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Author: Eric Noah
System: D&D Planescape
Requirements: A group of four 3rd-4th level characters.
This is one of my more "typical" Planescape adventures -- the PCs start out in Sigil, get hired by a stranger to complete a job in return for something the PCs want, travel to one of the Outer Planes, make a journey, complete their task, and return home.
Summary: Emra, a mid-level wizard and member of the Fated, is willing to let a wizard PC copy spells
from her spellbook, but only if he or she performs a "little errand" in return. [Substitute any
suitable reward or desired favor here.]
1. Meeting Emra. Emra has a young bariaur courier deliver a handwritten message from Emra
that says, "To the Berk what Rule-of-Three paid me to bash: I hears you wants
to see me. Meet me at the Shattered Temple at Anti-peak tonight, and bring yer bloody friends. Emra
of the Fated."
2. Encounters on the way to the Shattered Temple. The PCs have the following encounters:
a. Near the Temple: PCs encounter a pair of zealous Athar. They spout
off their anti-deity rhetoric and challenge the PCs to argue about it.
b. Old Stand-bys: Dabus, Harmonium patrol
3. At the Shattered Temple. Emra is looking for a gullible but hopefully capable bunch of
berks to carry out a mission she's put off for too long. Emra owes a favor to a high-up in the Fated, and
hopes the PCs can take care of the favor for her. She agrees to let PC spellcasters copy any spells from
her spellbook, if they agree to make a little delivery for her.
First, they must go to the Bottle and Jug tavern and track down a fat orc named Azok. He will provide
them with the package they are to deliver. Emra doesn't know what the package might be.
Second, they must locate a portal to The Gray Waste. Emra doesn't specifically know where to find such
a portal, but knows of a former member of the Fated who traveled there once. His name is Sadu and
he now resides in the Barmy wing of the Gatehouse. Hopefully, if they can meet with this lunatic, they can
get information on the location of the portal and its key. Emra notes that he loves chocolate.
Third, they must use the portal to travel to The Gray Waste. Once there, they must locate "an old
woman" named Moxelpik (a night hag) and see that she receives the package.
Emra, if pressed, even agrees to give payment ahead of time -- i.e. the PCs can copy the spells before they
leave for the Gray Waste. She threatens them with death if they turn stag on her.
Emra's Spellbook: color spray, feather fall, detect magic, read magic, spider climb; web, levitate,
Melf's acid arrow, continual light. [Or substitute in spells more geared toward surviving on the planes
-- warp sense, avoid planar effects, etc.]
4. In the Hive. PCs can find directions to the Bottle and Jug pretty easily. It's only
open from 8 ap to 8 bp (8 pm to 4 am -- it'll be dark outside). Once there, describe the fortress-like appearance.
The place is filled with ugly miscreants and humanoids of all sorts -- emphasize the lumpy troll women, the orcs
and hobgoblins. PCs can find Azok -- he's a very out-of-shape orc with a lot of expensive-looking jewelry.
Azok doesn't have the package on him, and offers to go get it while the PCs wait.
During their wait, Barl Hoxun approaches any burly-looking warrior and hands him or her a ticket to the boxing
match (see In the Cage: a Guide to Sigil for info on the Bottle and Jug boxing matches). If the warrior
declines, Hoxun says, "Well, come back again sometime ... when you've found some courage." If the
warrior accepts, he or she and the rest of the PC party are led to the back room, where a crowd is already watching
Akra tear appart a hapless ogre. Use the stats from In the Cage p. 109 for the fight.
Finally, Azok returns with the package. It is a small metal chest, locked, with key provided. The
key is teeny tiny, and will only grow to the right size when given to the hag.
5. In the Madhouse. PCs making a visit to the Madhouse must first contend with the madness
outside of it. Beggars and barmies roam about bothering folks.
Inside, PCs can track down someone who can help them find their contact. A female elf with a melancholy
expression first tries to talk PCs out of even bothering, then leaves them for a while while she tracks down Sadu.
Sadu needs some prompting to get talking, and when he does, it's in a bare whisper. He is an older man
with whispy white hair. He never makes eye contact. If PCs give him something to eat, especially candy,
he agrees to reveal what he knows:
"The Waste, so Gray. The Portal. A Warehouse in the Hive. Mitner's
Storage. A hidden stairway. Under Sigil. Dark tunnels. Very narrow. Rats. Secret
door. Near statue. A well. The key. Rotting meat. Bye-bye."
