See the Satyr (Runewild Preview)

I’ve described the Runewild as a dark fairy tale setting, but the “dark” part of that description sometimes makes me hesitate. With talking animals, goofy witches, and ogres that literally shed their heads, there’s much about the Runewild that’s light-hearted.

And then the PCs run into something like this…

115. See the Satyr (CR 4)

  • Kergan Dartell, a curiosities dealer (as a commoner)
  • A ghost haunts Kergan’s stuffed satyr

The first time the PCs pass through this hex, they encounter a curiosities dealer named Kergan Dartell on the trail between Wexmore Abbey and Ill Hollow. A gregarious Aruandan man in his 50s, Kergan makes the trip from Caerfell to Ill Hollow and back several times each year to gather Runish artifacts and other trinkets. He transports his treasures in a garishly painted wagon drawn by his loyal draft horse Juniper.

Kergan’s wagon makes a terrible racket as it bounces along the trail. Parties that prefer to let Kergan pass have ample time to withdraw into the forest before he comes into view. Otherwise, Kergan cheerfully hails the PCs once he spots them.

Treat Kergan as a commoner with Intelligence and Charisma scores of 14 (+2) and a +4 bonus to Charisma (Persuasion) checks.

Wagon of Wonders

With the bravado of a ringmaster, Kergan promises to sell the PCs anything their hearts desire. He invites the party inside his wagon to peruse his wares. Within Kergan’s wagon is a cramped sleeping area at the front and a curtained alcove towards the rear. The rest of the space is given over to an array of shelves and cabinets, all crammed with odd baubles and trinkets.

Assume Kergan has at least one of any mundane item the PCs wish to purchase. Kergan’s wares aren’t high quality, but a story accompanies each item. What appears to be an ordinary dagger, for example, might once have been used to murder a Runish prince, while a length of fraying rope might be woven from witch’s hair. Kergan believes his own stories, but how much truth there is to them is left for the GM to decide.

A handful of Kergan’s goods are magical. Each time the PCs encounter Kergan, he also has for sale 1d4 + 1 minor magical items either chosen by the GM or rolled randomly on the Goblin Trinkets table (see Magic of the Runewild).

PCs who search Kergan’s wagon can make a DC 12 Intelligence (Investigation) or Wisdom (Perception) check. On a success, they discover a compartment hidden beneath the front seat of the wagon. The compartment contains a hand crossbow with 10 bolts, a vial of antitoxin, and a pouch with 200 cp, 130 sp, 70 gp, and 3 gems worth 50 gp each.

Dealing with Kergan

Kergan sells his goods at five times their normal listed value, although a successful Charisma (Deception or Persuasion) check opposed by Kergan’s Wisdom convinces him to part with any item for only half as much. Similarly, Kergan may purchase items from the party at half their normal value, but an interesting story and a successful Charisma check convinces him to double what he’d normally pay. Kergan is always open to trades, as well.

Kergan doesn’t need an excuse to swap stories with the party. Kergan’s only reliable information relates to the settlements along his route, but if the PCs sort through his tall tales, he shares the following:

  • Kergan recently sold his entire supply of fey wards to followers of the Church of the Black Horn in Ill Hollow. If Kergan is heading to Ill Hollow, he’s instead stocked up on such items and expects to make a killing once he reaches the village.
  • Kergan isn’t aware the Thistlewhip children of Kidwelly have gone missing, but he says that if they wandered into Wobbly-Odd Wood, he’s not surprised. Kergan gets the feeling he’s “being watched” whenever he travels through the Wood.
  • When the PCs inquire about the history of some trinket, Kergan claims he got the item at the Goblin Market, a fey marketplace where magical items are bought and sold (see Magic of the Runewild).

The Stuffed Satyr

The most interesting thing in Kergan’s wagon isn’t for sale, but he’s willing to let the PCs peek at it for a silver piece each. Once he’s collected payment, Kergan parts the curtained-off section of the wagon to reveal his rarest treasure: a stuffed satyr. The satyr’s skin is leathery and its hair patchy, but otherwise the satyr seems well-preserved. A silver pendant marked with arcane runes dangles from the creature’s neck.

If asked about the satyr’s history, Kergan explains that an Aruandan lord once kept the creature as a slave. When the satyr died, the lord had the satyr stuffed to honor its years of service. The Throne War eventually forced the lord to abandon his Runewild estate, and the satyr passed through several hands until Kergan finally acquired it.

