaster hinders movement with web and grease, while the vandals net those who come close. The goblins intelligently hide behind pillars and the stone desks. Two of them (both on the western side) are equipped with longspears, and use the reach to attack entangled foes or over the desks. The rest have rapiers, and all of them have longbows and nets, which are used at every opportunity. Point Blank Shot helps with the damage, as does sneak attack against Dexterity-denied foes.

If the fight gets close, the vandals attempt to flank foes to sneak attack them while diverting attention away from the taskmaster as best they can. The taskmaster pelts melee combatants with reduce person, spellcasters with magic missile, and if the fight goes long, attempts to buff its cronies with cat's grace. If the goblins know of the party's advance beforehand (if they've been loud or have babbled of their attack plan), the taskmaster might have enhanced some or all of the vandals with cat's grace already.

4 - Pit (EL 10)[edit]

giant_scorpion_by_loztvampir3.jpg
Some things grow fat in the
dark depths.

A suspiciously empty hall opens before you. The walls (a collection of blocked-off doorways, collapsed structures and bare earth) have grown over with a variety of vines and fungi, the plank floor creaks as you step on it, and the ceiling is higher than elsewhere in the ruins. Perhaps it was once a plaza of some sort: the many wide corridors that lead away from it certainly suggest so.

(once the pit is cleared) The planks in the middle of the room have collapsed away and reveal the stone-and-mud remains of a structure that once stood here - perhaps a statue, or a large fountain. It has clearly been lived in for ages by the vicious scorpion monster you recently vanquished.

(hallways to west and east; can use this description for all hallways in the ruins) These might once have been the walkways and avenues of Redford, but centuries of rebuilding and geological upthrust have made them cramped tunnels. Here and there the walls are pocked with once-doorways and windows that lead to packed earth and impassable wreckage. You can even peek to other parts of the ruins in select locations.

30ft.-by-30ft. room, 20ft. high. The middle part of the floor (B2-5, C2-5, D2-5, E2-5) hides a 15ft.-deep pit, in which a gargantuan scorpion bides its time. The floor breaks (and dumps the breaker into the pit) if vigorous motion (like jumping) takes place, if the floor is purposefully broken, or if someone is thrown onto the floor. Note that the whole floor doesn't give away immediately: for example, if a person breaks through on B4, the rest of the floor is still intact, and the scorpion can't be attacked through it - it must be destroyed first.

The hallway to the west of the pit is trapped with a massive pendulum of stone and sharp steel that swings down, mutilating and bull rushing those who step on any of the four squares on the western intersection (no attack of opportunity, +16 modifier on Strength check; 3d6 damage if successful). If the pendulum bull rushes a character onto any part of the treacherous pit floor, they go straight through and into the claws of the scorpion.

The scorpion doesn't leave its pit nest. Instead, it grapples those who fall in with its massive claws (getting an attack of opportunity against those who fall in without knowing of the pit), and uses its long stinger to puncture those who come close to the pit. If agitated enough, the scorpion will sting through the rotten planks - tremorsense means it 'sees' foes through the floor just fine.

5 - Pendulum Mechanism[edit]

(once the pendulum has been activated) A small cove has been excavated to house the massive pendulum that's been set up to smash people into oblivion. The so-called room is nothing more than a dirt-walled crevice, although someone seems to have forgotten a sack of some sort into the corner.

15ft.-by-20ft. room, 6ft. high. Pendulum occupies most of the room (B2-3, C2-3) unless it has been activated, in which case it's in the intersection; either way, a character can push past it with a DC 20 Escape Artist check, although when unactivated it is lightly camouflaged (Search DC 20 to notice). A hemp sack (B1) containing blackened vegetables, several hammers and a saw, and a ring of the ram (20 charges left).

6 - Moldy Dead End (EL 8)[edit]

It seems you've come to a dead end. The room, if you can call it that, smells chokingly of mold, and is terribly cold - you shiver at the sudden change of temperature. The sight of three large spiders at the other end of the room is equally chilling: they skitter to each other in a squaking, ear-piercing language, and to your horror, one begins to glow with arcane light as its mandibles and forelegs move in the manner of spellcasters everywhere. They seem to be guarding two firebombs that are primed and ready to destroy.

(if the pit has been breached) The planks here look every bit as untrustworthy as they did last time you ran into a disaster with floors.

25ft.-by-25ft. room (D1 and E1-2 blocked off), 6ft. high. Some of the planks on the floor are rotten through, and will not carry weight: the squares marked on the map give way and drop a person into the 2ft. space beneath the floor, filled with brown mold - the nonlethal damage effect of the mold does not damage people through the floor. Three giant spiders of Hecate's lineage guard the two firebombs (C2, C5) that have already been set up in this room.

