Parent Pages: Adventures

This page is not for the eyes of players.

Clearing the Gnomish Mines

This adventure introduces the PCs to the Tinkers and begins their war with the Coleopterans. It will provide detail on both parties and their relationship with each other.

Back Story

The Gnomes recently dug out a new mine in their endless quest for gems. All was going well until they dug deeper and struck a natural cavern. Following their standard procedures for such, they stopped digging and sent a group of miners in to investigate, including a young fellow named Nacklenottin (Nack for short).

Moments later, Nack ran screaming out of the cave, covered in blood, followed shortly by giant beetles walking on two legs. They were carrying swords, spears and axes. Without the slightest provocation, they slaughtered every gnome they could reach.

Nack just kept running. Some of the other miners followed suit.

Those that ran had barely enough time to close and bar the main entrance to the new mine, as the bugs were right behind them. Nack didn't help close the door; he just kept running.

About a day later, Clan Leader Ranzder organized a six Gnome strike team to go in and clear the mine of all hostiles. They were never seen again. After six hours of not checking in (the strike team was supposed to check back after an hour at most), Ranzder ordered the door welded shut.

Adventure Synopsis

  • PCs hear about the gnomes seeking to hire adventurers.
  • The Gnomes explain the events of the back story and request that the PCs go in to investigate. They offer a significant bonus to clear the mine of hostiles. They also offer a bonus for rescuing any survivors.
  • The Gnomes blow the doors for the PCs, while twenty Gnomes prepare to fend off the bugs for the duration.
  • PCs go in.
  • Earthquake (angry elemental) collapses the tunnel behind them. Digging can be heard from the other side.
  • PCs investigate.
  • They most likely anger the bugs.
  • They spend a significant amount of time fighting the bugs.
  • The Gnomes break through and the PCs escape.
  • The Gnomes collapse the tunnel with explosives or otherwise solve the problem.

Major Variations

  • The bugs have sent an exploratory force into the mine around the same time the PCs arrive. This is composed of two each of Axemen, Spearmen and Swordsmen. They'll possibly be accompanied by a Priest.
    • This exploratory force might be looking for the Gnomish strike team (see next bullet).
    • If this force does not return or report back to the guards at the Natural Cave Entrance after two hours, a double-sized group will be sent to clear out the mine. This can escalate further as each group doesn't return.
  • Forgiving GMs might allow the PCs to find the Gnomish strike team hiding out in the mine, extremely shell-shocked.
    • They were caught off guard, but managed to escape and hide.
    • They'll be in the Supply Room and will initially shoot at the PCs for a turn or two and then realize they're not bugs.
    • They will not go with the PCs, but will offer to stake-out and cover the tunnel leading from the Upper Mine to the Lower Mine.
  • The bugs have scavenged and are using Gnomish firearms!
    • Fortunately for the PCs, they'll be using them at default.
    • At most, only one group of bugs will be armed in this manner.
      • The queen chose to do this to further frighten the Gnomes.
    • When the ammo in the guns runs out, they'll be surprised for a turn (will waste a turn pulling triggers).
      • After this, they'll toss them aside.
    • If the Gnomish strike team is dead, then this is where the weapons came from.
      • Otherwise, it's just revolvers from the Gnome Workers.

Starting the Adventure

Possible hooks:

  • If the PCs happen to be at Iron Peak, the Dwarves suggest that they might be able to help the Gnomes out with a little problem.
  • If the PCs are in the Modron port city at the middle of the bridge to Crescent Island, the Modrons say that the Gnomes could use their help.
  • The Gnomes passed word along through the Dwarves to the League of Adventurers that they need help. The League has the job on their list. The PCs are having trouble getting work and this is the only thing available. Other groups have staked claim to every other job.

Meeting the Gnomes

For whatever reason, the PCs look into the job the Gnomes are offering. To do so, they've got to go through the Dwarves, who will escort them to the Gnomish mines. Here, they'll be escorted by Gnomes to meet the leader of the clan with the problem.

Just getting this far was an adventure in and of itself. First, you had to be escorted by the Dwarves to their lowest tunnel. This took almost an hour of walking.

Here you were introduced to a group of four Gnome soldiers that escorted you though countless, maze-like tunnels, followed by a ride in a very strange contraption that rode on a pair of rails running along the floor. This took you to an elevator, which dropped you down at least half a mile, to the deepest mine level in the mountain.

Finally, the soldiers handed you off to a group of miners that led you to a small, make-shift office setup inside a storage room, complete with a battered, wooden desk and some equally battered, but sturdy chairs. Unfortunately, everything is sized for Gnomes, and is thus awkward.

