Temple of Stars
A First-Level Adventure
- Each of the players describes what it is that their patron could have told them to get them to meet him to discuss a project he wants them to undertake.
- The woman who meets them is Andaria Eliskar, a noblewoman who is well known as a collector of ancient artifacts. She is known to have financed some of the biggest expeditions to recover ancient artifacts in the whole Kingdom of Culthrain. She is accompanied by a tiefling bodyguard.
- She tells them that she moved to the city of Blackwall for two reasons: there are many ruins nearby, and plenty of adventurers interested in exploring them. But she's really been here all this time because she's looking for a lost temple. She's had people explore many ruins in the area, but has finally uncovered some information that she feels indicates the temple is actually beneath Blackwall itself.
- She wants them to go and see if they can find it, exploring a series of tunnels she found by following the clues she has.
- They are to get as far into the temple as they can. Anything they find they are to bring back to her, and she'll pay them well for it, above and beyond her promised payment of 100 gp apiece. This includes magic items - she wants first opportunity to purchase them, at a more than fair market-price.
Finding the Temple
Average Skill Challenge
The heroes search for the ruins through the winding passageways that continue to delve deeper and deeper beneath the surface of the city.
- Skill Challenge: Dif 10, 8/3. Using Athletics, Dungeoneering, Endurance and Perception.
- //1st and 2nd Failure:// If the PCs turn down the wrong corridor, they accidentally trigger a minor cave-in that costs all of them a Healing Surge.
- //3rd Failure:// The heroes finally emerge into the light...only to discover that they are a distance from the city, in the hills. The opening was recently uncovered by a landslide. They have to start their search all over.
The heroes handily navigated the winding passages, avoiding any cave-ins. After four hours of searching, they found the entryway to the Temple of Stars.
The Chamber of Stars
The first chamber is a massive vestibule, set with pillars of floating crystal in a field of glittering star-like sparks of radiance. A single large such field sits at the far end of the vestibule, just before the large double-doors. In this 2 x 2 area whirls a field of faceted crystals, throwing sparks of light all over the room.
The pillars are a strange phenomenon. Studying them reveals that it would be fairly simple to push one of the floating crystalline structures out of the field in which it floats, as an attack if necessary.
- Attack: Any adjacent character can make an attack with a pillar, pushing it over into any of three squares opposite his position.
- Move Action • Requirement: Must be adjacent to a pillar. Check: There is no check to push the pillar over. The pillar falls into the square it is pushed into and explodes into a thousand shards. Target: Each creature in an Area Burst 1 centered on the square the pillar is pushed into. Attack: Level +3 vs. Reflex. Hit: 1d10 + one-half level damage, and the target is blinded (save ends). Miss: Half damage. Efffect: The entire area affected becomes difficult terrain.
- Pillars of Light (Arcane Skill Check DC 13): Anyone studying the pillars may make an Arcana check.
- Success indicates that these refract and empower any Radiant effects. Attacks with the Radiant keyword that either include one of the pillars in the area, or that are launched with the pillar in line of effect between attacker and target(s) gain +3 Radiant damage (or +1 for minions).
The Crystals Stir
Once the party reaches the half-way point in the vestibule, the crystals in the display at the end of the hall shift, and absorb their field of stars, becoming a Shard Golem. If the Shard Golem is attacked, as a free action it may command four Energy Motes to be spawned from any of the crystals. The Energy Motes use the Radiant-amplifying nature of the pillars to their best effect.
- 1 Shard Golem
- 4 Energy Motes
The heroes overcame the Energy Motes handily, and then destroyed the Shard Golem in their way. They took a Short Rest before moving on.
The Manta Altar
This chamber is a domed room, with a single, central round altar in the shape of a manta ray, its tail arcing up over its head. This altar sits on a eight-spoked star pattern, with plate-sized discs of some strange crystal at its points. On its back is a weird pattern of raised geometrical shapes that looks like nothing so much as a stylized map of some kind. From the center of this pattern raises a pillar on which orbits a deep red stone with drifting patterns of black fog within it, in which pulse star-like flecks.
The Altar of Stars
If the drifting stone is taken up, the patterns in the map on the altar's back lights up and zooms along channels to the eight discs, which immediately glow and seem to warp in eight creatures. These creatures are about the size of dogs, with twisting, barrel-chested torsos that taper away into sinuous tails. Six tentacles extend from their torsos, and three eyes the same color as the discs on the floor regard them with alien hatred. Their movements are incredibly slow, silently drifting from one place to the next. When attacking they emit pulse-waves of crackling psychic energy, or lash their foes with their tentacles.
- Once the stone is removed and the Nifalhi present, the Altar of Stars begins emitting occasional pulses of energy (on +7 Initiative). The first pulse seals the doors tight - stone wall simply appears in the opening, as though the door never existed. From that point on, the pulse inflicts 1d6 psychic damage to any creature Marked by one of the Nifalhi.
- After all the Nifalhi are defeated, the doors appear once more and the altar cracks. This seems to release an strange light from within, which arcs upwards into a pillar of light that strikes the roof of the temple, shining brightly. Though the light shines upward, anything that gets into the field of light is pulled within the well of light.
Once the creatures appeared, and the heroes saw that they were each capable of attacking multiple of them and they were insubstantial as well, they thought better of any kind of long violent engagement with them. Ulysses snatched up the stone and the party retreated. Once the stone passed through the doorway, the altar cracked and fell apart, the Nifali disappeared and the chamber went dark, and the well of light opened and shone brightly against the roof of the dome.