Welcome back to Let’s Read Hell’s Rebels! This post will cover Part 3 of the second adventure, Turn of the Torrent. Part 2 had the PCs help out Octavio Sabinus rescue his captured men, in addition to performing several other missions that improved the standing of the Ravens in the eyes of the population and rewarded them with favors from other groups.
Following the format of the first adventure, in Part 3 we get back to a big ol’ dungeon raid. There’s not much direct opposition to Thrune here, but successfully clearing this place out will secure a bigger hideout for the Ravens, increasing the organization’s maximum power.
Part 3: Lucky Bones
The dungeon in question lies beneath the ruins of a gambling hall called the Lucky Bones. Thirty years ago, the Torrent Knights found out was a front for gang of thieves named the Grey Spiders. The Spiders worshipped Norgorber1 and were into a whole lot of bad stuff, from drug running to kidnapping to slavery.
The gang assassinated the leader of the Order in an attempt to keep them at bay, but it backfired. The Knights raided the hideout and took the Grey Spiders down. Afterwards the Torrent’s new leader sealed the place up without further investigating it, an unorthodox decision. Turns out he and a few cronies intended to go back to the place at a later time and take all of the Spiders’ loot for themselves. They were found out and arrested for corruption before they could act on this plan, but the Order never unsealed the Lucky Bones out of shame for the whole episode. The casino has long become a ruin, but the complex beneath it remains sealed to this day.
Lictor Octavio will share this story with the PCs if they get on his good side by completing the rescue mission without causing too much chaos.
Lucky Bones: Overview
The dungeon beneath the Lucky Bones is quite large and complicated when compared to the Fantasmagorium in Adventure 1. Pathfinder’s writing style is verbose and so am I, so I’ll take a page from Gygax’s manual of style and make an effort to condense things as much as possible here. It will still take multiple posts to cover the whole dungeon, but I hope you’ll end up with a fairly complete idea of what lies inside.
Before describing the dungeon itself, the book gives us some background on the three former leaders of the Spiders: a tiefling sorcerer named Baccus, a halfling rogue named Lorelu, and a wererat cleric named Hei-Fen. The first two died during the raid, while Hei-Fen managed to escape to the neighboring city of Vyre. She still lives there and will make an appearance as a villain in the next adventure.
The Lucky Bones consists of a surface building and two basements. The surface level holds nothing of interest. The upper basement actually consists of two “sub-levels”, separated by the Torrent seal. One is currently occupied by a cult of Mahatallah2 made up of changelings (who in Golarion are the children of hags and mortals, and not the shapeshifting people from Eberron). The other is behind the seal and haunted by the restless spirits of the people who died there.
The lower basement is completely submerged. Its current occupants are a team of skum sent by an aboleth necromancer to spy on the city. They have several sort-of-tamed underwater monsters helping them out, and have captured a squad of sea elf rangers who came here to search for their missing ally Shensen3. There’s a magical pump in here that can be reactivated to drain most of the water, but doing so requires clearing the dungeon first. In other words: yay, underwater adventure!
The PCs could learn about the Lucky Bones as soon as they complete the rescue mission from Part 2, which means Part 3 could happen concurrently with the other Part 2 missions.
But before they go there, they might get ambushed!
A Drunk in the Slums
The leader of that changeling cult happens to be Luculla Gens, a regular of the Tooth and Nail tavern whom the PCs might have already met (she’s described in the same section that describes the tavern). Luculla frequents the place to fish for information and is likely to overhear any plans the party discusses in the tavern’s common room. If she overhears Octavio talking about the Lucky Bones or otherwise comes to think the PCs are a threat to her, she will send an assassin after them.
The assassin is a Faceless Stalker named Maglap. Faceless Stalkers are like doppelgangers but stronger, with good grappling skills and a blood-draining attack they can use on people they’ve grappled. Maglap will approach the PCs looking like a drunken sailor and use the element of surprise to attack. Interrogating the stalker is only possible with some form of magical compulsion. He knows a few details about the cultist-occupied parts of the dungeon and about Luculla’s true identity.
Learning about her early gives the party a XP bonus. Maglap also offers an alternative way for PCs to learn about the Lucky Bones if they manage to alienate Octavio.
Lucky Bones: Surface
The surface level of the Lucky Bones has nothing interesting in it. PCs can find
a trail through the rubble with an easy perception roll, leading to a
fireplace. That fireplace contains a secret passage that requires a very hard
Perception check to find, though hearing the story of the raid from Octavio (or
interrogating Maglap) gives a big enough bonus to make it easy. The passage
leads into a sort of basement anteroom (C1) that’s filled with disgusting
trash and guarded by three teenage
mutant ninja othyugs. A trapped and
locked door leads from here into the hideout proper.
Lucky Bones: Cultist Hideout
The Cultist Hideout occupies the southern half of the level 1 map. Ceilings here are 8 feet high on average. The walls drip with moisture, and the doors are all swollen with it. They no longer lock, and opening or closing them requires a Strength test. The changelings just leave them open all the time.
