The Cursed Valley (3.5e Quest)
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The Timeless Valley
This game is for 2 – 5 characters, level 5 – 7. Prep Time: 1 - 2 Hours to draw maps as needed. Play Time: Medium
Okay, so the premise is, the characters are traveling through the mountains, for whatever reason, and they encounter this wooded valley. Below are some possible plot hooks. Anyway, they arrive at this valley in the mid-morning, and are crossing it when night falls. Turns out that one someone spends more than a few hours in this valley, they are trapped here and cannot leave without breaking the curse. On the plus side, they do not age or change in any way, so they have pretty much forever to break the curse. On the down side, every day resets itself to the previous day. The characters can remember the previous day’s activities, but they cannot keep any new experience points or new items. The exception to this is the catacombs, as described later.
The curse is placed on the valley by one of the Elder Gods named Kozl, Ever-Marked. He tricked his godly nemesis, named Suun the Timeless, to fall asleep in this valley. Then he placed a curse on the valley to trap Suun, which causes him to slumber continuously. So Sunn is reduced in power, and is only able to manifest himself in the dreams of people who are in this valley.
Ironically, after several thousand years had passed, neither of the gods is worshipped anymore. Even historians have only heard of them in passing. Eventually Kozl faded away, while his nemesis remained alive, though trapped.
The purpose of this side quest is to unravel the curse and free Suun the Timeless, thereby allowing the characters to escape the valley.
---Possible plot hooks: 1) Random Chance – the characters are traveling somewhere else, and encounter this valley randomly. 2) Investigation / Treasure Seeking – the characters heard about a cursed valley which contains a great treasure, and they went looking for it. 3) Holy Quest – one of the characters, of Chaotic Good alignment, is visited by Suun in a dream. Suun tells them about his problem, and promises to reward them if they come free him.
The Plot Unfolds
So, the characters will locate the only large clearing in the valley sometime in the middle of the day. In this clearing is a medium sized cabin with a vegetable garden in the back. There is also a small barn and a well. If the characters have a problem locating the clearing and are intent on exploring the forest, feel free to point out smoke coming from the chimney, etc.
If the characters investigate the cabin, they will find a small fire in the fireplace, some rustic furniture, and clothing for a man, a woman, and a child. The cabin is currently empty. Further investigation will reveal a journal with entries which are dated in a very strange system. A knowledge (history) check (DC 18) will reveal that this system of dating has not been used in several thousand years. According to the dates in this journal, the last entry was about 6413 years ago.
Investigation the rest of the farm will reveal that the garden is well tended, the barn is in fair condition, and the well is very deep, with cool, clear water.
If the characters decide to leave the valley, they keep finding themselves coming back to the clearing. Every time the try to leave, they get to where the edge of the valley should be, encounter a thickly wooded area, and loop back to the clearing in the middle of the valley. Eventually, they should decide to wait here for the family to return.
If the characters decide to wait in the clearing for the family to return, the time passes uneventfully. Feel free to have the characters make craft skill checks if they so desire.
Evening at The Farm
Sometime during the late afternoon / early evening the woman and child return to the farm. They have been out in the forest collecting mushrooms and rabbits which they have trapped. The woman introduces herself as Lorna, and her daughter is Megan. She invites them in for dinner. If they have not figured out the curse yet, the woman tells them about it after dinner. Reactions ensue.
The woman relates the following story: Lorna, and her husband Cal, settled in this valley a long time ago, just after they got married. A few years later, they had a daughter, Megan. Then, about seven and a half years later, everything changed. Lorna noticed that her journal entries disappeared the next day, and that broken jugs and burnt wood would be there again in the morning. They noticed that the seasons stopped advancing, and then they noticed that they stopped aging. When they tried to leave the valley, they discovered that they were trapped. One day, Cal fell and broke his leg. The next day it was healed, as though it had never happened. All things considered, it wasn’t so bad of a trap. Eventually Cal got tired of the constant, changeless existence. He started calling it a curse, and started looking for a way to end it. Killing himself didn’t work. Praying didn’t work. Nothing seemed to work. Then, while searching for clues, Cal found that the bottom of the well was actually the entrance to a network of caverns. He got some supplies together and went exploring. He never returned. Lorna and Megan have been living here ever since. Sure, it gets boring sometimes, but they have gotten used to it and are scared to end it. The characters are welcome to stay as long as they want, which is good, because they can’t leave.
