The party has discovered what the Veil of Atonement is, and has been asked to locate and retrieve their overdue Lorekeeper, Taplan Tomebinder.
(M Ixen Expert 3, AC: 16, HP: 16, spear (+3 [1d6+1/x3]), Merisyl Ability: Summon Monster I) – Mendolo is a cocky mountaineer who is confident in his own ability to lead a group though the mountains despite their undoubted inadequacies as climbers. He expects his instructions to be followed promptly and successfully, and doesn’t necessarily always provide an explanation as to why he gives the orders he does.
(M Human Expert 8, AC: 12, HP: 28, dagger (+3 [1d4 | 20/x2])) - Taplan has come to Rosedawn to learn more about the City of Crystal Domes. He is investigating similarities between the decline of the Troglodyte civilization and the Pacantryx civilization.
(Male Green Dragon (young) CR: 8, XP: 6,000, AC: 22, HP: 115, bite +13 (2d6+7), 2 claws +13 (1d8+5), 2 wings +8 (1d6+2), tail slap +8 (1d8+7), breath weapon (40-ft. cone, DC 17, 6d6 acid), DR 2/acid) - Tavlamavar is a young green dragon looking to establish a mountain retreat in which he can build his hoard. He discovered a tribe of troglodytes in the Mountains of Rach that were awed by his power and charismatic presence, and quickly became his loyal subjects. Led primarily by the twin brother Oracles Lavunimas and Zendoxino, the tribe both worships and fears Tavlamavar, and would die rather than cross him.
Mendolo’s character lends itself to some colorful dialog for the DM. A successful voice for him? Pépe, the Muppet king prawn.
The Facts are These
While Taplan Tomebinder was visiting Rosedawn to research their historical archives the village was raided by troglodytes under the direction of Tavlamavar. Rosedawn has extensive historical archives that focus on the legend of the City of Crystal Domes. Allegedly built by troglodytes millennium ago, rumors have drawn adventurers and scholars to Rosedawn for hundreds of years to research and explore. Its normal population is about 120 - primarily non-combatants.
Taplan was captured along with 12 other villagers and brought back to the cavern system the troglodytes refer to as Tavlamavarburrow.
For all that Krunderyx was separated by a mere 20 mile stretch of water from Aodar, it might as well be on another plane. As your ship glides cautiously through the thick fog, the lambent violet illumination given off by Moonglow Bay creates a disorienting sense of otherworldliness. As you draw closer to the steep cliffs of the Mountain of Rach, pinpricks of flame become visible along the cliff wall. The city has been carved into the very face of the mountains, and streetlights and the lit windows of homes pierce the night eerily.
The gleaming white marble piers jut into the water, bracketed by the imposing granite warehouses that are the only portion of the city at ground level. While the ship is being tied off your eyes trace the webwork of cable car wires and lift pulleys that makes such a vertical design possible.
The captain quickly disembarks to pay the docking fee, gesturing for you to take the enormous left that sits ready to bring you into Krunderyx.
The party has been told to ask for a guide at Mountain Unlimited, an equipment supply store for mountain travel and survival. This is where they will meet their guide, Mendolo Farcaster.
Along the eight day journey the party may encounter a variety of dangerous monsters between Krunderyx and Rosedawn. There is a 15% chance per day of an encounter during the sunlight, and a 25% chance after dark.
The path from Krunderyx to Rosedawn takes the party through the Valley of Insanity, and the coniferous forest to the north of it, and then west along the base of Rosemount – the impressive snow-covered peak with a thick vein of rose quartz visible for miles.
Valley of Insanity
Mendolo pauses during the steep descent to the valley floor shrouded in fog below you, and motions to the party to gather around. "This valley below is treacherous, you see? The fog, it hides many dangers, yes? The plants will not stay put, and the pollen, it drives you mad! These Basidirond, they will benefit from a good goat munching, eh?
Crossing the valley at normal walking speed will take 90 minutes. Every 15 minutes there is a 50% chance of encountering 1d2 Basidirond (CR5, XP: 1,600, AC: 18, HP: 52, slam (+10 [1d8+7|20/x2]), hallucination cloud, spores, tremorsense, Perception +0).
Successfully making stealth checks opposed by the Basidirond perception check can allow the party to pass encountered Basidirond undetected, but will double the time taken to cross the valley.
As you emerge from the dark foliage of the Valley of Insanity the glare of the sun off of the snow-covered peak in front of you is almost painfully bright. The broad vein of pink quartz must conduct heat from deep within the mountains, as that strip alone stands free of snow. A vibrant pink reflection colors the mountainside all the way down to the village of Rosedawn, visible a quarter-mile away. It is clear that this peaceful remote village takes its name from the beauty of the mountain on which it rests.
As you draw closer to Rosedawn, however, it is clear that all is not well. Dwarves are laboring to repair damaged homes, and the acrid scent of charred wood is occasionally detected on the wind.
Four days ago the village was raided by troglodytes. These savage cave-dwellers were sent by the green dragon Tavlamavar to kidnap residents of Rosedawn to fill his larder.
Questioning the survivors will reveal that the prisoners were taken into the mountains to the southeast. They made little attempt to cover their tracks, and a survival check at DC 15 will allow the party to locate and follow the trail.
Moglofar Crystalringer, an academic researching the City of Crystal Domes, will answer the party's questions and offer to put them up for the night before they set out, should they require rest.
