Gary Gygax Tribute Campaign

Session 3 (Tower of Zenopus, part 1)

Played 6-1-18

Night Shadow the thief’s side adventure: Shortly after returning to Waterkeg from Lookout Tower, Night Shadow went to his Tarp Street contact, Rulmuth, to extract the poison from the slain giant centipede. Rulmuth took him to an alchemist named Narm, whose guarded and secure door to his basement lab is located in a back alleyway. With a secret knock, Night Shadow descended the stairs to his lab. Narm appeared to have a specialty in poisons (and perhaps antidotes) and was able to extract the giant centipede poison for a modest fee of 15 gps. The poison (worth about 25 gps/dose) causes enfeeblement/strength sapping, and there is enough in 1 centipede to coat 1 dagger, spear tip, or sword point with 1 dose. Upon leaving Narm, Rulmuth delivered a message from the Water Rat gang to Night Shadow warning him to lay low in town. Something big is going down soon, and the Water Rats don’t want Night Shadow to interfere with their plans. (Night Shadow grew up in Waterkeg’s river wharf neighborhood and was expected to join the Water Rat gang when he came of age, but unexpectedly joined Waterkeg’s Tarp Street gang instead. Rulmuth has been his Tarp Street gang mentor).

Freddy the fighter’s side adventure: Shortly after returning to Waterkeg from Lookout Tower, Freddy saw the Sage of the Rune Library again. This time, he told Freddy that a wizard accepted his inquiry for an apprenticeship. Arriving for a meeting at Coven Fountain in Waterkeg, the wizard played simple magical tricks on Freddy and shot a magic missile near him before revealing herself to Freddy. Lyrtna, a blonde female wizard of low level who tends to keep a low profile, was intrigued by Freddy’s interest as a warrior in learning magic and agreed to take Freddy under her wing when other more powerful wizards would not. Freddy was able to learn some cantrips from her, but will need further study and training to learn his first level spell. She warned Freddy that there are some dangerous wizards in Waterkeg that he should avoid. Notably, the wizard known as Micron the Mystic is said to be a half-ghoul, and he may have slain her former master. Lyrtna has her former master’s spellbook, containing several spells that she is unable to cast herself. Freddy may need to seek another wizard master upon reaching 3rd level.

During the week after the PC’s return from Lookout Tower, the PC’s got another story of future adventure from the Merchant of Southtown. He told of the seafaring Tocharians who have a logging camp nestled on the coast south of the Tangled Wood and north of the Great Ridge. Below the Great Ridge is a vast marshland. Tochar is far east across the sea. Tochar lies south of the great desert beyond the Mystic Mountains to the east and north of the Great Wall built by the Han Chin. The land of Han Chin was once ruled by an emperor also named Han Chin, who built the Great Wall with slaves before his death. The Great Wall was built to keep out the “barbarians” to the north, which included the Tocharians. However, the Han Chin will trade with the Tocharians at a single sea port just south of the Great Wall. Han Chin’s empire is now divided between 5 warlords that rule with iron hands over their subjects. The oppressed people often resort to piracy to sustain themselves. By using cloth sails instead of bamboo sails as used on warlord ships, the pirates have the advantage with ship maneuverability when attacking. Piracy is dealt with brutally by the warlords.

The PC’s decided to seek their fortune in the dungeon beneath the fallen Tower of Zenopus. With lantern, the 3 descended the stairs into darkness. At the base of the stairs, they discovered a small, goblin-sized muddy footprint. Exploring down the east tunnel at the crossroad, they entered a long undisturbed, dusty room with 4 web covered niches. Suddenly, 4 human sized skeletons with clawed hands and sharpened teeth sprung from the webbed niches to attack. After attempts to fend off the grappling and biting skeletons with arrow, weapons, and flame, Mardak turned the skeletons by invoking the power of his deity, the All-Seeing Eye. Freddy hurled his spear at one of the fleeing skeletons, but managed to lodge his spear in its ribs. Pursuing the fleeing skeletons to retrieve his spear, Freddy came across a nest of giant rats before recovering his spear that came loose from the fleeing skeleton. Retreating from the rat infested room, Night Shadow and Mardak were able to eventually pick off the giant rats hiding in the nest of rubble with arrows and sling stones. In the nest, they found a bag of 25 gps and a silver hilted dagger bejeweled with a hematite stone in its pommel worth 50 gps.

Forging back west in a circle, the PC’s arrived at a door. After Night Shadow heard eerie dragging of chains inside, the PC’s swung open the door to find a room with many open coffins and a hideous ghoul leaning over one of the coffins. Mardak was unable to summon the power of the All-Seeing Eye to turn the monster, but Freddy and Night Shadow attacked. Freddy managed a palpable hit with his spear, but succumbed to the ghoul’s paralyzing attack from its claws, Freddy’s limbs becoming ridged with rigor mortis for 3 turns. Mardak charged in himself to attack, and Night Shadow moved to flank the ghoul. Mardak was clawed and bitten by the ghoul, but his faith helped him to resist the paralyzing effect. Damaging attacks with sword and mace then fell the dread monster for eternity. Upon the ghoul was found a golden neck chain and large Z shaped pendant (worth 300 gps), and in the coffins they found 5 hematite gems worth 10 gps each and 50 gps of ancient minting (worth 250 gps). After the harrowing combat, the PC’s decided to return to the surface with their new found wealth. Upon consulting the Sage of the Rune Library, they confirmed that the Z shaped pendant undoubtedly belonged to the magician Zenopus himself, but it was uncertain whether the neck chain and pendant was taken by the ghoul from Zenopus or that the ghoul was actually Zenopus himself. Mardak confirmed through his fellow cleric, Zog’s magic, that the Z pendant is not magical nor inherently evil.

