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Return of the Nine

The care-takers of the Cave of the Nine have gone missing and no one that enters the cave returns. The League of Adventurers, on orders from the top brass, call in the PCs to handle the problem.What horror has occurred inside? Will the PCs get out alive? Or will they become another macabre spectacle for the Lost Gardens?

Back Story

The nine Medusa witches that lived in the Cave of the Nine were experts in stone magic. One of them, Maedra, was very pragmatic about her safety and prepared safeguards in case of the worst. She enchanted a special locket that she always wore that would return her to a semblance of life if she were ever turned to stone by her own gaze.

In the process of clearing the island, the Hazard Harbingers used a unique spell that reverses a Medusa's gaze, turning the user of it to stone.

Now, many decades later, the locket has finally gathered enough energy to animate Maedra. It was not able to restore her to life, but now able to move, she can effect that transition herself.

Within a few hours, the care-takers were turned to stone and she began the process of awakening her sisters from their long slumber.

Several days passed before the care-takers were missed and the League was informed. Captain Gunderson was on hand, training the militia in the art of warfare, so he dispatched a squad to check things out and report back. They didn't return.

Fearing the worst, he called an emergency meeting of the League's governing council. Based on the available facts and a reasonable sense of paranoia about the cave, they guessed (correctly) that one of the Medusa had somehow been returned to life.

Special Note on Witches

Unknown to all parties involved, while Maedra was busy killing care-takers and militia, a coven of witches that are members of the Strobel clan (other earth channeling witches) have been using their own magic to block Maerda's ability to learn new spells through Reveal the Weave. They assumed the worst about the cave and quickly created a spell that can interfere and have been taking turns blanketing the entire island in it's effects. They feel that it's their duty to help out in this manner until they're sure The Nine are taken care of, since no one else would even know how to do this.

This only affects witches that channel energy from the Elemental Plane of Earth. Any PC witches that also channels this energy will be unable to learn new spells through Reveal the Weave for the duration of the adventure. If a PC gets a critical success on a discovery roll while casting this spell, they'll get a strong feeling that their efforts were somehow blocked.

Maedra has not figured this out yet, but has not yet given up, either.

Adventure Synopsis

  • The League calls in the PCs and Sebastion Clay of the Hazard Harbingers.
  • The Governing Council briefs them.
    • Sebastion briefs the PCs on The Nine and some of the League's ancient history.
    • Sebastion suggests using the same attack plan that originally worked on The Nine.
  • They enter the cave.
    • There is no initial resistance.
    • Everything is way too quiet.
    • They discover some of the care-takers, turned to stone with horrified looks on their faces.
  • They stumble into an extensive maze.
    • The Nine built this using magic, long ago, but it wasn't open.
    • Maedra opened it because she's expecting trouble.
    • Navigating the maze will take upwards of two days!
    • To escape they have to destroy a stone golem minotaur!
      • It's a true terror to face, as it's huge and specially designed to fight multiple opponents.
  • Eventually, they get to the end of the maze.
    • They discover the remainder of the care-takers, also petrified.
    • Some few have been smashed to bits.
    • They find the militia squad, also turned to stone.
  • They're attacked by a mixture of care-taker and militia that have been animated as stone golems.
    • After a few turns of battle, Maedra comes into the room and tries to get the attention of the group, nearly forcing everyone to look at her.
    • Sebastion springs his reversed-gaze spell and Maedra simply laughs out loud.
      • She focuses on killing him, as she is quite angry about what he did to her and her sisters.
      • It will shortly become obvious that she is still petrified, but is magically animated animated.
  • The PCs defeat Maedra.
  • The End.
    • Ending A: The PCs get a hardy slap on the back and their pay.
    • Ending B: The PCs bump into Melchius Braeton as they exit the cave. This encounter will seamlessly dovetail into the next adventure.

Starting the Adventure

Where ever the PCs are at the time, read this, but adjust the text as needed:

As you're going about your business, you're surprised to see a young man running in your direction as fast as he can. He's carrying a satchel bearing the seal of the League of Adventurers drawn with glowing blue lines and letters. Obviously, he's on official business.

He stops next to you and hands the satchel over as he tries to catch his breath.

Inside is an official letter for the PCs directly from the League's Governing Council:

{Insert adventuring party name here},
We've got a potentially deadly situation brewing back home on Medusa Island. Please return to Headquarters as quickly as possible.

We require your assistance, as the other groups have been committed elsewhere or are too inexperienced. Further details will be provided on arrival.

Best Regards,
The League of Adventurers Governing Council
Ulrich Gunderson
Ellora Rayna
Melchius Braeton
Dante Montour

The satchel also contains a letter with all the proper seals and marks to be handed over to any available Courier ship's Captain. This will get them to the island as fast as possible, where the crew will be paid for the trip. The letter promises double the normal rate of pay to cover the inconvenience of the short notice. This letter will make any ship Captain very happy and they'll drop whatever they were doing to help the PCs.

Finally, the satchel contains a retainer fee of $5000 as a mixture of gold, silver and gems for each member of the party.

Arrival at Headquarters

As you walk in the door, the desk clerk practically assaults you and quickly ushers you down several hallways into a room you've never been in before: the main council chamber for the League.