Seated behind the desk is Clan Leader Ranzder, she who requested your assistance.

She sets a pitcher of slightly-brown water on the desk and offers you some as she begins, “We've had some difficulties that keep us from pursuing the most recent vein of gems. Production is at a stand-still and we're under quota.

“The other Clan Leaders are breathing down my neck to get the mine running again, despite the dangers. I can't stall much longer, but I've already lost too many miners. Would you be willing to investigate for me? At the least, I want to know how to equip my men to defend themselves, or how many of my soldiers to send to protect them.”

She'll offer $10,000 to the PCs to investigate and provide intelligence on the bugs. This amount is entirely negotiable and she could easily be pressured to double that. If they agree, she'll provide the information from the back story and make the offer of $30,000 (again, negotiable) to clear the mine. In addition, she'll offer $1,000 for each of her men they rescue.

She'll also introduce them to Nack, who can provide them with a first-hand account.

Meeting Nack

Nack was quite rattled by his experience in the mine. He's suffering from Nightmares and Crippling Flashbacks. He's also acquired a phobia of bugs.

When the PCs are brought to him, read this:

Ranzder leads you to the Infirmary, which is completely full of injured Gnomes lying on cots, sitting in chairs and lying on make-shift beds everywhere. Doctors and nurses are tending to their injuries.

She leads you to one corner, where a young Gnomish man is rocking back and forth in his chair, staring at the wall. He doesn't seem injured like the others, but you can tell that something isn't quite right about him.

Ranzder speaks softly, “Nacklenottin. I've brought adventurers. I'm sorry, but I need you to tell your story again.”

The young man looks away from the wall, his hands trembling. He looks entirely uneasy.

He speaks slowly and obviously with difficulty, “C-call me Nack.

“I was doing my job. Mining. Do it every day. Least I used to.

“We hit a cave while digging. Stopped to check it out. I was at the back. Went in to see what's what.

“Long tunnel; lava rock. Tunnel widened ahead, Bleebiddle went first. Fountain of blood flew back. One by one in the dark, they all fell: Caranock, Folwick, Garmadge, they all died! I was next, but I ran!

“Those terrible black eyes. The antennae. Their insect arms and bodies. They were so hideous! They killed my friends!

“I should have died, too. Had Garmadge's blood all over me. I ran! I ran. Ran fast as I could. Never looked back.

Suddenly, he looks you straight in the eye and pleads, “Kill me. I don't deserve to live. I left them to die. I left them all to die.”

Nack becomes totally incoherent at this point, while the doctors and nurses try to calm him down. Unless the PCs have some ability to help him, Ranzder will usher them out of the room:

Nack begins screaming as Ranzder herds you out to the hall.

She sighs, “I wish I had more information to give you. I sent a strike team in to clear the mine shortly after the attack, but they never returned.

“I know this is dangerous. It will probably be difficult, so I've decided to loan you anything from the armory you can use. My soldiers will even show you the basics if you like. Guns, grenades, anything reasonable you think you'll need.”

Ranzder will loan them anything reasonable they request. The emphasis should be on loan. This is not a gift. Reasonable here is defined as one weapon, a full reload of ammunition and three grenades for each character. Aside from this, she might be persuaded to give them any small non-combat item that they request.

Entering the Mine

About a score of heavily armed Gnomes have trenched in at the entrance to the mine, having strategically placed sand bags for cover. They look ready to fight a war.

One of them is busy affixing some kind of device to the heavy double doors of the mine. After a moment or two, he backs away and climbs behind one of the sand bag walls.

At this point, their leader walks toward you and says, “We're ready to blast the door any time you're ready. Just say the word and we'll cover the entrance, so the bugs don't get out.”

As soon as they give the word, read this:

The Gnomes herd you behind the barricades, motion you to keep your heads down and then one of them shouts, “Fire in the hole!”

Seconds pass in silence, followed by a deafening explosion. Peeking over the sand bags, you can see that the doors lie in ruins, a tunnel stretches on into darkness.

Just as soon as the PCs pass inside the mine, read this:

As you pass the threshold of the blown door, you hear a deep rumbling overhead. Dust falls from the ceiling and the beams holding it in place begin creaking.

Looking back, you see the Gnomes scattering in all directions as boulders fall around them. Seconds later, a mountain of dirt and rubble fills everything behind you, stopping just inches short of your feet.

The curious Gnomish overhead lights flicker and go out just as the collapse occurs, leaving you in darkness, save for a pair of glowing red eyes that just appeared in front of you.

