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    Postfest I: Law Unending
    Posted on Fri, August 31, 2001 by Legate
    Some people say this temple was ruined before it became the battleground of two gods of death. But as the adventurers find out, hell still has a warm place for this spot.

    Author: Nathan Irving



    Law Unending
    By Nathan E. Irving (Nellisir@mediaone.net)
    (Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.)

    An adventure for four characters of levels 8-9.

    Centuries ago, a temple of Wee Jas was corrupted by agents of Nerull. They promised the high priest of the temple great power if he converted to worship of the Lord of Death, finally winning him over. He, in turn, subverted several of the other clerics in the church.

    When Wee Jas discovered this betrayal, she sent a devil to “correct” the situation, restore the sanctity of the temple, and bring the fallen high priest to her. The devil arrived on the same night a titanic earthquake rocked the area. Many factions chose that night to settle old scores, and when the bloodshed and oerthrage was finally finished, the city was gone. In the temple, conflict broke out as loyal followers of Wee Jas battled the priests of Nerull. The renegade high priest, granted the power he had been promised by Nerull, managed to trap the devil in the grand chapel of the temple and escape. Most of the temple was subsequently leveled as the bluff under which it stood collapsed, leaving little more than the grand chapel, the antechamber, and possibly the catacombs beneath the temple intact.

    The adventurers may stumble across the ruined temple while exploring the ruined city, or they may be sent there to retrieve an artifact rumored to be locked in the altar.

    In concept, the temple is located in the lost Suel city in the Suss Forest, but the backstory concerning the city can be ignored, and the temple sited nearly anywhere, even underneath a metropolis like Greyhawk or Dyvers.

    1. The Doors (EL 8)

    The front of a once-magnificent building rises up out of the forest. The steps, beneath the leaves and debris of centuries, are white marble with veins of red, and pillars of the same stone support an arched roof over the landing ten steps up. A set of double doors leads from the landing into the building; the doors are green with verdigris, but you can still discern the image of a skull on them. Thick vines lace the columns and the building’s façade, but the area immediately in front of the twin doors remains clear, possibly dissuaded from growing by some lingering enchantment.

    Behind the entrance, a great domed roof rises up, apparently still intact. Immediately behind that lies piles of rubble and stone; it’s clear that the bluff behind this building collapsed at some point, destroying or burying anything else above ground.

    The skull on the temple doors the symbol of Wee Jas; at one point gems were placed in the eyesockets and at the tip of each flame from the (indiscernable) fireball around it; these were removed ages ago (though should the characters find any, they are cursed – the bearer must make a fortitude save once per week (DC 12) or begin to waste away, losing 1 point of Constitution per week until she surrenders ownership of the gems and seeks repentance at a temple of Wee Jas, or dies.) The doors are not locked (indeed, they have no locks or latchs of any kind, and open and close simply by pulling), but have several small stones piled against them (to keep them closed).

    The vines are nonmagical and totally ordinary; they can each support up to 300 lbs. They are particularly thick beneath the overhanging roof, where three black abishai devils have made their nests.

    Abishai (Baatezu): CR 5; SZ M (outsider); HD 5d8+10; 40, 32, 27 hps; Init +6; Spd 30’, fly 40’ (poor), AC 17 (+2 dex, +5 natural); Atk tail +7 melee (1d6+2 and sting [+2d4 acid plus +1d4 acid the following round]), 2 claws +5 melee (1d4+1/1d4+1), bite +5 melee (1d6+1); Face 5 ft by 5 ft; Reach 5 ft; SA spell-like abilities (at will animate dead, change self, charm person, command, desecrate, detect alignment, major image, suggestion, scare), summon baatezu (2d6 lemures/50% or 1 abishai/20%); SQ damage reduction 5/+1, abishai qualities (immune to fire and poison; cold/acid resistance 20; see in darkness of all kinds; telepathic communication (100’ range); vulnerable to holy water, 2d4 damage/flask, 1 pnt/splash), regeneration 5 (holy water, holy weapons, blesed weapons inflict lethal damage), SR 12; SV Fort +6, Ref +6, Will +5; Str 14, Dex 15, Con 15, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 13; AL LE. Skills: Bluff +4, Concentration +5, Disguise +5, Escape Artist +7, Intimidate +8, Listen +6, Search +7, Spot +7. Feats: Improved initiative, multiattack.

