The Alexandrian

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Lava River Cave AZ by Volkan Yuksel


Large chamber, shaped like two ovals laid in a cross. The walls are scorched from a massive explosion; jagged bits of metal have actually been driven into the walls at frequent intervals. A skeleton in tattered robes lies nearby.

MILLSTONE: In the center of the chamber a large, beruned millstone grinds a deep channel into a floating moebius strip of stone.

  • Madness of the Millstone: 1d8+2 rounds after entering this chamber, characters must make a Will save (DC 15) or suffer 1d3 points of Wisdom damage. As Wisdom damage is suffered, the runes on the millstone will begin to glow faintly blue and the millstone itself speeds up.
  • The save is repeated every (10 rounds – 1 per 5 points of total Wisdom damage the millstone has inflicted).

DAMAGED TELEPORTALS: A blue teleportal and red teleportal have both been cracked and damaged by the explosion. Attempting to use them causes 6d6 damage (Fort save DC 22 for half damage) and the character is returned to the same location.

GREEN TELEPORTALS: These have not been damaged (lying at opposite ends of one of the crossing ovals).

DIRE ETHEREAL MARAUDERS: 3 dire ethereal marauders were drawn here by the explosion (or perhaps caused it). They have been transformed into hulking monstrosities by the burning of the Ethereal Plane.

ETHEREAL PLANE: The ethereal plane around this room burns as a result of the arcane explosion. Anyone traveling on the ethereal plane suffers 1d6 points of fire damage each round.

DIRE ETHEREAL MARAUDER (CR 5) – Large Magical Beast (Extraplanar)
DETECTION – darkvision 60 ft., Listen +8, Spot +6; Init +5; Languages
DEFENSESAC 18 (+1 Dex, +7 natural), touch 11, flat-footed 17; hp 43 (5d10+15)
ACTIONSSpd 50 ft.; Melee Bite +13 (1d6+9); Ranged +6; Base Atk +5; Grapple +9
SQ darkvision 60 ft., ethereal jaunt
STR 26, DEX 12, CON 16, INT 7, WIS 12, CHA 10
FORT +13, REF +11, WILL +6
FEATS: Alertness, Improved Initiative, Weapon Focus (Bite)
SKILLS: Listen +8, Move Silently +6, Spot +6

Ethereal Jaunt (Su): Shift from Ethereal Plane to Material Plane as free action; shift back as move action (per ethereal jaunt, caster level 15th).

*Skills: +2 racial bonus on Listen, Move Silently, and Spot checks.


Six niches in the wall have hand-shaped depressions next to them. Three of the niches are occupied by large ogres — apparently unconscious — with a silver band across each of their chests holding them upright.

In the center of the chamber there is a large, glass ovoid filled with a viscous green fluid. Floating within the fluid is a spongy-skinned, humanoid creature glistening a gelatinous blue. Strange apparati surround the ovoid.

NICHES: The silver bands induce unconsciousness on anyone in the niche when they extend (Fortitude DC 30 negates). Putting a hand to the hand-shaped depressions causes the bands to retract or extend.

OVOID: The creature within the ovoid was formerly an ogre. He has been transformed into a painshrieker by the demon lairing in Laboratory #11.

  • The creature will thrash and appear to be asking for release. Some blood will ooze from its mouth into the fluid surrounding it.
  • Alchemy / Arcana (DC 11): Most of the mechanisms around the ovoid are based around carefully maintaining the balance of alchemical admixtures.
  • Alchemy / Arcana (DC 21): To identify the cellular-destabilizing compounds being used.

PAINSHRIEKER (CR 8) – 89 hp (11d8+40), AC 20, handscythes +14/+14 (2d8+4), Save +11, Ability DC 18
Str 12, Dex 15, Con 16, Int 14, Wis 10, Cha 8
Skills: Hide +16, Listen +14, Move Silently +16, Search +16, Spot +14
Blindsight 30 ft. (high-frequency shrieks)
DR 10/silver
Painshriek (Su): 60 ft. cone once every 1d4 rounds. 2d6 first round; 4d6 second round; 6d6 third round.


A thick, tiered cleft. Magical lights clinging to the ceiling seem to cast daylight down onto the thick pleats of overgrowth choking the miniature vale.

TELEPORTALS: Green teleportal is at one end of the grotto. Red teleportal at the other end.

SPINDERS (x8): Roam through the overgrowth. Spinders are demonic vermin: Vaguely insectoid in appearance — but with a spongy skin rather than any sort of carapace — their broad, flat backs and upper portions of their crouched limbs are covered in thin, razor-sharp spines.

STATUE OF LIGHT: In the middle of the grotto sits a squat statue of clay clasping a bowl which seems lit from within.

  • Liquid Light: The bowl is filled with liquid light. Anyone touching the liquid will cause it to flow up over their hand (or hands). From that point forward, their hands will glow white — producing the effects of a daylight spell.

ALCHEMY (DC 25): Recognizes that most of the plants growing here are actually valuable alchemical ingredients. Six hours of harvesting could yield 5,000 gp worth of raw ingredients.

SPINDER (CR 4) – LE Medium Outsider
DETECTION – Listen +7, Spot -1; Init +7; Languages telepathy
DEFENSESAC 17 (+3 Dex, +4 natural), touch 13, flat-footed 14; hp 32 (5d8+10); Immune fire, poison; Resist acid 10, cold 10
ACTIONSSpd 40 ft.; Melee bite +6 (2d6+1) and 2 claws +1 (1d4); Ranged +8; Base Atk +4; Grapple +6; Atk Options impregnating bite; SA summon
SQ telepathy
STR 13, DEX 16, CON 14, INT 6, WIS 8, CHA 6
FORT +6, REF +7, WILL +3
FEATS: Dodge, Improved Initiative
SKILLS: Hide +6, Listen +7, Move Silently +6, Search +6, Spot +7

Pounce (Ex): Make a full attack in first round, even it has already taken a move action.

Improved Grab (Ex): Start grapple as free action if both claw attacks hit, no attack of opportunity.

Impregnating Bite (Ex): Bitten creature must make a Fort save (DC 15) or become impregnated with a spinder egg. Eggs attach to heart, whereupon larvel spinders hatch and begin feeding. After 1 hour, victim suffers a -5 penalty to all ability scores. After 90 minutes, victim suffers -10 penalty to all ability scores. After 2 hours, larval spinders eat through the wall of the heart (resulting in death). After 1 day, 2d6 spinders eat their way out of the body. Spinder eggs/larva can be treated with a remove disease spell.