Afterward, Night Shadow having revealed to Freddy and Mardak that the Water Rats gang warned him to lie low so as to not interfere with them, the PC’s decided to do some investigation to try to determine why the Water Rats felt threatened. The PC’s thought that perhaps their taking over Lookout Tower may have been the trigger, but were unsure. Meeting with dock worker, Rog, the PC’s agreed to pay for his beer at the Dragon Drool Bar if he told them what he knows. As they were imbibing, Rog began choking. The PC’s discovered that throat leeches had been evilly placed in the drinks. Initial attempts to dislodge the throat leech were unsuccessful, and Rog passed out. Quick thinking Mardak poured table salt down Rog’s throat to dry up and kill the blood sucking and swelling leech. Night Shadow removed it from Rog’s throat with his thieves’ tools. Carrying Rog to a church to recover, upon awaking, Rog told the PC’s that the Water Rats are rumored to be planning a big heist soon, but he has no further information. Rog then sought to be a pack bearer for the party for 15 gps/month, and the PC’s agreed to retain his service for 1 month.

For follow up:
1. The Merchant of Southtown: (A) Is there more to the Ivory Coin? Will the Merchant of Southtown strike it rich? (B) Get the last story for future adventure from him. © What will be the PCs’ story of the Ivory Coin quest told in Cun’s Pub and around Waterkeg in about 8 days?

2. What will Hashy Deutsmy make with the fire beetle glands?

3. What heist are the Water Rats planning?

4. The Cheese Thugs of Westwood – Readers can see this one page dungeon themselves at
The Cheese Thugs.

5. The Tower of Zenopus (Was Zenopus turned into a ghoul or was Zenopus’s neck chain and Z pendant taken from him after his death?)

6. Will the crowd on Tarp Street be threatened by the warning of Gorgo’s Gang in the woods? Will they even hear about it? If so, when? Will they care?

7. Dox’s mysterious ancient untranslated message

Freddy the fighter is now 2nd level.

The treasure collected so far amounts to 1,594 gps; a climbing potion (3 uses); a loadstone (given to PC’s as parting gift from woodsmen, worth 25 gps); gold medicine cup worth 25 gps; 6 hematite gem worth 62 gps; a silver hilted jeweled dagger worth 50 gps; Zenopus’s golden neck chain and pendant worth 300 gps; Swift the medium warhorse with saddle, bridle, and 3 large saddlebags (220 gps); 3 wooden neck charms (poison resistance?); and a manure soup recipe.

Of the above treasure, the PCs have spent a total of approximately 531 gps already, which includes miscellaneous expenses of 100 gps each for the first month. Lookout Tower took 5,000 gps to build, but in its present dilapidated state, it will take 1,000 gps to return it to its former glory.

Carnage Meter:
Monsters/enemies
Slain: 12 Wounded: 7
Total casualties: 19
PC’s/Friends
Slain: 0

The link goes to the Tower of Zenopus map, which in game I turned counterclockwise a quarter turn so that the right side of the page is north.
Tower of Zenopus map

Comments

The Tower of Zenopus is a sample dungeon found in the 1977 Holmes Basic D&D set (blue cover). I made some minor additions to answer the mystery of what happened to the wizard Zenopus. A copy of the dungeon map is found in the game file folder to review. If you are unfamiliar with the adventure background, I copied it in the next comment section below.

 

Background — 100 years ago the sorcerer Zenopus built a tower on the low hills overlooking Portown [now Waterkeg]. The tower was close to the [river] cliff west of the town and, appropriately, next door to the graveyard.
Rumor has it that the magician made extensive cellars and tunnels underneath the tower. The town is located on the ruins of a much older city of doubtful history and Zenopus was said to excavate in his cellars in search of ancient treasures.
Fifty years ago, on a cold wintry night, the wizard’s tower was suddenly engulfed in green flame. Several of his human servants escaped the holocaust, saying their master had been destroyed by some powerful force he had unleashed in the depths of the tower. Needless to say the tower stood vacant for a while after this, but then the neighbors and the night watchmen complained that ghostly blue lights appeared in the windows at night, that ghastly screams could be heard emanating from the tower at all hours, and goblin figures could be seen dancing on the tower roof in the moonlight. Finally the authorities had a catapult rolled through the streets of the town and the tower was battered to rubble. This stopped the hauntings but the townsfolk continue to shun the ruins. The entrance to the old dungeons can be easily located as a flight of broad stone steps leading down into darkness, but the few adventurous souls who have descended into crypts below the ruin have either reported only empty stone corridors or have failed to return at all.
Other magic-users have moved into the town but the site of the old tower remains abandoned. Whispered tales are told of fabulous treasure and un- speakable monsters in the underground passages below the hilltop, and the story tellers are always careful to point out that the reputed dungeons lie in close proximity to the foundations of the older, pre- human city, to the graveyard, and to the sea.
*
At the Green Dragon Inn, the players of the game gather their characters for an assault on the fabulous passages beneath the ruined Wizard’s tower

KuboTwo

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