At this point the players have either wandered aimlessly for weeks, or months, or gotten directions from the Stone Giant priest Crusht. One way or another they finally come across 3 possible areas that may contain the hidden tomb that they have been told to look for.
Note: For these areas cave 1 was explored by a drow search party who were all killed and eaten by the behir that lairs there. Cave 2 once contained a basilisk but that creature was destroyed by the drow though 1 of their number died and has since returned as an undead. Cave 3 is the very unused, but still guarded, drow entrance to the surface world for this area.
Cave #1: This cave is a crevasse with a large cave like opening in its side. The crevasse is approximately 200 feet long; its width is about 20-50′ in most spots. It is fairly deep going 120′ to the bottom though a dwarf or skilled climber can see a spot that is only 100′ to the bottom. Obviously ropes and climbing gear will be needed unless the party had spells for flying or levitating everyone down. As they proceed down the sides tell a random player that he spots a bluish colored object stuck between 2 rocks. If they investigate the object will be discovered to be a scale, like that of a lizard or dragon.
Note: Be prepared for party debate and long preparations here, players get jumpy when they think your going to throw a dragon at them. Just grin at them and say nothing if they assume it’s a dragon let them.
The climb or flight to the bottom passes without incident. Once they reach the bottom they will notice a few more scales and some obvious drag marks that would indicate a snakelike body or long tail. The cave entrance is 40′ high but while 50′ wide at the bottom narrows as it goes up till the top is only a few feet across. Also the party will note animal bones lay out near the entrance of the cave, all very well chewed on.
Once the players get close to the entrance call for listen rolls at DC 15 (2E: Int checks) those who make it hear something sniffing the air loudly and are not surprised. For the rest they suddenly hear a loud roar, some the clatter of rocks and see a large blue reptilian head (a behir: 3E MM 24, HP 101) emerge and breathe a cone of electricity. Those who heard the sniffing may act in the surprise round, others may just stand there and get toasted.
After breathing the behir will emerge from the cave and attack, once the extra legs come into view the players will know that something is up. The creature will fight savagely and only back down if reduced to 1/3 its hit points. It will then attempt to flee back into the cave or, with its fast climbing ability, scamper up the side of the ravine like a snake and attempt to hide itself under some large boulders. If it does flee it will not return until the players leave the area.
Inside the cave is a nest of sorts made from animal bones and debris. A thorough search yields little of interest. In the nest are the old remains of humanoids of some type. They too tall for halflings, gnomes, or kobolds but could be just about anything else. All of their equipment has rotted away save for a short sword that lies wedged in a crack behind the nest. (DC 25 for search rolls or a detect magic will find it.)
This sword is Kinslayer a weapon of the dark elves.
Cave #2: This cave entrance lies higher up on the slopes of one of the nearby mountains. The party will be able to spot this cave from a few miles away. It resembles a long vertical crack about 20′ in height but only about 6′ wide. If the party is nearby at night they may see a flock of large bats fly out just after sundown. When the party approaches the cave they will notice several obvious statues, they resemble local animals, though 1 is of an orc, and another is a bat that appears to have become broken after being dropped or perhaps falling.
Note: Ok, the players are now thinking basilisk\gorgon\medusa. So be prepared for more planning and preparation. Once again just smile quietly and wait for them to decide the course of action.
Investigations of the statues will reveal them to be very life like and the orc appears to be cowering in fear and holding a backpack in front of him. Also a few of the statues have bat guano splattered on them. The bottom 8′ of the cave entrance is only 3′ wide the party members may need to help smaller races to get inside. Once they have entered the crack they will notice that light is an immediate need since sunlight does not penetrate due to the caves angle and nearby cliff faces.
The interior is still quite thin but appears to open up further ahead. The floor is slick with guano and small centipedes and beetles crawl about the characters feet, also it is quite difficult to breathe due to the stink. At 45′ the cave opens up into a large natural cavern. There is a drop of about 7′ to the floor. It is noticed almost immediately that the bats are living in this portion far away from any light. Unless the party comes to the cave at night their will be 200 normal bats here along with 5 of the larger huge bats (3E MM 193: 1 HD, 1 AT, 1d3 DAM). Any bright light will arouse the bats. The huge bats will attack the party directly with diving attacks, while the smaller bats will flutter about causing incidental damage and disrupting spell casting.
These effects should be simulated as thus: each party member in the cave will take 1 point of damage for every 100 bats or portion thereof and spell casters will have to make concentration checks of DC 25 to cast (2E save vs. paralyzation to cast) The best way to destroy the smaller bats would be with area effects spells or silence spells to rob them of their echolocation ability or smoke to drive them out of the cave.
Once the larger bats are under control a new wrinkle occurs. A dark elf warrior was slain by the basilisk that once lived here, his comrades left him behind and his spirit has waited for a long time to exact revenge upon the living. Once he senses the party members (intelligent living beings) he returns to his corpse and animates it so as to destroy them.
Suddenly rising from the 2 foot deep guano is a horrific sight. A skeletal figure, his bones covered in guano and the vermin that skitter along the floor. His eyes shine with an unholy blue light as he attacks the party. He is the equivalent of a Wight but with maximum HPs, he also turns as 1 level higher. Anyone hits by his grimy claws will definitely be infected with a rotting disease. This must be cured through magical means or it will kill the injured party after a short but unhappy period of misery. Once these menaces have been dealt with the party can search the room, if they really want to heh, but they find nothing of value only the long decayed remains of the basilisk covered in filth. Feel free to disease the other party members who spend too much time here-remember kids never play in guano!