|Display a Printer Friendly Version|
The Dagon's Quest
Author: Mark L. Chance.
System: AD&D 2nd Edition
Requirements: 4-8 characters of 5th-8th level
An AD&D adventure on shore and undersea adaptable to any campaign
Graphic: Sea Caves
Graphic: X Section
Note to DMs: Most of the action in this scenario occurs underwater, in lightless, airless caves. You should be familiar with the rules for Underwater Combat (DMG, p. 79) and Drowning (PHB, pp. 120-121). Pay special attention to these four points:
1. Most PCs can't breathe underwater. No deus ex machina fields of magical seaweed that bestow water breathing have been written into this scenario. Some magical assistance is available, but it's not much.
2. Vision in the underwater caves is severely limited. Artificial light sources illuminate half the space underwater that they would on land. Infravision will work to normal range, but vision is blurry, imposing a -4 penalty to hit on the first attempt, -2 to hit thereafter. Enemies are allowed a +1 saving throw bonus versus direct attacks (where applicable). Note: These penalties are a house rule I devised based on the blur spell.
3. Only thrusting weapons are usable underwater. Thrown weapons, except properly weighted nets, are useless. Even then, range for a net is 1 foot per point of STR. Specially made, underwater crossbows (costing 100 gold pieces for a heavy and 70 gold pieces for a light) can be purchased. All ranges are halved underwater.
4. Surface dwellers suffer a -4 penalty to their attack rolls. They also suffer a +4 penalty to initiative in hand-to-hand combat (not for spell-casting or missile fire).
As a DM, I recommend a "no mercy" policy regarding these four points. The PCs will be facing dangerous foes in a foreign environment. A frivolous attitude and lack of preparation should be met with an insignificant drop in the adventuring population.
This adventure has been designed for 4-8 characters of 5th-8th level. The party should have access to water breathing spells. A cleric with free action would be nice, especially noting the lack of thrusting weapons typically available to clerics. At least half the party should be warriors or priests, preferably with thrusting weapons. At least one mage would be quite useful. Thieves may find they have little to do that is explicitly thiefy.
Note: Underlined sections are those that the PCs can discover or be told about before or after arriving Nev-Harborton, depending on DM whim and/or questions asked.
Background: Nev-Harborton is a small, dreary town populated by stoic, tradition-bound men and women whose primary source of livelihood has been, is now, and always will be the sea. Located on the eastern coast of a northern province, the fisherfolk of Nev-Harborton even brave the icy waters during autumn and winter, their hardy, thick-hulled boats ranging for miles out to sea. When the dead cold weeks of mid-winter set in, and the harbor freezes, the fisherfolk turn to trapping and seal-hunting to make ends meet. All in all, Nev-Harborton is a not a place where one expects to find much trouble. Even the small fort built by duke's grandfather has been allowed to fall into ruin, for what is the point in defending a small fishing village that not even bandits bother to bother?
The answer to this question surfaced a week ago, when three young girls, picking flowers near the ruined fort, where attacked by dagons. Two of the lasses escaped with minor scrapes and trauma enough for years of nightmares. The third girl is missing, and the locals know she is dead, even though none of them - not even the girl's grief-struck parents - have been brave enough to search the area around the fort.
The fisherfolk of Nev-Harborton are greatly distressed and confused. There have been no raids on the village by these sea devils. Had the girls not strayed too close to the fort, who knows how long the monsters could have remained undiscovered? This seems strange behavior for dagons, who have been known to journey onto land to raid and kill, or to attack passing boats. But to move into a ruined fort? Mysterious behavior for sea devils, to say the least.
What no one in the region who isn't a dagon knows is this: A dagon priestess, Blillhup, under orders from her superiors, has been dispatched to the ruin to find a magical item reputedly lost there decades ago by a dagon baron who led a raid on Nev-Harborton at the same time a group of adventurers were passing through. The adventurers routed the raiders, chasing them towards the fort, which was recently abandoned at the time. Most of the dagon raiding party was killed in the ensuing melee and pursuit. The baron made it to the cliff and dived just as the adventuring wizard strafed him with magic missiles. Mortally wounded, the baron swam into the sea caves in the cliff, where it died. Some years passed and the raid was all but forgotten except as a tale to entertain on cold nights. A particularly bad storm led to a section of the cliff falling to the sea, blocking access to the sea caves and trapping a demon shark that had taken refuge to wait out the storm. Slowly, the demon shark starved to death.