 An expansive room filled with thick pistons of glowing red crystal running between floor and ceiling.

TELEPORTALS: All located in the center of the chamber.

  • Spot (DC 15): To notice that they’re glowing more brightly than similar teleportals in other chambers.

DEMON: A glabrezu lairs here. It possesses a GREEN KEY.

CRYSTALLINE PISTONS: The pistons are creating massive magical energy through a churning of the Ethereal Plane. The room has an overwhelming magical aura.

  • Breaking Pistons: If twelve pistons are broken, the teleportal network destabilizes and shuts down. None of the teleportals will work, but this also means that the teleport redirect effect in Tethe laboratories shuts down.


The two green teleportal rings are on either end of a long hall with a dozen pedestals to either side. One top of each pedestal stands a bottle.


  • 8 have been broken.
  • 1 contains a RED KEY.
  • 1 is an efreeti bottle.
  • 6 are empty.
  • 2 contain haunting winds. (Use stats for greater shadows, but they take the form of a spectral, skeletal fog.)
  • 1 acts as a greater pipes of haunting. (Those within 30 feet who hear the tune must succeed at a Will save (DC 18) or become frightened for 4 rounds. Those with less than 6 HD are panicked. Can be used twice per day.)
  • 1 contains the sounds from an ancient field of battle: Clashing swords. Cries of pain. (Those succeeding at a Listen check (DC 20) can also pick out the faint sound of weeping behind all of it.)
  • 4 contain whispering wind messages trapped from long ago (see below).

WHISPERING WIND #1 – ELDERLY MAN: “Beware the Brotherhood of the Blue Hand. They may have obtained a red key. If they can breach the laboratories, they may reach the sanctums.”

WHISPERING WIND #2 – YOUNG WOMAN: “Love me forever, Isidora, and I shall lay before thee the windswept thrones of kingdoms, the jewels of Cassara, and your heart’s desire.”

WHISPERING WIND #3 – GUTTURAL VOICE: “Take the branding irons from beneath the silver serpent. They must not fall into the hands of Posserak.”

WHISPERING WIND #4 – RASPY VOICE: “The wyrm Cassandra has betrayed us. Sargas stole the blue key from her, but those chambers are lost to us. Use not the blue keys.”


The teleportal from Laboratory #5 is on a high ledge above a roiling lava flow. Above the lava flow is suspended a brass orb.

The teleportal from Laboratory #14 goes inside the brass orb. Mechanisms within the orb allow one to lower it down towards the lava and extract a hot lava core into a containment cylinder.


A rosette-shaped chamber. There’s a large apparatus in the middle of the room, roughly shaped like a curved starfish. In the center of this apparatus is a cylindrical depression about 5 feet deep. Four glass coffins are attached to the apparatus and extend away from it. One wall of the room bulges out into a semi-oval with white walls covered in blackened runes.

CYLINDRICAL DEPRESSION: A lava core from Laboratory #13 can be slid into it. If this happens, the apparatus powers up for 1d6 hours.

GLASS COFFINS – SEARCH (DC 20): A large black opal worth 500 gp is concealed within the mechanisms surrounding the head of one of the glass coffins. Twin diamonds worth 750 gp each are concealed in two others. The fourth coffin has a hollow, but no gemstone.

  • Black Opal Coffin: If someone is placed within it and the coffin closed, it acts as a magic jar spell (capturing the soul in the black opal). If the coffin is opened and then closed, the soul will transfer back to the body in the coffin (even if it isn’t the original body). If the black opal is removed, the person in the coffin must make a Fortitude save (DC 22) or suffer 10d6 points of damage as the soul is ripped from their body and then reflected back.
  • Diamond Coffins: If people are in both coffins and the lids are closed, there is a 50% chance of a permanent shield other connection being forged (determine the direction of the damage shift randomly) and a 50% chance that both characters will suffer the full damage suffered by either.
  • No Gemstone Coffin: Malfunctioning from age. If activated (person in coffin; lid closed) an instant crystalline growth will fetter and crust over the coffin. Crystal had adamantine hardness. 15 minutes of air inside. Break DC 26; hardness 20; 320 hp.

BLACKENED RUNES – ARCANA/SPELLCRAFT (DC 22): To identify the rudimentary efforts of someone attempting to perfect the magic jar spell. It appears to be depending on some sort of technomantic loop, however.

GM Background: This was a high-powered laboratory (using the lava cores from Laboratory #13) that would often shift functions. It just happened to be investigating soul-binding at the time the complex was abandoned. This is, in fact, where the earliest instances of the magic jar spell were developed.

Go to Part 5: Laboratories #15+

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Go to Part 1


Lost Laboratories of Arn - Teleportal Network

The laboratories of the Arn are connected using a teleportal network, as shown on the relational map above.

TELEPORT REDIRECT: The teleportal network has engrained the local astral space. The result is that anyone attempting to teleport into or out of the Lost Laboratories ends up in Laboratory 1.

TELEPORTAL RINGS: The teleportal network is made up of individual teleportal rings. When activated, everyone standing within the ring (or entering the ring within the next 30 seconds) is teleported to the destination portal. Teleportals give off a telltale sound when used (listed in parentheses): Most teleportals are linked to another, providing two way travel (wushhh) and arriving on the corresponding ring. Some work in only one direction (kishhh), with travelers arriving at random (but safe) locations at their destination. Some rings are malfunctioning and randomly send travelers to the wrong room (chance listed on the map; lisss for the most likely path, shaak otherwise), although the location is always the same for each activation (people teleporting together arrive at the same destination).

SILVER TELEPORTAL RING: A glowing ring of silver energy. In the center of these rings is a small circle of silver with a gem-like device similarly of silver affixed to them. Turning the gem-like device activates the teleportal ring.

BLUE / RED / GREEN TELEPORTALS: Identical to the silver teleportals, except that the circles are of amethyst, ruby, and emeraldy and have a hexagonal, pentagonal, or octagonal hollow instead of a device.

TELEPORTAL KEYS: Small, gem-like devices. They are inserted into the hollows and turned to activate the corresponding ring. (The key teleports with the person using it.)

