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Author: Bill Sweeney
System: D&D Forgotten Realms
Requirements: 4-5 characters of levels 7-10 and at least one paladin and mage
The adventure is set almost entirely in the Forgotten Realm's city of Tantras, a free port located on the eastern coast of the Dragon Reach. This adventure makes wide use of characters and personalities native to the Realms.
This adventure is designed for 4-5 characters of levels 7-10. The PC's party should include a wide variety of classes including at least one paladin and one mage. Several good aligned characters should also be present in the party (Harpers if possible). The adventure is set almost entirely in the Forgotten Realm's city of Tantras, a free port located on the eastern coast of the Dragon Reach. This adventure makes wide use of characters and personalities native to the Realms.
For the DM
Long ago, the Mage-King of Iltkazar, the Lord-most-mighty Shoon, created a grimoire of his greatest magics. An evil and twisted man, Shoon slew a dozen unicorns and used their blood to magically bind his soul to this workbook. Upon the magical text he spun numerous other enchantments, including one which hides its words from sight and another which imprisons careless perusers. Shoon finally died and his soul came to rest in the grimoire; a large unremarkable spell book with blank pages that had earned the name, the "Tome of the Unicorn". Shoon continued to exist within the book's back cover as a demilich, a rare but powerful undead spirit which is unturnable and practically invincible. The book passed between the hands of many a wizard in the days after Shoon's death, many of these dying as soon as Shoon's new form drained their souls unexpectedly.
The Tome of the Unicorn eventually fell into the hands of a Northman pirate named Frommilor Rustraven of island kingdom of Ruathyn. The tome was given to his king and was secreted in the royal library for countless years. However, this same book was stolen about ten winters ago from the library by a wizard from Luskan, who eventually turned out to be an agent of the Red Wizards of Thay. A war erupted between Ruathyn and Luskan over the book and the unknown wizard escaped with the arcane text in the confusion. The wizard sought to bring the grimoire back across the Realms and home to Thay, but instead ran into disaster in the Sea of Fallen Stars.
The wizard's ship was attacked by the Pirates of the Inner Sea and the Tome of the Unicorn was lost overboard in the ensuing battle. The wizard slain by the pirates, the book washed ashore south of Procampur some ten years later and was first found by the son of a fisherman. The boy brought the book to the mage Tessran and tried to sell it for a few coppers. The mage, a student of magical texts and a Harper agent in Procampur, recognized the tome and alerted agents in the Realms of a dangerous artifact's discovery. After receiving instructions from his superiors, he then delivered it in person to Tarntassa, a Harper mage who resides in the city-state of Tantras.
The book now rests in her possession though she is partially unaware of the grimoire's true danger (in particular, the fact that Shoon resides within). The book's discovery has also come to the attention of spying and scrying eyes of Lord Manshoon of the Zhentarim as well as a reclusive mage named Zhundult "Stormhand" Ulbresk. The Zhentarim leader and this solitary mage both want the book because it supposedly contains the instructions on how to create a permanent magical gate between planes of existence. Zhentarim agents have been deployed to Tantras to retrieve an "item of value" for Manshoon and have subsequently discovered, murdered, and replaced the Harper agent to which Tarntassa plans to hand the Tome over. These Zhentarim and Zhentilar know nothing of the true nature of the Tome of the Unicorn, just that it is an item of magic Manshoon craves dearly. Ulbresk continues to watch to whole drama unfold as he is beginning to move his own plans into action for the book's retrieval. Amidst the confusion, our adventurers come sailing into Tantras, leaving a trail of angry Red Wizards behind them and their paladin set on visiting the holiest temple of Torm in all the Realms, located near the magic dead wastes of the northern blocks of the city.
This adventure presumes that the characters start on a ship, sailing from the south, toward the port of Tantras. This letter is received by carrier pigeon one week outside of Tantras and is addressed to a Harper agent in the party or the most able Harper candidate (DM's choice). The delivery of this message is secret and should only be shown to the party receiving the message.
It has come to my attention that you are an active agent of those who harp and are in the vicinity of the city-state of Tantras. I request your aid in a matter of dire importance. Bring your allies with you and seek me out at my tower in the city. Come by night and keep the particulars of this message a secret.
Your ally, Tarntassa of Tantras
I. The Sea of Fallen Stars
Read this to begin;
There are few in all the Realms that can say they have seen the mysterious land of Thay, but even fewer still who have lived to face the Red Wizards and still walk this world. Your exploits in the southern lands have earned you a great deal of fame there; northern adventuring heroes who came to save the lands of Aglarond and Rasheman. However, your hearts longed to leave these magical nations and return to your homelands in the north. Though a bit simpler, they are where your loyalties and pasts still reside. You have purchased the deed to a seaworthy caravel from a Velprintalar shipbuilder who recently finished constructing your sailing ship this very winter. Paying him with the heaps of treasure you accumulated in your campaign against the Thayans, your party is now in possession of a newly constructed caravel, outfitted and designed to your specifications.
It is the Year of the Banner, 1368 DR, the first day of Ches, when you and your friends say your farewells to the Simbul and her magical domain of Aglarond and set sail due northwest from Velprintalar back toward the Dalelands. Luckily, there are those among you skilled in the arts of navigation and seamanship and you are able to plot an accurate course northward. Your party's paladin has expressed an interest in stopping in the city of Tantras along the way to visit a holy temple to the god of duty, Torm the True. By examining your charts you see that Tantras is located on the eastern coast of the Dragon Reach, not far from the Dalelands and definitely on the way home.
Setting sail for Tantras, you and your friends spend several long weeks traversing the Sea of Fallen Stars. This vast inland body separates the northern lands from the ancient secrets of the southern ones. It is considered a dangerous place by many, plagued with pirates and dark creatures of the deep, but your journey north seem devoid of these obstacles. The long, cloudy, and windy days of Ches make the sea rough during the day and you spend most of your time below decks or helping with the rigging during the light rains that come every day. The sea is covered in a thick mist most of the time and you rely on your navigator's skill as he or she plots your course during relatively clear nights.
There are some who say the sea is ruthless and destructive, much like the Bitch Queen Umberlee herself. But after your journey sailing the Sea of Fallen Stars, watching a pale moon rise from the mist-covered water, surfing a never-ending horizon of blue, and challenging the crests of white capped waves, you realize that the sea is another adventure in your life, a new chapter in the epic that you live. Many quiet nights you spend together with your friends, talking and dreaming of the days ahead, guessing where fate will lead you next.
It is during one of these night that the pigeon should arrive at the ship at deliver the message to the most appropriate character. However, although the character should be someone of Harper-like ideals, it is important that the person not be a magic-user. A cleric is acceptable, but a mage might be able to discover the truth about the Tome before the party really should. This is a great time to let the players role play and to let them use their imaginations. The trip takes about three weeks from Velprintalar and is uneventful.
Read this as characters arrive at Tantras;
The weather has continued to be foggy and occasionally rainy for the last few days, but as you sail up the northern reaches of the sea and into the Dragon Reach, the temperature begins to fall steadily and weather becomes colder, the water much rougher. It is early springtime in the Vast, the name given to the lands east of the Reach, and you expect to be one of the first vessels arriving in Tantras this season. Your navigator sets a course toward the city, one which none of you have ever visited, but have heard some about. Tantras is supposedly dominated by the religion of Torm and is considered one of the more goodly cities in this area of the realms. In addition, rumors say that the city received a good deal of damage about ten years ago during the Time of Troubles, and it is unknown if their rebuilding is yet complete.
Your expectations of the city fall short of its true grandeur however, as the mist parts in front of your ship one late afternoon, revealing a rugged granite coastline with towering sea cliffs reaching out of the blue-green water. Nestled in the cliffs and protected by the natural breaks thus created, the thriving port city of Tantras, resplendent in an extensive harbor system and blocks upon blocks of fine inns and government buildings, lies about a mile off the bow. You can see banners and flags of deep blue and silver flying from the tops of many towers in this protected city and a respectable navy of raker ships docked in the bay. You watch as sailors scramble over the decks of two of these vessels and begin to raise the sails. The ships slide quietly out of their berths and you watch as a great chain barrier to the harbor is opened by winches on the outer docks to allow them to exit the bay. Slowly, you become aware that they have set an intercept course with your vessel and that now soldiers are racing along the coastline of the city to an impressive sea tower that is a military outpost guarding the area.
Somewhat confused by your strange reception, you hesitate a moment before looking behind your ship and back into the mist from which you came. Behind you, not more than a 250 yards in your wake, a strangely designed galley ship cuts through the water with amazing speed. A dark red sail billows in an unnatural breeze and churning paddle wheels dip into the water to propel the craft forward. Its hull is enameled in shining red plate armor and it proudly displays banners of a crimson hue from its masts. You realize that the ship behind you in manned by the Red Wizards of Thay just as an explosive projectile detonates in the water adjacent to your ship, its shock wave sending all of you flying from your positions.
All characters must make a dexterity check or lose their balance and fall for 1d6 points of damage. Characters failing their check must also make another dexterity check in addition to the first to prevent from being thrown overboard. The red enameled ship is the magical war galley, The Red Scourge, commanded and sailed by agents of the Red Wizards of Thay. These attackers are seeking to claim the bounty presently set on the characters by the lich, Zulkir Szass Tam. Their intention is to take the characters alive and collected the bonus incentive of an additional 10,000 gp on top of the original 25,000 offered for the character's deaths. Allow the characters initial response to the this surprise threat, and then read the following text at an appropriate point where one of the Tantran vessels closes within 250 yards.
