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Escape the cave

Summary

The party now in the belly of the beast must find a way to escape without being made into ground chuck.

Plot points/Scenes

Abandoned Camp


When characters return to the camp area, they find it mostly abandoned. (If they stayed, they witnessed the rapid packing up and abandonment of the camp.) The stinking huts of the kobolds (those on level 1) have been burned, but the level 2 huts and both guard towers remain. Anyone can determine from tracks that the cultists trekked away in small groups in all directions. A successful DC 10 Wisdom (Perception) check reveals that most of the camp’s wagons and pack animals moved in a train toward the west.

Still left in the camp are some hunters, the kobolds who tend the dragon nursery in the caves, Frulam Mondath, her guards, and Langdedrosa Cyanwrath. Only the hunters still use the huts. All others live in the hatchery cave. The activity and guards around the cave mouth should be the top draw on the characters’ attention.

On most mornings, hunters fan out onto the grassland to hunt for antelope and other large game. They travel on horseback and bring along an extra horse to pack the field-dressed game back to the camp. Hunters don’t necessarily return to the camp every evening. They stay out until they have a load of meat to bring back. Hunting on the Greenfields is good, so they seldom need to spend more than a night or two away. Four scouts act as hunters; roll a d4 to determine how many are in the camp when characters arrive. They are not dedicated cultists, so they won’t challenge characters who enter the camp, attack them, or even alert the cultists. They consider standing guard to be beneath them.

They are a taciturn bunch, so they won’t be much help to inquisitive characters. They converse more freely with rangers, but to most strangers they merely nod, point, shake their heads, scowl, and utter one- or two-word answers. If characters converse with them, these hunters can relate how the camp dissolved within hours after the discovery of the captured half-elf’s escape. Crates carried from the cave were loaded onto wagons or animals and hauled to the west. A few raiders remain in the cave: the Wearer of Purple (Mondath), the “dragon-man” (Cyanwrath), the better warriors, and the “dragon-dogs” (kobolds). As long as the cultists pay well for fresh meat, the trackers continue hunting for them. Whatever else the cave holds is none of their concern.

A thorough search of the camp takes about ten man- hours. Allow characters to make a Wisdom (Perception) check after the first hour. A successful roll means the character realizes that while quite a bit of material has been left behind, it’s all trash: cracked pottery, rusty knives, soiled clothing and bedding, cheap cookware, and wine that’s gone to vinegar. Some of it might be of use to the people of Greenest who lost everything in fires, but it has no value as treasure.

General Features


The only thing of interest remaining in the camp is the cave itself (area 4 on the map of the camp), which characters can see from the camp. There, characters find the cultists who stayed behind, a clutch of dragon eggs, the special cadre of kobolds who tend the eggs—and the many traps the kobolds set to defend their home. These eggs are important to the cult, but they were deemed too near to hatching to be moved safely. Rezmir left them with what he believed was an adequate guard force under Frulam Mondath and Langdedrosa Cyanwrath.

Ceilings. Cavern ceilings are 15 feet high. Ceilings in the humans’ chambers (areas 11, 12, and 13) are 10 feet high.

Light. During daytime, areas 1 and 2 are brightly lit, and areas 3 and 4 are dimly lit by outside light. All other areas are in darkness unless the area notes otherwise.

Sound. The caverns are filled with faint sounds: dripping water, scratching rodents, scrabbling lizards, wind moaning across the entrance. These normal underground sounds camouflage the clanks, thuds, coughs, and speech of the kobolds and cultists. Sound echoes well along the main chamber (areas 1-5), so a fight in any of these can be heard in the others. Elsewhere, normal sounds echo confusingly and are lost in the background noise. The sound of a scream carries a long distance, however, and the sound of a fight travels through 30 feet of tunnel and attracts attention if the fight lasts more than 3 rounds.

1. Cave Entrance


The entrance to the cave is broad and tall, but the ceiling quickly lowers to a height of 15 feet. Standing guard inside the entrance are two dragonclaws (see appendix B). They position themselves about 30 feet inside the cave and stay near the walls and the column, so that while they aren’t hidden, they aren’t conspicuous, either. Characters who observe the cave from a distance—from the area of the plateau where the steps ascend from level 1 to level 2, for example—spot one of the dragonclaws.

