7Hex Dragons: Current Campaign
Adventure 3 in the
7 Hex Dragon: Naroth and the Vampire's Cave
Naroth and the Vampire's Cave is designed for four or five
37-39 point characters and is a continuance of Crosshaven: The Troll Raids and Delpan, To the Wizard's Mansion. Each character
should be fairly well armed and have 1-3 magic items of no great power
each (an enchanted +2 weapon, +1 ChainMail, a blur ring, circlet of
detect enemies, Armourer's Belt, Apprentice Signaling Staff,
etc). At least one Wizard is helpful and most of this adventure is
outdoors, so some level of horsemanship, naturalist, tracking, etc is
very useful. By now the adventurers have been through two longish
adventures and should have a good feel for how the game works and some
basic strategies in dealing with enemies, both in a tactical retreat
and in combat. This adventure will allow them to develop some
personality in their interaction in the more civilized areas (the road
to, and in, Naroth), gain training and continue to gain experience in
several small encounters leading to the more traditional cave crawl
near the end of this adventure.
Background: see 7 Hex Dragon's
Campagin for full background and Geography for names and places. Briefly, the
adventurers are embroiled in the "Conflict in the South". The Conflict
is a series of somewhat mystifying raids in the Borderlands by Orcs,
Hymenopteran, Night Gaunts and Vampires that was originally taken to
be a coincidence of organized bandits, but has become increasingly
fierce and inexplicable. The hymenopteran are clearly under control of
a higher intelligence and acting in ways that do not directly benefit
the hive, the increase in undead and vampires and the surge in
activity in the dreaded Wildlands indicate
something is going on that is more sinister than raids by bandits. To
complicate matters, both the Duchy of
Mt. Bronar and the Imperial
Sorcerers (IS) are playing dangerous political games to capitalize
on the confusion and suffering of the Borderlands to gain an edge in
their rivalry over the area. Both are pursuing different courses. The
Duchy is more threatened, both by the superior IS and by the
Conflict. They are directly coordinating military incursions into the
Borderlands to resuce local Barons and enlist them in a mutual
protection pact. The IS is looking to invade up the coast and along
the Mountains and is sending scouting parties in both locations to map
and to reconn. "Naroth and the Vampire's Cave" takes the side of the
Borderland baronies and the Duchy, sending our adventurers out of Crosshaven to investigate the Conflict and to
figure out the mysteries of the City of
What the Players can know
If you have not played Crosshaven: The Troll Raids and Delpan, to the Wizard's Mansion, read them the
background for players there too. Delpan, a sleepy city just off the
main trade routes was sacked by Hymenopterans. Fleeing that city was a
small-time demented Wizard who fled to some caves and enrolled the
help of some Trolls and orcs in an attempt to gain access to the city
to continue his work in his mansion where he was working on
discovering the secret powers behind old Delpan (which he knew were
demonic, but thought the shamans of old Delpan might have had better
control over demons than we have now). The Trolls and orcs were
robbing caravans to feed themselves when the leaders of Crosshaven
hired our adventurers to find and remove them. The wizard, when found
in the caves was talking to an demon imp (who fled). The Wizard was
killed. The leaders of Crosshaven and a Captain of the Duchy recognize
this Wizard as an odd ball who lived in a mansion in Delpan. They
questioned him about the events of Delpan right after the sack, but
let him go thinking him deranged and harmless. They sent the
adventurers and a half-elven scout to find the Wizard's mansion and
see what he was up to since he had a demonic contact. Turns out he was
trying to find evidence of a Greater Demon buried somewhere in Delpan
centuries ago. Also an Orc shaman was after the same information and
had preceded the adventurers in the mansion. Our adventurers were able
to grab books and scrolls that told the story of how Delpan was
deserted after powerful shamans and their Demon Lords fought in the
streets. The Demon Lords mostly killed each other, but the last one
was mortally injured and was buried in hibernation by his shaman
hoping to heal. The horrors unleashed by that battle drove the
residents out into hilly plains to escape the Demon Drones, imps and
undead that haunted Delpan. Several centuries later half-orcs and
humans escaping north from the IS, knowing nothing of the history of
the city, resettled the city and gave it it's current name of Delpan
(it was called Grakrash before). All seemed well and the city, long
abandonded by the demons and almost all of the undead,
flourished. Seeing that things had settled down, the Orc Shaman (a
decendent of the original shamans who destroyed the city by summoning
demons) wanted to get back to the city and see if stories and myths of
the hiberating demon handed down from generation to generation were
true. The shaman had a few artifacts passed down, one of which was a
chunk of the Demon's horns that was rumored to help locate the demon
and wake him up. Another was a viscious stone dagger that was older than Delpan
itself, reaching back to the Kirean Kingdom (to which the Greater
Demon inhabited also). The shaman was refused entrance into the city
and was caught breaking into the old mansion that our demented Wizard
friend had now occupied. The Wizard, still in posession of most of his
senses at that point, queried him and let him go, hoping to watch him
and find out more. The Wizard definitely found evidence of demonic
activity around the mansion, including an Imp
that seemed to be attracted to the mansion. He searched for the magic
the shamans used and played in his basement with minor demon summoning
and petagrams. Impressioned Remains seemed to
hover around the mansion. Our Wizard, being entirely overconfident in
his abilities to handle and tame these creatures, fell victim to
constant nightmares brought on by the Impressioned Remains and was
finally controlled by the Imp in his exhaustion and fear.