Read this as a Thayan bombard hits the raker;
One of the magical Thayan cannons fires again and you watch as the flaming projectile, perhaps the half the size of a horse, streaks into the air toward one of the Tantran warships. You watch in horror as the bombard falls upon the helpless ship, detonating with a flash of red fiery light and a roll of thunder. Instantaneously, multiple explosions rock the ship and you watch as it explodes into wooden splinters over the bay, its crew of forty men and women incinerated in the blast.
This battle should be a big tough one, so make sure you plan ahead for the set up. Characters may try to board the galley, but it is heavily armed and protected. The galley will continue toward the caravel and try to ram it. It will fire magical bombards only at the Tantrans to keep them at bay and will use hand-to-hand combat and spells to incapacitate the party. An important aspect of this battle will be the map of The Red Scourge and the possibility of bombards loaded on the warship being exploited by the characters as a way to destroy the ship itself. The statistics needed for running the battle and the Red Wizard's strategies are detailed below and are tailored for each group of enemies. The paddle wheels are driven by a horde of tanarri dretches and babau which are not considered in this battle because they are chained to their benches.
The Red Scourge; magical war galley; AR 4; MV 6; SW 80%; spiked battering ram, 10 ballistae (THACO 18) (3d8 dmg), 24 light bombard cannons (THACO 19) (5d10 + SW check +10%)
Captain Emo Medrici; LE hm F11; AC 0; hp 76; THACO 6; Dmg 1d6+6; AT 5/2; rapier +3, XP 2000; will lead the boarding attack on the party's ship and focus on defeating the warriors in the group
Phazrada; CE hf Tra12; AC 2; hp 35; THACO 16; Dmg by dagger or by spell; 5/5/5/5/5/2; ring of protection +3, crystal ball, wand of flame extinguishing; will cast spells in her quarters and through her crystal ball to occupy spell-users in this order; conjure water elemental, control weather, domination, and any other fire-based spells needed to bring the party to its knees.
10 Officers; LE F6; AC 6; hp 40; THACO 14; rapiers; XP 200; five will lead the assault with Emo but the others will remain inside at strategically located positions.
40 Warriors; NE F2; AC 7; hp 15; THACO 18; rapiers; XP 50; the boarding party is sparing no precautions and is sending 30 sailors in the initial attack. The remaining sailor-warriors man several of the ballistae and the magic bombards.
There is a good chance that the characters may be able to fend off the first attack, but if they are successful, Emo will have no second thoughts about using the cannons on them to make sure he collects at least the 25,000 gp. You should warn the characters profusely about the closeness of such weapons to their ship and possibly hint at a weakness in the vessel. A character infiltrating the bombard deck could ignite one of the flaming magic oil bombards and destroy the ship in the resulting blast. The problem is that such an explosion would possibly kill the saboteur in the process. If this plan is used then each character caught in the exploding galley must make 4 checks vs. breath weapon or suffer 5d10 points of damage for each miss as he escapes the ship. Allow the characters to be creative to try to the lessen damage. Otherwise, the characters will have to think of something else...
Read this as the Thayan galley sinks;
What begins as a low rumble grows to a roar as a fiery blast tears through outer hull of the Red Scourge. Thayan sailors are thrown overboard as the magical warship careens to starboard. Inhuman screams come from the decks below as another explosion rocks the ship and the enameled plate armor buckles and shatters in the shock waves of the blast. Water pours into numerous holes in the ship's hull as yet another explosion engulfs the upper deck with fans of crimson magical fire. The Red Scourge lists heavily on its side and with a final tremendous explosion, one which rattles the masts of your own ship, its stern is sent into the air as its bow dives deep into the Bay of Tantras. Within seconds, the mass of the ship slips slowly under the waves, afire until the water quenches the infernal blaze.
II. The City-State of Tantras
Read this as characters disembark;
Your ship, severely damaged by the Thayan attack, is towed into the Tantran harbor by two raker ships. The great chain wall that blocks entrance to the harbor opens at your approach and you watch as several more rakers pass by you in the opposite direction, sailing outside of the city to guard against any further attacks. Your ship is guided into an empty pier near the navy docks. As you look around the harbor, you are amazed at the shipping services Tantras provides, ones much more extravagant and technologica_lly advanced than in any other seaport you have yet to see. Machines of Gond, the god of artifice and invention, dot the dock area, contraptions lifting cargo off ships and heavy pulleys counterbalancing the weight. Mechanized lifts comprised of numerous gears and levers carry damaged ships out of the water and into dry-dock while other arm-like machines load empty vessels full of supplies. The squeak and squeal of steam-powered invention fill the air as hundreds of bustling merchants and sailors scour the dock area for the best bargain on their wares. The scene is one of chaos and confusion at first, but slowly you begin to realize there is an underlying order to it all, a freedom of mercantilism which governs itself on the basic economic principles.
Your ship is tied to the docks by your Tantran saviors and you are able to disembark on a provided plank into the city. As your feet step upon the wooden platform of the pier, your party is assailed by a number of shipwrights who begin to haggle between each other on a reasonable price to repair your vessel. Through this crowd of businessmen, a stern and proud looking guardsman, dressed is silvery plate mail and a royal blue tabard emblazoned with a silvery wave surmounted by three stars, steps from the crowd to address you. A close cropped beard adorns his chiseled face and you notice a number of well healed scars upon his face and hands. It is one of these hands that he offers to you as he introduces himself.
"Quite a stunt you pulled out there adventurers, its lucky for us you were there. It seems the Red Wizards want you dead as much as they do us. Fortunately, our common bond makes us unlikely allies. Welcome to the city-state of Tantras friends, I am Lassalar Ormitar, Captain of the Guard, and day-to-day administrator of this fair place. I am sure the council and most notably High Priest Bhandraddon will wish to speak with you as soon as they are free, but at the moment they have been called into session to discuss the Thayan threat. I myself must join them momentarily, to ensure them of your intentions. Let it be known that while you stay within our walls you are our protectorate, that Tantras is a free city, and that the hands of Torm will guard you from harm. Welcome again my new friends to Tantras, the city of Torm's Coming."
Lassalar Ormitar; LN F12; AC -2; hp 89; THACO 5; Dmg 1d8+4; AT 5/2; XP 2000; honest, official, quick-tempered
Tantran Guards; LN F2; AC 5; hp 13; THACO 18; spears; XP 50; honest, naive, courageous
Read this as characters enter the city;
You excuse yourself from the hectic dock area and enter the city proper by way of the numerous boulevards that lead into the harbor. The crowd thins out here, but the hustle and bustle of a thriving city still exists within its depths. Tantras itself is a beautiful realm, long narrow cobblestone streets lined with multiple-storied inns and taverns surround guild halls and street vendors of all sorts on every corner. City guards, dressed in royal blue and silver, walk amongst the people comfortably. Ocassionally, priests dressed in the ceremonial plate mail of Torm, all stained in the different colors of the rainbow, make their way across the city blocks. Adventurers and other mercenary companies roam freely in the streets, dwarves, elves, and halflings all excepted openly in the city. Farmers and common people buy Tantran silverfish, the local catch, from fishermen and trade their wool and milk for coinage.
Read this if the characters question the wealthy merchants or vendors;
You approach a wealthier resident of Tantras, a middle-aged balding man of about forty winters. He smiles as you introduce yourself and he welcomes you to the city. His dress is impeccable and of the current fashions in this area of the realms; a short embroidered jacket, trousers and silken shirt, and a wide-brimmed hat.
"If your looking for a place to stay, the Weeping Wyvern caters to those willing to pay for elegance and extra space. Tantras is ruled by its merchant families first, but the hand of Torm pervades almost everything . Watch your actions around the guards because although the city is a free port, many of them of Tormites and they will be more than happy to arrest a law-breaking visitor and send him to the dungeon for a week or two. I'd also be wary of the northeastern reaches of the city, beyond the Temple of Torm's Coming, its a bit more shabby area, mostly comprised of malcontents and those who don't always see eye to eye with likes of Torm and his do-gooders.
Read this if the characters question a guard or priest;
You approach an armored guard, one of some rank by his finely decorated tabard, and introduce yourselves. The guard is a physically strong man with a clean-shaven face and sparkling blue eyes.
"Welcome to our city-state friends, you are guests of the Council and the church of Torm. For valiant sorts like yourselves only one place of lodging is acceptable, the Roaring Lion Inn. Its the best place in town, the pinnacle of accommodations. Keep your heads about you in the city, although we protect and guard it with our lives, occasionally some less savory elements do find their way in. Make sure to visit the church of Torm while your here, there is a tournament there tomorrow for able warriors."
Read this if the characters question adventurers;
You make your way through the crowd toward a slender elven woman dressed in leathers and a long cloak. She is accompanied by several friends who seem to be adventurers like herself. The elf catches sight of you from a distance and motions you closer to speak.
"I see you have gotten yourself in past the harbor guards. Congratulations, these Tormites can sometimes hassle we adventuring sorts when you enter the city. Although they say they understand adventurers have rights in the Tantras, you can bet that their is always a guard or a priest keeping an eye on you. If your looking for lodging, the Lazy Moon is cheap and a good place to stay for those of us just passing through. Make sure to take note of the layout of the city, there are certain neighborhoods in the north quarter that have attracted thieves and criminals. Supposedly, that part of the city has magically "dead" areas called the "Wastes" where all forms of magic cease to function properly."