This section of the adventure is based on Escape from the Lost Laboratoriesby Wordman. The teleportal network map is Wordman’s. The big shift is that I’ve redesigned all of the individual laboratories — swapping out most of them and radically expanding each into a small, mini-dungeon.


Sacrifices offered by the sahuagin appear here. The result is a massive charnel pit.

SAHUAGIN GHOULS: 8 sahuagin ghouls feast on the charnel pit. (Use normal ghoul stats, but they also gain a lesser form of sahuagin bloodfrenzy: +2 to attacks, -2 AC, +1d6 damage.)

TELEPORTALS: Two silver teleportals are on opposite sides of the room, each on the floor before twin statues of draconic ogres.


Glassware and copper instruments have been smashed into the smallest pieces.

CORPSE: A corpse lies near one wall. Above the corpse are carved the words “NO HOPE”.

  • Knowledge (DC 14): The corpse is dressed in fashions popular in Arathia over a century ago.

TELEPORTALS: Three silver teleportals, arranged in a triangular pattern.


Magitech clockworks slowly, but methodically, assemble and then disassemble a chaosomaton scorpion, chaosomaton boar, and chaosomaton chimera.

  • 1 in 6 chance on arrival (and per hour thereafter) that each creature is currently in a state of completion. If so, it will attack anyone who doesn’t bear a Sorcerous Brand of Arn.
  • Craft (Chaotic Magitech) (DC 24): Ascertain the control circuits that are currently attached to the mechanisms of the scorpion and bull. These can be removed and surgically grafted — Magitech Surgery (DC 32) — allowing telepathic control of the clockworks.
  • Craft (Chaotic Magietch) (DC 32): Modify one of the control circuits to allow control of the chimera instead.

EMERALD KEYWORKS: Another clockwork contraption contains the GREEN KEY. (If the key is removed, the clockwork mechanism will begin working on another green key, which will be ready in 1d6 days.)

TELEPORTALS: Silver teleportal in the center of the room. (The teleportals from both Lab #2 and Lab #5 arrive there.)


A floating, rectangular island in a huge sphere of smooth stone. Massive flying buttresses of a blackened granite are literally flying — forming the ghostly half-semblance of a cathedral.

TELEPORTALS: Silver teleportal in the middle of the island. Two green teleportals at one end, opposite the altar on the other.

ALTAR: Plain block of stone, but with a large, curling serpent of silver inlaid. (The serpent is rearing.)

  • Search (DC 16): The top of the altar slides back, revealing an everburning brazier and two branding irons — one of gold and one of silver.
  • Brazier: The brazier is not hot to the touch, but will heat the two branding irons. If the irons are both laid over the same spot, they’ll form the Sorcerous Brand of Arn. (If done with the heat from the brazier, then when the name “Arn” is spoken, the brand will glow brightly as per a light spell for 1d6 rounds.)

GM Background: Those to be indoctrinated into the order of Arn were brought here and branded.


BAD AIR: The air here cannot be breathed (having been consumed by the opalettes).

  • Reflex (DC 15) to hold breath for 2 rounds per point of Constitution, then Constitution checks (DC 10 + 1 per round) to continue. On failure, only hold breath for 1 round per 2 points of Constitution, followed by checks. Then unconscious (0 hp), dying (-1 hp), then suffocates (dead).

PEDESTAL: There is a stone pedestal in the center of the room. Six large, milky-white gemstones are arrayed on the top of the stone pedestal.

OPALETTES: The opalettes are currently in a comatose state. If brought into an oxygenated area, the “gemstones” will open their eyes, unfold faceted arms and legs, and begin crawling around like slow-motion puppies.

  • Arcana (DC 18): Opalettes feed on the vestigial auras of magical items. This doesn’t harm the magical items an can actually be beneficial in magical laboratories (where it prevents potential wild magic surges and the like).
  • Arcana (DC 25): Opalettes can be crushed, releasing the magical energy they’ve fed on and functioning as a one-use 1st level pearl of power (this kills the opalette).
  • If left in at least pairs, there is a 1 in 20 chance per week per opalette that it will give birth to a baby opalette.


Alcoves with exquisitely detailed statues of various members of the Arn. A multi-tiered marble fountain with fluted spouts of red jade stands dry and dusty in the center of the chamber — its curved pools swirling around five green teleportals.

FOUNTAIN: Any water poured into the fountain is purified and coalesces.

  • If 20 gallons of water are added, the fountain will begin working again. Any water drunk directly from the fountain acts as a potion of cure light wounds (usable 1/hour per character). (Water taken any distance from the fountain remains purified, but has no curative powers.)

BRONZE TABLET: Bronze Tablet #6 lies in one of the basins.


Level: Sorcerer/Wizard 2
Components: V, S, M
Casting Time: 1 round
Range: Personal
Target: You
Duration: 1 day/level
Saving Throw: None
Spell Resistance: No

This subtle but useful spell allows the caster to safeguard important knowledge—even from himself. While casting this spell, you recite one piece of knowledge you possess (up to a maximum of 50 words). Upon completion of the spell’s casting, you transfer the knowledge from your mind to your skin in the form of an intricate, runic tattoo placed anywhere you choose on your body. The knowledge disappears utterly from your mind, and you might not realize you forgot something. The magic of the spell patches over gaps in your memory with recollections from the past. Until the spell’s duration ends, the knowledge is lost to you.

Many cyphermages commission nonmagical tattoos to disguise the effects of this spell. A detect magic spell or a Decipher Script check (DC 15 + your Int modifier) reveals an enchanted tattoo but not its contents. The effects of hidden knowledge can be dispelled normally, in which case the knowledge is completely lost.

Material Component: A drop of ink.


A twisted morass of glass piping filled with flowing fire.

THE ARTIFURNACE: Near the center of the twisted labyrinth of glass is the Artifurnace. Eight large valves run around its circumference. Bronze Tablet #2 lies on the floor nearby.

  • Valves: Opening the valves will release a blast of steam (10 ft. cone, 4d6 fire damage, Reflex DC 18 for half damage) and release the fire elementals trapped inside.
  • Cracking the Artifurnace: If all eight valves are released, the Artifurnace can be opened.
  • Helm of Fire Elemental Control: Suspended within the Artifurnace is a helm of fire elemental control (crafted from brass and gold). But it doesn’t work properly: One wearing the helm can summon a Large fire elemental, but anyone wearing the helm will instantly provoke rage from any fire elemental (including those summoned).