If characters approach openly through the camp, the dragonclaws spot them automatically and retreat toward area 2 in the cave, to set up an ambush. If characters approach the cave quietly from the sides, they won’t be spotted. They then have a chance to surprise the dragonclaws, who have normal readiness.

2. Concealed Passage


If the guards at the entrance spotted the characters’ approach, they wait here until the characters come into view, then try to spring an ambush. Determine surprise normally; the dragonclaws’ readiness is high.

The passage at the end of this alcove is deeply shadowed and hidden by a cleverly cut fold in the rock. It’s obvious to anyone who walks to the end of the alcove, but from elsewhere in the cavern, it can be spotted only with a successful DC 20 Wisdom (Perception) check.

The stairs down to area 3 are trapped. See that area’s description for details.

3. Fungus Garden


The kobolds cultivate fungus in this cavern to supplement the meat brought in by the hunters. Mixed in among the mundane fungi are violet fungi. The drop-off from area 2 is 10 feet high. The stairs are trapped; see below.

The entrance to the cave ends here at a 10-foot drop off. To your right, broad steps are roughly hewn into a natural stone ramp. The cavern below is carpeted with a profusion of fungi ranging from a few inches high to nearly as tall as a human adult. Two paths lead through the fungi: one on the right and one on the left.

Nothing distinguishes the paths to casual inspection. The path on the right is flanked by four violet fungi, while the path on the left is free of these dangerous growths. The violet fungi can be spotted among all the other mushrooms with a successful DC 15 Intelligence (Nature) check, but only from the base of the steps, not from atop the ledge. Likewise, a careful inspection of the path reveals that only the left trail sees heavy use.

Trapped Stairs

The stairs are constructed so that the lowest steps collapse into a ramp that dumps a character right at the base of the violet fungi. Roll any die as each character descends the steps; on an odd roll, the character triggers the trap. A character who is actively looking for a trap on the stairs can find the trapped step with a successful DC 15 Wisdom (Perception) check. The kobolds and guards know where to avoid stepping, of course.

4. Stirge Lair


Some fungus from area 3 dots this area, but chiefly it is the lair of a colony of bats. Hidden among the bats are ten stirges. The bats are present only from sunrise to sundown, but the stirges are always here. Normally the stirges prey on the plentiful bats and leave the cave’s other residents alone, but not always.

Characters notice dead bats on the floor (victims of the stirges). If that causes someone to look up, describe how the ceiling is carpeted with bats with a successful DC 10 Wisdom (Perception) check. To avoid startling the bats, characters must proceed very quietly. This requires a successful DC 10 Dexterity (Stealth) check. If three or more characters fail the check, the bats are alarmed by the noise, drop from the ceiling, and fly through the cavern in a blinding cloud of flapping and squeaking rodents. The bats present no danger, but their racket drowns out other noise and makes it impossible to see more than 5 feet. It also alerts the stirges, and the opportunistic bloodsuckers attack in the confusion. The stirges gain a +2 bonus to AC in the bat storm.

The bats calm down and return to their roosts on the ceiling after five minutes of quiet in area 4.

A spear with a pitted blade lies on the floor near the top of the steps leading to area 6. Kobolds use this to bypass the trap at the bottom of the steps (see area 6).

5. Troglodyte Incursion

The floor drops down 10 feet at each ledge.

Kobolds use this portion of the cave as a trash dump. Along with normal sorts of refuse, such as broken pottery, rotted baskets, and mouse-chewed rope, they’ve also thrown out items that appear useful from a distance: discarded clothes, worn boots, tattered books, cracked lamps, and so forth. Some of these items came from prisoners who died, and others were taken in treasure raids and later deemed to be unworthy of Tiamat. Characters viewing this area from the ledge see tantalizing glints of metal (belt buckles without belts) and parchment (books rendered illegible by water damage).

A strong, foul smell hangs in the air. Troglodytes that live deeper beneath the ground have made incursions into the cave through narrow crevices (not displayed on the map). If characters give this area a cursory look and then leave, nothing happens here. If they spend time searching, then four troglodytes attack. The crevices are a potential area for characters to explore if you’d like to expand this dungeon for further adventures. If not, then declare that they’re too tight for characters to squeeze through, or eliminate them and the troglodytes entirely.

Treasure

A thorough search of the trash heap, taking 10 minutes, does find one worthwhile item: an overlooked pouch of six ornamental gems worth 10 gp each and eight semiprecious gems worth 50 gp each. The troglodytes have nothing that anyone would want near them.

