Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Bettellyn: The Grand Reliquary -- Part VI

Continued from the previous section.  Click HERE to go back.

Area 27.  Observation Gallery

Stairs lead up from Area 18 along an unlit corridor to embrasures carved through the walls.  The openings blend in with the stone faces carved on the opposite sides, letting in some light from the Reliquary’s Nave (Area 17b).  These slits enable missile weapons and spells to be cast at various sections of the Reliquary.  Their fields of vision are limited to arcs stretching at best 45 degrees left and right, and at least 60 degrees up and down.  Aelith, the Companion of Eyoth, will pick the embrasure giving the best view of the intruders.  If there isn't a good spot, she will stand at the southern embrasure, 90 feet above the narthex (Area 17a).  Mystics behind embrasures are considered 90% behind cover if spotted.  Because of the Reliquary’s ambient light, infravision will not reveal someone’s presence behind a slit.  Spells requiring the target to be seen have a 90% chance of missing the mark.  Missile weapon attacks against mystics incur a –6 to hit penalty.

Area 28.  Reticle Room

The hollow pillar (17g) leads up to this chamber.  A huge stone cylinder fitted exactly to the shaft’s diameter hangs right above the shaft.  It will drop when someone reaches the shaft’s middle point, unless a trap was searched for and neutralized at the bottom entrance.  Area 28 lies 175’ above the nave’s floor.  The entrance to the shaft sits 60’ up the pillar.  The vertical shaft therefore measures 115’ long.  If the cylinder drops, the sound of heavy chains unrolling above and the rumble of the falling stone should alert those climbing of their fast approaching doom.  If they let go and jump, a Dexterity check ought to determine whether they can scramble out through the entrance.  The air pressure quickly increasing in the shaft from the action of the cylinder acting as a piston ought to eject those succeeding their Dexterity checks, causing them to collide with the opposite wall and tumble another 60’ to the base of the pillar.  If anyone fails a check, everyone following piles on top of one another, along with the massive stone—save vs. death ray or die horribly.  Those whose saving throws succeeded still incur 10d6 points of crushing damage in addition to falling down the shaft and being blown out through its entrance along with rock debris and dust.  Rubble now blocks the passage.  The sound of the falling stone and its final impact at the base of the shaft rumbles like an earthquake throughout the entire Reliquary complex.  As a result of the tremor, the hollow pillar has a 30% chance of shattering, causing further debris to come down, including a portion of the floor from Area 28’s antechamber.

If anyone makes it to the top of the shaft, a wide, unlit, antechamber leads to a larger room.  A permanent darkness affects the 90’x90’ space.  Four large pillars continuing from the Reliquary beneath the stone floor rise another 30’ to support the vault.  In the middle of the chamber lies a fist-size opening in the floor, with an iron tripod standing above it.  The tripod holds a brass tube, about two feet long and elbowed in its middle so that one half remains level with the floor and the other points down through the hole.  The device radiates magic.

If Aelith was forced to flee earlier, she may be hiding here, behind the northeastern pillar.  If she still has a dose of her Potion of Gaseous Form, she may resort to using it once more to escape through the hole.

The device above the hole is the Reliquary’s Revealing Reticle.  Looking through the inverted periscope-like device enables the observer to see a specific set of tiles, about five feet from the bottom of the stairs leading from 17a to 17b.  These tiles are aligned exactly within the axis of the stairs on the immediate left and right of the nave.  Symbols on four of the tiles start flashing in a specific sequence, pause, and resume until the viewer pulls away from the tube.

Revisiting the Narthex

The flashing tiles shown by the reticle in Area 28 allude to the secret entrance to Area 29.  One must return to the Reliquary’s narthex, and step on these four tiles following the right sequence.  If so, a number of other tiles slowly light up, prompting one to step upon them as well, as if dancing.  The first four tiles can easily be matched.  The next sequence requires a Dexterity check to complete correctly.  New and different sequences follow, a bit longer, faster, and harder to match, requiring combination steps and new Dexterity check with cumulative –1 penalties (and so on).  The dancer moves about the narthex randomly, one space per round, as nearby tiles keep flashing.