The light, limber spiders do not break the floor as the skitter across it, although they prefer not to: they cling to the southern wall, bombard those who enter with deep slumber and hold person. If they manage to incapacitate a character, they try to web him and pull him into the unsafe planks. The death of even one means the rest will attempt to escape, usually by casting obscuring mist (sometimes followed by more incapacitating enchantments if necessary) and running into the ruin maze.

7 - Slope and Bridges (EL 8)[edit]

(on the slope) A long slope leads downwards deeper into the darkness ahead. Some twenty-odd feet ahead, you see two rough rope bridges spanning the slope, leading to entrances high in the walls. A pair of goblins, dressed in black and smoking heavily, sit on the edge of the closest bridge, talking in hushed tones.

(on the bridges) A long slope rises to the south and descends to the north below you as you stand on the rope of the bridge. The creak and tension of the rope disheartens you. The cramped corridors leading away from the double bridges seem to be used as a sentry post nowadays - as to their former use, you have no idea.

10ft.-by-40ft. slope with rope bridges and corridors above (check map); slope 20ft. high, descends 20ft. altogether (2.5ft. descent per square). Two firebombs have been stashed in the sort-of guardpost (check map); they are unarmed as of yet, but must be disposed of as well. The sentry post has a few cots, four goblin vandals (two of which are smoking on the southern rope bridge and not ready for combat) and two giant spiders.

The fight can go two ways: if the party is on the slope, the goblins will pelt them with longbow bolts (all four have longbows, rapiers and nets) while the two spiders web melee characters and take the brunt of the attack if the party manages to get onto high ground. The spiders use their climbing ability to navigate the narrow passageway; make sure everyone knows where everything is, including you!

On the other hand, if the party assaults the vandal-spider group from the side, the fight will be a lot easier. The spiders attack the party in melee while the vandals again pelt them with arrows, dropping off the bridge if the fight goes awry. The vandals will be much more likely to run away in this scenario; the spiders, unluckily for them, are not so clever.

8 - Ancient Treasury[edit]

This looks like the remains of a treasury, if the rotted-open chests are anything to judge by - tarnished silver is still valuable, right? The door that's been banged off its hinges might once have been tough with its iron reinforcing, but it no longer protects this hoard. The floor in the middle of the room has given away, revealing a patch of viciously cold brown mold. The chests on the other side are close, yet so far away.

25ft.-by-15ft. room, 10ft. high. The center of the room (A2-4, B2-4, C2-4) has given way, revealing a 2ft. deep space of brown mold. Three treasure chests (A1, A5, C1), containing: A1: 200 gp in silver coins, several rings with semiprecious stones (worth 300 gp), a silver tiara (worth 125 gp); A5: a +1 banded mail with +1 armor spikes; C1: precious family heirlooms of a minor noble family - they're worth nothing, but a DC 30 Knowledge (local or history) check lets the party discover the heirs of the lineage, a DC 25 Gather Information check helps you find him, after which they can convinced to buy the heirlooms off of you - or just give the heirlooms to them, earning their eternal gratitude.

9 - Dilapidated Ruins (EL 10)[edit]

The soft (if wet and wasted) carpet beneath your feet hints at the noble purpose this room might once have had. Not so anymore: now it houses great piles of fallen stone architecture, perhaps stashed here in times past to get it out of the way, then promptly forgotten. Half a stone gargoyle leers at you from one pile, while a great marble arch juts from another. On top of the piles, two goblins are arming a series of firebombs, while horrible things stand guard: towering humanoid forms of web, with armies of dark-blue spiders scuttling in their bodies.

35ft.-by-50ft. room, 15ft. high. Western doors unlocked (hardness 1, 2 hp), northern door heavily barred from this side and clearly new (hardness 10, hp 30). The dark gray areas (check map) are level with the rest of the dungeon, the medium gray areas are slopes (5ft. rise), the light gray are piles of stones (5ft. high); the medium and light gray areas count as difficult terrain. Five firebombs (A5, C7, E1, H7, J5) are currently being set up by two ritual taskmasters, with each of them being protected by a web golemMM3; the two pairs are on the northern and southern ledges.

The taskmasters immediately begin casting their strongest spells at the characters, while the two golems cast web at the lower parts of the room. The golems bull rush foes back into the lower parts if they try to climb up (+9 modifier on Strength check) and smash them with slams. Each of the taskmasters is packing 5 vials of acid, which they lob at incapacitated foes.

