The Haunted Mine of Blackstone
Date: Wed, December 01, 2004
Topic: Adventures & Modules
Another 3.5 edition Mini-adventure, this time for 6th level characters, the haunted mine of Blackstone, takes place near that small mining town in the Cairn Hills (north east of the city of greyhawk).
The Haunted Mine of Blackstone
Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.
The Haunted Mine of Blackstone
By. C. Wesley Clough
Terrain: Hills (the Cairn Hills north-east of the city of Greyhawk)
Average Party Level: 6th
* Representatives of the Greyhawk Revenue Service (GRS) approach the characters, a mine inspector that they sent to the small town of Blackstone in the cairn hills has vanished and they would like the party to investigate.
* While in the Cairn Hills the characters hear rumors of a haunted mine near the town of Blackstone, the rumors hint that the spooks might be guarding a veritable horde of uncut emeralds.
The small Bearn Ridge mine a mile north of Blackstone was always a disappointment. After a promising strike near the surface the emeralds mined there became few and far between as the miner delved deeper beneath the ridge. Then, three years after it opened a disastrous mine collapse brought digging in Bearn Ridge to a halt. Three good men, all well liked and respected members of the community were crushed to death in the cave in. The Governor-mayor of Blackstone used the accident as an excuse to shut the mine down, citing the dangerous conditions and poor yield of the mine in his report back to the powers that be in the city of Greyhawk.
That was seven years ago, the Bearn Ridge mine has lain boarded over and abandoned since that time. People pass near the ridge told tales of having heard strange noises coming from the mine often enough, and soon a local legend stating that the mine was haunted by the spirits of the dead miners grew up in Blackstone and began to spread from there. The locals of Blackstone avoid Bearn Ridge if the can.
Recently however, Ruston Stonebeard, a dwarven mine inspector in the employ of the Greyhawk Revenue Service (GRS) showed up to examine the old mine and determine the feasibility of reopening it. The townsfolk tried to warn him about the haunting, but Ruston was resolute, he would fulfill his duties spooks or not. Ruston entered the mine nearly a week ago and has not been seen since.
In truth the spirits of the dead miners rest easily, and the apparent haunting is due to the efforts of S’Tcaf, a dark naga that moved into the mine about a year after it was abandoned. S’Tcaf prefers his privacy and uses ghost sound and ventriloquism spells to make people passing near Bearn Ridge think that haunts are about. Although he prefers to be left alone S’Tcaf is as wicked as his kind is wont to be; he slips into town about once a month under cover of darkness to charm somebody that he thinks will not be missed (such as a newcomer, or mercenary guard), then he leads the unfortunate victim back to the Bearn Ridge mine to serve as his meal. With his snake-like reptilian metabolism S’Tcaf has no problems surviving on a human a month.
When Ruston Stonebeard entered the mine S’Tcaf was annoyed that the dwarf was not frightened off by his haunting ruse. Since it was nearly time for the dark naga to hunt again anyway S’Tcaf simply ate the mine inspector and hoped that the disappearance would go unnoticed.
A worn, but obviously little used, trail leads north from Blackstone to the Baern Ridge mine. A person with the tracking feat can determine that only one person has passed this way recently, and that the dwarf-sized tracks lead to the mine, but do not come back. About a mile north of town the trail terminates at the Baern Ridge mine, the mine is dug into the bottom of the ridge side and angles steeply downward. A set of rusted iron tracks leads up out of the mine and ends at a wooden cart stop that is surrounded by piles of stone. Beside the tracks the steep tunnel has been carved into a series of steps for the miners ease of access to the areas below. The entrance to the mine is protected by an alarm spell that will warn S’Tcaf is anybody enters.
