When a party of adventurers stops to investigate a lonely tower...they learn that sometimes being a good samaritan is a bitch.
Author: Adrian Paterson
by: Adrian Paterson (Patersoa@lincoln.ac.nz)
(Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author. )
[Note that this scenario was designed to be placed in Furyondy near the border with the Shield Lands not long after the Shield Lands have fallen to Iuz. Obviously it could be placed most places.]
Hastur’s Folly is a small circular tower of four floors with a stable outside. It is set in semi-wild rolling moors. Jerome Hastur, younger brother of a local lord and a mage of mediocre power, built the tower
22 years ago to provide a base and refuge for his magical research.
Because of the tower’s small-scale baroque grandness and the distance from polite society, the local serfs christened the tower ‘Hastur’s Folly’. Hastur himself thought the name a great joke and it has stuck. Hastur, now in his early 50s, spends most of his time at the tower where he trains apprentices as war mages for his brother and carries on his research. With Iuz’s armies rampaging through the Shield Lands, demons in their vanguard, Hastur has turned his experiments to searching for a potent summoning device to both bring forth a demon of his own and to study their connection between the Prime and abyssal planes. Unfortunately he recently succeeded….
This scenario is intended to be sited as an encounter on the way elsewhere. Perhaps they have to deliver a document to Hastur as they
pass this way.
As the party approaches Hastur’s tower they may notice that no lights are burning in the windows and that no smoke billows from the chimney. There is nothing else untoward to notice.
Stable: A simple one room structure stands a little way from the tower. There are two stalls, one containing an old nag that only looks good
for pulling the old wagon in the corner. Any character animal skills will notice that the horse has not had food or water for a couple of days.
A successful spot (DC13) will determine that a second horse was present in other stall but was hastily ridden off (eg saddle still present,
slightly scuffed up floor). A further spot of DC18 will find blood stains in the second stall.
Front door : A small ramp leads up to a stout door which opens into
the tower at the first floor. The door is not locked.
First floor: The entry level was rather magnificent but is no longer.
Statues have been broken, paintings gouged, tables overturned. The
room was obviously the main working area of the tower. Through a
ripped curtain the kitchen area can be glimpsed. Similarly a privy is
rent on the other side of the room. A successful spot DC check (13)
will reveal the presence of small red symbols written on the inside of
the door and around the windows. Those with arcane knowledge (DC
14) will note a similarity to symbols used in abjuration/warding magic.
A stairwell, on the other side of room, leads both up and down. A
successful spot DC check (15) will also find a faint blood trail leading
from the stairs to the door. There is silence in the tower.
Ground level – This was obviously the apprentices quarters and the
storeroom of the tower. Three beds with clothing chests are spaced
around the outside of the room with supplies piled in the centre of the
room. As above, there is much devastation, boxes stoved in, grain
bags burst asunder. Most horribly, dismembered bodies of the
apprentices lay in their beds. There are no windows on this level. As
the party leaves the level the dead apprentices will animate and
attempt to silently subdue the rearmost party member. The
apprentices have become ghasts.
Level 2 : The stairs open into Hastur’s quarters. A richly furnished
area with a sumptious canopy bed, leather sofa and a wall of books
from the mundane to the esoteric. Although there is some damage in
the room, a bookshelf pulled down and chairs overturned and so on, it
appears to be somewhat half-hearted compared to the carnage
downstairs. There are even two valuable paintings of the temples of
Chendl by van Dijlk that have escaped the rampage. A successful
spot DC check (13) will find a blood trail leading down the stairs. From
under the bed comes a small groan (listen DC 10). The party will find a
dying Hastur. He has numerous claw wounds. If questioned in any
manner he reveals the following information. His recent experiments
have led him to design a magical demon-summoning machine. A night
ago he used it for the first time, summoning a demon. Unfortunately
the machine did not work in quite the manner intended (he is vague on
details here) and he had to fight off the demon. Hastur thinks he
finally trapped it, but he's too weak to go up to the summoning
chamber on the next floor up and deactivate the machine. Hastur
explains that the machine will be deactivated by pulling the crystal
lever, unscrewing it and then shattering it. He says that the party
should not touch the machine in any other way as it may overload and
If not attended to, Hastur dies soon after imparting this knowledge.
Should the party search the room they'll find a secret panel behind a
map of the Marklands. Beyond there is a solid wall that masks a secret
safe. In the wall is a shallow vertical depression. Inserting a 'key' into
the depression will open the safe. No other method, short of chipping
the stone away (which will take several hours with normal stone-
working tools) will work. Inside the chamber is a swan boat feather
token, a scroll of teleport no error, a potion of cure serious wounds, a
potion of bull’s strength, a wand of illumination and some monetary
wealth (565gp worth). An emergency travelling spell book could be
here if desired. The key is with the real Hastur.). Stairs continue
upward to a trapdoor.
