A member of the town's underworld is looking to hire mercenaries to dispose of an Evil Cult that poses a threat to everyone. This short adventure is intended for Player Characters of 4th to 5th level. At least one warrior should be equipped with a magical weapon.
Around dusk a member of the party, preferably the leader, is approached by a cloaked stranger wearing blackened leather armour, a short sword in his belt. He introduces himself as Felix, a member of the local thieves guild. Recently the guild has come in contact with an Evil Cult and its powerful leader. The Cult's leader has the ability to enthrall people and bend them to his will. The Guild Master suspects that many, if not all of the important townsfolk have been charmed, and perhaps also a large number of guild members. The Guild Master is certain that any large scale attack by his guild will end badly - with the attack being tipped off from the start. Thus far all attempts to get rid of this menace via more 'subtle' means have failed. There is now little choice but to call upon mercenaries to raid the Cult Hall. Felix informs the PC that the attack must be launched tonight when all the Cult High Priests will be in attendance. The Guild Master is prepared to pay 800 gold pieces for the raid and another 100gp for the head of each High Priest. Felix offers 200gp now and the rest later.
Felix the Assassin (5th level Assassin)
AC: 6 HD: 5 hp: 24 THACO: 16/18 (Dex18) Attacks: 2 Damage: 1d6+2 (Short Sword +2), 1d4+0/20 (Poisoned Dagger) Alignment: NE
Equipment: Cloak, Leather Armour, Short Sword +2, Daggers (6), Poison (0/20) coated on melee dagger, Potions of Healing, Poison Antidote, & Levitation.
Assassin Skills: MS 65% Backstab +1 bonus, two weapon style using two small weapons with no penalty
Felix is not a member of the local thieves guild but a hired assassin. Although his story is accurate, about townsfolk and guild members being charmed, he's been operating as a lone wolf and recently devised the raid as a solution to removing the Cult Leader and his acolytes in one foul swoop. Felix has already attempted to poison this Cult Leader but failed. The Guild Master who hired him is paying 2000gp for the job and the bounty on the Cult Priests is actually 300gp - although the bounty does not go into effect until after the Cult Leader has been slain - for fear of reprisals by charmed agents.
If the PCs agree Felix hands over a large cloth pouch containing 200gp and urges the party to prepare themselves. He will meet them back at "this very spot" (a tavern, street corner) one (1) hour before midnight. The PCs have 5 hours. If the PCs ask about their opponents Felix tells them there should be about half a dozen Priests and a few warrior guards in and around the hall. The leader is a hefty man of unusual strength and resilience who brandishes a broadsword.
The Town Streets
One hour to midnight Felix returns and leads the party through the largely deserted city streets towards the Hall.
After a couple of minutes the group turns into a lane and comes face to face with one of the Town Watch patrols. There are five (5) Watchmen. Their patrol leader, a chainmail clad dwarf, calls on the party to "Halt!" and state their business in the streets at this late hour. The DM should role play this encounter where poor responses could result in battle, arrest or further questioning. The dwarf is very suspicious and cannot be bribed.
Sergeant Rock (3rd level Dwarven Fighter)
AC: 5 (Chainmail) HD: 3 hp: 25 THACO: 17 (Axe Specialisation), 18 (Club), Attacks: 3/2 or 1 Damage: 1d8+2 or 1d6 Alignment: LN xp: 160
Watchmen (5) 0-level Human militia
AC: 8 (Leather) HD: 1 hp: 7 THACO: 20 Attacks: 1 Damage: 1d6 (Club) xp: 15
Equipment: Whistle, Rope, 58cp/20sp/3gp total.
If the situation gets out of hand the Watchmen blow their whistles to summon help. Further patrols of 4 to 6 Watchmen arrive every 1d4+2 rounds.
After a few more minutes travelling Felix turns to the characters:
We've moved into a dangerous part of the town. I prefer not to come this way but we need to avoid more of the City Watch. There is a patrol leader worse than that Dwarf who works the same shifts and he'll certainly try to lock us up if we ever run into him. This guy jails people first before asking questions.As you progress you find yourselves travelling down a narrow 10' wide alley. Forty feet ahead (40') you see 5 figures step out with a low barricade to block the way . Two have bows notched and drawn ready to fire (see tactics below for combat details).
A voice calls out from the darkness above you. "You took the wrong turn boys. Now you have to pay Angry Jack. Throw down your weapons plus your gold and you are free to go. If you don't, me lads here, and the ones you can't see, will pepper you so full of arrows you won't be able to lie down. That's a promise." Looking to the rear, the PCs will see the same barricade behind them, except the archers weild crossbows. Angry Jack continues, "Don't make any fast moves or we'll fire. You have 10 seconds to drop everything." [DMs should count out loud from here.]