6. Under Sigil. The portal to the Gray Waste is located under a warehouse in the Hive.
A. Mitner's Storage is a run-down abandoned warehouse. The front door is securely locked,
but some upper story windows are broken open.
When PCs enter, they are attacked by pair a giant Gloomwing moth that lives in the loft area. The moth
has collected some bodies of dogs, cranium rats, and very small children. All of the bodies are infested
with moth eggs, and if destroyed the PCs should share an extra 200 XP.
Gloomwing: INT 1; AL N; AC 1; MV FL 18 (D); HD 5+1; hp 27; THAC0 15; #AT 3; Dmg 1-3/1-3/1-8; SA Pheremone
causes weakness -- lose 1 pt ST per round of exposure (save vs. poison at start), Bonus to surprise (-2), bonus
to attack on first swoop (+2); SD cause confusion (save vs. spells or confused for d4+4 rounds); SZ 8' wingspan;
A concealed trapdoor leads to a rickety ladder.
B. The musty dusty coridors here have a pair of alcoves. In each are two rotting corpses.
When PCs approach, all four rise up and attack. They are zombie-like, but also have a repulsive "breath
weapon" -- at the beginning of the battle they breathe out a cloud of stinging black insects. While
in the cloud, each PC takes 1-4 hp damage and must save vs. poison or fall asleep for 1 turn.
Putrid zombies (4): INT non; AL N; AC 8; MV 6; HD 2; hp 16, 10, 9, 9; THAC0 18; #AT 1; Dmg 1-8; SA insect
swarm; SD immunities; SW always strikes last; XP 120.
C. This stone cubicle has another rotting body wearing shredded leather armor. This
one is harmless. On the body is a backpack containing rusty thieves' tools, moldy cheese, a black cloth wrapped
around four Soul Prisms (each is worth 1-10 gp to a fiend, hordling, hag, etc.), and a sack containing a scroll-case
and a very small pouch. The scroll-case contains a piece of parchment detailing how to call forth a nightmare
on the Gray Waste, and one copy each of the spells required (mount, wall of fog, monster summoning
III). The tiny pouch contains 200 gp worth of platinum flakes.
D. When PCs approach they can hear a soft scurrying. Fifty-eight cranium rats dwell here,
munching on bits of flesh. They attack PCs with spells and mind blast until they lose 5 members of the pack,
then scurry away through holes in the walls.
Cranium Rats (58): INT Average - 11; AL NE; AC 6; MV 15; HD 1; hp 7 each; THAC0 19; #AT 1; Dmg 1-4; SA
Spells, mind blast; SD Save as creatures with HD equal to pack Intelligence, immune to sleep, resistance to mind
control; SW pack intelligence; MR nil; SZ T; ML 7; XP 65 each plus bonus for abilities of the pack; Equip: none;
Proficiencies: none; Personality: hungry, mean. These rats can cast 4 spell levels of wizard spells, and
use a mind blast once every 3 rounds. This pack typically casts the following spells: audible glamer
to attract victims into the room; charm person to cause a foe to fight on the side of the rats, sleep
to affect low-level opponents, magic missile (2 missiles) to batter an especially large or dangerous opponent.
The mind blast is projected in a cone 60 feet long, 5 feet wide at the rats, and 20 feet wide at the opposite end.
All within the cone must make a saving throw vs. wands or be stunned and unable to act for 3d4 rounds. A
psionicist, if present and if s/he wins the initiative, can detect the psionic activity and raise a defense form
if desired. These rats have no treasure. For every 5 rats killed, the group loses one point of intelligence
and loses spellcasting ability. They do not pursue the PCs if they flee.
E. PCs see a humanoid figure with a strange hat or headress on. When it turns around, PCs
see the Lady of Pain -- about 7 feet tall, wearing green robes, with blades emerging from her head. She is
floating a few inches off of the ground. She looks at the PCs for a moment, shakes her head sadly, then disappears.
