I am very glad that you enjoyed the read. I do like your idea of placing it near the Hool Marshes and using Wastri and his priests as the bad guys behind the gathering of various humanoid races in the Caves. I find it very likely that Wastri has priests in every swamp in the Flanaess. In fact, the presence of his clerics is canonized in the Cold Marshes north of the lands of Iuz, so there's no reason they couldn't also be in the Hool.
I agree with you both, wise Mystic and noble Xaris. I should have been a little more specific. I've not been so diabolical as to have my players actually face Wastri himself in the Hools. They are usually only levels 1-5 or so when doing my version of the keep and caverns. They have faced his priests and assorted followers of his however. I expanded the mound of the lizard men area encounter to give them clues as to the "real evil" lurking later in the shrine of evil chaos (K). I have also adapted the generic evil priests there in order to better suit the Hopping Prophet. Since many of my players seem to be demi-humans I found his hatred of these races fun to play with. Wastri "the Hammer of False Humans" does, I believe, reside in the Sacred Polystery in the Vast Swamps.
Now that I think about it I should start an evil based campaign this summer for my sons and friends. It would be fun to roll up some Bullywugs and Lizardmen and seek a little payback for the attrocites the gray toad has endured over the years.
As the battle between the two supposed comrades ended, Tumak sat down in dejected silence. Blump attended to Bill's body while Zeke searched the lair of the Iuzian High Priest. He discovered an opulently furnished waiting room beyond the curtains the last two zombies had emerged from. He collected a few bejeweled goblets, then continued his plundering in the bedroom through the next door. Within, he found some quite valuable bedsheets and personal paraphenalia, which he deposited into his bag of holding along with the goblets and various gemstones he'd previously collected. Upon opening the wardrobe, a fistful of tiny gems fell out at his feet. After sweeping them up into his hand, he searched the cloaks within until discovering one that appeared quite expensive. Trying it on, he began to itch, then felt those itches turn to pricks and pinches. Quickly discarding the garment, he watched in horror as a swarm of biting insects poured forth from its inner lining.
Blump rejoined the rogue and informed him that the distraught dwarf had decided to return to the Keep and, perhaps, his homeland in the Jotens for a spell. The gnome and half-elf then retraced their steps to the top of the ramp where they had first faced the evil clerics, their undead horde, and Ragnar, the executioner. Just south of that intersection was a room decorated as a temple to Iuz the Evil. Upon the altar sprawled a human male, bound with leather apparently made from the tanned entrails of previous human(oid?) victims. He had suffered myriad small cuts upon his body which allowed his life-blood to slowly eke away, running in rivulets down the sides of the altar to pool in a trough on the floor. Though unconscious, his breathing was perceptable to the two demi-humans. Blump immediately cast some healing spells upon the victim while Zeke set about cutting his bonds.
Having first healed his wounds, Blump was then able to revive the man and learned that he was a paladin of Heironeous recently captured while traveling the road to the Keep. Rickson, as he introduced himself, profusely thanked his rescuers. Just then, he noticed Zeke about to take up the golden unholy objects upon the various shelves at the back of the room and warned the rogue that he could see the evil in those accursed items and strongly advised him not to risk the consequences of laying hands upon them. Though the temptation was great, Zeke chose to heed the paladin's warning and let those treasures go.
Claiming his arms and armor from a storage compartment beneath the altar, Rickson joined his two rescuers. They headed south, bypassing one room to investigate a larger room with skeletal guardians standing at attention on the perimeter. Another long-dead skeletal form slouched upon a throne against the back wall. The cleric and paladin noted the glint of golden gilding upon the bones of the unmoving skeletal guardians while Zeke noted the shine of gems embedded in the throne's tall back. Moving forward cautiously, Zeke approached the throne. Blump and Rickson whispered a warning, but Zeke ignored them. Blump walked over and struck one of the golden ancient guardians a heavy blow with his morning star. It crumpled into fragments at his feet, the clatter of it's halberd, shield, and chain armor echoing loudly down the hallway. After about six seconds of anticipatory cringing, the three relaxed a bit when nothing seemed to come of the commotion.
Zeke resumed his mission to claim the gems and worked to pry one out of the ancient, preserved, wooden throne. As his hands worked and his mind focused on the task at hand, he tried not to be distracted by the sounds of battle as his friends found themselves surrounded by a dozen animated golden skeletons. Blump wisely channeled positive energy, but none of the enemy fell. Small chips and pieces of bone splintered from most of the undead, but they continued their advance and attacked with fury. Battling back to back, the cleric and paladin defended themselves from the incoming blows as best they could while summoning forth the power of the positive material plane as often as their experience and skills allowed their bodies to act as its focus. In less than a minute, the skeletons had all fallen into piles of ancient dust, but Zeke was not prepared for the shadowy hand that reached for his wrist from the back of the throne.
A shadow of blackest night reached forth, ghost-like, from the wood upon which he was working and grasped his wrist with a cold, weakening, grip. Jerking back, the rogue struggled to draw his weapon to battle this new threat. The shadow emerged fully from the throne and followed him, slashing with surprisingly sharp claws made of negative energy. Flailing before him with his magical scimitar, he was pleasantly surprised to find that it cut the creature as if it were flesh and bone. Blump and Rickson rushed over to assist with their own positive energy, but Zeke's holy scimitar successfully cut the thing to ribbons of blackness that quickly faded away to nothingness.