FIRE ELEMENTAL: If any of the glass tubing is broken or the valves on the Artifurnace are opened, the fire elementals trapped within the tubing will break free in a rage.

  • 1 Huge Fire Elemental
  • 2 Large Fire Elementals
  • 16 Small Fire Elementals

GM Background: The idea was to create a magical item through entirely sympathetic rituals (by controlling the fire elementals, imbue an item with the ability to control them). Instead, the item became imbued with the rage of the imprisoned fire elementals.

Go to Part 4: Laboratories #8-14

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Go to Part 1

This section of the adventure is based on The Sunken Temple of Arn, a submission to the One Page Dungeon Contest by Strange Stones. Everything you need to use this version of the adventure can be found here, but I recommend checking out the original and some of the other nifty stuff available for free download over there.

The Sunken Temple of Arn - Map

(1 square = 10′ x 10′)


2d4 Monstrous CrabsArea 1
2 Sahuagin Elite + 8 Sahuagin + Dire SharkArea 2
2 KopoacinthArea 7
Fluorescent KrakenArea 8
Sahuagin Shaman + 4 Sahuagin Elite + Dire SharkArea 11
2 Sahuagin EliteArea 16 (spread fire in the hall)
2 Sahuagin Elite + 4 Dire SharksArea 18
Sahuagin Chieftain + 3 Sahuagin Elite + Dire SharkArea 19

(italicized denizens generally do not leave their area but might be fetched as reinforcements; see The Monster Roster)


Although originally a subterranean structure of great beauty, the entirety of the Temple has become completely submerged and is now occupied by a tribe of sahuagin.

KRIS WARRIOR STATUES: Throughout the temple there are a number of kris warrior statues. If these are examined with a detect magic spell they register as having a faint magical aura. A successful Spellcraft (DC 18) check will indicate that they were once animated (as guardians of the temple), but the spells are ancient and no longer operating.

AREA 1 – GARDEN: Overgrown with seaweed. A verdigrised copper gnomon sits on a marble base. The gnomon alone is worth a small fortune (2,000 gp). The complete piece is worth four times as much.

AREA 2 – PLAZA: At the bottom of the stairs, statues of two warriors stare down — one bearing a kris in his left hand, the other unarmed.

AREA 3 – FEASTING HALL: A dozen humanoid corpses, decayed and bloated, float freely throughout this room. Statues of the unarmed, kris-bearing warriors dominate the room. This is a feasting hall — sahuagin simply pass through this area and feed upon the bloated corpses they collect.

AREA 4 – ANTECHAMBER: This room is stripped bare. Profane graffiti is carved into the walls (predating the deluge and sahuagin occupation). A fresco depicting the holy void remains intact.

AREA 5 – PLAZA OF WISDOM: This area features two giant statues of unarmed warriors in strange poses.

Search (DC 15): To find the trapdoor leading to a rusted ladder of iron that descends into the lower tunnels.

AREA 6 – ANTECHAMBER: As per area 4.

AREA 7 – PLAZA OF REPOSE: This area features two giant statues depicting cloaked humans armed with krises, preparing to strike unseen enemies. Perched upon their shoulders are two winged gargoyles (which are, in fact, kapoacinth).

Search (DC 15): To discover a ceramic box concealed beneath the eastern statue containing a variety of silver jewelry (worth 500 gp).

AREA 8 – FLUORESCENT KRAKEN: The room glows with a soft, coruscating light that emanates from a lesser kraken which lives beneath the iron grate of the floor.

False Door (Search DC 16, Disable Device DC 25): If opened, the door springs outwards with great force. Reflex DC 25 or 2d6 damage.

Secret Door (Search DC 20): The sahuagin are unaware of this door.

AREA 9 – ROOM OF SECRETS: The walls of this room are painted red.

Search (DC 20): There’s a secret compartment that contains 4 vials of oil of taggit and a cursed -2 kris.

AREA 10 – HIDDEN LIBRARY: This room contains the long-ruined remains of many scrolls and books. A scything blade trap was once set off here and now hangs limps from the ceiling, stirring slightly in the current. The skeletal remains of its 6 headless victims lie on the floor.

Skeletons: If disturbed, they will animate and attack.

Bronze Tablet #1: Among the water-ruined paper, there is a bronze tablet (see below).

AREA 11 – SHAMAN’S CHAMBERS: Ornate stonework furniture, covered with mosses and lichens, dominates the perimeter of this room, surrounding an altar of sea embers (bright blue coals which burn even in water).

AREA 12 – KITCHEN: This was once a kitchen for the temple. Rusted, worthless cutlery and rare, valuable bone china can be found in the cupboards.

AREA 13 – BATHS: This room served as the baths for the temple. A hot spring still feeds the baths, making the water in this room noticeably warmer.

AREA 14 – LATRINE: This room was once the latrine for the temple.

Search (DC 12): A cache of 75 triangular gold coins can be found at the bottom of the latrine trough.

Lost Laboratories of Arn - Sorcerous Brand of Arn

Sorcerous Brand of Arn

AREA 15 – ROOM OF GHOSTS: A blasted altar stands in the middle of the room.

Shadows: The ghosts of two Arn assassins (treat as shadows) linger here. Each of the shadows has a glowing sigil (the Sorcerous Brand of Arn) glowing brightly on their arms.

AREA 16 – THE WELL: Heavy black fluid rests within the well, not mingling with the water. This fluid burns like oil even when submerged.

Vat: A vat stands near the entrance with liquid taken from the well. The sahuagin can tip it over to fill the hallway beyond and light it on fire.

AREA 17 – MECHANICAL ROOM: Levers, dials, wheels, and gears take up much of this room. They are rusted and verdigrised; their function lost to the tides of time.

AREA 18 – SHARK PEN: Rusted remains of torture implements litter this room. There is an outlet to the open sea through a long, narrow tunnel.

AREA 19 – TELEPORTALS: This chamber contains  red teleportal (to Lab 1) and a blue teleportal (to Lab 4). Both are one-way.

AREA 20 / AREA 21 – THE OATHS OF ARN: The secret doors leading to these chambers require DC 25 Search checks to find. In Area 20, the Oath of Arn is inscribed upon the wall. A small altar contains a blue key.