    The abishai cast change self before attacking to appear gray and stony in texture (much like gargoyles). They attempt to kill the party or herd them into the temple. They will not directly attack priests of Wee Jas who present their holy symbol, instead herding or forcing them into the temple. They will act to keep priests from leaving the area without entering the temple. The abishai are under no restrictions and may enter and leave the temple and the surrounding area as they wish it, though Wee Jas may punish them if they leave their assignment (reinforcing the devil trapped inside). At the DM’s option, the abishai may have animated skeletons and zombies for amusement and to “trap” various areas around the temple (most undead will be humanoids or animals).

    The abishai have treasure plundered from nearby ruins and seized from their victims. The most valued items are in their nest, and most of the money is hidden under loose flagstones and in tree hollows nearby. The treasure includes a club +1 decorated with orchish runes of victory and battle; 4 +2 lawful arrows, a ring of swimming, and 541 gold pieces worth of coinage (mostly silver and copper).

    The antechamber once had two hallways leading off the to the right and left; these collapsed in the oerthquake. The right-hand hall can be accessed by moving several stone blocks and cutting aside the vines; this takes 20 minutes and only allows Small creatures entry. The left hall is completely blocked.

    2. The Antechamber

    Rot and neglect are the hallmarks of this room. Opposite the entry, twin doors of an unknown wood are carved with mystical symbols. To the right and left, hallways lead off. The left hall ends after twenty feet in a pile of stone blocks; the right lasts for thirty feet before becoming choked with stones and vines. The ground is firm, but several inches of dirt, the decayed remains of leaves, vines, roots, and whatever decorated this room, cover the floor near the entry and the two halls. Cobwebs festoon the arched ceiling, obscuring the ornate frescoes that cover it.

    The mystic symbols on the door are for decoration; they have no magical power. Detect magic and similar spells reveal abjuration magics in the vicinity of the doorway; further exploration may reveal the wards as a type of protection from law spell. The entire temple is protected against teleportation, ethereal entry, and spells that affect stone and earth. Teleportation may occur within a room, but not through walls.

    The abishai may have placed a few uncontrolled skeletons or zombies in here. Since they have nowhere to go, they attack anything that enters the room (they can’t push open the doors to the outside with the stones piled against them).

    3. The Grand Chapel

    This vaulted chamber was clearly the center of worship for this temple centuries ago. Wooden pews lie toppled and strewn about on the floor, most are rotted and useless. The remnants of tapestries hang from the walls, though dirt and mildew have rendered the scenes impossible to discern. Webs cloak the ceiling, hiding anything that may be above them. On the opposite wall, a golden plaque hangs on the wall. Nearly ten feet in diameter, it depicts a skull superimposed on a fireball. Scarlet gems gleam from the eyesockets. Out of all the items in this room, it alone looks as new as the day it was created.

    The grand chapel is the lair of Wee Jas’s enforcer, a keres devil (from Legions of Hell, by Green Ronin Publishing).

    Kere (baatezu): ): CR 9; SZ L (outsider); HD 10d8+40; 100 hp; Init +9 (dex); Spd 50’, climb 30’; AC 22 (-1 size, +9 dex, +3 natural, +1 ring of protection); Atk Huge +1 keen two-bladed sword +15/+10 (2d8+7) and +15 (2d8+4); Face 5 ft by 5 ft; Reach 10 ft; SA clawed feet +10/+10 (1d8+3), cast permanent web once per day; SQ damage reduction 10/+1; baatezu qualities (immune to fire and poison; cold and acid resistance 20; able to see in darkness of all kinds; telepathic communication within 100’), fast healing 5, SR 15, uncanny dodge (+3 to AC), wall fighter (keres hanging from wall or ceilings suffer no penalties to attacks or AC); SV Fort +11, Ref +16, Will +8; Str 22, Dex 28, Con 18, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 16; AL LE. Skills: Balance +17, Climb +14, Escape Artist +17, Intimidate +11, Jump +17, Listen +9, Search +8, Spot +9, Tumble +24, Use Rope +13. Feats: Ambidexterity, Exotic Weapon Proficiency (two-bladed sword), Mobility, Spring Attack, Two Weapon Fighting, Weapon Focus (two-bladed sword).