Quickly collecting his wits, Zeke returned to collecting his prize. It was then that Blump noticed a pack of ghouls racing toward them from the direction of the room they had bypassed on their way to this one. Calling a warning, the three made their stand, the holy warriors using up the last of their ability to channel positive energy, and Zeke slipping in behind the pack to cut them down by surprise. They were successful in resisting the paralyzing effects of the few wounds they suffered and Zeke was able to complete the acquisition of the gems.
The three healed what they could and made their way back north to the door to the dungeons. Following a twisting passage, they came to a barred, iron-bound oaken door with a small, barred window offering a partial view into a prison. From around a corner, a voice attached to two shapely female legs begged to be freed.
Zeke was unsure, but Rickson did not hesitate to open the door. Zeke, however, restrained the paladin with a hand on the shoulder and warned him to tread carefully. Recognizing the wisdom of such caution in the lair of the Iuzian clerics, Rickson moved around the corner with Zeke. Both men allowed their gazes to travel up the shapely legs and along the length of the woman's torso, but a sudden hissing stopped them at that point. Steeling themselves, they refused to look directly into the eyes of the snake-haired medusa chained to the wall. (Both players rolled natural 20s for their saves. )
Though the medusa made an heroic effort to convince the heroes to free her (promising to seek out and destroy every Iuzian she could find and leaving this area forever), they remained unconvinced of her sincerity. Rickson was sure that her soul was blackest evil, nor were Zeke or Blump willing to trust her with her freedom. While Blump remained outside on watch, Zeke moved in to finish her as humanely as possible. In her fury, however, she lunged at her executioner and nearly broke the chains from the wall. Zeke didn't hesitate any longer and simply stabbed as many times and as quickly as he could. One chain broke from the wall before the medusa succumbed to the many wounds inflicted by Zeke's blades and the warriors left the now-empty prison in silence.
Another passage led to a very old door that didn't appear to have been disturbed in recent history. Opening it, they followed a hallway down a long staircase to a tomb. Within were several dozen crypts and a large sarcophagus. Finding nothing of value within the crypts, the three carefully planned the opening of the stone sarcophagus. Weapons drawn, at its head and foot, Zeke and Blump prepared for an undead creature to arise as Rickson positioned himself to the side to push the lid off. With an impressive effort, he succeeded, and their preparations proved wise as a wight rose from within to assault them. The battle was furious, but quick. The three suffered a few scrapes, cuts, and bruises, but the blades of the heroes hewed it into permanently dead pieces and none were permanently overcome by the weakness the undead being's strikes had caused them.
Claiming some ancient jewelry, an equally ancient, but magical sword, and matching helm from the wight's tomb, the three victorious heroes returned to the Keep. There, Zeke informed Tornamir (the Castellan), Figolwren (his elven advisor), and Gelinjay (the gnome scribe) of their success. Rickson paid his respects to Abdiel (the high priest of Heironeous) at the chapel and Blump studied the papers they had recovered from the Iuzian high priest's chambers. When Zeke and Rickson rejoined their clerical friend, Blump gave them a run-down of their options. Apparently, the Iuzian had sent a group of adventurers off to the Cold Fens in search of an Iggwilvian artifact of interest to their demonic master. He had also been in contact with a Count Strahd von Zarovich of a barony in the Clatspurs, made mention of a slaving operation out of the Pomarj, and indicated that other Iuzians were involved in an operation to discover the secrets of the ruins of Castle Greyhawk. But, what interested them most of all was that the Iuzian priest had recorded several instances of cooperation between himself and Sir Bluto. It seemed that the ignoble knight and his men were responsible for sacking the pallisade fort and stealing all their horses, for abducting commoners, and for undermining the security of Lord Locks' realm. There was evidence that Sir Bluto's last employment had sent him to the City of Greyhawk to assist the servants of Iuz that planned to assault the ruins of the castle of the Mad Archmage.
Bringing this information to the attention of Tornamir resulted in copies of the documents being sent to Perrenland where the Hetman confiscated Sir Bluto's lands until he should present himself before the court and offer a defense. Sir Bluto thus became known as Sans Pite (without land/property).
After discussing their options, the heroes decided that pursuing Sans Pite was the best option. They also liked the idea of seeing the famed City of Greyhawk, the Gem of the Flanaess, with their own eyes.
Well, just getting into this; I'm about halfway actually, but who's counting? Anyway, pretty cool I really like how deadly it is! Is this from the original B2 module and just adapted, or is it the remake one?
To answer your question from the other thread:
I am using the original B2, The Keep on the Borderlands module, but I've added lots of stuff. I took some inspiration from Return to tKotB, but nothing specific - just attitudes of individual NPCs. My inspiration for the ruined watchtower (replacing the Cave of the Unknown) was a map I found online and the original Conan movie. I added Sir Bluto Sans Pite as there wasn't much background on him and he fit as a higher-level foil for the PCs - someone they could love to hate and hunt down in later adventures.
I've had lots of fun with bad guys like the kobolds, the evil cleric in the Keep (whom I named Akkub), Sir Bluto, the Tiger Nomads, and the Mad Hermit.
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