Monday, December 31, 2012

Secret Santicore: Beneath the Brewery

An anonymous request goes out to Secret Santicore:"looking for caverns underneath the town brewery where other types of things are going on."

Edward Wilson guides us through those hidden depths "Below the Torch and Tankard":

It's a rough and tumble sort of place, but Brewmaster Norgus of the Torch and Tankard knows his craft.  Well, until last week when he was found dead in the cellar with wounds and burns and cobwebs all about his body.  In his hand he held an old bit of parchment with four poetic mottoes written on it.  His wife, Nellie Norgus, couldn't care less about all that, but business dropped off once word got out--and besides, there's no way she's going down into the ale cellar until she's sure it's safe.  She hands the party the parchment with the mottoes on it and wishes them good luck:

The Old Poetic Mottoes:
With Humility, One Knows One’s True PlaceWith Bravery, One Stands When They FlyWith Honesty, One Will Not Lose FaceWith Loyalty, One Draws The Last Breath

The Torch and Tankard actually used to be the brewery of a larger monastery which stood here a long time back.  It burned down in a huge fire and all they could save was the brewery.  But before it was a brewery it was a mausoleum for a small paladin order, with three crypts for heroes of the order.   The brewmaster accidentally let a huge hogshead get loose and it smashed through the crumbly old brick wall and revealed a passage beyond.

There are two ways into the cellar: a flight of strudy wooden stairs or the big trap door they use to hoist the kegs, barrels, and hogsheads into the cool cellar.  The cellar is filled with the aromas of the many lovely beverages stored therein.  The large opening in the north wall beckons.

1. Entrance Hall.  This marble-lined hallway is 30' long, 10' high, and 5' wide.  At the end is an open doorway.  On either side of it is a niche with a life-sized statue of an angel. The angel on the left is holding a two-handed sword reverently in front of it; the one on the right is holding a shield and longsword at the ready.
Trap 1: The phrase "With Humility, One Knows One’s True Place" is carved into the marble over the doorway.  It is a clue that one must pass through the doorway bowed doubled over or kneeling or set off the trap.  A spell to reveal magic will show the doorway is divinely enchanted.  The first person through the doorway will trigger the divine magical punishment which will reduce their strength by half for 24 hours.

2. Ceremonial Chamber.  This grand chamber is also lined with beautiful marble.  It is 40' square with an arched ceiling 40' high in the center.  In the middle of the room is a low basin set in the floor.  It is apparently designed to hold liquid and is 2' deep at the center [water poured into this basin and prayed over by a good cleric will yield one flask of Holy Water per day.]  A large ornate bronze lantern about 5' tall and 2' around hangs from a heavy bronze chain set in the center of the ceiling.  There is an open doorway in the center of each side of the room.  One has no wording over it and leads to the cellar of the Torch and Tankard.  Each of the other three has one of the other mottoes carved into the lintel above it:

3. Hall of the Brave Brother.  One the east side of the Ceremonial Chamber is an open doorway and above the doorway to this hall is the motto "With Bravery, One Stands When They Fly". From the doorway a set of steps leads down 5' to a straight hallway 30' long, 10' high, and 5' wide which slopes gently down towards a bronze-bound marble door with a very realistic carving of a medusa on it.  Trap 3: Once all of the party has entered, a scary illusion of a spectral medusa will fly towards the party forcing each member to save against fear.  Those who save (are Brave) will see that it is an illusion and receive an Ancient Blessing lasting 24 hours which gives them +1 to all rolls during that time. .  Those who fail will be forced to flee and the illusion will rake them with spectral claws, the wounds on their backs marking them as cowards who ran away; even if the wounds are healed a set of scars (Marks of the Coward) will remain on their backs for 24 hours.

3a. Crypt of the Brave Brother.  The door to the crypt is unlocked.  Inside is a 20' square room with an arched ceiling.  The walls are carved with scenes of the warrior brother paladins bravely facing all manner of dangers.  In the center is a plain marble sarcophagus with a massive bronze lid and the name "Holy Brother Lurien" engraved on the end facing the door.  The lid has three long steel handles along each side with which to lift the lid.  It takes at least two persons to lift the heavy lid
Trap 3a: As soon as anyone gets within 5' of the sarcophagus, the handles heat up red hot (it will take bravery to grip those handles, won't it?).  At least two of the people lifting the lid will need to pass a tough will or constitution save to hold the hot handles long enough to remove the lid entirely.  Those failing the save will lose half their dexterity (for tasks requiring their hands) for 24 hours.
  