6. Meat Locker


The curtain across the entrance to this cavern is trapped. See “Trapped Curtain” below for details.

At the base of these steeply descending steps, a curtain hangs across the passage. It is made from hundreds of heavy leather strips, each about the width of a human hand. The strips are fixed to the ceiling and are long enough to drag on the floor. The curtain extends from wall to wall. The leather comes from a variety of local animals and is badly cured. The curtain is several layers thick with no gaps, so you can’t see through it at all.

This cavern is naturally cold. It hovers a few degrees above freezing year round, regardless of the season. Much of the meat brought in by the hunters feeds the cultists and the kobolds, but the extra is stored here for eventual use when the dragon eggs hatch and the ravenous hatchlings emerge. The carcasses range from very fresh to several months old. The meat is only cold, not frozen, so the older items are slowly going bad.

The smell of old blood assaults your nose. The floor is covered with dried puddles of it. Four floor-to-ceiling columns are spaced across the chamber, and chains have been strung between them like clothesline. Animal carcasses hang on hooks from the chains. You see gutted and skinned antelope, deer, goats, what might be big cats, and even a few small bears. Some of this meat has been here for a while if the smell is a reliable indicator.

This cave contains nothing of value.

Trapped Currtain

Hidden in the patches of fur still clinging to the leather strips of the curtain are hundreds of metal barbs about the size of large fishhooks. The barbs are coated with poison. Anyone who brushes through the curtain must succeed on a DC 10 Dexterity saving throw or take 5 (1d10) poison damage, and the target’s hit point maximum is reduced by 5. This reduction lasts until the target finishes a long rest.

A careful inspection of the leather strips coupled with a successful DC 10 Wisdom (Perception) check finds barbs; they can’t be noticed otherwise. When kobolds use this stairway, they bring the ruined spear that’s kept in area 4. With it, they sweep the leather strips to the left side of the corridor and wedge the end of the spear shaft into an angled socket in the floor just inside area 6. This holds the leather strips safely out of the way while they move in and out of the chamber.

7. Drake Nursery


The short, wide passage between areas 4 and 7 is trapped. See “Spike Trap” below for details. Simple oil lamps provide dim, flickering light. This chamber contains four kobolds and one winged kobold. These creatures are in the upper part of the chamber.

The lower area is where cultists conducted the rituals to create their guard drakes and then housed the creatures. The ledge is a sharp 10-foot drop-off. Wooden stairs descend at the right end of the ledge. A stout cage made of iron bars surrounds these steps to a height of 10 feet to prevent untrained drakes from escaping up the steps. A key hangs on a peg at the top of the steps; it opens the locked gate at the bottom.

A rack along the southwest wall holds implements used in training the drakes: long poles with lassos at the end, used for snaring and controlling young drakes; leashes and collars; sharp prods; mock weapons made of wood; human-sized dummies stitched out of sailcloth and stuffed with straw, with ridiculous expressions painted on their faces.

ainted on their faces. The lower area is heavily shadowed. Currently it holds three guard drakes that are near the end of their training. Being not quite fully developed, they have the normal stats of a guard drake but only 33 hit points. Spotting these drakes from the ledge requires a successful DC 15 Wisdom (Perception) check; sweeping the pit with a bullseye lantern grants advantage on this check. If characters bring some raw meat to the ledge, the drakes think they’re about to be fed and advance into the light. If characters enter the pit, either by descending the steps or climbing down the ledge, the drakes attack.

If the drakes are spotted and attacked by characters on the ledge, they set up a howl that draws six kobolds and three winged kobolds from area 8. At least one of these try to get past the characters and unlock the gate at the bottom of the steps, letting the guard drakes join the battle as they’ve been trained to do.

Spike Trap

A portion of the floor between areas 4 and 7 has been replaced with a sheet of parchment cleverly painted to resemble the surrounding stone. It can be spotted incidentally with a DC 15 Wisdom (Perception) check, or automatically by someone who is systematically tapping the floor ahead with a pole or other tool. Beneath the parchment sheet is a shallow pit (about 2 feet deep) lined with poisoned spikes. Each time a character moves between areas 4 and 7, roll a d10. On a roll of 1 or 2, that character’s foot has gone through the trap. The character takes 1d4 piercing damage from the spikes and must make a DC 10 Constitution saving throw against poison. On a failed save, the character is affected as by a confusion spell for one minute (10 rounds). On a successful save, the character is affected as by a confusion spell for 1 round. The effect is not magical.

