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The horror of Yukon

Black Pyramid of the ancient cloakers REMAKE (D&D 4e lvl 18-19): floor 1

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So there has been this 2nd ed D&D adventure around for a long time via the interwebs. I have always personally like it (most of it anyway), and I have converted it to 3rd ed, and now attempt to do it again for 4th. Unfortunately 4e's mentality on encounters is MUCH different, so it was a bit trickier this time around. Anyhoo, here is my attempt at it. The intro I didn't touch. I mainly tweeked the encounters and puzzles and such. This is the first floor and an intro (from the original author). More floors to come. Attached is a map I made from his plans.

THE BLACK PYRAMID OF THE ANCIENT CLOAKERS conversion to 4e

By Yukonhorror

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MY Preface

I have always liked this fan-made module. I have always thought it was well-designed and had a neat story. Being a fan of 4th edition and with the new monster manual 3 (includes cloakers), I was inspired to convert this to 4e and share it online. I have made necessary revisions to the original, but I have noted where original material is presented. The maps are redone in powerpoint and will be included along with this file. Finally, any monsters mentioned are free to be changed with something you have access to. So here we go!


THE BLACK PYRAMID OF THE ANCIENT CLOAKERS

A story to use in a fantasy roleplaying campaign.


By R. J. H. A. Broekman
Tsyrfonalin Sa Innai (Tsyrf)

Malden, 14 april 1992

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Preface


For about six years now, I have been playing AD&D. At first I started as a player, but soon I began jotting down small ideas on pieces of paper. The original idea for this story arose in december 1991. Now, april 1992, the final version is completed (although it took until November 1993 before it got translated to English).

Hereby I thank my fellow players for testing the first version of this story. So thanks, Andre, Cathy, Edwin, Jeroen, Mark, Marcel (sessions at Tilburg) and Boris, Jan-Willem, Mark and Robert-Jan (sessions at Nijmegen).

There are two versions of this story. There is a textfile in Dutch and a textfile in English (this one). The Dutch version can be send to you via E-mail (although it's just as big :-(), just drop me a mail saying that you want it.

This story may, as computerfile or in printed form, be distributed freely, as long as the total text remains complete (this goes especially for my name of course). If you decide to distribute this text then you are NOT allowed to ask any money for it).

I would appreciate a little note from you regarding this text. Please send me a short letter with your opinion about this story. Besides your own opinion please include information about:

- Whether you played this story as player or as a DM.
- The composition of your group (how many characters, what levels etc.).
- If you liked the story (was it an original idea, was it a difficult story
etc.).
- If necessary, other comments, ideas or even your own story.



Please send your reaction to:

Richard Broekman
De Haspel 19
6581 WV Malden
The Netherlands

or E-mail me at: "chaoscities@xs4all.nl"

(As you may have guessed by now, English isn't my native language, but I hope you will understand this text anyway)

Disclaimer:
AD&D and Spelljammer are trademarks of TSR Inc. The Monster Manual (MM) and Monstrous Compendium (MC) are copyrighted by TSR Inc. Certain terms appearing in this text (Armor class, Hit Dice) and the lay-out of the monster-sheets appeared (probably for the first time) in several TSR books. All of these terms are used without permission. Note however that it is not my intention to bereave TSR of their rights, I only want to conform my story to a kind of universal rules used by most AD&D players.


Explanation of abbreviations used in this text

This story will be filled with different abbreviations to avoid having to type all those long terms over and over again. So here follows a list of all abbreviations used along with the right meaning:

Abbreviation Meaning

AC Armor Class This is the standard
abbreviation as it is
used throughout the entire
gamebooks.

AnC Ancient Cloaker This abbreviation will be
used to indicate a new
monster.

HP Hitpoint Seems pretty obvious.

ST Saving Throw Standard abbreviation.

According to this story the Ancient Cloakers originated from another planet. Although I know that there is a campaignworld set in space, (Spelljammer) I don't exactly know how it works. If you think the idea of another planet isn't acceptable in your own world, then please feel free to let the AnC originate from another plane or something like that. Using planes can be very dangerous considering the higher level spells that will send creatures back to their homeplane.

This story can be used in any fantasy setting, although it was written for the AD&D (tm) game. I think that the best way to play it is with a party of 4-6 8th level characters.

History

For many ages there has been living a race of mysterious creatures on this world. These creatures very much resemble ordinary cloaks, the ones that are being used by lots of people to protect themselves from bad weather. These creatures are called 'Cloakers' (how appropriate, MM + MC). A complete description of these monsters can be found in the MM and MC volumes.