You're surprised how simply the room is decorated: there is a small table that resembles something you might find in the dining room of an inn or tavern and one wall is covered with charts, maps and other papers, tacked in place.

In one corner is a wooden board with a series of concentric circles drawn on it; it reminds you of a dart board, but there's a knife stabbed squarely into the middle of it.

An attractive woman with long, black hair is poised to throw another. She briefly looks at you and half-smiles, “You're late. We were expecting you ten minutes ago.” You can only assume, by her appearance and previous description, that this is Guild Master Rayna of the Shadowed Eyes.

Seated at the head of the table is Captain Gunderson, the League's current militia commander and the head of the council. He gives her a severe look, “Cut the crap, Ellora. Now is not the time for jokes.”

Across from him and also seated at the table is a robed figure, Melchius Braeton, whom you've met before on various occasions. He's easily the most accessible member of the governing council, despite the fact that he has responsibilities to both his home kingdom and the Wizard's Guild.

The fourth and final member of the council is Dante Montour, a man of no small reputation, as he is both blind and an expert with a bow. His eyes are covered by a strip of cloth that has been tied around his head as a symbol of his sightless state. He stands as you enter the room and bows briefly.

Seated by the back window is a man in well-used armor. He seems to be peering outside.

Dante finishes his bow and speaks in a low, but almost musical tone, “We apologize for the short notice. However, this is urgent and we need a capable group such as yourselves, right now.”

The armored fellow by the window turns toward you, his voice echoing through his helmet, “We believe that The Nine may have returned to life. This would be quite bad if it's true.”

Captain Gunderson gestures you to enter, “Come in. Sit down. This will be a long discussion.”

The armored fellow is Sebastion Clay, the oldest living member of the League. He's currently still on active duty as a member of the Hazard Harbingers. He is one of the founding members of the League. He's here to give the PCs a brief history lesson and then accompany them into the Cave of the Nine. He was brought back to HQ by Melchius via teleportation magic. It took most of the time the PCs were traveling just to track him down, as the Hazard Harbingers have been very busy in the far reaches of the Archipelago.

After introductions have been handled (please note, Guild Master Rayna is in a very snarky mood), read this:

Sebastion begins, “I've been a member of the League since the beginning. Been in the Hazard Harbingers even longer than that.

“When we decided to put this organization together, we thought, 'Hey, we need a place to call home.' We decided to take Medusa Island from the previous owners, a coven of nine Medusa witches.

“It wasn't an easy job, but they were over-confident and unprepared. We trounced them soundly and only three of our number were petrified in the process.

“I ended that fight decisively with a spell we cooked up for the occasion. It filled the room with conjured mirrors; I haven't met the Medusa that can withstand her own reflection.

“After that, I zapped our lost companions back to life and all was well.

“With that business out of the way, we set up shop and the rest is history. Everybody was happy to have The Nine out of the way. We even got a nice, steady flow of cash from the cave; it seems that visitors love to see 'The Medusa Statues.' They're not quite statues, to tell the truth, but most don't realize until they take the tour.”

Captain Gunderson continues the tale, “Currently, we believe The Nine may be active again. Given the history of the cave and the situation at hand, we're assuming the worst.

“Several days ago, the care-takers went missing inside the cave. I sent in a militia squad to investigate. They're missing now, too. Believe me, they're well trained. Unless something truly terrible happened, they should have been able to handle it, since they even had a few battle mages with them.

“I know it's dangerous, but we'd like you to investigate and take care of the problem. Sebastion will be going in with you, as he can offer invaluable insight due to his previous experience with these monsters.”

Guild Master Rayna smiles wickedly as she tosses another knife at her knife-board, “Don't worry. We'll fix you up if you get turned to stone.”

In addition to the $5000 each they've already been paid, the council will pay another ten thousand each for completion of the job.

Concluding the Adventure

When the final battle is over, Sebastion will insist on completely destroying all of the remaining Medusa “statues,” as they've already been a source of trouble.

He'll give them Maedra's magic items, if they want them. He considers this his part of paying the PCs.

If the PCs are interested in the baubles (one from the Minotaur Golem and one from Maedra; both are described in the section on the Control Station), he'll offer them $40,000 instead, since the Minotaur Golem's bauble can control parts of the maze and the tour could be greatly expanded with it. He can be bargained up on this price.

Once they find their way out of the cave again, they'll find a militia squad standing guard, prepared for almost anything.

This adventure can then go one two ways: A) The PCs get paid and go on their merry way. B) They find Melchius Braeton outside with the squad, waiting for them, as bad things have happened while they were in the cave. This is the adventure hook for the adventure Civil War. Melchius will pay them and lead them to one of the outlying suburbs of Medusa, where they can purchase equipment and be briefed on what's going on.

Maps and Locations

It should be noted that Sebastion owns this place, even though he hasn't told the PCs. So, he will not let the PCs loot the place. If they try, he'll make this known. If they insist after this, he'll order them to leave and will continue by himself.

The daily tours are the source of Independent Income that's listed on Sebastion's character sheet, so he wants this place intact.

He won't care if the PCs take something because they need it. He will also let them take things from The Maze, since he didn't know it existed and they're risking their lives to kill the stuff living inside. However, he won't be so forgiving once they defeat the Minotaur Golem and exit The Maze.

The Cave Entrance

Sebastion leads you to the entrance to the Cave of the Nine. Everything beyond the rays of the sun is cloaked in inky darkness.

