Last week, I told you all about The 2nd Mile of The Ten Mile Tower! This week, I will detail the third level of the tower, which is possibly the most dangerous level so far!
Main Premise: The Ten Mile Tower literally spans ten miles into the air, touching the stars themselves. Due to its magical nature, anyone entering the tower has 24 hours to exit or the doors of the tower will close to them forever, whether they are still inside or not. Thus players have only one opportunity to take an extended rest while within the tower and have little room to dawdle as they make their way up its thousands of levels. Many different monsters have become trapped in the tower or reside here of their own accord, and each mile is presided over by a powerful creature and its minions, making this an exciting and varied adventuring location. Read more about The Ten Mile tower HERE.
Note: Is it possible to climb up and down ten miles within twenty four hours? Maybe not! If it is impossible, just imagine that the tower twists time subtly so that those hours of climbing are magically condensed into shorter periods of time. Say things like “Your map indicates that you have reached the third mile already and yet it feels as if only a short time has passed.”
Overview of the 3rd Mile
The third mile appears eerily empty with many areas closed off and in disrepair. The only evidence of life is the occasional torch that dots the walls, providing shadowy light. Giant webs also dot certain levels as the PCs advance upwards.
Drow reside on these levels, but they don’t make themselves known to the PCs. They cultivate spiders as pets, which are not so subtle. From time to time the players may stumble upon a giant spider or two, which are easy enough to slay. However, if the DM wants to test the PCs resources, they may throw an encounter at them consisting of giant spiders and drow that decide to test the strength of the PCs and seek to escape to report to their masters if things go poorly.
As the PCs travel, they inevitably enter into a room where a drow warrior is hiding. The drow observes their approach and then sneaks off to alert his superiors, who reside in a temple at the top of this level. The drow warrior should make a stealth check versus their passive perception. If a player succeeds, they notice the drow darting off to warn his mistress, a drow arachnomancer.
A PC may trail the drow to a dark and gloomy temple at the top of mile two and listen to his report. The arachnomancer responds that they will prepare for the arrival of their guests. She then instructs the drow to take up certain tactical positions but not to attack unless she gives the go ahead.
Lolth’s Trusted – Unholy Temple
EL 12 Battle
5 Players: 3,500 XP
6 Players: 4,200 XP
3 Drow Warriors (4 Drow Warriors w/6 players)
A trapdoor leads into to the temple from below. The temple is composed of 3 rooms. The main room to the north (with the trapdoor) is a basic room with a table, chairs, and several bookcases. The room to the east contains a sacrificial altar. The room to the South contains the torture chambers and cells where prisoners are kept. Defining features of the rooms are described below and should be placed where appropriate or as desired:
- Main Room: Sacred Circle: Lolth (+2 to attacks to creature within circle if they worship Lolth, the Spider Queen)
- East Room: Sacrificial Altar w/bloockrock w/in 2: This gives a 19-20 crit range to those standing in its squares.
- Spider Webs: These are located in corners and hallways.
- South Room: Cells: There is an old man trapped in one of these cells.
The drow do not attack immediately. Instead, the arachnomancer offers to parlay. She will let the PCs pass under one small condition: they each agree to give her a vile of her blood!
- If the PCs agree, the drow honor their word. They take samples of blood and let the PCs go their own ways. However, there will be serious consequences later! Think horrible blood magic, curses, and similar acts of mischief. Perhaps the PCs find themselves summoned to the tower long after their adventure in the tower is over, where they must battle in a very difficult encounter or be sacrificed to summon Lolth herself! Or maybe the drow control the PCs using their own blood and force them to go on some evil and malignant quest for their benefit.
- If the PCs have some crazy plan to avoid giving blood with bluff checks and colored water, they are free to try. Make it a Complexity 3 skill challenge using primarily hard DCs or versus the highest Perception and Insight modifiers among the drow, as appropriate. If they succeed, the drow let them go their way, duped for the present. The PCs may be in for trouble if they return to this location, however (such as on the way down), as the drow will likely have had time to uncover the deception! If the PCs fail the skill challenge, the drow attack swiftly and cruelly!
- The PCs can try to negotiate some alternative payment, such as the trade of some powerful artifact for their passage upwards into the tower. If they do so, be creative and either roleplay the encounter out or let them do a skill challenge. Don’t let the players skimp on what they offer, however, as the drow are pretty keen on either getting a hold of their blood for dark deeds or sacrificing them in battle to their spider queen!
- The drow warriors advance to try to flank members of the party since they do extra damage with combat advantage.
- The arachnomancer tries to stay away from the main line of battle and take advantage of the sacred circle to improve her attacks, pelting the PCs with spells.
- The drider also hangs back by the bloodrock if possible, attacking from afar.
Lolth’s Trusted: The group of drow that reside on these levels received visions from Lolth herself to infiltrate the tower, setup a camp, and spy on what goes on within its walls in preparation for an eventual assault by Lolth herself. They faithfully await her coming, while scheming to gain power and expand their influence within the tower.
My Group: My group neatly sidestepped any sort of social interaction (maybe they were tired of me always trying to trick them) by attacking immediately after trailing the drow back to the unholy temple. Thus began an exciting combat where the PCs made pretty short work of the drow. The wizard, especially, locked many of them down with a pretty nasty daily, making it night impossible to maneuver and exposing the arachnomancer and drider to attack.
Also, two PCs arrived late so in my characteristic manner of doing something ridiculous I had them suddenly burst from a secret passage in the wall of the torture chamber, followed soon after by two drow who had been chasing them (they had become separated from the party). I did this because I thought it would be fun and because whenever possible I try to mix up combats so it’s not just everyone clumped into a ball smashing into each other.
The Old Man!
“What of the old man?” you might ask! To find out, check out next week’s article!