The origin of these strange creatures is unknown. One of the many stories being told is that of the cloakers reaching this world by 'Gating' in from another dimension.

Of course, the above explanation is not quite right. Cloakers are in fact from this world. Their ancestors on the other hand are not. Ancient Cloakers (AnC) originally come from another planet. About 4000 years ago a group of Ancient Cloakers crashed with their 'spacecraft' in a desert. The total crew of their 'ship' (the black pyramid) consisted of 12 AnC. Most of them went their own way after the crash landing, since the ship would never be able to travel through space again. Only a few AnC stayed in the pyramid and they are led by the oldest Ancient Cloaker on this world, the Chief Cloaker (appendix 3).

The AnC are totally disconnected from their world. The pyramid is unable to travel so it is impossible for them to return.

Although all AnC have kept their special powers even on this world, they aren't able to conceive any offspring with the same powers. Offspring of AnC on this world are ordinary Cloakers. Offspring of ordinary Cloakers are also Cloakers.

Almost ten years ago the wizard Knoedag accidently discovered the existence of the pyramid. The exact location of the pyramid however was a total mystery to him as no human knows it. Yet Knoedag succeeded in creating a special Teleport spell that would bring him almost exactly at the pyramid. Just to be sure, Knoedag made a copy of this spell on a scroll so someone would be able to come and help him if things might go wrong.

Ever since the moment Knoedag entered the pyramid he was marked to die. Because the AnC had a little time to spare, they let Knoedag live to create some extra defenses for their home. Now, after about ten years, the time h come for Knoedag to die. Only a few firm heroes will have a chance to save Knoedag from dying.

Knoedag knew he was living on borrowed time. During the first years in the pyramid he worked on dozens of ideas to escape. But after a while it was evident that escape was impossible. His only chance seems to be his brother.


Aldari

One year ago the brother of Knoedag, Aldari received the last letter that Knoedag had written ten years ago.

Based on this letter and the long period he hasn't been contacted by Knoedag, Aldari has come to the conclusion that Knoedag is in trouble. Aldari, being a simple furniture-maker decided to find a group of heroes that would be able to find his brother.

0 The beginning

0.1 Dinner

The characters are placed at an inn. Having finished their last adventure they wanted to rest and spend most of their money on food and drinks. The complete party (at least if the party isn't any bigger than six persons) will spend the night in room 10. While the characters are eating their diner, a man enters the inn.

At this point you can read the following text or think of a better one:
"A man of about forty years enters the inn. He crosses the entire dining room to go to the bar and talks to the innkeeper. The innkeeper points in the direction of your table. The man walks in your direction."

The man walks to the table and asks the adventurers if he can have a word with them. He introduces himself as Aldari. Aldari asks the characters to swap their room with his room. If the characters refuse to do so, Aldari will try to persuade them, even by offering money. You see, the problem is that Aldari's room (3) is much to small for the party (three people instead of six). When the characters still refuse to swap rooms Aldari will tell that their room is of sentimental value to him. It is the room in which his brother Knoedag spend the last night before his disappearance. If asked about the disappearance, Aldari will tell that his brother disappeared ten years ago. One year ago Aldari received a letter of his brother that was written almost ten years ago (the letter has travelled a long time....). In his letter Knoedag explained that he would be going on a trip. Ever since that day Aldari hasn't heard anything of Knoedag.

During the entire talk Aldari spoke the truth. In case the characters seem willing to help Aldari, he will be glad to show them the letter. Besides that he will try even harder to convince the characters that their room has to be searched. If the room (10) is searched the 'diary' will be found. Of course it is possible that the characters don't agree with Aldari and in that case the night will pass as described later on.

If the characters do decide to swap rooms, Aldari will adress the characters the next morning. At that time he will have found the diary and by then he wants to hire the characters to find his brother.

When questioned, the innkeeper will declare that he can't remember Knoedag and that's the truth (after all it was ten years ago).

0.2 At night

The following will only happen if there has been no swapping of rooms and if the diary isn't found yet. Some time during the night, when the characters are sound asleep (around 3.00 AM), some fumbling can be heard at the door. Characters that are awake will automatically hear this. Sleeping characters have a chance to notice it equal to 1/2 their 'hear noise' (if thief) or 10% (if non-thief). The fumbling is caused by Aldari. He needs about five minutes to open the door, prying the lock open with his furniture-makers' tools. In the case of the door being blocked by a chair or bed or something other, Aldari will make so much noise that everybody has to hear it. In the rare instance where Aldari isn't heard during the opening of the door, there will be a chance of 10% every round that someone will be awakened by the sounds Aldari makes. Inside the room Aldari needs 2d4+2 rounds to find the loose board (see description of room 10). Pulling the board complete loose will give everyone a chance of 4 in 6 to awaken. It's very obvious that the chance of Aldari being caught is very big. Aldari won't resist if the characters try to get him. It is of utmost importance to him that his name will not be related to any criminal activities.

