Sunday, December 2, 2012

Iron Rations Part IX

Aithne hated to admit it, but things weren’t looking good. She and her companions had wandered for days in the mountains, looking for some dwarven ruins. When they finally found them, Aithne almost wished they hadn’t.

     The ruins were built into a cliff face, with only the remnants of large double doors visible. The doors were in terrible shape and it was clear that a great battle had taken place here long ago. Deep cuts were visible in the doors, as if they had been hacked at with axes. Littering the entrance were the skeletal remains of goblins and dwarves alike.

     Abel gripped his sword nervously. He looked at Devon and asked, “This is going to suck, isn’t it?” 

     “Yes, Abel, I think it will.”

     “Great,” muttered Apris. “I’m probably going to get mauled or something.”

     “One can hope,” thought Aithne. “One can hope…”

Dwarven Way Station
     The companions have located an abandoned way station used by dwarves from the Shale Mountains as a resting place during their prospecting expeditions. Eventually, a goblin warband discovered its location and attacked en masse. Ten dwarven defenders held off 100 goblins for several days until finally succumbing. The victorious goblins looted the way station then left. Since then it has been used as a lair for a number of wandering monsters. Currently, six bugbears are residing within.

a) Entrance
     A short flight of stairs carved into the rock leads up to large, wooden double doors. The double doors are in terrible disrepair. It appears as if they have been hacked at with axes and battered with rocks, in addition to being peppered with arrows. Scattered about are the skeletal remains of several dwarves and a few dozen goblins. The weapons and armor of the fallen are rusted and have no value.

b) Foyer
     This small space is occupied by the skeletal remains of a few dwarves and at least a dozen goblins. The skeletons completely cover the floor. There are two iron torch sconces in the wall. There is nothing of value in this room.

c) Front Hall 
     Skeletal remains, dwarf and humanoid alike, litter the floor. There is nothing of value to be found amid the chipped axes and rusted mail. Iron torch sconces are built into the walls. A wooden door in the north wall is slightly ajar. Unknown to the characters, a bugbear sentry listens on the other side. It will silently move away from the door to alert its companions in the main hall. 

d) Main Hall
     A nasty surprise awaits the first character through this door. Ready to pounce are three bugbears, with three more lurking in the shadows. When the door is opened by a character, the bugbears will surprise the party on a roll of 1-3 on a d6. After the first round of combat, the remaining three bugbears will emerge from the shadows to attack.

     Anything of value in this room has been carried away long ago. There are doors in the north, east and west walls. The sconces in the walls do not hold torches, so the room will be pitch black unless the party has a light source.

Bugbears (6); AC: 5, Hit Dice: 3+1, Hit Points: 13, Move: 90’, Attacks: 1, Damage: d6+1 (club), Save As: Fighter 3, Morale: 9, Alignment: Chaotic, Special: Bugbears surprise on a roll of 1-3 on a d6. 
     Due to their strength, they add +1 to damage when using a weapon.

e) Storage
     This room was once used as storage by the dwarves. It is now empty, except for a few cave crickets and spiders.

f) Kitchen
     An iron pot hangs from the ceiling, suspended by a chain. The bugbears are using the pot as a convenient storage place for their treasure. Inside are 250 cps, 100 sp and 100 gp.

     To guard their loot, a pit viper (8 hp) has been placed on top of the coins. The snake has been fed a rat to keep it from wandering off. Any character foolish enough to stick a hand into the pot is in for a nasty surprise.

Pit Viper; AC 6, Hit Dice: 2, Hit Points: 8, Move 90’ (30’), Attacks: 1 bite, Damage: 1-4 + poison, Save As: Fighter 1, Morale: 7, Alignment: Neutral.
     Due to their keen senses, pit vipers always win initiative. Any victim bitten by a pit viper must save vs. Poison or die.

g) Sleeping Quarters
     After descending a flight of stairs, the characters will arrive in a chamber once used as a communal sleeping area. The wooden bunks have succumbed to dry rot. A few insects skitter about.

     In the SE corner is a secret storage space in the floor. The space - a mere 3’ x 3’ x 3’ - is concealed under an expertly cut flagstone that blends in perfectly with the floor. An elf character who rolls a 1-2 on a d6 will be able to locate it. A +1 sword is hidden inside. It was commissioned by a noble decades ago, but was never delivered.

Post Script
     Abel Artone slumped against the wall. His head pounded and blood oozed down his cheek from a cut above his eye. Apris the Wondrous dabbed at the wound, whispering encouraging words to him.

     “You did well, Abel. I’m so proud of you, so so proud.”

     “As am I,” said Devon as he stepped into the room, a smile upon his face. “I found something for you, Abel.”

     “I hope it’s not another bugbear, Devon. Those damn things really pack a punch. Forget dwarves. I used to hate dwarves, but now I hate bugbears.”

     “Well, this will make you feel better.”

     Devon placed a finely crafted sword on Abel’s lap. Delicate runes etched into its keen blade hinted at its magical nature. Abel clutched the blade to his chest.

     “Thank you, Devon. It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.”

     Upon noting the frown on Apris’ face, he amended his words.

     “I mean besides Apris it’s the most beautiful thing in the world.”

     With that said, Abel leaned back and closed his eyes for a bit of well-deserved rest.

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