8. Kobold Barracks


The steps down from area 7 are trapped; see “Collapsing Trap” below for details. Area 8 is the kobolds’ living quarters. It was a natural cavern, but it has been enlarged and smoothed in a crude manner. Unless they already responded to noise in area 7, this area contains six kobolds and six winged kobolds. They are off duty, so they aren’t being especially alert. Use their passive Wisdom (Perception) scores to determine whether they react to noises. Flickering oil lamps provide dim illumination.

Thin mattresses of straw covered with badly cured furs form small beds that are haphazardly positioned around the chamber. Rats and small lizards scurry through the food scraps and moldy wine skins littering the floor.

A search of the room takes 10 minutes and turns up 38 gp, 152 sp, and 704 cp sorted into eighty-eight stacks of exactly eight copper coins each. Dozens of dragon-themed talismans and amulets are carved from bone, soapstone, wood, and ivory. The workmanship on most of them is terrible, but four have a unique, if savage, artistic flair. These are worth 50, 60, 70, and 100 gp respectively if sold to a collector of artistic oddities. To any other merchant, they are worth 10 gp each.

Collapsing Trap

The top step is rigged to drop a portion of the ceiling in area 7. As each character enters the staircase, roll any die. On an odd roll, the character steps in the wrong spot and triggers the trap. The ceiling collapses above the next character in line (the one behind the character who triggered the trap). That character takes 4d4 bludgeoning damage from falling rocks; the damage is halved if the character makes a successful DC 15 Dexterity saving throw. Every character within 5 feet takes 2d4 bludgeoning damage, or half that with a successful saving throw.

A character who is actively looking for a trap on the stairs can find the trapped step with a successful DC 10 Wisdom (Perception) check. The collapsible ceiling is spotted incidentally with a successful DC 15 Wisdom (Perception) check.

The kobolds in areas 8 and 9 hear the commotion if the trap is set off.

9. Dragon Shrine


This cave is a shrine to Tiamat, but with an emphasis on her black dragon head and on black dragons in general. It also contains many Cult of the Dragon icons, and a devious trap for the unwary; see “Acid Trap” below. Flickering oil lamps provide dim light.

Langdedrosa Cyanwrath occupies the shrine, and he is joined by two human berserkers. (If the adventuring party contains more than four characters, add one more berserker for each additional character. If Langdedrosa was killed, then replace him with another half-dragon with the same statistics.) If Cyanwrath fought any of the characters one-on-one in Greenest, he immediately singles out that person to address as follows.

“You survived! I don’t know whether to be disappointed or pleased. It’s a mix of both, I think."

If the character beat the odds in Greenest and won the fight, you can paraphrase to reflect that. As soon as he finishes speaking, he attacks. As long as none of the characters intervene, Cyanwrath’s group knows better than to interfere in his one-on-one matches. If the characters gang up on Cyanwrath or one of his guards, or try to leave the chamber, the guards attack.

The creatures in area 10 are not drawn to this fight. They hide and wait to see who wins. When the fight is over, characters have time to investigate the room.

This chamber has been enlarged and reshaped from its original form. The floor and three of the walls are smooth, and stalactites and stalagmites have been polished into gleaming columns. Every surface glistens with moisture, and the air is warm and humid. The flat walls of the chamber are decorated with shallow abstract carvings of dragons. Dragons’ tails coil into intricate patterns and knots that flow across the walls. The creature portrayed in the northwest corner stands out: a five-headed dragon, rising from an erupting volcano. Other dragons, which seem dwarfed by the five-headed monstrosity, flock to its side. A small, wooden chest with silver and mother-of- pearl inlays sits on the floor in the corner, in front of the monstrous dragon carving.

The five-headed dragon is Tiamat, and the volcano is the Well of Dragons, where the Cult of the Dragon intends to bring Tiamat into the world. The Well of Dragons is located at the northern extreme of the Sunset Mountains. Most characters should recognize Tiamat from folktales and know she was banished to the Nine Hells long ago and remains imprisoned there. There is no way to tell from the carvings where the volcano is located, or to know if it’s meant to be a prediction of events to come or just a birth metaphor for the queen of evil dragons.