The eyes in the dark are an Earth Elemental that was summoned by the Gnome Illusionist, Shamut. The spell was a critical failure and the elemental is permanently stuck in the mine. This made it very angry and it wants revenge at any cost; it just collapsed the tunnel because it suspects that the PCs came to help Shamut. It also wanted to prevent anyone else from coming into the mine for the time being.

Make an immediate reaction roll for the elemental, based on the closest PC's reaction modifiers. This is a potential combat situation. If the reaction is Very Bad or worse, the elemental will attack. Otherwise, read this:

You hear a deep rumbling sound, as though from a miniature earthquake and then the red eyes move downward and vanish as mysteriously as they appeared.

For more information on Shamut and the elemental, see the section titled Storage for the Coleopteran Caves map. If the PCs rescue Shamut and attempt to leave the mines with her, the elemental will attack. It has been hanging around the entrance, waiting for her to come back; it figured (somewhat wrongly) that there was no other exit.

If the PCs hang around for twenty minutes, they'll hear the sound of heavy digging machinery coming from the other side of the collapse. Those familiar with Gnomish mining techniques can make a rough guess at the time it will take to dig the tunnel out safely (twelve hours). This requires a skill roll against Engineer (Mining).

From here on out, this adventure will be more or less a standard dungeon delve.


If the PCs are defeated or surrender, they'll be taken to the Coleopteran Queen in the Assembly Hall on the Coleopteran Caves map, as soon as they regain consciousness. Dead characters will end up in the Compost Heap.

She'll cast Tongues and then mutter, “So worms, have you anything to offer in exchange for your pathetic lives?”

She wants magic spells. If any one of them teaches her a new spell worth 25 points or more, she'll let them return to the mines with a message, “Do not invade our territory again or we shall invade in turn.” Alternatively, she'll accept a total of 40 points of smaller spells.

She will not allow any Gnomes to leave with them. This includes PCs.

Any Gnomes in the party will be infected with mushroom spores and taken to Fungus Farm A. If none of the party teaches her any spells, she'll have the same thing done to them. Then she'll have their possessions taken to her quarters, so she can pick through them for spell books and the like.

If they teach her 100 or more points worth of spells, make a reaction roll. On neutral or better, she might be persuaded (via an influence roll) to negotiate with the Gnomes. For 150 or more, she'll allow Gnome characters to leave with the PCs.

Concluding the Adventure

Digging out the tunnel will take twelve hours. After that time, the adventure can end in a variety of ways:

  1. The PCs kill every last one of the Coleopterans in the city directly under the mines, earning their bonus. This should be a very difficult task, as there are about a hundred of them in their underground city. The Gnomes get the tunnel open again and are quite impressed with their work.
  2. The PCs skulk around quietly, getting intelligence on the bugs. The Gnomes will be glad to have the information.
  3. The PCs try to communicate with the bugs. This will likely go very badly, because the bugs are naturally hostile and think that the PCs and the Gnomes are invaders intent on destroying them. This city of Coleopterans are total xenophobes. The Gnomes will eventually break through and this will likely turn out as option 2. Alternatively, this can begin the process of negotiation between the Gnomes and the Coleopterans. If the PCs can begin some kind of negotiations (they were never asked to do this), they'll be given their bonus and be sent on their way.
  4. The PCs get captured or surrender. This should play out as per the Captured! section, above. This can play into option 3, if the PCs talk with the Queen enough and teach her enough magic spells.

If the PCs obtain the map in the Council Room or explore beyond the Residential Sector and then report to the Gnomes that there are other cities besides the one, the Gnomes will collapse the tunnel leading below. Next, they'll remove all their equipment and then collapse the entire mine plus a level above it. This is to give them time to prepare for the real war.

Maps and Locations

Upper Mine

Tinker Mine-Upper Mine.png

Each map square is 1 yard to a side.

The empty rooms on the west side of this level are recent additions. The north one was to be a mine foreman's office. The one to the south was to serve as a minimal infirmary. The equipment and furniture have not been moved in yet.

The mine car tracks that run through the center of the map are covered in blood from various Gnome corpses being dragged deeper into the mine.

Mine Entrance

Everything to the east of the door has collapsed in the recent quake. The wiring that runs the lights was severed in the process. The backup power source is in the Power Room.

The clean-air ventilation system has also been cut off, but under normal circumstances the air would last weeks unless the heavy mining equipment is operated. However, this is a still a non-issue because there is clean air coming up from below the mines, since there's an entire ecosystem down there.

Once the PCs have some form of light, read this:

Now that you've got some light, you can see that the mine car tracks you've been walking on continue down a gradual slope into darkness.