She apparently was examining some writing on the "south" wall of this room: a detailed chalk drawing
of the "Lady-of-Pain" symbol, and arcane runes scrawled about it. [The DM is free to decide if this is
indeed the real Lady of Pain or just some illusion -- in my game, she was the real McCoy.]
F. This corridor has two more alcoves, one containing a statue of a spike-covered fiend.
Across the way is a secret door that opens by pulling the arm of the statue. Unfortunately, pulling the arm
of the statue also opens a pit trap directly in front of the statue. The pit is filled with spikes, so PCs
take 2d6 hp damage. In the bottom of the pit is a skeletal body with a +1 sheild (forged on Acheron).
F. This room holds the well which functions as a portal to the Gray Waste when any piece
of rotting meat is cast into it. Written around the lip of the well are strange runes, that, if deciphered,
say, "Cast forth rotting meat to enter the belly of the beast."
The Gray Waste
During the trip, the PCs notice that occaisionally the metal chest rattles and moves on its own.
Effects on Magic: Divinations are gloomy and sad, and half are totally false; Charm victims save
at +3; any animated dead are not mindless -- they are evil and free-willed. Teleportation is impossible
on this first layer of the Gray Waste.
Caves, area 1. Arrival. As PCs plunge toward the bottom of the Well, they find themselves
in a hot, slimy, dark tunnel. The walls of the tunnel squeeze them tight all around, and they can barely
move. As they crawl forward, they can see a dim light at the end of the slimy, glistening tunnel. As
they crawl out, they must crawl over some very sharp, pointed stones that surround the end of the tunnel.
The PCs have just emerged from the mouth of an ancient shadowdrake (PS MC II), who has always been a
portal to/from Sigil. She is a gigantic slug of a monster who has totally sucumbed to the emotion-draining
properties of the Gray Waste, and she is forever trapped in a small cavern with even smaller exits. She got
trapped here just before laying eggs, a few decades ago, and out of half dozen eggs, only one baby shadowdrake
survived. This critter terrorizes the hordlings, grimlocks, diaak and stench kine that live near the caves.
When PCs have finished crawling out, they can explore the cave for a few minutes. A huge pile of stones blocks
what might have once been an exit. Near the wall is a pile of bones. A stagnant pool of black water
covers about half of the cave floor.
The pile of bones holds the only interesting items -- treasures from a previous adventuring group. Among
the bones are pieces of corroded plate mail armor -- full of jagged, burnt holes. Also in the pile is a dusty
leather backpack, a corroded sword, a scabbard, a severely dented helmet with a skull still stuck inside, a spherical
gem of a dusty rose color, and a thin leather tube. The backpack holds a scrollcase (containing a written
journal [see handout at end of adventure] and a priest scroll of cure light wounds x3, cure serious wounds,
speak with animals and create food and water), some rotten rations, and a beaker of plentiful
potions (healing, extra-healing, elixir of health, and sweet water; creates each potion once
per week), and 8 50 gp gems (light blue quartz). The scabbard is a scabbard of empowerment (fits any
sword, if left in the scabbard for a week it becomes a +1 weapon on any plane; if it is not stored in the scabbard
for a week, then it reverts to normal; the scabbard can only empower one sword at a time). The thin tube
holds an ivory wand with the word ISHUX carved on it. It is a wand of frost with 8 charges left.
The gem is an ioun stone (+1 protection).
After the PCs have had a chance to rummage through the pile, there is a sudden splash from the pool. A
smaller version of the snake-like dragon splashes from the pool, with a dripping humanoid shape in its mouth.
The baby shadowdrake drops her prize, hisses in rage, and attacks!
The young dragon attacks with two tail slashes and a toothy bite at first, hoping to feed the intruders to his
mother. After two rounds, it uses its breath weapon liberally on whomever has caused it the most damage.
It fights to the death to defend its mother.
Mother Shadowdrake: No stats given (she is utterly listless, and will not attack unless provoked).
If attacked, she has an AC of -4 and can automatically kill all the PCs with her acidy breath weapon.