The Troglodytes throughout Tavlamavarburrow fall into one of these categories:
The forced march of the prisoners from Rosedawn leads into a narrow tunnel on the west peak of one of the taller mountains in the area. However, after 210 feet of winding tunnel the trail goes cold - literally. There is no exit from the tunnel, and the wall at the end is noticeably colder than the remainder of the tunnel.
Lighting a fire (or providing any other sort of significant heat source) will cause ice under the tunnel floor to melt, allowing a section of the wall to sink away - revealing a secret tunnel deeper into the mountain. A perception check at DC 28 will reveal the presence of the wall segment that will open - but not how to open it.
Cave Fisher Nook (Map Location 2)
This offshoot of the passage has a 30' ceiling. On either side of the opening to this offshoot on a ledge 20' up sit four cave fishers (CR2, XP: 600, AC: 15, HP: 22, claws (+5 [1d4+3|20/x2]), filament (drag), Perception +0). A party actively looking for danger will notice dried filament, scrape marks and debris at the entrance to this nook with a perception check of 18. A survival or knowledge nature check of 14 will allow the party to identify the likely danger. The first four players to attempt to pass by the nook will be targeted by the cave fisher's filament attack.
Ramp (Map Location 3)
This lengthy ramp which descends 120' down to the cavern floor below is in clear view of the troglodyte village below. Attempts to move down the ramp stealthily are made at a -10. Should the party be spotted descending the ramp, the warriors of the village will send a party to hold them at the turn while pelting them with arrows from below.
Troglodyte Village (Map Location 4)
The floor of the cavern is home to four groups of troglodyte huts, a prisoner pen and a large structure which appears to be guarding a second exit from the cavern.
In each corner of this cavern sit three huts of approximately 15’ diameter. They are a rough stone construction with thatched roofs. There is a 50% chance for each hut that there is a Troglodyte resting within.
Under Tavlamavar’s Ledge (5), near the huts in the northwest corner, there is a bonfire prepared, complete with a stake and ropes set out – just waiting for a prisoner. Nine Troglodytes are gathered around this fire making final preparations to sacrifice a prisoner to Tavlamavar.
Prisoner Pen (B)
A palisade of rough-hewn logs has been thrown up crudely - yet it appears to be quite sturdy. 12 foot timbers are sharpened to cruel points. The buzzing of flies around the dirty smears at the tip suggest perhaps they have been coated in feces. A 5-foot section can be raised with a rope and pulley system, functioning as a narrow portcullis through which the prisoners are shepherded.
Included in the group of imprisoned villagers from Rosedawn is Grom Frostbier – an aggressive dwarf eager to avenge himself against the troglodytes.
This 40' diameter wooden barracks has been built such that it obstructs the passage out of the cavern to the east. The roof of the building rises above the 30' height of the passage. Any exit to the east must pass through the barracks itself.
There is a narrow (5') hallway directly through the barracks that leads into the east passage. This hall is guarded at each end by a troglodyte warrior. Doors on the north and south sides of the hallway lead into the actual living quarters of the troglodyte troops.
Tavlamavar's Ledge (Map Location 5)
A ledge 60' above the floor of the troglodyte camp provides a vantage point for the ruler of these caverns to oversee their meagre domain. Towards the north the floor inclines steeply, and and claw marks can be seen gouged into the floor. At the top of the slope the passage emerges from the mountainside to look over a lush green forest below.
Should the party overcome Tavlamavar and search his lair, they will find the following treasure:
A trio of Minotaurs have come to pay Tavlamavar their respects. They have erected their crude hide tent near a smoldering campfire.
Windy Valley (Map Location 7)
The tunnel opens into a windswept valley. Powdery snow gusts through the chill air, limiting visibility.
Return to Rosedawn
Somewhat bedraggled from your adventures with Tamlamavar and his devoted Troglodyte disciples, you wearily make your way across the mountains and back to Rosedawn. The citizens are pleasantly surprised to see you return.
If the party successfully retrieve the prisoners from Rosedawn, the village is elated, and offers the party supplies for their trek back to Krunderyx, including food and basic adventuring supplies (within reason). They also offer the party their choice of a 600 gp reward or a Tap of Everflowing Mead.
Return to Aodar
Taplan pauses in front of the Temple of Humanity and breathes a sigh of relief at his homecoming. He thanks you profusely. “Please, let us speak with Qindar Proth. I have no doubt that the Temple will reward you for my return.”
Led quickly upstairs to the elegant wood-paneled sitting room, Qindar greets Taplan with a warm hug. “Welcome back, my friend. My heart was heavy with worry for you.” She sinks into a chair with clear exhaustion.
“Things have not been well in the city. Elves and humans have been disappearing of the street, and there has been no justice for the murders done to us.” She sighs, and rubs her temple. “The council is taking no action. I cannot help but believe that someone is locking the gears of government with bars of gold. My pleas have fallen on deaf ears.”
She raises her eyes to meet yours… “I hate to impose… but can you help us once again? I have this reward for the return of our Tomebinder – but we need to put an end to this reign of terror.”
The Lorekeeper will have important insights as to the words of Litoriath and the Pacantryx people, if brought to the Pacantryx temple. See Unearthing the Truth.
Qindar Proth asks the party to help alleviate the racial tension in Aodar by taking out those responsible for fomenting discord. See Retribution.