Ventner's Crag


A note on spells - There are a variety of spells still active in the crag - unless specified these are set on the Trigger advantage - and detect on Spatial Awareness. All are at 0 END, continuous, uncontrollable and if applicable, SPD 3 (this can mean that some magical traps will have a distinct "recharge" period). Also, a large part of the complex is still affected by a "timestop" spell - a transform attack (Minor effect, 10 d6, area effect radius, continuous uncontrollable @ 0 END) that changes everything in the area into whatever it was 1 turn ago) for a grand total of 400 active points. This spell is the key to the adventure - read the description of it carefully before attemptng to run this adventure!


Level 1 (Map of Level 1)

1
Entry room - A long stone room, unfurnished. 3 arches with ornate carving around them give exit. A close examination (PER roll) will reveal writing twined in with the abstract forms. The words are in Atalantëan and merely declaim a poem of welcome, but anyone who can read Atalantëan will detect that the grammar and syntax are crude - although the carving is not. All the three obvious arches are spell-trapped. Anyone crossing the trap will be hurled toward the wall by a strength 25 telekinesis. The fourth arch is hidden by a light illusion (8 d6, effect +0). It can be simply walked through. There is also a concealed door in the corner, which folds - it is metal cunningly carved to resemble stone, but a simple check in this corner - (per roll) will reveal it.

2
Hex chamber - This room is the central hall where assemblies and where formal ceremonies were held. The walls are polished stone, and each corner is carved in the shape of a tree - their spreading branches form the supports that hold up the arching roof - which is 10 m high in the centre. The roof is carved to represent the heavens - there is a golden sun set in the eastern side of the roof, and a silver moon (now tarnished black) in the western. In between are set 77 carved semiprecious stones to represent stars. A PER roll is necessary to notice these facts (only given if roof examined). Of course, some means of reaching the roof would need to be devised to get at these.

3
Preparation chamber - This is where novices were prepared for the initiation ceremonies by being stripped and left here. The room is actually 7m high, but a light illusion (8d6, Effect +0) 3 m above the floor appears to be a normal stone ceiling. Above this is a metal grate - on this sacrifices would be slaughtered, so the blood would soak the initiate below - apparently dripping through the ceiling. On the grate are a number of cages to hold sacrifices - large enough for a human or similarly sized animal and racks with butchering tools. There is also a lowerable ladder to give access to the grate. The floor of the room has trenches to carry the blood into a waste pipe that gives access to the outer world. Up the pipe have come some of the vile little bloodsucking creatures called Malacuzzi. They nest here and flock out at night to make travellers miserable. 3d6 of them will be present initially, and double that number after an initial encounter, feasting on the remains of the dead.

5
Resting room - Initiates of the cult could meet here, relax and talk (and laugh at any novice foolish enough to try to walk in to join them). This room has whitewashed walls and ceiling, with dark support beams across the roof. There are tables and benches, heavy enough to resist dissolution from age, although they are a bit creaky. The skins on the floor will disintegrate if walked on, but if examined first, some are recognisable as the skins of Greatfangs (INT roll at -4, or normal rolls if the character has some knowledge of these sorts of things) - which have been extinct in this area for centuries (although they were around when the tower was standing!) There are also goblets, plates and cutlery - some brass and some (about 15 Gp worth) of silver. These are largely cast or carven with battle or hunting scenes.

6
The processional - When initiates came to watch another initiation, they were required to walk around the processional. A minor confusion spell operates here - once within the processional a mental illusion (ECV 7, 8 d6, Effect +10) makes the curving passage appear to go from one entrance into 5, to the other - in other words, the person walking through thinks the passage just loops back into the room they have come from. The door into #7 is completely obscured.

7
Observation chamber - When novices were being prepared for the ceremonies, accepted members could sit here and observe their progress (in #3) through slits in the walls. Initiates who observed also had the duty of killing those who panicked and re-entered #3. The room has seats and couches carved from the stone of the floor - but the cushions which cover them will turn to dust at a touch. Resting in this room is the last creature to enter the tunnels - a Ghrak. This is a not-very-intelligent minor demon. It pursued 2 novices in here (their extremely chewed remains decorate the floor, although they are now only a fine litter of bone fragments) and once here, and failing to find any way out, it has sat down with demonic patience to wait for a meal or an exit to present itself. Even a Ghrak can get bored after 2 millennia though, and it will eschew its usual sneaky approach for a violent assault on the first back it catches turned, followed by a bolt for the suddenly opened door.