Each time a sequence is completed, the stairs leading to Area 17b shift 5’ downward.  At the 3rd sequence, the steps are flush with the floor in the narthex (assuming the alarm was never sounded or the stairs have not yet reset themselves).  At the 4th, a 5’ gap reveals the presence of Area 29.  If all six sequences are completed without fail, stairs shift down completely and lock in place, revealing the entrance to Area 29.  Those witnessing the dance may crawl through a partial opening of the stairs at any time if they wish.

Any interrupted or failed sequence resets the stairs to their full upward position (leading to Area 17b), requiring the process to be started over.  The first failed check also releases a gargoyle from the Reliquary’s dark vault, swooping down to attack the “dancer.”  The second failed check releases two gargoyles, three at the third, etc.  The gargoyles do not interfere with the obsidian beholder if it happens to be present in the shadows above the narthex.  The “sequence of errors” resets itself if no further dancing attempt takes place for at least 5 Turns.

Gargoyles* (1-??): AC5, HD 4**, MV 90’ (30’, (150’) 50’ flying, AT 2 claws/1 bite/1 horn, Dmg 1d3/1d3/1d6/1d4, Save F8, Int 5, AL N while Aelith is alive, C thereafter.  Special Defenses: immune to sleep and charm spells, requires +1 or better magical weapon to hit.

Area 29.  Crypt of the Relics

This 90’x90’ chamber is located exactly underneath the bronze brazier.  Stairs to Area 17b initially conceal the entrance until made to shift downward (see Revisiting the Narthex listed above).  A column of magical flames towers upward through the ceiling and the brazier on the next floor.  Four large cruciform pillars at each corner support the vault and continue above through the Reliquary.  Three pairs of plinths stand between the east, west, and north pillars, with a seventh in a recess, opposite from the stairs.  The artifacts described earlier rest upon these stone platforms, plus another two.  Artifacts and their plinths all radiate magic.  The names of immortals are listed on each plinth, with Samarion’s showing on the one in the northern recess.  The latter bears the Orb of Eternity.

If anyone entered the flames earlier on and was disintegrated, ashes will lay on the floor, all around the flames.  If anyone entered through the flames and survived, the stairs to Area 17b still block the exit and cannot be opened from inside, save for a wish.  Those who crawled inside while the dance took place in the narthex may find themselves stranded as well if the dancer eventually fails to lock the stairs in place.  The only escape routes then include attempting to climb or fly through the disintegrating flames, a magical stone-shaping ability, a passwall, dimension door, teleport, or comparable spell.  The stonework or the stairs otherwise require 250 points of damage to blast through.  There is no air vent to his chamber, precluding the reliance on an escape in gaseous form.

If any of the artifacts is touched, the other six teleport to another safe location.  Unless a dispel magic succeeded against the remaining artifact’s plinth, the disintegrating flames start expanding 5' per round until they fill the chamber, possibly disintegrating all within (unless a save vs. death ray succeeds).  Sections of the ceiling collapse while the brazier crashes through and bounces in a random direction crushing anything in its path.  If three or more pillars are disintegrated, the Reliquary’s nave and apse collapse catastrophically, destroying much of the complex, dispelling its entire reverse gravity enchantment, and possibly taking down some or all of the towers out on the surface.  The latter consequence will release all the undead bound to the towers, enabling them to escape with their treasured possessions to whatever end.  In an ultimate and futile gesture, seven bronze golems wander away, wreaking havoc through towns and countryside alike, trying vainly to pursue the escaped undead.