When Delpan was sacked by Hymenopteran, the Wizard ran outside and
then teleported until he fainted. He then snuck back in, grabbed his
Soul Mirror and was driven out by raiding
orcs. He wandered north and ran into some trolls who he put under his
influence and that also brought him a small orc band. They moved into
a cave and that is the story of the first adventure, Crosshaven: The Troll Raids.
Upon our adventurers' return from Delpan, the scrolls and note from
the Wizard's Mansion are deciphered in Crosshaven, the Duchy Captain
staying in Mother's Place Inn asks the adventurers to go to Naroth to
consult a demon fighting wizard of the Duke's
Court. He is in Naroth helping the training of martial wizards in
recognizing and fighting demons and undead and investigating what
seems more and more like a controlling intelligence to these events.
For the Game Master to know
This is the third
installment of the Borderlands
Campaign. In this part the adventurers will get a chance to flex
their roll-playing muscles in the first half and then go help the
indiana jones-esque Wizard in finding the Vampire Caves (these are the
caves used by the Vampire Lord) and are
his western outpost. The four major actors in this drama are the
Duchy, the IS, the Orc Shaman and the Vampire Lord, all vying to gain
control or take advantage of the situation of the Greater Demon
hibernating under the Wizard's mansion in Delpan. The IS is trying to
justify an invasion, the Duchy is trying to gain allies by helping
protect them, the Vampire wants to harness and control the Demon and
the Orc shaman wants his old tribal deity back. Our adventurers are in
the middle, mostly helping the Duchy out. They will travel to Naroth,
get some free training and a Fine, or even enchanted, weapon or two if
the party is under powered and then be sent to a Fortress southwest of
the Wildwood to catch up with the Wizard and respond to his call for
backup. They are going to report their findings in Delpan to the
Wizard on behalf of the Captain. They will then help the Wizard and
some of his knights/heroes raid the cavern of the Vampire Lord. They
will then be asked to go to the Duke to report all of their findings
(the Vampire cave, the Demon in Delpan, etc).
Along the way there are lots of little adventures where the
adventurers will be able to garner experience points in small
encounters. There is a burnt out village where they help rescue a few
families, they prove themselves by guarding the wizard's horses and
supplies while he does an initial reconn of the caves and come under
attack, they hold off a flanking attack by orcs while the main
Wizard's party is fighting off a Vampire Prince and Night Gaunts,
etc. These, with the main cave crawl should get them near 40
points. They will have lots of time to heal, rest and train with the
Wizard and his ranger/knights between these forays. The cave crawl is
tough, as the vampires and Shadow Wight Mages will use all their
invisibility, wolves in HTH and spells to try to repulse the party in
a highly intelligent manner. The Prince and vampires are too strong
for the party, but they only have to hold one leg of the caves while
the main party goes straight for the Prince. This will still be
difficult for them and they better be prepared for invisible enemies.
The initial road to Naroth will be fairly easy. They will be
ambushed by a few small orc bands and maybe a Vampire/Night Gaunt
scout party (one vampire and two night gaunts). They will also run
into many characters (mounted nomads from the Steppe, some northern
barbarians, IS diplomats, Duchy and Borderland troops galore,
etc). Here they can stretch their characters' personalities and get
into trouble or gain friends. The country side is mostly rolling
hills, with areas of light woods and tall grasses.
You can use this table to generate encounters, but I eventually
override this and make sure they run into at least one Northern
Barbarian group and one Orc bandit group.