He nods, “All-right. Everybody get ready. This will probably be very dangerous.

Ask for marching order and what precautions the PCs are taking. If they're going to run around looking at everything through a mirror, assess a -4 penalty to all rolls except resistance rolls for the awkwardness and they'll have to use one hand to hold the mirror.

Sebastion wants to take the lead, since he's supposed to know where he's going (he isn't expecting The Maze, below). He won't bother with the mirror thing either, claiming that his armor makes him immune to petrification.

The Natural Cave

The room is filled with many stalactites and stalagmites and many spaces that look as if nature built jail cells through the formation of these natural columns alone. Inside a few of them sit statues with horrified looks on their faces.

One of them is slightly different, as though someone had intentionally poured liquid limestone over them and then, once it solidified, they turned them to stone, just for the sheer cruelty of it.

All told, there are probably a dozen or so of these cells, most of which are occupied.

Sebastion whispers, “This is bad. We've been turning these poor souls bad to life, so only four of these had someone in them the last time I was here. I'd call this confirmation that The Nine are alive again.”

He gestures for everyone to follow him as he enters a well-formed, artificial tunnel. As he walks, you can see that the tunnel is completely seamless, without a single tool mark anywhere.

Eight of the new cell occupants are petrified care-takers, animated as stone golems. These would be Animated Petrified Humans, to be exact. After the PCs go by they'll begin following, in order to ambush them later. They'll use Stealth and wait until the PCs encounter another group of golems to attack. If the PCs notice they're being followed and are obvious about it, then they'll attack immediately.

If anyone examines the “cells” carefully, they can easily tell that there's room for a normal-sized human to climb in or out.

The Maze

You continue down the passage and come to an intersection.

Sebastion goes, “Hrm.”

After a brief moment, he turns and whispers, “I don't remember an intersection here. I'm not even sure which way to go, since this passage was full of twists and turns before, but it went straight through to The Nine's Work Room.

“I'd say they're expecting us.”

This section of the cave was always a maze, but The Nine kept the correct path through sealed off from the rest of the maze unless they were sure an assault was coming. Maedra isn't taking any chances, so she has unsealed the maze and set the Minotaur Golem loose.

The maze is devilishly complex and covers several square miles of area. Game it out any way you and your group would find fun.

The following conditions apply in the maze:

  • The tunnels are consistently three yards wide, 4 yards tall and made of magically-shaped, seamless limestone.
  • The Minotaur Golem has the ability to re-arrange the maze by closing or opening passages. He will not let the group exit the maze without killing him first. You can learn more about the Minotaur Golem under the section for Room 4.
  • Make a Hearing roll for each character for every hour of game time they're inside to notice “the sound of stone grinding against stone.” This is the Minotaur Golem re-arranging something.
  • The Minotaur Golem is using a scrying device to watch and listen to the PCs, so it knows what they say and do.
  • If the PCs realize they're lost and discuss it at all, they'll hear “a deep, bellowing laugh roll through the maze.” The Minotaur Golem has been ordered to laugh in a creepy fashion if it hears anyone say they're lost.
  • The walls, ceiling and floor will resist being altered by magic. Treat any such attempt as a contest of skill vs. a skill level of 16. Brute force, on the other hand, will have no such difficulty. However, the walls are a full three feet thick.
  • Once the Minotaur Golem is defeated and the maze shut down, walking through this area takes about an hour, assuming average walking speed.
  • Any character with the Absolute Direction Advantage will automatically notice within the first hour of wandering the maze that it's being re-arranged.

Ideally, the PCs should get lost in here for at least two days of game time.

Other methods are possible, but here's the ways I'd suggest handling this without using a map (travel times assume average walking speed; adjust as needed for running, horses, etc.):

  • The PCs can follow the right or left wall and hope to get through the maze.
    • This will get them lost, as the Minotaur Golem will re-arrange the maze to mess with their heads.
    • It will lead them to the four special rooms listed below in turn.
      • Travel time from one special room to the next is 12 hours.
  • Anyone with the Intuition Advantage can lead the group in a particular direction through the maze: north, south, east, west, or center.
    • This requires an IQ-4 roll to accomplish.
    • It will also require some way to tell with way is north, such as a compass compass.
  • They can have their characters draw a map as they go.
    • Again, the Minotaur Golem will re-arrange the maze.
    • They'll notice pretty quickly that the maze is shifting around while they're not looking, as they'll hit a dead end and try to follow their map back to where they last found a branch in the path. Allow a Cartography Skill roll made by the GM to determine this fact. If they fail, just tell them that they've somehow gotten turned around and gotten off their map. Roll to determine this every 30 minutes of game time.
    • This can be combined with the Intuition approach to make the IQ-4 roll into a straight-up Cartography roll. If a character with the Cartography Skill is assisting the character with Intuition, then a successful Cartography roll allows the other to roll at IQ-2, instead.
      • Travel time from one special room to the next is 16 hours, as the Minotaur Golem actively resists allowing them to move in the direction they want to.
      • The exception to this is if they happen to be moving in the order it wants. Then they'll find everything going eerily easy and take six hours between locations.
  • Wandering aimlessly can be handled just like following one of the walls.
    • However, this takes 18 hours between locations, due to the aimless nature of their wandering.

