Menace of the Slime Cultists



The characters find themselves at the seaside town of Shoalhaven where the daughter of a councilman has run off to join a local cult. The PCs must seek out the cult's hideout located in a sandstone cliff-face situated part way along a beach front. This adventure is intended for 5th level Player Characters.


Prologue:

The player characters find themselves just arrived at the sleepy seaside town of Shoalhaven, situated well inside human controlled lands. There is not even a defensive ditch surrounding the settlement. Orchards, some grain fields and fishing provide the main source of activity for the townsfolk. The characters can stay in a large rectangular two storey inn, The Beacon, that overlooks the wide beach. This establishment features upstairs private rooms for merchants and a large common room on the ground floor, and some out-buildings, for caravan guards. The coastline to either side of the town is made of crumbling sandstone cliffs that are not more than 30 feet high. Otherwise the topography of the land is fairly flat, with modest hills and groves of wind swept trees.

The present operators of The Beacon Inn are a semi-retired Barbarian Fighter named Ored Jak - a tall sandy haired man - and the widow of the former owner, a dark haired woman named Valda (0-level human). The former owner was killed a few years previously in an attack from Crabmen that raided the town.

Ored Jak (Innkeeper) 3rd level Barbarian Fighter
AC: 7 (Shield Specialist, Dex14) HD: 3 hp: 27 (Con 17) THACO: 16 (Str17, Axe Specialisation) Attacks: 3/2 Damage: 1d8+3 Size: M (6'4") Alignment: LN xp: NA
Equipment: Battle Axe (under the bar-room counter), Round Shield (on the wall).

The private rooms are 3sp per night with the common room rate being 4cp per night. Ored casually mentions that the town has an alarm bell that hangs under a wooden framed structure situated at the edge of the beach. The bell is rung to summon the town guards and other able bodied individuals to drive off intruders approaching from the sea.

Some time later in the night, just as the PCs reach their rooms, they hear the sound of a bell ringing outside. Running out the door and onto the beach the characters will see a dozen hulking figures emerging from the waves and find Ored at the ready. He tells the PCs that "There are too many of the beasts this time, more than I've ever seen before. My plan was to delay the creatures until the council Guards arrive, but I do not think that will be a wise move unless you have other ideas."  In previous attacks only 2 to 3 crabmen have ever appeared and have retreated when any one of them fell to less than half their original hit points.

Crabmen (12)
AC: 4 HD: 3 hp: 24 THACO: 17 Attacks: 2 Damage: 1d8/1d6 (Claws) Mv: 9 Sw: 6 Alignment: N Size: L (7-10' tall) xp: 95

Tactics: By the time the PCs join Ored, the Crabmen are but one round away. The monsters will fight, dragging fallen PCs into the sea, until they have lost 4 of their number before withdrawing. They believe the townfolk are responsible for the loss of 3 of their kin and have come to vent their anger. The lost Crabmen, from a previous raiding party, were actually attacked and killed by a pack of Giant Sharks before they made the shore one week ago.

After 4 rounds of battle the Town Council Guards arrive by which time the PCs should have driven off the attackers. If necessary the guards fire off their heavy crossbows before throwing them to the ground and engaging in melee.

Guard Captain Marius Rastus 4th level Fighter
AC: 6 (Gold Tinted Scalemail) HD: 4 hp: 30 THACO: 16 Attacks: 3/2 Damage: 1d8/1d12+3(Longsword, Str15, Specialisation) or 1d8/1d6 (Heavy Crossbow Bolt) Mv: 12 Size: M Alignment: LN xp: NA

Town Council Guards (8) Elite 1st level Fighters
AC: 6 (Gold Tinted Scalemail) HD: 1 hp: 9 THACO: 19 Attacks: 3/2 (Specialisation) Damage: 1d8/1d12+2 (Longsword) or 1d8/1d6 (Heavy Crossbow Bolt) Mv: 12 Size: M Alignment: LN xp: NA.
Equipment: Gold Tinted Scalemail & Helm, Longsword, Heavy Crossbow, Heavy Crossbow Bolts (3).

If the PCs defeat the Crabmen, the townsfolk come out onto the beach and celebrate the victory. The PCs are mobbed and free drinks and offerings of food come their way.