In area 21, the False Oath of Arn is inscribed upon the wall. A small altar contains a blue key which will inflict 2d6 Constitution damage (Fortitude save, DC 20, half damage) when used.


Level: Rgr 0, Sor/Wiz 0
Components: V, S, F
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Blood from the target
Target: One living creature
Duration: 1 min/Level
Saving Throw: None
Spell Resistance: No

By tasting the blood of the caster’s chosen target, he creates a connection with that person or creature, enabling a way of tracking it through all kinds of terrain. For some young wizards (level 1-3) this can be a rather tough experience, and they have to make a Fortitude save (DC 15) or lose the blood connection. The blood must still be liquiscent for this spell to work.

There is no defined range of this spell, but when the duration ends the connection is broken and new blood must be procured to cast the spell anew. The blood can come from an animal as well as a person, and even if that creature lies dead somewhere, this spell will lead the caster to it.

Arcane Focus: The blood from the target.


MONSTROUS CRAB (CR 2) – Medium Vermin (Aquatic)
DETECTION – darkvision 60 ft., Spot +4; Init +1; Languages
DEFENSESAC 16 (+1 Dex, +5 natural), touch 11, flat-footed 15; hp 19 (3d8+6)
ACTIONSSpd 30 ft., swim 20 ft.; Melee 2 claws +4 (1d4+2; Ranged +3; Base Atk +2; Grapple +3; Atk Options constrict 1d4+2, improved grab
SQ darkvision 60 ft., water dependency, vermin traits
STR 14, DEX 12, CON 14, INT –, WIS 10, CHA 2
FORT +5, REF +2, WILL +1
SKILLS: Spot +4*, Swim +10

Constrict (Ex): On successful grapple check (including grapple check to establish grapple), 1d4+2 damage.

Improved Grab (Ex): On hit with claw attack, grapple as free action without provoking attack of opportunity. On success, establishes hold and can immediately constrict.

Water Dependency (Ex): Survive outside of water for 1 hour per point of Constitution (then refer to drowning rules).

*Skills: +4 racial bonus to Spot checks. +8 racial bonus to Swim checks to perform special action or avoid hazard. Can always take 10 on Swim checks. Can perform run action while swimming.


LESSER KRAKEN (CR 6): 60 (8d8+24), AC 19, tentacles +11/+11 (2d6+4), Save +9, Ability DC 16

Str 24, Dex 10, Con 19, Int 18, Wis 17, Cha 17

Skills: Concentration +13, Diplomacy +12, Hide +9, Intimidate +12, Knowledge (geography) +13, Knowledge (nature) +13, Listen +12, Search +12, Sense Motive +12, Spot +12, Survival +12, Swim +16, Use Magic Device +13

Constrict: On a successful grapple check (including grapple check to establish grapple), deal 2d6 damage.

Jet: As full-round action, can jet at a speed of 200 feet. Movement while jetting does not provoke attacks of opportunity.

Improved Grab: On hit with tentacle attack, grapple as free action without provoking attack of opportunity. On success, establishes hold and can immediately constrict.

Ink Cloud: 40-foot spread once per minute as free action. Cloud provides total concealment.


SAHAUGIN ELITE (CR 7): 75 hp (10d8+30), AC 20, talon or trident +14/+14 (2d8+3), Save +10, Ability DC 17

Str 16, Dex 15, Con 14, Int 14, Wis 13, Cha 11

Skills: Handle Animal +13, Hide +15, Perception +14, Profession (hunter) +14, Ride +15, Survival +14

Blindsense 30 ft.

Bloodfrenzy (Ex): 14 rounds, cannot end voluntarily. +2 to attacks, -2 AC, +2d6 damage.

Pounce and Rake (Ex): Full action. Move up to twice speed and then perform a full attack. Gains two additional attacks that each deal 2d6.

Speak with Sharks: Telepathically, 100 ft.


SAHUAGIN SHAMAN (CR 7+2*): 75 hp (10d8+30), AC 20, talon or trident +14/+14 (2d8+3), Save +10, Ability DC 17

Str 16, Dex 15, Con 14, Int 14, Wis 16, Cha 11

Skills: Handle Animal +13, Hide +15, Perception +14, Profession (hunter) +14, Ride +15, Survival +14

Possessions: gold pearl (operates as pearl of power (2nd level) 4 times per day, but only with divine spells)

Blindsense 30 ft.

Bloodfrenzy (Ex): 14 rounds, cannot end voluntarily. +2 to attacks, -2 AC, +2d6 damage.

Pounce and Rake (Ex): Full action. Move up to twice speed and then perform a full attack. Gains two additional attacks that each deal 2d6.

Speak with Sharks: Telepathically, 100 ft.

*6th Level Cleric

Cleric Spells Prepared (CL 6)
3rd (DC 16)—magic circle against good, bestow curse, water breathing
2nd (DC 15)—desecrate, bull’s strength, resist energy, make whole
1st (DC 14)—obscuring mist, bless, entropic shield, shield of faith
0th (DC 13)—create water, detect magic, detect poison, guidance, light
Deity: Sea
Domains: Evil, Water



SAHUAGIN CHIEFTAIN (CR 7+2*): 220 hp (10d8+30), AC 20, talon or trident +14/+14/+14/+14 (2d8+3), Save +10, Ability DC 17

Str 16, Dex 15, Con 14, Int 14, Wis 16, Cha 11

Skills: Handle Animal +13, Hide +15, Perception +14, Profession (hunter) +14, Ride +15, Survival +14

Blindsense 30 ft.

Bloodfrenzy (Ex): 14 rounds, cannot end voluntarily. +2 to attacks, +2d6 damage.

Pounce and Rake (Ex): Full action. Move up to twice speed and then perform a full attack. Gains two additional attacks that each deal 2d6.

Speak with Sharks: Telepathically, 100 ft.

*Potentate (calculated into stat block, see Legends & Labyrinths)

Go to Part 3: The Laboratories

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Lost Laboratories of Arn

November 16th, 2015

Catacombs of Alexandria

This 3rd Edition scenario was originally designed for my In the Shadow of the Spire campaign. I recently had cause to mention it while discussing the need to occasionally write-off the material you’ve prepped: Due to a series of odd events, the PCs in my campaign ended up falling in with a litorian named Wenra (who you’ll meet in detail below). At the end of one session they agreed to accompany him in exploring a dungeon complex he had recently discovered, but half of the party wasn’t firmly committed to the idea and at the beginning of the next session they managed to convince the others it wasn’t a good use of their time or resources. The rather lengthy adventure — which I had grown quite fond of — was laid aside.

