Mask Campaign Chapter 2e: The Underground River
The river has led the party to a natural cavern created by erosion. They will feel warmth coming from somewhere up ahead but they might be concerned with drying off their equipment and healing up first. The temperature in this cavern is about 55 F, still cold but not like the blizzard raging overhead. They may even start a fire.
Afterwards they explore the cavern infravison tells them the warm air comes from deeper in the earth,actually an old volcano but do not tell them this. The walls of the cavern are covered with rings caused by water erosion, meaning the river was much higher at one point.
After searching they will discover that one wall of the cavern is discolored indicating a different type of stone. Those with stonework skills will determine it is artificial but very old. With only a little effort they can knock down the damaged wall to see into the tunnel beyond.
1: The tunnel goes both left and right. It is about 12′ in height and 9′ in width. The tunnel is also half-full of water though the air here is even warmer, about 75 F. Checking the left tunnel shows that the tunnel forms into a set of stairs which is blocked by ice and rubble. The blocked passage is dig-able but will take about 15-20 man hours of work.
2: The right tunnel continues on at some length. If they examine the walls the party will notice that images have been carved and painted at different points. These images are a race of reptilians that worshipped some kind of snakelike god. In some of the images the god is shown wearing a mask or helmet that is blue in color.
3: About 50′ ahead, the way is partially blocked by a tunnel collapse. Trying to clear it is possible but it will take 40 minutes to do with a 45% (9 in 20)chance for a further collapse. Any collapse will result in 4d6 damage to the digger and any within 10′ unless they make a DEX check at -2. Cut the turns to 3 and the chance of collapse to 25% (5 in 20) if a natural digger type is with the party, a dwarf, gnome, etc.
4:After clearing the rubble enough to crawl through, more digging might cause a total collapse, the party can see a pair of large double doors up ahead. About 40′ more of tunnel separates the party from the doors. There is a pit trap about 30′ from the door but water has opened it and trigged it. The water fills the pit and a bit of the tunnel up to the doors. The pit is only 10′ deep and it poses no danger to party members unless they are bad swimmers and no one helps them back out. This serves merely to warn them, don’t say you never give them a break of the up coming trap.
5: When they reach the door they will notice it is made of bronze. The water has begun to pit the door but it still holds solid if not airtight. The doors have no lock but are heavy, and also trapped. If pulled with enough force to open, it will fall on the opener and anyone else standing there. It weighs approximately 150 lbs. Those hit by the falling door on will take 1d4 damage, luckily the water broke the fall. The door, once fallen, will slide toward the pit due to the water. Players will be stuck under water if pinned by the door, unluckily the water broke their fall. Check the rules for drowning and hope the party is not made of a bunch of low strength wizards.
6: The room beyond the doors is also partially flooded. It is one large room resembling a temple. There are columns, some broken, that line either side. This room is 50′ wide and 30′ long with a platform that rises out of the muck. The platform has 5 steps that rise up to an altar area. Perched on top of the altar is the “god” of this temple, a spirit naga. The naga wear the Mask of Abjuration on its head. When the party breaks in the naga summons the spirits of its attendants to defend its temple. 12 Lizard-man skeletons rise up around the party, use standard skeletons. They are unarmed but movement for party members is 1/2 in the water and muck. The naga will sit imperiously until half the skeletons are destroyed or it is personally attacked. The skeletons will collapse if the naga dies. See the standard game entries for this creatures abilities.
After defeating the creatures the party may claim their reward, the mask and the naga’s small hoard of sacrificial offerings. This consists of 457 gold pieces, with a snake head stamped on them. A Golden necklace with a small silver claw as a pendant (value about 150 g.p.),1200 silver pieces, and a slightly curved short sword with a handle made of bone. This is the sword “Flayer”.
Afterwards the party may rest on the platform and take steps to remove the blocked stairways. Once the blizzard passes the way to King’s Reach will be clear and no other encounters overtake them.