Blillhup and her detail of dagon guards searched the cliff face, but could not find a way into the sea caves. Undaunted, she ventured onto land to investigate the ruin. In the small basement under the ruin, she used a combination of hard labor, stone shape spells, and her wand of earth and stone, over a period of several days, to form a shaft leading into the sea caves from above. Since this time, she and her guards have searched the caves and stumbled upon a small problem. The baron and the demon shark aren't quite dead. Then, again, they're not quite alive, either.
The undead sea monsters are more than Blillhup and her guards feel up to facing, so they revealed their presence to the locals by attacking some children. Now, Blillhup waits for the ubiquitous party of do-gooding adventurers to show up, investigate the situation, kill the undead, and finally fall prey to a well-planned ambush while still shaking from the battle against the baron and the demon shark.
Enter the PCs: It is early spring, about mid-March. Duke Acadien, whose responsibility it is to maintain the security of the region, has recently received news of Nev-Harborton's unusual problem. Acadien is not pleased with the idea of sea devils taking up residence in one of his towns and killing the children of his townspeople. At the same time, he is puzzled and worried about why there hasn't simply been a raid on the village, after which the dagons go away like they're supposed to. The Duke, who has better things to do than interview adventurers, turned to one of his officials, Benbrake Bell, and told him to find some people who would go to Nev-Harborton and fix their little problem.
Benbrake Bell, a tall, thin, nervous man, whose been in the service of the Duke too long to not realize that his permanently low rank is the result of the Duke's meanness rather than his own merits, tracks down the PCs as they lounge between adventures. He has a youthful messenger deliver them invitations to an exclusive auction of the estate of the Duke's late fourth cousin, who left a pile of bills and back taxes unpaid, mostly to the Duke. The invitation lists, among the various household items one would expect to find in the home of a minor, wastrel noble, certain "items of magical nature to be offered to the highest bidder."
A. The Auction, or Caveat Emptor: It is assumed the PCs go to the auction. If they do not, roll up the paper wasted printing this adventure and whap the each of the players soundly on the head before ad libbing a replacement adventure. This intro was designed primarily to take some money out of the PCs' greedy pockets, but also because I've never seen adventurers get recruited at an auction before and I thought it would be a refreshing change from the stranger in the tavern cliche.
The auction house is a solid, two-story, wood and brick building with a peaked roof and no windows on the ground floor. There are two entrances, a front door and a back door. The back door is a stout wooden portal, firmly locked and crossbarred. No amount of knocking will get anyone to open this door, although guards will angrily exit via the front and stomp around back to see what the commotion is about.
The front door is equally stout, but is standing open when the PCs arrive. Two guards, wearing scale mail and holding halberds, stand on the porch, flanking the door. They admit anyone who has an invitation. Inside the door, there is a fifteen foot square antechamber. Two stout, locked, and crossbarred (from the other side, of course) doors are to the left and right. These lead to storage rooms for auction merchandise. Directly ahead, there is another door, this one also open. The PCs can see a well-lit room beyond, in which there are three rows of six chairs each arranged in front of a podium and a table. Most of the chairs are already occupied with an assortment of people, most of them merchants.
Shortly after the PCs enter, Benbrake steps into view from behind a curtain at the far end of the room, walking over to his place behind the podium. He will conduct the auction in a quick, fair manner, and payment is expected before the merchandise will be transferred to its new owner.
The initial lots are all undetailed, as it is assumed that a party of adventurers isn't going to want to buy a bunch of furniture, clothing, costume jewelry, and tacky knick-knacks. If this is the kind of thing your players go for, make up a detailed list.
There are three items in the auction, held until the end, that adventurers might find interesting. These items and the minimum opening bid are listed below. There is also a maximum bid. This is the highest gold piece value that any of the other attendees will pay for the item in question. If the PCs want these, they'll have to outbid the competition. The items are:
1. A ring of jumping. Minimum bid is 1,000 gold. Maximum bid is 1,500 gold.
2. A pair of boots of levitation. These boots have a design flaw that the auctioneers do not know about. Each time they are commanded to function, there is a 5% cumulative chance that they act as boots of dancing instead. A remove curse will fix this problem, but only after it has evidenced itself. Minimum bid is 2,000 gold. Maximum bid is 4,500 gold. That's a lot for a cursed item, huh?