The chest is locked and trapped; see “Acid Trap” below for details. Characters can open it with the key from area 11, or the lock can be picked with thieves’ tools and a successful DC 10 Dexterity check. Unless the Dexterity roll is 15 or higher, however, it sets off the trap when the chest opens.

If characters spend 10 minutes or more studying the carvings, they can learn two things. First, black dragons are overrepresented. Almost half the dragons shown appear to be black dragons. Wyrmspeaker Rezmir favors them over all other types. Second, a detailed search coupled with a successful DC 10 Wisdom (Perception) check spots that many of the black dragon carvings have holes in their mouths.

A passage in the southwest corner of the shrine chamber leads to a chute that rises 30 feet up to area 11. A rope ladder is fixed at the top; a rug covers the opening.

Acid Trap

The holes in the dragons’ mouths are nozzles for a trap that sprays acidic mist. The trap has two triggers. The first is under the chest in the northwest corner. If the chest is moved, the trap goes off. The second is in the chest. If it is forced open, or if the lock is inexpertly picked (a Dexterity result of 14 or less), the trap goes off.

You hear a snap from beneath the chest, followed by a hissing sound like dozens of angry snakes— or like liquid moving through open tubes. A moment later, liquid sprays out from dozens of tiny holes in the walls and ceiling. Wherever it splashes onto the floor, the moisture on the stone bubbles and smokes. Within moments, the chamber is filled with acidic mist.

Everyone in the chamber must succeed on a DC 10 Dexterity saving throw or take 2d6 acid damage from the acid sprayed onto them (half as much damage on a successful saving throw). The real danger from the acid is not to the characters’ skin, however, but to their lungs. Everyone must also succeed on a DC 10 Constitution saving throw or take 2d8 extra acid damage. Players who declare immediately that their characters are covering their faces and getting out of the chamber as quickly as possible, and are trying to not inhale the vapor, have advantage on their Constitution saving throws.

Treasure

The chest contains a few of the choicest items seized during the cult’s recent treasure raids. Mondath persuaded Rezmir to let her keep them, and she promised to bring them with her when she travels north for the ceremony at the Well of Dragons. In truth, she wanted something to fall back on if everything went sour (she never mentioned that last part to Rezmir). Inside are a string of pearls (300 gp), a gold-and-sapphire ring (900 gp), and a pouch containing a half-dozen masterfully cut and polished precious stones (100 gp each). The ring and the pearls were taken from Greenest and would be recognized by anyone from there, but the stones came from elsewhere and would be difficult to identify. If the items from Greenest are returned, their owners will pay a reward worth 25 percent of their value (300 gp).

10. Dragon Hatchery


This chamber holds three eggs that Rezmir hoped to hatch into a new brood of dragons. They have not hatched yet but they will very soon, which is why Rezmir was unwilling to move them when the camp packed up and left. Instead, she left them under the care of Mondath and the kobolds. The chamber is dark; the kobolds extinguished their lights when they heard fighting in area 9.

The chamber that opens at the bottom of the stairs is immense. A wide ledge runs along the left wall and drops away to a pit on the right. Many stalactites descend from the ceiling, and the sound of dripping water echoes continuously.

The lower portion of the room (10A) is 15 feet below the ledge. Wooden steps have been built down to the lower floor. As in room 7, the steps are enclosed in a stout iron cage with a gate at the bottom. The key to the gate hangs on a wall peg opposite the top of the stairs. As soon as characters advance into the room as far as the top of the stairs, they come under attack from the kobolds hiding in 10B. See that description for details.

From the ledge, characters can just make out the shapes of large eggs (each egg is nearly three feet tall) in the darkness below. The cavern extends into darkness beyond the range of their light. They need to go down the stairs and explore the area directly to discover its full extent. Characters standing along the ledge can discern many large, dark stains on the rough floor at the base of the ledge, but what caused them is not apparent.

10A. Black Dragon Eggs


This area is warm and humid. After characters look closely at the floor, they can determine that the stains are blood, and some of them are fresh. They come from the meat the kobolds toss down here.

Huddled in the shadows at the far edges of the room or behind the natural columns are two guard drakes trained to protect the dragon eggs. They don’t attack as soon as characters come through the gate but wait until the characters have moved into the chamber. The drakes’ first priority is to protect the eggs. Their second priority is to get between the intruders and the steps to prevent them from escaping. Unless characters climb down into 10A without using the stairs, they trigger the kobolds’ attack before exploring this area.