As distasteful as Kergan’s tale is, the satyr’s true history is even more unsettling. PCs who examine the satyr can make a DC 15 Intelligence (Investigation) check. On a success, the PCs discover subtle stitching hidden beneath the satyr’s fur, as if a goat’s head was simply sewn onto the body of a man. Though an excellent counterfeit, PCs who’ve encountered an actual satyr don’t need to make the Investigation check—they see through the deception immediately.

The “satyr” did once belong to a noble, but that’s where the truth of Kergan’s story ends. Over a century ago, an Aruandan lord decapitated the lover of his unfaithful wife. He then replaced the man’s head with that of a goat and had the resulting hybrid stuffed as a gruesome trophy. The satyr decorated the lord’s front hall until his wife pushed her vengeful husband from a tower window.

PCs who make a successful DC 15 Intelligence (Arcana) check recognize the satyr’s pendant as some sort of protective talisman. A detect magic spell cast on the pendant reveals an aura of abjuration magic. Kergan believes the pendant ensures the satyr’s soul rests peacefully, and he’s not entirely wrong. In fact, the lord of Kergan’s story had the pendant made to prevent the ghost of his wife’s lover from returning to haunt his corpse.

While the satyr wears it, the pendant functions as a protection from evil and good spell that affects only the satyr. Once removed, the pendant loses its magic, allowing the lover’s ghost to return and possess his body. Treat the ghost as a satyr with the Construct type until his body is destroyed, at which point he continues attacking as a ghost.

The ghostly lover manifests as a naked human man holding aloft his own decapitated head. Driven mad by his death, the ghost ignores anyone who tries to communicate with him. He attacks all living creatures until he is destroyed.


She Sells Secrets (Runewild Preview)

One of the things I was most pleased about the successful Kickstarter campaign for the Runewild Campaign Setting was hitting so many stretch goals to fund additional content. Thanks to over 400 amazing backers, 50 additional encounters will be added to the book!

I’m in the process of writing these encounters now. Here’s the first of them, a run-in with another of the Runewild’s witches, Gabbie Bleech.

101. She Sells Secrets (CR 3)

  • Gabbie Bleech, a green hag, sells secrets
  • Gabbie’s curse: DC 12

The corpse of young woman hangs in a noose strung from a beech tree beside the trail. The branch supporting the woman’s weight groans as her body sways in the breeze. Though her dress is weather-worn, her corpse seems only a few hours old.

Gabbie Bleech

Gabbie Bleech, a green hag with a weakness for gossip, once sold secrets to anyone willing to pay. To silence her, Gabbie’s coven sisters wove a curse that rendered her mute and strung her body here. Gabbie’s curse prevents her from escaping the noose, but through force of will she’s recovered the ability to answer 12 distinct questions (see the She Sells Secrets table for more information).

Dealing with Gabbie

Gabbie uses her Illusory Appearance ability to appear as the corpse of a beautiful human woman. Physically inspecting Gabbie’s body uncovers the deception, as does a successful DC 20 Intelligence (Investigation) check or any magical effect capable of piercing illusions. A detect magic spell cast on Gabbie reveals auras of illusion (her Illusory Appearance) and powerful necromancy (her curse).

The PCs can attempt a DC 12 Intelligence (History) check to recognize Gabbie. On a success, the PC recalls Gabby’s backstory, as well as the following children’s rhyme:

Gabbie Bleech

Swings from the beech

She sells twelve secrets

A silver each

PCs who check Gabbie’s pockets find them stuffed with silver coins (37 sp total). If any of the coins are stolen, Gabbie’s eyes snap open and she targets the thief with vicious mockery. Except for when she answers questions, this is the only time Gabbie speaks. Even attempts to communicate with Gabbie telepathically fail.

Gabbie’s Curse

Freeing Gabbie from her curse is as simple as loosening the noose around her neck. Gabbie thanks PCs who free her but offers no reward for their kindness. Shortly after being released, Gabbie turns invisible (using her Invisible Passage ability) and retreats into the forest. At the GMs discretion, the PCs may encounter Gabbie Bleech later in the campaign.

Characters who free Gabbie become targets of the curse that silenced her. Each PC must make a DC 12 Wisdom saving throw. On a failure, the character can speak no more than twelve words chosen by their player. (Have the players of cursed characters create a list of the words they’re allowed to say.) While cursed in this way, spellcasters can’t cast spells with verbal components. The curse is permanent until ended by a remove curse spell or similar effect.