3. A potion of water breathing containing four doses (surprise!). Minimum bid is 400 gold. Maximum bid is 750 gold.
The auction house will take payment in any form, but they access a 10% penalty to purchases made with gems, jewelry, or art objects (thus, a 1,000 gold piece diamond will buy only 900 gold pieces worth of merchandise).
After the auction is over, Benbrake will approach the PCs and introduce himself as a representative of the Duke. He will ask if could speak with them privately about a matter of some urgency that Acadien has instructed him to have addressed posthaste.
Benbrake can pay the PCs 500 gold pieces and one potion of water breathing each to travel to Nev-Harborton and rid the community of the dagon menace. He will pay no more than half up front, to include the potions. If the PCs bicker about their fee, Benbrake will go as high as 750 gold each, but will not offer more than 250 up front in any case. Assuming the party agrees (and if they don't, refer to the suggestion above), Benbrake will make note of the PCs' names, parcel out monies, potions, and a writ of adventuring, which gives the PCs permission to explore the ruined fort and kill any monsters therein. Benbrake will answer whatever questions he can.
Benbrake will request that the party leave within the next day or two. Whatever sort of mundane equipment they might want can be purchased in town before they head out.
B. The Trip to Nev-Harborton: The weather this time of year, mid-March, is pleasant, if a bit chilly at night. It is in the low to mid-60s (Fahrenheit, of course, since I'm a Yank) during the day, dropping 10 to 15 degrees at night. The sky tends to be cloudy, with brief rainshowers not uncommon. The trees are just starting to bloom again. Farmers are returning to their fields, breaking up the soil that had laid frozen during winter.
It is a four day ride north-by-northeast to Nev-Harborton along a well-traveled, well-patroled road. Random encounters are fine and dandy, though I personally feel the bog down a game with unnecessary dithering, but I haven't included any sort of table for this thing, so you're own your own.
There are no places to stay the first two nights out, unless the PCs can convince a farmer to let them stay in his barn or some such accomodations ("Okay, but don't you all be having sex with my daughter..."). A night three, about an hour before sundown, the PCs will come across a roadhouse. The sign out front depicts a bed inside a triangle formed by three turkey drumsticks. A smaller sign, hanging from the picture sign, reads "Hots & Cots."
The roadhouse is a small building, with an attached stable wherein the PCs can secure their horses themselves. There is no stablehand on duty. Inside, the staff of three serving maids, a matronly overseer, the housemaster, and a single guard tend to or watch over a band of sixteen gypsies that have stopped for the night. The gypsies are heading south to peddle their wares in town.
The staff and the gypsies are inoffensive folk who will be friendly if treated politely. None of them are well-suited to combat, especially against a group of armed, professional killers such as the PCs. Of course, one of the gypsies, a small, frail, elderly woman covered with bangles and skin the color of old wood, will offer to tell the PCs' fortunes...for a gold coin.
The fortune-teller, Ricca Bowstring, plays her role to a tee, complete with hand-waving, tongue-clucking, and mysterious yet important sounding pronouncements. All of her fortunes about what will happen to party are nonsense, except for one. Select a PC at random, assuming more than one agrees to be fleeced.
Ricca says ominously, "Ack, I zee great peril in jur foochur. I zee...a monshter! Vith clawsss and vangsss. Jes, dis I zee. I varn joo dis: Bevare, bevare the tides of March."
After you've dodged the various things hurled at you for such an awful pun, remember the PC who receives this fortune. Later, if and when the party defeats the undead baron and his demon shark and Blillhup springs her ambush, this PC will recall the gypsies words and will not be surprised by Blillhup and her guards.
C. Nev-Harborton: The town a small town, situated near the beach, where the fisherfolk are busy most of the day fishing, cleaning fish, repairing nets, sharpening harpoons, and other such tasks. Any townsman can tell the PCs where the fort is located. It is about a half mile outside of town, further north, on the cliff overlooking the harbor. PCs on the north edge of town can see the ruin for themselves. There is a small inn in Nev-Harborton, the Dark Pint, so named for the rather fine, dark lager that the innkeeper brews himself. If the PCs present their writ of adventuring to the innkeeper, he will set them up in the common room for free; there are no private rooms.
