Okay, welcome back to June 14th, 2006!
… It’s not June 14th? What are you talking about? I could’ve sworn…
Well, apparently I’ve fallen through a timewarp and lost nearly five months of my life. Weird.
Well, in any case: Welcome back. I’m proud to (at long last) present:
RAPPAN ATHUK – LEVEL 7B: THE ETHEREAL PALACE
This level expands the domains of the dreaded phase minotaurs. Used in conjunction with the new mazes for level 7A (see the archives for June or the Creations page), it transforms the phase minotaurs from monsters living amidst rags into the dying nobility of a proud and ancient race. Your players, meanwhile, will be treated to an exploration of a level both magical and enigmatical.
Rappan Athuk Reloaded was, in fact, released during my span of missing time. You should check it out.
THE HALL OF KAZLETH
AREA 7A-3 (THE HALL OF KAZLETH):
Stalactites and stalagmites are thick in this large, rubble-filled cavern. Several pillars of rock run from the floor to the ceiling thirty feet above. A fast-flowing river passes through the chamber, and extending over this river is a beautiful, pillared platform of coppery-gold marble laced with thick veins of crimson red. If the platform itself seems utterly out of place in this grotto of broken stone, the throne of bejeweled gold which sits upon it is even more startling to behold.
POOR FOOTING: The rough, uneven floor forces PCs to half their speed (cannot charge). The phase minotaurs, on the other hand, are not affected by the poor footing.
ON THE PLATFORM: Standing upon the platform of Kazleth’s throne shifts you into the Ethereal Plane – where you can see the True Hall of Kazleth:
As you step upon the platform, the entire cavern seems to disappear. Or, rather, the platform itself remains but it now seems to stand – as you do – in a pillared hall of the same coppery-gold, crimson-laced marble. There are several doors leading out of the hall, including a massive set of double doors directly opposite the throne. Looking up you can see a balcony running around the perimeter of the hall, with several passages leading away from it.
The platform exists in both the Material and Ethereal Planes simultaneously. If the PCs step back off the platform, they’ll return to the Material Plane (and the natural cavern). But if the PCs truly shift to the Ethereal Plane, they will find themselves in the Ethereal Palace of the Phase Minotaurs (Level 7B).
THRONE: The throne itself, weighing 750 lbs, is made of ironwood, plated with gold, and inset with semiprecious gems. Its value, altogether, would be more than 15,000 gp if it could be transported to the surface.
THE PHASE MINOTAURS
“A halfling? We have never hunted halfling before.
Your death will be a great honor. Savor it while you can.”
When a phase minotaur dies, his body returns to the Ethereal Plane. They then carry it to area 7B-6 (the Hall of Fallen Lords).
The Lesser Lords (7) – 3rd level barbarians, CR 8
The Greater Lords (6) – 5th level fighters, CR 10
Kazleth – 7th level figher, CR 12
BASIC PHASE MINOTAUR: CR 5; Large monstrous humanoid; HD 6d8+12; hp 39; Init +0; Spd 30 ft.; AC 14 (-1 size, +4 natural), touch 9, flat-footed ***; Base Attack +6, Grapple +14; Atk +9 melee (3d6+6/x3, greataxe) or +9 melee (1d8+4, gore); Full Atk +9/+4 greataxe and +4 gore; Space/Reach 10 ft./10 ft.; SA powerful charge 4d6+6; SQ darkvision 60 ft., natural cunning, scent, ethereal jaunt; SV Fort +6, Ref +5, Will +5; Str 19, Dex 10, Con 15, Int 11, Wis 10, Cha 8.
Skills: Intimidate +5, Listen +9, Search +9, Spot +9
Feats: Great Fortitude, Power Attack, Track
POWER ATTACK: As a charge, the minotaur deals a 4d6+6 gore attack
NATURAL CUNNING: Immunity to maze spells, never caught flat-footed
ETHEREAL JAUNT: Shift from Ethereal to Material as a free action, shift back as a move action. Otherwise identical to ethereal jaunt spell.