Table: She Sells Secrets

Gabbie Bleech’s curse prevents her from speaking normally. However, if a character places a silver piece in Gabbie’s pocket and asks one of the following questions, Gabbie answers. Gabbie accepts no other payments, not even coins of greater value. Questions don’t need to be precisely worded, but Gabbie can’t speak about topics other than those listed below. The GM has the final say as to whether Gabbie answers a question and what information she provides.

She Sells Secrets

All Through the Long, Dark Night

Long Dark Night

In generations past, the villagers of Widderspire marked the eve of the winter solstice by leaving out gifts for a fey creature named Ember John. After the Aruandans conquered the Runewild, Aldric Widderspire, the village’s new lord, became determined to end this practice. He trapped Ember John in an iron cage and sunk the fey to the bottom of Widderspire Pond. Today, the inhabitants of Widderspire commemorate Ember John’s defeat by gathering around Widderspire Pond each winter solstice to exchange gifts, drink warm cider, and skate on the pond’s frozen surface.

Though banished from the mortal realm, Ember John is still alive. Recently, one of John’s sprites, the icy-hearted Jack-o’-Frost, located John in a frozen corner of the Fey Realm. Instead of setting free his master, Jack stole John’s magical staff and proclaimed himself the “Lord of the Long, Dark Night.” Jack and the other sprites now head to Widderspire to seek vengeance against the mortals who defeated them nearly a century ago.

The third installment in the Seasons of the Runewild adventure series is now available on DriveThruRPGAll Through the Long, Dark Night is an adventure for three to five 1st level characters. It is designed to be played over the course of a single session (3–4 hours of gameplay). The adventure takes place near an enchanted forest known as the Runewild and can serve as an introduction to the Runewild Campaign Setting. You can also drop the adventure into an existing campaign.

The book includes:

  • A complete adventure
  • Advice for scaling to higher levels
  • Stats for a new monster: the giant ice toad
  • Two new magic items: Ember John’s sack of embers and the staff of winter

Dreams of Elemental Evil (Fire Level)

Here’s the fourth and final level of my abridged Temple of Elemental Evil, the fire level. A succubus named Sezrame and her cambion son Canixos oversee the fire cult. The level also features an ambitious cult fanatic, a cabal of azer craftsmen, and a night hag!

So many links…

Dreams of Elemental Evil

Dreams of Elemental Evil Map

23 – Guard Post

A fire cultist and a hell hound stand guard in the 10’ x 10’ alcove to the south. Three more fire cultists gather in the larger chamber. They seek insight from the flames that burn in a bronze brazier (worth 25 gp) in the center of the room.

24 – Ashen Temple

An impressive tapestry bearing the likeness of Imix, the Prince of Elemental Fire, hangs on the northwest wall. Every three days, the fire cult performs an elaborate ritual in which the tapestry is burnt to honor Imix. The ashes of previous tapestries dust every surface in the room.

Two fire cultists led by a cult fanatic prepare for the next ritual. If the cultists hear combat elsewhere, they ready themselves to ambush the intruders. The cult fanatic, a high elf named Merarian, wears a ring of resistance (fire) and carries the key to his private quarters (Area 28).

25 – Nanny Flametongue

Nanny Flametongue, a night hag, weaves the tapestries the fire cult burns in their rituals (see Area 24). Edison, a flameskull, serves as the hag’s familiar and functions as a sentient heartstone.

Nanny Flametongue:  Nanny Flametongue is loyal to the fire cult but affects a simpering demeanor if the PCs threaten her. If combat breaks out, she retreats to the Ethereal Plane. From there, she observes the party until she has an opportunity to use Nightmare Haunting against one of the PCs.

Nanny Flametongue is jealous of the influence Sezrame (a succubus) has over the fire cult’s leader, a cambion named Canixos. Nanny Flametongue helps the party if they agree to drive a wedge between the two fiends. If the PCs ally with her, Nanny Flametongue explains how to disable the clockwork dragons that guard the fire locks (Areas 29 and 30).

In addition to her ability to weave with supernatural speed, Nanny Flametongue can lick the blade of a sword to give it the properties of a flame tongue sword. The hag can enchant only one such blade at a time. The enchantment lasts for 24 hours, during which time Flametongue is unable to speak or cast spells with a verbal component.