There are four important locations and six encounters in the maze. The encounters are random: roll 1d for every three hours wandering the maze. If the PCs stop moving for any reason, check once every 12 hours and ignore immobile results, such as Trap Room, Skeleton, Lost Militia Man and Ambush.

The Entrance (East)

This is the way the PCs came in. Once it's out of sight, it will be sealed behind them. If they return, they'll find a dead-end with a blank wall that is indistinguishable from the rest of the maze. Unless they turn around immediately after entering, they're not likey to even recognize this area as the entrance.

Room 1 (Fountain, North)

You enter a circular chamber with a beautifully artistic fountain at the center.

The fountain sprays water into the air from multiple Medusa statues, the water spraying from their mouths. The top-most Medusa is about four times as large and water is spraying from it's snake hair mouths, as well as minor streams from it's eyes, resembling tears.

The water is crystal clear and looks inviting.

When excavating the maze, The Nine encountered an underground river fed by a vortex to the Elemental Plane of Water. After a pitched battle with some Water Elementals, they defeated them, turned the vortex into a beautiful fountain and then never went anywhere near it again. The fountain serves as a trap for those wandering the maze, as it's the only clean source of water in the maze, but the elementals are back.

Every time this fountain is visited, there will be a number of Water Elementals as would present a challenge to the PCs. Killing them all will leave the fountain safe for about an hour.

The elementals hide in the water until someone tries to drink from it or take some of the water.

Room 2 (Slime Pit, North-West)

Passing through an arch-way, you enter a large, rough, natural cave. In the center of the cave is a large pit. Off to one side is a cubic stone box, about a foot wide.

Peering below, you see a multitude of gelatinous cubes of various sizes, milling about aimlessly. Off to one side, the pit has a series of large grooves cut into it. You'd think this were a ladder, but the grooves are spaced too wide.

At the very bottom of the pit, you see a multitude of open-topped passages resembling the maze's passages. The cubes are moving through these, eating a number of small, furry creatures. It's hard to tell at this distance, but the small creatures might be rats.

This room is the breeding pit for the Gelatinous Cubes that clean the maze. The Minotaur Golem comes here once a day to feed the smaller cubes. When they grow to the proper size, it lets them loose in the maze. When the cubes reproduce in the maze itself, it herds them back to this location for feeding.

The box is a magic item that produces an endless supply of live, regular rats. To produce a rat, someone has to reach inside and a rat will appear in the user's hand. It weighs forty pounds. If any PC reaches in, they'll be immediately bitten by the rat that appears in their hand. If you're feeling particularly sadistic, require an HT roll to avoid catching some horrible disease (rats are simply filled with disease, after all).

Room 3 (Stone Golem Storage, South)

As you enter this large room, you notice row upon row of statues with horrified looks on their faces. There are about a dozen of them. How very odd. These are probably petrifed humans. Some of them are dressed like the missing care-takers.

These are Stone Golems, as per Stone Golem Patrol, only without orders, simply standing by until they're needed. They will not attack the PCs, except in self-defense. If an alarm goes off (see Sealed Room under Trap Room), an appropriately-sized group will be teleported there. The Minotaur Golem is in charge of these golems, but since it cannot speak, it can't give them any more than the most simple orders. It can get them to follow it and they'll assist with anything it does, but this is a rare occurance.

If the PCs get their hands on the Minotaur Golem's bauble, these golems will obey their commands.

Any group of ten or more trespassers (not likely with the PCs) will cause the Minotaur Golem to keep a group of these golems with it in the Control Station. As GM, you're free to give your players a bigger challenge by giving it some guards. It all depends on how much trouble you think the Minotaur Golem will be for the.

Three of the care-takers are among the golems.

Room 4 (Control Station, Center)

You enter a large room with a grid of squares imprinted on the floor. It looks like a map of the maze. There are bumps in the floor where the walls are. Some of them look like little game pieces that slot into the floor, while others are permanently fixed in place. Various spots on the map glow blue and move about slowly.

Very near the center of the map, you see a number of glowing red spots, equal in number to your party.

There are four exits leading back into the maze. One exit each for North, South, East and West.

This is the Minotaur Golem's lair. It should be here when the PCs arrive, ready for a battle. It will attempt to catch them by surprise, if possible. This would likely depend on how the party is marching. There are plenty of shadows at the edge of the room, and it's body is the same color of stone as the walls. It prefers to attack from behind.

The map allows moving some of the walls around (the movable pieces) and also serves as a teleportation device; anyone jumping on the map will be immediately teleported to the location they landed on. The golem uses this function, along with the Recall button on it's baubble to get around quickly. The blue spots are Stone Golem Patrols and Gelatinous Cubes. Red spots are intruders. Touching the golem's bauble (see the next paragraph) to the map will cause it to scry that location. In addition, any magical construct standing on the map will regenerate 1 HP/second.

The golem is carrying an eight inch, spherical, solid glass, magic bauble with a few buttons inset just below the surface of the bottom (so they won't be pressed accidentally just by holding it).

The buttons on the bottom of the bauble are labeled, in Greek, as follows: “Next View”, “Open Wall”, “Recall”, and “Speak”.

