The Celestial Tower Adventure was one that I ran both online and as a miniatures game, using Advanced HeroQuest rules. It was written as a more magical adventure that isn't necessarily linked to the AHQ universe per se, originally, though I gave it a few more twists (and gratuitous combat) to make it fit into the Warhammer Fantasy world slightly better.
As of this writing, I don't have much to show but a bunch of photographs of the scenery of the major locations. As I get the time to come back to this, I'll add in more meaningful descriptions of what can be found here. I'll add a second page with statistics for each of the creatures to be found in the tower.
The Tower itself has six levels (not counting the roof). Of these levels, the top level -- where resides Archmagus Stargazer's laboratory -- is off limits to anyone, until a puzzle is solved, involving four elemental gems hidden in the tower, in the care of four elementals that have been commanded not to let anyone take it without a fight. The object of the adventure is to get into the tower, acquire these four gems (by whatever means necessary), and place them in four appropriate gem settings in a table at the bottom level. This will open a magical lock and allow access to the top level. This can be the end of the adventure right then and there ... or, if you have the time, you can present the heroes with another, final challenge.
In this adventure, there are several magically animated objects -- teapots, knives, and so forth. These enchantments are limited to this tower. Any enchanted items that are taken out of the tower will become just like ordinary items. However, if they are brought back into the tower, the enchantment will take effect again.
Animated objects are not truly alive, but they can still be attacked, and can still be affected by spells -- even mind-controlling spells such as those from the Amethyst College. They are, however, immune to the effects of poison, and may be immune to certain types of attacks at the GM's discretion. Most magical attacks, however, will still affect them, regardless of the type of attack, simply due to the nature of magic -- and the relatively fragile nature of animated objects created in this fashion.
Not surprisingly, the heroes will start outside of the tower. The tower stands within the city of Altdorf, and it has caused the wizards of that magical city no small consternation that every time so much as a bird flies over the tower of the late Archmagus Stargazer, a storm erupts with violent fury, striking the offending creature from the sky, and drenching the surrounding streets. This magical ward has gotten quite out of hand, and it storms quite frequently in Altdorf. While the colleges of magic would have been otherwise to leave the wizard's legacy well and enough alone for the time being, while they are more concerned with other things, this magical hazard has inspired them to encourage someone, anyone, to try to deal with the task.
So far, it's proven fairly hazardous. Going by air is downright fatal. At least one thief has scaled the side of the tower, only to be struck by lightning, and to fall to his death. Due to the resulting lightning storm that follows such failed attempts, the colleges have been very clear that attempting to enter the tower by scaling it or flying over it is strictly forbidden. (That doesn't mean that the heroes can't try anyway.)
The courtyard is a walled garden, terribly overgrown, with a pool in its center. If anyone has a mind to, there is plenty of shrubbery to hide in, but nothing worth looting out here. The front door is sturdy and magically reinforced, as any wizard should be able to tell upon examining it. It has a very large bronze doorknocker fashioned to look like a leonine head with a ring in its mouth. If there is a Wood Elf in the party or Shaman (Amber Wizard), feel free to inform that character that, more specifically, the doorknocker is crafted to resemble the face of a manticore.
The door has no visible handle, and no lock. It does not push casually open to the touch. Deliberate application of force would be required. If anyone takes a moment to look at the knocker before just shoving the door open or using the knocker, he or she will find an inscription on the ring. Anyone but a barbarian can read and find the following inscription:
The eyes of the knocker also seem to eerily follow whomever is closest, and if the heroes tarry too long, someone will notice that the knocker unnervingly seems to shift and move now and then in a way that bronze normally does not.
For what it is worth, there is an enchantment on the knocker. If anyone tries to force the door open, or knocks with the knocker in a way that does not follow the above instructions, or in any other way tries to force entry into the castle without following the proper instructions (such as a spell to open a new entrance), the knocker will spit out its ring, pull out from the door and magically transform into a great Bronze Manticore. The Manticore will fight any offender, and will pursue anyone who tries to flee into the tower. It will not, however, pursue anyone who flees away from the tower entirely.
If anyone gets the idea of shoving the ring back into the Manticore's mouth, this may be done by a successful hit against a WS of 1 by anyone within range of the Manticore. On a success, the Manticore immediately transforms into the knocker again, and goes into the door, ceasing its attack. However, repeated offenses will summon the Manticore right back again.
