WILDERNESS AREA OUTSIDE OF QUASQUETON
The wilderness around Quasqueton is dangerous but in a more natural way than the dungeon. There are no human settlements now closer than 30 miles and no roads or even large trails leading to the hill. There are animal trails and a small stream about two miles from Quasqueton which runs from north to south and empties in a marshy area. There is a chance that the players will find a beaten trail through the woods, not fresh, but as recent as a few weeks past, someone using bladed tools or weapons widened an animal trail in the direction of the hill. This chance becomes near certainty when the gates of Quasqueton are found since the cleared trail leads to the gate. Backtracking along this trail the players will find that it splits in two. One way leads back to the small stream, the other to a campsite.
At some point a few weeks before the PC's arrive someone, several someones, established a small camp at the base of the hill. It has been destroyed and only torn and muddy canvas, broken wooden casks and some metal debris such as a dented pot, iron chain, a cask of iron spikes (48 rusty iron spikes salvageable from the dirt and forest loam). Exploration of the campsite will reveal that a building once stood in this place, the fallen stone walls covered by bushes and vines but its foundation, still forming a square with the campsite in its middle, shows the dimensions of a mid-sized structure. Even if the campsite is not explored in detail there is a 1d3 chance of one of the players hearing the sound of burbling water and only a dozen feet into the woods a small spring can be found.
NOTE: Before setting off on their quest the PCs will be supplied with 1 pack mule for every 3 PCs. 1 full month of iron rations per PC. 1 medium-sized tent for every 3 PCs. Sundry camping gear which the DM may decide to detail or allow the PCs to request, but anything within reason should be allowed. The one item of true note is a compass-like device which always points in the direction of Quasqueton, but whose pin spins in happy little circles within the dungeon itself.
A wilderness encounter table has not been included. This is a forested area and forest animals and animal-like monsters dwell within it. The players characters cannot expect any animals or goods left unattended to remain unmolested but the main focus of the adventure is the dungeon and not the wilderness.
A ROLEPLAYING RECOMMENDATION:
It is recommended, but such advice can easily be ignored, to have the players generate 3 player characters each before starting the adventure. 1 PC can be left behind to hold the horses and guard the camp, while two others journey into the dungeon. If one or even two PCs are killed during a game session a third will be readily available to take up the fallen torch and keep the game moving forward without too much backtracking. Then one or two new PCs can be rolled up and be ready to be worked into the campaign.
THE GATES OF QUASQUETON
NOTE: Keyed areas are simply marked 1. , 2. , etc... on the map, but are listed in the text as L#A# (Level#Area#)
NOTE: Passageways: All Passageways on level 1 are made of smooth, largish blocks of stone of varying size. Floors and walls are slightly slick. Passageways are unlit but have wall sconces to hold torches every twenty feet on opposite walls. Unless otherwise noted.
NOTE: Doors: All doors on level 1 are wooden with iron pull-rings on either side. Hinges are set into the wall and copper hinge-plates protect the wood around the hinges. All doors have keyholes and are locked. Unless otherwise noted.
L1A1). The entranceway to the dungeon appears to be no more than weathered cliff face of blackish slate, except that a section of dirt and vegetation has been cleared in front of a shallow cave-like opening and a stone-faced door, the exterior rough unhewn rock , the interior smooth and finished, stands open. Examination of the door will reveal 3 rusted iron spikes driven into the rock preventing the door from closing.
The passage is an even 10feet wide and 8feet high. The air is damp and musty and tinged with the smell of corruption. The passageway is unlit though sconces for torches are set every twenty feet on opposite walls. During the early morning sunlight will illuminate the first 20feet dimly but further than that and the hall is black as a very black pit.
L1A2). (Trapped Door). A sturdy wooden door with tarnished copper hinge-plates and a rusted iron pull-ring with a small key-hole beside it. This door has old cracks running down its face, but they do not weaken its structural strength. It is a very large door, as are all the doors in the dungeon, made of thick heavy wood. It opens inward but is jammed shut. There are black stains running down the edge of the door from just above the keyhole (blood) and at the foot of the door are several wormlike objects that are a fuzzy-green with white showing through (the severed fingers of the corpse at L1A3).
TRAP: The pull-ring is trapped with a magic trap (it will radiate magic if detected). Anyone touching it will receive 1d6 electrical damage and a 50% chance of being knocked on their ass and stunned for 1d3 Turns. This damage and effect will occur each and every time the pull-ring is touched.
The door may be pushed open with a combined strength of 24. It is not locked, merely swollen shut. If attempts are made to break down the door axes, maces or sledgehammers will make the door gong like a drum and awaken or alert and guards or inhabitants from L1A3 to L1A13. It will take 3d6 Turns to knock open the door
Attempting to burn down the door with a normal fire will be unsuccessful as the door is damp from the moist atmosphere and the hall is poorly ventilated. Such a fire will force any PCs who need to breathe air out of the tunnel and send a plume of black smoke from the passageway out the front door to hang above the hill like a big bat-signal in the sky.
Once the door is open examination of it will reveal that there are gouges along the hinges where iron spikes were driven-in and removed and dark black streaks (blood) along the inside of the door from just above the keyhole.
L1A3) (Magic Mouth) There is a large pool of damp congealed blood on the floor (the floors are damp and slick but not awash with water so the blood has not dried but neither has it washed away) in the alcove, on the walls, a bit on the ceiling and in the passageway between L1A3 and L1A4. The upper torso of a thinnish man in torn leather armor is tossed into the corner. At first glance he looks more like a bundle of rags. He has no lower body, head or fingers on his right hand. If anyone steps into the passageway opposite the alcove or into the alcove itself a pair of stone lips (magic mouth) will appear and speak the following words:
"Who Dares Enter This Place And Disturb the Sanctity of its Inhabitants?"
Then with only a slight pause a voice from L1A4 will be heard to say:
"Htead Niatrec Ot Demood Srerolpxe Yhdrahloof Fo Pourg A Ylno!"
Then from L1A3:
"You're Saying It Backwards Again, You Idiot!"
Then from L1A4 (with an apologetic voice):
"Sorry, Sorry, My Bad. Woe To Any..."
Then from L1A3:
"Wait, Wait, I'm Supposed to be Saying That Too!"
"Woe To Any... O Bugger It."
And the stone lips in L1A3 Disappear.
If searched the torso has only a ruined set of leather armor on its half-person.
L1A4) If the PCs slip into this alcove without stepping into the passageway or L1A3 a pair of stone lips will appear on the back wall. It will remain silent for a moment and then say:
"You're Supposed to Talk With Him Across the Hall First."
If the PCs fail to leave the alcove the voice will say:
"Off With Ya. I have Nothing More To Say."
And if the PCs still haven't left it will begin to whistle tunelessly.
In the alcove PCs will see the severed lower body of a thinnish man dressed in dark trousers and wearing soft leather boots. Dark stains are congealed on the floor and walls. The lower body is tossed in the corner of the alcove. The boots are salvageable and might be sold for a few silvers. A sheath is built into the side of the left boot and contains a throwing knife.
L1A5) A set of thick iron bars block the passage. If the PCs have listened to the message from L1A3 the bars will be raised. If not they are lowered and locked in place. It will require a combined strength of 60 to lift and hold the gate. If strength is withdrawn and the point value is less than 60 the gate will come smashing down with a change to do 1d12 damage to anyone underneath and a 25% chance to pin a PC to the floor.
NOTE: The Magic Mouths will reappear whenever anyone approaches from the front gate, but have grown lazy and surly in the years they have been left alone. They won't bother lowering the iron bars again and will only yell rude insults at anyone passing their alcoves from now on.