Read this if the characters question the farmers or common people;
You approach a poor farmer dressed in simple trousers and a stitched shirt, his back laden with a pile of newly sheered sheep wool. You introduce yourself and the farmer welcomes you to the city.
"Ah, you'd be adventurin' sort would ya? Galivantin' after treasure and dragons do ya? Ha, ha. Tantras would be a bit borin' for ya then. Good city, not much excitement for the likes of you though. Must taste the ole' silvermuck before ya leave, and the best place for eats and boardin' is old Gulder's Good Grub down on the wharf. Good day to ya then, I gotta sell me wool."
The characters can make any choice they wish about housing and the ratings of the four inns mentioned range from excellent/expensive (The Roaring Lion), good/expensive (The Weeping Wyvern), good/moderate (The Lazy Moon), and good/cheap (Gulder's Good Grub). The temple of Torm has been closed for the evening so this should be a convenient time for the character who received the message from Tarntassa to seek her out with his or her companions.
III. Tarntassa's Tower
Read this as the characters arrive at the tower;
The sun is beginning to set and the last rays of the evening begin to fall on Tantras. After asking several street vendors directions to Tarntassa's Tower, you find the slender structure in the eastern quarter of the city near the outer guard wall. The tower is made of old stone, covered in a moist green moss and spiraling vines of ivy. It is seemingly windowless and has a small shingled roof. A squat stone building attaches to the tower's base and provides the only visible door to the complex. This heavy oaken portal is bound in rusting iron and is set beneath a weathered sign. The sign itself is old but newly painted to depict a harp surrounded by seven stars with the words "Tarntassa of Tantras, Magician and Entertainer" carved in the wood below.
Tarntassa has constructed two custom iron golems to serve her as servants in the tower. A bit consumed by her own beauty, Tarntassa has crafted the golems in the enlarged image of herself.
Read this as the golems welcome the party;
Your knock is heard from within and you can make out the sounds of heavy footsteps approaching the door. There is a strange metallic clanking noise with each step and it sounds as if the door is going to be answered by a butler in full plate armor. You take a step back as the door swings inward and a towering form steps out from the darkened portal. A full eight feet in height, an unusually shaped iron golem emerges to meet you. It has been formed into the shape of a lovely, if not gigantic, human woman with long hair. The iron creature is depicted as if she was wearing plate armor and an elaborate helm. From behind this metal colossus steps another golem identical to the first. It too comes forward from the doorway to tower above you.
A voice comes from inside the tower and a flash of bright light illuminates a rustic kitchen built in the squat stone house. The light is centered and hangs above a beautiful woman, no doubt the inspiration for the golems' life-like features, who looks to be in her late twenties. Incredibly long tresses of bronze-colored hair, that are tied in a pony tail, hangs below the mysterious mage's knees. She is dressed in green silken robes and wears a woven shawl about her shoulders that is decorated with gemstones and brooches of all sorts. The woman smiles and then commands her golems to step aside.
"Step aside, my iron friends, and let our visitors enter!" The giant golems step aside and allow you entrance to the tower. The female mage continues with a broad and welcoming smile across her face.
"I am Tarntassa of Tantras. I am glad you could make my acquaintance on such short notice. Please, follow me to my study where we may speak in comfort."
Iron Golems (2); AC 3; hp 80; THACO 3; Dmg 4d10; need +3 to hit; XP 15000
Tarntassa; NG hf W16; AC -3; hp 49; THACO 15; dmg by spell or staff of striking, spells: 5/5/5/5/5/3/2/1; 9000; vain, clever, humorous.
Tarntassa will lead the party up the spiral staircase of her tower to a simple living quarters where she pours the party glasses a honey-flavored drink which is non-alcoholic. (Tarntassa refuses to drink "poisons".) She will seem interested to listen to the characters stories' and will offer a place to stay in her sparsely furnished tower. The offer seems hollow however, and she eventually tire with talking to the characters and will ask if her chosen agent can speak to her alone for a moment in her study to conduct some business.
Read this as Tarntassa speaks to her chosen agent;
You follow Tarntassa up a narrow spiral staircase into the highest reaches of her tower. You watch as she whispers magical passwords and makes strange glyphs in the air to allow her to pass through several layers of magical defenses. The air shimmers around you as you climb higher into the gloomy tower and at last reach a closed and padlocked door at the top of the steps. Tarntassa whispers something softly and the padlock disengages, letting the door creak silently inward. You follow the mage into the darkened room and are startled when she casts a light spell to illuminate the area.
You stand in the highest chamber of Tarntassa's Tower, a spell laboratory by your estimation. Beakers and tubing of all shapes and sizes distill strange colored liquids into separate flasks. The walls are lined with bookshelves literally imbedded in the walls, filled with ancient texts and scroll tubes. Wands and rods of all types litter shelves and cabinet space and numerous piles parchment notes cover the floor of the room. In the center of the chamber lies a wooden table on which sits a ordinary leather satchel. Tarntassa moves to the far side of the table and you watch as she dispels a magical force field that had invisibly protected the pouch. After the field is dispelled, Tarntassa smiles and begins to speak as she opens the pouch and reaches within.
"Fellow Harper, I have chosen you to aid me in a task of great importance to our cause. Within this bag is a magical artifact of incredible power and danger. Its existence disturbs the natural balance of all things good and evil. It was found several days ago washed up on a beach south of here. Luckily, it was given to a Harper mage who recognized its power, and not some foolish hedge-wizard. The artifact has been passed along to myself and I have been in turn instructed to deliver it to a Harper agent here in Tantras who will subsequently bring it personally to Shadowdale. The problem is that I am aware that at least the Zhentarim and possibly other evil forces in the area have also learned of this artifact's rediscovery. My tower has been under surveillance for some time and I fear that Zhentarim agents already present in Tantras would make sure I would not survive long enough outside of my home to deliver it to the courier.
The Harpers need someone to carry the item and deliver it safely, someone the Zhentarim do not expect. I need your help desperately. This magical device must be delivered to a bard named Deltara Dragynstarr at the Net of Stars Tavern tomorrow evening. I will be leaving the city this night in hopes to lure our enemies into following my ruse. You shall deliver this artifact, as well as a number of spellbooks I need returned to Elminster, to Deltara Dragynstarr at the tavern which is located on the wharf."
Tarntassa pulls the artifact from the folds of the bag. You watch as she draws forth an ivory horn which is about two feet in length and is twisted straight. The horn glows with a faint yellow light which dances on its spiraling design.
"This is the Unicorn's Horn, a rare artifact from the distant past. You will carry it in this bag of holding." Tarntassa places the horn back into the bag and you watch it disappear in the extra-dimensional space.
"Now, take this bag and return to your friends. Your secrecy is vital to our mission, and if asked, you will relate to them that I needed you to bring some borrowed magical texts, ones that I will provide you, back to Elminster of Shadowdale. Secret the bag on your person and no one should discover our plans. Make sure the bag and the books are delivered to Deltara tomorrow night. You will recognize her by her golden headband and her fine taste and knowledge of rare wines. I suggest that you bring your friends along as guards, but do not make them aware of your mission unless it itself is in jeopardy and the situation forces such disclosure. Remember, the balance must be preserved and the horn must be returned to Shadowdale. This is your assignment."
The titles of the five books are; Melf's Missile Trajectories, Otiluke's Spherical Analyses, The Many Hands of Bigby, The Complete Essays of Mordekainen, and a blank untitled spell book. The books are of no true magical value and just discuss the finer points of casting certain wizard spells. The blank spell book is truly the Tome of the Unicorn (detailed below). The Unicorn's Horn is just a wooden carved horn with a magical aura cast upon it to make it seem enchanted. It is a ruse in itself to draw attention away from the Tome and hopefully dupe thieves into stealing the horn and not the grimoire.
The Tome of the Unicorn
This magical tome was created by the arch-mage Shoon over a thousand years ago. Crafted from the blood of a dozen unicorns, the grimoire contains the very soul of Shoon in the form of a demi-lich. The spell book has a number of pages that seem blank, but if concentrated upon, contain the following spells; charm person, darkness 15' radius, ESP, scare, dispel magic, charm monster, fear, fire trap, polymorph other, wizard eye, animate dead, death spell, duo-dimension, phase door, statue, clone, glassteel, permanency, power word blind, trap the soul, gate, imprisonment, and power word kill. The tome also serves as a manual of golems for the construction of iron and stone varieties and the front cover operates as a spell turning device that reflects magic 100%. The gate spell is unique in that it describes a method to make the gate permanent. The back cover of the book holds the spirit of Shoon which seeks to drain the souls of those who concentrate on the that part of the book or those you try to damage the tome.
Shoon; demilich; AC -6; hp 50; THACO 10; dmg by spell; drain soul, death howl, spells: hold person, dispel magic, lightning bolt, cone of cold, Bigby's Forceful Hand; XP 9000; (Shoon is enchanted himself to have the ability to stealspell 1 spell away from a character without the character even knowing)
Read this as the characters leave;
You gather your things and prepare to leave as Tarntassa thanks you for visiting her humble home. As you approach the door to the kitchen stairs, one of the iron golems moves to block your exit. Tarntassa steps in front of the golem and explains.
"Please friends, if you leave could through the rear exit, you would avoid the attention of any who might be watching my movements. Although Tantras is relatively a safe city, those who harp can never be too careful."
Tarntassa walks across the room and raps her fist three times on a wooden closet. She opens the door and you see a flight of dark, dank steps leading down into the darkness. "I know the sewers aren't very elegant, but they do provide quick access in and out when the situation demands it." Tarntassa beckons you to follow her downwards.