NOTE: This fight can be extremely hard for ill-prepared parties, or if the luck of the dice is against them, even for prepared ones. The two golems pose a sudden, magic-immune physical threat that will make short work of foes, and the taskmasters are capable of incapacitating those who could take care of them. You might need to remove one of the taskmasters (or even one of the golems) if you don't think the party can handle it. On the other hand, it is an awesome fight, and it would be a shame to neuter it. Just be careful when running it, and consider playing the taskmasters less than optimally.

10 - Forbidden Temple (EL 11)[edit]

destroyed_ritual_room_by_jbrown67-d6tlo76.jpg
For some, the only wish is
that they had been born.

(at the door) The door here is new and much more sturdy than the others you've seen here: it's clearly newer, with steel bolts running across the heavy oak. What's more, several thick beams of wood have been wedged against the frame. On the door, someone has painted LOOK AWAY in red paint. Looks like someone really wanted to keep this door shut.

Air hisses into the room as you knock down the barricade and get through the heavy door. At first you see nothing, but then your eye hones on a single light in the darkness: a single candle, its flame perfectly still, lighting a scarlet-clothed altar and a form huddled next to it. The form is apparently deep in prayer. Rows of rotten wood, perhaps once benches, still contain the desiccated remains of what might once have been faithful believers.

25ft.-by-30ft. room, 10ft. high. Rows of thoroughly rotten benches (D1-2, D4-5, E1-2, E4-5), altar with a red cloth (B2-4); a hidden compartment (Search DC 30 to locate) hides two nigh-spherical rubies (worth 500 gp each) that casts enervation (caster level 7th) at you and a target chosen by you when they are struck together, as well as 300 gp in alms. An atropal scionLMo kneels in front of the altar, cursing and crying at its nonexistence.

The scion is not initially hostile: long years in captivity in the forbidden temple have made it lethargic. It is still a hateful, vicious monster, but the pass of ages has dulled it, and it no longer actively attacks anyone. When someone enters the room, however, the negative energy aura kicks in (it doesn't flow out of the room) and the scion morosely turns to face the enterer, giving them a taste of its death gaze. Proper precautions will avoid complete disaster.

Powerful enchantments make it impossible for the scion to use its powers to influence those outside the room or to exit: it can't even see those who have not crossed the threshold. Likewise, it's hard to affect anything in the room from outside it: an arrow cast will slow down and fall as it hits the doorway, and spells fizzle when they enter. The scion will discuss with those who enter if conversation is attempted - apparently any company will do after centuries of solitude. It is a dark creature, and its thoughts are bleak, but it knows much of the history of Redford and the continent in general. It especially has incredible knowledge of those dead and buried, of burial rites and raising of the dead.

If initiated, or if the characters try to disturb the room (snuff the candle, steal the treasures from the compartment), a fight takes place in the room: the scion can't leave, and it can't be affected from the outside. The temple is permanently desecrated (the bonuses are calculated into the stat block above), so the scion starts fights with cone of cold, or by turning the desiccated corpses into ghouls with create undead if it has time. It always keeps its deadly gaze on enemies, and lets the negative energy aura do its work. The creature won't (and can't) escape: if anything, it's happy that its eternity in imprisonment is finally over.

11 - Abandoned Smithy (EL 10)[edit]

Two great furnaces loom over everything from the back wall of the room. Everything from floor to ceiling is covered in soot stains and the occasional discarded lump of coal - a former smithy, then. A series of small beddings have been made onto the sooty floor, many of them with a sleeping inhabitant. All wood has rotten away long ago, but a huge wrought-iron anvil still stands as a testament to the durability of metal.

20ft.-by-35ft. room, 10ft. high. Northern entrance collapsed doorway, southern entrance collapsed wall. Two furnaces (B1, C1, E1, F1) with especially nice beds in them; the northern bed has a +1 bastard sword and a small chest of assorted jewelry (worth 250 gp) under it, while the other has an urn of haste (as a potion of haste, but has three doses) propped up next to it. Twenty beddings on the floor, with five of them being occupied by vandals, and each furnace-bed has a Great Claw boss sleeping in it. Barrel on the opposite side of the corridor contains a spider swarm and has a thin cord running from it to the smithy wall (Spot DC 25 to notice, Disable Device DC 28 to disarm); if triggered, the barrel breaks and an alarm bell rings, setting loose both the spider swarm and the goblins.