PLEASE NOTE: Any holes created in the tower will be magically "healed" by the Earth Elemental (which can execute such repairs from its home in the Earth Level of the tower), so long as it is still intact. Spells such as Strike of the Sword will only temporarily create passages through walls -- and they won't be able to penetrate the laboratory, which is too well protected from easy intrusion like that. Give the heroes time to get through -- perhaps 6 turns or so -- but doorways so created will not stay in place permanently.
Also, note that the instructions on the ring are somewhat ambiguous, and bound to provoke some arguing among the heroes. Does the inscription mean to knock three times? Or does it mean to knock once, then knock two more times, then knock thrice more? Well, the "trap" was originally just set up to deal with unwanted, uneducated guests who couldn't read or be bothered to follow instructions, and this caused some difficulty, so Archmagus Stargazer altered the nature of the trap so that either solution will work, so long as the heroes try one or the other.
Also, it should be noted that if any of the heroes tries to fly to the top of the tower, or climb it, at any level above ground level, he will be struck automatically by lightning. (A Fate Chip can be expended to soak the damage from the lightning strike, meaning that it somehow manages to strike a nearby gargoyle or stone block instead.) The lightning strike causes 6 damage dice of injury, which ignores non-magical armor. Furthermore, any character that takes at least one Wound from this attack is going to be stunned, and fall, suffering an additional damage die for each level he falls to the ground. It still is theoretically possible that, by burning some fate chips, someone could slip into one of the higher levels of the tower, but access is impossible this way into the top laboratory room.
If anyone attempts to climb the tower nonetheless, it takes one turn to climb one level of the tower, and the climber must roll under his or her Speed. Failure means that the climber is unable to get any higher. A 12 means a critical failure, and unless the climber is secured via rope, he will fall to the ground.
(All things considered, just following the instructions on the door knocker might be the easiest way in.)
Level One: The Entrance
The bottom floor of the tower is dominated by a large stone table in its center, above which hangs a chandelier that illuminates the whole of the room in a warm glow. On the top of the table is inset a brass ring, with four hollow indentations that any Dwarf will be able to immediately identify as gem settings (though they are empty). Around each setting, there are runes that correspond to the four elements: Air, Water, Earth, Fire. Any Wizard will be able to identify these runes. Furthermore, there is an inscription:
Also upon the table is a fine porcelain tea set, and by the little wisps of steam that come from the teapot, it would seem that someone was expecting guests.
Upon the walls, there are bookshelves with various texts of interest to those who are magically inclined. There is also a closet door with a curtain hanging over it, and the frame is rather unsettlingly crafted to resemble a leering face with large fangs, as if the doorway were its mouth. Over the doorway, someone has hung a hand-written sign that reads, "DO NOT ENTER." A stairway runs along the outer wall of the room, leading up to the next level, where it ends at a trap door in the ceiling.
Time for Tea
Although I did not represent it with the miniatures scenery, there are six chairs around the table. If anyone sits down, examines the tea service, or simply spends enough time wandering around the room, the teapot will helpfully suggest that now would be a perfect time to sit down and enjoy a nice cup of tea. Yes, the teapot talks, and is capable of (limited) mobility about on the table. The teacups are also capable of shifting themselves about. The entire tea service is magically enchanted, having some limited "intelligence," though only the teapot is especially fond of conversation. Due to enchantment, the pot is able to keep tea piping hot, and can brew water into tea within a matter of a few turns.
The teapot has one and only one purpose in "life," and that is to serve a great cup of tea. If the heroes catch on that the teapot is animate, and try to question it, they will not get very far until someone actually has some tea. The teapot will try to be polite, but it use every opportunity to suggest having some tea, especially if the heroes seem reluctant to do so. If anyone is especially belligerent or insulting to the teapot (and, worst of all, nobody will have any tea!) then the teapot just might go over the edge, spouting hot tea everywhere in a frenzy, until it runs out. (Getting hit by hot tea is unpleasant, but not bad enough to actually cause a Wound.)
However, if at least one person agrees to have some tea, the teapot will become much more conversational. Beware, though! The talking Sugar Bowl will ask, "Would you like one lump or two?" Agreeing to one or two (and the sugar bowl is very insistent) lumps will result in the sugar bowl's spoon magically growing to enormous size, then whacking the unsuspecting hero on the head. (One die of injury per "lump.") The spoon will then return to normal size, scoop the appropriate amount of sugar into the tea, and the sugar bowl will giggle that "Nobody ever fell for that one before!" while the Teapot chides Sugar Bowl for misbehaving.