Aldari: Human male, lvl. 0, hp 3, Alignment NG, age 43. Equipment: 5000 gp, some tools (hammer, chisels) and the letter of Knoedag.

Knoedag's letter

Vanley, 18 Sal (=may) 319

Dear Aldari,

I have finally made it! In my letter of last month I told you that I was on researching something great, but this time I have found it!

I have found a still unknown place. It is the most confusing place I know. Of course it is impossible for me to talk about it by letter, except that it is placed in the midst of the desert. Without a doubt I will be encountering many dangers there.

Tomorrow I will leave, until that time I will be staying at the Iron Stomach Inn, in room ten. 'Till my letter of next month,

Knoedag

P.S. If I'm not back in two years, please try to find me.

-----

The diary

In a lead pipe (1' long, 3" diameter, of which 1" empty), two pieces of paper are found.

Paper 1, letter of a diary:

Vanley, 18 Sal 319 (or whatever year you want)

Tomorrow I will be going off. Of course as a real wizard I will travel by magic. I hope to be back within a year, but just to be sure I have made another scroll for Aldari, so he can find me if necessary. Now I will be going to bed, since tomorrow is the big day.

Paper 2, Scroll:

On this scroll is written the 4th level wizard spell "Knoedag's Exact Location Teleportation Spell" (KELTS). Every wizard capable of casting 4th level spells will be able to cast this one. Copying of the spell will prove to be impossible.

Knoedag's Exact Location Teleportation Spell

Lvl: 15 Category: Travel
Casting Time: 1 hour Key skill: Arcane
Duration: Instantaneous Component cost: 5,000 gp plus 5 healing surges

When this spell is cast, the caster and everyone he is holding hands with will be teleported to a preset destination. This destination will be one kilometer from the pyramid.


0.3 The request

After reading the diary Aldari will try to hire the characters to find Knoedag. He is willing to pay each of them 500 gp "all that I have". This is not quite the truth, since Aldari ownes another 10.000 gp, but he has left those behind at his shop. If the characters won't even accept this offer, than it is not likely that they are the right people for this job (i.e. find another module to play).

Aldari will strongly refuse to come along with the characters. He knows very well that his presence will only be disadvantageous. Besides, he has a shop that has to be attended.


1 Outside of the pyramid

The building is of a black color and is shaped like a pyramid, placed on its 'top' point in the sand (upside down that is). Total height of the pyramid is about 150 meters, while the widest point (at the top) is about 75 meters. On the front side of the pyramid two symbols can be seen. These symbols are in fact runes and they mean "Scout of Blackness" (a 'Comprehend Languages will reveal this). At circa 5 meters from the lowest point there is a 'hole' in the wall. This hole is the only entrance.

Both the inner and outer walls of the Scout are made of the same (heat-proof) material. This material is unknown to the adventurers and can best be described as 'black, totally smooth stone that, despite the hot desertsun, feels very cool'. The floors and ceilings inside are also made of this material. The material is a synthetic material called 'Quaborum', stronger than steel (+4 vs all categories: as steel with a bonus of +4). Although it looks like stone, spells that affect stone, (e.g. 'stone shape' and 'stone to flesh') don't affect this material. With regard to spells 1" of Quaborum is equal to 2" lead. All walls and floors are 4" thick.

If someone approaches the pyramid within 100' (30 meters) he will hear a deep voice: "Please don't enter our home or we will have to eliminate you. Leave NOW !". At the same moment the sand within 100' starts to whirl up, up to a height of 5 meters. The characters will sense that they are being watched, but they haven't got the faintest idea as to who is watching.

The outer layer of the pyramid is 'covered' with a 2" thick layer of anti-magic. This is the reason that it is impossible to teleport in or out of the pyramid.

The material Quaborum also affects any other contact between the inside of the pyramid and the outer world. Spells that depend on contact with other planes, persons or even gods won't function as good as normal. When there is a chance to make contact, the chance inside the pyramid is only 3/4 of the normal chance. If the result of the spell depends on a die roll then there is a shift of 10% towards a negative result.