You can also see trails of blood coming from the doorways on the left and right, turning to follow the tracks that lead deeper into the mine.

Heavy insulated pipes run overhead and branch down every side passage. There seem to be occasional vent-like structures built into these.

The air in here is cold and you can see your breath.

The air temperature is down to 25°F in the mine itself. This is cold enough to require survival rolls (p. B430), but can be improved by getting the boilers in the Power Room working.

Power Room

This room is filled with heavy equipment and pipes. Water drips from several of the pipes, which look to have been sabotaged. None of it is currently operating.

Pipes run overhead to the south.

Blood stains are visible on the floor. Bloody footprints of bugs are everywhere.

There is an exit leading into darkness on the left.

The equipment is a pair of boilers the Gnomes set up to heat and light the mine. Both of them have been damaged. The Coleopterans hacked away at the pipes until they shut down. Most of the damage is superficial (cut insulation) and ten or twenty minutes of work would be required to patch the only major leak enough to operate. The minor leaks won't prevent operation, but require two or three hours to repair.

If either boiler is started, the temperature of the mines will gradually rise over the course of two hours to just barely tolerable, but still cold.

In addition to the boilers, there's a steam-powered electrical generator. This powers the lights through-out the mine (wiring is visible attached to all of the supports, if anyone asks). Normally, the power for the lights has a redundant supply from outside the mine, but the collapse near the entrance has severed the wiring.

Check for malfunction of the boilers and the generator once per day (they're Gnomish Technology, after all). If an explosion occurs, it will do 3d damage to anyone nearby.

There are many signs of struggle here and trails of blood leading south. Successful use of the Tracking skill can determine that a battle was fought here and that the Gnome bodies were carried away to the south by the bugs. From there they were taken to the Lower Mine and deeper still. This roll will also reveal a set of bloody Gnome footprints running south and then deeper into the mine.

Four Gnomes holed up in this room during the attack to protect Shamut while she summoned an elemental. They were killed and dragged away, because the elemental made too much noise and attracted the bugs. The bloody Gnome foot prints are from Shamut.

Supply Room

Shelves of supplies line the walls here. Everything is in total disarray.

A few quick glances reveal little of direct use; if you're going to find anything useful, it will require a detailed search.

Scrounging skill can turn up any ordinary item of mining equipment, such as picks and candles. There's also two heavy flashlights.

Locker Room

The mixed smell of sweaty gnome and mold assaults your nose as you enter this room.

You find yourself among row upon row of lockers.

In one corner lies a bin of filthy clothes, the source of the stench. Apparently, the laundry was never taken care of after the attack. It has since gained a serious case of mold.

On the floor, you see streaks of blood, as though several bodies were dragged through the room. These blood trails run mostly from the hallway in the west wall through the north door. Bloody footprints of bugs are everywhere.

Along one wall is a line of sinks, complete with running water. Each has a collection of rags and soap.

Along the back wall are four stalls with enough room for a Gnome to stand. Above them is an arrangement of pipes to deliver water to each stall.

Water drips on your head as you stand in the room. Looking up, it appears that condensation is forming on the ceiling. The source isn't apparent.

If the lockers are broken open and searched, a total of $101.12 can be found, mostly as pocket change, along with various personal items that belong to the miners.

The dripping water is coming from a cracked fresh water tank that's mounted in the ceiling. It was damaged in the recent quake. There's a trap door in the ceiling above the showers that can be found with little effort. This leads to a crawl space containing the tank. If desired, the water on the ceiling can be played up to make the players worry that something is seriously wrong, but in truth, the tank will take weeks to drain completely.

The blood trails are from miners that were attacked in their quarters and then dragged away. Successful Tracking skill rolls can determine what happened.

Miner's Quarters

This room is filled with Gnome-sized beds and trunks set at the foot of each bed. In total, there are thirty-six of them. Each trunk has a padlock.

There's a great deal of blood on the floor, as though a battle was waged here. However, there are no bodies. Bloody footprints of bugs are everywhere.

The bugs managed to catch nearly two-thirds of the miners by surprise while they were relaxing. Most were injured, but not killed, as they were unable to put up much of a fight; they were mostly unarmed. Twenty Gnomes were taken alive. Four were killed. All were dragged away. Successful Tracking skill rolls can determine what happened.

Lower Mine

Tinker Mine-Lower Mine.png

Each map square is 1 yard to a side.

All of the unmarked, rough-edged rooms on this map are areas the Gnomes dug out while mining gems.

At the end of the double tracks is a huge digging machine.

Unmarked Rooms

This room appears to have been a recent hub of activity. There are mining tools everywhere, including shovels and picks. There's also several unidentifiable pieces of equipment lying about. They seem to be Gnomish gadgets.