The characters should quickly realize that means to breaking the curse are in the catacombs below the well. If they don’t figure this out, then the woman will ask them to go looking for her husband. If this doesn’t work, then Suun will appear to one of them in a dream and request their help. If this doesn’t work, screw it, play monopoly.
The Cavern ---Room 1 [Entrance] CR 0 The bottom of the well is actually the entrance to a series of natural caverns which lead to the catacombs below, where the sleeping god rests. In order to access this area the characters will need to enter the well. Since the well is about 50 feet deep, it is recommended that they climb down on a rope or some such implement. If they insist on jumping, then they take 5d6 points of damage, no save. Once at the bottom of the well, the characters need to make a successful swim check (DC 14) to reach the rocky shore. There is nothing unique to point out about this chamber, except that it is the only room with natural light from here on out. To the north is a natural formed hallway, leading to Room 2.
---Room 2 [Rat Nest] CR 0 This room contains several bats and a small pond. On the far side of the pond is another dry ledge, which houses a small colony of rats which access the rest of the caves using a series of tunnels and crevices. Searching their nests reveals 32cp, 14sp, 2gp, and 1 Small Key (see Room 7 / Room 10). There is a door in the north wall which opens on a hall leading to Room 3.
---Room 3 [Creature Room] CR 3 The hallway opens directly into Room 3, which houses an Ankheg. The creature is woken by the character’s intrusion, and attacks immediately to defend its territory. If the characters flee to the south, or through the doorway to the north, the ankheg will leave them alone. The ankheg will also stay away from the water on the East side of the room. There is a door on the north wall, which leads to a hall. --Ankheg stats: HP 30; Init +0; AC 18 (touch 9); Atk +3; Grapl +12; Dmg 2d6+5 plus 1d4 acid; Fort +6; Ref +3; Will +2; CR 3; Treasure 0; Sp Atk: this creature can spit acid in a 30 ft line, 4d4 acid damage, Ref DC 14 to halve damage, once every 6 hours.
---Room 4 [Puzzle Room] CR 2 At the south end of this room is a pool of water. Just in front of the pool is a small pedestal with a puzzle on top of it. This is the classic 1, 11, 21, 1211, etc puzzle. Solving the puzzle will cause the pool to drain, revealing a locked chest (pick lock DC 18). The chest contains Suun’s Helm (see description at the end of this section). The hallway in the North-East area leads to Room 5.
---Room 5 [First Spider Cave] CR 2 x 3 There is a wooden door at the entrance of Room 5. If the characters listen at the door, they can hear clicking and hissing noises on the other side. The door is stuck shut, requiring a Strength check (DC 22) to push it inward. The entire floor of this room is covered in a sticky substance, and webbing runs throughout the cave. All movement rates are halved while in this room. The room also contains 3 Large Spiders, as well as several egg sacs. The hallway to the north is also full of webbing and sticky material. Movement down this hallway is also halved. --Large Spider Stats: HP 20, 23, 25; Init +3; AC 14 (touch 12); Atk +3; Grapl +9; Dmg 1d8+2; Fort +5; Ref +4; Will +1; CR 2 (each); Treasure 0; Sp Atk: poison, 1d4 dmg per round for 1d6 rounds.
---Room 6 [Second Spider Cave] CR 5 / CR 2 x 2 The hallway opens directly into this room, where the queen spider waits for the characters to come to her. This room is covered in webbing as well, which keeps the movement at half speed. The queen spider is a Huge Spider, stats below. There are also 2 Large Spiders, use the stats from Room 5. The tunnel on the East wall is not blocked by a door at this end. If the characters search this room they will find goblin bones and armor, 32cp, 16sp, 4gp, and 2d4 precious stones worth 12gp each. --Huge Spider Stats: HP 50; Init +3; AC 16 (touch 11); Atk +6/+1; Grapl +18; Dmg 2d6+3; Fort +8; Ref +5; Will +2; CR 5; Treasure see above; Sp Atk: poison, 1d6 dmg for 1d8 rounds.