Level 3: The trapdoor opens into Hastur’s laboratory. Broken glass
and spell reagents are everywhere. Shelves, tables, benches are
smashed, dried blood is pooled on the floor. Near the trapdoor is a
great brass contraption with all sorts of dials and knobs (and of
course the lever) next to two 12' high crystal columns set 12' apart. In
between the columns is a pink and blue cloud. There is a constant
humming sound. Hanging within the cloud is the demon. It is a great
ugly batwinged, insect-headed monstrosity and it struggles with the
coloured cloud to get at the party. Clearly it is contained within the
cloud. If the lever is removed and the crystal smashed the cloud
disappears and, with a heart-stopping scream, the demon is sucked
back to whence it came. The humming noise gradually declines, the
machine slowly stops. Mission accomplished…..
If the party start to fiddle with the machine in ways other than
described by Hastur it will start to hum ominously before smoking and
sparking. After 2+d3 rounds, there will be a massive 10d10 explosion
(reflex DC 21 for half) that fills the whole level and closes the gate.
Pushing the machine into the space between the pillars will have a
So what is really happening?
Hastur did use his machine (only two nights ago) and did manage to
open a gate and summon a rampaging demon. Despite being slashed
and losing blood, Hastur managed to beat a hasty retreat out of the
tower, jump on his horse and race into the night, heading for his
brother’s keep, two days ride away. Fortunately for Hastur, his recent
research on new warding runes (placed around the door and windows)
was very effective and the demon could not exit the building.
Unfortunately for the apprentices, who were sleeping in their quarters
while their master worked upstairs, the demon quickly found and killed
them. During the initial fight with Hastur, the activating level of the
summoning machine was knocked into an off position. The demon is
stuck in the tower. The machine is warded against outsiders and
undead and their powers and, therefore, the demon needs someone
else to operate it. If the machine is once more activated then the gate
will remain open and the demon can return to its native plane or bring
reinforcements through which will soon overbear the warding runes
and the demons will be free to roam the countryside.
The demon is, therefore, trying to dupe the party into fully activating
the machine. It polymorphs into the shape of ‘Hastur’ in the level 2
room. When the party enters the laboratory, the demon has set up the
illusion of the demon in the cloud and of it being sucked back to its
plane. If the party do as ‘Hastur’ suggests they have now activated a
gate into the abyss and it cannot be shut down other than by
destroying the machine (AC 12, 40 HP).
If the party has complied with the demon’s instructions, and
apparently solved the problem, and ‘Hastur’ did not die in level 2, he
will suggest that the party go back to his quarter for a stiff brandy. (if
‘Hastur’ died on level 2 then the demon is invisible) Once the party
has left the room the demon will quickly move through the gate and
obtain the help of two lesser demons (2+d6 rounds). The demons will
then return and teleport to the entry level to make sure the party does
not leave the tower.
If the party have not complied with ’Hastur’s’ requests then the
demon is mightily annoyed and will not think twice about destroying a
party that has continue to keep it trapped in the tower. There will
always be other dupes passing by…..
So how does the party know what’s going on?
Well they may not (mine didn’t – well not till too late).
First, the stable shows signs of a second horse that was hastily ridden
Second, the party might pick up some blood trails (from Hastur as he
fled out of the tower).
Third, the demon has animated the apprentices as undead which it
would not be able to do if it was trapped in the machine.
Fourth, ‘Hastur’ says that the fight took place one night ago but the
evidence is that it took lace earlier (still if when you are slashed to
pieces who keeps track of the time?)
Fifth, if the demon was trapped in the machine then who wrecked the
tower? ‘Hastur’ if questioned could state that the battle raged around
the tower but this seems unlikely.
What happens after?
If the party was successful then the real Hastur could turn up and
reward the party (using his hey to open the safe).
If the party is not
successful then Hastur could turn up during the battle to help or later,
as the demon holds the party captive for tormenting, to rescue them.
Suggested Stats (but really you should select a demon with a CR
appropriate to your party)
‘Hastur’ the demon (Nabassu-kin)
Medium-Size Outsider (Chaotic, Evil)
Hit Dice: 56 hp, Initiative:+6 (+2 Dex, +4 Improved Initiative),
Speed:30 ft, fly 40 ft (average), AC:24 (+2 Dex, +12 natural), Attacks: 2
claws +11 melee, bite +9 melee, Damage:2 claws 1d4+4, bite 1d6+2,
Face/Reach:5 ft by 5 ft/5 ft
Special Attacks:Spell-like abilities, feed, paralysis aura, summon ghasts
Special Qualities:Damage reduction 10/+1, ethereal jaunt, SR 21,
demon qualities, telepathy, darkvision 60 ft
Saves:Fort +7, Ref +6, Will +7, Abilities:Str 19, Dex 13, Con 14, Int 14,
Wis 14, Cha 13
Skills:Climb +11, Escape Artist +9, Hide +9, Intimidate +10, Jump +11,,
Knowledge (arcana) +7, Listen +8, Move Silently +7, Search +8, Spot
+8, Feats:Improved Initiative, Multiattack
At first sight a nabassu-kin is unmistakably a demon. It stands about 7
feet tall and resembles a gargoyle at first glance. It is gaunt with
tightly corded muscles. A nabassu-kin has great claws on its hands
and feet. Its skin is leathery. Its eyes gleam a steel-gray and its mouth
is lined with sharp fangs.
