The Bleeding City (3.5e Quest)

From D&D Wiki

Jump to: navigation, search

The Bleeding City[edit]

Intended for four level 9-13 adventurers.

The Bleeding City can appear anywhere, but ideally appears when the party needs resupplying and no other city is within sight. Once they enter, they will be trapped, and the quest begins.

  • Prep Time 30 min
  • Play Time 1-8 hours (ave. 6)

Quest Introduction[edit]

An adventuring party who finds themselves in The Bleeding City is trapped. At their level, it is not difficult to escape using magic, unless they subject themselves to the restrictions of The Arena, but the ruler holds a great deal of wealth and keeps the city in terror. What group of do-gooders could resist? Whether the party sneaks their way into the Arena, brute-force crushes wave after wave of opponents, or ends up magically shackled and must come up with even more extensive plans to escape, The Bleeding City can provide an appropriate challenge.

History[edit]

Zilinos rules over The Bleeding City, a once prosperous urban settlement, now reduced to ruin by his wrath. Zilinos allows the city's people to live their lives relatively undisturbed, making the entire city a somewhat active town carved into the ruins of the old city. However, he has an army of loyal disciples who gather people in the city to fight in the Arena, a grotesque pit carved out of the ruin of the old city hall. Within, Zilinos runs a sort of colosseum for his own amusement, then slaughters the champions when they are deemed strong enough souls for his blade to devour.

Hook[edit]

For the most part, The Bleeding City draws in its victims by appearing like a normal city, and lures travelers to rest within. The party has been worn down after an adventure, and spot a city on the horizon. Upon getting closer, it looks very run down, but hospitable enough... and unwittingly, they are trapped. Escaping is easy enough, but do they want to leave the people - and a great deal of treasure - trapped in a cruel, bloodthirsty tyrant's grasp?

Background[edit]

The adventure is rather open-ended. For the most part, once the party is confronted by disciples of Zilinos, who will attempt to draft the party into the Arena, they begin the quest. If they follow into the Arena, they will need to find a way out before they are killed by Zilinos. If they attack the disciples and succeed, the townspeople will help them plan on how to free the city.

NPCs[edit]

Zilinos - Barbarian 8/Butcher of Souls 8

Items[edit]

The Twin Reaper - See Weapon Details

Stage One: The Drafting[edit]

An adventuring party who comes across the city will find themselves drafted into the Arena at dusk, at which point there is a curfew. If they fight the group of three who try to take them in, the party will have an hour or so of respite. The townspeople will inform the party of what will happen - seven more disciples will come looking for the missing patrol in about an hour, and attempt to capture them, though they have no particular objections to killing. They can and will tear up the ruins of the city searching, but the townspeople will help set up an ambush, as well as make quick transactions for equipment if needed. If they succeed, Zilinos will have little or no warning if the party chooses to attack. Additionally, the city's people will treat them as heroes, and can give them of most of the information here (DM's discretion for the exact amount, see The Assault).

If they escape being drafted, slaughter every disciple, or simply scout the city quickly enough to buy supplies before the drafting occurs, people who enter The Bleeding City will find the town somewhat hospitable. There are standard mundane accommodations, as well as magic items in black markets (requiring a Gather Information check of 15 or greater). Some high-quality equipment can be acquired, though this is even harder to find (requiring a Gather Information check of 25 or greater), and there is markup varying from 20 to 100 percent compared to market price. However, disciples guard the gates, and so if the party finds they attempts to leave, they will find they are trapped.

The gatehouses, as well as the Arena and a few mostly-intact buildings nearby which house those favored by Zilinos, hold a number of security measures to keep the city's population in. Each has three mundane as well as a magical beacons to alert Zilinos of any concerns, and he has a small group of casters which can provide him with the speed to reach any gate in essentially no time (Persisted Footsteps of the Divine). Those who are caught are either executed on the spot, tortured, or brought to the Arena.

