Last week I posted about Mile 1 of The Ten Mile Tower. This week I present Mile 2, with an actual combat!
Main Premise: Due to the magical nature of the tower, anyone entering has 24 hours to exit or the doors of the tower will close to them forever, whether they are still inside or not! Thus, the players can sneak in no more than one extended rest while exploring the tower!
Overview of the 2nd Mile
As the players progress past Mile 1 through the labyrinthine chambers of the tower, they notice that the monsters on the 2nd mile are fiercer than in the previous levels. Many large and powerful creatures reside here, such as trolls, ogres, and minotaurs. The first few times the PCs encounter a monster, it attacks in a blind rage, only to be quickly cut down (unless you feel like throwing in an extra combat or two). After a few such encounters, either word has spread or the monsters are getting more intelligent, because they begin to avoid the heroes, that is if the PCs let them.
At some point, the players will encounter a group of Ogres (8 or so Bludgeoneers). Some will attack, but most of them will flee down separate corridors to get help! The PCs can try to cut them down before they escape. Otherwise, one of them alerts a Minotaur Berserker that is lurking in the hallways on the next level. He proceeds to climb to the top of this section of the tower (to Mile 2), where he alerts his lord, a conniving beholder, that the PCs are approaching. A PC may trail the Ogre as he runs for help and then follow this Minotaur if they’d like, in which case they witness the report of the Minotaur to the Beholder. He speaks of the party’s skill in battle (assuming they’ve been succesful so far) and suggests basic tactics for when they arrive.
The Beholder’s Lair
EL 11 Battle
5 Players: 3,000 XP
6 Players: 3,700 XP
1 Beholder Eye of Flame (Shelwith)
1 Bladerager Troll
1 Minotaur Berserker (2 w/6 players)
There is a shaft running through this room that runs up and down the tower. It’s original purpose appears to have been as a magical elevator that could ferry people up and down the various levels of the tower. The elevator has long since fallen into disrepair, with access to many levels cut off completely and the elevator platforms themselves inoperable or malfunctioning.
- The room is medium sized, approximately 12X12 squares.
- The shaft is 4X4 squares in the middle of the room. The shaft goes down over 100 feet onto a malfunctioning elevator platform, dealing 10d10 damage to anyone unlucky enough to fall into it! However, anyone falling in can make a Hard Athletics check as a free action to grab onto one of the four enchanted chains that run along the shaft to slow their descent, taking no damage. The elevator platform activates automatically for a creature if they start their turn on it and ascends back up to the room, teleporting all creatures on it off of the platform and to a square adjacent to it (their choice), then descends back down.
- There is a control panel in the far end of the room. It takes a minor action to activate it. Activating calls the elevator platform to the room, where it remains for the rest of the battle. This closes off the shaft from below and allows melee characters to run up and attack the beholder.
- There is a set of doors at the far end of the room (next to the control panel) that leads further up into the tower.
- Shelwith the Beholder hovers in the middle of the shaft, too far away to be targeted by normal melee attacks.
- The other 2-3 monsters stand on either sides of the pit, posing an obstacle to anyone trying to get to the control panel.
- When the PCs first enter the room, Shelwith greets them with a wide and terrible smile. If they don’t attack immediately, he offers to let them all pass for 2,000 GP a piece. If the PCs simply pay the money, he attacks anyway, suspecting them of being wealthy cowards!
- A PC make a Hard Diplomacy check, however, to negotiate a lower payment (1,000 GP for each party member) and appeal to his sense of reason not to get into a fight that he may not win; if they do so, he will likely honor the deal.
- Alternatively, a PC may make a Hard Intimidate check to warn Shelwith that to cross them is certain death. If they succeed and each pay 2,000 GP he will let them pass. If they don’t pay, however, he attack anyway, too proud to let them get away without giving him anything!
- Shelwith hovers over the shaft to avoid melee attacks. He fights intelligently, using his eye rays on weak targets, trying to disable or kill as many members of the party as possible. He uses his telekinetic ray to drag PCs into the pit and its 100 foot drop! It’s up to the DM whether Shelwith rises up into the shaft above to avoid attacks once the elevator platform has risen; if desired, the shaft above could be obstructed, preventing this tactic.
- The other monsters fight ferociously, trying to form a barrier between the PCs and Shelwith. They also attack anyone going for the control panel since they know Shelwith doesn’t want anyone messing with it.
Shelwith was part of a powerful strike force of beholders and an army of minotaurs, trolls, and ogres that tried to take The Ten Mile Tower by force. They quickly dominated the forces at the lower levels, but when they moved into the highest levels of the towers, Shelwith’s leader was slain and most of the army was routed!
Shelwith retreated to the 2nd level of the tower with his remaining forces and now rules over a handful of minotaurs, trolls, and ogres. He is greedy, conniving, and cruel. He demands tribute from anyone seeking to climb into the higher levels and more often than not attacks those that pass through unless they are traveling in great numbers or somehow give him reason to believe he will benefit by letting them pass.