0- The yard

Overgrown with long grass that almost hides a collapsed shed. A set of stairs leads to a splendid entrance.

Through them the party can see a small overgrown yard overlooked by an beautiful stone doorway. At the top of a flight of stairs is two tall and imposing octagonal pillars carved with detailed friezes, supporting a lintel that bears the Rune of the Song-Jewel family. A modern cart that reeks like a wet dog sits in side the gate, parked near the ruins of a fallen stable it is empty apart from some rags and blood.

Developments

Hidden entrance – Obscured by the rotted stables a  square entrance, five foot square can be found. A wrought iron gate is held open by the fallen timbers. The stone tunnel has rusted steel tracks on the flood and follows a gentle incline that opens into room 3. The players can either find it through Selka’s directions or directly investigating the stables.

Arrows! – If the players go into the yard then the gnolls in room 1 may see them. They have a passive perception of 10 and will role perception if they hear any loud noises.

1 – Archer’s Gallery

Slivers of light punching through arrow slits and murder holes, illuminating the canine guards who gamble and laugh.

This space was used when the dwarves had to defend their claim. Roving bandits, war parties and even monster wanted entrance to the mine. This is a long gallery with arrow slits facing out over the yard and murderholes over the entrance.

The space now has four gnolls in it. They are on look out but distracted by gambling with dice so they won’t notice the heroes unless they just stroll into the yard. Between the group they have a passive perception of 10 and if the characters make a noise then roll for one to take a look.

If they do spot the heroes they immediately start raining arrows down on them. The heroes can shoot back but the gnolls get full cover (+5AC) due to how tight the arrow slits are. One of the gnolls will also run to go get the others from room. 

They will also gleefully drop alchemists fire (2 bottles) down the murderholes on anyone who tries to come through the main entrance.

If the players enter the mine they will then descend the stairs into room room 4 and stand behind the barricades or other wise aid their fellows.

2 – Entrance

Two dwarven gods squat in cluttered alcoves, watching over the once beautiful antechamber. Now caked in grime.

Two stone doors are stuck open, carved with repeating geometric patters that have lost definition over the years of exposure to the elements. Piles of mud and trash coat the floor the once lavish entrance way now looks like the opening to a common sewer.  15ft square it has high ceilings and benches sit along two walls. Inset above these in the walls, facing each other, are a shrine to Groth the saint of all dwarves and the Thunder Smith. Both are carved in angular poses with heavy braided beards. 

Traps and things

Searching the room reveals it has been completely picked over. If they look up or do any kind of perception check the players also notice that there are small (1ft wide) holes in the ceiling that lead up to another space above the entrance.

DC12 investigation check finds, hidden in the rubbish, a taught rope that crosses the entire path to room 4. It is connected to a little bell suspended on a stick. If tripped it will ring, alarming the gnolls in room 1 and room 4.

3 – Store room

Industry and function, this was a place of heavy work, all that remains are almost bare shelves and a rusted cart.

This room was used store contents for delivery, it’s has high cielings with empty shelves that run all the way to the top. There is some large wheeled contraption in the middle which still has a rotten rope hanging from it. Along the floor runs a set of rusted iron rails that disappear into a 4ft square tunnel that leads off to the north.  It’s pitch black and is currently blocked by a cart that’s full of rubble. The overall design of the room is exceptionally functional and lacks a lot of the finery seen on the door way or in other parts of the mine. The are a few boxes around the room but opening them up reveals that they mostly contain rusted and broken mining equipment or just rocks. The door (to room 2) is heavily reinforced steel and next to impossible to open with out thieves tools (DC15) or a key.

Examining the room

A cursory check over the boxes reveals little of use. A (DC 16) investigation check (or someone saying I go through every box) would reveal that one of the boxes has a  fake layer of rocks on top of a false bottom. Once cleared out the hidden panel can be opened revealing a small bag with 40gp in gems and small whistle carved from a song jewel which radiates magic.