The adventure itself is an adaptation of and radical expansion of two dungeons from the One Page Dungeon Contest: The Sunken Temple of Arnby Strange Stones and Escape from the Lost Laboratoriesby Wordman.


The Arn were a secret society during the era of the Sorcerer-Kings. (Much like the Brotherhood of the Silver Hand.) They constructed networks of underground laboratories to keep their work hidden and connected these laboratories using a teleportal network.

The Arn sect in the area around the City dabbled extensively into the chaotic magitech of the Banelord and Lithuin.

SORCEROUS BRAND OF ARN: These marked the members of the order. The branding irons can still be found in the Temple of Vehthyl (Laboratory 4).

BRONZE TABLETS OF ARN: Written in the secret arcane tongue of the Arn. Requires a read magic and comprehend languages spell, and still requires a 5/2 (failure starts over) Decipher Script check (DC 20, 1 hour per check). Each tablet generally has 1 spell on it.


Wenra is an Artathi — a member of the proud race of felinids who live on the southern continent. His animal companion is a bear named Seenmae.

Seenmae the BearWenra recently discovered a secret door in the Catacombs beneath the City that open onto a long stairway leading down to the entrance of the Sunken Temple of Arn. Finding his way blocked by water, he returned to the surface to get a potion of waterbreathing (and ended up getting several doses of gillweed, see below) and to seek out adventurous companions to accompany him in exploring the ruins (which is where the PCs come in).

Wenra believes that the sunken temple may lead to the Lost Laboratories of the Arn — elaborately concealed laboratories belonging to the arcane sect of Arn which were scattered around the City and only accessible through some sort of teleport network. (He is, in fact, right about this.)

Wenra has in his possession a red key which he believes will allow him to access the entire teleport network. Unfortunately, although it appears intact, it is actually broken. (Spellcraft DC 25 to identify the key; DC 35 to realize it’s not fully functional.)

GILLWEED: Chewing this heavily oxygenated weed allows a character to breathe underwater for up to 1 minute per dose.


APPEARANCE: Broad-shouldered Artathi with golden fur. His mane has ribbons of blue-and-crimson threaded through it. His two front-fangs have scrollwork inking on them in the shape of a bear’s paws.


  • Hunched shoulders.
  • Big laugh.
  • Gleeful about delving (which often overrides caution).

BACKGROUND: Wenra was a member of one of the Artathi hunting bands that roam the rocky land north of the city. He left his tribe and came to the City to escape a wrath oath that was sworn against him by his brother (Tyrian) for sleeping with his wife (Bithbessa).

When he arrived in the City two years ago, Wenra became fascinated with the Catacombs beneath the city. He joined the Wanderer’s Guild and threw himself enthusiastically (if not always competently) into delving.

WENRA (CR 5) – Male Litorian – Ranger 7 – CG Medium Humanoid
DETECTION – low-light vision, Perception +10; Init +1; Languages Common, Goblin, Litorian
DEFENSESAC 18 (+2 Dex, +1 Two-Weapon Defense, +5 +1 chain shirt of silent moves), touch 12, flat-footed 16; hp 61 (7d8+21)
ACTIONSSpd 30 ft.; Melee +1 battleaxe +8/+8/+3/+3/+3 (1d8+5) or +1 battleaxe +12/+7 (1d8+5); Ranged +8; Base Atk +7/+2; Grapple +11; Atk Options favored enemy (animal) +4; Combat Feats Power Attack; Combat Gear caltrops, acid (x3), antitoxin (x2), holy water (x3), potion of cure light wounds
SQ animal companion, improved combat style (two-weapon), favored environment (underground), low-light vision, wild empathy, woodland stride
STR 18, DEX 15, CON 16, INT 13, WIS 10, CHA 12
FORT +8, REF +7, WILL +2
FEATS: Improved Animal Companion, Endurance*, Track*, Improved Two-Weapon Fighting*, Power Attack, Two-Weapon Defense, Two-Weapon Fighting* (* Bonus feat)
SKILLS: Climb +8, Handle Animal +11, Heal +5, Intimidate +3, Jump +8, Knowledge (dungeoneering) +9, Knowledge (geography) +3, Knowledge (nature) +7, Perception +12, Stealth +11, Search +12, Survival +4, Swim +7
POSSESSIONS: +1 chain shirt of silent moves, +1 battleaxe (x2), backpack (caltrops (x2), candle, chain, crowbar, grappling hook, hammer, pitons (x12), 50 ft. rope, torch (x12)), bandolier (acid x3, antitoxin x2, holy water x3, potion of cure light wounds), gillweed (12 doses)

Endurance (Ex): +4 on Swim checks to avoid nonlethal damage; Constitution checks to avoid nonlethal damage from forced march/starvation/thirst, hold breath, nonlethal damage from cold and hot environments; Fort saves vs. suffocation damage. Can sleep in light or medium armor without becoming fatigued.

Favored Enemy (Ex): Gains +4 bonus on weapon damage, Bluff, Knowledge, Listen, Sense Motive, Spot, and Survival checks vs. Animals.

Favored Environment (Ex): Gains +4 bonus Hide, Listen, Move Silently, Spot, and Survival checks in Underground environments.

Wild Empathy (Ex): 1d20 + ranger level to improve animal’s reaction, resolve as Diplomacy.

Woodland Stride (Ex): Move through any non-magical undergrowth without speed penalty or damage.

Ranger Spells Prepared (CL 3)

1st (DC 12)—speak with animals

SEENMAE (CR 4) – N Large Animal
DETECTION – low-light vision, scent, Listen +4, Spot +7; Init +1
DEFENSESAC 20 (-1 size, +1 Dex, +5 natural, +5 partial plate barding), touch 10, flat-footed 19; hp 72 (6d8+24)
ACTIONSSpd 30 ft. (40 ft. w/o barding); Melee 2 claws +11 (1d8+8) and bite +6 (2d6+4); Ranged +4; Space 10 ft.; Reach 5 ft.; Base Atk +4; Grapple +16; SA improved grab; Combat Feats Run
SQ familiar abilities (link, share spells), low-light vision, scent
STR 27, DEX 13, CON 19, INT 2, WIS 12, CHA 6
FEATS: Endurance, Run, Track
SKILLS: Listen +4, Spot +7, Swim +8* (+12 w/o barding)
POSSESSIONS: partial plate barding

Improved Grab (Ex): Start grapple as free action off claw attack, no attack of opportunity.