 

8
Passage of ordeal - After the novice was drenched in blood, the pelting of missiles would normally drive them into this passage. Once within the mouth of the tunnel, the ordeal would begin with a number of spells that signify the ranks of the order of Ventanach Cruach. The ordeals were not designed to kill, but to wound and discourage all but the hardiest. There is a quiet zone between each spell ward. The first is a zone of intense wind blowing back towards #3. This is a 4d6 autofire EB (physical) with double knockback. The second is the same effect, but appears as a wall of water raging down the passage. If these perils are successfully passed, the novice would suddenly seem to be transported to a pleasant wooded grove (a mental illusion, ECV 7, 8 d6, Effect +10) - however, if they attempted to cross, the trees reach out their branches and attack (ECV 7, 10d6 attack can do stun, Effect +20). If the fierce grove is surpassed, then the novice finds himself back in the passage and his goal, the golden door into #9 in sight. However, any further advance causes the floor of the passage to become viscous and clay-like and suck the victim down (3d6 entangle, entangle takes no damage from attack, and a 1d6 NND, which only operates at SPD 2 (defense not needing to breathe, or protected breathing). If the novice breaks free of the mud, the floor subsides behind them and they are almost at the door - but as soon as it is approached the final and worst test is activated - a wall of fire bursts from the floor and wall (2d6 RKA, energy, 1 hex area effect). If the novice survived this last test, or even attempted it and failed, there would be priests waiting to heal their wounds. A novice who attempted all tests but failed would be healed and wake up in #3 - they could try again later - but one who gave up and ran back into #3 would be killed by the initiates in #7.

9 & 10
Cult offices - These rooms were where cult business was carried out - assessing dues, discussing new campaigns, that sort of thing. There once were shelves of scrolls, but these have collapsed and covered the floors in detritus. There is little of value here. Both rooms had ornate tables with solid marble tops. the one in #9 has collapsed, but the one in #10 is still standing (barely). The slightest touch will topple it, and a DEX roll is needed to avoid 6d6 damage (aimed specifically at the legs and feet - so only count armour in that location).

11
Cult office - This office is in better condition than the others. It has a massive table, surrounded by chairs of gilded wood. If someone really insists on scraping it all off (which will take a long time) then they will get about 10 Sp of gold per chair. There are leather hangings on the wall - cracked and dulled by age, but retaining their portraits of past cult leaders. They will break up if handled roughly. The figures wear armour that appears extremely archaic (INT roll at 3 or KS: historian etc to place as pre-invasion and/or pre-Na-Fèile). Each figure has a carefully drawn background, representing their origin - one figure is posed in front of what is obviously Ventner's crag, but it has a fortress of strange and solid construction on it. Another has a skyline that resembles the Croimlinne mountains near Phadraig (INT roll, only noticeable if familiar with the area) but a large (unidentifiable) stone city is depicted on its foothills. The hangings conceal the doors into #12. There is also a large fireplace - the top of the chimney is blocked with melted stone but it is relatively thin (about 10 cm or so, and could be chipped through with a half-day's effort and some metal tools).

12
Armoury - Where the cult kept a small supply of special armour and weapons. Most of it was taken above for the defence of the castle, leaving empty stone shelves and collapsed wooden racks, but a dozen stout shields, ornamented with protective runes remain, as do a large number of spears (with rotted, useless shafts), three suits of chain (rusted but salvageable) and 8 swords (also rusted - will work OK, but break on any to hit roll of 5 or less). In one corner is a large shield, covered with a wolfskin. One touch, and the skin will fall into dust, revealing a shiny surface. Whoever touched it will be attacked with a 4d6 strength drain (1 point returns / day). The shield has a Damage shield on it (which was why it was covered) and can only be grasped safely from behind. Getting it off the wall without using another charge may prove a challenge! There are 7 charges left in the shield.

13
Guard Automaton - Behind this door is a false passage which holds an animated suit of armour (plate and chain). It is an automaton, set to prevent entrance to rooms 3, 14 or 15. The command words which activated and deactivated it are long lost. If this door, or the others mentioned, are opened it will attack, but will not leave room #2.

STR

20

+20

DEX

12

+6

CON

0

-20

BOD

10

INT

2

-8

EGO

-

PRE

10

COM

0

-5

PD

0

-4

ED

0

SPD

3

+8

REC

6

END

0

STUN

-

Total

-3

OCV

6

DCV

4

POWERS

37

1 1/2 d6 HKA (3d6 w. STR) @ 0 END (claws)

63

Armour 7 PD/ED

60

Takes no stun (60 point level)

8

Life support (doesn't eat, sleep or age)

4

+2 OCV with claws

1

Program: attack hand to hand

173

Total powers and skills

170

Total creature cost

14
Purification Room - This is a small shrine where cult members could meditate before combat in #15. The walls are decorated with bas-reliefs of warriors battling in a wood. The last priest alive on this level came here and disembowelled himself. The sword with which he did it lies beneath him - the recipient of his dying curse. If the body is examined, the sword will be seen to be quivering on a PER roll. If the body is disturbed, it will crumble into dust and the sword will fly free and attack whoever is closest - it has become animated by the final curse of the priest. Treat it as an automaton thus :

STR

15

+10

DEX

14

+12

CON

0

-20

BOD

5

-10

INT

1

-9

EGO

-

PRE

10

COM

0

-5

PD

0

-3

ED

0

SPD

3

+6

REC

6

END

0

STUN

-

Total

-19

OCV

5

DCV

9

POWERS

22

1 d6 HKA (2d6 w. STR) @ 0 END

21

Armour 7 PD/ED

60

Takes no stun

8

Life support (doesn't eat, sleep or age)

1

Program attack hand to hand

32

Shrinking : 2 levels, always on

144

Total powers and skills

125

Total creature cost

Although it will attack ceaselessly, a smart player might be able to muffle it in a cloak, confine it in a box or such like - it could be useful if used carefully.