Heroes Wanted

The next day members of the party are approached by a short middle aged man who is garbed in extravagant red, yellow and purple coloured robes. The man introduces himself as Councilman Batava. He owns the largest plantation of fruit trees (oranges) in the orchard growing area and he is desperate for help. He tells the PCs that his only daughter, Sylvia, has run off with a group of cultists that are based further along the shoreline. The warrior folk of Shoalhaven have said that his daughter's decision to run off was her choice. The other council members believe this is a personal matter and won't act. They have said that being 20 years of age Sylvia is responsible for her own decisions. Captain Rastus has refused to go on any rescue mission after having suffered 'insults' from her some months ago. Batava is worried that the cultists have bewitched his daughter and would like the characters to go and bring her back. He will pay all he has (854gp in coins and gems) for her return.

If the PCs ask for details about the cult Batava only says that they keep to themselves, never venturing into town. They are very threatening towards anyone that goes near their camp so few head in that direction. People who have run into members of the cult say their eyes have turned black. Batava insists they are evil and are up to no good, although he has no clear evidence of their intent. If the PCs accept his request, Batava says that it should not take more than two hours journey along the shoreline until encountering the cultists lair.

Councilman Batava 0-level human
AC: 10 HD: 1 hp: 7 THACO: 20 Attacks: 1 Damage: 1d4 Mv: 12 Size: M (5'3" tall) Alignment: NG xp: NA.
Equipment: Red, Yellow and Purple Coloured Robes, Dagger.

Immediately after Batava departs, whether or not a deal has been struck, the party's Priest or Wizard is approached by an exceedingly polite young man, Paz, and woman, Lucia, who are orchard workers, asking him or her to examine an item they discovered - a holy relic they think is from the 'Crab People'. These two individuals act very meekly calling the relevant character 'sir', or 'lady.' They describe the relic as a golden clam featuring strange markings upon its surface. They say the artefact is in the back room of their townhouse and that the PC is the first person they've told of their find.

Paz and Lucia (Slime Cultist Spies) 0-level humans
AC: 10 HD: 1 hp: 7 and 6 THACO: 20 or 18 (Attack from rear +2) Damage: 1d3 (Knives) Size: M Alignment: LE xp: 10

Paz and Lucia are actually Slime Cult spies who will attempt to assassinate any individuals that may pose a threat to the Cult. They do not work on Batava's orchard, but on another plot, and have been told to spare his life at the request of his daughter who is a cultist.

If the PC, or a number of them, go to investigate they are led a short distance into a narrow wooden town house that is part of a row of dwellings near the shoreline. Paz and Lucia lead the characters into the front room (20'x15'wide) featuring two beds and through an open doorway into the backroom (which features a back door). This unlit room is 15 by 15 feet and is empty. The PC(s) are told that the clam is hidden under the stone paving in the centre of the floor. As soon as the characters enter the room they smell mustard whereupon the floor on either side, against the walls, erupts and they are attacked by two yellow sand coloured slimes that immediately release a toxic vapor. Paz and Lucia step out the back door as the two slimes attack. These monsters are very fast and will race around the PCs in order to block the exits to the building.

Mustard Jelly (2) the whole has divided into two parts
AC: 4 HD: 3+7 (7+14 normally as a whole) hp: 35ea THACO: 13 Attacks: 1 Damage 5d4 (acidic pseudopod) Size: M (5' Diameter) Mv: 18 Alignment: N (Int 8-10) xp: 2000
*Immune to non-Magical Weapons and Electricity.
*Half Damage from Cold Attacks.
*10% Magic Resistance
*Secretes vapour in 10' radius (SA vs Poison) causing lethargy, acting to slow PCs to half movement and attacks. Each round the PC is within the continually emitted cloud they must makes saves until poisoned, which lasts until they remove themselves (modified).
*Translucent until it moves.
*Magic Missile heals for same amount of damage that would be inflicted.
*Cannot Climb Walls.

A search of the town house, inside the bed matresses reveals 4 knives (1d3 dam), a shortsword, 47cp, 140sp, 10gp, and 3 gems [100gp Azurite, 100gp Zircon, 100gp Turquoise]. This attack should prompt the PCs into action if they chose not to investigate the cultists, and will certainly make them realise they face a serious danger.

Paz and Lucia disappear after this attack (unless the PCs stop them before their trap is sprung) only to rappear in the final encounter.


Journey to the Lair of the Cultists

The two hour journey along the shoreline sees the characters walking along a beach partly shadowed by low crumbling cliff faces. Occasionally the beach itself is broken by rocky ground as the shoreline snakes its way along the coast. After about one and a half hours, two figures emerge from the shadows to stand in the way of the PCs. They are not more than 100 feet away, are wearing faded purple coloured robes, and look to be holding clubs. If the PCs approach they can see these individuals have blacked out eyes and appear angry. One of them speaks "You have no business coming this way. We prefer not to fight, but if you continue you'll leave us no choice."