The passage runs 200 ft to the west before ending in an access ladder that leads to a surface connection in the back of an alley. Observant characters returning to the tower will see Tarntassa leaving her home several minutes later with traveling clothes and supplies.
IV. The Temple of Torm's Coming
Read this as the characters arrive at the temple;
On the western edge of town, built upon a rising hill, is an impressive structure cut of polished white marble and trimmed in gold. Ringed by a twenty foot high fortified wall of solid granite streaked with feldspar, the Temple of Torm's Coming watches over the city of Tantras protectively. An arching dome of gold-plated metal caps the impressive monument and a pair of gigantic golden lion statues guard the pillared entrance. Priests and paladins of different colored armors walk around the compound, many deep in prayer and others carrying messages and packages. The gate is seemingly unguarded, save the statues, and the temple seems to be open to the public this morning.
As you walk into the courtyard that leads to the temple proper, you realize that the ground is in fact a huge mosaic of an open armored hand facing upwards toward the sky. As you approach the giant feline statues you notice that several warriors in the compound have noticed your entrance and these paladins, dressed in sunset orange-dyed armor, stride toward you.
The paladins mean no harm to the party but are instructed to welcome and question any suspicious travelers, especially anyone who might be one of Torm's faithful. Lord Patriarch Bhandraddon is waiting to see if the party's paladin will show up in Tantras like his new guest has assured him. The paladins are polite and respectful and will grant the party an audience with Bhandraddon if any of them seem to fit the description of the party's paladin.
Paladins of Torm (10); LG Pal7; AC 3; hp 55; THACO 14; bastard swords; XP 100
Priests of Torm (5); LG P4; AC 5; hp 25; THACO 18; maces; XP 75
Read this as the characters are escorted into the audience chamber;
The paladins lead your party up the white marble steps of the temple and through a set of golden doors embossed with the heads of a male lions. The chamber beyond the door is a huge vaulted hall made entirely of white marble, with colored glass windows along the ceiling letting sunshine filter down to the pale floor. Not a speck of dust or dirt clouds the room, and you can hear the far off sounds of armored men marching and priests chanting in the upper chambers of this cathedral. At the far end of the chamber is a fifteen foot high sculpture of Torm himself, a bronze visage of an armored knight, his mail scrawled with the thousands of translations of the word "truth" in every known language of the Realms. At his feet lies a male lion, curled about him like a domesticated kitten.
The sunset orange paladins lead you through an impressive archway in the far wall and into the great domed chamber in the center of the temple. Sunlight filters down and through the gold domed ceiling, by some magical means perhaps, and separates the light into the different colors of the spectrum. Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet light dances in the chamber, an audience room approximately two hundred feet in diameter. The ceiling is perhaps 100 feet above you, arching gently into the patterns of prismatic color. On the far side of the room, sits a raised dais with seven golden thrones upon it. In each throne sits an armored figure with an open faced helm. Each figure's armor is stained a different color of the rainbow, the most prominent being the one dyed sky blue, an older man with long silvery hair and a drooping mustache to match. At his feet lie a pair of golden lions, much like the ones outside, but animate and with glowing golden eyes.
Your paladin guides halt your movement outside the chamber and you realize that the armored figures are speaking with a group of knights who stand in the center of the great hall facing the dais and the thrones. These knights are not dressed like the others and you can see that their armor is finely engraved with the symbol of an ever vigilant eye atop a pyramid. You are too far to hear, but it seems that the two groups of armored men are arguing and you watch as the sky blue figure dismisses the knights angrily. These armored men are escorted out of the room by other sunset paladins and past your position. As the group storms past, an angry leader smiles at you from under a thick mop of brown hair and a mustache. "Good luck to you friend, your going to need it."
The foreign knights are paladins of Helm, the god of guardians, here in Tantras to ask for the high priest of Torm to allow them to set up a small shrine in the Tormite compound. Helm's faith and power has suffered greatly in the past ten years after the Time of Troubles and he is considered by many mortals to be a contributing cause of the damage incurred in the Realms during that period. It was Helm who guarded and blocked the paths back to the heavens, for Lord Ao, keeping the other gods trapped on Faerun. Torm has become an intense rival of Helm and many, including Bhandraddon, believe that Lord Helm no longer can be trusted by the common people. Although not apparent immediately, these "Eyes" of Helm, lead by Thrane Delmott, will figure prominently in a upcoming part of this adventure.
Thrane Delmott; LG Pal9; AC 3; hp 70; THACO 12; bastard sword +2; XP 1000
The "Eyes" of Helm; LG Pal5; AC 3; hp 35; THACO 16; longswords; XP 75
Barriltar Bhandraddon; LG P19; hp 92; THACO 8; mace +4 of disruption; spells: 10/10/9/9/6/4/2; XP 10000
Paladins of Torm (6); LG Pal7; AC 3; hp 55; THACO 14; bastard swords; XP 100
Priests of Torm (5); LG P15; AC 3; hp 65; THACO 10; maces; spells: 8/8/7/7/4/2/1; XP 75
Read this as the paladin is addressed by the high priest;
"Welcome son of Torm, I had the pleasure to meet your father during our mutual fight against Lashan of Scarsdale some years ago. He is a true hand of Torm, and I see that his strength runs in your blood as well. I am Lord Regent Barriltar Bhandraddon, Patriarch of Torm and councilman of this city. You are a welcome guest here at the temple as well as in the Tantras. I understand this is your first pilgrimage to the holy land, one that has been long since delayed.
Nevertheless, your actions have proved worthy of late and I have received word from a sage named Elminster of Shadowdale that your personal involvement has directly influenced the rebuilding of order in the southern lands and insured the establishment of good in the Realms. It is fitting that you arrive here now, at the site of our lord's heavenly descent not more than ten years ago. Torm graced the Tantran people with his avatar when the old temple stood here in the Year of the Shadows. He protected this city in those troubled times personally, and he single-handedly defeated old Lord Bane, the former god of strife, in a titanic battle in the Bay of Tantras. Torm was destroyed in a blast that killed the two avatars, but was reborn again by Ao, overlord of the gods.
During the battle with Bane, Torm chose to fight in the form of a gigantic golden lion, a symbol we have adopted into our faith. Our temple has established a sacred order of paladins dedicated to this aspect of Torm. Your deeds have earned the respect of many, including the priests and paladins seated in this room. I offer you a place within our ranks, a membership in our Order of the Golden Lion. If you accept, you must break all ties with your past and assume a higher duty; to spread the word of Torm throughout the Realms by word and by action. In return, we will grant you with a mount suitable for such a position. May the hand of Torm guide your decision."
This may be a difficult choice for the paladin, but one entirely up to him and not necessarily important to the adventure. Bhandraddon will award the unicorn to the paladin regardless, and will also allow him to fight in the tournament if he so desires. Bhandraddon accepts whatever choice the character makes and then invites them to join in a tournament the temple is conducting today in the Gardens located behind the complex.
Read this as the tournament begins;
Bhandraddon leads you through an archway and down several corridors of the temple. His two golden lions, named Honor and Justice, pad silently behind him, never letting anyone come too close to the priest. You begin to appreciate the size and expansiveness of this construction as you lose track of your bearings in the twisting marble passages. You soon arrive at an archway leading into a open aired courtyard beyond. Hanging gardens filled with beautiful roses of all colors scent this garden with the sweet smells of spring. About fifty warriors are gathered here at this time, most paladins of Torm, but some guardsmen and a few sell-swords also mill around expectantly.
Bhandraddon excuses himself from your company and walks toward the front of the crowd. "Good warriors, welcome today to the first annual Tantran Sword-play Tournament, hosted by the church of Torm's Coming. Today we have a sixteen warrior field open to all contestants. Our priests will choose which individual warriors have the skill to actually participate in the contest by judging your performance during preliminary sparring matches. After the sixteen-combatant field is chosen, the tournament turns to single-elimination with the champion being richly rewarded. The use of magical weapons is strictly forbidden as well as any offensive magical attacks. Personal protective magics, enchanted armor, and miscellaneous enhancing is legal but up to our discretion. Combat will take place in the Pit and weapons will be drawn from the block within. Good luck to everyone and may Torm's hand guide your blades!"
The combat takes place is a deep pit set in the center of the gardens. It is usually used as a rain collector for the gardens but has been modified to be used as the field of the tournament. The shaft is twenty feet under the surface and is fifty feet in diameter. Iron ladders lead down to the bottom of the pit and an iron cage rings the hole in the ground. An black block on tempered iron sits in the center of the pit, newly placed there as a rack for a wide assortment of weapons usable by the contestants. The warriors crowd around the pit to see every fight and gauge their competition. The first round takes some time, and sixteen warriors are chosen, including at least the paladin. Other party members may participate as well, but should be encouraged to let the paladin have his day. To win the tournament the paladin must win his preliminary round and then win four matches in a row. All damage is done with the flat of the blade and no magical attacks can be used by any party at any stage of the tournament. Victory occurs when the opponent is reduced to zero hit points and falls in exhaustion.
