Darkan's Uprising of Oppression

Copyright Ron Soller © 2007

Edited by Peter Mork for The Guild Companion

"He has returned to subjugate us with an iron fist."

(Editor's note: Lugroks are orcs.)

The small town of Nit'shaar is under siege. Not by massive armies, but by oppressive politics and death squads. All who enter this town, who seem to be of adventuring quality, are asked to help them remove this wicked force. If the party takes the challenge, they will be put up for the night and briefed on the situation. Those who decline are ignored, and the inn no longer has rooms, food, or beer available.

Brief: Darkan was banished years ago for practicing black magics. He has returned to subjugate us with an iron fist. His official strong arm is a man named Gruk. We suspect his blood is tainted with lugrok. He has four helmeted henchmen. Everyone who has been accosted by this man usually disappears that night, their homes or businesses burned to the ground. Everyone is so scared that they refuse to discuss anything for fear they are next.

At this point the briefing will be disrupted by a pounding at the door. Here will be Gruk and his henchmen. Gruk says "You have put yourself in a place you have no business being. The master doesn't appreciate the involvement of outsiders. You will be sorry.....all of you.'' He wickedly points a gnarly finger at all in the room and with a lasting stare, he departs.

That evening the inn house is assaulted by 15 lesser lugroks wielding broadswords and shields, and 5 greater lugroks, with light crossbows, longswords, and shields. Gruk watches everything unfold from the distant shadows. He sits atop his horse for a quick exit, should the lugroks fail, to report to Darkan.

The assault starts with a volley of flaming quarrels into the thatch roof and the tavern walls. The lugroks will surround the entrance in a semi-circle with the bowmen about 30' from the door. The swordsmen will converge on the door as player-characters exit. They will continue to fight until they no longer outnumber the party, at which point they will scatter to the four winds; they do not return to their lair.

The lugroks' original trail follows an animal path, then turns deeper into the woods. A medium Tracking (or extremely hard Perception) maneuver will follow it to the lair.

main cave system map

The Stronghold of Darkan

1. Entrance: The entrance is partially hidden behind some scrub brush. It is an easy maneuver to find. But what is not so easily found is the trip wire that is strung across it. That is a medium maneuver to find. The trip wire will sound alarm bells if triggered.

2. Guard Post: Here is where the bells sound if the trip wire is set off. There is a three feet high wall that spans the west tunnel. Behind it are stationed three Vard lugroks, each with two light crossbows, and two spears. The wall gives half hard cover (+50DB vs. missile weapons) to those on the other side. In front of the wall are eight lesser lugroks. They are wielding spears.

The lugroks will fight to the death because they know the Vard lugroks will not let them flee. The Vard lugroks will stage a fighting retreat once players gain the wall. They will retreat to area 6 and make a stand there.

3. Barracks: Twelve lesser lugroks are lounging here. They have access to spears, broadswords, and shields. The room contains 12 sleeping mats and various sacks of clothing and personals of little to no value.

There is a 75% chance they will hear the alarm bells. If they do, there is a 45% chance that they will arm themselves and run to help the entry guards. Otherwise they will belt on the broadswords and pretend to be surprised, but then quickly grab their spears and shields to defend themselves. If they are not alerted by the alarm, they will be surprised and unarmed. They could arm themselves with the shield and spear in two rounds.

4. Barracks: An empty room that is in similar shape as the previous barracks, but this one contains no lugroks.

5. Common Room: Here is where the Lugroks eat, meet, and party after a good raid. The stench here will turn stomachs. There are tables and chairs in this room as well as a fire pit and some cooking utensils. The room is cluttered with food, garbage, debris, bones, etc.

6. Guardian Beast: Bones and debris are scattered throughout this cave. Chained to the western wall is a Kraeguth. This beast has enough reach to access both the entrance and exit of this cave. There is nothing of value to be found.