It serves as a crystal ball that immediately homes in on anyone that enters the maze and then follows them. If there are multiple groups of intruders, the Next View button will cycle through all of them. This also cycles through views of the special locations in the maze. It has a view looking down from the ceiling. Looking through the device at a different angle allows a different view. Pressing Next View twice quickly will turn this feature off.

The Open Wall button opens a hole in the nearest wall for a single second; the golem uses this for it's Ambush encounter. It takes one second for the wall to open (on the turn it's pressed), then it stays open and clear for a second and finally takes another second to close. This is enough for the golem to make an attack through it, or make a quick escape through a wall in an emergency (it has never needed to do this).

Recall will teleport the holder of the bauble (and anything they're carrying) to the Control Station.

Speak will cause the bauble to link with another, similar device in Maedra's pocket, to act as a two-way communication device for both sight and sound. The golem has never used this function, as it was never ordered to. The Nine used to man the maze themselves and would thus use this function to keep in touch. If the PCs activate this, Maerda will use her gaze attack through it within two or three seconds. These two devices can link at any distance up to twenty miles and will flash brightly three times when they initially connect.

The only one of these capabilities that will function outside the maze is the Speak button.

Anyone holding the bauble and standing on the map will find that they've been put in touch with a mana well that provides 5 energy a second for any spell-caster. It actually provides much more, but the maze is absorbing most of it to continuously operate it's traps, move walls, etc.

The Exit (West)

Until the Minotaur Golem has been defeated, this looks no different from any other dead-end in the maze. Once that's out of the way, the PCs can re-arrange the maze in the Control Room to open the exit. This will lead to The Work Room.

Encounter 1 (Trap Room)

Roll 1d:

  1. Crushing Walls
    • Stone slabs slam down ahead and behind the group, sealing them in as the walls, ceiling, or floor begin moving in to crush them.
    • The slabs have DR 5 and 80 HP.
    • The walls are just a s thick as everywhere else and are being moved via magic (they're still seamless with the ceiling and floor).
    • Failure to escape within1 minute results in death, as multi-ton hunks of rock with immense force behind them crush the PCs.
  2. Pit Trap
    • The floor cracks and breaks, dropping whoever was in front into a spike-filled pit for 3d impaling damage.
    • Allow a Per-4 roll to notice the instability as they character steps on the spot in question.
    • The trap will repair itself within three hours.
    • Some of these have skeletons in them.
  3. Water Trap
    • Stone slabs slam down ahead and behind the group, sealing them in as the chamber begins filling up with water pouring in from lots of small holes in the ceiling.
    • The slabs have DR 5 and 80 HP.
    • Allow a Per-2 roll to notice the small holes before they're sealed in.
    • The room will take five minutes to fill.
  4. Sealed Room
    • Stone slabs slam down ahead and behind the group and a small pedestal with a button grows out of the floor. Written around the button in Greek are the words, “Hold this down if you want to live.”
    • The slabs have DR 5 and 80 HP.
    • The PCs can hear an extremely loud rushing-air sound and the air in the room will blow past them just a bit.
    • Pressing the button causes the airflow in the room to become normal and the sound will go away for as long as the button is held down.
    • Pressing the button will set off alarms in other parts of the maze, attracting two Stone Golem Patrols. 1 minute after the button is released, the slabs will lift back up and the pedestal will drop back into the floor. The patrols will be at either end of the chamber, waiting to slaughter the PCs.
    • If the group doesn't press the button, 1 minute later the slabs will lift back up and the pedestal will drop back into the floor. Nothing else happens.
    • Yes, The Nine have a sense of humor.
  5. Swinging Blades
    • The way back is sealed off by a slab with DR5 and 80 HP.
    • The way ahead is blocked by blades swinging in and out of the walls.
      • Four dodge rolls are required to get through without being hit.
      • Anyone struck by a blade takes 5d cutting damage.
      • The mechanisms driving the blades have ST 25.
      • Parrying them will not help unless the PC in question has comparable ST with which to hold the mechanism back.
  6. Sand Trap
    • Just like the water trap, only with sand and it takes 20 minutes to fill the room.

Encounter 2 (Skeleton)

Certain sections of the maze have been intentionally left untouched by the “cleaning crew” (Gelatinous Cubes, see below). The Minotaur Golem has, based on orders, taken to leaving it's victims in these sections so others might find them. All the better to scare trespassers…

There usually isn't much of value left with these bodies, but since the Minotaur Golem doesn't care about treasure in the slightest bit, each will be found with gear aged beyond usefulness. Rusted armor, broken swords, rotted leather armor and ruined packs filled with expired rations are all common.

If the PCs are lost, a kindly GM might leave a functional compass on one of these skeletons. This is also a good place to insert a minor magical item that the GM wishes to give the PCs. It can be “the only thing undisturbed by the ravages of time.”

Any of the following may be read for these encounters:

You turn a corner and come across a skeleton, pinned to the wall by a battered, rusted sword. The hands are grasping the sword, as though it died trying to free itself. The sword has been stabbed right through it's plate armor and into the wall, obviously with great force. There are dried brownish-red marks all over the wall and floor.

This one was knocked unconscious in battle and was pinned to the wall while still alive. It took him three days to die. This is a good spot for magic fighter gear, for a GM in a generous mood.