The rock walls sparkle with red gems.

There's a mine car at the end of the tracks. It looks to have been partially filled with rubble cut from the walls.

As with many other places in the mine, there are signs of struggle: blood on the floor in streaks along the tracks. However, unlike other spots in the mine, there are traces of some kind of yellow goo on the floor.

The unidentifiable equipment is gasoline-powered digging gear. Mostly powered earth movers of the sit-on-and-operate variety. These operate on the same keys that mine cars do (see below). These all have tracked drive trains.

Poor quality, uncut rubies are everywhere in the walls. High quality gems are few and far between. The PCs may mine the gems if they like, but this will anger the Gnomes.

The yellow goo on the floor is Coleopteran blood. Anyone familiar with insects would be able to determine it came from a very large bug with ease. The miners were armed with picks and guns; they put up more of a fight than their off-duty comrades in the Miner's Quarters.

Anyone looking closely at one of the mine cars should have this read to them:

The mine car is large and deep enough to carry several tons of rock and debris. The lowest part of it appears to be machinery.

There's a small area at the end, just large enough for a Gnome to stand on. In front of this is a panel with a lever labeled in Gnomish. It seems to have three settings and is currently in the center position.

Upon closer inspection, you see a key hole in the same panel.

The mine cars are self-powered, using a gasoline engine suitable for two hours of use. They normally deliver loads of rock outside the mine and are refueled at the same time. Each currently has an hour and fifty minutes of fuel left. Empty, they take ten minutes to run from the other end of the tracks to this end of the mine. Full, they take a half hour to get back.

Any miner would have a key to operate the mine cars.

Digging Machine

There is a large machine parked here. It has huge drills on the front end and what looks like a system for dumping rubble into mine cars. There is one car attached to the back end.

This machine has a compartment, complete with door, big enough for a pair of Gnomes to sit in. There are levers and other controls, as well as a comfortable-looking, soft bench. This compartment has a foreword-facing window with wire mesh embedded in the glass.

This is the digger used for quickly excavating new areas for tracks and semi-finished rooms for the Gnomes to inhabit. It's cabin has DR 10, except the windshield, which has DR 5 (the wire mesh strengthens it and keeps it from turning into dangerous fragments if damaged). It also has the capacity to lay track.

The digger is powered by a heavy diesel engine and requires the same kind of key the mine cars do. If turned on, it makes a horrendous amount of noise and can be driven foreword at 1 yard/second. However, anyone caught in the way of the drills will take 5d of damage. They're easily avoided by anyone capable of moving on their own.

The description of the mine car is the same as above, with one exception. This one has a key. The second mine car was at the other end of the track, being emptied, when the attack happened.

Natural Cave Entrance

This long, slowly curving, natural cave looks to be made of lava rocks. The porous rocks make it look like it was carved out of a humongous, black sponge.

The sheer volume of blood spilled in this cave is surprising! There are blood splatters on nearly every surface, along with bits of yellow goo.

Several sections look partially collapsed and there are scorch marks, as though from explosions. You also see bullet casings from Gnomish firearms everywhere. It's just possible this is where the Gnomish strike team met their doom.

Up ahead in the darkness, you hear a strange clicking noise. You also feel warm air moving past your body; it would seem that the natural cave is warmer than this freezing mine.

There are six Coleopterans ahead. Two Axemen, two Spearmen and two Swordsmen. They're totally bored and heatedly arguing about the pros and cons of their various weapons (the clicking noise). The instant they sense the PCs, they'll berserk, so it's possible to take them down without too much effort if they're surprised, but once they get going, they'll be tough opponents (Berserk gives a +4 bonus to death and consciousness rolls while berserking).

This group has been set the task of guarding the cavern leading to the mines, while their Queen decides what to do about the mines and the Gnomes. They were part of the initial exploratory assault. At this point, they believe themselves more powerful than the Gnomes, as they took them all with little effort. Even the Gnomish strike team was dispatched with only minimal casualties, as they made large amounts of noise and were not stealthy (the guards heard them coming).

If the PCs have made excessive noise in the last ten minutes or come straight here within ten minutes of the collapse of the mine entrance, the guards will be ready for them, well hidden in the shadows. If the PCs aren't alert, they'll be allowed to pass and then picked off from behind, one by one. The guards will attempt to do this in a stealthy manner, but make self-control rolls for their Berserk Disadvantage for each turn that they have to stay quiet and attack. If any of them fails, they'll all go berserk. This will alert the PCs, ruining any benefits of surprise.