Crimson Red Paladin; LG Pal5; AC 3; hp 35; THACO 16; two-handed sword; XP 100
Sunset Orange Paladin; LG Pal7; AC 1; hp 45 (23); THACO 14; longsword; AT 3/2; XP 200
Harvest Yellow Paladin; LG Pal9; AC 0; hp 75 (50); THACO 11; bastard sword; AT 3/2; XP 1000
Dragon Green Paladin; LG Pal11; AC -2; hp 88 (66); THACO 8; warhammer +3 for strength; AT 3/2; XP 1500
Dusky Purple Paladin; LG Pal13; AC -4; hp 93 (73); THACO 8; staff; AT 5/2; XP 3000
Read this if the party's paladin is awarded the spear;
The crowd of knights cheer at the paladin's victory and they part as the old indigo armored priest from the audience chamber walks forward toward the winner. In his hand rests a glowing spear, its shaft covered in electrum-plating and its head crafted from pure mithril. The priest holds his hand out and gives the paladin the spear. The knights remain silent as the old priest begins to speak.
"The weapon that you hold was crafted over 500 years ago by the dwarves of Tuir as a gift to a human king of these lands. The spear was subsequently lost in a battle against the Earthspur Orcs some 300 years ago and was considered destroyed until it appeared in a treasure chamber of an ancient keep in the mountains east of here. It was brought here 54 years ago by the same priestess who discovered it and was entrusted to the paladin Beltrade until his death in 1349 DR. Beltrade supposedly slew the ancient green wyrm Shadowwood single-handedly with this spear, but the truth of that legend remains to be seen. The spear passed back into the possession of the church after the paladin's death and has continued to care for the weapon to this day. Last week, during the midnight worship service, I received a vision from Torm that said that the spear was needed to be wielded against evil once again. Torm instructed me to hold a tournament of the greatest knights in the land and see which of them deserved the right to wield this holy weapon. The tournament is over, you are the champion, and also the keeper of the spear. You may name it as you wish, but Beltrade was always fond of the name,"Trueflight".
Trueflight; +4 spear; returns to the owners hand within one round when the words "True flight" are spoken; has double normal range; and once per day can be commanded to strike unerringly at a target.
The following events may need to be changed depending on the paladin's choice of paths in the audience chamber.
Read this as the high priest knights the paladin;
Bhandraddon makes his way through the crowd and puts a large hand on the paladin's back. "Congratulations son, you have proved a better swordsman than even what the legends speak. You have earned your place among us. On your knees warrior."
The crowd of knights forms a circle around you and you watch as they all draw their swords to salute the paladin. Bhandraddon draws a ceremonial mace from his side and begins to pray to Torm. The rest of the paladins in the circle also begin to chant, and you watch as the mace begins to glow in the priests' hand.
Bhandraddon continues, "Your battles against chaos and evil have shown the strength of your conviction. Your path is ordered and righteous and follows the code of the true. Therefore, I knight thee a hand of Torm, a paladin of the god of duty, loyalty, and obedience." The priest taps the paladin on each of his shoulders, and then his head with the holy mace. The priest helps the paladin stand and then continues.
"Paladin, you embark upon a noble quest, to spread the word of truth across the Realms. To aid you, the church usually allows you to pick a steed from our stables for your war-horse. However, this will not be permitted today. Recently, several peculiar events have transpired at this temple and I have agreed to assist an old friend in his time of need.
You see, long ago, when I was a young man, I was traveling through the forest of Cormanthor when I was wounded by an orcish arrow that struck me in the back. The orcs killed my friends, slaughtered them really, but left me to crawl away into the brush, bleeding to death. I tried to pull myself out of that deep wood, but I realized that my wound was mortal and I was to pass from this world. So I found a lovely clearing to breathe my last breath, and there I laid to die.
And I would have, had it were not been for a noble creature which cared for that very grove into which I stumbled. The creature came to my aid, healed me, and nursed me back to health over many weeks. After I was able to walk again, I promised that one day I would return to the wood and repay its kindness. I never did return to that forest glade, but last week the creature sent one of its own to me to collect the debt. It says that it has been expecting you, paladin, and that it is destined to be your mount."
Read this as Gildermane appears;
You spin around quickly as you hear a disturbance behind you. The paladins of Torm part their multi-colored ranks to allow the creature to pass. A full six feet tall from head to cloven hoof, a slender but muscled horse makes its way through the crowd toward you. You begin to realize that this is no ordinary cream-colored horse, for it is not a horse at all. For above its crystal clear blue eyes, this pale stallion has a long ivory horn imbedded in its skull. Long strands of pearly white mane hang from this creature's neck and also as a beard from its chin. All of you stare wide-eyed in astonishment as you realize you are standing in front of one of the most mythical creatures in all legend; it can only be a unicorn.
The creature pauses before slowly trotting over to the paladin with its head dipped low in respect. You nearly jump as the creature begins to speak in fluent Common.
"Excuse my difficulty with your language, noble warrior, but I prefer the elvish tongue and am sorely out of practice. My true name is unpronounceable to you but it can be translated in elvish to mean "mane of gold". Therefore you may know me by the name Gildermane, and yes warrior, I am indeed a unicorn."
"My goddess, Mielikki, the Lady of the Forest, bid me to seek you out. I have traveled the Realms in search of you, for your destiny is to complete some great task in the name of the unicorns. We unicorns rarely serve as mounts and then only for fair elven maidens. But in this circumstance, Mielikki has assured me that you are of pure being and that only a hand of Torm can aid us. Therefore noble paladin, I submit myself to your care for a period of at least ten human years or until your quest in our name is fulfilled."
The unicorn raises it muscled head and stares into the paladin's eyes.
Gildermane (male unicorn); AC 2; MV 24; HD 4+4; hp 32; THACO 15; AT 3; 1d6/1d6/1d12 or 3d12 (charge); +2 to hit with horn, teleport, immune to hold, charm, and poison; XP 650
V. The Net of Stars
The characters can spend the rest of the day with the Tormites if they wish, but as night falls, Tarntassa's agent will want to make the delivery at the tavern.
Read this when the characters arrive at the tavern;
You find the Net of Stars Tavern down on the wharf, near the same navy docks that your ship still sits near. The establishment seems fairly new and is a large, one-storied structure that seems popular gauging by the number of patrons that wait near the door just to enter. The tavern has no sign bearing its name, but someone has painted a beautiful mural next to the door of an old sailor using his fishing net to capture the stars of the night sky.
You are able to squeeze your way through the crowded door and you find yourself in a remarkable nightclub filled with entertainment and drink. The layout of the Net of Stars is a simple large common room that has been divided into several levels and connected by short flights of stairs. A polished bar sits on your right as you enter and a sweaty barkeep passes drinks out to a bustling crowd of merchants, adventurers, and even several half-orcs. Fishing net covers the walls and ceiling, and trophies of mounted fish rest between them. The most peculiar feature of this tavern is the lighting, hovering balls of soft blue radiance that have been shaped like stars and float freely through the crowd, making shadows dance on the floors and between customers. Although the general mood of the crowd is one of festivity, you notice that many patrons share drinks over private business deals at the few open tables in this bustling establishment.
The bar serves a wide variety of drink including most rare wines and ales of the Realms. Prices are reasonable and the tavern also has a kitchen that specializes in seafood cuisine. Getting a table might be tough for the characters, but Deltara Dragynstarr has kept one open for them on the raised center of the tavern floor. Deltara is recognizable by a golden headband around her forehead and the cask of fine Aglarond wine that she has ordered. The vintage is a rare type bottled in Velprintalar, but she doesn't know it, because she is not really Deltara (see below). Other patrons include Thrane Delmott and the Eyes of Helm who will also let the characters sit with them at their two tables in the back right area. Conversations with these paladins may include an explanation of the problem at the temple this morning and also the truth behind Helm's role in the Time of Troubles. Thrane is honest and genuine and he has taken the last ten years of his life trying to reclaim honor for his order. This may be a convenient time for the DM to give the players some Realms history through Thrane by explaining the tale of the Time of Troubles. Thrane is familiar with the battle between Torm and Lord Bane, the explosion that destroyed the northern reaches of the city, and the magically dead areas created by the tear in the Weave. Add any other patrons one might desire, including a number of armored warriors spread throughout the tavern and keeping a close eye on Deltara.
Read this as the chosen agent meets Deltara;
You spot a middle-aged woman sitting alone at one of the tables and sipping a tall glass of dark red wine. Your gaze meets hers and she motions you over. The woman is dressed in fine pants with a white silken shirt and bronze bracers. Upon her forehead she wears a golden headband and you see a short dirk strapped to her side. The woman smiles and invites you to sit and have a drink with her.
The wine is a rare vintage from Aglarond, in fact it is distilled in Velprintalar and you recognize it as the Simbul's Bloodwine, a local favorite in that land. The woman takes a long swig from her glass and then places it back on the table.
"I am Deltara Dragynstarr, humble bard and poet. So then, if I am not mistaken, you have something for me from the magician Tarntassa. Time grows short and I must flee this city at once with the artifact."
The woman shifts slightly in her chair and you see the tiny shape of a silver harp and moon pin shine from under her cloak.
Although this woman seems to be Deltara Dragynstarr, she is actually a Zhentarim mage named Zohruna Dargess, a personal agent of Lord Manshoon himself, who murdered Deltara and has assumed her identity. Zhoruna has disguised herself with an alter self spell but does not have the same knowledge that Deltara possessed in life. Zhoruna believes that she is infallible and cunning, and although she was smart enough to observe Deltara's personality before she killed her, she does not know particulars including the vintage of wine on the table. This may let the party on to her, but they will have to use their heads if they are to catch her in her act. ESP and similar spells will have no effect on Zohruna because her gold headband interferes with these forms of magics.
Read this when the fight erupts;
Deltara rises from the table and gathers her things about her. "Well then, I will be on my way. I appreciate your help in retrieving the horn for Lord Manshoon. I am sure he will be very pleased with your work."