If, at this point, the heroes attack the tea service, it's bound to be a quick battle, as the tea service is quite fragile and -- the Sugar Bowl's Spoon notwithstanding -- not made for combat.
If anyone suggests that Archmagus Stargazer is dead, the Teapot is certain that nothing so dreadful has happened to the Master -- certainly nothing could! -- but that he has been away for some time, and the "animates" have started to get restless. (That is, she will freely reveal that the entire tower is fully of magically animated objects, as the Master was quite fond of such things. Furthermore, he has four Elementals bound within the tower, one on each of four different floors. The Teapot knows a little about the Fire Elemental -- because she visits the kitchen to use a magical pump there to get more water -- and a little less about the Water Elemental -- because, after all, in a pinch, water can be gotten there as well -- but she otherwise doesn't know much about Air or Earth.
If asked about the table, the Teapot will indicate that the Master rebuilt it at a much later point than he had the rest of the tower built, and that, so far as she knows, it has something to do with a puzzle to determine the Master's heir. She'll also freely warn the heroes to be careful about the Door Knocker, as he's gobbled up quite a few uninvited guests.
Incidentally, if anyone does have a cup of tea, have them roll 1d12. If this roll is under the drinker's Starting Toughness (i.e., do not include armor!) then the tea has a relaxing effect, and he or she gets an extra temporary Fate Point that may be used at any point during this expedition. (This bonus only applies once per expedition!) If, however, the roll is equal to the drinker's Starting Toughness or higher, the same benefit applies ... but the drink is so relaxing that he or she falls asleep for 1d12 turns!
Since there are bound to be other heroes in the room to shake the drinker awake, this isn't bound to have any detrimental effects, but it still is bound to make the heroes at least a little more wary.
There are many books to be found in here, covering a wide variety of topics. Roughly speaking, this is a place for characters with a mind to do so to engage in "research" if they're having problems with the puzzles, and nobody in the group is of a profession to have particular insights. It can be at the GM's discretion what sorts of clues to provide.
In addition to a general assortment of books, there are some magical scrolls. Each of these scrolls can be used to cast a spell without need for a spell component -- or even of knowing the appropriate spell. If used by a Wizard of any type, the spell is automatically cast successfully. If used by any non-Wizard, the user must roll under his Intelligence, or the spell is wasted. As with casting a spell, using a scroll takes an entire turn. The magical scrolls include:
Above the closet is a hand-written sign that reads, "DO NOT ENTER." If anyone does try entering, the hero must roll under his Speed, or be chewed up by the magically animated doorway. On the monster phase, and on each monster phase after that during which time the victim is still in the closet, 3 damage dice of injury are inflicted upon the victim. (Expenditure of a Fate Point will mean that not only is no damage done, but the victim managed to get out of the closet in time, and is not trapped.) Anyone else who comes in contact with the door (such as by trying to hit it with a sword, prodding with a stick, etc.) will have to roll under his Speed once per turn, or be grabbed into the closet as well.
Note: Any bonuses to "Avoid Traps" apply to any Speed or Strength rolls to avoid or escape the Closet Monster!
Anyone who is in the closet may spend his turn attempting to get out, by rolling under his Strength. Failure to do so uses up his turn. Anyone in the closet or outside it may attempt to attack it; anything but a Fumble in melee combat will automatically hit. Ranged attacks are rolled normally based on range, but at least an archer doesn't have to worry about reprisals from the closet! The Closet Monster has a Toughness of 6, no Intelligence, no Speed, no Weapon or Bow Skill, and 6 Wounds.
If the Closet Monster is slain or otherwise taken out of the action, its contents may be examined. There are a few bones of a previous unfortunate adventurer, with a Golden Ring worth 25 GCs. Also, hanging in the closet is a Cloak of Water Protection, which provides excellent protection from rain ... but in combat terms, offers +2 Toughness only against water-based or cold-based attacks (such as from a water elemental).
Work Table There is a small work table between the closet and the bookshelves. There are two Phoenix Feather quills worth 25 GCs each (and usable as components for a Bright Wizard), parchment, ink, and a blotter -- very convenient in case any members of the party want to write notes, make maps, et cetera.
The stairs lead up to the next level, terminating at a trap door. The trap door is not locked, and can be opened easily, allowing access to the second floor.