*Skills: +4 racial bonus on Swim checks.


Wenra’s Path leads:

  • Through the Catacombs to a door.
  • Down a long stairway (with
  • The stairway continues down into sunken passages.
  • The sunken passages lead to Area 1 of the Sunken Temple of Arn.

Go to Part 2: The Sunken Temple of Arn

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Tagline: In 32 slim pages Three Days to Kill manages to not only present a really gut-wrenching, fast-paced, creative adventure, but also conjures into existence a highly entertaining, evocative, and believable slice of a fantasy world.

Three Days to KillI’ve spent the better part of the past two weeks reading really bad fantasy modules. It is difficult to describe to you the truly excruciating pain of this experience. Instead, I shall endeavor to demonstrate by way of example:

“The characters are in Boringtown. There is a bar, a temple, and an armory.”

“The characters are in Moronsburg. There is a bar, a temple, and a general store.”

“The characters are in Clicheville. There is a bar, a temple, and a blacksmith. The mayor approaches them….”

“At the bottom of the farmer’s well there is a secret door which has not been opened in centuries. On the other side of the door is a labyrinth containing giant spiders and goblins. Kill them.”

“The abandoned mansion on the top of the hill has become home to a bunch of necromancers and a couple of ghosts. Kill them.”

“The PCs wander around the desert enjoying random encounters until they stumble across a lost pyramid. There they watch two mummies fight over conflicts which existed thousands of years ago (and about which the PCs know nothing). When the fight is over (make sure that the PCs don’t take part in any way) the PCs get to go home.”


Between painfully artificial settings, a mind-numbing lack of originality, and stunningly awful “plots”, these so-called “adventures” have earned their designers an eternity upon the racks of the Nine Circles of Hell.

(On the plus side, I think actually playing through these scenarios counts as a form of penance. The equivalent of saying fifty Hail Mary’s or something of that nature.)

(The funny thing is that you think I’m kidding. Outside of those satiric town names, though, I’m not – these things actually exist. They’re out there and they’re waiting for you. Be afraid. Be very afraid.)

There were days when I felt like giving in to a nascent Oedipal Complex… and by that I mean stabbing my eyes out with pins to take the sight of these monstrosities away from me.

But through the good graces of providence, a copy of John Tynes’ excellent Three Days to Kill fell into my hands, and thus I was saved from a truly horrific fate.


Before we begin:

John Tynes is a roleplaying designer and writer of immense talents: He was one of the founders of Pagan Publishing. He was a co-author of Delta Green. With Greg Stolze he designed the award winning Unknown Armies for Atlas Games. Last year Hogshead Publishing’s New Style line published his amazingly evocative Puppetland and the startlingly innovative Power Kill.

With Three Days to Kill Tynes has taken advantage of WotC’s D20 Trademark License and Open Gaming License (see the Open Gaming Foundation for more details on both of these programs) to produce a module for the 3rd Edition of Dungeons & Dragons. This is the lead-off product in Atlas Games’ new Penumbra line of products. Over the next few months you can expect to see more support material for D&D3 released through this imprint.

Three Days to Kill is designed for a party of 1st to 3rd level PCs.

And now on with the show:


Warning: This review will contain spoilers for Three Days to Kill. Players who may end up playing in this module are encouraged to stop reading now. Proceed at your own risk.

Three Days to Kill is set in the Deeps, a valley nestled within a mountain range. At the heart of this valley, located on the shores of Shadow Lake, is Deeptown.

And as quickly as that we have come to the first major strength of Three Days to Kill: Deeptown is a generic fantasy city. It has been specifically designed to slip seamlessly into any DM’s campaign world.

The minute you attempt something like this you’ve placed yourself in dangerous territory: If you make the town too specific, then its usefulness as a generic setting is lost. If you make the town too generic, however, you end up with the triteness of “there is a bar, a temple, and a blacksmith”.

Tynes, however, deftly avoids these pitfalls. On the one hand Deeptown is imminently generic – any DM with a mountain range can slap the town into place. On the other hand, Deeptown is also developed very specifically – it exists for a purpose, the people living there have their own character and culture, and the whole place has a dynamic quality which makes it not only a potential setting for Three Days to Kill, but many other adventures. Despite the fact that Deeptown can be placed almost anywhere in the DM’s campaign world, it has been craftily designed so that – no matter what world you place it in – it will seem as if always belonged there.

So what is Deeptown? Deeptown is a small city located on the shores of Shadow Lake, a way-point on the east-west trade routes that pass through the Deeps. The mountainous terrain of this trade route makes it easy for bandits to prey on caravans, and, in fact, any number of bandit gangs roam the hills. This helps make Deeptown particularly attractive for young adventures and other assorted muscle looking for jobs as guards (or opportunities as thieves, as the case may be).

There are six bandit lords in the area (although, as Tynes points out, “calling them ‘lords’ gives them too much credit, really — they’re just competent thugs”). The two largest groups are controlled by the bandits Modus and Lucien.

Deeptown itself is technically ruled over by the Town Council, but in truth it is the Trade Circle – the local guild of commerce – which rules the city from behind the scenes. In other words, even the law in Deeptown is governed by the corruption of the all-mighty dollar.

This leaves only one major power group left to consider: Religion. In Deeptown the two most significant religious groups are the Holy Order (dedicated to the preservation of life) and the Sect of Sixty (a group of diabolists). (Both of these groups – while having their structure and general role in Deeptown life laid out in the module – are left purposely vague in all the right places to that you can plug in whatever gods you like. For example, the Holy Order might worship Athena and the Sect of Sixty Hades. On the other hand, the Holy Order might revere Adaire, Goddess of Light and Purity; while the Sect of Sixty might practice foul sacrifices to Cthulhu. It’s all up to you.)

Basically the setting information in Three Days to Kill can be summed up like this: A solid, interesting foundation. For a 32 page module a surprising amount of detail is included, giving the setting a life and reality of its own through the expert application of a handful of deft brush strokes – all the while maintaining an openness and flexibility which will make its use simplicity itself.