I have left Nev-Harborton largely undetailed. The PCs can acquire normal sorts of equipment in town. Weapons and armor for sale are scarce. Of course, the folk have all sorts of fishing equipment, including weighted nets. The militia, such as it is, consists of seven older teens and young men, all 0th-level, led by a one-legged, 4th level fighter named Hop Faraday. There is small chapel dedicated to a local sea deity (or whatever else you feel is appropriate). The priest is a middle-aged woman with little adventuring experience, having the equivalent of 3rd level cleric abilities. She is also the de facto mayor Nev-Harborton.
The fisherfolk will be polite and helpful, but will adamantly refuse to go anywhere near the ruin. If attacked, they will try to run. If bullied, they will try to run. Persistent rude behavior might bring the militia and Hop down on the party's collective head, but who would they be kidding? If the PCs merit discipline, have Duke Acadien hire a group of 8th-11th level adventurers to hunt them down. Heh, heh, heh.
The major advantage the town offers is that it is a relatively comfortable, safe place to rest. The dagons will not venture into town to hunt down the PCs.
D. The Ruined Fort on the Cliff: Refer to ruin.jpg and xsection.jpg to see the maps of the ruin.
DM's Note #1: Dagons are sahuagin, but native to colder waters instead of the tropical seas that their southern cousins prefer. Statistics-wise, there is no substantial difference between a dagon and a sahuagin. See MM, pp. 306-307.
DM's Note #2: The stats for Blillhup and her guards, and the undead sea monsters, are found below in the sections detailing areas where they are most likely encountered. More detailed write-ups of undead dagon and undead demon shark are at the very end of this scenario.
Note #3: Blillhup is not interested in confronting the PCs until after they have faced the undead seamonsters and presumably won. By keeping a low profile, she hopes the PCs will wrongly assume that the undead baron is behind the goings-on at the fort. She is willing to sacrifice a few of her guards, but not all of them. Blillhup sent a pair of guards back to her superiors, asking for clerical assistance against the undead sea monsters. If her plan doesn't work, she'll just wait for the requested aid to arrive. The descriptions of rooms, monsters, and events below assume the PCs unknowingly follow Blillhup's plan. If they don't adjust accordingly. You're a good DM. Handle the unexpected.
DM's Note #4: If you're interested, stats for non-undead demon sharks can be found on my website, along with (at the time of this writing) 19 other monsters, more than 30 new spells, a few new character classes, and some other stuff. The URL is above. Come visit me.
The exterior of the ruin is unremarkable. It was obviously once a one-story, stone block structure, surrounded by a wooden palisade. The palisade has long since been dismantled by the fisherfolk and the wood reused for other purposes. The storm that collapsed the cliff oh so many years ago did some significant damage to the fort itself as well. All in all, though, it is still a solid building, albeit a few walls of have collapsed.
There is little in the way of cover or concealment once the party is closer than 25 yards to the fort. If they approach from the front and aren't invisible, they will be spotted by the dagon guard. PCs in the lead of the group have a 1 in 10 chance to spot something duck back into the entry hall, apparently reacting to their approach. If the PCs approach from the rear or sides, they will not be spotted or heard unless they make a lot of noise or start poking in and around the rubble. There are crossletted arrow slits in every five foot section, but little is visible through these. A stealthy PC might be able to get a look at one of the guards, but the one foot wide "windows" do not offer easy ingress.
So, basically, there is one way into the ruin, which is part of Blillhup's plan. The dagon priestess has stationed three guards in the fort. They have been instructed to fight a retreating battle, leading the PCs to the spiral stairs, which in turn lead to the basement where Blillhup's magically-dug shaft is located. She wants the PCs to conclude that whatever of importance is in the fort is actually under the fort.
In all cases, the ceiling is twelve feet overhead. Doors are four feet wide, six inches thick, solid wood with bronze banding. None of the doors are locked, except for the entrance and the doorway leading into room #4, which are crossbarred. All open into the room or, if there is no room, open into the hallway. I've left most of the rooms undetailed. The ruin is quite old. Anything useful has long since been removed.
Entrance. The dagon guard, assuming it spotted the party, shuts the door, bars it, and retreats to his position behind a waist high barricade made of rocks and wood. The crossbar is not especially sturdy. It can be forced with an open doors check at a -1 penalty. A thief can try to "pick" the lock, with a -5% chance, as it is difficult to leverage the crossbar up from the wrong side of the door. These same rules apply to the second barred the door the party is likely to encounter.