4. Hall of the Honest Brother. Above the doorway to this hall is the motto "With Honesty, One Will Not Lose Face".  From the open doorway a level hallway 30' long, 10' high, and 5' wide leads towards a bronze-bound marble door with a very realistic carving of a locked treasure chest.
Trap 4: Once all of the party has entered they will each simultaneously experience a vision (the DM should take each player apart from the group to play out this scene).  A voice, apparently the deceased brother, asks: "Has one finally come to take out my treasures?  Are you the one who will remove them?  Answer me that I may know if the day has finally come."  A player who says no (an Honest person who would not rob a grave) will hear "Then may your prayers received favor"; they receive an Ancient Blessing lasting 24 hours which gives them +1 to all rolls during that time.  A player who says yes (a dishonest person who would rob a grave) will be sprayed in the face with acid from holes in the walls and ceiling, thus being visually defiled ("losing face") as one who would defile.

4a. Crypt of the Honest Brother.  The door to the crypt is unlocked.  Inside is a 20' square room with an arched ceiling.  The walls are carved with scenes of the warrior brother paladins doing all manner of works of charity.  In the center is a plain marble sarcophagus with a massive bronze lid and the name "Holy Brother Maronius" engraved on the end facing the door.  The party will quickly discover that the sarcophagus can only be opened if the lid is swiveled--but a thief may detect that turning it one way unlocks it, the other way sets off a trap.
 Trap 4a: If they swivel it clockwise, the trap goes off.  A blast of holy flame rips through the chamber.  A save is allowed to dive out the door (if close enough).  Damage should be about one third of health.

5. Hall of the Loyal Brother.  Above the doorway to this hall is the motto "With Loyalty, One Draws The Last Breath".  From the open doorway a set of steps leads up to a hallway 30' long, 10' high, and 5' wide straight towards a bronze-bound marble door with a very realistic carving of a two fully armored brothers of the order shaking hands.
Trap 5: Once all of the party has entered they will each simultaneously experience a vision (the DM should take each player apart from the group to play out this scene).  A suave and seductive voice enters their head and says "You know, there's a secret hiding place down here where the old brotherhood kept all their treasure.  I know where it is.  Gold is of no use to me where I am but sacrificed souls are; likewise souls are of no use to you there but gold is, isn't it?  Let us make a pact: their souls for the gold--I can show you how to kill them easily with one of the deadly traps here."  Characters who refuse receive an Ancient Blessing lasting 24 hours which gives them +1 to all rolls during that time.  If the character agrees, a blast of poison gas shoots out from the walls and envelopes their head, causing them to lose half their constitution for 24 hours.

5a. Crypt of the Loyal Brother.  The door to the crypt is unlocked.  Inside is a 20' square room with an arched ceiling.  The walls are carved with scenes of the warrior brother paladins suffering martyrdom through all manner of cruel tortures.  In the center is a plain marble sarcophagus with a massive bronze lid and the name "Holy Brother Culwen" engraved on the end facing the door.  The party will soon discover that the massive bronze lid of the sarcophagous has spring-loaded catches on each corner which require one person on each corner working together to get it open (or if a party of less than four players, then just one person on each end).
Trap 5a: If they attempt to open it any other way than the correct way, then the entire floor slides back into the walls.  A save is allowed to jump up onto the sarcophagus or out the door, if close enough.  Anyone left where the floor was will fall 10' into a pit full of spikes which now surrounds the sarcophagus.  [The damage should be about one third of the health of the character.]

DM Notes
- The traps outside the crypt chambers are meant to chastise unworthy intruders and give them a chance to leave alive and reconsider the choices they've made in life.
- The traps inside the crypts are meant to kill any intruders so determined to do evil that they would persevere to rob the resting places of the hero brothers.

2 comments:

The Happy Whisk said...

Hey, boogie boogie and Happy 2013 :-)

Francis Lee said...

Some impressive situations and punishments, I'd be alright though because I'm good and righteous.