Modus and Lucien, the two premiere Bandit Lords, have long hoped to turn “legitimate” (within a broad enough definition of that word). They hope to use their strength in order to convince the Trade Circle to ally with them – essentially moving into the protection rackets (expensive Trade Circle permits would be sold, and caravans which purchased them would be spared from the attention of Modus and Lucien). In the interest of seeing this day come to pass, Modus and Lucien agreed to a pact – stating that neither would enter into a deal with the Trade Circle without the other.

Lucien, however, is no longer willing to wait. He has made a secret alliance with the Sect of Sixty. Lucien wants to use the Sect to use their supernatural powers to help him crush Modus, while the Sect wants to use Lucien to help them gain a foothold over the taxation of trade routes (when his day of power comes).

Modus, although hazy on the exact details of the alliance Lucien is planning, knows that his would-be ally is up to something. Of course, he’d prefer it if Lucien was not allowed to be up to anything…

…and that’s where the PCs come in.

One way or another the PCs are attending the Festival of Plenty (a night of debauchery and infamy which is thrown annually in Deeptown by the Sect of Sixty). Several ways of getting them to Deeptown and into the Festival are given, as are a number of ways of having them prove their worth during the course of the festival. One way or another, however, they come to the attention of Modus’ men – at which point they are approached for The Job.

The Job is this: Modus knows that Lucien is meeting with his mysterious allies at a villa north of Deeptown known as Trail’s End. He wants the PCs to crash the party, screw up the meeting, and make Lucien look foolish and unreliable to his would-be supporters. The PCs, of course, will be well paid for their troubles.

So the PCs head north. On the way to Trail’s End they discover signs of orc activity in the region (which is connected to a coming of age rite), but it isn’t until they reach Trail’s End that the adventure really kicks into overdrive: You see, the villa is packed full of Sect cultists and bandits.

And if the PCs rush the front door of the villa, they’re going to be annihilated.

Three Days to Kill is, in fact, a rather ingenious scenario for bringing the gameplay of computer games like Tenchu and Thief: The Dark Project — which emphasize stealth and cunning over brute strength – into the traditional roleplaying realm of D&D. (Tynes actually uses the analogy Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six – but that requires a larger genre shift in my opinion.) The PCs are given weapons, magical items, and a situation which allows them to scout their enemy, plan a strategy, and then carry out a covert operation.

Done right this can be a lot of fun. Done wrong this is going to be nothing more than a hackfest. Either way you should get a good dose of fun before it’s all said and done. Basically its going to play out something like this:

The PCs are going to take out the bandits and the Sect henchman. As they do so, the Sect acolytes are going to fall back to a secluded room inside the villa. In this room is the Bone Mirror – a mystic artifact of great evil which allows them to start gating low-level minions of Hell into the villa.

As the minions of Hell swarm over the villa – and the PCs fight valiantly to reach and shut off the source of the Hellspawn – the remaining bandits will flee… as they do so the orcs (remember them form the trek north?) will come over the top of the hill and charge the villa as well.

Hellspawn on one side. Orcs on the other. Bandits and PCs trapped in the middle. What’s a hero to do?

Smash the Bone Mirror and fight for their lives, of course!

But we’re not done yet!

When the shattered pieces of the Bone Mirror come to rest they begin to bleed. “The blood wells up from the mirror and oozes out of the bones.” At first it merely trickles, but “then the blood comes faster, coating the floor around the shards, and begins to expand rapidly. Tendrils shoot out across the floor and begin running up the walls. As the blood spreads, it transforms the surfaces of the room. The floor bulges, and bones, flesh, and faces to begin to form. The effect spreads rapidly, accompanied by the screams of the damned.” As the process begins to effect the acolytes and orcs who still remain alive, these poor creatures begin to cry out: “He Who Walks is coming! The coming is at hand!”

The shards of the Bone Mirror transform the Trail’s End villa into the Bone Church – an outpost of Hell; a “pulsing, living, screaming conglomeration of bodies”. The PCs and the remnants of their opponents are forced to flee before the birth of this diabolic power.

And thus Three Days to Kill comes to an end: The PCs have, indeed, succeeded at their primary mission (breaking up the alliance between Lucien and the Sect of Sixty) – at least for now – but only by unleashing the seeds of future adventure: The mystery and threat of the Bone Church, the future of the Bandit Lords of the Deeps, the PCs relationship with Lucien and Modus, the evolving politics of Deeptown. Whether you decide to carry these seeds through to new adventures, or merely choose to have the PCs join the next caravan out of the Deeps, is entirely up to you. Three Days to Kill works equally well as a stand-alone adventure or as the germination point of an entire campaign.


Three Days to Kill is one of the best damn modules I’ve ever plunked down my cold, hard cash for. It’s one of those great gaming products that makes you instantly eager to call up your gaming group, roll up some characters, and get down to some serious roleplaying.

In 32 slim pages it manages to not only present a really gut-wrenching, fast-paced, creative adventure, but also conjures into existence a highly entertaining, evocative, and believable slice of a fantasy world.

Three Days to Kill is an exciting product.

And recommendations don’t come much higher than that.

Style: 4
Substance: 5

Author: John Tynes
Company/Publisher: Atlas Games (Penumbra)
Cost: $8.95
Page Count: 32
ISBN: 0-887801-94-4

Originally Posted: 2000/10/29

This represents a major turning point in my life. At this point, as I’d indicated in my review of Tomb of Horrors, I hadn’t played D&D in nearly a decade. 3rd Edition had perked my interest, but I wasn’t really planning to do much of anything with it. Until I picked up Three Days to Kill at GenCon. And, as I said in the review, Three Days to Kill was exciting. It was one of those products that just kind of screams, “Play me!”

So I ended up taking over as GM for what was my regular gaming group at the time. And from that point forward, 3rd Edition would dominate my reviews, my personal gaming, and my freelance writing.

Three Days to Kill generated a lot of buzz when it first came out because it was one of two third party modules available at GenCon when the Player’s Handbook launched. These days it seems to have become something of an unsung classic, though, with fewer people being aware of its existence. I heartily recommend snagging a copy for yourself and running it ASAP.

For an explanation of where these reviews came from and why you can no longer find them at RPGNet, click here.




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