15
Room of Ritual Combat - In this room, cult members who had a grudge could settle their differences and members who had offended the cult's rules would redeem their honour in combat against a chosen champion. The room is decorated with pillars that are cast from brass and resemble trees, their branches spreading over the ceiling. A per roll will note that the edges of the branches are razor sharp, and hinged. The floor, which is an irregular mosaic, contains numerous trip pads, which cause the branches to fall - in this way the God could enter the fray, since as the combatants moved, they could not help setting off the traps. For each person in the room, check each phase : 8- and the trap is triggered (Count as area effect, 2d6 HKA, activate 8-, triggered by movement, continuous uncontrollable, 16 uses ) Once 16 traps have been sprung, all the moving branches are down, and no more will fall. The room has one other notable feature - once the first trap is triggered, the doors which are of stout iron, are barred and cannot be opened from inside although anyone outside could do so.

16
The Robing Room - This room has plastered and painted walls depicting a nude figure battling the perils of the Passage of Ordeal - each wall one ordeal. The door has a picture of a figure robed in blue and wearing an eagle mask - this is set into the door in semiprecious stone - most of it turquoise (about 10 gp worth if all prised out). In the centre of the room is a pentagonal cupboard, carven of dark wood - each side a door. Within are hooks for hanging robes and masks, mostly bare, but with 3 of the blue cloaks and 3 eagle masks. The masks are tough hide, gilded, painted and feathered - actually worth 2 or 3 Gp to a collector of antiquities. The cloaks will collapse into dust if disturbed.

17
Shrine of Ventanach Cruach - This is the small shrine used for minor ceremonies and was as far as first grade initiates ever got. The room once had fine hangings, but these are gone to dust, exposing the wall. The only major feature in the room is a statue of Ventanach Cruach in black iron - a winged warrior in archaic armour, which is highlighted with silver (about 1 Sp worth can be scraped off)

18
Stone corridor - This long stone corridor has been roughly carved. It is about 100 m long and there are 2 places where an average height human could hit his head - (damage 2 d6 plus V/3) if running (PER roll to notice unless moving at normal pace, with good light).

19
Vestibule - The entrance to the priestly chambers is a long room decorated at eye height with a complicated frieze. There are hooks for robes and masks, all currently empty. On the floor is the partly burned body of a priest who dragged himself this far before succumbing to his wounds. His armour, of otherwise fine make, is half melted (giving the players some idea of the magnitude of the spell he absorbed!)

20, 22
Chambers of the mysteries - This is where the priests of the shrine conducted their business. These two chambers are identically set out. In the centre of the room is a brazier, set up with a pile of spices and incense - their aroma is still potent after 2 millennia - a sure sign of strong sorcery ! The priests were about to attempt a scrying when the attack on their fortress diverted them - those who went upstairs perished messily - a few of the others retreated below, and when the inevitable happened, spent all their energy to create the timestop field (see above). If anyone lights the incense, the spell is triggered. Those who are within 4 M of the brazier will suddenly be granted precognition for 1 turn. Unless the players state when they will attempt to look, just pick a random date in the future (roll d100 for number of hours) and tell the players - "Suddenly you are in a room filled with dark-skinned warriors, who are yelling in an unintelligible language ..." or somesuch (Read through the rest of the adventure and choose a likely future for them to see. Then it is up to you to make it happen). If the players try to stop seeing the vision they can - but will miss out on possibly useful information. If they choose to view the scenes, remember that they are blind and deaf to what is happening around them - although touch will affect them. Since the braziers are the matrix of the spell, any attempt to move them will disrupt the spell and the magical essences fall to dust, immediately losing any scent or usefulness.

21, 23, 24
Chambers of the mysteries - Not knowing if they would be pursued or not, the priests who fled below set up wards to protect their line of retreat. #21 has a 9d6 mental illusion, triggered by people entering, of a company of fighters pouring out of the room - they will attack at OCV 7 and do stun damage only (EGO +20 effect) - they will keep pouring out of the room until they are successfully disbelieved or everyone is rendered unconscious. The spells area of effect only covers the room - players who flee will not be pursued. The spell has only two charges. Room #23 has an area effect spell 5" of flight, persistent @ O END usable against others - the 3 people who step into the room (or 3 attacks on the first person if preceding ones miss) will be attacked at OCV 5. If hit (and less than 200 kg total weight) the character will fly up into the ceiling (taking 2d6 damage and being held there). # 24 is empty, apart from the stairs down. The rooms themselves are full of shelves that have collapsed, spilling decayed parchments all over the floors, and in #21, this is mixed with a litter of broken glassware and pottery. Amidst this lot is a stone flask (PER roll to find, only if searched for) which has a magic potion. There are 3 doses in it, each sufficient to give the imbiber +30 STR, for 1 full turn @ 0 END.