3-5 Vamipre and Night Gaunts
6-7 Orc bandits
8-9 Duchy mercinaries heading away from Naroth
9-10 Duchy Troops heading to Naroth
11-12 Large Heavily armed caravan (1-2 Duchy, 3-4 Dwarven, 5-6 IS)
13-14 Mounted Nomads
15-16 Northern Barbarians
In addition to random encounters rolled once per day and once per
night. There are three preset encounters, the burnt out village, IS
diplomats camp with the adventurers for the night and a threatening
encounter with some Mounted Nomads from the Steppe.
- Village - a youngish (13 year old) boy stumbles on the road
looking for help for his village which was just attacked by Orcs. The
adventurers come too late, but can rescue two families hiding in the
cellar of the tavern and the boy's family hiding in a small cave near
- The IS diplomatic core. The adventurers will camp with a small IS
diplomatic contingent after they strike up conversation on the
road. They will be attacked by raiding Orcs and will work with the IS
troops to repel the attack.
Naroth is a largish city (30,000), maybe third or fourth largest in
the Duchy after Bronar, ka'Han and ???. It has a strong wizard's
guild, two small necromancer brotherhoods, a mechanician's guild, a
few small crime families and good sized keep (just a little smaller
than Bronar's). Upon arrival they are to go to the Duke's "embassy" (a
manor the Duke has bought and has an ambassador and some of his
people, like the Wizard, to work closely with the Baron of Naroth,
currently it is quite crowded with the Duke's people going out to help
with the "Conflict"). The city is in high alert and some confusion as
it is the main staging point for patrols and troops leaving for the
"Conflict in the South". The military is in full training in several
places around the city as new recruits and seasoned knights brush up
their skills before deployment. The adventurers will spend some time
shuttling between the Manor and the Keep and find time for training
and story telling (I will sometimes give characters a free attribute
point for all the training they can do, especially if they are only 36
or 37 point characters). The adventurers can find out more about the
"Conflict" here and you can give them some Fine or Enchanted
weapons/armour if they don't have any magic items to start with (I
give these as a reward for a training tournament victory). They are
waiting for the Wizard to return (play up the Wizard as an Indiana
Jones type, a good scholar who loves a fight and whose exploits are
already turning into legends). He is powerful but down to earth, just
don't get in the way when is after his goal! I have a chance for a
duel or two if any characters are boisterous too. And the usual city
encounters with the crime families, pickpockets and such. After
waiting 3 or 4 weeks, news comes that the Wizard has made a major find
and needs backup. The Baron and Duke's ambassador ask the adventurers
to go immediately and a small contingent of a dozen or so knights will
follow in 4 days upon return from the "Conflict".
The road out to the fortress is much more harrowing, your
characters should be upper 30 point characters (37-38) by now and can
handle a good fight. They will be waylaid by Hymenopteran, Vampires,
Night Gaunts, Orcs, Trolls, Wights and wolves (and maybe the
occasional Demon drone on a mission).
3-5 Vampire, Servant and 3 Gight Gaunts
6-7 Barbarian Merchants
8-9 Orc Bandits
9-10 5 Wolves
11-12 Duchy Platoon
13-14 Hymenopteran (6 plunger scounts looking for food)
15-16 Hymenopteran, Basic on Spyder, 2-7 low renderers
17-18 Demon Imp and 3 Drones
About two thirds of the way out to the Wizard, a young boy runs
onto the road and asks for help, his village is 3 hours walk and has
been attacked by horrible creatures. His family is in a small cave
near the river. Hopefully the characters will go and help.
The village has been overrun by Orcs with a Vampire and Night
Gaunts driving them on. This will be of great interest to the Wizard
when the adventurers report back. This is mostly an excuse to give
them some building to building strategy and some experience points. I
use the map of the Village in the back of In The Labyrinth. See the
key for who are in which building. The orcs are just raiding for food
and supplies and don't expect any more resistance. I have a hand
drawn map of the farm and cave. The players should be rewarded for
good strategy in the village (staying together, going building to
building to secure each one in a sweep, while keeping a lookout to
make sure they are not flanked). If they are quick and quiet, then can
catch the orcs dispersed in the buildings, some drunk, others
asleep. The map has the dispersion of orc, but a summary is:
Leader is in the Golden Ax Inn drinking with his bodyguards.
Leader: ST14 IQ11 DX13(11) AR 4 Leather Armour, Morning Star (2+1), Sm. Shield. Warrior Talent.