The cart

The cart has is full of rubble, a long lever to engage it’s brakes lies broken on the ground beside it. The mechanism is too stiff to disengage and will require some creativity to fix. It’s that or the group can unload the cart and then move it themselves.  Moving the cart reveals a long tunnel which has the sound of idle whistling coming from it. 

Song Jewels

These magical crystals if mined carefully have the power to permanently store sounds. These sounds can be anything that the stone is near to. When held by a player it will play in their head, the sound can also be listened to if pressed to a resonant object where the crystal will cause it to gently vibrate.

If a player hold the whistle in this room they will hear a mournful song playing in their head. It will be loud and include many dwarfs singing led by a single dwarf.

4 other jewels can be found in this mine 3 on Grahn and 2 in the Shrine. Each contains a small tidbit for the players. The DM can decide the order in which they are revealed. The below information covers what each stone can hold.

A threat from Brimsnir, warning all who visit the mine that he and those faithful to him have prepared it against intrusions. He continues to say if the person listening to this intend to complete his burial rites then they must uphold the dwarven customs and ways to be considered worthy, if they don't they are no better than traitors.

The sounds of a dwarfs negotiating a contract over who gets the rights to the mine and how the honour to their bodies might be completed.

A dwarf reading a bed time story for a child, it's the story of how the dwarves escaped the mines of the Hollow Emperor.

One dwarf recording his litany of complaints against the mine and complaining at how he wasn't allowed to return home.

 

4 – Canteen

Fetid and sooty. This once noble hall is now a place of monsters and filth, echoes of barks and growls bouncing round it.

The canteen is the site of the main gnoll camp. Dirty bedrolls are strewn around while a fire in the center has thrown soot all across the room. The gnolls or other creatures have defaced much of the decoration leaving the place feeling ugly and cramped, though the columns at their tops still maintain some of their former majesty. The dusty remains of the tables have been pushed together as a makeshift barricade in front of the door to room 2. Three gnolls are camped out here betting over three hyenas who fight over scraps, if they’ve been alerted by fighting then they are crouched behind the barricade ready to fight. If not aware of the players they are speaking in gnoll to each other which is just lots of gnashing, growling and occasional high pitched laughter. Whatever happens they won’t go deeper into the mine, believing it cursed.

There is also a secret door built into the wall, once almost imperceptible it’s now rather obvious as it’s got the only clean piece of floor in front of it. It’s a heavy piece of stone and sound doesn’t easily travel through it. Should the players have alerted the gnolls in room 1 then they will come and join the fight through this door. When attacked the gnolls in the room will go and alert there fellows but the group in room 1 won’t be able to join the combat for two rounds as they run and prepare for battle. Equally if the fights going badly then the gnolls may just retreat back through this door, not wanting to die. 

Developments

If a player or the whole party is overwhelmed they are taken prisoner not killed, taken to room 5. See what’s been happening to their prisioner Scraff below for inspiration on what that could look like.

In the room the gnolls each have a 5gp + 2d4x5sp in addition to their arms and armour. Also in the room is…

  • an adventurers pack.
  • A particularly fine Symbol of the Thunder Smith worth 25gp.
  • A tuning fork with a diamond studded handle. It’s worth 50gp and when pressed to a song jewel vibrates with the trapped noise.

A door leads to the Archer’s Gallery and the Gnoll’s buddies, simply looking around the room will let people know there is a door as it’s not been properly hidden.  

5 – Ore Sorting

Brass cones, battered and dull sit over long stone tables. In the gloom a lone figure whistles mournfully to itself.

This room is full of low stone tables, each that sit adjacent to the rusted cart track that punches through to the middle of the room.  The rest of the room is dominated by bizarre looking arcane machinery, mostly large cones made of tarnished brass. Three chunks of Song Stone light the room, now heavily faded they let out a gentle bluish light and the gentle noise of oceans waves breaking on a beach.