If the PCs are alert, do the usual quick contest of Stealth vs. Perception. Those of the PCs that succeed will not be surprised. Give a +3 bonus to the Coleopterans, due to the fact that their bodies are black like the walls and the rubble from the Gnomish grenades has given them good cover opportunities.

Coleopteran Caves

Coleopteran Caves.png

Each map square is 3 yards to a side.

These caves are comfortably warm, neither hot nor cold on average. The PCs no longer need to roll for survival due to the cold. Everywhere below this point is part of the Underdark, making it a High Mana Area.

Fungus Farm A

Giant semi-brown mushrooms, easily six feet tall, grow in straight rows here. Giant beetles walking on two legs are tending to the mushrooms using garden tools, like hoes and shovels. This appears to be a small farm.

These are farmers. Each has four points in Farming (Fungus) for a skill of 11 and one has eight points in it, for a skill of 12; he's the leader. This is an optional specialty of Farming, making it a little easier for them to learn. Any rolls based on Farming by PCs involving these mushrooms will be at -2 due to the strangeness of them and the specialization of skill required.

The instant they realize they're being approached by non-Coleopterans, the farmers will bolt and run for the city gates, screaming the whole way. There are three of them, plus the leader.

If anyone takes a closer look at the mushrooms, read this:

As you look closer, you can see that these mushrooms are growing out of the bodies of many dead, giant beetles.

Looking further down the line, you see some slight movement at the base of a shorter, foot-tall mushroom.

Read this to anyone peering closer:

As you look even closer, you realize the movement is coming from a head sticking out of the soil at the base of the mushroom. It's bulbous nose is a dead give-away for a Gnome.

If they dig up the Gnome, read this:

As you dig him up, it's clear that only his head was uncovered and the mushroom is growing out of his back.

As you free him, it becomes quite obvious that he's unconscious and fairly close to death.

There are twenty living gnomes buried in this fashion, all paralyzed, due to a toxin the mushrooms have released into their blood. They're only semi-conscious, due to a lack of food.

The Gnomes were exposed to the spores of the mushrooms and then buried in such a way that they wouldn't be able to move. Once a day, the farmers bring them water, to keep them alive as long as possible, because the mushrooms grow faster while their host is alive. They can grow in dead flesh, but at one hundredth the rate.

The mushrooms are an ultra-rare fungus that is highly valued to necromancers, as any zombie made from an infected corpse will have +2 ST and HT. This can even be applied to them after they're animated, for much the same effect. The reason for this is that they enhance necromantic magic slightly. Any necromantic spell cast within a yard of an adult mushroom has a +2 to it's activation roll.

After a day of growth, they begin releasing a paralytic toxin into a live host, requiring hourly HT rolls to resist. Failure to resist indicates paralysis from the neck down until the toxin is flushed from their system.

The fungus infection can be cured by magic that cures disease, or by any anti-fungal treatment. The mushrooms are very sensitive to anti-fungal drugs, immediately withering at their application, even when the most mild forms are used.

The Coleopterans are growing them as food and are currently in the middle of a food crisis (See Fungus Farm B and C), so they're using the living Gnomes to accelerate growth as much as possible.

A steady diet of nothing but these mushrooms (which taste horrible) will provide the Fit Advantage. Every Coleopteran in the city has this benefit.

Fungus Farm B and C

Giant semi-brown mushrooms, easily six feet tall, grow in straight rows here. This appears to be a small farm, but it seems abandoned.

Upon closer inspection, even an untrained eye can see that the mushrooms are wilting and dying. They seem thoroughly unhealthy.

These are the same kind of mushrooms as in Fungus Farm A, but they've been infected with a wasting disease. They're completely toxic at the moment and totally inedible.

Within a day or two, the farmers will burn them down and leave the area to sit for a few weeks. This is the only solution they've found to kill the infection. They're currently working on another project vital to the survival of their city. This is the work involving live Gnomes in Farm A.

The fact that two of their farms have developed this disease spells quite a big disaster for the Coleopterans. They could have survived without one of their farms, but the loss of two is more than their food stores can last through. Without outside help, or the success of the live Gnome project, the city will be gone within three weeks, due to starvation.

Compost Heap

There are dozens of freshly dead bodies here, including giant beetles and many dead Gnomes. They seem to be stacked neatly, as though being prepared for something.

There are four to six foot tall, fuzzy-topped mushrooms here and there among them. These seem to be releasing something into the air.

The mushrooms here are in the process of breeding and releasing spores. Anyone that stays more than a very brief period should roll against HT. If they fail, they're infected with the spores of the mushrooms described under Fungus Farm A.