    The kere is a humanoid devil, ten feet tall, with the body of a human woman, clawed eagle’s feet, and eight spider legs projecting from its back. The legs are oriented backwards, allowing the kere to hang from the webs and attack targets on the ground with its two-bladed sword and both clawed feet.

    The kere waits until the party is at least halfway into the room before attacking. The chapel ceiling is forty feet high, and webs reach down to within fifteen feet of the floor. The kere can hang by its spider legs and reach all the way to the ground. Unless detected beforehand (above twenty-five feet, the kere has total concealment while remaining still, and three-quarters concealment when moving. This drops to one-half and one-quarter concealment between fifteen and twenty-five feet above the floor), the keres will drop to the bottom of the web in front of the doorway, and move towards the party, keeping itself between them and the exit at all times. If the webs are lit, the kere drops to the floor and presses its attack from there, continuing to walk on its spider legs and attack with the clawed feet. The kere is satisfied to drop an opponent and continue on, it does not stop to perform a coup de grace. If pressed, the kere will summon any surviving abishai to aid it. The kere is not capable of surrender or retreat except to drink a potion and return to combat.

    The entire chapel is warded with a protection from law spell targeted to the kere. It was cast by a 15th level cleric, and must be dispelled before the kere can leave. The kere’s ultimate mission is to seek out whatever remains of the traitorous high priest; its secondary mission is to kill any priests of Wee Jas found in the temple who do not perform the proper ceremony before it. This knowledge was given to Wee Jass’ faithful in dreams the night before the kere appeared centuries ago; the PCs can only access it by casting commune within the temple grounds, spending a night (sleeping) in the temple (Wee Jas will convey the information in a dream), or a carefully worded divination (asking if the proposed action is viable). The cleric must present her holy symbol to the kere and then cast bless upon the kere before the devil will accept the authority of the cleric. The kere is not overly intelligent, and can’t be swayed by elegant reasoning, impassioned pleas, or bribes.

    Hidden in the web is the kere’s treasure, accumulated over the years. The kere has no significant attachment to the treasure, and if enabled to leave the chapel, will not bother to take any treasure it’s not wearing or carrying already. The kere’s treasure includes a ring of protection +1 (worn), a ring of counterspells (fireball) (worn), two potions of cure moderate wounds (which the kere will retreat to and drink if necessary), a potion of glibness, a scroll containing two copies of water breathing, and a periapt of health. It has given all the coins to the abishai, who like the shine and the clinking noises.

    The kere, bored and frustrated over the centuries, has spent a great deal of time polishing Wee Jas’s symbol over the altar. This explains its unusually pristine condition.

    Notes: The kere is marked up to a CR 9 creature from CR 8 to account for the damage reduction and web abilities. Treasure for both the abishai and kere is more than recommended for EL 8 and EL 9 encounters respectively.

    Further Adventures: At the DM’s discretion, a secret door may be located in the center of the chapel floor, leading down into the catacombs beneath the temple. Outsiders cannot pass through the trapdoor, and so the kere has ignored it, but they may be summoned in the catacombs. The traitor high priest was indeed granted great power as a priest of Nerull, but fell prey to paranoia in his old age. Fearful that Wee Jas would claim him upon his death, he researched undeath and became a lich with Nerull’s blessing. He is more than a match for the kere now, and if one of the PCs is a priest of Wee Jas, she may demand that the cleric accompany the kere against the priest-lich. It is even possible that the priest has remained or returned to the ruined city.

     
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    Re: Postfest 1: Law Unending (Score: 1)
    by Man-of-the-Cranes on Tue, March 05, 2002
    (User Info | Send a Message) http://www.ManoftheCranes.com
    Nathan has given us a well-written and balanced adventure. I like the way that he has played around with the creatures faced. The gargoyle's change self tactic should suitable trick any players pre-conceptions of what they are fighting and the devil's clever use of magic items and defences should prove an interesting challenge to the PC's.

    Cheers
    Man of the Cranes



    Re: Postfest 1: Law Unending (Score: 1)
    by Scottenkainen on Wed, April 24, 2002
    (User Info | Send a Message)
    It' a good starting point for a longer expedition into the lost city, and is nicely campaign-specific. But it's penalized a star for being 3E D&D-specific as well.



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