Lock Box:  Along with her soul bag and weaver’s tools (worth 1 gp), Nanny Flametongue possesses an iron lock box. A prominent glyph of warding protects the box. Any creature other than Nanny Flametongue who opens the box triggers the glyph. Each creature within 20 ft. when the glyph is triggered takes 5d8 fire damage (DC 13 DEX save halves). The box contains 800 cp, 10,000 sp, 2,100 gp, 160 pp, and 18 gems worth 100 gp each.

26 – Storage

This narrow chamber contains assorted supplies: foodstuffs, materials Nanny Flametongue (Area 23) uses in her weaving, torches, incense, and two dozens flasks of oil.

27 – Fire Barracks

The fire cultists sleep in shifts in this cramped, untidy room. Bowls of hot coals light the room and ensure the air remains stifling. 1d4+1 cultists rest here at any given time.

Searing Nail, an imp, skulks about the room invisibly. He eavesdrops on the cultists and reports any treasonous behavior to Sezrame (Area 32).

28 – Merarian’s Room

The door to this room is locked. PCs using thieves’ tools can pick the lock with a successful DC 15 DEX check. The door can be forced open with a successful DC 20 STR check.

Merarian, a high elf cult fanatic, takes infrequent rests here. He is found more often in the temple to Imix (Area 24). The room contains a bed, a shallow pit filled with smoldering coals, and a writing desk.

Fire Pit:  Two fire snakes slither among the smoldering coals. They attack anyone other than Merarian who comes within 5 ft. of the pit. Treat the fire snakes as poisonous snakes whose bite deals fire instead of poison damage. Alive, the snakes are worth 100 gp each to a collector of exotic animals.

Writing Desk:  On the desk is correspondence between Merarian and Keshak, the high priest of the air cult (Area 5). Eager to prove himself in the eyes of Canixos, Merarian has brokered an alliance between the air and fire cults. Merarian plans to use the alliance to crush the earth and water cults before turning on the air cult. Unbeknownst to Merarian, Keshak has similar plans.

29 – Northern Fire Lock

Human-sized clockwork dragons perch atop pedestals in the northwest and southeast alcoves. Their inner furnaces flicker with orange flame. Identical arrays of four buttons are set into the walls near each dragon.

Clockwork Dragons:  The dragons are iron constructs. They allow members of the fire cult to pass by unmolested but animate and attack all others. Treat the clockwork dragons as red dragon wyrmlings. Their sturdy construction grants them resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage from nonmagical weapons. As constructs, they are also immune to poison and psychic damage, as well as the charmed, deafened, exhaustion, frightened, paralyzed, petrified, and poisoned conditions.

Buttons:  PCs who make a successful DC 10 Arcana check recognize the runes as “AIR”, “EARTH”, “FIRE” and “WATER.” Each array of buttons is linked to one of the dragons. Pushing a button produces a magical effect that affects its corresponding dragon.

  • AIR: The AIR button recharges the dragon’s Fire Breath. Pushing the AIR button while the dragon can still use its Fire Breath has no further effect.
  • EARTH: The dragon becomes magnetized. Creatures wearing metal armor who start their turn adjacent to the dragon must make a DC 12 STR save or be grappled. Similarly, a creature that hits a dragon with a melee weapon made of metal must make a DC 12 STR save or the weapon becomes stuck to the dragon. Pushing the dragon’s EARTH button a second time causes its joints to seize up. The dragon deactivates until the cult’s azer craftsmen (Area 33) spend 8 hours to repair it.
  • FIRE: The dragon uses its Fire Breath, even if it’s not otherwise available, and the flames in the dragon’s inner furnace blow out. The dragon deactivates until another creature uses an action to reignite the flames. While a dragon is deactivated, pushing its FIRE button again has no effect.
  • WATER: A reservoir of water is released into the dragon’s inner furnace. Until the end of the dragon’s next turn, the dragon is stunned and a cloud of steam surrounds the dragon in a 10-ft. radius. Pushing a stunned dragon’s WATER button a second time douses its flames completely. The dragon deactivates until another creature uses an action to reignite the flames. While a dragon is deactivated, pushing its WATER button again has no effect.

30 – Southern Fire Lock

This area is identical to the northern fire lock (Area 29), except combat here alerts the guards to the south (Area 31).

31 – Guard Post

Two fire cultists stand guard here at all times. A tapestry bearing an image of Imix (similar to the one found in Area 24) covers the northwest wall. PCs who look behind the tapestry spot the secret door to Area 32.