Since the pyramid is placed upside-down, this looks like:

Top
----
\ /
\/
Bottom

1 Floor 1

Inside the pyramid all rooms are 8 to 10 meters high. There is a strong, penetrating smell (like desinfectants). None of the places is lit unless the description of the room states otherwise.

Doors are normal, but random ones are locked and random ones are trapped. Feel free to add them in where you see fit, but not excessively (like in the original).

1) Opening to the outside

2) Foyer. Entrance to Pyramid. Nothing in here.

3) Buttons
Placed in the wall are two buttons, a green one on the left, and a red one on the right:
Green: open cage doors
Red: awakens creatures

The monsters from the cages will be enraged as soon as they are awakened and they will attack the characters.

4) Cages.
This is a room, on three sides closed by ordinary walls of Quaborum. The fourth side consists of a a grated door of iron that is magically held in place. Inside these cages are an elite soldier (stone titan), 2 brutes (minotaur mauler and quom enforcer), a lurker (blackspawn gloomweb) and a skirmisher (rimefire griffon). The monsters are not moving (in a state of Temporal Stasis).

Tactics: all go towards nearest foe. Will fight to death and will not switch targets until they fall unconscious. After target is unconscious, will switch.

5) Blackboard room [unaltered]
This room is almost empty, apart from a blackboard on the eastern wall (a). Attached to the blackboard is a small piece of white crayon. The crayon is attached with a small wire. As soon as there is any light in the room, the crayon will start to move all by itself. It will write on the blackboard:
"Spell the next line --->" (The arrow points to an opening in the wall. If the characters cast spells equal to 10 spellevels into this hole, then an extra line will appear:
31131211131221
This is the only extra line that can be gained.)

Below the first line, the following lines of numbers will appear:
1
11
21
1211
111221
312211
13112221
1113213211

Depending of the extra line has been written already the answer (the next line) will be:

31131211131221
or:
13211311123113112211

Explanation: At the first line there is a one. On the following lines you write down the amount and the number (the first line concists of one 1--> 11). The third line holds the number of times (2) that a number appears on the second line (1): 21 (two times a one) etc.

Be careful: Every line the characters write will cause the crayon to diminish. The characters will notice that they can write only four lines before the crayon will be gone.

If the right line is being added, the blackboard will fall from the wall. Behind the wall there is a small niche in which some treasure parcels are. Provide what you see fit.
-----

6) Supplyroom.
This is a storageroom, containing different kinds of supplies. The total content of this room is as follows: 5 blankets, 3 barrels of water (20 liter), 2 bags of flour (25 kilo's) and a barrel of salted meat (10 kilo's). 6 Sword Wraiths rise from the barrels.
Tactics:
They attempt to surround one target and move to another. Will take advantage of walls and enter and exit to gain the upper hand.

7) Repair-room.
Scattered around this room are pieces of iron parts of armor. Along the wall are 11 suits of normal armor. 10 of them are haunted armor animuses from revenge of the giants. 1 is a greater helmed horror. As soon as a non-cloaker enters the room they attack.

8) Slime room.
This room contains containers which contain more slime. The containers are filled to the edge, as soon as a non-cloaker enters the room, they attack (they sense the presence). In the room are living spells (different one in each container). 2x withering grasps, 1x frostclutch, and 2x chillsparks.

A flag hangs on the west wall of this room. The flag is a row of coloured (vertical) banners. The colours are: blue-yellow-black-blue-red-green (read from left to right). This flag is important for it is necessary to open the barrier in room 29.

9) Teleport room.
There is a teleporter pad in the corner. If a creature enters, then pulls the lever, he is transported to room 10.
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Updated 12-15-2010 at 12:03 PM by yukonhorror

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Comments

  1. JustAnotherPlayer's Avatar
    Awesome! I am the original author of this adventure and it is really cool to see someone is so interested in the adventure that he is willing to convert it to 4th ed. I look forward to downloading the end result and perhaps one day play it with new players. If I ever move beyond 3.5
  2. yukonhorror's Avatar
    I converted it to 3.5 also, but I lost those notes. Basically was the same as the original, but I modified what the ancient cloakers were (added many a template to the actual cloaker).

    Also, I took some creative freedom with bits of it. Especially how EACH door is booby trapped and locked. From a player POV, that would get tedious/boring/frustrating. So I suggest locking/trapping only CERTAIN doors.
    Updated 12-13-2010 at 10:48 AM by yukonhorror