Once the party is through the door, the dagon guard will attack, firing its heavy crossbow at the first person through the door. If the party returns fire, the dagon has 50% cover, enjoying a +4 bonus to its AC and saves (where applicable). After this first round of fire is exchanged, the dagon will run around the corner and out of sight, yelling a warning in its own tongue.
It is hoped the party will pursue.
1. Rubble Room. This 25x20 foot room was once perhaps a guard chamber, but is now devoid of furnishings, unless one counts the thick cobwebs and coating of grime. There is a door in the southern wall. Do not volunteer that this door leads back outside or that it is likely choked with rubble. Proper investigation (a thief successfully checking for traps, for example) can reveal this information. If the party tries to open the door, a normal open doors check is required, as the door is stuck. Opening it causes a mini-landslide. Any PCs directly in front of the door and no more than 5 feet away must save versus paralyzation or suffer a minor 1-3 points of damage as several large rocks bark against vulnerable shins and painfully smash little piggies.
2. Dagon Guard Room. There is one dagon in here at all times. It will not exit this room unless one of two things happens. First, if the PCs enter, through the eastern door, it will fire one heavy crossbow bolt at the lead character while behind a barricade similar to the one in the hallway. Then, it will exit the northern door, shutting it if possible. Second, if alerted by the guard in the hall, it will exit automatically to take up its secondary position. In the unlikely event the party manages to get the drop on the monster, it will fight and retreat to the best of its ability.
3. The Pit. Blillhup dug out this little trap. Anyone walking along either edge of the hall will trigger the pit, but is then allowed a DEX check to avoid falling in. Anyone walking (or charging) down the center of the hall automatically pitches into the hole as it opens beneath them. The pit is only ten feet deep, but Blillhup stone shaped some nice spikes at the bottom. Damage is 1d6 for the fall and 2d6 for the spikes. A save versus paralyzation is permitted to halve spike damage.
The entry hall turns west a few feet after the pit. The dagons have set up a second barricade. If Blillhup's plan is proceeding apace (meaning the PCs are following the retreating dagons like lemmings), the entry guard and the guard from room #2 will both be behind the barricade. If more than one round has passed, both will have two loaded heavy crossbows on hand. They will fire at the first PCs coming around the corner, sticking around for a second volley if the PCs don't close. Assess the dagons a +2 initiative penalty the second round for having to pick up the other crossbows. Remember that both have 50% cover against incoming missile fire. After the second shots, the dagons will take their crossbows and retreat to room #4, barring it as explained above. All three guards will then retreat to the basement and take their position behind a third barricade directly in front of Blillhup's shaft. Crossbows will be reloaded as time permits.
4. Spiral Staircase. The most obvious feature of this room is the spiral staircase leading down into the ground. A ranger or other PC with tracking skills can easily tell the number of dagons that retreated down the stairs. If the party decides to ignore the stairs and explore the rest of the fort, fine. The dagons in the basement patient.
The Basement: The spiral stairs descend fifteen feet to the southeast corner of the basement. The basement itself is 30 feet east to west and 40 feet north to south. Blillhup's shaft, five feet in diameter, is located in the northwest corner, just behind the three dagons waiting behind a barricade.
If the players have any sense whatsoever, they've noticed the pattern by now. Nevertheless, the dagons will fire at whoever presents herself as a target, sticking around for two rounds of missile fire at most. Then, one will switch draw its dagger and attack in hand-to-hand while the other two escape by dropping down the shaft into the water below. The evil shark god of the dagons will surely reward its suicidally devoted follower.
Dagon Guards: AC 5 (1 behind barricade); MV 12, Sw 24; HD 2+2; hp 14; THAC0 19; #AT up to five; D 1-2/1-2/1-4/1-4/1-4; SAb rake with feet underwater (last two attacks listed for 1-4/1-4); SW save versus fire at -2 and take +1 damage per die; ML 12; XP Value 175
These dagon are armed with two heavy crossbows and a dagger each. In melee, they attack three times: dagger/claw/bite for 1-4/1-2/1-4. They have no treasure.
By the time the PCs have reached this point, they've hopefully taken some damage, burned a few spells, and used up some healing magic. Not too much, of course, because then they'd go back to town to rest up. Blillhup wants the PCs to enter the sea caves somewhat weakened, but not too much so.