You enter a small chamber and find a skeleton in a seamless, limestone cage, hanging from the ceiling. It's dressed in rotted leather armor and has a knife in one hand, in the attitude of uselessly trying to cut through the stone bars. Near the rusted blade is a deep groove in the stone. Looking closer, the knife is extremely dull.

This was a thief that surrendered when his party was killed by the Minotaur Golem. It placed him in the cage and he starved to death trying to cut his way free. This is a good spot for magical thief gear, if the GM is feeling generous.

Tucked into the corner of the passage ahead is a skeleton, dressed in ragged robes. It's lying down and seems to be chained in place by the ankles. The jaw is severely damaged and the bones of the hands are shattered.

Another victim caught alive. This time a wizard. The Minotaur Golem, based on orders regarding spell-casters captured alive, shattered her fingers and broke her jaw, so she couldn't cast spells. This would be a good place to insert the tattered remains of a spell book if the GM is feeling generous.

You enter a large octagonal chamber with a short pedestal in the center surrounded by a pool of bubbling, green liquid. Perched on the pedastal is a skeleton dressed in tattered religious robes and wearing a blindfold, with a bow and quiver slung across it's back. It's kneeling, as though it died praying. It's jaw is severely damaged and the finger bones are a broken mess.

Off to one side, you see a passage with a set of stairs spiraling upward.

The pool is filled with boiling acid (4d damage per second; five cycles after exposure and removal from the pool) and has a six yard radius. The stairs lead to a chamber above the pedestal. The Minotaur Golem used it's bauble to open a hole in the floor and drop the defeated priest on the pedestal, alive. He died of thirst a few days later.

This was a priest of the Order of the Unseeing Eye. This is good place to insert some priestly or archer gear if the GM is in a generous mood.

The ceiling above the priest has DR 5 and 80 HP.

Encounter 3 (Lost Militia Man)

After the first encounter, this will be a fresh corpse of one of the militia men. Treat this similar to a Skeleton, only the body is fresh and the gear isn't worthless. The militia men mostly wear chain mail, but a few wear leather and some of them are battle mages. Their commander was wearing full plate.

If this is the first time this encounter has been rolled, read this:

Entering a long corridor, you're surprised to find a man sitting on the floor, his back against the wall. He's wearing the garb of a League of Adventurers militia man.

As you approach, he looks up, shakes his head and begins laughing.

His name is Derek Sciotti. He's been alone for three days. He got separated from his squad during an assault by a Stone Golem Patrol. He's gone somewhat insane with hunger, thirst and loneliness, as well as something along the lines of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

An influence roll can get his story out of him, but either way he'll die shortly after from a lack of water (he's beyond hope by this point). Healing could keep him alive, but he's still hopelessly insane.

If he talks, read this:

“We came in looking for the care-takers. They told us to find them.” he giggles briefly and then continues, “They said it shouldn't be too bad.

“Fat lot they knew. We were hit from behind. They killed George and Humphrey. I…I panicked and ran.”

The man looks away and laughs out loud, “I ran.”

He laughs like a maniac and shouts, “I ran!”

He grows a little more calm as he continues, “Then she came. Thought she was a woman. Thought she would help us. Turned half of us to stone, just by looking at us.”

Once more, he giggles, “Found the care-takers. They tried to kill us.”

He laughs, coughs, and tries to say something else, but a combination laughing/coughing fit takes hold of him until he shudders with pain! He stiffens and then goes completely limp. He's dead.

His story is quite a bit out of order, but that's a problem for the PCs to sort out. His squad encountered the animated, petrified care-takers first, before the maze had been opened up. They destroyed about half of them in self-defense. Next, they ran into Maedra, who managed to turn half of them to stone. The rest of the group ran back the way they'd come, so Maedra opened up the maze and released the Minotaur Golem. Once in the maze, they were assaulted by a Stone Golem Patrol and Derek was separated from the group in the confusion. Shortly after, he lost his marbles from the stress.

He's wearing a usable set of leather armor, leather leggings, leather sleeves and a pair of boots. He has a knife tucked into a sheath on his right boot.

Encounter 4 (Gelatinous Cube)

Most of the maze is regularly cleaned by a bunch of large, 3 yard wide gelatinous cubes. They're carefully herded around by the Minotaur Golem's control over the maze, so they don't eat the bodies it left behind as warnings.

For this encounter, the PCs bump into one of the cubes. They're very slow, so they're really easy to avoid, but they also block the whole tunnel, except for a yard of space at the top; they don't grow to fill this space, because there are many archways that hang lower they have to fit through.

If you want to encourage the PCs to fight one, you can have it come along with a bit of undigested treasure inside.

Encounter 5 (Ambush)

The Minotaur Golem has orders to make occasional ambush attacks, in order to further freak out anyone caught in the maze. The way this works is the Golem waits behind a section of wall it can control as the PCs walk by. When the last one passes, the wall opens, it attacks the last member of the party one time from behind and then the wall closes again.

This takes one turn to open the wall, one turn to attack and one turn to close it. The wall will close automatically; this takes no action on it's part, as the setting it's using on the maze controller requires a simple button press to complete the whole thing. The Minotaur Golem is careful to block the path with it's body for the duration, so no one can get through.

The PCs get a Hearing+2 roll to notice the sound of the wall opening. Use the surprise rules (on p. B393) for anyone that doesn't notice. Those of the party that aren't surprised and are close enough might be able to get an attack in.

