Rebuilding Thunderspire Labyrinth, Part 2

This time I am going to talk about the Chamber of Eyes. The idea is that, if your players are following the plot of Thunderspire Labyrinth then they will quickly learn about the Bloodreavers, go looking for them, and end up a shrine formerly dedicated to Torog. Inside they find a bunch of hobgoblins, defeat them, and learn that the slaves were conveniently sold to some duergar, meaning they now have to go somewhere else to find them. If it were not for the XP and treasure this entire mini-dungeon would be entirely pointless.

In the module the Bloodreavers generally leave the denizens of the Hall in peace, more out of fear than anything else. In my vision I treat them as a military force to be reckoned with, and while they do not mess with anyone in the Hall consider others found outside its limits—like Rendil—to be fair game. Since the law of the Mages does not extend out of the Hall, this means that anyone who has been wronged by them does not have a valid complaint. It also means that outsiders are ideal in helping them exact justice…or serve as potential victims to get sent off in order to get caught.

Having the Bloodreavers be a thorn in more than a few sides could provide you with more adventure hooks to get the characters involved. In addition to going after slaves someone important could have been captured by them (an ally of Surina or one of Brugg Asteron's friends?), one of the Mages might give them a task (being unable to directly interfere in affairs), or Rendil or Gendar might ask them to retrieve some goods stolen from them (or in a twist try to sell them out).

Renovating The Chamber of Eyes
Oddly the front door depicts a crude image of a beholder, despite A) the actual art not showing one and B) there being no beholder to be found. Maybe the author had hoped that players would see it and think that, shit, there is a beholder coming up. I mean players from older editions probably knew that they could turn you to stone, put you to sleep, or just, I dunno, kill you instantly. While 4th Edition threw out almost all of the save-or-screws they are still nothing to sneeze at, especially at 4th-level (hell, the mini beholder is a level 5 solo). I am actually going to keep it because I intend to make good on the foreshadowing.

Aside from the statues, the decor is almost entirely nondescript. For a temple dedicated to Torog this will just not do. I decided to changes the statues from winged demons (why?) to crawling humanoids, bound in changes, with jagged crowns that cover their eyes nailed to their heads. If you saw the Silent Hill movie, then the janitor tied up in barbed wire is a good indication of where I am going with this.

Has a greater impact than another generic "winged-demon". 
The walls also look like that the hall was carved out by massive claws, and supported by pillars composed of victims bound in bladed chains...

Like that, but in pillar form.
...and the double doors are kind of like the Gates of Hell.

Could probably do with a minotaur head on there.
These additions will hopefully better convey the atmosphere of an ancient temple dedicated to a sadistic god that crawls through the depths of the Underdark.

A Closer Look
The map I drew up uses the original, with some minor modifications. I tried to include rooms that I would expect to see in an actual temple, including a place where they might hold ceremonies and perform fell rituals. Not all the rooms needed change, and in some cases the encounters and layout is mostly good enough to work with.

1. Narthex
This chamber is basically the same, though the rubble has been repositioned to help conceal the hobgoblins that stand guard in this room. I figure hobgoblins would actually try to modify the terrain in their favor, and I changed the archer to a spear-thrower. I added a few fissures in the floor that just serve as difficult terrain (though I would also have a character make a save or Acrobatics check to avoid falling prone if they are forced into them), along with a pit since Torog is all about pits.

Suspended above the pit is a former “saint” of Torog, chained up and wrapped in bloody linen. The characters can use it to climb up to the balcony, which I made easier than taking the walls (which while scoured are also concave). If the characters learned about Torog while in the Hall (or just make a really nice Religion check), they might know that they can gain Torog's blessing by making an offering into the pit. In this instance characters that do so gain Torog's lamentation of the shackled, which will give them an edge against the upcoming beholder and exarch.

Area 4. Guard Room
This room is a bit larger and is filled with bedrolls, not beds (which are probably a pain in the ass to drag all the way down here). Characters can use a standard action to yank on a bedroll that a monster is standing on to deal damage and knock them prone (use knockdown assault as a benchmark, though you might want to make it a little better to encourage players to give it a shot).

If the hobgoblins in this room get surprised, remember to use Aid Another to give the front-liners a bonus (and also emphasizing their phalanx formation), or have them run around in order to catch the characters with a pincer attack.

Area 5. Bath Chamber
I changed this to a slave pen and cistern. For some reason I like the idea of minotaurs having a primitive form of plumbing, and this is where their water comes from. Other rooms have levers and valves that dispense water, and areas with fire pits can dispense heated water.

I would actually keep a few slaves here that can inform the players that some got sold to the duergar. Some of the slaves might even be related and beg the characters to find their significant others/brothers/sisters/children/etc, or have lost family heirlooms that they would like returned (either or both could be minor quests).

Area 6. Sitting Room
This is now an impromptu dining hall and secondary quarters. I guess I could have added a pantry or make it more kitchen like, but I doubt my players will really notice much. Mebbe some crumbling walls to add in more terrain variety (something that could be knocked over).

Area 8. High Priest's Quarters
The hobgoblin's new leader stays here ever since the previous one got disintegrated by the beholder. A good spot to keep treasure. I could see the new leader making a deal with the characters to help get rid of the beholder.

Area 9. Refectory
I changed this room up to be both a kind of archive and ritual chamber. The first part has been repurposed to be a kind of armory, where they use the firepit to make repairs to weapons and armor. If the players get caught, this is where I would keep their gear. I suppose if you use martial practices then you could place Forge Weapon and Forge Armor here.

The other part has been sealed up because of a terrible monster--similar in appearance to all the statues--that inhabits the pit. If the players go in here, they can kill it (and gain either a magic spiked chain or flail weapon, or some kind of binding wondrous item), as well as take a secret passage directly to the balcony in Area 10.

Area 10. Torog's Shrine
Where the characters normally would deal with a dire wolf and some hobgoblins, they now face off against a beholder. Granted it is de-leveled to 6, but the terrain features should help make this a very epic fight to wrap up the Chamber. I also placed a pair of duergar here that came to bargain with the beholder for an alliance against the Hall. The beholder intends on killing both the duergar and the characters, so that he can later claim that assassins from the Hall killed them and hopfully incite the duergar to attack.

By going this route I can give the players an out if they end up losing; the beholder keeps them alive as proof, and they could be taken directly towards the Horned Hold, where they will have a chance to escape. If they defeat the beholder (as planned), then they can speak with the duergar, who while evil are still grateful that they were rescued. Depending on how the social role-playing goes, the duergar might "owe" the characters, or agree to see them later if the characters want to try talking their way into the Horned Hold. In other words, you give the players some options instead of just kicking down the door.

Alter: I added in an alter used for sacrifices. It looks like two chained minotuars holding up a bloody stone slab. It has a latch that causes it to slide back, revealing a pit where sacrifices were dropped and digested by oozes. This could be a good spot to put another encounter and/or some treasure. Characters adjacent to it gain a +1 power bonus when using powers that can slow, immobilze, or restrain a target (ideal if they get the divine boon in area 1 and the chain from the monster in area 9).

No comments

Powered by Blogger.