Level Two: The Kitchen - Level of Fire
The second level of the tower is lined with red brick, and is devoted to a dining area with an open hearth. A cabinet that holds the dishes and silverware stands to one side, though the drawer rattles unsettlingly. There are large barrels of pickles, ale, and (alas) some spoiled fruit. A cleaver rests on a chopping block, a coil of rope rests on the mantle, and a fire burns warmly in the hearth. Within the fire can be seen a glowing red ruby ... but also, it looks as if the flames might be animate, as if there were a figure dancing within them -- even part of them.
The Ruby of Fire
The red ruby within the fire is one of the keys to the table on the lower level, but it cannot be taken easily. If anyone approaches the hearth, a Fire Elemental will emerge. The Fire Elemental is normally content to perform its usual functions of cooking food and such, and would even be happy to discuss recipes with the heroes if they care for such talk, but if the heroes express an interest in getting the gem, the Elemental will make it clear that it has been commanded to resist all efforts to obtain the Ruby of Fire.
Getting the ruby, therefore, involves either distracting the elemental or weakening it enough to make the grab. While the fire is still burning, reaching into the hearth requires a successful Bravery test, a successful Starting Toughness test, and then 5 damage dice of injury. Spending a Fate Point to avoid this damage while the fire is still burning means that the hero pulls his hand away in time to avoid damage -- not that he grabs the gem through the burning fire and still suffers no injury! If the heroes manage to put out the fire (with a water-based spell, or by something creative, such as dumping the barrel of pickles and juice out on the fire), then grabbing the gem will not require any special tests, but will still inflict 2 damage dice of injury. Far more effective would be if the would-be thief uses some sort of object to scoop the gem into (a pail, the Teapot, a bucket of water, et cetera) rather than using his hand.
The Fire Elemental, meanwhile, will do everything in its power to thwart any attempts to get the gem, but it is not unduly malevolent. The Fire Elemental can throw an unlimited number of Fireballs, but it takes one turn to "wind up" (giving everyone ample warning!) and then another to actually unleash the Fireball. Though it will use this means to take out any heroes causing trouble, it will not continue to attack fallen opponents, and it will not pursue anyone who flees the room. If the heroes manage to get the gem out of the room, the fire elemental will not attack them when they return -- but if they bring the ruby back to the room, it is compelled to try to get it back!
Please note that various means can be used to temporarily incapacitate the fire elemental. Dumping water on the fire will fill the room full of smoke, and make the fire elemental temporarily vanish, thus giving the heroes three full turns to grab the gem and get out before the fire restarts itself and the fire elemental returns to full strength. At the GM's discretion, other attacks on the fire might result in similar effects (such as dumping dirt on it, sending a gust of wind at it, et cetera).
The Water Pump
This room actually contains a mechanical water pump, though it is partially enchanted so that it does not need to be primed (only pumped). This is not only used for filling up the Teapot, but can be used if the heroes are in need of some water. (It is best used outside of combat rounds; during combat, the pump isn't going to produce water quickly enough to deal with the elemental.)
In the room, there are several steins. If the heroes show any interest in them or the ale, or simply spend some time looking about the room in general, the steins will start talking and hopping about the room, admonishing the heroes to imbibe of their wonderful Dwarven Ale. A keg holds 20 draughts of Dwarven Ale. Anyone who drinks a draught of Dwarven Ale must roll under his Starting Toughness or pass out. (A Dwarf will automatically pass this test. An Elf will automatically fail.) Anyone passed out will remain so for 1d12 rounds.
Whether or not the imbiber is rendered unconscious, each draught of ale results in +1 to Bravery, -1 to Bow Skill, and -1 to Intelligence. (Scores, as usual, can only go up to a maximum of 12, or down to a minimum of 1.) The steins are insistent upon serving up ale so long as there is ale to serve, and will continue to pour ale (with the corresponding effects) down the gullet of anyone available, even if unconscious. (Multiple draughts do not increase the amount of time someone is rendered unconscious, until he wakes up again.)
If the heroes refuse to drink, then the steins will go berserk, and "attack." They have a Weapon Skill of 6, Toughness of 1, Speed of 6, Bravery of 12, 6 Wounds. Furthermore, they have a number of attacks equal to their Wounds, but will not give any one person more than one draught of ale per round. A successful hit from a stein of ale means that the "victim" does not suffer any damage, but instead must follow the rules just as if he had voluntarily chugged down a draught of ale -- which may include passing out in a drunken stupor.
Although the steins are intent upon serving their sole purpose of existence -- to serve ale -- they will not leave this level, because that's where the ale is. (If anyone breaks open the keg, spilling the ale on the floor, the steins will begin wailing and weeping, and be rendered harmless, since they have no more ale to serve.)