For more information on the Minotaur Golem, see Room 4, above.

Encounter 6 (Stone Golem Patrol)

This consists of 6 Animate Petrified Humans, patrolling through the maze for trespassers. They'll kill anything that doesn't belong. It should be noted that if they're restrained, they can be restored to life, intact.

The Work Room

You find yourselves in a large, domed chamber. Light is filtering in through the ceiling, which is composed of transparent crystal. The architecture appears Greek in origin and is just as seamless as the tunnel before.

The room has nine sides and nine work areas, complete with tool benches, stools, tables and foot-powered pottery wheels. On one or two of the benches are what look like partially-finished stone sculptures.

Built into one wall is what appears to be a massive kiln, large enough to fire pottery the size of an elephant.

There are several statues here that look like some of the cave's care-takers. They have horrified looks on their faces and they're all gathered around one of the work benches.

Just about everywhere in the room, you see scattered stone fragments. Closer inspection reveals that they may have come from statues.

There is another hallway on the other side of the room.

Sebastion sighs, “One of The Nine was caught here. It was the first time I used my gaze reflecting spell on a Medusa. She's missing.”

This is the work room for The Nine. They used this for all kinds of magical and non-magical work, ranging from sculpture to golem construction. The Minotaur Golem was constructed here, having been built by all nine of the medusae working in concert.

The work benches have everything one might desire for working with stone or clay. One of them includes all the trappings of a painter and another has a writing desk.

The painting supplies were used by one of The Nine to prototype art for the walls in this underground structure. There are several paintings set aside that have what look like an artist's conception of an interior decorator's design notes.

The writing desk contains a series of six stories written in Greek where a Medusa “heroine” goes about destroying “Evil” adventurers and traveling among “the horrible humans” in disguise. Anyone reading them will find them strangely fascinating, as they're well written and entertaining. Anyone reading all six will find themselves sympathizing with the main character's plight.

If anyone has taken the tour of the Cave of the Nine, they may notice the Medusa that was here, frozen as a statue, is missing. This was Maedra herself. She awoke as night fell and a care-taker crew had just finished cleaning her.

There are five care-takers that have become Animated Petrified Humans. Originally, there were two more, but the militia group that came through here shattered them while fighting.

The care-takers are waiting for the PCs to drop their guard before attacking. If they try to move on to the next room, they'll be followed by this group and this group will attack at the same time as those in the Waterfall Room.

The hallway on the other side leads to the Waterfall Room.

Waterfall Room

As you exit the hallway into another large chamber, you hear a waterfall. You're walking on what looks like small, one-inch square tiles, but you can tell there's actually no seams. It's been shaped to look like tile, but isn't. The walls and ceiling are decorated with bas-relief of Medusae bathing and relaxing in warm water.

Looking about, you see a spa-like room with a large, triangular pool that fills half the room. Steam is rising from the pool and the room is definitely humid. On the left, water is pouring at an angle out of a stone dragon's mouth into the pool, while at the other end a section of stone that looks like a cloud drips water in many places, making it appear like rain.

At the opposite corner of the room, the pool's water is pouring out over a lip and down somewhere else out of sight.

There is another hallway leading out of this room.

This room is just what it appears to be and is large enough for all of The Nine to bathe here. The Medusae used this room to bathe and relax. The dragon head pours hot water that comes from a hot spring and the cloud drips cool water diverted from an underground river. Both are completely safe to drink. The pool spills down, back into the river in a natural cave. This cave is inaccessible, due to the small size of the drain.

There is a group of eight Animated Petrified Humans here, dressed in the garb of League militia. Aside from this, Maedra casts an Alarm spell in this room every night, just after sunset. This will go off when the PCs enter the room.

The hallway leads to the Living Room.

Living Room

You arrive in another domed room, again with a crystal sky-light. There are twelve sides in total, each with a doorway leading to a room. The center of the room is dominated by a large table that looks to have been used as a dining area. The table is currently set with somewhat fresh-looking fruit and enough seats for a dozen or more people to sit down and enjoy a meal. On closer inspection, you can see a bowl filled with a variety of nuts and a tray with stale sandwiches

To one side of the entrance you see a small table set with multiple games. There are two petrified medusae at the table, as though they'd been playing a game of chess. Their heads are turned to look toward the entrance, their faces frozen in a look of surprise.

Just a little further along the wall you see a scorch mark, similar to what a fireball might cause. Lying on the floor, near it, is a petrified Medusa. It's lying there as though stunned by the force of the impact.

Further along the wall is a group of three with their hands in the air, as though gesturing to cast spells.

Finally, your gaze makes it way around the room to the other side of the entrance, where two Medusa statues are standing, holding weapons.

Sebastion sighs, “I only count eight.”

If anyone looks up, read this:

High up, near the edge of the sky-light, is a stone figure with a short bow. It's perched on the edge of a small balcony.

If this is during the day, Maedra will not be active, as her amulet has only been able to animate her at night. She'll be hidden in one of the walls of the deep blue bedroom. Since she's vulnerable during the day, she's enchanted a Stone Shape effect into the wall so she can hide herself in it. The wall is keyed to open and close when ordered to in Greek. She's feeling very paranoid, because she and her sisters were turned to stone.