Slime Cult Minions (2)
AC: 6 HD: 1+6 hp: 14 THACO: 19 Attacks: 1 Damage: 1d6 (Club) Mv: 12 Alignment: LE Size: M xp: 125
Equipment: Purple Robes, Clubs.
*Immune to mind control spells.
*Only take half damage from edged weapons, quarter damage from blunt weapons.

If combat breaks out the DM should describe the fact that when PCs' weapons strike these unarmoured opponents, they do not cleave as expected. The Cultists' bodies prove particularly resistant - as if they were wearing armour. Blunt weapons seem to bounce off these opponents. After the Cultists are slain, PCs examining the remains find they have the consistency of hardened blubber and that their bones are somewhat rubberised.


Lair of the Slime Cultists

Soon after this encounter the PCs arrive, after another half hour of walking, at a location where they find a circular tunnel entrance carved into the sandstone cliff-face. The entrance is 7 feet around, is darkened and, although there are clear signs of footprints, no guards can be seen.

[For the DM] A Grey Ooze hides 10 feet inside the entryway, appearing as a grey shadow or grey coloured wet sand on the floor. It acts as a guardian for the Slime Cultist Lair. It will strike out with surprise, like a snake, upon any PCs entering carelessly.

Grey Ooze Guardian (1) Modified
AC: 8 HD: 3+3 hp: 30 THACO: 17 Attacks: 1 (range 5') Damage: 2d8 (Pseudopod) + corrodes metal (Chain in 1 round, Plate in 2 rounds, plus 1 round extra for each magical bonus) Mv: 1 Alignment: N Size: L 10' diameter, 8" high xp: 270
*Characters hit by the Ooze suffer 2d8 impact damage and then must roll vs Dexterity -2 or are caught by the pseudopod appendage that then dissolves metal and causes 1d8 damage to flesh per round therafter. Strength check -2 to break free. The ooze may target another PC while squeezing its victim but cannot envelop another.
*Immune to Spells, Cold and Fire.
*Weapons and Lighting based attacks cause Full Damage.

The sand-cut tunnel is not straight and curves as it continues another 80 feet into the cliff side. The orange glow of torch light can be seen ahead. If the PCs continue for another 20 feet they run into a small 15 foot diameter guard room occupied by three Cultists. These guards stand ready as they were alerted by the sounds of battle that echoed from the entryway. Inside the room is a barrel filled with torches, a number of oil flasks, and a small table against the wall with flint, steel, ink and a quill, plus three blank scrolls.

If the PCs attempt to parlay with these Cultists the leader simply states that they will be attacked if they do not leave.

Slime Cult Minion (1) 3rd level Fighter
AC: 6 HD: 3+6 hp: 34 THACO: 17 Attacks: 3/2 Damage: 2d4+1 (Bastard Sword) Mv: 12 Alignment: LE Size: M xp: 425
Equipment: Purple Robes, Bastard Sword.
*Immune to mind control spells.
*Half damage from edged weapons, quarter damage from blunt weapons.

Slime Cult Minions (2) 0-level Humans
AC: 6 HD: 1+6 hp: 14 THACO: 19 Attacks: 1 Damage: 1d6+1 (Club held two handed) Mv: 12 Alignment: LE Size: M xp: 125
Equipment: Purple Robes, Clubs.
*Immune to mind control spells.
*Half damage from edged weapons, quarter damage from blunt weapons.

The tunnel continues past the guard room for another 30 feet and opens into a large 40 foot diameter unoccupied room. There are four open barrels against a side wall filled with clubs (16), one broadsword, and a battle axe. The wall facing the PCs has a set of wide wooden stairs (4 steps only) cut into the sandy floor leading up into another room. The roof drops low to a height of only 4 feet where the stairs rise, so that tall PCs have to duck their heads as they enter the next room.

Stepping inside this second room, the characters see that it has the same 40 foot diameter dimensions as the previous one with the roof reaching to 20 feet in height. The PCs notice a rectangular hole in the centre of the floor filled with purple glowing semi-transparent slime. A tanned middle aged man with white hair and closely trimmed white beard, dressed in a white shirt and trousers, who appears normal, with no blackened eyes, rests upon a ledge cut 10 feet above the floor. He speaks: 

"So you have come for the councilman's daughter. I will give her to you but she is one of us ... of her own free will!"