The Kraeguth is well trained and will not attack any Vard lugrock or denizens of the caves beyond this point. Any other lugroks here will be fair game. It is always kept hungry enough that it will fight any intruders to the death. Any loud combat here will be heard by those in area 8.

7. Brothers' Room: Gruk and his four brothers have bunk beds up against the walls. The room also contains a desk and workbench. 5 chests line the west wall. On the bench is 2-20 gp worth of magical and Alchemical equipment. In the desk drawers are papers, pens, and ink bottles. Various drawings and writings are on the papers. One paper has the word 'TRUIK' penned on it (this is the command word for the wand). The chests each contain clothing and minor equipment (ropes, flint and steel, etc.). +5 thieves' tools can be found in one, a potion of Levitation and a scroll with Heat Armor, Unseen III and Shrink in another. All the chests contain 2-20 gp and 10-100 gp worth of gems. All are locked and very hard to pick.

8. Ambush Site: Gruk and his four brothers will be waiting here for the party. The secret door is very hard to find. Torch sconces holding spitting torches, mounted on two sides of each pillar, dance the shadows throughout the room. Other than the exits there is nothing else in this room.

(The GM may determine that Darkan is also in this room, if the party is still very strong.)

All of the half-bloods are quite intelligent and will use the pillars and shadows in their strategy. They have time to cast protective spells before the players arrive if combat occurred in area 6. They will each be hiding behind a pillar and will not strike until the players enter the pillar area. Gruk, Bruk, and Wruk will wade into combat using their weapons and magic to their best advantage. They will each come around a different pillar to try to keep the players hemmed in. Sruk will use his sword of returning on any spell users he sees until he has to defend himself. Truk will cast spells from a safe and shadowy area behind his brothers as well as use his wand. They will all fight to the death, partially because Darkan has given them success far beyond they could ever imagine, but mostly because once one of them is killed the rest will be willing to die to get revenge.

If Darkan is in the room, he will mostly observe to get an idea of the strengths and weaknesses of the party. If an opportunity presents itself where he can interfere with the players without giving himself away he will do so, but then he will immediately use his ring to shadow hop back to the temple.

9. Guards: The room is lit with sputtering torches along the walls and on each side of the double doors. Two Vard lugroks flank the doors here. Each carries a pole arm and a wall shield.

The Vard lugroks will open the double doors to allow access to the temple. If the characters are foolish enough to pass through, they will be surrounded. Otherwise, the guards fight to the death.

10. Temple: Here is where Darkan will be found by the characters, but he is more than ready for them. The room contains two invisible demons, a Rashtar, and a Corvox. There are tapestries hanging on all the walls depicting various gory scenes, a knight being gored by the horn of a black unicorn, a dragon consuming an army, etc. The secret doors are hard to find. The throne sits on the west wall and the lighting here is from dozens of spitting, sputtering torches evenly spaced throughout the room.

The Rashtar will engage two players in melee while the Corvox tries to control a third with his spells. Darkan will support with spells until the demons are defeated or he takes a critical of any serious result. He will then retreat to his sleeping quarters where he will Shadow Hop to area 8 and escape to fight another day. (This gives a great opportunity to set up Darkan as a nemesis for the players.)

11. Darkan's Sleeping Quarters: Again the room is lit with sputtering torches. A lavish bed is in the NW corner and a chest of drawers is on the north wall. Various items adorn the rest of the room, urns, vases, and artwork. The value of these accouterments is 145 gp. Hidden in the third drawer of the chest is an ornate +10 non-magical dagger, worth 120 gp.

12. Study Lab: This room is completely dark. Many alchemical items are present throughout the room. There are five +5 quills (usable once, adds +5 to the casting of Imbed spells when creating runes), 10 sheets of rune paper X, and various other equipment valued at over 500 gp, but there is enough to fill a wagon load. In a locked chest (extremely hard to pick), which is trapped with a death cloud spell, is a book of haphazard incantations (RCVII), a potion of explosion (RCV), and a seal of closure (RCV), as well as 500 gp, 3 100 gp gems, and a necklace worth 1300 gp.