32 – Sezrame’s Quarters

Canixos (Area 34) is the fire cult’s nominal leader, but his mother Sezrame is the power behind the throne. The succubus spends most of her time here, either studying or advising Canixos.

Sezrame:  If Sezrame hears noise in Area 31, she becomes ethereal and spies on the PCs until she’s assessed their capabilities. If she thinks the PCs will fall for it, she polymorphs into a human earth cultist and materializes inside the cage in Canixos’s quarters (Area 34). She waits for the PCs to rescue her and then turns on them at the first opportunity.

Sezrame uses the fire cult as a tool but has no loyalty to it. If she believes her life is in danger, Sezrame flees the complex and plots revenge at a later date.

Sezrame’s Research:  Sezrame’s research into the Dreaming God covers a small writing desk. If the PCs study this research, they learn the Dreaming God was a deity of natural catastrophes who destroyed multiple worlds on the Material Plane before a group of heroes united to defeat him. Judging from her notes, Sezrame seeks to resurrect the Dreaming God so it can wreak destruction again. Sezrame’s collected research is worth 100 gp to a scholar.

Treasure:  Sezrame’s quarters are lavish, although the decorations have a distinctly hellish bent. The furnishings are worth 250 gp. A wardrobe contains an assortment of outfits, including the distinct robes worn by the other elemental cults. An ebony jewelry box (worth 25 gp) contains 300 gp worth of jewelry.

33 – Azer Forge

Three azer craftsmen toil in this chamber. Their forge is set into the northern wall. Anvils, hammers, and other metalworking tools fill the rest of the space.

The azers forge weapons and armor for fire cult and maintain the clockwork dragons in Area 29 and 30. Currently, they are hard at work on a new project: forging another azer. The incomplete azer’s head and torso rest in separate pieces near the forge. The pieces are worth 250 gp each to a collector.

34 – Canixos’s Quarters

A cambion named Canixos leads the fire cult. Canixos relishes warfare and would have mobilized the cult against its enemies months ago were it not for the counsel of his mother, the succubus Sezrame (Area 34). Canixos flees the complex only if defeat seems inevitable. In battle, he wields a +1 spear.

Canixos’s room contains a bed, table, and wardrobe. An iron cage occupies the center of the room. The cage is currently empty, but Sezrame may use it to trick the PCs into “rescuing” her (see Area 34). An unlocked chest in the wardrobe contains the fire cult’s treasure: 800 cp, 6,000 sp, 2,100 gp, 50 pp, and 10 gems worth 50 gp each.

35 – Exit Stairs

A winding staircase descends 500 ft. to an exit at the base of the Dreaming God’s skull.

5TDM: Wind Tunnel

Woot! The Kickstarter campaign for 5TDM: 5th Edition Team Deathmatch just hit its first stretch goal! To celebrate, here’s another of my home-brew arenas: Wind Tunnel. Like my previous arena, Bigby’s Gauntlet, this map doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles. But arenas don’t need a lot of features, so long as they ones they do have are turned up to 11!

Wind Tunnel Map

Wind Tunnel

Razor-sharp adamantine fan blades spin with impossible speed at the ends of this gore-caked hallway. Get ready to be blown away.

Respawn. If you start your turn dead, dying, or begin your first turn of the match, you may regain all hit points and hit dice, remove all failed death saves and conditions, refresh any abilities as if you had taken a short rest, and teleport to a random (d4) Respawn Point. If another creature occupies that Respawn Point, that creature dies. If you were dying, you die before you respawn.

Teleportation Archway. If you move onto a Respawn Point, teleport to a random (d4) Respawn Point. If another creature occupies the destination Respawn Point, that creature dies. Entering a Respawn Point in this way costs an additional 10 ft. (2 squares) of movement.

Forced Teleportation. If a creature moves onto a Respawn Point during your turn, teleport that creature to a random (d4) Respawn Point. If another creature occupies the teleport destination, that creature dies.

Killing Spree. If you reduce 2 or more enemies with at least 1 hit point each to 0 hit points or fewer on a single turn, immediately gain one of the following:

  • Take another action (as per the fighter’s Action Surge class feature)
  • Regain all ki points, bardic inspiration, and rages
  • Regain your lowest level expended spell slot

Humiliation. A creature rolling a natural 1 on an attack roll or saving throw is knocked prone immediately after the attack roll or saving throw is resolved.

Critical Hit. Whenever you score a critical hit, you can knock the target prone, if you choose.

