Monday, September 25, 2006

Encounter: The Scholar Falkonne's House (EL 7)

1) Outside The Scholar's Home
113 Torrance Street. The house sags to the right as you stand before the mildewy wooden door, which hangs slightly ajar. Through the space between the row houses on either side, you can see the muddy banks of the Lazy River, its waters sliding past the foundation stones.
General description – A DC 5 Wilderness Lore check allows the players to see the boot prints of a humanoid walking towards and away from the house. They are also found around the front yard leading up to the door. All the bootprints are from the same person: the old scholar. The most recent ones are about two days old.

2) The Scholar's Rooms

Upon entering the house, the players will smell the briny water of the Lazy River intermingled with a fouler stench coming from the basement—a combination of rotten eggs and decaying vegetables.

The first floor of the house is cluttered with stacks of papers, books, and various measuring instruments.

The kitchen is located in the back and a door leads out to what would have been a backyard in days past. Now it opens up to the muddy banks of the Lazy River. The kitchen sink still has dirty dishes in it. The coals from the stove are cold. There is a trap door to one side of the kitchen. It is open and stairs lead down into darkness. The smell of rotten vegetables and salt water is stronger here.

A DC 10 Search check will allow the players to find an old, but still serviceable spyglass in the closet/spare bedroom on the first floor. Most of the papers are written in the same handwriting (the scholar’s). Others are taken from various sources. The papers and books pertain to the history of this region, the Wyndm people and their culture (particularly their religious beliefs), and geographical surveys of the area.

The best source of information will be on the second floor loft, where the scholar’s opus magnum sits upon an unvarnished wooden desk with uneven legs. The book is entitled “On the Origin of the Children of the Sea” and is unfinished. The last sentence of the last page stops in mid-sentence (this is when the scholar went downstairs to investigate the noise from the basement). Cold coffee and half-eaten bread (covered with small cockroaches) are next to the book on the desk. The desk also has an inkpot, some pens. In one of the drawers, the party can find 10 silver and 35 copper pieces.

A bed with a sagging, stained mattress is directly opposite the desk. A wardrobe is next to the bed and contains a few articles of threadbare clothing.

Whenever the party spends a few minutes perusing the book, they discover the following things about the situation in Onuago and Elsemere:

3) Flooded Basement (EL 7)
This basement is severely flooded, half of it's floor eroded and filled with dark water. At the base of the steep steps leading down an unlit lantern lies on it's side, it's glass broken.

Creatures: A Chuul (CR 7) has taken up residence in the washed-out and flooded basement, into which it dug a canal several days ago. Yesterday it had become hungry and restless. When the scholar entered the basement to investigate the sounds he quickly became it's latest meal. It is now well-satiated, having eaten aproximately half of Falkonne's body, and is content to lay concealed in the water in the basement unless it's realm is entered or it's kill is distrubed.

Chuul: HP 98 (Monster Manual)

Tactics: If the chull hears the party entering the house it will conceal itself in the water in the basement (Hide +13, +6 circumstance for water and +2 for darkness = +21). If anyone comes downstairs it will attempt to grab them with suprise and drag them into the deeper water with it to drown, parylized by it's tentacles. Persistant attacks will cause it to resurface to grab the last attacker and submerge them.

Treasure: A thorough search of the basement (DC 20) reveals a small lock-box mostly buried in the mud. It contains the Falkonne family's savings: 20 gold coins, 315 silver coins, and a rodochosterite worth 10 gold.

Development: The dead scholar is restful in the afterlife and will not return if raise dead or similar magic is cast on him.
If enterprising characters cast speak with dead on the body it reveals the information listed in the scholar's journal.
Asking around (DC 10 gather information) revelas that the scholar has no next of kin, being befeft of his wife and recently his only child, who was apparently a disfigured shut-in.

Ad Hoc XP Adjustment: +10 % XP due to ambush situation.

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