Deltara's face begins to melt like wax before your eyes and it changes into the visage of a auburn haired woman with cold gray eyes. "You are much too trusting children; and in the future, be sure to remember the name Zohruna Dargess of the Zhentarim, while you rot in your graves."
The dark mage draws back into the crowd with the horn in her possession as a number of well armored warriors begin to surround your table, their hands all reaching for blades. They seem to be experienced male Zhentilar by your estimation, but one of them is a stunning raven haired woman with piercing blue eyes. This figure seems familiar to you, but is dressed in simple leathers. As she closes in toward your group however, you watch as her armor shimmers and grows, hugging her body and morphing into a full set of black helmed plate armor.
Zohruna leaves the books on the table as she exits because she thinks she has recovered Manshoon's item. However, she has made a mistake because Manshoon himself does not know what the item is of yet, only that the Harpers have it and it is of great power. Zohruna will try to escape through the front door of the tavern or wraithform out a crack in the wall if necessary. The woman in the changing armor is Fiora Shadowsun, a cold and ruthless, if not honorable, Zhentilar from Zhentil Keep. Fiora is Manshoon's most trusted agent when dealing with troublesome adventurers other than Semmenon himself. Fiora's armor is a suit of armor of blending +4 and will morph to any type she demands. The armor is also enchanted to give the swordwoman 18/00 strength and immunities to all forms of magical lightning and fire attacks. Fiora will engage the most skilled warrior in the group and attempt to defeat he or she in single combat. If threatened, she will use her teleport ring to escape back to Zhentil Keep.
Deltara Dragynstarr (Zohruna Dargess LN (E) W12); AC 4; hp 44; THACO 16; dagger or spell; spells: 4/4/4/4/4/1; XP 4000
Fiora Shadowsun; F14; AC -4; hp 89; THACO 5; frostbrand scimitar +3, scimitar of darkness +1; AT 7/2; XP 7000
Zhentarim Mages (5); W5; AC 6; hp 15; THACO 19; dagger and spells; spells: 3/2/1; XP 200
Zhentilar Elite (10); F8; AC 2; hp 65; THACO 12; longswords; AT 2; XP 1000
The paladins of Helm will come to the party's defense while the rest of the patrons in the tavern flee. If the Zhentarim are defeated, or the party manages to escape, Thrane will lead the party to a safe house in the city where they may tend to their wounds under his protection.
Thrane Delmott; LG Pal9; AC 3; hp 70; THACO 12; bastard sword +2; XP 1000
The "Eyes" of Helm; LG Pal5; AC 3; hp 35; THACO 16; longswords; XP 75
It is important to note that Zohruna left the books behind, including the Tome of the Unicorn, the real "item of value" that Manshoon desires.
VI. Channath Warehouses
Read this as the characters arrive at the warehouse;
Thrane leads your wounded party through the darkened streets of Tantras northward toward the temple of Torm. But as the hill begins to loom above the narrow streets in front of you, Thrane dodges down an alley to the right and beckons you to follow him into the northeastern quarter of the city.
The buildings here progressively grow older and more ramshackle as you continue into this section of the city, and many of their walls are cracked and scarred. The cobblestone streets give way to blackened rock and the smell of filth and squalor fill your nostrils. Tenements are set up throughout this neighborhood and poor folk live here under canvas tarps and half collapsed roofs. There is a cold sting in the air here and the magic-users in your party rub their temples in pain.
Thrane turns, noticing your discomfort and explains, "The Weave has collapsed here, torn asunder by the great magics Torm and Bane threw at each other. Your spells and magic are worthless here, as are those of our enemies. It is impossible to scry upon or into this area, and unless we have been followed, we should be safe for a time here."
You trudge ahead into the broken alleyways of this once great section of town. Hungry faces look up at you from under makeshift homes and dark figures lurk in the shadows, watching the coins on your belts jingle as you walk. Thrane stops short of the outer wall of the city and points at an old ruined warehouse next to a collapsed temple to Waukeen, the dead god of merchants. "That's the old Channath warehouse. They are a merchant family in this city that still holds some faith in Helm because they have investments in the cocoa trade in Maztica. They are letting us use the place as a sleeping quarters because all the other inns in town won't rent to us. We should be safe there."
As you look around the shadowy alleyways surrounding the ruined building, you aren't so sure.
The characters have about an hour to rest here before Zhentilar assassins pay enough of the beggars to learn of the party's location. During that time they can check out the particulars of the warehouse. It is two stories tall and has four outer doors, all padlocked with rusty chains to which Thrane has a single key. The inside of the warehouse is empty and abandoned and a walkway surrounds the inner perimeter fifteen feet from the ground. There are also several rows of rafters in the ceiling and in the far right corner, under a pile of rotting hay and wood scraps, a grating leading into the old sewer system of the city. This entrance is important to the adventure and the DM should try to get the characters to leave through this exit. The grating can be removed with a successful bend/bars lift gates roll. The shaft beyond drops 10 feet into an old abandoned sewer tunnel that eventually leads into the old temple of Torm, now used by a thieves' guild as their headquarters. If Gildermane is with the party, he can not fit down through the grating. and his teleport ability will not function properly because the whole area is still magic dead.
If the characters seem hesitant about investigating the grating, read the following;
Suddenly, one of the upper doors of the warehouse bursts open and a large group of masked intruders leap through, short bows in their leathered hands. You smell the odor of smoke as you realize that someone is setting fire to the outer walls of the warehouse. The boards sizzle and crack and orange flame leaps up the walls of the room as the assassins begin to jump down from the landing and engage you.
You draw your weapons as you see the auburn-haired mage from the tavern appear on the upper balcony screaming in rage.
"Fools, how dare you dupe me with such a simple ploy. Give me the true artifact or I will destroy you all!". Zohruna Dargess throws a long slender object toward your feet and you stare astonishingly as the Unicorn's Horn shatters on the floor into worthless wooden splinters and ceases to glow.
Thrane Delmott turns to you before he meets the oncoming charge of the assassins, "Go quickly my friends and try to escape, my men and I will hold the fiends at bay. Thank you for your kindness and acceptance, we will remember it always." With that, Thrane raises his bastard sword and drives into the assassins mob.
The paladins of Helm will fight to the death to defend the party and once the characters realize that the unicorn can not squeeze through the shaft, Gildermane will tell his master to continue forward without him and that he will rejoin him at the party's ship on the wharf as soon as possible. The unicorn will charge its way through the assassins and break through the side of the warehouse, disappearing in to the night. The only means of escape is through the sewer entrance and the party must do this before segment 30 when the ceiling of the warehouse collapses in a fiery inferno doing 10d10 points of damage (no save).
Zhentilar Assassins (20); AC 4; hp 40; THACO 15; short bows and daggers; XP 100
Read this as the characters escape through the sewer entrance;
The last image you see as you drop into the sewer shaft is that of the noble Thrane Delmott standing in the middle of a sea of masked assassins. He fights bravely and courageously, blood pouring from numerous arrow and dagger wounds. You watch as the paladin dies a hero in the eyes of his god Helm, guarding the lives of your party. As in answer to his servants death, a flash of roaring flame rips through the chamber and you fall down into the sewer passage as the ceiling of the warehouse collapses upon itself, destroying everyone still inside.
VII. Tantran Sewers
Read this as the characters enter the sewer tunnels;
The sounds of the destruction above drift away as you delve deeper down the sewer passage and into the depths of Tantras. The sewer construction here is much older than the one under Tarntassa's Tower. These walls are crafted from chiseled rock and sealed with a spattering of mortar. Thick black muck hangs from the ceiling and the darkness surrounding you is seemingly impenetrable to all but your strongest light sources. There is a rank smell of decay in the air but there is no obvious sewage other than the tiny stream of brownish liquid that runs through the center floor of the passageway.
Read this as the characters find the outer gatehouse;
The passage continues into the darkness for several hundred feet until you find yourself in a rough open area with a low ceiling. The walls here are of somewhat newer construction but seem to have suffered the effects of a great fire in the past. From this vantage point, you see that the open area ahead of you is lit by columns of golden radiance centered on copper plates embedded on the floor and ceiling. Two glass cases also lie upright in the room ahead, both also reaching from the floor to the ceiling. You can see that one contains the three intact skeletons of an elf and two humans who seem to have died within the enclosure. The other one contains only a pile of crushed bone pieces. The party's magic-users feel different as they enter this area and although there is no cold sting in the air and their headaches are gone, something just doesn't feel just right about this place.
This room used to be a treasure chamber for the old church of Torm, constructed by a master thief to guard the church's greatest valuables. In fact, a secret door check will uncover some runes carved into the wall here covered by black soot. They are written in thieves' cant and read; "Constructed in the Year of the Weeping Moon, 1339, by the master thief Narmumbul Harlguss." The room is a fully functional and contains a number of teleport pads and traps that the party must face to pass through to the old temple. A character is teleported to the appropriate area when any part of his or her body passes through the 10 X 10 square that is encapsulated by a column of light. These areas are denoted by numbered darken squares on the map. The teleport locations can be found by matching the numbers to white numbered squares. The glass cases are labeled 12 and 7 on the map and are virtually indestructible to all but the strongest magics (wish, limited wish, disintegrate). In addition, the chamber is full of traps and levers, noted by letters on the map. To complicate matters, this whole area is encapsulated by a wild magic sphere created by the destruction of the two avatars during the Time of Troubles. This does not interfere with existing magics that power this trap room, but does effect spells cast by the party. Use the table under the wand of wonder entry in the DM's guide for effects of magical spells cast in this room.