Encounter 1: Patrol, EL 11

The patrol that initially tries to take the party is composed of two seventh level Butchers and a ninth level, fire-specialized Fury Mage. They will first scan the party for magical gear with Detect Magic, then gruffly tell the party that they have been drafted. If the party refuses, they inform them that the alternative is death, and if they refuse again, they attack.

This first encounter opens with the Fire Mage entering a rage and throwing out an Empowered Fireball, while the Butchers rage and pounce on the closest enemy they can. Once in melee, the Fire Mage will make a full attack before loosing a second Empowered Fireball the following turn, while the butchers continue to attack.

Attacks against party members near-death are made nonlethal with magic, so even if the party is defeated, they are merely forced into the Arena path.

Encounter 2: The Enforcers (EL 13-)

The enforcers that come to investigate include five Butchers as noted above and two Fury Mages, also as noted above. They follow approximately the same attack patterns, though are in somewhat of a panic as the party should have an ambush set up. The nonlethal attacks are still in effect during this fight.

Stage 2, Option 1: The Arena[edit]

If the party is drafted into the Arena, the party's power will be loosely evaluated, their equipment confiscated, and their hands chained with antimagic. Each day, they will fight to the death one-on-one against the strongest of the gladiators within - martial enemies of 10th level or more. For each fight they will be given one magic item of their choice, which they can keep with them in their cell (though some, such as teleportation or rust items, will be confiscated for security). If they win at least three matches, they will fight Zilinos the next day. When not fighting, they will be kept in iron-barred five-foot square cells and guarded by two or three disciples night and day (total EL 11). At any sign of a break-out, a prisoner will be assaulted by prepared spells and attacks.

On the other hand, any obvious spellcasters will be offered a choice - train to become one of Zilinos' Fury Mages, or be executed. Assuming they choose the later, they will undergo harsh training befitting a barbarian, as learning to rage is the first step. They will be forced to fight lesser, but still competent enemies (6th level martial classes), without their magic. When not fighting, they too will be imprisoned, but guarded only by one (EL 7).

If those in the cells manage to break out, they will find keys to their fellow prisoner's cells, which should provide enough of a distraction and information for the party to find the other people in their group, their equipment, and proceed to Zilinos himself unperturbed by his disciples. See Zilinos for more details on his fighting.

If the party does not have a plan themselves, the DM can choose to assist them in any number of ways. The easiest is to have a prisoner in the martial prison attempt to escape, thus giving the players a distraction and allowing them to break out with two strong strikes against the iron bars. If more prompting is needed, more prisoners can jump at the chance to escape. Alternatively, the casters can be secretly passed lockpicks or a key to open their antimagic bonds, allowing full use of their magic until they are discovered.

Once freed, the prisoners will create enough distraction for the party to fight Zilinos alone. A freed nage will also inform the party of a number of things, including the stored diamonds and scrolls of Revivify and Revenance under his throne, and how his blade can be restrained by most mind affecting spells. After defeating Zilinos, his blade will shatter, and the souls within will be released.

Encounter 1: Warrior Gladiators (EL 11)

You can use any martial NPC you wish for this fight. Alternatively, use one of the samples under Enemy Statblocks.

Encounter 2: Mage Gladiators (EL 6)

You can use any martial NPC you wish for this fight. Alternatively, use one of the samples under Enemy Statblocks.

Encounter 3: Warrior's Guards (EL 11)

Ten feet in front of the cells are two Butchers or a Lieutenant, while a Fire Mage stands back. They may move down the hall due to a distraction, but otherwise keep fairly close guard of the cells. When any prisoner tries to break out, the melee guards immediately pounce upon the prisoner, while the Fire Mage throws out a fireball.

Three rounds after the death of the first group, six more will appear. If the party has not opened at least four cells by then, they will have to fight it out (though with the help of whoever they've freed). If not, the freed prisoners provide enough distraction that they only have to get past one group, which should be fairly distracted by prisoners.