Very young shadowdrake: AC 3, HD 5, hp 30, MV 9, Sw 12, Br 1, THAC0 15, #AT 3, D d4/d4/d12 (tail/tail/bite),
SA Breath (30' long, 3' wide, hits 2 or 3 targets at most, does 3d4+2 acid damage round 1, half that during round
2, and a quarter of that during round 3, corrodes leather/bone/wood in 1 round, chain in 2, plate in 3), Cause
Disease (50% chance, sets in within 3-24 hours, renders victim helpless with fever, and kills victim within
12-48 hours after onset, can be cured with cure disease or neutralize poison); SD immune to poison and disease
attacks, MR 15%, XP 5,000.
After the youngster is killed, PCs must deduce that they have to swim through the brackish water, through a
narrow tunnel and into the next room. PCs with a swimming proficiency can do it without rolling if they take
off their armor. PCs with no swimming skills must make Strength and Constitution checks each round for three
rounds; if either fails during any round, they are stuck in the tunnel and will die in 5 rounds if not rescued
by another swimming PC.
Caves, area 2. The "south" wall of this cave is clustered with mushrooms and toadstools
of a pretty uniform shade of gray. They block a 3-high exit that the young shadowdrake can slither through
with ease. The dragon is immune to the attacks of a phycomid that rests near the exit: AC 5,
Mv 3, HD 5, hp 23, THACO 15, #AT 2, D 3-6/3-6, SA Infection, SZ T [2' dia.], ML 14, XP 650. Any character
approaching this area is subject to attack by means of alkaline globules which can be projected d6+6 feet (two
per round), causing the listed damage and forcing a save vs. poison to avoid becoming a host for phycomid spores.
If this occurs, the infected character begins to sprout
mushroom-like growths in d4+4 rounds. This causes d4+4 hp damage and will kill the infected character in
d4+4 turns if not healed by a cure disease spell.
Caves, area 3. PCs will have to wriggle through this low tunnel, as it is only 3' high at its tallest.
As they emerge, they can see light ahead.
Caves, area 4. PCs can find more mushroom growths if they care to explore this dead-end cave.
Outside the Caves, area 5. A small band of grimlocks is rooting around here, searching for their
lost companion (the humanoid dragged in by the baby shadowdrake). They are blind and mindless, and attack
PCs in a rage.
Grimlocks (6): INT Semi; AL NE; AC 5; MV 12; HD 2; hp 11, 11, 12, 12, 13, 13; THAC0 19; #AT 1; Dmg by
weapon (hand axe or short sword or club, all 1-6); SD immune to vision-related spells; SW blind; SZ M; ML 11; XP
35 each; Equip: weapons.
First view of the Gray Waste -- it is, well, gray. All things are uniformly gray and brown. There
is a cold, bitter wind a-blowin'. Within hours, everyone's clothing and skin has lost its normal color.
River Styx. A marraenoloth waits with a small raft. It demands 500 gp worth of gems, coins,
or magic before offering to transport the PCs to a spot where they can walk to the home of Moxelpik.
Journey on the River Styx. PCs are in for a long trip -- it takes what feels like two days to float
along the black waters of the river.
The first day is pretty uneventful. PCs see occaisional slimy critters wriggling near the surface of the
river. The boatman says absolutely nothing.
The first night, each PC has a very vivid dream full of vivid emotions. The next day, they discover that
the emotion can no longer be experienced.
The second day, PCs discover that another vessel is on the Styx with them. A huge iron ship is passing
by. Up above, along the railing, is a horde of mishapen fiends. They jeer at the PCs, and one hurls
a spear +2 (forged on Carceri, so +1 here) at a random PC (with a THAC0 of 15). If it misses, it lands
on the raft, and a PC making a DX check can catch it before it rolls into the water. If it hits, it does
1-6+3 damage, and the PC must make a DX check or fall into the Styx, losing his memory of one day or all of his
memory (save vs. spells).
Disembarking Point. The boatman points to a spire in the distance, then waits for PCs to leave.
He has left them within about a week's travel on foot.
PCs can hear a tremendous roar over a nearby ridge. If they go to investigate, they see the Blood War
in all its fury (this is The Field of Nettles).
Two days later. PCs discover a huge herd of cattle -- stench kine, the cows of hell. They
are mean-spirited animals, and are being watched over by three tall, lanky hordlings with snake-like heads and
black glistening skin. PCs can easily go around this herd without forcing an encounter with the hordlings.