After about thirty feet the entrance tunnel ends in a roughly forty by thirty foot rectangular room. The iron cart tracks are less weathered and in better shape down here, and the tracks continue out of a more gently downward tunnel in the north wall. An old abandoned mine cart sits on the tracks near the tunnel in the north wall. Several wooden stable stalls have been built against the south wall, for keeping mules in, although none have been used in quite some time. If the characters triggered the alarm, then S’Tcaf will be coiled in the mine cart invisible. He will start his haunting routine, using ghost sound to make moaning noises come from near the stables. When the party is distracted by the ghost sound he will use mage hand to undo the brake on the mine cart (the only thing keeping it from rolling down the northern tunnel) and then let out a shrieking cackle as the cart picks up speed and disappears down the tunnel. (a listen check DC 15 will let the listener hear the cart crash 2 rounds later, but S’Tcaf will be off of it by then, having used his fly spell to exit the cart.).
A careful search (DC 20) of the room will find a masterwork dagger and 3 gold pieces beneath the hay in one of the stalls.
The tunnel in the north wall slopes gently but noticeably down about eighty feet before coming to a four-way intersection. Cart tracks lead east and west and connect to the tunnel from the Workroom. If S’Tcaf rode the mine cart out of the workroom the party will find it at the intersection derailed and on its side.
The tunnel leading north from the intersection (with out cart tracks) is level, and stretches about a hundred feet. The last 20 feet of the tunnel is a 20 foot deep pit that S’Tcaf has covered with a silent image of the floor continuing. He will try to lure characters down the tunnel and into the pit with dancing lights and ghost sound spells. (S’Tcaf will be flying invisibly near the ceiling watching the characters at this point.) The dark naga has placed several old mining picks point up at the bottom of the shaft for added effect.
Spiked Pit Trap: CR 2; mechanical; location trigger; nothing to reset; DC 20 Reflex save avoids; 20 ft. deep (2d6, fall); multiple targets (first target in each of two adjacent 5-ft. squares); pit spikes (Atk +10 melee, 1d4 spikes per target for 1d4+2 each); Search DC 21 (covered by illusion) or 15; Disable Device can’t be disabled.
Whether or not any characters fall into the pit S’Tcaf will attempt to next lure the characters down the eastern tunnel, by calling to the characters by name (learned with his detect thoughts ability) he will do this with his ventriloquism spell, making it seem that his voice is coming from down the eastern tunnel while he in reality flies invisibly down the western tunnel to prepare his lair for a possible invasion.
Cavern of the Bloodsuckers (eastern tunnel):
The miners broke into a natural cave underground when they dug this way. There was no sign of the emeralds they sought in this area so they abandoned this cavern long before the rest of the mine. The tunnel ends at a roughly oval shaped cavern some fifty feet long (stretching back from the entrance) but only about thirty feet wide at its widest point. There are some stalactites hanging from the ceiling, and a pool of dark cold water is in the center of the room. The iron cart tracks end at a wooden cart-stop just inside the entrance to the cavern. Recently a storm of twelve Stirges moved into this cavern (S’Tcaf ignores them because they help reinforce the idea that this area is best avoided to the locals). If any light is brought into this room or the characters make any noise while here the stirges will drop from their hidden perches among the stalactites to attack. There is nothing of value in this cave.
The Naga’s Abode:
The western tunnel from the crossroads goes for about fifty feet before turning north. Just around the corner it is buried in a huge pile of collapsed earth and stone that completely blocks the tunnel save for a small two foot diameter crawl space that S’Tcaf has dug. The small crawlway leads sixty feet back to the other end of the mine collapse where the original tunnel turns into a twenty by twenty foot chamber that the Dark Naga uses as its lair. The tunnel is so small that medium sized characters must crawl through on their bellies, while small characters are severely hunched over while navigating it (large creatures can not fit in it at all unless they are long and snake like such as S’Tcaf). A medium creature loses its dex bonus (if any) to AC while in the tunnel and suffers a -2 penalty on reflex saves and skill checks that use Dexterity as the base ability. Small sized characters treat their Dex bonus to AC as if it was 2 lower then it really is (although never less then 0) and suffer a -1 penalty to reflex saves and skill checks that use dexterity as the base ability. Tiny or smaller sized creatures navigate the tunnel normaly.