If you want to give the party an additional challenge, give the last Fire Mage a scroll of Delay Death and make sure the melee unit is a single Lieutenant. This will make the Lieutenant functionally invincible for 5 rounds.

Encounter 4: Mage's Guards (EL 7- and 11)

One Butcher, standing in front of most of the cells. After three rounds, a group equal to the Warrior's Guards attacks, but they approach from across a hallway. Assuming one mage is freed each round, that group should be taken care of without too much trouble, as only mages of at least sixth level are kept in the cells. If there are at least two mages in the party, the incoming guards should be easily obliterated.

Encounter 5: Zilinos (EL 13)

See Zilinos, Butcher of the Bleeding City for details.

Stage 2, Option 2: The Assault[edit]

If the party defeats the attackers, they will be told of the city and the Arena. The townspeople will offer to help plan a liberation of the city, speaking of the great wealth the party could earn (a huge stash of diamonds as well as equipment taken from those drafted into the Arena) as well as how it would benefit the people. They offer to provide a distraction, keeping most of the disciples of the party's back while they free the prisoners. Once the prisoners are freed, they should provide distraction enough to leave Zilinos for them to fight alone. They also note that he has stored several scrolls to bring back the dead somewhere in the Arena.

Assuming the party takes the easiest route in, killing the guards to the mages' cells before letting the mages take care of the warriors' cells, they will need to fight several waves of guards in a cramped prison hallway before making it out. The warrior's cell instead has three larger waves of guards.

Once the prisoners are released, a freed mage will inform the party of the stored diamonds and scrolls of Revivify and Revenance under his throne, and how his blade can be restrained by most mind affecting spells. Once Zilinos is forced past his threshold of hit points (see Butcher of Souls, the party will need to teleport him away his blade will shatter, and the souls within will be released.

Encounter 1: Arena Guards (EL 12-)

A Fire Mage, a Lieutenant, and four Butchers. They stand spread out, across the thirty-foot wide arena entrance. The party should be able to ambush them, potentially killing one or more immediately.

Encounter 2: Warrior's Guards (EL 11 x3)

Two Butchers or a Lieutenant as well as a Fire Mage will attempt to intercept the party, blocking the hallway. Three rounds later, another group will show, and three rounds later, a third. If the party manages to get past, they can free a given warrior with two strong strikes with a magic weapon, or any other reasonable way. If they fight through the guards, they can simply take their keys.

If you want to give the party an additional challenge, give the last Fire Mage a scroll of Delay Death and make sure the melee unit is a single Lieutenant. This will make the Lieutenant functionally invincible for 5 rounds.

Encounter 3: Mage's Guards (EL 11+)

The group noted above, plus an additional butcher will attempt to intercept the party, blocking the hallway. If the party manages to get past, they can free a given mage with a dispel or other magic-item/curse negation effect, to negate the negation handcuffs. If they fight through the guards, they can simply take their keys.

Encounter 4: Zilinos

See Zilinos, Butcher of the Bleeding City for details.

Stage 3: The Aftermath[edit]

Once Zilinos is defeated, the party will be free to loot his extensive equipment stores as well as any remaining diamonds and scrolls. This includes a total of four scrolls of Revivify, four scrolls of Revenance, twenty thousand gold pieces worth of diamonds and diamond dust, and forty thousand gold pieces worth of assorted equipment, varying from low level to mid level.

However, the city is not quite safe. Many of his disciples escape the wrath of the prisoners, and tracking them down could take some time - but also yield sizeable rewards as the rest of Zilinos' hoard would be recovered. It would also secure the city's safety for the years to come.