---Room 7 [Goblin Village] CR 3 x 5 / CR (1/3) x 45 The hallway from Room 6 opens directly into Room 7. Once in Room 7 the characters can resume their normal movement rates. The North-West section of Room 7, near the tunnel from Room 6, is an empty and rocky area. The middle and southern parts of Room 7, however, are home to a colony of goblins. The goblins live in a giant mushroom forest which they believe to be enchanted, since it resets every morning and, while living in it they do not age or die. There is a passage, marked as “A” on the map, which leads to the Under Dark. Using this passage the goblins have found a loophole to the rules of the time-loop spell which allows them to leave the timeless valley, but only if they go into the Under Dark. The characters can choose to leave the caves at this time, but it might be best to discourage them by having a large nasty creature guarding the Under Dark entrance, or by having it as a caved in tunnel. The goblins in Room 7 are generally suspicious of outsiders, but will not attack the characters unless they feel they are provoked. Goblin stats are below. In the South-West area of Room 7 is a secret tunnel which leads to Room 10. If the characters found the Small Key in room 2, then they can access this passage with no difficulty. Otherwise, opening the secret door requires a DC 22 Pick Lock check. Either way, locating the secret passage requires a successful Search check (DC 20). The South end of Room 7 is an underground pond which leads directly into Room 8. The pond is occupied by a small group (5) of Water Mephits (stats below). They must defeat the Mephits in order to cross the pond to reach Room 8 from Room 7. --Goblin Stats: HP 6; Init +1; AC 15 (touch 12); Atk +1; Dmg 1d6+2; Fort +3; Ref +1; Will -1; CR (1/3); Treasure Standard. --Water Mephit Stats: HP 20 (each); AC 17 (touch 12); Atk +3; Dmg 1d6+2; Fort +4; Ref +3; Will +3; CR 3 (each); Treasure Standard; Sp Atk: Breath Weapon, 15 ft cone of acid, 1d8 dmg; Sp Def: damage reduction 5/magic, fast healing (regen 2 hp / rnd).
---Room 8 [Sleeping Troll] CR 6 If the characters make it across the water from Room 7, or if they come back South-East from Room 9, then they will find Room 8 occupied by a large sleeping troll. This fellow wandered in here hunting the goblins, had a massive feast one day, decided to take a sleep, and has been sleeping off a food coma for the last several thousand years. Each morning he goes back to being just as sleepy and full as the previous day, so he just keeps sleeping. If the characters bring any light brighter than a candle into the room, there is a 40% chance the troll will wake up. If the characters bring the Mephit fight from Room 7 into Room 8, then the troll will definitely wake up. Otherwise, he will continue to sleep. If he wakes up, he will attack the characters. There is a tunnel in the West wall leading to Room 9. --Troll Stats: HP 70; AC 17 (touch 12); Atk +4; Grapl +14; Dmg 2d6 +2; Fort +11; Ref +4; Will +3; CR 6; Treasure Standard; Sp Def: Regeneration, re-grow limbs in 3d6 rounds, heal 4 hp / rnd.
---Room 9 [Empty Room] CR 0 This room has a small pool of clean water in the West end, and a tunnel leading to Room 10 in the North-East end.
---Room 10 [Secret Passage] CR 0 The secret passage from Room 7 is open at this end, and the characters can use this passage to go back to Room 7 if they want. Otherwise, this room is empty.
---Room 11 [Staging Area] CR 0 The passage from Room 10 empties directly into this room. There is a door at the far end which is closed. Have the characters make a Listen check (DC 15). If they succeed, they can hear a large animal stomping around nearby. A quick check at the door will confirm that the large animal is in beyond the door, in the next room. Otherwise this room is empty.
---Room 12 [Chained Dragon-Mini Boss] CR 8 This room contains three things to note: 1) a Young Blue Dragon, which is chained to a pillar in the middle of the room, 2) a cage in the South-West corner, hanging above a pool of water, containing a live human man, and 3) a spiral staircase in the South-East corner leading down. The man in the cage is Cal, Lorna’s husband. He has been trapped here for the last several hundred years. He can’t even remember how he got in the cage in the first place. Every day, the blue dragon kills him, and every morning he wakes up alive again. This is part of a spell put on the cage which acts in conjunction with the original time-loop. Killing the dragon ends the localized time loop spell, and allows Cal to return home to his wife and daughter. The dragon does not come back on subsequent days once killed, as room is technically part of the catacombs. The spiral staircase leads down to the catacombs, which are details later. --Young Blue Dragon Stats: HP 105; AC 21 (touch 10); Atk +12/+7; Grapl +15; Fort +10; Ref +8 Will +9; CR 8; Treasure Dragon hide; Sp Atk: Breath Weapon, line of lightning, 6d8 dmg; Sp Def: immune to electricity, vulnerable to water attacks.