NOTE: For DM's downloading this adventure, feel free to design the trap room how you see fit. (There are no maps included with this upload) Suggestions include some of the teleports serving as "walls" blocking access to parts of the chamber, and teleporting the characters to a predetermined place within the room. Treasures may be located at some areas and other traps could be located in the walls, floors and ceilings. Some really great ideas include making some teleport pads transport the character into one of the glass cases which fill with water or poison gas upon their arrival. Safety release buttons can be found within the chamber as well to save dying PC's, but they to will have to be reached by stepping into the correct teleporters.
Read this as the characters pass through the trap room;
You climb up through the trapdoor and find yourself in yet another lonely corridor. The passageway slopes ever so slightly upwards and you watch as the walls begin to change from burnt stonework to cracked and pitted marble. Despite the damage to these walls, the stonework is very similar to the composition of the present temple of Torm. Interestingly enough, as continue further, the passageway begins to open up to side entrances leading into empty and half-collapsed halls and old ruined living quarters. The rooms seem to have been searched thoroughly, but even now you see bits of broken furniture or and old metal urn laying twisted and scarred in the rubble. This mystery is further complicated by the remnants of a statue you find in one room, the shattered remains of a visage of Torm. You can only assume that you have stumbled upon the old temple to Torm that was destroyed during the Time of Troubles.
As you sift through the rubble, all of you here the sound of something in the halls beyond. You could be mistaken, but it sounds like sobbing.
A careful search of the rubble will ucover a random magic item of minor power. If the characters follow the noise, they will come to an old burned out chapel where several passageways meet. In the center is an old rugged knight crying quietly to himself while seated upon a tumbled pillar. Strangely, his face looks familiar, like the one depicted on the statue in the new temple of Torm. It is in reality the guild master of the Grayclaws, disguised as Torm to fool heroic adventurers into thinking they are honored enough to meet the god of duty themselves. This should work quite well as a role playing situation with overly haughty paladins. As soon as the characters approach the old knight in the center of the room, secret panels (the Diamond Corridors) spring open on all the closed walls of the chamber and thieves with drow-sleep poisoned crossbows leap through. The leader of the Graycloak thieves' guild, a man named Amlithor Harlguss, is able to shapechange into any form due to a rare magic ring he possesses and wears on his left index finger. He will ask for the characters to surrender their weapons unless one is a thief who has successfully proved him or herself worthy of respect in the trap room.
Amlithor Harlguss; CN T12; AC -2; hp 55; THACO 13; short sword of quickness +2, ring of shapechange; XP 6000
Othniir Xalast; CN P11; AC 4; hp 49; THACO 14; mace +2; spells: 5/4/4/3/2/1; XP 2000
Thieves (20); CN T5; AC 6; hp 22; THACO 18; short swords and crossbows with drow sleep poison; XP 40
VIII. Grayclaw's Hideout
Amlithor will lead the characters away from the chapel and through the diamond corridors into the old audience chamber for the high priest of the temple. This is the headquarters and the center of their guild. The thieves' will keep the characters bound if necessary but will not interfere with a character that has won Amlithor's admiration.
Read this as the characters enter the hideout;
Amlithor leads you right through the illusionary wall from which he and his thieves ambushed you. The passageway beyond the room is unnatural, extra-dimensional possibly, due to the fact that it runs in a direction that is occupied by open space if you stand outside the corridor. You are pushed and prodded along down the magical passage by the thieves until you come to another portal in the wall where you are forced to step through.
Amlithor awaits on the other side of the illusionary wall, a devious smile upon his face. "The Diamond Corridors constructed by the old Tormites make navigating through this collapsed temple mush easier don't you think? Well now, you folks have made quite a stir up in the city, causing a bloodbath at a local tavern, starting a three alarm blaze, and now desecrating holy ground. You sound like our kind of people. Welcome to our home, we are the Grayclaws of Tantras."
Amlithor steps aside as the cleric of Mask, Othniir Xalast steps forward and leads you into the chamber beyond. Your gaze is immediately drawn to the room before you, the old audience chamber for the high priest before the Time of Troubles. The marble walls are cracked here, but gold plate and ivory plaques still hang from the trim and the mosaic floor still depicts the hand of Torm, though a bit scarred and ruined. Several doorways connect into this room, not to mention at least several invisible diamond corridors leading away from the chamber. The ceiling is arched and structurally weakened, and a shattered domed skylight shows only dirt and rock above this sunken ruin. The old throne of the high priest lies at one end of the chamber, its legs broken off. Othniir Mask begins as the Grayclaw thieves release your bonds and head off to their makeshift bunks between the rubble.
"After the Time of Troubles, the Tormites who survived decided to bury the ruins of the old temple and start anew by building atop it. The old ruins were covered by dirt and the slowly sunk into the earth with the weight of the new temple being exerted from above. The old temple always had connection to the sewers and after the place was buried, these were the only ways into the former church. Tantras is a hard city to get a foot down in as a thief, so we started the Grayclaws Guild down here in the solitude of the depths. We are a different breed of thief than the normal cutpurse mind you, we consider ourselves practitioners of conscientious illegalities, or in otherwords, we commit crimes only against the foolish, the evil, and the corrupt. It is our way and it is also how we mange to live with ourselves. The Tormites and the Harpers know of our existence, but allow us to continue operating because of our ethos and the fact that we have fought off attempts by the Zhentarim and the Cult of the Dragon to take over our Guild.
Now then, now that you understand what we are about, you can aid us in deciphering this message we intercepted from a Zhentarim thug caught on the road north of Tantras. We are unable to make heads or tales of it."
Othniir will give the characters the communiqu? from Manshoon.
Read this as the characters are shown the communiqu?;
The letter Othniir hands you reads as follows;
The seriousness of your mission has increased ten-fold now that I have discovered the identity of the Harper's artifact. These fools have recovered the lost grimoire of the arch-mage Shoon, known as the Tome of the Unicorn, very aptly named for the dozen unicorns slaughtered to create this masterpiece. It is essential that you recover this text for me at once and with no delay. The book will look plain and ordinary and its pages will appear blank unless studied intently. There are additional protective magics cast upon the text itself and I warn you not to open or harm the volume in any manner. Return it to me once you have recovered it, and you will be one step closer to obtaining the information you so desire.
Your master, Lord Manshoon of Zhentil Keep
Allow the characters to digest this information and let characters with ancient history, spellcraft, or mythology proficiencies make checks to see if they have heard of Shoon. If these fail, allow a wizard in the party to know of the legendary archmage. As the characters discuss the matter, Zhundult Ulbresk is putting his plan into action.
Read this as Zhundult attacks;
As you finish with the letter, the roar of an explosion rocks the complex. Rubble and soil fall from the ceiling and both Othniir and Amlithor dash for cover. The baying of large hounds howl through the complex and you can hear the screams of thieves dying in the rooms beyond this chamber. You watch as Othniir yells orders to his thieves as he silently grasps the medallion of a thief's mask around his neck. You notice Amlithor has disappeared and only a snake appears where he once stood, slithering away into the crack in the floor of the chamber.
Suddenly, the door to the audience hall explodes inward, sundered into tiny frozen chunks. A dense fog rolls into the room as an imposing gray bearded wizard steps into the chamber, a pack of fiendish hounds, their maws dripping with fresh blood, at his heels. The mage wears dusky robes and carries an ashen staff that is smoking ever so slightly. The wizard's irises are jet black and look like empty voids from where you stand. The wizard walks into the room confidently and commands your attention.
"Good adventurers, I am the wizard Zhundult "Stormhand" Ulbresk, come to claim the Tome of the Unicorn. I am aware it is in your possession at this time but I must demand it be turned over so that I may use it to finish my research. I understand that you have your own delusions about the ownership of the work, but I will make you a deal that is too good to refuse. Hand over the grimoire to me and I will let you live. If you choose not to be cooperative, I must destroy you. Be forewarned that I am no mad Red Wizard or Zhentarim lackey, but a highly trained conjurer of some repoire. You may have found success in the past by sneaking into a wizard's home or stabbing one in the back in the middle of spell casting, but you should know that it is quite a different story when a mage has time to prepare for his enemies. I will counter your strengths and exploit your weaknesses continually until you realize that I, Zhundult Ulbresk, am all-powerful! Now, give me the Tome and I will be on my way."
Zhundult expects the party to fight and has made necessary precautions. Zhundult has also studied the characters from afar and knows their strengths and weaknesses. Add any additional hellhounds needed to overcome the party. Othniir and his thieves will fight only so long before they scatter into the complex to escape.
Zhundult "Stormhand" Ulbresk; CN W15; AC 0; hp 55; THACO 15; dmg by staff of by spell; spells: 5/5/5/5/5/2/1; staff of thunder and lightning; XP 10000
Zhundult has cast a number of protective spells upon himself to prepare for this battle. They are; globe of invulnerability, detect invisibility, stoneskin (8), protection from normal missiles, and haste. Zhundult will attack the party by first disabling it and then eliminating the characters one by one. He will focus on warriors with his Bigby's Crushing Hand and groups of characters with Otiluke's Freezing Sphere or a fireball. He will use feeblemind and fear to affect magic-users and priests. Zhundult does not truly want the party dead, so give him some slack and help him defeat the characters after a tremendous battle.