Stcaf will be waiting invisibly in the chamber at the end of the cramped crawlway. Once a character gets close to his end of the tunnel S’Tcaf will cast his lightning bolt spell down the crawlway, hoping to catch more then one character in the tunnel. After that he will fly up to a 5 foot wide ledge that is 10 feet up on the back wall of the room and will continue to hammer any party members emerging from the crawlway with his attack spells (alternating scorching ray and lightning bolt until he runs out or is forced into melee.)
There are the regurgitated bones of many people scattered about on the floor of the chamber (including the relatively fresh bones of the dwarven mine inspector Ruston). The naga’s treasure is located on the ledge where he makes his stand. It consists of 570 sp, and 320 gp loosely scattered over the ledge, along with 6 uncut emeralds (appear to be worth 50 gp each, but it cut and polished are worth 10 times as much), some old rusted armor and weapons, a (non rusted) +1 short sword, a divine scroll (containing prayer and speak with dead, caster level 5) and a rod of metal and mineral detection.
Strige: CR 1/2; Tiny magical beast; HD 1d10; hp 5 (each); Init +4; Spd 10 ft., fly 40ft. (average); AC 16 (+2 size, +4 dex)) Touch 16 Flat-Footed 12; Atk Touch +7 melee (attach); Space/Reach: 2-1/2 ft./0 ft.; SA attach, blood drain; SQ darkvision 60 ft., lowlight vision; AL N; SV Fort +2, Ref +6, Will +1; Str 3, Dex 19, Con 10, Int 1, Wis 12, Cha 6.
Skills and Feats: Hide +14, Listen +4, Spot +4; Alertness, Weapon finesse (b).
Attach (Ex): If a stirge hits with a touch attack, it uses its eight pincers to latch onto the opponent’s body. An attached stirge is effectively grappling its prey. The stirge loses its Dexterity bonus to AC and has an AC of 12, but holds on with great tenacity. Stirges have a +12 racial bonus on grapple checks.
An attached stirge can be struck with a weapon or grappled itself. To remove an attached stirge through grappling, the opponent must achieve a pin against the stirge.
Blood Drain (Ex): A stirge drains blood, dealing 1d4 points of Constitution damage in any round when it begins its turn attached to a victim. Once it has dealt 4 points of Constitution damage, it detaches and flies off to digest the meal. If its victim dies before the stirge’s appetite has been sated, the stirge detaches and seeks a new target.
S’Tcaf (Dark Naga): CR 8; Large Aberration; HD 9d8+18; hp 58; Init +2; Spd 40ft.; AC 14 (touch 11, Flat Footed 12); Atk Sting +7 melee (2d4+2 plus poison) and Bite +2 melee (1d4+1); Space/reach.10ft./5ft.; SA Poison, Spells; SQ Darkvision 60ft., Detect Thoughts, Guarded Thoughts, Immunity to Poison, Resistance to Charm; AL LE; SV Fort +5, Ref +7, Will +8; Str 14, Dex 15, Con 14, Int 16, Wis 15, Cha 17.
Skills and Feats: Bluff +9, Concentration +13, Diplomacy +7, Disguise +5 (+7 acting), Intimidate +5, Listen +11, Sense Motive +8, Spellcraft +12, Spot +11, Alertness, Combat Casting, Dodge, Eschew Materials (b), Lightning Reflexes.
Poison (ex): Sting, Fortitude DC 16 or lapse into a nightmare haunted sleep for 2d4 minutes.
Sorcerer Spells Known (Spells per day 6/7/7/5, caster level 7th, save DC 13+ spell Level).
0—dancing lights, detect magic, ghost sound, mage hand, message, open/close, prestidigitation; 1—alarm, charm person, silent image, unseen servant, ventriloquism; 2—invisibility, scorching ray, see invisibility; 3—fly, lightning bolt