Escaping the Crypt

A wish or an immediate teleportation to the surface, away from the towers, will enable survival from the collapsing Reliquary.  With some time, Bettellyn’s religious powers will identify the cause of the collapse and hunt down the ones responsible for the disaster.  Aelith, if alive at that time, will teleport out to safety if she can, and report what she knows straight away.  If not, she might be able to reach her quarters instead and ride out the Reliquary’s destruction until the next day.  If still alive at the time Jezabioth dies in the cave-in (although the soul eater might survive under the rubble).  Corybemus teleports out and continues to track the stolen artifact.

Alternate Ending

If the Orb of Eternity is successfully retrieved (without a catastrophic cave-in) and any of the other NPCs are still alive, they will be waiting in ambush outside or on the way out.  Jezabioth is the first to intervene and try to steal the coveted artifact.  If Jezabioth fails or was defeated earlier, Aelith intervenes next.  If she fails or was defeated earlier, then Corybemus gets involved.  He will demand the artifact in his gold dragon persona.  Refusal will result in yet another epic battle.

Corybemus/Farraxillion (Gold Dragon): AC-4, HD16+3***, hp 80, MV 120’ (40’)/300’ (100’), AT#3 + breath weapon, Dmg 6d6+4 bite, 3d4 claw, Save F33, ML10, AL L.  Ring of remedies.  Spell Available: Level I—5 spells (Charm Person x2, Detect Magic x2, Ventriloquism), II
5 (ESP*, Invisibility x3, Phantasmal Force), III—5 (Clairvoyance, Dispel Magic x2, Hold Person x2), IV—4 (Confusion, Hallucinatory Terrain, Polymorph Self x2), V—3 (Telekinesis, Teleport x2)

Jezabioth: My4, AC6, hp 17, AT#1 open hand, Dmg d6+1, ML8(12); AL L(N)Disciple of Samarion; unable to use her companion abilities while possessed.  St15(18), In13(9), Wi14(9), Dx17, Co14, Ch12.  Ring of invisibility, amulet of protection against detection and ESP.  Soul Eater: AC0, HD10*, MV 180’ (60’), AT#2, Dmg d10+Wisdom drain, Save C10, ML12, AL N.  Minion of Masauwu.

Area 30.  Aelith’s Secret Quarters

Aelith resides in a chamber just north of Area 29, under the two central pillars of the apse.  It can only be reached through a passwall, dimension door, or teleport spell, of in gaseous form via a vent.  The room includes the basic amenities of a lady’s bedchamber and a chest.  Soft lighting comes from two enchanted cressets near the bed, and a levitating aura above the dresser, all of which may be switched off with a snap of the fingers.

Objects of value include: (under the bed) 5,493 gp in coins and gems, twenty pieces of jewelry of random value; her spell book lies in a hidden compartment of the dresser; an extensive wardrobe contains 899 robes with assorted coats and cloaks worth well over approximately 89,900 gp (Area 30a); in neatly stacked in boxes, a collection of 899 pairs of shoes, hats, and gloves matching the aforementioned outfits worth about as much together; scores of plumes, baubles, and trinkets are worth another 2,277 gp (Area 30b), plus a lead-coated container in which she keeps a huptzeen (AC9 Creature Catalog), a construct in the form of an ornate women’s golden bracelet (in a secret compartment inside the west pillar).  The huptzeen will change its allegiance to another wizard level 10 or higher if Aelith is deceased, which it can sense.

Huptzeen (1): AC 3, HD 7***, MV (30’ (10’) flying, AT 1 spell, Save MU7, ML 12, Int 11, AL N.  Special Abilities: spells as a MU7, shapechange.  Special Defenses: immune to sleep, charm, and hold spells; sustains half damage against non-magical weapons; explodes if destroyed, causing 2 points of damage per unused spell within 5’ radius (save vs. dragon breath for half damage).  Daily Spells: Level I—3 spells (analyze, detect magic, magic missiles), II—2 (ESP*, locate object), III—2 (clairvoyance, create air), IV—1 (dimension door).  Spell abilities cannot be altered.

Click HERE for the final chapter on Bettellyn.