The goblins suffer from a surprise round unless they've been previously alerted (either by loud noises or by triggering the spider swarm trap); they can be coup de grace'd as normal. When they're alerted, they take one round to get up and draw their weapons; after that, they fight viciously, with the bosses holding the front line and the vandals peppering foes with their longbows and nets. If there's time, the bosses will buff themselves with divine favor. Surprised and confused, they fight to the bitter end.

12 - Trapped Hall[edit]

This quiet corner of the ruins would seem harmless if it wasn't for the firebomb strapped into a marble pillar at the back end of the room. The other pillar in the room has already fallen down - the ceiling (and whatever's above) probably won't stand losing their last support. The walls have given way to time, making the room even more cramped than it would otherwise be.

(Spot DC 30) Two small vents jut from opposite each other in the northwestern and southeastern corners of the room.

25ft.-by-4oft. room, 10ft. high. Door unlocked (hardness 1, 2 hp). Crumbled wall (A1-2, B1, F5, G4-5, H3-5). One pillar standing (G2), the other (B4) fallen down (roughly from C4 to E3; Jump DC 10 to hop on). A firebomb (F2) has been set up against the intact pillar, but it is a trap: when the firebomb is messed with, a set of adamantine bars lowers from the roof to block the doorway and poisonous gas starts leaking into the room from vents in the northeast and southwest corners (Search DC 40 to notice, Disable Device DC 30 to disarm). The gas is heavy, filling the room from bottom to top, and starts dealing 1d6 Constitution damage every turn after five turns (Fortitude DC 20 to negate each turn).

The trap can be stopped by: 1) somehow blocking the vents so that gas can't get into the room - the pressure of the gas is hard, so mere stones won't do, although various half-effective blockages can double the time it takes for the poison to fill the room; 2) destroying the adamantine bars (hardness 20, 40 hp; Strength DC 32 to bend); 3) holding your breath (the gas is only poisonous when inhaled) for 40 rounds - after the initial five rounds, the trap runs out of gas in two minutes (20 rounds) and the gas dissipates in the same amount of time. If the characters somehow cling to the ceiling, where the poison gets last, this time is cut down to 30 rounds.

13 - Unexplainable Chasm (EL 10)[edit]

Before you opens a massive room, the floor tiled with cracked marble and the walls lined with a clashing decor: beautiful statues and murals opposite crumbling woodwork and earth. In the middle of the room opens a deep, dark, perfectly spherical chasm: you have no idea what it might once have been. Each corner of the diagonal room holds a thick, tall pillar, each of which is armed with a firebomb. The one responsible for the bombs leers at you from beyond the round chasm.

Diagonally-aligned room (check map), 40ft. tall. Floor 20ft. lower than pathway in the western end of the room. Four firebombs in pillared corners (check map). A deep chasm (80ft. to the bottom) in the middle of the room, with vine-growing, broken walls that are fairly easy to climb (DC 15). The leader of the goblins stands on the northern side of the chasm: either Viga Toecutter, if you decided to use her in this quest, or a ritual taskmaster. If you use Viga, this is a good chance to roleplay an encounter with her: she might gloat about the Great Claw's plans, accidentally reveal more than she intended, lead the players to the next quest and so on. Don't use her if the plotter of the quest are the Mother's Three - she is an agent of Skarrnog, not of the eight-legs.

If the characters approach Viga/the taskmaster, try to disarm the firebombs or attempt to leave, a fight commences: two huge spiders emerge from the far side of the chasm, along with ten of their lesser breed. The large spiders begin the fight by attempting to net foes and pull them into the chasm (the fall deals 8d6 damage if unprepared). Meanwhile, the smaller spiders swarm one or two foes, using flanking to better deliver their poison.

If Viga is the goblin in the room, she'll fire a series of trick arrows, whatever's best for the situation (a thunderstone one against grouped spellcasters, for example), concentrating on the back rows of enemies. If the goblin is a taskmaster, on the other hand, he'll cast a series of debilitating spells (web, grease and reduce person being common choices) to help the huge spiders in their chasm-pulling task. Those who fall into the chasm are ignored, since they can be dealt with later if they're not already dead.

If the fight goes awry (both of the larger spiders die, for example), the goblin (whether Viga or a taskmaster) attempts to escape: a taskmaster will just try to run towards the slope and away into the ruins, but Viga has already mapped out a thin passageway near the ceiling: she'll climb up to it (an ascent of some 10 feet) and wriggle her way into a tiny gap that might have once been a window. If the party tries to stop her, she'll attack them with sleep arrows, but don't cheat her escape: if she dies/is caught here, then so be it.



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