THE LESSER LORDS (3rd Level Barbarians): CR 8; Large monstrous humanoid; HD 6d8+12 plus 3d12+6; hp 64; Init +0; Spd 40 ft.; AC 23 (-1 size, +4 natural, +9 +2 half-plate), touch 9, flat-footed ***; Base Attack +9/+4, Grapple +17; Atk +13 melee (3d6+8/x3, +1 greataxe) or +12 melee (1d8+4, gore); Full Atk +13/+8 greataxe +7 gore; Space/Reach 10 ft./10 ft.; SA powerful charge 4d6+6; SQ darkvision 60 ft., natural cunning, scent, ethereal jaunt, improved uncanny dodge, trap sense +1, fast movement; SV Fort +9, Ref +6, Will +6; Str 19, Dex 10, Con 15, Int 11, Wis 10, Cha 8.
Skills: Intimidate +8, Listen +12, Search +12, Spot +12
Feats: Improved Grapple, Improved Unarmed Attack, Track
Boost Feats: Weapon Focus (greataxe)
IMPROVED UNCANNY DODGE: Cannot be flanked.
THE GREATER LORDS (5th Level Fighters): CR 10; Large monstrous humanoid; HD 6d8+12 plus 5d10+10; hp 88; Init +2; Spd 30 ft.; AC 28 (-1 size, +2 Dex, +4 natural, +10 +3 adamantine half-plate, +3 ring of protection), touch 12, flat-footed ***; Base Attack +11/+6/+1, Grapple +17; Atk +21 melee (2d8+12/17-20/x2, +3 keen greatsword) or +16 melee (2d6+5, adamantine-tipped gore); Full Atk +21/+16/+11 greatsword and +11 gore; Space/Reach 10 ft./10 ft.; SA powerful charge 6d6+7; SQ darkvision 60 ft., natural cunning, scent, ethereal jaunt, damage reduction 2/–; SV Fort +10, Ref +8, Will +6; Str 20, Dex 14, Con 15, Int 11, Wis 10, Cha 10.
Skills: Intimidate +7, Listen +13, Search +13, Spot +13
Feats: Improved Grapple, Improved Unarmed Attack, Power Attack
Boost Feats: Greater Weapon Focus (greatsword), Improved Critical (greatsword), Weapon Focus (greatsword), Weapon Specialization (greatsword)
KAZLETH (7th Level Fighter): CR 12; Large monstrous humanoid; HD 6d8+12 plus 7d10+14; hp 131; Init +2; Spd 30 ft.; AC 33 (-1 size, +1 Dodge, +2 Dex, +4 natural, +12 +4 adamantine full plate of greater fire resistance, +5 ring of protection), touch 17, flat-footed ***; Base Attack +13, Grapple +20; Atk +23 melee (3d6+11/19-20/x3 plus 3d6 force, +2 adamantine arcane blasting greataxe of armor shattering) or +21 melee (2d6+6/17-20, +2 keen thundering mithril-tipped gore); Full Atk +23/+18+13 greataxe and +16 gore; Space/Reach 10 ft./10 ft.; SA powerful charge 6d6+10; SQ darkvision 60 ft., natural cunning, scent, ethereal jaunt, fire resistance 30, damage reduction 2/–; SV Fort +12, Ref +9, Will +7; Str 22, Dex 14, Con 17, Int 13, Wis 10, Cha 12.
Skills: Diplomacy +10, Listen +15, Search +13, Spot +15
Feats: Combat Reflexes, Mobility, Power Attack, Spring Attack
Boost Feats: Dodge, Greater Weapon Focus (greataxe), Improved Critical (greataxe), Improved Critical (gore), Weapon Focus (greataxe)
THE AXE OF KAZLETH: The name “Kazleth” is inset in mithril along the ebon-handle of this greataxe. The head of the axe is made of adamantine with arcane runes carved along its edges (imparting its arcane blasting and armor shattering abilities). Anyone hit by the axe must make a Fortitude save (DC 19) or have their armor destroyed (magical armor adds its enhancement bonus to the saving throw). The axe is too large for Medium-size or smaller creatures to wield.
THUNDERING MITHRIL-TIPPED HORNS: The mithril tips on Kazleth’s horns create a cacophonous roar like thunder upon striking. In addition to dealing 1d8 points of sonic damage on a critical hit, victims of a critical hit must make a DC 14 Fortitude saving throw or be permanently deafened.
GOLDEN CROWN: Worth 1,500 gp in its own right, this crown has been tied to the alarm spells at the entrances to the mazes on this level.
LEVEL 7B – THE ETHEREAL PALACE
DOORS: The doors on this level are crafted from reddish-gray darkwood. Although as sturdy as regular wood, the doors are remarkably light and open to the slightest touch.