The Sea Caves: Refer to seacaves.jpg for the map of this area. Take a minute to reread the underwater combat points summarized at the beginning of the scenario. Inform the players of 1, 3, and 4 beforehand so that they won't whine too much later. Let them discover the limitations of visibility by experiencing it first-hand (so to speak). There is only once sea cave with any air, and that is the entry cave. Keep track of time so that you know when whatever sorts of water breathing magic in effect run out. Then, refer to the rules on swimming and drowning.
Blillhup's shaft is roughly 5 feet in diameter. There is a knotted rope made of twisted seaweed hanging from a metal ring set in the wall and down into the hole in the floor. The rope is used by the dagons to climb out of the sea caves. A dwarf, gnome, any character with the mining NWP, or a Stoutish halfling can determine that the shaft is neither natural nor dug with tools. Any character who makes a spellcraft NWP check with a -2 penalty can guess that some sort of magic similar to stone shape was used to open the shaft.
It is 35 feet down to the water. The shaft itself is 20 feet of this distance. Anyone shining a light source into the shaft will see the rippling reflect of the light off of the gently undulating surface of the water. Characters who listen carefully can hear the tell-tale lapping of the water against the walls of the sea cave. Players may consider simply sealing the shaft, which they should realize would be pointless, since it was dug to begin with via magic and there's no reason to assume that whatever did this once couldn't do it twice. Blillhup will simply reopen the shaft and perhaps send a couple of dagons to make threatening noises at the villagers before retreating back to the ruin to begin the process all over again.
1. Entry Cave: This cave is only one where air can be found. As with all the caves, the floor is covered with a thick layer of mud. Violent movement on the cavern floors will kick up a cloud of mud that will completely obscure vision in a 5-12 (1d8+4) foot radius for 1-4 rounds. Blillhup has formed a concealed door in the floor of this cave, near the middle of the southern wall. Elfs and half-elfs have the normal chance to spot this door if they get within the proper range. Blillhup has also formed several peepholes in the wall between this cave and cave #4. In all likelihood, she will be aware of the PCs' entrance to her watery home away from home.
2. Crystal Cave: This large cave is unremarkable except for a large patch of rock crystal growing from the floor (as shown on the map). The crystal is, of course, uncut and of variable quality. The patch will attract attention simply because it is different from the surrounding rock. A PC with appraising, gem-cutting, or some other relevant NWP can identify the substance as a semi-precious stone. Eight manhours, with proper tools, will be sufficient to harvest the crystal. The PCs can successfully acquire 5-50 pieces of rock crystal of sufficient size to be valuable; smaller pieces are too fragile to remove. Each piece has a base value of 50 gold pieces. Once a piece is cut and finished, check Table 86: Gem Variations, DMG, p. 134, for any possible changes in value.
3. Undead Baron's Cave: The undead dagon baron and his pet undead demon shark dwell in this cave. They do not roam the entire sea cave complex. The unholy magic that animated them to unlife keeps the undead baron from pursuing intruders any farther than the area denoted on the map. The undead demon shark has free range of all the caves and will certainly pursue intruders. Canny players could use this to split the monsters up, making them easier to defeat.
Neither of these monsters are terribly bright, but they are fearsome in battle. Blillhup and her guards could probably defeat them, but the body count would be high and Blillhup doesn't want to risk the loss of life, especially her own. Both undead creatures typically lurk near the cave floor behind the rock pillar. If they hear the PCs approaching (and remember sound travels well underwater if not as far), both will attempt to take the group by surprise. Neither has anything to lose by a fight to the death. No quarter will be given and none will be expected. If the PCs flee, both will pursue, but the baron will retreat back to its cave if the PCs make it past its barrier. Statistics for both of these monsters are at the end of the scenario.
The only treasure in this room is the gold and platinum medallion that the baron wears about its neck. The baron is intelligent enough to make use of this item, which is described at the end of the scenario.
4. Blillhup's Secret Cave: Blillhup and her guards lurk in this cave, waiting for the PCs to defeat the baron and demon shark. The dagon priestess will check out returning PCs with her locate object spell to determine if they have the medallion. If they have the medallion, she will order the attack.
In addition to Blillhup and any of the three guards from the ruin that survived, there is one guard per PC in the party. The dagons will attack in three waves after removing the concealed door. The first wave will be the two net & trident dagons. The second wave will be any of the crossbow dagons left alive. The third wave will be spear & trident dagons, which will number at least two. The difference between the number of PCs and the number of additional dagons will determine the total number of spear & dagger dagons available.