Huddled in the shadows at the far edges of the room or behind the natural columns are two guard drakes trained to protect the dragon eggs. They don’t attack as soon as characters come through the gate but wait until the characters have moved into the chamber. The drakes’ first priority is to protect the eggs. Their second priority is to get between the intruders and the steps to prevent them from escaping. Unless characters climb down into 10A without using the stairs, they trigger the kobolds’ attack before exploring this area.

Mixed in among the stalactites near the southeast corner of the room is a roper. It doesn’t attack the kobolds or guard drakes because the kobolds feed it spoiled meat that the guard drakes won’t eat. If attacked, it fights back (and it’s very dangerous to 3rd-level characters!). It can reach anywhere in area 10 with its tentacles, and it can also move at speed 10. It is currently full and curious about strangers, however, so it’s not averse to talking. Its only real concern is food. If told about the supply of meat in area 6 and brought some as proof, it lets the characters go about their business while it creeps away to investigate the larder.

A total of three dragon eggs are spread throughout the area. Each is about three feet tall and weighs 150 pounds. Two of them are easy to spot just by walking through the room with a light source. The third is tucked into a pile of similar-colored stones behind one of the columns, making it easy to miss. When characters search the room, have everyone make a Wisdom (Perception) check. Only a character who rolls 15 or higher notices the egg in its camouflaged nest. Looking at a dragon egg, a character can determine the color of dragon with a successful DC 10 Intelligence (Nature) check.

If the eggs are left here, they hatch in less than a week. If they are taken away, whether they hatch depends on how they are stored and treated. Away from a warm, humid environment such as this chamber, their progress halts until they are again in a suitable incubator. The dragons can be killed easily if the eggs are smashed, crushed, or stabbed. If an egg is simply cracked open, the infant dragon struggles for breath, cries and squirms like a human baby for a few minutes, and then dies.

10B. Kobolds in Hiding

The floor of this area is about 10 feet below the ledge. The four kobolds who tend the eggs hid in this depression when they heard the fight break out in area 9. When characters approach within 25 feet of the ledge overlooking 10B (when they come in line with the top of the stairs to 10A), two kobolds toss glue bombs and the other two toss fire bombs. They do the same thing on the next round. Then they wait a round or two, if possible, while the roper in area 10A drags characters into its tentacles, bites them, or drops them 20 feet to the guard drakes.

Glue Bomb. Each creature within 10 feet of the bomb’s target point must succeed on a DC 11 Dexterity saving throw or be restrained. The target or another creature within reach of it can use an action to make a DC 11 Strength check; if the check succeeds, the effect on the target ends.

Fire Bomb. Each creature within 10 feet of the bomb’s target point must succeed on a DC 11 Dexterity saving throw or take 4 (1d8) fire damage (half as much damage on a successful saving throw).

If all else fails, the kobolds scramble up their makeshift ladder and attack with their shortswords.

11. Frulam Mondath’s Chamber

Frulam Mondath (see appendix B) moved into this simple but comfortable chamber when the camp was abandoned. If no fight has occurred with the guards in area 12 and characters enter this chamber from area 9, then Mondath is here when they arrive. Guards in area 12 hear whatever happens in this chamber and respond dutifully.

The chamber contains a writing desk and stool, several tables with books and papers, and a mirror on a floor stand. Light comes from two oil lamps. Thick rugs completely cover the floor, including an open chute that drops down to area 9. A rope ladder is fixed in the chute for climbing up and down, but nothing marks the position of the open, 3-foot-wide hole when it is covered by rugs. The slight depression it causes in the rug can be noticed with a successful DC 10 Wisdom (Perception) check. If someone steps on the chute without knowing it’s there, the character must make a DC 10 Dexterity saving throw. Success means the character hops off the rug before it collapses through the hole, or grabs the top of ladder as he or she falls; failure means the character plunges 30 feet down the chute into area 9, taking 3d6 bludgeoning damage from the fall.

Spread open on one of the tables is a simple map of the Greenfields area showing the villages the cult attacked and looted. An arrow is sketched in from the Greenfields toward the west and the town of Beregost on the Trade Way, where the arrow turns north. A separate sheet of paper that is covered with numerals in columns contains the note, “ Everything must be freighted north to Naerytar. Rezmir allowed us to keep some pearls, a ring, and a handful of small stones.” Other papers are of less interest; most of them have bad poetry about dragons.