WALLS: The entire palace, except where noted, is built from a coppery-gold marble laced with thick veins of crimson-red. Beyond the outer walls lies the murky void of the Ethereal Plane.
AREA 7B-1 (THE TRUE HALL OF KAZLETH): See area 7A-3. Stepping onto the platform here does not reveal the Material Plane.
AREA 7B-2 (THE HALL OF LESSER LORDS): The common element to these large, marble chambers are the “nests” of downy white material which serve as the phase minotaur’s bedding.
7B-2A: On a low marble table to one side of the room is a collection of twenty masterwork adamantine daggers, each with a pommel of gold.
7B-2B: A musical box sits on a pedestal in the center of this room. It plays a haunting melody of incredible beauty. It is, in fact, an echo of the Song of the World – living magic given form in song. If the music box is opened it plays for 3d6 days, creating an effect identical to the fascinate spellchord (BoEM2).
7B-2C: This room is dominated by a luxurious marble bath. At the bottom of the bath is a large lump of steel under the permanent effect of a heat metal spell, creating a heated bath.
7B-2D: Hanging from the walls of this room are a collection of rings… still on the fingers that once wore them. Most are common rings (worth a total of 500 gp), but there are several magical rings among them: a single ring of friend shield, a ring of force shield, a ring of counterspells, and a ring of climbing.
7B-2E: Broken doors are stacked around this room, encompassing a wide variety of styles and types.
7B-2F: This room is filled with hanging drapes of white silk. The fabric is of extremely high quality (worth perhaps 2000 gp collectively).
7B-2G: Against one wall of this room is an ornate mahogany chest, its interior containing an extraordinary number of small drawers and hidden caches. These drawers and caches contain dozens and dozens of locks of maiden’s hair.
AREA 7B-3 (ENTRANCE TO THE VAULT): This smallish chamber contains a massive, circular door of adamantine in its eastern wall. This door weighs 5000 lbs. and must be physically rolled off to one side (using the Lifting and Dragging rules) in order to gain access to the vault beyond.
TRAP: Opening the door will also trigger a flame strike (5d6 fire, 5d6 unholy) centered on the vault door.
The door is counter-balanced, causing it to roll shut 1d6 rounds after being opened.
AREA 7B-4 (THE VAULT): The vault is built of charcoal-gray marble with shelves of reddish-gray darkwood lining the walls. The vault contains Kazleth’s treasure:
4,100 gp worth of gold ore (weighing 8,200 pounds)
An intricately carved jade statue of a three-eyed frog (worth 3,000 gp)
14 large, uncut gems (worth 250 gp each)
A large, ivory drinking horn, set with gold and emeralds (worth 5,000 gp)
AREA 7B-5 (KAZLETH’S CHAMBERS):
Entering this large chamber you are immediately struck by a sense of great luxury. Rich, silken cushions have been arranged into several soft mounds here and here about the room. Bold pillars of marble run from floor-to-ceiling, their bases carved with beautiful bas-reliefs detailing scenes of battle. Several low tables round the room display crude sculptures of red clay. What appears to be a small cabinet lies on the far side of the chamber.
STATUES: These statues are, in fact, incredibly ancient (predating the Age of the Sorcerer-Kings). Their worth as a collection would be over 3,000 gp. Anyone not recognizing their antiquity, however, would simply identify them as crude curios (worth perhaps 25 gp for the complete collection)
CABINET: The cabinet contains a spyglass of bound brass, a set of masterwork artisan’s tools, several lengths of silk rope, and a large, silver-backed mirror.
AREA 7B-6 (HALL OF THE FALLEN LORDS):
The great hall beyond this door is of blue and white marble, with an abstract mosaic upon the floor. The light here seems unnaturally dimmed; almost reverent. Along each wall are mounted the heads of dozens of minotaurs.
The phase minotaurs are a dying people. Although long-lived, Kazleth’s people have dwindled with each passing year from a one-proud nation to an isolated clan to the mere handful which still survive in this dungeon.
HEADS: The name of each phase minotaur is carved in Northron runes on the wall beneath each mounted head.
AREA 7B-7 (THE ARENA OF THE BLACK SANDS):
A pit with a floor of black sand is sunk into the floor of this large chamber, forming what is clearly a fighting arena. A set of large double doors leads out of the room and, just above them, a balcony with another door looks over all. The walls of the room are covered by a wide variety of large weapons, and a half dozen chests lie around the perimeter of the room.