This area is known as Ambush Alley. The total length of the ambush zone is 80 feet. All the ground floor doors are locked and bolted and the window shutters are likewise fastened. The buildings are all two stories and there are four (4) Archers plus Angry Jack (1) in the second storey windows armed with light crossbows and short bows. The open windows are on opposite sides of the ally 10 feet from each barricade. There is no light here unless the PCs have their own source of illumination. If there is no light a minus -2 penalty applies to all THACO rolls for both PCs and the attackers.
Angry Jack (1) 3rd level Renegade Thief
AC: 8 (Leather) HD: 3 hp: 16 THACO: 18 (Str 16), 17 (Dex 16) Attacks: 1 or 3/2 or 2 Damage: 1d6+1 (Club), 1d6 (Arrow) or 1d4+1 (Dagger, thrown) Alignment: NE xp: 120
Equipment: Club, Short Bow, Daggers (4), 3cp/18sp/3gp/2pp.
Cutthroat Robbers (14) 0-level Humans
AC: 10/8 (Clothes/Leather) HD: 1 hp: 6 THACO: 20 Attacks: 1 or Damage: 1d6 (Club, S.Sword, Arrow) or 1d4 (Crossbow). Alignment: NE/CE/N(E) xp: 25
Equipment: Axe Handle Club (long handled variety), Short Swords, Light Crossbows, Short Bows, Daggers, Knives, 98cp/94sp/8gp/4ep.
Note: The six (6) Robbers without bows or crossbows wear Leather Armour and four (4) use Axe Handle Clubs (1d6+1) gripped with two hands while the remaining two (2) use Short Swords (1d6). All of these bandits have 1 to 4 Daggers or Knives. Half the Archers use bows while the other half use Crossbows. In hand-to-hand combat the archers use knives or daggers. Each archer has 10 arrows or quarrels.
Tactics: If the PCs openly resist, all the archers, five (5) in the upper storeys including Angry Jack, plus four (4) behind the barricades, immediately let fly with arrows and quarrels before initiative is rolled. After this attack happens initiative can then be rolled. All the ambushers on ground level stand behind the low 3 foot high barricades made of wooden poles lashed together. It takes PCs one round to climb or push their way past these obstructions. Angry Jack shouts out during the battle and threatens that the PCs will be "cut down like dogs for refusing the toll", "drop your weapons now and I'll let you live." If the PCs kill or incapacitate five (5) of these bandits, without significant loss, the rest flee.
After two more turns down narrow alleyways the PCs come upon the body of a solidly built man lying face down in middle of the lane. He's dressed as a commoner in brown clothing with worn leather shoes and he does not move. Felix urges the party to leave him be.
If the PCs draw nearer and lean over to examine the man those with Infravision see that this character is still alive. They also notice a strong smell of ale and notice his hair is wet.
Drunk (1) 0-level Human
AC: 10 HD: 1 hp: 1 (7)
If the PCs shake this person he groans and moans and reaches clumsily for his head. A closer examination reveals bloody wet hair and a huge bump on the back of his head. PCs trying to attend him find that he just rolls from side to side and moans. The Drunk's name is Grosean and he's been robbed - although he has no memory of it having been struck twice on the skull. Unless the PCs have some sort of detoxifying spell or can cast Comprehend Languages, they will not be able to understand him. He talks gibberish and slurs his speech, suffering the effects of far too much drink and concussion from being hit over the head.
The PCs can leave him in the street but those who tend his wounds and make him comfortable each get 20xp and those that come back after their battle gain another 40xp if they help him find his town house. It's one street over from where he is presently.
The Hall of the Cultists
Eventually the PCs arrive within sight of the Hall. They emerge from an alleyway 100' from the entrance. Two armoured warriors stand guard at the door. The building itself is of free standing construction, 20x60' long, amid rows of shops and dwellings. It has no windows and is made entirely of wood, including the roof tiles. A five foot (5') wide ally runs the length of the Hall. (The front door is barred from the inside.) The street out front is 20' wide. Felix whispers that the last time the Priests had a meeting it lasted until daybreak, at which time townsfolk had begun to go about their business. The DM should explain to the players that the PCs must launch their attack during the night.