3 BodyGuards: ST 13 IQ9 DX12 AR 2 Leather Armour, Bastard Swords used two handed.
All have an extra -1DX due to some alcohol.
Random Pillaging group:
1 archers: ST10 IQ9 DX12(11) Cloth Armour, Horse Bows, Cutlasses and sm. Shields.
2 warriors: ST11 IQ9 DX11(10) Cloth Armour, Maces, Sm. Shields
1 scout: ST10 IQ9 DX13(12) AR2. ClothArmour, Cutlass, MainGauche. Talents: Tracking.
The farm is a straight forward dairy, wheat, vegetable farm on a
small river. The family is hiding in their caves. The orcs have
pillage the house and left, but the Vampire and Gaunts are roving
looking for more beings to feed on. They will be in the barn looking
in the lofts when the adventurers arrive.
The Vampire will be: ST15 IQ12 DX12 (as found in the 7HexDragon Bestiary). He is armed with a
Fine Bastard Sword (2+3, +1DX), Leather Armour, Lt. Crossbow and
Dagger. He will send all the orcs to fight and support with Crossbow
and spells. Will run if things look dicey at all.
The orcs are:
2 archers: ST10 IQ9 DX12(11) Cloth Armour, Horse Bows, Cutlasses and sm. Shields.
3 swordsmen: ST 12 IQ9 DX11(10) Cloth Armour, Scimitars(2d), Sm. Shields.
They have their main weapons out and are possibly expecting the
farming family to attack, but are fairly confident they can take
them. They are not likely to be ambushed.
They arrive at the fort and are told the wizard is out in the
field. They are allowed to rest for 6 days (3ST) and are sent out
after him. It is a 2 day ride (1ST recovered) and when they get to the
camp it is being attacked by Hymenopterans. The adventurers are
promptly attacked by 6 Plungers whose job it is to fly around the camp
and stop reinforcements from arriving.
They finally meet Talryne the Demon Fighting Wizard from ka'Han (though of common birth).
ST17 IQ21 DX 16 (Adept Summoner's Staff of Power), 15ST battery on a necklace, Ring of Stone Flesh (1ST/turn), Ranger Cloak. Spells: Staff of Power, Spell Shield, Pentagram, Summon Lesser Demon, Summon Dragon, Lighting, SpellSniffer, 7HexIllusion, 7HexWall, Invisibility, Summon Gargoyle, Unnoticeability, Telepathy, Remove Thrown Spell, Summon Gargoyle, Flight, Mage Sight, Lesser Magic Item Creation.
His retinue consists of an Apprentice:
ha'Jaas, youngest son of an ancient ka'Han family: ST15 IQ17 DX14 Staff, Glasses of Mage Sight, Cloak of Invisibility (1ST/Turn), 5ST Battery in ring. Spells: Staff, Summon Small Dragon, Summon Gargoyle, Pentagram, Summon Lesser Demon, Telepathy, Hammertouch, Lightning, Weapon/Armour Enchantment, 7HexShadow, Detect Magic, Remove Thrown Spell. He is very stiff and formal in address, but a good martial mage.
2 Knights: ST18 IQ11 DX15(12) AR 6: +1 ChainMail, Enchanted Great Swords (+1DX, +2Hits), Blur Ring (1ST/turn). Talents: Warrior, Veteran, Sword, Horsemanship, (one has Alertness, the other has Tactics).
2-7 Men-at-Arms: ST13 IQ9 DX13(11) AR 4: Fine Halberd (+1Hits), Dagger, Fine Chain Mail (only -2DX). Talents: PoleArms, Knife, Warrior, Horsemanship, Driver.
One man-servant: ST12 IQ10 DX12 AR 3: Leather Armour, BroadSword, Sm. Shield: Talents: Sword, Shield, Courtly Graces, Horsemanship, Cook. Not expected to fight, but will in a pinch.
Plus two non-combatant cooks an driver/animal-handler and a naturalist/scholar.
They go on two scouting missions with Talryne, one to roust an Orc
band to prevent their camp from being attacked while they go in the
caves. The second is to set up a staging point near the caves
(removing some giant spiders from a copse a mile away from the caves.
Attack the Caves of Lord
Dranyon. These caves are the former home of Lord Dranyon and now
hold two of his princes, several vampires, spawn, henchman and the
Shadow Wight Mages that Dranyon helped several centuries ago.