WEAPONS: The weapons here are nonmagical. Two of every weapon from the PHB can be found here, all in a large size. In addition, the darkwood chests contain Medium-size versions of all the weapons in the PHB (two of each).
THE RITE OF CHALLENGE: The phase minotaurs are bound by an ancient code. Anyone may challenge to enter their clan. Anyone within their clan may challenge the king for leadership.
A Bardic Knowledge check (DC 35) would be required to recall this detail out of ancient legend.
AREA 7B-8 (HALL OF LIVING PORTRAITS): There three dozen portraits hanging on the walls of this hall. The portraits show a wide variety of landscapes – all of which, when examined closely – are revealed to be living portraits; the landscapes change and move.
Every hour there is a 10% that a living creatures enters the frame. There is a 10% chance that this figure is utterly unnatural. And a further 10% chance that such a figure will become aware of the character watching them.
AREA 7B-9A (FOYER OF STATUARY): Two huge statues of the phase minotaur lord who lives in these chambers stand to either side of the entrances.
AREA 7B-9B (THE CHAMBER OF NECKLACES): This room is filled haphazardly with faceless statues of young maidens, each wearing a beautiful and priceless necklace.
VALUE: There are a total of eighteen statues and necklaces, each necklace with an average value of 750 gp.
AREA 7B-10 (THE CHAMBER OF TUSKS): A wide variety of teeth and tusks hand suspended by silken thread from the ceiling of this room, representing this phase minotaur’s conquests as a hunter.
AREA 7B-11 (THE CHAMBER OF MIRRORS): This room is filled with a maze-like assortment of burnished brass mirrors – sending cascading, distorted reflections throughout the room.
AREA 7B-12 (CHAMBER OF LOCKS): The walls, floor, and ceiling of this room are covered with locks fastened through various fastenings of all kinds and sorts. Hidden in the downy white bedding is a massive ring of keys – literally hundreds of them, one for every lock in the room.
The locks here don’t actually secure anything. However, there is one invisible padlock which secures a secret cache in the ceiling. There’s a key for this lock on the keyring, otherwise it takes a DC 28 Open Lock check to pick it. Inside the cache there is a small pouch containing 100 pp. There is also a small mithril lockbox with a matching padlock and key which cannot be opened by any mundane or magical means.
AREA 7B-13 (THE PALATIAL SUITE): This suite belongs to Kazleth’s son and favored lord, Hakallah.
AREA 13A (ENTRANCE): A large bronze half-bust of Hakallah hangs from the wall directly facing the corridor leading to Kazleth’s Hall.
AREA 13B (HALL OF TAPESTRIES): Six great tapestries hang from the walls of this chamber. Three form a triptych depiction of the Siege of Mael. A fourth is a dwarven tapestry showing the docks of the dwarven sea-city of Catar. A fifth shows one of the Great Caravans arriving in Nathia. The sixth a massive battle between phase minotaurs and an army of humans. (The tapestries are worth 10,000 gp for the triptych; 1,000 gp for the dwarven tapestry; and 500 gp for the Nathian caravan. The phase minotaur tapestry is worth 500 gp, but could be worth as much as 5,000 gp to a collector who understood is rarity and importance.)
AREA 13C (HAKALLAH’S CHAMBERS): Plush cushions of black and purple velvet lie throughout this room. Censers perfume the air with rare incenses. A hidden panel in the floor (Search, DC 12) contains a collection of the rare incenses (worth 100 gp).
AREA 13D (HALL OF STATUARY): Dozens of beautiful statues, many of them broken and of obvious antiquity, stand on pedestals throughout this room. The collection is probably worth 50,000 gp (but weighs more than 300,000 pounds).
AREA 7B-14 (THE CHAMBER OF DUST AND TEARS): Unlike the immaculate rooms which fill the rest of the Ethereal Palace, this chamber is filled with broken-furniture covered in an inch-thick layer of dust. The only sign of habitation here is a pedestal of white marble at the center of the room. The pedestal itself is also covered in dust, but the area around it is clean (due to the phase minotaur sleeping there).
On the pedestal there is a small box of silver. On the inside of the lid of the box, there is a sketch of a female phase minotaur. Within the box lies a vial of pink crystal containing liquid tears.