Adamantine Fan Blades. A creature that enters a space occupied by the adamantine fan blades is reduced to a fine, red mist and dies. An item that enters a space occupied by the fan blades is destroyed. Not even the gods can stop the blades from spinning.

Wind Speed. High-velocity winds blow through the tunnel in the direction indicated by the Direction Rune (see below). The strength of these winds is W, where W = the current round of the match (W = 1 during the first round, W = 2 during the second, and so on).

Wind speed has a number of effects:

  • Movement: Moving against the wind costs W squares for each square moved (no change during the first round, 2 squares during the second, etc.).
  • Missile Attacks: Ranged weapon attacks made against the wind take a penalty to damage rolls equal to W. Ranged weapon attacks made with the wind gain a bonus to damage rolls equal to W.
  • Falling Prone: Whenever a creature falls prone, it first moves W squares in a straight line in the direction of the wind. The creature’s movement stops if it would enter a square occupied by another creature, and the other creature must make a successful DC 13 Strength saving throw or fall prone. A creature that enters a Respawn Point in this way teleports to a random (d4) Respawn Point and stops moving.

Direction Rune. An arrow-shaped rune glows in the center of the tunnel. The rune indicates the wind’s current direction (from east to west or west to east). A creature that occupies the rune’s space can use a bonus action to reverse the wind’s direction.

Gore Puddles. Puddles of blood and viscera cover the tunnel’s floor. A creature that enters or ends its turn in a gore puddle must make a successful DC 13 Dexterity saving throw or fall prone.

Dreams of Elemental Evil (Water Level)

On to the third level of my abridged Temple of Elemental Evil, the water level! When the PCs arrive, the water cult has split into two factions, one controlled by a merrow named King Ladon, the other by the kuo-toa archpriest Urgle. Ladon remains loyal to Olhydra, but Urgle and his minions have fallen under the sway of the Dreaming God.

Here’s a link to the Temple’s air level and the earth level, as well as to the original map by Dyson Logos. I plan to compile all the levels into a single PDF at the end!

Dreams of Elemental Evil

Dreams of Elemental Evil Map

16 – Water Lock

Arcs of electricity leap across both archways. Beyond the lightning, a statue of a merrow can be seen in the room’s northern corner. The merrow holds a trident and an amphora. On the walls outside both entrances are two buttons marked with runes.

PCs recognize the runes with a successful DC 10 Arcana check. One button is marked “LIGHTNING” and the other “WATER.” Pushing the LIGHTNING button causes the lightning to retreat into merrow’s trident, allowing safe passage into or out of the room. A creature that passes through an archway while the lightning is active must make a DC 15 DEX save or take 8d6 lightning dmg. Characters wearing metal armor have disadvantage on the save.

If the WATER button is pressed, a water weird emerges from the merrow’s amphora and attacks any creature in the room unable to breathe water. The weird is bound to the amphora and dies if it’s smashed (AC 13, 3 hp, immune to poison and psychic dmg).

Unless the PCs affect the room in a permanent way (by smashing the amphora, for example), the room’s features revert to their normal states after 1 minute.

17 – Water Barracks

Three human water cultists meditate here, lying low until the rift between King Ladon (Area 19) and High Priest Urgle (Area 21) resolves. Fish tanks fill niches in the walls. The largest tank contains a gold idol of Olhydra (worth 75 gp). The idol bears a likeness to the one found in Area 18 and is inscribed (in Aquan) with a prayer to Olhydra. Anyone who recites the prayer while making a sacrifice in Area 18 gains advantage on their Religion check.

18 – Shrine to Olhydra

The southeast alcove contains a shrine to Olhydra, the Prince of Elemental Water. The shrine features a human-sized wooden idol carved in the likeness of Olhydra. Barnacles cover the idol’s surface. The empty husks of crabs and other sea creatures lie about its base.

PCs who make a sacrifice of blood or treasure at the shrine can make a DC 10 Religion check. On a success, the sacrifice pleases Olhydra, who grants the character the ability to breathe underwater for 1 hour. On a failure, Olhydra is angered. The dead sea creatures scattered about the idol animate and attack the offending PC (as a swarm of insects).

A divine spellcaster who successfully makes a sacrifice to Olhydra loses their ability to cast domain spells granted by their deity. Until the character spends a long rest atoning for their sin, their domain spells are replaced by the following: 1st—create or destroy water, thunderwave, 3rd—water breathing, water walk, 5th—conjure elemental (water only), insect plague, 7th—call lightning (cast at 7th level), 9th—storm of vengeance.