Slime Cult Leader (1) Normal 0-level Human
AC: 10 HD: 1 hp: 7 THACO: 20 Attacks: 1 Damage: nil (unarmed) Mv: 12 Alignment: LE Size: M xp: 5
Equipment: Purple Robes.
*Immune to Charm and Hold
*Commune with Slimes and Oozes

[Note: If the PCs attempt to attack the Cult leader, he surrenders immediately holding up his hands. He will not fight and is unarmed.]

Out of the rectangular slime hole rises a young dark haired woman who is placed upon her feet by slimey appendages. She wears the Cult's faded purple robes, has pale swollen shiny skin, with blackened eyes. She looks around and speaks.

"No master. I will not go with them."

The man replies, "Go child. They have killed many. With your leaving the primal mass will be awakened. The guardian will protect us. They shall not leave so easily. Go and the guardian will become enraged and seek vengenge for their crimes." He turns to the PCs calmly as Sylvia, the Councilman's daughter, steps toward you. "Leave if you can. I will not stop you."

Sylvia, Slime Cult Minion (1) 0-level Human
AC: 6 HD: 1+6 hp: 14 THACO: 19 Attacks: 1 Damage: nil (unarmed) Mv: 12 Alignment: LE Size: M xp: NA.
Equipment: Purple Robes
*Immune to mind control spells.
*Half damage from edged weapons, quarter damage from blunt weapons.

If the PCs stay, then out of the rectangular slime entrance erupts a ten foot tall Crystal Ooze Elemental. If PCs run then they feel vibrations under the sand as they duck into the next room on the way back out. The Guardian Ooze burrows under the sand and bursts out in the tunnel blocking the way - trapping the PCs in the room.

Waves of energy continually ripple through the Ooze's form.

Crystal Ooze Elemental Guardian (1) New Monster
AC: 5 HD: 10 hp: 80 THACO: 13 Attacks: 1 Damage: 2d8 (Pseudopod) Mv: 12 Alignment: N Size: L 10' Tall, 5' Wide xp: 3000
Rolls of 20 indicate the elemental has grabbed, but not damaged, a man sized opponent and drawn them into the mass to suffocate. Suffocation occurs after a number of rounds equal to one quarter of the PC's constitution score rounded up. A maximum of two characters can be drawn into the guardian at one time.
*Immune to non-magical weapons
*Half Damage from magical weapons less than +2
*Immune to Magic, Fire and Acid
*Cold based attacks cause Full Damage

If the characters defeat the Guardian and wish to destroy the 'primal mass' slime, that extends beyond the rectangular portal, they must inflict over 200hp damage to this area. The mass reaches 300 feet deep and 200 feet across under the sand. The slime can only be damaged via Cold based magical attacks. Attacks by magical weapons will only break the surface whereafter the damaged portions reform. If effectively attacked the giant slime will summon the remaining twelve (12) Cultists who wait outside. It regenerates 2 hp per hour of any cold-based damage inflicted upon it.

The powers of this slimey mass are the ability to summon one Guardian Slime every 24 hours, to produce other lesser slimes, jellies and oozes at a rate of one per month when required, and to convert humanoids to become slime minions over a 72 hour period. It can also commune with any Slime Cultist. Although powerful, this entity, that has grown on the Prime Material Plane for slightly more than a year, is limited, having effective intelligence and wisdom scores of 11 and 12 respectively.


The Return Journey

Outside the lair wait a number of men and women of the Cult armed with sticks and clubs. All have blackened eyes. Also with them are Paz and Lucia from the town. [Note: If the PCs effectively attack the slime mass inside the lair the individuls here will rush to attack the characters and this encounter will not occur.]  A man with brown hair and blackened eyes walks forward and speaks. "This would be a lot easier if you just left the girl here." If the PCs refuse they all attack savagely wailing and yelling the whole time.

Slime Cult Minions (10)
AC: 6 HD: 1+6 hp: 14 THACO: 19 Attacks: 1 Damage: 1d6 (Club) or 1d3 (Heavy Stick) Mv: 12 Alignment: LE Size: M xp: 125
Equipment: Purple Robes, Clubs.
*Immune to mind control spells.
*Half damage from edged weapons, quarter damage from blunt weapons.

Paz and Lucia (2) 0-level humans

See previous entry for details.


Resolution

If the PCs return to the town, the councilman is happy that his daughter has been returned and then shocked by her condition. After paying the party the agreed reward amount he will lock Sylvia away calling on the advice of Priests (perhaps one of the PCs, to determine what can be done with her). Her condition cannot be changed except by means of a wish.

PCs successfully returning the Councilman's daughter receive 800xp for their accomplishment.

DMs may consider a further (epic) adventure in which the PCs seek out a Wizard or a Genie that can bestow a wish required to return Sylvia to her normal state.


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