13. Torture Chamber: The Torturer is a Stone Troll named Burtar. Devious in the ways of torture, he rarely uses equipment that is designed for this purpose, preferring to use rustic methods.

A Cell: Holds three townsmen.

B Cell: Holds two townswomen.

C Cell: Holds a Rotting Corpse. If this cell is opened the corpse will rise up and attack.

D Cell: Empty (Just enough room for some of the characters!)

E: Another set of cells are under construction here. Digging tools are scattered about.

The grate found near the wall toward the center of the room is designed to drop people into the monster tunnels below. There is a switch on the floor that allows a quick release of the hinged grate, dropping anyone standing on it in room 14 of the tunnels. This would be a +20 medium fall attack.

Burtar will fight and try to manipulate players onto the grate so he can drop them down into the tunnels. If he is reduced to half his hits, or more than -25 to his activities, he will attempt to drop into the tunnels himself (no damage from the controlled jump) and will use the terrain and creatures there to his best advantage. If things are still not going well, he will attempt to escape out of the tunnel leading away from area 18.

The occupants of B Cell will tell the party that a small group of young men were dropped down the grate two days ago with out any supplies or equipment.

monster cave map

Underground Monster Caves

14. Dropping Cave: Many bones and debris are scattered about this cave. There is the 2-day-old remains of a body that is totally mutilated, off in the back (south side) of the cave. The flesh has been gnawed as well as the bones. There are some bones in this cave that may be used as -10 clubs. If living creatures are within this cave there is a 5% chance per round of attracting the creature from room 18.

15. Slime Room: Caustic Slime covers the ceiling of this room. The Caustic Slime will only drop on a character not brandishing a torch. It will retreat to the ceiling if attacked with fire. If pursued, the slime will lead the players to area 16 where it will hide deep in the small tunnel.

16. Entry Cave: This natural cavern is devoid of anything except a black circling mass. The Elemental Dark Guardian poses a threat to any who wish to enter the tunnel behind it and will guard the tunnel to the death. The tunnel closes off to a size so small, a halfling could not fit. Beyond is a tunnel that leads deeper underground to what adventure none can tell.

17. Victim Cave: Another mutilated body is scattered across this cavern. The gory scene is fresh compared to the previous one. Tracks of a great beast and of men are throughout the room.

18. Monsters Cave: An escaped Mric'atic chooses this cave as his abode. Once it senses the players it will select one and stalk its prey through the caverns and tunnels until the victim is dead. It will then only fight to the death in self-defense as it tries to eat the kill. A pile of debris behind a large stalagmite consists of lots of junk, plus Elven Splinted Leather +10 [10] AT (11), Elven Longbow (CTIp74), 10 gems worth 50-500 gp each and a Ring of Shape Shifting (RCV).

A: On the ledge, behind the large stalagmite, which rises 25' into the air, are 3 of the young men who were cast down here 2 days ago. They are in okay shape. The tunnel behind them again reaches deep into the depths of the unknown.

Creature Level Hits Armor Shield OB
Lesser Lugroks 2 50 AT8(30) Y 40Melee/40Missile
Each carries 1-10 sp
Greater Lugroks 4 70 AT17(40) Y 80Melee/60Missile
Each carries 1-5 gp
Vard Lugroks 4 75 AT17(40) Y 80Melee(1-3x)/80Missile
Each carries 2-10 gp (CTIIp51)
Kraeguth (I) 9 200 AT9(20) N 70LGr/60LCl/70LBi/80MBa
Rashtar (I) 6 160 AT12(40) N 90We(4x)/60MBa
Carries scimitars
Corvox 3 60 AT1(20) N 60MGr(2x)/Spells
All evil mentalist spells to 5th level. 6 PP
Rotting Corpse (I#) 5 50 AT1(10) N 65MBa/70MCl/Special
Touch spreads disease (RR). Magic weapons needed to harm.Regenerates 8hits/rnd. Ignores all critical effects (except heat and slaying)
Caustic Slime (LA#) 3 240 AT4(20) N Touch: 6-15hits & A heat Crit
Mric'atic (LA) 10 200 AT3(30) N 150HGr[Elec]/130LBi