Talryne, one knight and all Men-at-Arms will attempt to raid the core
of the caves where several Vampire Princes, Vampires and their Spawn
and henchmen live, while ha'Jaas and one knight will go with the
adventurers to tackle the Shadow Wight Mages. There are 9 Shadow Wight
Leader: ST13 IQ14 DX12: He sits next to an Obsidian Obelesk (about 2 feet high) and that acts as a regenerator for him, 1ST/turn. Spells: Summon Shadow Spawn, Control Person, 7HexDarkness (1ST Cost), MageSight (always on, no ST Cost), Drain Life, Confusion, Illusion, Telepathy, Curse, Break Weapon, Sleep, Detect Life, Invisibility
8 Mages: ST10 IQ11 DX10: Spells: Confusion, Drain Life, Summon Shadow Spawn, 3Hex Shadow(1ST), Sleep, Illusion.
Mages are likely to Summon Shadow Spawn or blank the room in Shadow (i.e. 4 or so will throw 3Hex Shadow Spells and the other will Summon Shadow Spawn). The second round the ones how did not Summon Spawn will, while the one who have already summoned with either replace any killed or move in behind the spawn line to throw Sleep or Illusion of Spawn (ha'Jaas should see these and call them out as illusion at which point the Wights will stop casting illusions).
Also here are 2 Night Gaunts, one Vampire Spawn and 1 Henchman.
Vampire Spawn: ST12 IQ11 DX11 AR 2: Leather, BroadSword, MainGauche. Usual Spawn Abilities
Henchman: ST11 IQ9 DX11(9) AR 3: Leather, Mace, Sm. Shield. Talents: Mace, Shield, Recognize Value, Animal Handler.
Night Gaunts: ST11 IQ9(1) DX9: Want HTH and will have poisoned daggers after they come substantial (on a table just for them).
ha'Jaas will Summon Gargoyle (he will not cast illusions knowing
that Mage Sight is probably operative). He will throw 3die Lighting
(doubled for Shadow Wights) at the leader of the Shadow mages if he
can get a shot off. He will throw 2 die bolts at wight mages until he
runs down to 5ST and will hold on to the Gargoyle three more turns
before calling for retreat. The Knight take a defensive postion in
front of ha'Jaas (with the help of two adventurers, at least), blur
ring on and swinging to kill mages if he can reach them. Hopefully the
adventurers can handle the Mages and Spawn (now being 40 point
characters). The only hitch will be the Night Gaunts. If they see they
can't grab their daggers, they will move insubstantially and try to
materialize behind the party. The Spawn and Henchman will put on a
show of trying to crowd behind the mages and shadow spawn, but will be
likely to flee if all the mages and spawn are killed.
If the adventurers faire poorly they will have to retreat (I
allowed a Dazzle spell to get one group out of a jam after loosing one
character) and decide if they want to try to make a stand to protect
Talryne's flank or yell for a general retreat. I generally don't
reward the general retreat option.
Treasure: The treasure will be divided out by Talryne and the party
will get one item each minus one (I always try to do this to make them
work together). None of the items will be of great power, but I try to
give one character something they want (Gleremere Glass Sword,
Dazzle Helm, Enchanted Armour or Weapons, etc.) There will be some
silver and gems for them too (average 400SP each, plus Talryne will
give them a special field title, Order of the Fox, that indicates that
non-Duchy citizens have honorably risked their lives and shown bravery
and courage under adverse combat conditions in defense of the
Duchy. This comes with no particular authority, but the letters
(signed and sealed by Talryne) will give them free room, board and
trainig in any of the larger cities of the Duchy (certainly Naroth,
Bronar, and ka'Han). If they are smart and have one of Diplomacy,
Charisma or New Followers can try to parley it into free room and
board anywhere in the Duchy. That is a bit hit and miss as some barons
have only joined for short term self-interest and will not house
The party can rest up at the fortress and train with the Knights of
ha'Jaas to earn any EP awarded attributes.
Talryne will tell them they are free to go, but he would be honored
if they would deliver word to the Arch-Duke about what has happened
and deliver a letter on his behalf. The letter is crucial and he
trusts the adventurers to be able to deliver it. The Arch-Duke would
reward them hansomely for their combat in the caves and the delivery
of this message. Talryne has information that will help the Duke
assess and help in the Delpan matter and he has recommended that the
Duke send a Wizard he knows to help investigate Delpan. He would come
with a small group of highly skilled Rangers and they can help
penetrate the Mansion with the help of the adventurers.
This concludes Naroth and The Vampire Caves, but can begin
Voice of the Dragons.