Guards (2) 4th level Fighters (Charmed)
AC: 5 (Chainmail) HD: 4 hp: 30, 33 THACO: 16 Attack: 1 Damage: 1d10+2 (Str 17, 2 Handed Sword), 1d10+4 (Str 18:40, 2 Handed Sword) Alignment: N xp: 230
Any sounds of combat will alert the Cultists who will then surround the doorway and attack anyone coming inside - except town Watchmen- with Magic Missile before using Flame Dart cantrips (Damage 1d2, THACO 20, Attack: 1, 10 each). Their leader, Gulgar, assumes a Pig-Man form and uses his Charm power. See below for further details.
Inside, the hall is lit by 6 large braziers that line the walls. At the far end is a small stage area in the last 5 feet of the building. If there is no sound of combat to alert the Cultists, the PCs will see 12 black cloaked figures swaying back and forth before the stage murmuring "Gulgar, Gulgar" over and over. Atop the stage seated upon an oversized wooden throne is a large blonde haired fat man wearing dark red robes. He instantly spies the PCs as they enter shouting "Kill them !! Kill them !!!" Roll for initiative.
Priests of Gulgar (12) 2nd level Mages
AC: 10 HD: 2 hp: 7 THACO: 20 Attacks: 1 Damage: 1d4 (Dagger) Alignment: LE
*MR: 12% in the presence of Gulgar.
*When down to 0 hp, goes berserk and fights melee with two (2) attacks per round , THACO: 22, and +2 to damage until collapsing after reaching -5 hp; in the presence of Gulgar.
Spells: Magic Missile x2 (1d4+1 damage, range 80 yards), Cantrips (Flame Dart x10 - THACO roll, 1d2 damage, range dagger) xp: 45
Tactics: Five of these 'Priests' rush the PCs with drawn daggers while the remainder cast spells and use their cantrip powers. These fanatics fight to the death to protect their leader. They have no treasure except their daggers.
Gulgar (1) Devil Swine - Demi Demon
AC: 3/5/9 (Hog, Pig-Man, Obese Human)
HD: 9 hp: 60 per form
Damage: 2d6 (Gore), 1d4+3 (Fist+ Strength), 2d4+3 (Broadsword+Strength)
MR: 25% Size: L Alignment: NE xp: 8000
*Magical +1 weapon required to hit.
*Regeneration of 2hp per round.
*Charm Person 3 times per day
*Immune to Charm, disease and +4 bonus to saves versus poison.
*Shapeshift into 3 forms, each with 60 hp.
Tactics: The Devil Swine will use his Charm power once each round on PCs selecting a Wizard, a Warrior and then the most threatening remaining character before taking a Pig-Man form. If reduced to 0 hp in any form the Swine is forced to shapeshift. Each shift takes one round although the monster can move freely to avoid being hit. If the situation becomes hopeless this monster will crash through a deliberately weakened section of the rear wall (behind the stage) rather than fight to the end.
In the event that the Devil Swine escapes he takes human form and immediately informs the nearest Watch patrol of the PCs attack. The Town Watch is put on alert having been told the PCs are murderous treasure seeking bandits who have killed a number of Priests.
If the Swine does not retreat and defeats the PCs he may discover that the thieves' guild is responsible for the attack and will make preparations to go after them.
In the event the Swine is defeated the PCs will be able to examine the Throne (if they choose to do so) and find that it rests upon a trap door. If the door is lifted stairs can be seen leading down to a 10x20 room. The room is lit by a continual light spell cast upon a large opal-type azurite gem (worth only 20gp) that hangs within a woven string bag hanging from the center of the ceiling. The string weave around the gem creates shaded patterns on the walls. The characters can see a large bed, table - upon which rests an open book with an inkwell plus feather quill - two large chests pushed against one wall, and against another wall is an open wooden crate filled with apples.
The book resting upon the table is a ledger that records all the individuals under the control of Gulgar. There are over 340 entries. If the Swine is killed the enchantment is broken. If the chests are searched the PCs find one is full of clothing while the other contains two books, a potion, an amber gemstone (100gp), pink coral (100gp), black pearl (300gp), a small golden lion statuette (200gp) and 40pp/290gp/232sp/364cp. The books are Tomes of One Spell. If the text can be deciphered, and with the use of expensive and exotic spell components, anyone can cast the spells outlined in the books. The spells are Clairvoyance (casting time 4 hours) and Dispel Magic (casting time 1 hour). Preparing to cast the spells takes an additional 3 days provided spell components can be assembled. The Potion is magical and causes Gaseous Form for 3d4+4 rounds.
If the PCs are successful Felix will pay the remaining gold but he can't do so immediately. He has to wait until the Guild Master determines the success of the raid. This process takes 3 days. Each PC receives 400xp for completing this story.