Two days later than that. PCs see a lone figure loping ahead. It is a diaak, carrying a bulging
sack of larvae. As PCs get closer, the sack splits open, and the larvae wriggle out. If PCs try to
help it, or approach in any way, the diaak screeches and attacks.
Diaak (varath): INT low; AL NE; AC 0; MV 21; HD 6+6; hp 42; THAC0 15; #AT 1; Dmg d12; SA weakness
(1/day, save vs. spells or lose 1-6 ST points); audible glamer (1/day); jump (2/day); MR 30%; SZ
L; ML 5-7; XP 2,000; Equip: sack of larvae; Selfish, paranoid, cruel.
3 days later than that. PCs approach the base of the spire. It is made of a glassy, volcanic
stone, that is very smooth and impossible to climb. As PCs approach, four flying creatures descend from the
sky. PCs must make a convincing case that they need to see the hag, or the critters attack. Even if
the PCs convince the gargoyles, they will only be carried up if they have larvae for the hag, and bribes for the
gargoyles (any sort of gem for each one). If a fight breaks out, the gargoyles fly and swoop, and retreat
if hurt at all. PCs are then on their own to get to the top of this spire. [When we played, the PCs used
the scrolls from the tunnels under Sigil to summon a nightmare that carried them to the top of the black spire
-- clever of them, eh?]
Gargoyles (4): INT low; AL NE; AC 5; MV 9, fl 15; HD 4+4; hp 20, 20, 20, 20; THAC0 15; #AT 4; Dmg 1-3/1-3/1-6/1-4;
SA nil; SD +1 or better to hit; XP 420.
1. Gargoyle roost. The area is littered with bones and other debris. The big stone
bowl in the center holds the treasure of the group -- 35 semi-worthless gems (various colors and shapes, all worth
10 gp) and 355 silver coins.
2.Arrival platform. This hollowed out area features a big brass door and two arrow slits.
A dry, dusty voice from one of the slits speaks: "Show us the larvae!" If PCs don't have
larvae, each slit fires up to 5 hand crossbow bolts (1-3 hp damage each). The doors are barred from the inside.
If PCs show the larvae, then a few minutes later, the two ju-ju zombies open the doors.
3. Hag's workroom. This huge oval chamber features a big cauldron in the center, and two open windows
looking out onto the Gray Waste. Standing over the cauldron is a fat, ragged hag: Moxelpik.
She is angry at being disturbed, but if offered larvae and her "gift," she calms down. She gives
the larvae to two zombie assistants, then examines the chest given her by the PCs.
When she sticks the key in, a magic mouth appears on the top of the box and speaks.
"Moxelpik, mighty night hag, hear my petition. I am Hogrek, a wizard from
the city of Sigil, and a member of the Fated. I seek to ally with you to further both our ends. I can
offer services and information, in exchange for your expertise in arcane matters. I send you this gift as
a symbol of my true intentions. It will do your bidding and serve you well. Finally, as a show of gratitude
for your time and attention, you may kill the bearer of this gift if you so desire."
The lid pops open, and a misty figure emerges. The room immediately becomes warm and damp. Moxelpik
screeches, "Ooh! A steam mephit! Just what I've always wanted!" Then she looks at the
PCs with an evil gleam in her eyes, and says, "Mephit! Zombies! Kill the intruders!"
The mephit immediately gates in two allies, a pair of fire mephits, and the zombies pull out hand crossbows
and fire bolts coated in paralyzing poison.
In the meantime, Moxelpik grabs her broom of flying and flies from the tower, convinced that the
PCs are toast. She heads to the nearest portal to Sigil and will not be seen in this adventure any more.
Ju-Ju zombies (2): AC2 ; MV 9; HD 3+12; THAC0 15; hp 18, 19; D 3-12 (fists) or d3 plus poison (crossbow);
SA hand crossbows with paralyzing poison (save vs. poison or paralyzed for 1-2 rounds), climb walls at 92%; SD
turned as spectres, blunt and piercing weapons cause 1/2 damage, immune to mind-altering spells, immune to magic
missiles, immune to electrical attacks, immune to psionics; XP 975 each.