Nabassu-kin attack using claw and bite. This is their preferred method
as they enjoy watching their foes die a slow and very painful death.
Spell-Like Abilities: At will— project illusion, 3/day — invisibility (as
cast by a 12th-level sorcerer), 1/day—polymorph (as cast by a 12th-
Feed (Su): When a nabassu-kin slays a humanoid opponent, it can
feed on the corpse, devouring both flesh and life force, as a full round
action. For every 8 HD or levels a nabassu consumes, it gains 1 Hit
Die. Feeding destroys the victim’s body and prevents any form of
resurrection that requires part of the corpse. A wish, miracle, or true
resurrection spell can restore a devoured victim to life, but there is a
50% chance that even such powerful magic will fail.
Paralysis Aura (Su): As a free action, a nabassu-kin can create an
aura of paralysis in a 10-foot radius. It is otherwise identical with
ghoul touch cast by a 12th-level sorcerer (save DC 13). If the save is
successful, that creature cannot be affected again by that nabassu-
kin’s paralysis aura for one day. Other demons are immune to the aura.
Ethereal Jaunt (Su): Twice per day a nabassu-kin can shift from the
Ethereal to the Material Plane as part of any move action, and shift
back again as a free action. It can remain on the Ethereal Plane for 1
round before returning to the Material. The ability is otherwise
identical with ethereal jaunt cast by a 12th-level sorcerer.
Create Ghasts (Sp): Once per day a nabassu-kin can automatically
animate 1d6 ghasts.
Demon Qualities (Ex): Immune to poison and electricity; cold, fire,
and acid resistance 20
Telepathy (Su): Nabassu-kin can communicate with any creature
within 100 feet that has a language.
Demons summoned by the Nabassu-kin: 2 Bar-Lgura
Medium-Size Outsider (Chaotic, Evil) Hit Dice: (39, 35 hp), Initiative: +1
(Dex), Speed: 30 ft, climb 30 ft, AC: 20 (+1 Dex, +9 natural), Attacks: 2
claws +9 melee, bite +4 melee, Damage: Claw 1d4+3, bite 1d6+1,
Face/Reach: 5 ft by 5 ft/5 ft, Special Attacks: Spell-like abilities,
summon demons, Special Qualities: Damage reduction 10/silver, SR 12,
chameleon, demon, qualities, telepathy, darkvision 60 ft, Saves: Fort
+7, Ref +6, Will +6, Abilities: Str 16, Dex 13, Con 15, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha
10, Skills: Climb +17, Concentration +8, Hide +7, Move Silently +7,
Listen +9,, Search +6, Sense Motive +6, Spot +9, Feats: Alertness,
Dodge, Spring Attack*
Challenge Rating: 8
The Bar-lgura or leaping demon, is similar to an orangutan except for
its gruesome visage and tushes. Its hands and feet have six digits with
exceptionally long claws.
The bar-lgura attacks with its claws and bite in combat. The favored
tactic is to assault a foe from ambush, with all leaping to the attack at
the same instance.
Spell-Like Abilities: At will—darkness, desecrate, detect good,
detect thoughts, entangle, fear, see invisible, telekinesis, and teleport
without error (self plus 50 pounds of objects only); 2/day—change
self, invisibility, and spectral hand. These abilities are as the spells
cast by an 8th-level sorcerer (save DC 10 + spell level).
Chameleon (Ex): As a free action, the bar-lgura can change its
coloration to match that of its surroundings. This grants it a +12 racial
bonus on Hide checks.
Summon Demons (Sp): Once per day a bar-lgura can attempt to
summon 1d6 additional bar-lguras with a 35% chance of success.
Demon Qualities (Ex): Immune to poison and electricity; cold, fire,and acid resistance 20
Telepathy (Su): Bar-lguras can communicate with any creature within
100 feet that has a language.
Feats: Bar-lguras gain Spring Attack as a bonus feat.
Apprentices (undead) : The apprentices have become ‘standard’ghasts (see Monster manual).
Acknowledgments: Thanks to Phil Sirvid for helping to create the original scenario that this is based on. And Cor, Tony and Simon for walking so completely into the trap….