Enemy Statblocks[edit]

Butcher

CR 7

Male Human Barbarian 6, Butcher of Souls 1
CE Medium humanoid (Human)
Init/Senses +3/None; Listen +0, Spot +0
Languages Common
AC 17, touch 12, flat-footed 12; +2 dodge to AC while raging.
(+4 armor, +3 dexterity)
hp 105 (7 HD)
Fort/Ref/Will +10/+4/+2; +2 Reflex while raging.
Speed 30 ft. (6 squares)
Melee Greatsword +11 (2d6+7/19–20)
Base Atk/Grp +7/+11
Special Actions Whirling Frenzy 3/day, Pounce
Abilities Str 18, Dex 16, Con 16, Int 8, Wis 8, Cha 8
SQ Uncanny Dodge, Improved Uncanny Dodge, Trap Sense +2
Feats Cleave, Power Attack, Leap Attack, Flaming Berserker
Skills Jump +14, Intimidate +9
Possessions SRD:Chain Shirt

Rage Details: Raging adds +4 strength, +2 dodge to armor class, +2 reflex, and allows an additional attack during a full attack at the cost of a -2 penalty to all attacks that round.

Fire Mage

CR 9

Male Human Barbarian 1, Wizard 6, Butcher of Souls 2
CE Medium humanoid (Human)
Init/Senses +5/None; Listen +0, Spot +0
Languages Common
AC 19, touch 12, flat-footed 12; +2 dodge to AC while raging.
(+2 armor, +5 dexterity)
hp 98 (7 HD)
Fort/Ref/Will +10/+4/+2; +2 Reflex while raging.
Speed 30 ft. (6 squares)
Melee Greatsword +11 (2d6+7/19–20)
Base Atk/Grp +6/+8
Special Actions Raging 3/day, Pounce
Abilities Str 14, Dex 20, Con 14, Int 18, Wis 8, Cha 8
SQ Uncanny Dodge, Improved Uncanny Dodge, Trap Sense +2
Feats Combat Casting, Flaming Berserker, Empower Spell, Arcane Thesis (Fireball), Bloodline of Fire
Skills Jump +14, Intimidate +9
Possessions Potion of Concentration (+10 to skill check)

Rage Details: Raging adds +4 strength, +4 constitution, +4 intelligence, +2 to will saves vrs fear, -2 armor class, and allows an additional attack during a full attack at the cost of a -2 penalty to all attacks that round.

'Spells Prepared:

  • 1st level: Detect Magic x2, Magic Missile, Burning Hands, Shield
  • 2nd level: Scorching Ray x2, Glitterdust, Invisibility
  • 3rd level: Fireball x3
  • 4th level: Empowered Fireball x2

Lieutenant

CR 9

Male Human Barbarian 6, Butcher of Souls 3
CE Medium humanoid (Human)
Init/Senses +4/None; Listen +0, Spot +0
Languages Common
AC 19, touch 12, flat-footed 12; +2 dodge to AC while raging.
(+5 armor, +4 dexterity)
hp 144 (7 HD)
Fort/Ref/Will +10/+4/+2; +2 Reflex while raging.
Speed 30 ft. (6 squares)
Melee +1 Flaming Greatsword +16 (3d6+10/19–20)
Base Atk/Grp +9/+13
Special Actions Whirling Frenzy 4/day, Pounce
Abilities Str 22, Dex 18, Con 16, Int 8, Wis 8, Cha 8
SQ Uncanny Dodge, Improved Uncanny Dodge, Trap Sense +2, Undying Rage
Feats Cleave, Power Attack, Leap Attack, Flaming Berserker, Martial Study (Burning Blade)
Skills Jump +14, Intimidate +9
Possessions SRD: Chain Mail, Ring of Strength +2 (3 charges)

Rage Details: Raging adds +4 strength, +2 dodge to armor class, +2 reflex, and allows an additional attack during a full attack at the cost of a -2 penalty to all attacks that round. Additionally, while raging, the Lieutenant will stay conscious at negative hit points and gain an additional +4 strength.

Will us Burning Blade before one pounce to deal an extra 1d6+4 damage per attack.


Back to Main Page3.5e HomebrewQuests

Home of user-generated,
homebrew pages!