Friday, April 17, 2015

#SWApDay2015 Post #2: The Vault of the Living

In my last post, I gave you a short scenario for Swords & Wizardry based on the cover of S&W White Box. This time, you're getting another scenario, this one inspired by the cover of S&W Core! Another great +P Mullen painting, another short adventure. 

This scenario is designed to be tacked on to any dungeon you're currently running, particularly for a group of 3-5 adventurers of 5-6th level, and works best if the dungeon has a giant theme or if th passages are big enough to support giants

The Vault

In an age now forgotten, Zher-Shen-Quo was Kahn of the Tribes of Great Mountain and never before or since has a daimyo giant been leader of so great a horde of his peers. When his empire was on the verge of collapse, Zher-Shen-Quo enlisted his vizier, a cloud giant sorcerer named Hirh-Shab to help him find a way to escape defeat and perhaps live to conquer again. Thus did Hirh-Shab construct the Vault of the Living.

Far beneath the earth, Hirh-Shab led one hundred mountain ape slaves to their deaths digging out a chamber that the cloud giant enchanted and warded, binding powerful magics of death and time into its walls. When Zher-Shen-Quo finally passed on, Hirh-Shab, in a final act of loyalty to his Khan, interred the daimyo giant in the Vault along with several of his most loyal retainers.

Today, the bones of the great Khan are all that remain of Quo's legacy. The bones and the fortune in treasure it is bedecked with. Somewhere, in a dungeon lost to time and legend, is a sealed vault door built for giants, behind which rests the finely-appointed remains of Zher-Shen-Quo and his court, waiting for their second chance at life.

Within the vault, the air is still, as it has been for at least a millenium. On a blocky throne of bronze, the khan's skeleton rests, bedecked in funerary finery and surrounded by most trusted advisors. Should any disturb his remains, Hirh-Shab's enchantments will be triggered and begin the process of resurrecting the great Khan. Sinew and muscle, nerves and arteries violently erupt outward from the skeleton, rebuilding the Khan from the inside out, only finally growing skin after the 4th round after being disturbed.

At first, the daimyo is unable to fight at full strength; he must grow more muscle and sinew in order to fight at full strength. For the first round of combat, Quo fights as a 3 HD creature, then as a 6 HD in the second, then 9 HD in the third until his full 12 HD in the fourth round. Further, the courtiers begin their resurrection when Hirh-Shab's time-trap is triggered. Each round, 1d4-2 (minimum 1) giant courtiers (see below) are resurrected, but there are only 10 courtiers here, so no more than 10 may be introduced in this manner.

The Time Trap

Khan Zher-Shen-Quo never actually died; rather, Hirh-Shab created a bridge between a prior instance of the daimyo giant and the future incarnation released by the PCs. As long as the bridging/resurrection process is occurring (until the 4th round of combat), nothing may enter or leave the Vault since the Vault itself is experiencing a storm of temporal-spatial distortion. This distortion can also play havoc with spell durations; each round a spell is in effect, roll d12:

  • 1-3: Spell ends immediately
  • 4-6: Spell ends at the beginning of the next round
  • 7-8: Spell ends at the end of the next round
  • 9-11: Spell duration continues normally
  • 12: Paradox! Spell is applied in a reversed or negative capacity for the following round. 

Monsters

Daimyo Giant: HD 12 + 2d6hp; AC 3 [16]; Atk 1 sword (5d6); Move 12; Save 3; AL C; CL/XP 15/2900; Special: +1 to hit, impervious to fire and cold.

Giant Courtiers: HD 4+1; AC 5 [14]; Atk 1 weapon (1d10+1); Move 9; Save 13; AL C; CL/XP 4/120; Special: None.

Questions For The Referree

What treasures did Khan Zher-Shen-Quo bring with him into the future?
Which of the Khan's courtiers plans on betraying him and why?
What happened to the cloud giant sorcerer, Hirh-Shab, anyway? Could he still be waiting for his Khan's return? Is he still loyal?