19 – King Ladon’s Throne Room

Two glass portholes (marked “S”) provide views into this oddly-shaped room. The portholes are 5 ft. in diameter and can’t be opened from the hallway side. PCs who peer through the portholes see murky water filling the room beyond. Humanoids with fish-like tails swim near the glass.

Portholes:  The portholes radiate conjuration magic if inspected with detect magic. A creature in the hallway who touches a porthole is teleported to the other side of the glass. Touching the portholes from the other side has no effect.

The portholes can be shattered from either side (AC 13, 18 hp, immune to poison and psychic dmg). Creatures adjacent to a porthole when it shatters must make a DC 13 STR save or fall prone and be pushed in a direction of the GM’s choice as a torrent of water sweeps through the hall.

King Ladon:  A merrow named King Ladon once led the water cult but was supplanted when the kuo-toa archpriest Urgle (Area 21) abandoned Olhydra to worship the Dreaming God. Three water cultists still serve Ladon. The cultists were human once, but they have undergone a ritual to transform into merfolk.

King Ladon wields a harpoon that otherwise functions as a javelin of lightning. His pearl-studded crown is worth 2,400 gp. He’ll part with neither item willingly, but he offers the rest of the cult’s wealth (7,000 sp and 1,100 gp) if the PCs agree to defeat Urgle and his followers.

20 – Kuo-Toa Barracks

Three kuo-toa and four human water cultists guard the hall to Area 21 and patrol the bridge to Area 16. They attack intruders on sight but fall back to Area 21 if outmatched.

21 – Chapel of the Dreaming God

The east wall of this room bears a relief of Olhydra, but the kuo-toa archpriest Urgle has ordered his minions to re-work the image into that of the Dreaming God. Urgle imagines the Dreaming God as a four-armed, fish-headed humanoid with a different elemental catastrophe held in its upturned palms. Two kuo-toa whips oversee the four human cultists who perform this work.

Urgle is insane, but he may ally with the PCs if they help him wipe out the remnants of the old water cult. He wears necklaces adorned with polished shells worth 70 gp. The kuo-toa whips wear similar jewelry worth a total of 80 gp.

22 – Prisoner Wells

A pair of human water cultists guard two unlocked cells. Each cell contains a 20 ft.-deep well. Fetid water fills the bottom 5 ft. of the wells.

Western Cell:  The well in the western cell is the home of a giant crab. The skeletal remains of a human water cultist lie beneath the water. A sealed scroll case containing a spell scroll of bane can be found with the remains.

Eastern Cell:  Xander, a human fire cultist, is trapped at the bottom of the eastern well. Urgle’s minions captured Xander a few days ago and threw the man into the well when he refused to give up the fire cult’s secrets. The succubus Sezrame (Area 32) has charmed Xander and remains in telepathic contact with him. If rescued and healed (he has 1 hp currently), Xander helps the party defeat Urgle. He then tries to lead the party to his mistress.

Dreams of Elemental Evil (Earth Level)

Here’s the second level of my abridged Temple of Elemental Evil, describing the areas of the Temple controlled by the earth cult. A necromancer named Dakima leads the earth cult. Dakima transforms cultists who please her into soldiers of living stone. Those who disappoint become zombies. Dakima’s second-in-command, a half-orc mystic named Namtar, has received a vision from the Dreaming God and now plots an insurrection against Dakima.

Here’s a link to the Temple’s air level and to the original map by the incomparable Dyson Logos. Don’t worry, I’ll compile all the levels into a single PDF at the end!

Dreams of Elemental Evil

Dreams of Elemental Evil Map

10 – Basilisk Den

A tamed basilisk and its master, a blind grimlock named Forthu, lair here. Forthu keeps the basilisk chained to the east wall, but in combat he uses his first action to release it. Dakima (Area 15) has charged Forthu with guarding the stairs to the south and carrying messages back and forth to the air cult. Forthu knows little else about the complex. His only treasure is a belt pouch with 10 sp and 16 cp.

11 – Zombie Garden

Mushrooms of all shapes and sizes grow in four shallow stone beds filled with damp earth. The earth cult’s second-in-command, a half-orc named Namtar, tends the garden, but he spends most of his time in his quarters in Area 12.

Zombies:  Namtar uses the corpses of the earth cult’s enemies as fertilizer. The first time a PC approaches the mushrooms, these bodies erupt from the soil as zombies and attack. Three beds hold two zombies each. The fourth bed contains a single ogre zombie. Combat with the zombies alerts Namtar.

