Eleusis, Caverns of Danger, 03. Death from Above


This irregular shaped cavern is 50 feet in diameter. Stalactites cover the ceiling of the wide tunnel that leads south. Gardens of barrelstalk, bluecap, timmask, and trillimac fill the cavern. Between the garden patches meander paths that lead to and from the various exits.


A small passage leads to the west, while slight larger passages lead to the north and east. A wider passageway heads south.


Stalactites cover the ceiling of the wide tunnel that leads south (to area 5). Eight piercers lurk among them. Clinging to the ceilings of caverns and large subterranean passages, piercers blend in perfectly with natural rock, dropping in silence to impale unsuspecting foes on the ground below.  


A piercer is the larval form of a roper, and the two creatures often attack in tandem. A rock-like shell encases a piercer’s body, giving it the look and texture of a stalactite. That shell protects a soft, slug-like upper body that lets the piercer move across cavern walls and ceilings to position itself for prey. With its eye and mouth closed, the piercer is difficult to distinguish from ordinary rock formations.  


Piercers can see, but they can also respond to noise and heat, waiting for living creatures to pass beneath them, then falling to attack. A piercer that misses its chance to kill must make its slow way back to the ceiling. A fallen piercer excretes a foul-smelling slime when attacked, making most predators think twice about eating it.   Piercers gather in colonies to maximize the effectiveness of their attacks, dropping simultaneously to increase the odds of striking prey. After a piercer successfully slays a creature, the others slowly creep toward the corpse to join in the feast.

Hazards & Traps

Any character who searches for tracks along a path can make a Wisdom (Survival) check. On a check total of 20 or higher, the character finds the back-and-forth tracks of several bugbears, a troll, and a hook horror.   Characters who have darkvision or light sources bright enough to illuminate the ceiling can avoid piercer drops by steering clear of the stalactite formations, and attempts to do so are automatically successful. If no such attempts are made, a single piercer drops on the first light-carrying creature to cross the cavern. Whether it hits or misses, this piercer can’t attack again until it makes the long, slow climb back to the cavern ceiling. After the first piercer drops, avoiding the cavern’s stalactite formations becomes a simple matter.


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