For example, the party consists of seven PCs. They only killed the one suicidal dagon in the fort. This means, in addition to Blillhup, there are two net & trident dagons, two crossbow & dagger dagons, and five spear & dagger dagons.
Remember the limits of visibility underwater. If the PCs are not close enough to see the door being opened, they will suffer a -2 penalty to their surprise rolls. Those close enough to the door will see it open and suffer no penalty to their surprise rolls. Before any of this happens, however, remind that one special PC of the old gypsies woman's warning about "the tides of March." At the least, this one PC will not be surprised.
Net & Trident Dagons (2): AC 5: MV 12, Sw 24; HD 2+2; hp 14; THACO 19; #AT up to five; D 1-2/1-2/1-4/1-4/1-4; SAb rake with feet underwater (last two attacks listed for 1-4/1-4); SW save versus fire at -2 and take +1 damage per die; ML 12; XP Value 175
Net & Trident dagons make one attack initially, which is to swim by and hurl their nets at two heavily armored PCs. A successful hit entangles the victim in the weighted and hooked net. A netted victim with a 16 or greater strength can try to tear their way free, requiring two consecutive, successful open doors checks, one check allowed per round. Those with small edged weapons in hand can cut their way free in two rounds with two consecutive, successful attack rolls against AC 7, one attack allowed per round. If the netted victim is being attacked, she suffers a -2 penalty to efforts to free herself.
Once the nets are thrown, this pair will swim to the far wall, ready their tridents, and return the following round, attacking characters stuck in the nets as top priority. Netted victims suffer a -2 penalty to AC. Against a netted victim, these dagons attack only once per round with their tridents. Otherwise, they make three attacks per round: trident/leg rake/leg rake for 2-7/1-4/1-4.
Crossbow and Dagger Dagons (2): AC 5; 12, Sw 24; HD 2+2; hp 14; THAC0 19; #AT up to five; D 1-2/1-2/1-4/1-4/1-4; SAb rake with feet underwater (last two attacks listed for 1-4/1-4); SW save versus fire at -2 and take +1 damage per die; ML 12; XP Value 175
As the nets are being dropped, these dagons, assuming they are still alive, will both fire their heavy crossbows at any single PC that they have seen cast a spell. Otherwise, they will double team a single, random, unnetted PC. The next round, they will close to melee with any unnetted characters. In melee, they attack five times: dagger/claw/bite/leg rake/leg rank for 1-4/1-2/1-4/1-4/1-4.
Spear & Dagger Dagons (2+): AC 5 ; MV 12, Sw 24; HD 2+2; hp 14; THAC0 19; #AT up to five; D 1-2/1-2/1-4/1-4/1-4; SAb rake with feet underwater (last two attacks listed for 1-4/1-4); SW save versus fire at -2 and take +1 damage per die; ML 12; XP Value 175
After the crossbows and nets, these dagons will close for melee against unnetted targets first. They make three attacks per round: spear/leg rake/leg rake for 1-6/1-4/1-4.
Blillhup: AC 5; MV 12, Sw 24; HD 5+5; hp 35; THAC0 15; #AT 5; D dagger/1-2/1-4/1-4/1-4; SAb rake with feet underwater (last two attacks listed for 1-4/1-4), spells, effective 17 WIS; SW SW save versus fire at -2 and take +1 damage per die; ML 12; XP Value 650
1st level: cure light wounds, faerie fire, darkness, sanctuary, cause fear
2nd level: aid, sharkskin (increases AC +2), hold person, silence 15' radius, warp wood
3rd level: air breathing, locate object
Blillhup has a wand of earth and stone with 7 charges left. It does not have the transmute rock to mud (and vice versa) capability. Neither she nor her guards have any other treasure.
The first round of the ambush, Blillhup will cast air breathing and then attempt to touch the nearest PC, choosing a netted one over a non-netted one. If her attack roll is successful, the victim is allowed a saving throw versus spell to avoid having any water breathing magic negated. Blillhup will then attempt to retreat to cast more spells.