Mushrooms:  PCs who inspect the mushrooms after the battle can attempt a DC 12 Nature or Survival check. On a success, the PC salvages 1d6 mushrooms that function as potions of healing. The mushrooms lose their healing properties if not consumed within 24 hrs.

12 – Namtar’s Quarters

Namtar uses this room to process the mushrooms he grows in Area 11. A single myconid adult assists him. A violet fungus grows from Namtar’s left shoulder. The fungus acts on Namtar’s turn and continues to attack even if Namtar is reduced to 0 hp. Unlike the other earth cultists, Namtar has rejected Dakima’s offer to transform his flesh into living stone.

Namtar ingests psychedelic mushrooms which put him in contact with the Dreaming God. He’s now more loyal to the Dreaming God than to Ogrémoch. If Namtar captures one or more of the PCs, he may enlist them in plotting an insurrection against Dakima.

The jars of spores and gardening tools scattered about Namtar’s quarters function as an herbalism kit (5 gp). Namtar’s other valuables consist of 100 sp, 20 gp, and five edible mushrooms that function as potions of healing.

Namtar: AC 15; 45 hp; SPD 30 ft.; ATK quarterstaff (+4 to hit, 1d8+2 bludgeoning, +2d8 on a crit); STR +2, DEX +0, CON +3, INT +0, WIS +1, CHA +0; TRAITS darkvision, relentless endurance (1/rest, when Namtar is reduced to 0 hp, he drops to 1 hp instead)

13 – Earth Lock

A statue of a well-muscled human man stands against the northern wall. A pulley mechanism attaches to a slab of solid stone blocking the archway to the west. On the wall near the slab are two buttons marked with runes.

PCs recognize the runes with a successful DC 10 Arcana check. One button is marked “FLESH” and the other “STONE.” Pushing the FLESH button causes the stone statue to revert to its true form, a flesh golem. Unless someone interferes with it, the golem uses the pulley mechanism to lift the stone slab. One minute later, it lowers the slab and returns to its original position. The golem attacks only if harmed.

Pushing the STONE button causes the golem to return to its statue form. Other creatures in the room when the button is pushed must make a DC 15 CON save or become subject to the effects of a flesh to stone spell. Pushing the FLESH button returns petrified PCs to their original forms.

Another pair of buttons on the eastern end of the bridge (Area 2) allows the earth cultists to activate the golem from the other side of the slab. Creatures with a combined STR of 19 or higher can use the pulley mechanism to raise the stone slab themselves. Moving the slab in any other way is impossible without the help of magic.

14 – Earth Barracks

Six earth cultists lie atop stone biers, lost in death-like trances. The PCs have advantage on Stealth checks made to sneak past the cultists. A relief of Ogrémoch, the Prince of Elemental Earth, covers the south wall.

Dakima (Area 15) has transformed each the cultists’ flesh into living stone, granting them +2 AC.

15 – Dakima’s Quarters

Dakima was a skilled necromancer before becoming high priest of the earth cult. Mud cakes her clothes and hair. Using cockatrice blood, Dakima can create an unguent that permanently transforms flesh into living stone. Dakima offers to create such an unguent for the PCs if they disrupt the activities of the water cult or as payment for rescuing Mynok Shale, the dwarven cultist captured by the air cult (Area 9).

Two zombies attend Dakima at all times. In combat, Dakima’s first action is to release her pet cockatrice from a nearby urn. Dakima casts meld into stone if she believes her life is in danger.

Treat Dakima as a cult fanatic with the following Spellcasting feature:

Spellcasting. Dakima is a 5th-level spellcaster. Her spellcasting ability is Wisdom (spell save DC 12, +4 to hit with spell attacks). She has the following cleric spells prepared:

Cantrips (at will): light, resistance, thaumaturgy; 1st level (4 slots): bane, inflict wounds; 2nd level (3 slots): blindness/deafness, hold person; 3rd level (2 slots): animate dead, meld into stone

Dakima wears a belt pouch containing 12 gems worth 50 gp each. If gathered together, the arcane trinkets in her quarters are the equivalent of a component pouch (25 gp). A creature who searches the room and makes a successful DC 12 Investigation or Perception check discovers a loose flagstone. Beneath the flagstone is a niche containing 700 cp, 10,000 sp, 1,500 gp, and 110 pp.