The farmers who tend the mushrooms only come here while wearing a protective mask over their mouths, so they won't breathe in the spores. This won't work for anyone that doesn't have built-in DR, as the spores can work their way in through the skin. The Tough Skin Limitation on DR means it's ineffective, as well.

Walls and City Gate

The wall is made of rough-cut local stone, stacked all the way to the ceiling.

You see a heavy, wooden gate, with six of the beetle-warriors milling about at it's base.

There are two of each warrior type here.

If the PCs are noticed or the farmers have come running this direction, the warriors will be prepared for them. If not, then they'll be talking about the pros and cons of their weapons (like those at the guard point at the Natural Cave Entrance).

Barracks A and C

This would appear to be the sleeping quarters for the beetle-warriors. There are a great many of them lying in beds made from dried, hollowed out mushrooms.

These house the sleeping quarters of the warriors of the city. For the whole city, there are a total of twenty-four of each type, Axemen, Spearmen and Swordsmen.

Any that have been slain (in the mines, for example) will not be here.

Due to recent troubles from above, two of each type have been posted as guards at the north gate.

Half of the remaining guards (ten of each type) will be sleeping here. If they're not sleeping and not on guard duty, they'll be in Barracks B.

If the guards at the gate sound the alarm or get into a loud battle, the sleeping guards will wake after two turns and arrive to help after four.

Barracks B

This seems to be the entertainment room for the beetle-warriors.

Many of them are gathered here playing dice games and some kind of game involving round, flattened, dry pieces of mushroom skin.

Modify the last line of boxed text if the warriors were all slain at the gate.

If the PCs did not enter stealthily, or the warriors are otherwise in a heightened state of alertness, read the following:

As you enter, they all turn their heads to look at you. After a quick glance, the brandish their weapons.

Any warriors that are awake, but not busy guarding something, will be here, playing games and otherwise occupying their time. There are supplies for entertainment. The dice are labeled with pips, not numbers and the cards (mushroom skins) are similarly labeled with countable marks, as the warriors are all illiterate.

Any commotion at the gate will draw the warriors from this room within two turns.

Destroyed Temple

This pile of rubble looks like it was a temple to some kind of insect god. It was destroyed in a recent cave-in.

There are four beetle-people standing nearby, dressed in tattered robes. They look angry.

The four here are Coleopteran Priests. They tore their robes as a sign of penitence when their temple was destroyed by a cave-in.

They'll attack the moment they see the PCs, taking it as a sign from their god that the interlopers have been delivered into their hands. If they can, they'll defeat the PCs and then attempt to sacrifice them on the altar hidden among the ruins. Any warriors that hear the commotion will attempt to help.

Among the ruins are a mixture of gold objects and cut gems worth a total of $5,500. There is also a surprisingly-intact altar to the insect god.

The priests believe that the Gnomes are somehow responsible for the quake that destroyed the temple, but they haven't ruled out the possibility that their god is angry with them.


This appears to be a very large storage room.

There are dried mushroom stalks bundled together leaning against the walls. The mushroom heads have been separated and stacked.

In addition, there are at least a dozen each of broadswords, axes and spears set on racks.

You see movement in the corner of your eye and turn to see what it is. It's a Gnome dressed in wizard's robes and she's pointing a gun at you!

This room contains enough mushroom parts to feed the Coleopteran city for three more weeks.

The Gnome is Shamut. She's an Illusionist. Aside from the normal traits add the Quirk and Disadvantage Likes Invisibility Spell and Loner (12 or less). Also add the Advantages Hard to Kill 1 and Hard to Subdue 2. Since she's been eating nothing but the mushrooms here, add Fit, as well.

It should be noted that Shamut happens to be the Clan Leader's sister, but Ranzder will not admit this easily. She's embarrassed to be related to a gnome wizard.

She's exhausted beyond belief, as she hasn't slept much since the attack; she's been awake for twenty-four hours now and is missing 3 FP from a lack of sleep. See Missed Sleep on p. B426-427.

Currently, she's frightened and just about ready to shoot anything that moves. When the attack happened, she holed up in the power room with a handful of miners protecting her while she cast Summon Earth Elemental. Using the rules for Extra Effort on the Spells page, she added Reduced Time 2 to the spell to bring the casting time down to just over four minutes. She rolled a critical failure and summoned an Earth Elemental that wants to see her dead, no matter what. It's also permanently bound to the mine, which is the reason it's so angry.

The elemental immediately turned on her and started chasing her, pausing just long enough to swat a few of the miners out of the way.