To sum up:
Round One (Surprise!):
1. Net & trident dagons drop nets as they swim past the party.
2. Crossbow & dagger dagons fire at same target.
3. Spear & dagger dagons close for melee.
4. Blillhup casts air breathing.
1. Net & trident dagons attack netted PCs with tridents.
2. Crossbow & dagger dagons close for melee.
3. Spear & dagger dagons continue to fight.
4. Blillhup attempts to touch nearest PC to negate water breathing.
Round Three and Beyond:
1. All dagons except Blillhup melee.
2. Blillhup attempts to retreat to cast spells.
Blillhup's guards will fight to the death. If things are going too badly, Blillhup might try to negotiate a surrender, but she does not speak any surface-dwelling language.
Medallion of Water Elemental Command. This powerful item has most of the properties of a ring of elemental command. The only differences are these: instead of water breathing it bestows air breathing. It has no ability to create water or form airy water. It does have the ability to create a riptide, which duplicates the movement related effects of gust of wind (forces swimming creatures back, tosses around light objects, et cetera), but functions only underwater. XP Value 5,000.
Climate/Terrain: sea caves near Nev-Harborton
Activity Cycle: any
Intelligence: low (5-7)
Treasure: the medallion of water elemental command
Alignment: lawful evil
No. Appearing: 1
Armor Class: 1
Movement: 9, Sw 18
Hit Dice: 8+8 (48 hit points)
No. of Attacks: 5
Special Attacks: nil
Special Defenses: see below
Magic Resistance: nil
Size: M (6 1/2' tall)
Morale: Fearless (20)
XP Value: 3,000
The undead baron appears very much like a regular dagon at first glance only. The second glance reveals that its flesh is necrose and drawn tight around its skeleton, giving it a emaciated appearance. It is pale, the color of egg whites, and its eyes glow with a feral malevolence.
Combat: The undead baron attacks with claw and fang, capable of dealing out an impressive amount of damage, as its strength has been supernaturally augmented by its unlife. While it can be struck by any sort of weapon, blunt and piercing weapons inflict only one-half damage. It is immune to sleep, charm, hold, death magic, psionics, illusions, electricity, poisons, and cold-based spells. Fire causes only half damage, assuming some way can be found to burn it with fire underwater.
Habitat/Society: The undead baron lives in the sea caves beneath the ruined fort near Nev-Harborton. If freed, it would undoubtedly become a general maritime menace, attacking ships and coastal communities. It is served by an undead demon shark, but hates and seeks to destroy all other creatures.
Ecology: What ecology? It's a zombie. The undead baron doesn't eat, breathe (water or air), or sleep.
Undead Demon Shark
Climate/Terrain: sea caves near Nev-Harborton
Activity Cycle: any
Intelligence: animal (1)
Alignment: chaotic evil
No. Appearing: 1
Armor Class: 2
Movement: Sw 18
Hit Dice: 10 (60 hit points)
No. of Attacks: 1
Special Attacks: blood drain
Special Defenses: see below
Magic Resistance: nil
Size: L (14' long)
Morale: fearless (20)
XP Value: 3,000
The undead demon shark is the pet of the undead baron. Appearing much like a normal shark, a second glance reveals its glowing yellow eyes and perhaps its long, sinewy, fang-mawed tentacle that can shoot from its mouth with blinding speed.
Combat: The undead demon shark does not attack like its mundane cousin. Instead of biting and tearing at its prey, a demon shark attacks with its mouth-tentacle, which can grow to lengths of 20 feet. A successful hit means to the tentacle hooks into the flesh of the demon shark's prey, inflicting 3-12 points of damage. The following rounds, the demon shark automatically inflicts another 2-8 points of damage from blood drain. It is too not difficult to get free from a demon shark's tentacle. A successful open doors roll will pull the appendage free, but the victim suffers another 3-12 points of damage in the process as the tentacle's claws are torn free. The tentacle can also be attacked. It has an AC of 4 and 10 hit points, which do not count against the demon shark's hit point total. If the tentacle is severed, the demon shark will retreat to heal, its tentacle regrowing in a single day. Since the undead demon shark doesn't actually eat, there is no limit to the amount of blood it can drain.
While it can be struck by any sort of weapon, blunt and piercing weapons inflict only one-half damage. It is immune to sleep, charm, hold, death magic, psionics, illusions, electricity, poisons, and cold-based spells. Fire causes only half damage, assuming some way can be found to burn it with fire underwater.
Habitat/Society: The undead demon shark lives in the sea caves under the ruin near Nev-Harborton.
Ecology: What ecology? It's a zombie.