This level is also completely riddled with secret doors, which are in much better condition. Spotting them from the concealed side is almost impossible, so the cultists don’t know most of them exist. They mostly link rooms that can be reached by more obvious paths, and will become a lot more useful when the PCs take over the place and have to defend it.
There is pretty much no way to explore this place stealthily. The “brutal raid” approach is preferred, and the enemies here should certainly react as if that’s what the PCs are doing.
C2. Living Quarters: Accessible from C1. Four cultists are lounging around and will immediately attack the PCs when they get here from C1. They’ll attempt to capture the PCs alive using wands of hold person and nets, and when one of them falls the rest will use potions of invisibility to run towards the temple in C8 and warn their mistress. Six other cultists are currently offsite - if the PCs retreat before clearing the hideout, those six will be recalled as reinforcements and they’ll barricade the door to C1.
C3. Maglap’s Quarters: Accessible from C2. Pile of rags on the floor, lots of clothing (for disguises) hung on the walls. Among them is a cloak of the manta ray. If the party didn’t meet Maglap before, he will be here and will help the cultists on C2 in case of a fight.
C4. Pit Trap: Accessible from C2. A 20-foot deep pit lined with shards of broken glass. The pit is open and obvious but the ledges around it will swing down 6 seconds after anyone steps on them, dropping victims into the pit. Hidden switches in the hallways to either side can be used to deactivate trap if found. A secret passage leads to the bottom of the pit in C13.
C5. Guard Post: Accessible from C4. Elgadazum (advanced bearded devil) is bound to guard this place and is bored out of his beard. The devil will strike up a conversation with any PCs until they either attack him or try to open the door to C6 (from which muffled knocks and cries can be heard). Elgadazum warns Luculla telepathically when a fight starts and teleports to her when severely injured.
C6. Cell: Accessible from C5. Two frightened teen boys await sacrifice here. Secret passage leads to C8. Rescuing the prisoners brings a XP reward and enhances popular support for the Ravens. Luculla and bodyguards will arrive here through the secret passage to move the prisoners to C9 30-60 seconds after Elgadazum runs away from C5, so the boss fight might happen in this cramped 10-by-15-foot room if the PCs linger here. Fun(TM)!
C7. Sealed Door: Accessible from C4. Huge iron door, locked with a complex mechanical lock and an arcane ward. Leads to the Haunted Opium Den, which we’ll discuss next post.
C8. Temple to Norgorber: Accessible from C4. Pillars, sacrificial altar, walls covered in creepy prayers. Luculla and two cultists work to rededicate this temple to Mahatallah. They will be joined by any survivors from the previous rooms for a last stand. If the party bypassed Elgadazum, he’ll likely teleport here after the fight has started.
C9. Luculla’s Chambers: Accessible from C8. Glyph of warding trap on threshold. Cot with furs and feather mattress, desk full of books and scrolls. On the desk are also a basin made from a gold-plated skull and filled with unholy water, and a statuette of Mahatallah with a secret compartment containing a scroll of raise dead. The statuette also has some monetary value. If Luculla managed to move the prisoners without running into the PCs, they’re also here.
Notes On Opposition and Treasure
Each cultist is a Cleric 1/Rogue 2. They wear leather, fight with nets and their claws, and know a few minor healing and defensive spells. More dangerous are their magic items: each carries a wand of hold person with 10 charges and a potion of invisibility. For a GURPS conversion, you could start with the Skirmisher template and add the necessary Power Investiture and cleric spells, along with Sharp Claws and likely a bit more Striking ST.
Elgadazum is a by-the-book Bearded Devil, with increased attributes. Generic Universal Eggplant has a version of that monster here, though it should probably be further beefed up for Dungeon Fantasy.
Luculla is a level 7 cleric, wearing +1 protective gear (armor, ring of protection, cloak of resistance). She has a bunch of healing potions and a scroll of glyph of warding, which means she’ll set a trap if she knows the PCs are coming. She also wears a mundane but valuable ceremonial mask (which might be a power item in DF). Luculla is quite weak in melee, but her spell loadout includes summon monster IV along with a bunch of curses and healing spells. For Dungeon Fantasy, start with the Wizard template, replace Magery with Clerical Investment/Power Investiture and layer on as many curse-like spells as you can fit.
Pathfinder characters are supposed to be about level 6 when they get here, and depending on how large the boss fight is they might need that scroll of raise dead right away. Dungeon Fantasy delvers are less likely to need it, though by now the fights should be getting challenging for them as well.
Clearing the hideout in one run still leaves the six changeling cultists who weren’t there. The book doesn’t really say what happens to them. The way I see it, the most likely outcome is that the surviving cultists eventually figure out what happened and run away. They’ll either not be a problem anymore on this adventure, or might end up linking with other infernal-themed opposition further down the line. It’s not like there will be a lack of such groups in this adventure path.