Tied up in the corner is Scraff, a half elf in dirty leather armour and who is heavily bruised and his hair is coated in filth. He whistles to himself trying to keep his spirits up. Scraff is part of a group who had heard of the mines riches, when they went delving they tried to go deeper but found some magic kept them getting turned around. As they pondered how to get deeper the gnolls arrived directed by a knight with a flaming helm and riding a coal coloured horse with a burning mane. The last remaining member of his party he is scarred by seeing the group, killed and in some cases eaten. He only wants to leave and will given half a chance runaway. Scraff will provide knowledge but won’t fight the gnolls unless threatened with violence. Even then he’ll try and escape at any opportunity. He knows the following information.

 

Developments

Searching the room finds some discarded items from the rest of Scraff’s group, most of it is torn parchment and broken equipment. On a DC13 investigation check one thing does stand out, a damaged telescope. One lens is cracked and the brass is scuffed but it’s still worth 100gp for the remaining lens. Scraff isn’t bothered by any rummaging but does ask if the players have any spare food. As to what remains of the dwarves it’s only Song Stone dust. Also, any attempt to move the Song Jewel’s from their sconces causes them to crack further and lose all ability to shed light apart from the faintest glow. Scraff, if freed will flee by the safest route the characters can provide him and won’t stay more than a couple of minutes unless physically restrained, to afraid of being captured again.

Role playing Scraff

Motivation: He really wants to get out of here and not get eaten by Gnolls

Personality: Nervous and twitchy. The thing he is most scared of is the gnolls the players aren’t anywhere near as terrifying in his opinion.

Past: He was an adventurer, he heard his party get eaten and killed by the gnolls.

  • (WV) The gnolls arrived under the guidance of a knight with a flaming helm, he seemed to direct them.  
  • (WV) The gnolls want to go deeper into the mine, but are too scared of the magic that seems to keep them out and has killed a few of them.
  • (WV) Getting the lift to work requires the gear box, Scraff’s group managed to fix it but the gnolls, fearing what’s below, 
  • (ARQ) The access to the depths goes through a dire badger set. A set of dire badgers that the gnolls have mightily pissed off with poisoned food and raids for meat.
  • (ARQ) There’s a really big gnoll leading the warband called Khrek, she’s able to speak broken common. She keeps threatening that if Scraff isn’t helpful that she will drag him back to meet the Dog Witch who will not be happy.
  • (ARQ)The gnolls keep lowering Scraff into the mine but no matter what he does he keeps waking up on the lift heading back up to this floor. From what little he’s explored it seems that most of the mine shafts have been collapsed.
  • (P-DC15) Scraff knows there is a hidden room near to the mine shaft that connects to room that Khrek the leader is in, it’s got some treasure in it and he had hoped he might one day return to get it.

6 – Tool Repair

Blood, the smell is in the air, it coats the floor and splatters the walls. The room may have once had some other purpose but now it serves only as a slaughterhouse

Behind a closed door, that has huge claw marks on it, lies Khrek the leader of the warband, her Shaman Grahn and her two guards. She has taken the pelt of dire badger and made it into a grisly cloak, the skin underneath still coated in raw meat. The room is lit and warmed by a large furnace that was obviously part of the old dwarven structure. Khrek is talking in gnoll with her guards, if anyone can understand they are plotting on how to get into the mine, how find the ‘magic leather tube’ and if this is all worth it? Khrek generally threatens them with Dog Witch and Sir Cinder’s retribution.  Grahn is in the corner, chanting in gnoll over then entrails of a slain Hyena. She has cast Snare on the doorway into the room. The other gnolls know to step over this to avoid it. 

The room itself has been mostly torn apart. the remains of wooden benches and tables torn apart for firewood lie around and it smells of smoke and blood. Two corpses of partially eaten hyenas show how little the pack cares about it’s members. Lying on a table on the far side of the room is the lift gear box. This piece of machinery is shiny and clean unlike everything else in this room. It’s required to get the lift working in Room 9. It weighs enough that any character carrying it is reduced to half speed and takes disadvantage on dexterity based skills.