Steam mephit (1): AC 7; MV 12; HD 3+3; THAC0 17; hp 15; D 2-5/2-5; SA claws can stun, scalding
breath weapon every other round (d3 damage plus chance to stun), create boiling rainstorm 1/day (20' cube, 2d6
damage), contaminate water 1/day; SD resistant to heat/fire attacks; XP 420.
Fire mephits (2): AC 5; MV 12; HD 3+1; THAC0 17; hp 17, 20; D 1-3/1-3; SA flame jet for d8+1 damage,
flame fan for 4 hp damage, heat metal 1/day, magic missile 1/day; SD touching aire mephit causes 1 hp damage, immune
to fire attacks; XP 420 each.
If the fight goes well for the PCs, they can explore this room. There is nothing of value here except
for the zombies' crossbows (300 gp each). Some interesting tidbits include a barrel of pickled monkey heads
(mmm, tasty!), a sack of normal sugar candy, and a jar of intestines. They may find the secret door leading
downstairs, but cannot pass the locked door to the hag's treasures and sleeping area.
PCs can find the second secret door leading to the third level down, a pit filled with writhing larvae.
[From here, I had my PCs meet an Ultraloth who showed them some visions of adventures to come. He then
brought them to a portal that took them back to Sigil. You might want to have the PCs crawl back through
the Shadowdrake's mouth and climb out of the well Under Sigil as the way to get back home, or have a note or map
in the Hag's lair that shows an alternate portal back to Sigil. In any case, once back in town, Emra will
be very, very curious to hear what the mystery package contained -- and will be outraged to learn that, had she
gone on the errand, she'd have been the one offered to Moxelpik as a kind of sacrifice. Emra is grateful
for their help and promises to assist them in the future if the PCs need a favor from the Fated.]
The Ultraloth. The hooded figure from the Cauldron appears, and draws back his hood
revealing his blank black face. He uses telepathic communication to "speak" to the PCs.
"Come, I wish to show you something." The PCs feel as if they are walking at a
normal pace, but see the landscape rush by as if they were flying quickly. Soon they spy
a tower made of a whitish stone. As they get nearer, the tower is clearly made out of a
bone-like substance. Exista feels that this is very familiar, and Thibor has a sense of
unexplicable dread. "This is the Wasting Tower of Khin-Oin. It is built from the spine
of a god who dared to cross us, the Yugoloth. My yugoloth brothers conduct experiments
and research here, each one attempting to further his own ends in his own way. We do
not interfere with each other, nor do we assist each other." As he "speaks," the PCs arrive
at the base and see that it is impossibly tall -- maybe 20 miles at its highest. The
Ultraloth waves his hand, and the PCs can "see" into one of the rooms. It is an oddly
shaped room with a line of human-looking females along one wall, each strapped to the
wall by arms, legs and waist. They all look dirty and unkempt, and each one has a glassy
stare. One spot on the wall is empty -- Exista's spot, and one of the women is clearly
Thibor's wife. A table on the other side of the room contains notes, bottles, scalpels, and
other odd devices. The scene fades. "Why do I show this to you?" The ultraloth pauses,
as if unsure why himself. "Because I revel in your despair! HA HA HA HA HA HAAA!"
The scene fades, and PCs find themselves at the well in Sigil.
Player Handout from Shadowdrake's Cave
What a surprise to emerge from a dragon's mouth! I am sure we all thought
we were doomed, until it became clear that the monster is completely listless and harmless. I suppose that
the Gray Waste must have sapped its very will to live, as it does to everyone eventually (or so I am told).
Yet, trapped in this cave, I wonder how it eats?
The Waste is so far removed from Mount Celestia that I can barely feel my
god's presence. Fortunate it is indeed that I brought with me extra healing supplies, including scrolls of
prayers for healing and the good wizard's beaker of plentiful potions. The potions, while only created once
each week, should serve us well in this plane of disease and despair. Serving us well, too, will be the brave
warrior's wondrous scabbard, which can turn an ordinary sword into a magical one that functions on any plane.
I must be wary of casting any divination spell, as the Waste warps any truth
that might be revealed by such a spell. Also affected are elemental, necromantic and enchanting spells.
Truly, traveling the planes requires much research and reliable information, to say the least!
Hark! It seems that the stout warrior and the clever wizard have discovered
a way out of the cave! Our journey continues!