Hellhounds (at least 8); AC 4; hp 39; THACO 13; dmg 1d10 or breathe 7 hp; immune to fire; XP 975
Read this as the mage incapacitates the last hero;
Darkness closes in around you as you slump to the floor. Your vision blurs as you watch Zhundult walk over and retrieve the Tome of the Unicorn from your battered bodies. You hear him speak a command at his fiendish pets and then all goes silent.
The mage takes the characters and teleports them away to his tower where he begins the incantation to establish a permanent gate between the Realms and the Abyss.
IX. The Tower of Zhundult "Stormhand" Ulblesk
Read this as the characters awake from unconsciousness;
Your world swims and swoons before your eyes and the blurry vision of your surroundings pound within your head. There is a strange smell in the air, incense you think, and you can tell that the room in which you have awakened is lit by torch light. Slowly, you regain your senses and realize that your hands have been shackled to stone posts driven into the mortared floor and that you have been gagged and beaten quite severely. Despite this, most of your wounds from your battle with the wizard Ulbresk have been healed somehow, although you are still quite battered and bruised.
Eventually your vision returns and you see that you are imprisoned in a large open room with stonework walls. Each of you have been chained in a separate area of the chamber, around what seems to be some sort of spell casting area. Short flights of steps lead down from your positions to a magically created conjuring circle which is inscribed on the floor. Other than a set of double doors in the northern wall and about a dozen braziers set up around the room burning strongly scented incense, the only other thing of interest is the imposing gray bearded mage who stalks around the conjuring circle muttering dark spell chants. You realize that the man is the mage Zhundult and that in his hands he cradles the Tome of the Unicorn, reading from the evil grimoire. You struggle helplessly against your shackles, but to no avail. You slump your heads in weariness and watch as a lone rat scurries across the floor.
Zhundult grins as he notices your struggle and laughs. "Oh dear me, it seems our beloved heroes have met the end of their lavish careers. You could of left the Tome with me but instead you demanded that we resort to violence to settle our differences. So be it, for it was this foolishness that will spell your doom. I have decided to keep you alive so that you may witness my greatest triumph. I am only a few moments away from completing the ritual which will enable me to open a permanent gate to the Abyss. Through it I will draw an army of demons into my control and under my command. My power will shake the very foundations of the Realms themselves. You will witness it all and then die serving your dual purpose as feed for my hungry new colleagues."
The mouse scurrying across the floor is in reality Amlithor is shape changed form. In his mouth he carries a lock pick and will give it to the thief or pick the lock himself to aid in their escape. Amlithor has no desire to stay for the upcoming battle, but merely to seek retribution for the mage's attack on his guild headquarters. If the characters escape, they will be able to see that their equipment has been neatly stacked in one of the bookshelves of the casting chamber. If by any chance someone makes an attack on an unsuspecting Zhundult, he will drop the book and strike back at the attacker with his most powerful magics. As he does so, a fine mist of darkness begins to rise from the book itself, billowing from the back cover.
Read this as Shoon returns to the Realms;
Zhundult's face twists with rage as the Tome of the Unicorn flies from his grasp and lands on the floor. The mage wheels from your grasp and shouts arcane phrases as he searches for the components to blast you from this world. Your eye catches sight of the book, now laying open several feet behind the powerful mage and the black mist which now pours from under the back cover. Zhundult Ulbresk stops in mid-chant as he also realizes the situation unfolding behind him. The shadowy mist has begun to coalesce into the outline of a grinning skull hovering in swirling murkiness. The skull grows more and more substantial and soon it appears in whole as a disembodied human cranium with long slender gems for teeth. Pinpoints of red light burn within the skull's eye sockets while its teeth continue to shine menacingly. A loosely attached jaw bone creaks open and a whispering voice issues forth.
"Ah, so long have I since fed...I must find myself a delicious soul which I can devour. This one will do nicely...". You watch as one of the skull's front teeth, a slender ruby, twinkles with light and then fires a beam of radiance at Zhundult Ulbresk. With a scream, the mage's soul is literally torn out of his body and is devoured by the undead menace.
"Yummy...I think I will have another, not just yet though, I want to save room for dessert. Oh, yes you are the ones responsible for this charade aren't you, well I must thank you for delivering a soul like good wizard Zhundolt to me, he was quite tasty and full of spells too. In fact, after I consume you, I should have enough power to free myself from this wretched book and walk the Realms again once more. Consider yourselves to be heroes of sorts, whose souls will be sacrificed for the glory of my return. In fact, I promise to erect some statues in your honor. Well then, tell the Lord-Most-Mighty Shoon who is the juiciest here?"
Shoon wants souls so that he can absorb their life energy and gain energy levels to escape from the book. Shoon is presently within 2 souls of freeing himself and becoming completely invincible. The characters have only a few moments to react. Shoon is invulnerable to all spell effects and any weapon less than a +5 except if wielded by a paladin and then he can be hit with a +4. This should cause a problem for the party and Shoon will toy with them before devouring their souls. Only a character with a +5 weapon or Trueflight in the hands of the paladin can hurt the demilich. There are a few spells that can damage the skull and they include forget (makes skull return to book) and power word kill (destroys the demilich), Even if destroyed, the skull must be soaked in holy water or it will reform quickly. Drained souls are pulled from their physical husks and trapped within the gem teeth until Shoon completely devours them.
Shoon; demilich; AC -6; hp 50; THACO 10; dmg by spell; drain soul, death howl, spells: hold person, dispel magic, lightning bolt, cone of cold, Bigby's Forceful Hand; can't be damaged by ordinary means; XP 9000; (Shoon is enchanted himself to have the ability to stealspell 1 spell away from a character without the character even knowing)
Use the following encounter if the battle is going badly for the party and at least two characters are drained or dead.
Read this as Khelben and Tarntassa burst in;
The double doors of the casting chamber burst open with a blast of magical energy. The floating skull of Shoon, his gemstone teeth radiating hellish light, turns to welcome the intruders. Stepping through the cloud of smoke that formed from the explosion, three figures emerge to challenge to demilich. You recognize two of the forms, one as Tarntassa the mage and the other the unicorn Gildermane. Between them stands a dark bearded mage with long navy robes and a black glowing staff in his hands. The bearded mage steps forward and shouts at the grinning skull.
"The game is over Shoon, you will be destroyed once and for all." The skull cocks itself back and laughs hollowly, "So Arunsun, you think you can kill what old Zelphar couldn't even touch. I have heard of your growth in power these last few years but you have overestimated yourself as did your father. I have lived for over 1300 years fool, and I will not be threatened nor defeated by some northern barbarian wizard. So prepare yourself "Blackstaff", for I intend to destroy you!"
A gout of flame leaps from the skull's mouth as the mysterious mage dodges to the side to escape Shoon's blast. Tarntassa and Gildermane scatter and the battle resumes in earnest.
The battle should rage on for several more rounds until the characters destroy Shoon with Trueflight or Khelben Arunsun finally manages to use Power word Kill on the demilich, turning him to dust. Khelben will rush up to the fragments of the skull and remove the gemstone teeth before sprinkling a vial of holy water over the dust. This will cause Shoon's soul to be destroyed forever and will free any newly captured souls from the teeth. After the battle, the adventure is complete and the DM should move to the epilogue.
This epilogue is based on the presumption that defeating the demi lich was difficult and that Khelben Arunsun came to the party's aid. If this is not the case, modify the following;
A cool rain falls on the city of Tantras, washing the blood from its streets but not the memory of last night. Your party stands in the garden behind the temple of Torm, saying your farewells to Thrane Delmott as his coffin is lowered into the burial plot for heroes of the church. Its strange how things can change in a day, but the knight that was spurned by Tormites yesterday morning is laid to rest as a hero the next for dying in defense of the city, being consumed in a blaze that burned three square blocks of the northeastern quarter to the ground.
Gildermane walks beside all of you, patiently waiting to leave. It seems that the city is beginning the agitate the graceful mount and he has begun to ask questions about sea vessels and the ability of an equine creature to travel and survive such a trip. You recognize his curiosity as a bit of fear, humorous for such a courageous creature. Gildermane has vowed to serve as the paladin's mount as promised and will accompany him for ten human years. Interestingly enough, although the party did defeat the former unicorn slayer, Shoon, Gildermane informs you that the paladin's quest is still not accomplished, and that Mielikki says the paladin has not yet found his true destiny.
Speaking of the Lord-Not-So-Mighty, after Shoon was destroyed you learned that the mysterious black bearded mage was a man named Khelben Arunsun, supposedly an open lord of the city of Waterdeep. He didn't stick around very long after the battle but he made sure to take the Tome of the Unicorn with him for safe keeping. Tarntassa tells you he is a powerful Harper out west and that someday you might meet him again for he works closely with Elminster from time to time.
Tarntassa also explained to you that the ruse had been set up so that she could seek out Khelben's help while you delayed the enemy. She guessed from the start that the Zhentarim were planning to take the artifact, and after Deltara did not check in with her at the appropriate time, she knew that her agent had been eliminated. Tarntassa gave you the fake horn because she believed correctly that her enemies had no clue of the nature of the artifact. She thought that by using the horn as a distraction, she could get away with smuggling a ordinary tome out of Tantras. The enemies would focus on the horn as their prize and your competent skill would allow you to escape convincingly with the tome and hold it until Khelben, who was away in the south, could come to her aid and retrieve it personally.
Webs of intrigue have left a sour taste in your mouth lately and you desire to move on in your journeys. This departure will be a hard one for some in your party, the paladin especially, but all of you realize, as you watch the sun go down into the waters of the Dragon Reach, that this is just the beginning.