Through Ruined Sewers
Encounter Level 4 (350xp)
The characters follow leads, or chase a small enemy to the sewers in an old ruin (or perhaps in a city). Here they must navigate the sewers to reach the lair of their quarry without suffering the effects of the sewer’s hazards, or alerting their quarry.
The narrow shaft descends 30′ through the darkness before widening out into the sewer below the ruins. Rusty iron rungs fixed into the side of the shaft continue down the wall of the sewer below to the floor. 5′ wide walkways line either side of a 10′ wide sewage canal filled with relatively fresh looking water all things considered.
The walkways are strewn with garbage and the scuffling of rats is clearly audible, and the smell of garbage and offal is strong.
Complexity 2 (requires 6 successes before 3 failures)
Special: Exposure! When this is a consequence of failure randomly select 2 PCs who must save vs disease or contract Filth Fever. A PC may only be exposed 1 time, until all PCs have been exposed 1 time.
The Trail to the Grate
The characters must find the entrance to the part of the sewers controlled by their quarry. Initially this is best attempted by Perception, but should that fail the PCs can locate another inhabitant of the sewers and intimidate (or Bluff or Diplomacy) them into telling them where to find their quarry. Their success in doing these things will lead them quickly (or not) to an iron grate that blocks the sewer.
Perception (DC 12): The characters must find the trail of their quarry in the ruined sewers among the tracks of the many things that make the ruins their home. (Few of which are threats.)
- Success: The characters locate the trail, and are able to follow it through most of the complex, though at times other skills will be more advantageous. (1 Success Maximum, opens up Athletics)
- Failure: Exposure! The characters loose the trail, and encounter a swarm of rats which bite and tear at them before dispersing. (Opens up Intimidate.)
Intimidate (DC 17): The PCs encounter one of the other intelligent inhabitants of the ruined sewer and try to get information from it about the quarry.
- Success: The PC is able to threaten the inhabitant into providing the information before it flees, and that information turns out to be accurate. (1 Success opens up Athletics)
- Failure: Exposure! The creature gives directions and then flees quickly becoming lost in the sewers. unfortunately those directions are misleading and it takes much longer than you would like which takes its toll on you all. All PCs loose a healing surge. Despite the effects of the filth in the dungeon, the characters arrive at the grate.
Athletics (DC 17): The characters come to a junction in the sewers, both sides are blocked by a massive iron grate. Examining them it is clear one is being used by creatures small enough to squeeze through the bars.
- To follow their quarry’s trail will require passing the gate.
- 1 PC must be primary, a maximum of two others can assist.
- Special: Small characters my use Acrobatics to pass through the gate (DC8) and then provide up to 2 more assists.
- Success: The PCs are able to raise and lower the gate without alerting the quarry (or anything else) that they have passed it.
Special: If all PCs are Small they automatically succeed on this task.
- Failure: The PCs drop the gate as the last of them slips past and the loud crash it makes echoes through the sewers. The quarry is thus alerted to the PC’s approach.
Through the Passages.
Unfortunately gaining entry to the section of the sewers controlled by the quarry is only the first stage of the problem. The sewers beyond the grate are just as complex as those before and now the tracks of the quarry are everywhere so now knowledge of the sewers (Dungeoneering) becomes paramount to finding the way through, though if all else fails knowledge of the former settlement above may help (History), even then not all the dangers can be avoided (Endurance).
Dungeoneering (DC 12): The PC uses their knowledge of such underground complexes to navigate the party through the hazards of the sewers.
- Success: The PCs are able to avoid most of the pitfalls of the sewers. (1 Success Maximum, opens up Endurance)
- Failure: Exposure! Despite the best efforts of the PC they occasionally stumble into the pitfalls of such a place. (Opens up the use of History.)
History (DC 17): Can only be used if Dungeoneering fails.
The character tries to recall details of the ruins and how the sewers used to work.
- Success: The character is able to recall useful information that gets the party out of a tight spot without harm. (1 success and opens up Endurance)
- Failure: Exposure!Despite the best efforts of the PC they occasionally stumble into the pitfalls of such a place. (Opens up the use of Endurance.)
Endurance (DC 10): Suddenly the air in the cave changes, not a barely tolerable stink, it takes on a putrescence that is intolerable, and your stomach rebels against the smell. Yet this seems to be the only path to reach your quarry.
- All PCs must make an Endurance test, and more than half the PCs must pass for them to succeed.
- Success: The characters are able to make it through the stench, minus their last meal but ultimately none the worse for the experience. (1 success)
- Failure: Every PC looses a healing surge as they struggle to escape the stink with members of the party nearly incapacitated by the violent protests of their stomachs leaving them double over and collapsed.
The Last Gauntlet
The characters have finally reached the outer defences of the quarry’s lair, and here their true personality begins to dominate the environment and so knowledge of the foe (Nature, Arcana or Religion as appropriate to the quarry), or if that is not available traps (Thievery) will aid the party through this last segment, until they come to the last challenge, a slippery tunnel.
Nature (DC 12): The character’s knowledge of quarry makes the characters more alert for trouble.
- Success: The character’s knowledge of the quarry alerts the characters to likely obstacles that the quarry will put in their way, and suitable hiding places for the quarry. (1 Success)
- Failure: Exposure! The character’s advice leads the party astray and they stumble into a filth ridden trap left by their quarry. Opens up the use of Thievery.
Thievery (DC 17): Using thievery skills the character locates a trap and can attempt to disarm it.
- Success: The character successfully disarms the trap. (1 Success and the Acrobatics use is opened up.)
- Failure: Exposure! The character triggers the trap but clears the way to the last obstacle. (Acrobatics use is opened up).
Acrobatics (DC 10): A glistening tunnel descends into darkness, and small boot prints at its mouth suggest the quarry use this tunnel. Unfortunately the sewer stench seems worse down this small tunnel.
- All PCs must attempt this check.
- Success: Only 1 PC must succeed to gain a success for the skill challenge. Succeding on the check allows the PC to keep their feet and be ready for what comes next (1 success)
- Failure: Any PC that fails slips down the passage and they crash into the walls and their companions and arrive at the end prone and loose a healing surge.
Heal (DC 15): The character can try and stave of the effects of the filth fever that other party members have been exposed to while crawling through the sewers. This check can be made for each character exposed by a particular failed check.
- Success: The character gains a +2 to their save vs disease.
- Failure: That character no longer counts as being exposed to filth fever if they make the save.
Stealth (DC 10): The PCs sneak through the ruined sewers. If they choose this path, all of them must make a check, and at least half of them must pass to gain a success.
- Success: The PCs navigate the sewers quietly, what advantage this will give them is unclear. (This can negate a failure at the Iron Grate, or grant a +2 to Save vs Disease for PCs that were exposed by failing the Perception Test)
Ending the Encounter
The characters arrive at the lair of their quarry and a battle begins. Any character that failed a save vs Filth Fever during the Challenge then becomes subject to the effects of the infection. Some characters may also be prone at the start of the subsequent combat due to failing the final Acrobatics check.
The characters arrive at the quarry’s lair and surprise the first guards. It is possible the PCs may not have 6 successes, but as long as they do not have 3 failures award them the surprise round, simply reduce the xp reward by 50 for each missing success.
The characters have alerted the quarry of their arrival and they stand ready for them. The first guards gain surprise, and the rest of the lair is on full alert.