---Room 1 [Entrance] CR 0 This room contains stairs going up to the natural caves, and doors in both the East and West walls. Upon entering this room the characters will notice that the floor and walls have a more finished look, and appear to have been carved by skilled craftsmen. There are sconces for torches on all of the walls, though they are all empty. Unless otherwise noted, all of the doors in the catacombs are banded wood, have latches, and are unlocked. All hallways, unless otherwise noted, are empty and do not contain any creatures or encounters, unless lured there by the characters. The time loop effect is not active in this final area of the valley, and if the characters die here, they will stay dead, unless raised normally. Also, if the characters decide to stop and sleep in any secured room of the catacombs, they can do so without having to worry about resetting to the farmhouse. Any creatures killed in this area also stay dead.
---Room 2 / Room 4 [Storage Hall] CR ? (16 x 1d3 modified beetles) Room 2 – This room contains 16 large jars and several stacks of rotting material which appears to have once been equipment, weapons, and armor. Each of the jars contains 1d3 modified giant fire beetles. --Giant Fire Beetle Stats: HP 6 (each); Init +0; AC 17 (touch 13); Atk +4; Dmg 2d6; Fort +3; Ref +2; Will +0; CR 1/2 (each); Treasure Standard; Sp Atk: Breath Weapon, 6 foot cone, 1d6 fire dmg, ignites flammable material.
Room 4 – This room contains 16 large jars and several stacks of rotting material which appears to have once been clothing, silk, and food. Each of the jars contains 1d3 modified giant ice beetles. --Giant Ice Beetle Stats: HP 5 (each); Init +1; AC 16 (touch 12); Atk +4; Dmg 2d6; Fort +2; Ref +3; Will +0; CR 1/2 (each); Treasure Standard; Sp Atk: Breath Weapon, 6 foot cone, 1d6 frost dmg.
---Room 3 / Room 5 [Guard Room] CR ? (Improved Undead Guards) Room 3 – Each of these rooms contains 10 skeleton guards. They will only animate and attack if the characters damage any of the bones in the room, or when the characters attempt to go further into the catacombs. --Skeleton Guard Stats: HP 15 (each); Init +5; AC 16 (touch 13); Atk +4; Dmg 2d4 (19-20 x2); Fort +3; Ref +4; Will +5; CR ½ (each); Treasure Standard, plus Greatsword; Sp Def: damage reduction 5 / bludgeoning, immunity to cold.
---Room 6 [Sanctus Initus] CR 5 (Greater Wight) This room contains some chests full of rotting books and clothes, and a raised platform in the center. On the center platform is a closed sarcophagus. If the characters enter this room, the doors will close and lock behind them, the ceiling will start glowing red (enough to see clearly), and the sarcophagus will open, releasing the wight. --Greater Wight Stats: HP 40; Init +2; AC 18 (touch 13); Atk +2; Dmg 1d4+Special; Fort +2; Ref +2; Will +6; CR 5; Treasure Special, 1 Ring of Protection +1, Phylactery, Ring of Jumping; Sp Atk: energy drain, stunned 1 rnd, -3 to Atk, -2 to AC; Sp Def: damage reduction 5 / bludgeoning. Spells: Lightning Bolt (4d6 dmg, touch atk), Black Tentacles (unable to move 1d4 rnds+1d4 dmg/rnd), Flame Arrow (1d6 dmg, ranged atk).
---Room 7 [Rat’s Nest] CR (1/2) x 15 (Dire Rats) This room contains a nest of Dire Rats which have been accessing the natural caves above through a series of small tunnels. Any character larger than a naked Halfling cannot fit through these tunnels. The rats will attack the characters on sight. At the north end of the room, under a large pile of refuse, is a Large Chest containing Suun’s Hammer (described later). The chest is locked (DC 18). --Dire Rat Stats: HP 8 (each); Init +3; AC 16 (touch 14); Atk +4; Dmg 1d4+Special; Fort +3, Ref +6; Will +3; CR ½ (each); Treasure 0.