The smaller chamber off the main one contains a bed, a trunk containing Mondath's clothes, and a second trunk containing Mondath’s Cult of the Dragon regalia. With this regalia, one person (preferably a human woman, but the clothing can be adjusted to fit a man) can be outfitted as a Wearer of Purple. It’s worth noting that each Wearer of Purple’s regalia is similar but unique, so high-ranking cult members are likely to recognize this regalia as Mondath’s. When they see that the person wearing it is not Mondath, or if they know she is dead, alarm bells are guaranteed to go off.

Developments

If a fight breaks out in area 12 and four of the guards from that chamber retreat here to defend Mondath, her response is up to you. If the fight in the barracks takes a heavy toll on the characters, she might decide to confront them here. If the attackers plow through her forward guards, Mondath might retreat down the chute to area 9 and join forces with Cyanwrath or even flee from the cave. She has dedicated her life to the Cult of the Dragon, but she isn’t eager to die for the cult. Mondath knows that the Cult is amassing treasure in the north and that Rezmir spoke often of Tiamat, but that is the extent of her knowledge of the larger plan.

12. Guard Barracks

The guards who remained behind with Mondath use this chamber as their barracks. At any given time, four of them keep watch in area 1 and the others—three guards and eight cultists—are here, asleep or relaxing. If fighting against the guards from area 1 pushes near the passage to area 12, roll a d20; the guards here investigate the sound on a roll of 12 or higher. Otherwise they stay here, mostly oblivious to what’s going on elsewhere.

If characters enter this chamber from area 2, the guards react quickly. Two of the guards and five of the cultists fight the characters here while one guard and three of the cultists retreat to area 11 to protect Frulam Mondath.

Treasure

The guards’ scabbards are decorated with dragon motifs. They are worth about 5 gp each. They are not part of a Cult of the Dragon “uniform,” but wearing one of these scabbards could buy a character credibility when trying to pose as a cultist. For example, you might grant a +1 bonus to Charisma checks made to fool or influence cultists. Aside from their gear, the guards have coins and small gems worth a total of 120 gp.

13. Treasure Storage

This chamber is now mostly empty, except for a few overturned boxes, broken items, scattered coins, small gems that were dropped during the hasty evacuation, and one cultist who is sleeping soundly on the floor after consuming several bottles of wine. He won’t wake up from anything less than vigorous shaking, and it will be several hours before he is coherent. All the dropped items left in this room have a total value of only 16 gp.

Rewards

Award standard XP for defeated foes. This episode includes many challenges other than fights, and characters should be rewarded for overcoming them. The awards listed below are just recommendations; adjust them as you see fit. Characters might reach 4th level by the end of this episode, but it’s not essential that they do.  

  • If you are using the milestone experience rule, the characters reach 4th level.
  • For locating and disarming traps: 100 XP per trap.
  • For offering the roper meat instead of fighting it to the death: 1,800 XP (the roper’s standard XP value).
  • For each dragon egg destroyed or taken: 250 XP.
  • For destroying or taking only two dragon eggs: 500 XP.
  With the dragon hatchery destroyed and the cultists all gone, characters should head for Elturel and their rendezvous with Leosin Erlanthar and Ontharr Frume. They might choose to follow the wagon tracks instead. The wagons followed the course roughly laid out on the map in Mondath’s chamber: west to Beregost, then north along the Trade Way. They have at least a full day’s head start on the characters, and possibly more, depending on how much time characters spent in Greenest before returning to the plateau.

Episode 3 Encounters

Kobolds move freely through the caverns, going about their business. Characters have a chance to randomly encounter these wandering kobolds. Roll a d6 every time characters enter or re-enter areas 3 to 10. On a roll of 1, monsters are present. Roll on the table to determine what they meet. These randomly encountered monsters are added to any creatures mentioned in the area description. Be sure to make this roll before characters enter the area, because both groups have a chance to gain surprise.


D6Encounter
14 kobolds
26 kobolds, 2 winged kobolds
33 winged kobolds
45 winged kobolds
52 winged kobolds, 1 guard drake (appendix B)
62 ambush drakes (appendix B)
Plot type
DnD session
Parent Plot
Episode 2: The Raider Camp

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