For the fight,

  • Khrek is a standard gnoll, with AC19 and 28HP.
  • Grahn uses the filth flinger rules from monsteraday.
  • Her two guards are just normal gnolls

 Developments

The is a hidden entrance to this room through Room 10. Players can notice this while in room 6 by rolling an investigation check DC15 to spot the smoke from the furnace being sucked into the cracks in the wall.

The gnolls here have a collective passive perception of 13However they can be distracted and drawn out of the room through some creative ideas or springing the bell trap in the entrance to room 7. If drawn out and not combated a guard will go off to check on the other gnolls in room 4 and room 1. If the gnolls in these sections are dead this will obviously raise the alarm.

Ransacking the room and guards.

  • Khrek has on her a set of scale mail. It’s filthy but perfectly serviceable. She also has a Quick shield. She also carries 50gp and 22sp.
  • Grahn has on her twosong jewels, these gently glowing crystals are without cracks and don’t let out any noise. However if held or placed on something that can resonate well, such as the tuning fork, an empty vessel or instrument it will share recordings with the players of a gruff sounding dwarf speaking in his native tongue. Check the section on song jewels above for more information on what these hold. She also has a two rubies worth 30gp each plus a pouch with assorted spell components.
  • The two guards have  on them their equipment and 2d6gp each

The Quick Shield

The quick shield magically leaps to the hand of anyone who owns it. Requiring attunement when a command word is said (set when attuning), it will jump into the hand of the person attuned to it as a free action if on their person, or called back if a straight line of no more than thirty feet can be drawn between it and it's owner as an action. The shield is decorated currently with a badger pelt but under it is a dwarven design, that fits with the rest of the mines patterns. Image credit: Soldier war shield | Designed by Vexels.com

7 – Cart Room

Shattered carts are surrounded by a sea of tools and dirt. The room ransacked by something with 2 inch long claws.

This room has been made a ruin by the badgers in the badger set (room 8) there is the marks of battle all about and the is a dead badger fallen in one of the tunnels. The stone floor is broken and uneven showing large patches of loose dirt. The carts and tracks are broken and smashed. A rough barricade has been erected to stop the badgers going out further into the mine. The entrance is warded with another ‘Snare‘ trap and another bell and rope trap that will alert the gnolls in room 6. This however is easy to see and isn’t hidden. If the players make lots of noise or other wise draw attention to themselves the badgers and gnolls will be alerted and will come to attack the intruders.

8 –  Badger set

Sitting dead in one of the tunnels is a gargantuan badger, marking the rooms three stone portals as entrances to burrows not halls.  

Should the players move through the cart room noisily or for any reason smell of gnolls wafts into the tunnels then the badgers will come out to fight. Eight giant badgers will attack. Four will come pouring out of the three entrances and four more will come up out of the ground, tunnelling under the players. If a badger comes up directly under a player roll a DC13 dexterity save to avoid falling prone in an adjacent square of their choice. These medium creatures main goal is to repel attackers so they won’t fight to the death. They mainly want to force anyone in the cart room to leave. If players make a run for the lift then they won’t attack them if they are on the lift itself.  

9 – Shaft

A lift hangs above the blackness, the only way down the yawning hole that dominates the room.

The lift needs to activated with the gear box found in room 6. The mechanism is next to the lift and can be fixed up. Either taking one action if a DC15 investigation check (or other suitable check,) to work out how to connect it is passed or otherwise it takes D4+1 actions to connect, this can be worked on by multiple party members.

10 – Shrine

A neat and tidy place for worship from the neat and tidy minds, even the piles of coin and gems are balanced out.

This small shrine has laid untouched for decades. Neat piles of gems and gold sit balanced on plates before a smiling dwarven god. A strong smell of smoke fills the room. A recessed door leads out to room 6. The room itself holds little apart from the offerings many of which appear to repaired tools that surround the base of the statue. In this pile is the key to the steel door leading to room 3. The gold and gems include a lot of bronze (5x4d8 cp)and silver coin (5x4d6sp) with a handful of gold here and their (2d6 gp). The are three garnets (worth 10 gp each) and two rubies (30gp).

In addition there are two glowing song jewels on raised platforms.

The next floor is coming soon!

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