---Room 8 [Archives] CR 1 x 16 (animated books) This room contains bookshelves which are falling apart, and books and scrolls which are turning to dust. If the characters enter this room they are immediately attacked by animated books, which fly and have a viscous bit attack. Each of these books has relatively low hit points, but they are very hard to hit, which raises their effective CR. At the north end of the room, under a pile of books and scrolls, is a Large Chest containing Suun’s Shield (described later). The chest in unlocked. --Animated Book Stats: HP 2 (each); Init +2; AC 22 (touch 22); Atk +5; Dmg 1d3; Fort +0; Ref +8; Will -2; CR 1 (each); Treasure See above.
---Room 9 [Sanctus Medius] CR 6 (Babau Demon) This floor of this room is covered in slime, reducing the character’s movement by half. Once the characters get about halfway through the room they are attacked by the Babau Demon. --Babau Demon Stats: HP 60; Init +2; AC 19 (touch 11); Atk +7; Dmg 1d6+5; Fort +10; Ref +6; Will +6; CR 6; Treasure Standard; Sp Atk: Darkness (at will); Sp Defense: damage reduction 10/cold iron or good, immunity to poison and electricity, resist fire 10, resist ice 10, resist acid 10.
---Room 10 [Sanctus Sanctorum] CR 8 (Kozl’s Shadow) This room contains an open area with decorative pillars, and what appears to be a room-within-a-room on the North end. Searching this room will reveal nothing of importance. If one of the characters touches the door to the inner room, they find that it will not open, and the pillars begin to glow red. This summons Kozl’s Shadow, which may attack the characters after questioning their motives. If defeated in combat, the shadow will drop a red, pulsing crystal, see Kozl’s Crystal as described later. --Kozl’s Shadow Stats: HP 60; Init +2; AC 16 (touch 16); Atk +4 (touch); Dmg 2d6; Fort +3; Ref +5; Will +7; CR 8; Treasure Special (see above); Sp Def: damage resistance 5 / good, vulnerability to Suun’s Hammer (1.5 times damage).
---Room 11 [Suun’s Chamber] CR 0 Once Kozl’s shadow is defeated the characters can open the doors to the inner room. The room has an altar in the middle, with Suun’s symbol, a sideways hourglass, carved into the top. If the characters have collected Suun’s artifacts from the other areas of the caverns and catacombs, then they just need to place them on the altar. If they have not, then an ethereal Suun will appear before them and ask that they retrieve his belongings so that he can become whole again.
Once Suun is released from Kozl’s trap, he will reward the characters with some pretty cool stuff, which is appropriate to their level. He will also probably mention Kozl’s Crystal
Artifacts / Treasure / Loots
Suun’s Hammer – This appears to be a +2 war-hammer made from one solid piece of metal. Suun’s symbol, the sideways hourglass, is engraved on the side of the hammer. For characters of a Good alignment, the hammer is light and easy to wield. For characters of any other alignment, it is too heavy to use as a weapon. The hammer is considered a magical weapon / holy weapon. On a critical roll, the hammer causes the target to freeze in time for 1 full round, effectively stunning the target.
Suun’s Shield – This appears to be a +1 Heavy Steel Shield made from one solid piece of metal. For characters of a Good alignment, the shield is light and is treated as a Light Steel Shield for purposes of weight and armor check penalties. Characters of other alignments cannot use this shield, as it is too heavy. This shield grants an additional +1 AC against Evil creatures.
Suun’s Helm – This helm appears to be a standard half helm. It weighs 2 pounds for any character who wants to carry or wear it. This helmet grants a Good-aligned wearer the following constant spell-like abilities: Dark-vision (30 ft), and +2 on Listen checks.
Kozl’s Crystal – Invoking this artifact causes the character to shift one alignment classification towards Evil. Invoking the crystal requires a successful Willpower check (DC 18). Once invoked, the crystal grants the following permanent bonuses to the character: Dark-vision (+30 ft), Resist Fire 5, Ethereal Jaunt (up to 3 rounds per day, otherwise per spell description). Once the crystal has been invoked, it will dissolve into a worthless chalky powder.