When she comes out every day, she first listens very carefully. She'll wait until things are quiet to come out. If things are all clear, she'll head straight to the Waterfall Room to cast Alarm. After that, she goes to the Study.

If this is at night and the PCs got past her Alarm spell quietly (fat chance of that!), she'll be in the Study, doing research on the Reverse Petrification spell. During the first hour of each night, she'll be in the process of casting Reveal the Weave, trying to get that spell. See Special Note on Witches under Back Story for more information on why this won't work for her.

If this is at night and the PCs have been noisy, Maedra will be hiding on one of the balconies up above, watching and waiting for an opportunity to attack. Roll a contest of her Stealth vs. the PCs Perception. If they notice her, she'll yell, “Attack!” and all of the Animated Petrified Humans in the Bedrooms will swarm out and attack.

She will try to force the PCs to look at her as often as she can, but will begin the battle by casting Sink on them. Spell-casters will get hit by Silence. Finally, she'll try to kill Sebastion with Magic Missile, while the Animated Petrified Humans attack.

She casts two spells at the beginning of every night: Alarm is cast in the Waterfall Room, so she'll have advance warning of intruders and she casts Reveal the Weave, to try and get the Reverse Petrification spell. These put 7 energy on her tally and neatly keeps her below the 8 points her tally will drop by each day. Depending on what time of night they encounter her, her tally may have dropped some (1 point every 3 hours).

Sebastion will cast Sebastion's Reflective Regard, but will discover when Maerda laughs at him that it doesn't work at all. She's already petrifed, after all. She'll spend her next turn moving out of the mirror cube he built around her, laughing all the while.

The door to the left of the entrance leads to the Stairs. The door to the right leads to the Study. The other nine doors lead to the Bedrooms.

Stairs

There is a stone, spiral staircase here, leading up. It looks well-used, but sturdy.

This leads to the Upper Level.

Study

The study has a vault-style door made from ironbound wood. The lock has DR 24, HP 46 and the door itself has DR 60, HP 62. It will be locked. Maedra has the key.

This room is simply filled with books, crammed into shelves with just enough space for someone to navigate their way through the room.

One section of this room is open and has seating for four or five people to sit comfortably. There is a couch and two chairs. There is also a small table with a few books on it and some scribbled notes.

In one corner of the room, you see a book shelf, knocked over. It looks severely damaged.

When Maedra finally had the time to check the study, she found that nearly every book on magic is missing. Her sister's spell-books are missing, as well. Only her own, a shrinking spell book that was on her at the time she was petrified, is still available to her. When she found that the books she was seeking were missing (taken by the Hazard Harbingers as spoils of conquest), she grew quite angry and kicked the book shelf until one of her toes broke off. She quickly re-attached it with magic and began trying to research Reverse Petrification with what little she has. Progress is slow and she's becoming frustrated.

All of the books are in Greek, including the books on magic, even though those have small snippets in Latin.

Two of the books on the table are about stone magic. The other is about life magic. The notes are also written in Greek and relate to combining the two. Anyone that understands Greek can make a Thaumatology roll to determine that the author of the notes is trying to modify a standard healing spell to turn it into Reverse Petrification. The notes are covered with colorful doodles that won't make sense to anyone but a magic-using witch or warlock. The work is about 60% done.

There are also notes related to enchanting a wall with an effect similar to Stone Shape.

Bedrooms

There are nine bedrooms. Six are similar, but decorated in different colors: maroon, dark green, tan, gray, deep blue and yellow. Three are special and described below.

Aside from what's described, each room has two Animated Petrified Humans in it. They will not attack, except to defend themselves until they hear Maedra order them to. Some are militia men and some are care-takers.

The six similar rooms are described here; just replace bracketed text with the appropriate color:

This is an opulent bedroom decorated in a Greek style that might befit a wealthy noble. It is decorated in shades of [color].

The first of the special rooms is the golden room:

This bedroom is decorated in various shades of gold, using a mixture of plated metals and silk sheets. This furniture in this room alone would cost a fortune!

This was the room of the eldest sister.

The sunset room:

This bedroom's far wall is painted to resemble a setting sun over the ocean, with the ceiling painted like a nearly-cloudless sky and the floor sculpted to appear like a beach. The other walls are painted to appear like the horizon over the ocean. You could almost swear the water is moving, but it's got to be some kind of optical illusion.

The furniture resembles rocky outcroppings, almost like a set of short cliffs, including a dresser with stone-fronted drawers and a wardrobe styled like a small cave set into one wall. The bed is set into the floor and has been made to look like a small lagoon, with blue silk sheets.

This was the room of the painter. Some of the paint is magically enchanted to make the scene change slightly from time to time. Over the course of a year, the sun moves around the edge of the whole room and every day or two the weather changes.

The plant room:

This bedroom is filled with live plants and the ceiling is a skylight, much like the larger room, just out the door. There is a large, four-post bed with a mosquito net, even though there are no bugs in the room that you can see.

Upper Level

You reach the top of the stairs and find yourself on a circular walkway that reaches several balconies that hang over the larger room, below.

Perched on one of these is a petrified Medusa wielding a bow. In one hand she holds an arrow up and one of her hair-snakes seems to be poisoning it.

However, her attention is obviously focused on something down below.

You also find there are several sections of the outer wall that are transparent crystal, allowing a spectacular view of Medusa Island.

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