She ran straight for the exit, which had already been closed and barred from the other side by panicking miners. The elemental was right behind her, so she cast Invisibility, ducked around it and ran deeper into the mine. The elemental roared in anger and then permeated into the rock floor. This attracted the Coleopterans to the area and got the remaining miners killed or captured.

If she attempts to leave the mine, the elemental will try to kill her again. She doesn't realize that her spell bound it to the mine and thinks that by now it must have returned to it's home plane.

If the PCs are kind and understanding, Shamut will drop the gun. She'll lower her weapon the moment she hears anyone speak a language she understands, as this will snap her out of the fear-induced daze she's in.

Assembly Hall

This room contains many wide, flat-topped mushrooms surrounded by smaller ones. The smaller ones look to have been intentionally planted.

After a brief moment of pondering this, it occurs to you that the large mushrooms are big enough to be used as tables and the smaller ones are just the right size to sit on.

After surveying the room for a while, you notice that there is a large mushroom at the south end of the room with what appears to be a very comfortable looking throne carved into it. To either side of this is a stone door.

If the PCs haven't caused any commotion yet, then the room will be occupied:

Sitting in the throne to the south is a beetle, just like any of the other giant beetles you've been seeing. It's holding a scepter made of gold and making a clicking sound at several others.

The one in the throne is the queen. The others are her advisors: a farmer, priest, axeman, spearman, and swordsman. Each one's primary skill is one level higher, as they are the best the city has to offer. The farmer has a skill of 13 in Farming (fungus), as he is the head farmer in charge of all work crews.

All of the mushrooms here are petrified. The cushions on the throne were made from giant spider silk, a product imported at great expense from another Coleopteran city. The cushions are worth $11,243. The scepter (which the PCs will have to pry from the queen's cold, dead fingers) is worth $40,250.

If the queen is killed, the Coleopterans will fight amongst themselves to determine who the next queen will be. This civil war will last roughly two weeks, decimating half the population of the city.

Council Room

This room features a single mushroom table, complete with six mushroom chairs. One wall has maps and other papers pinned to it.

Among the papers is a map of the tunnels leading to other Coleopteran cities. Almost everything else is simply boring administrative papers detailing the day to day activities of the city.

If there's been any commotion in the city, the Queen and her advisors will have prepared an ambush for the PCs. Read this:

You see a lone beetle-person cowering in one corner, obviously very afraid. When it spots you, it covers it's head and starts screaming!

This is the farmer, acting as a distraction. Roll vs. Per-4 for each PC, as an Earth Elemental permeates out of the floor and attacks from the middle of the PCs. Anyone failing this roll may be caught by surprise.

Next, the three warriors will pounce from either side of the door and one from above. The axeman is on the left, the swordsman is on the right, and the spearman is in the rafters. Meanwhile, the priest will poke her head up from behind the table enough to use her gaze power. The queen is in her quarters, concentrating on keeping the elemental controlled.

After serving as a distraction, the farmer will run for the cover of the queen's quarters. He will not fight, but will always cower in fear if threatened.

Queen's Quarters

This room is decorated in a fashion befitting a noble from the surface, including an expensive, soft-looking, four-post bed with silk sheets in one corner.

In another corner you see a writing desk that might fit well in a wizard's study, complete with all the standard accoutrements.

The stone floor is covered with a nice area rug that's been woven to depict a wizard battling a dragon.

The bed and all sheets are worth $8,957.

The writing desk is fairly normal, but contains scrolls for all her spells, just in case she needs to use one as a bribe for another city's Queen or in case she dies, her successor can use them.

The area rug is worth $32,620.

Residential District

This area is beyond the scope of this adventure. There are homes here for each of the farmers (24 in total), priests, warriors and the queen's advisors have bigger homes. They each have families.

Everyone in this section will cower in fear before the PCs. They may be slain with little effort.

There are also tunnels leading into a maze-like system of caves that reach underneath the whole Archipelago. There are many other Coleopteran cities, as well as cities of other underground races.

If the players insist on exploring these other caves, read this:

You walk down one of the tunnels for about thirty yards and come to an extremely large, open chamber that stretches off into the darkness.

You're standing on some kind of ledge with no apparent means down, but you can see many hundreds of lights below. After a moment of thought, you realize that you're looking down at three or more cities below, each of which is definitely larger than the one you just came from.

This should hopefully give the impression that this job was bigger than anyone thought. The Gnomes have a war on their hands if the PCs have successfully wiped out the city. Even if they haven't, they've probably still got a war on their hands.

Character Sheets


Back to top
CC Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported = chi`s home Valid CSS Driven by DokuWiki do yourself a favour and use a real browser - get firefox!! Recent changes RSS feed Valid XHTML 1.0