NPCs

Name Level Hits Armor Shield OB
Gruk 7 78 AT13(30) N 105bs/95da (thrown)
1/2 Lugrok Rogue. +15 chain shirt, +5 dagger, +15 Broad Sword Mirrored Blade (CTIIp70)
Sruk 7 54 AT9(20)* N 85bs/90da (thrown)
1/2 Lugrok Thief. Helm, Sword of Returning (CT1p79), Cloak of Defense (CTIIp78)
Bruk 7 119 AT17(40) Y 105sc/110sb
1/2 Lugrok Fighter. Helm, breastplate, +15 Normal Shield, Scimitar of Darkness (CTI)
Truk 7 29 AT1(15) N 20da/40FBolt
1/2 Lugrok Evil Magician. Dagger of Torment (SLp95), Potion of Stench (RCVIIp119), Wand of Darkness (RCVIIp121) Lists: All Evil Base, Normal Base, and Lofty Bridge to 10th Lvl. 28 PP
Wruk 7 54 AT1(30) N 60MMst/60MMsw
1/2 Lugrok Monk. Helm of Sight (CTIp77), Cape of the Black Hand (CTI). Lists: Body Renewal, Monks Bridge, Body Reins. 14 PP
Darkan 15 59 AT4(30) N 40da/50ShadowBolt
Shadow Mage. Snake Skin Robes (RCIIIp37), Darkan's Ring (x3 Mage multiplier, Shadow Hop 2x/day, Constant Darkvision). Lists: Base Lists to 20th Lvl, Gate Mastery, Shield Mastery, Detecting Ways, Spell Wall, Essence's Perceptions, Concussions Ways, Barrier Law, Delving Ways to 10th Lvl. 135 PP
Burtar (II) 7 150 AT11(15) N 80LBa/65LCl/40We/60ro
Stone Troll carries 2-20 gp

Conversion to RMSS

2. In RMSS, the cover provided by the low wall provides a +60 bonus to DB vs. missile weapons.

12. A Book of Haphazard Incantations is treated like a collection of 500 runes. However, the only way to determine what spell has been placed in each rune is to read the rune (thereby triggering it). At this point, the spell list and level of the spell are determined randomly.

The Potion of Explosion should be replaced with a Shoola. The Seal of Closure has no close counterpart; a Potion of Long Whisper III might be reasonable.

18. The Elven Splinted Leather should be replaced with Dragonskin Armor (AT11 +15). The Elven Longbow should be replaced with a Woodsman's Bow of Good Aiming. The Ring of Shapeshifting can be replaced with Veils of Tanu.

The Mric'actic can be used with the indicated stats, or it can be replaced with a Traag (lvl 7 (II), 195 hits, 3(25), 100HBi/90LCl/poison(both)/Demonic Possession II (1x/day)).

Gruk: Replace the Mirrored Blade with a +15 sword with the Minor Defender enchantment.

Sruk: Reduce his OB by 5 and replace the Cloak of Defense with a Cloak +10DB.

Bruk: Add 5 to his OB.

Truk: Replace the Dagger of Torment with a Dagger that provides x2PP and can cast Fire Nerves 1x/day. Replace the Potion of Stench with a Pot of War Smoke and the Wand of Darkness with two wands: Darkness II and Shock Bolt. Increase his PPs to 110 and reduce the level to which he knows the indicated lists to 8th level.

Wruk: Increase his PPs to 31 and reduce the level to which he knows the indicated lists to 9th level.

Darkan: Convert Darkan to a 15th level Sorcerer. Add Shadow Mastery to 20th level, increase Shield Mastery and Concussion's Ways to 20th level and increase his PPs to 300. Replace the Snake Skin Robes with a Robe of Protection, and reduce his DB by 5.