The dish cabinet is locked. It can be opened with the keys that are on Level 5, by any sort of spell that opens locks or doors, or else by a Rogue that rolls under his Speed on 1d12. (If he fails, he can't try again.) The cabinet can also be broken open, but doing so will destroy the dishes, and will release the cutlery.
The dishware cabinet includes a number of expensive dishes, worth a total of 100 GCs if sold. However, they happen to be very fragile. If anyone carrying the dishes is hit by any damage-causing attack, even if the person carrying them suffers no Wounds (due to Toughness/Armor), the dishes will be broken and worthless! The cabinet also contains a set of four silver goblets, worth 25 GCs each.
The cabinet also has a cutlery drawer, which may be opened separately. It happens to contain silverware worth 50 GCs. It also happens to contain a large number of Psychotic Cutlery that will attack as a Swarm any living thing in the room. (They live to cut!)
If anyone manages to unlock the cutlery drawer and starts to open it, he should roll 1d12. If he rolls under his Speed plus any bonuses to Avoid Traps, he notices just in time that the knives are animated -- and hostile! -- and slams the drawer shut (if he chooses!) just in time to keep them from escaping.
Like the Psychotic Cutlery, the Cleaver exists only to cut things. If anyone is close to the cleaver, it will talk, making suggestions like, "Oh, what a nice sharp cleaver! It would work very nicely for cutting things, wouldn't it? Oh dearie me, yes!" Feel free to ham it up -- the cleaver is stuck as long as it is in the chopping block that it's currently imbedded in, and can't get loose, unless someone deliberately pulls it free, or otherwise acts to knock it free (such as picking up the chopping block and tossing it, or whacking the knife handle for some reason).
The Cleaver, while unable to leave this floor, is capable of flying about the room, and will gleefully go after any meat that there is to cut. If it ever rolls a 1 or a 2 to attack (a fumble!) then, if at all applicable, it manages to imbed itself in a convenient block of wood (a doorpost, a table, someone's shield) and has itself stuck, unable to get out. If anyone thinks to pick up the chopping block and deliberately try to get the knife to imbed itself in it, the knife's next attack against that person will automatically count as a fumble, and it will imbed itself again. (The chopping block is enchanted.) The knife, if trapped, will be very upset about the whole thing, make promises to behave itself, lie (unconconvincingly!) that it knows where to find treasure -- anything to trick someone into setting it free again. However, once free, it will return to its old tricks, cackling maniacally as it flies about the room, seeking to hack things to little pieces.
Hanging on a doorpost are two game hens -- though they've long since gone gamey, and are beyond being edible. Of more interest is that they are pinned to the wood by two Arrows of Flight. Each arrow is usable once, and will unerringly hit its target, even at maximum range, as if a perfect 12 was rolled. (If, at that range, that counts as a Critical, roll normally from that point on to determine if more damage is done.) These arrows, when fired, are accompanied by a guiding gust of wind. If one is used on the hearth, the gust of wind will stir up the ashes and create a choking cloud of smoke ... and, incidentally, temporarily incapacitate the fire elemental for 3 turns, during which time it may be possible to grab the gem.
Having a Meal
Although not all the food is in good condition, there are still enough herbs, enough preserved foods and such that it's possible for the fire elemental to cook up a good meal. If the heroes should persuade the fire elemental (asking nicely!) to fix them up a meal (when they're not distracted by combat or the like), and they sit down to eat it, then it can be quite invigorating. Once per adventure, everyone who partakes of this meal will have all Wounds restored to maximum. (If the person in question is not Wounded, then restore all Fate Points to maximum. If the person is not missing any Wounds or Fate Points, then nothing happens.)
Level Three: The Orrery - Level of Air
The third level of the tower is tiled in pale blue, and is filled with a huge contraption that seems a combination of interlocking armillary spheres and a mechanical orrery, with a representation of the Known World imposed on a bronze globe in its center. (How curious! Everyone knows that the world is flat, not round, or else everyone would fall off the edge!) Balanced on the top of the bronze globe is a glowing blue sapphire, though it looks particularly hazardous to reach, as the room is full of the spinning machinery. Metal stars and comets and planets glide by, occasionally rising and falling, and it is necessary to watch one's head while walking about. There are four windows in this room, one at each of the four cardinal directions, and there are four tapestries hanging in between them, each emblazoned with the sigil of the Celestial college.
The Sapphire of Air
A magical gem is sitting on the central sphere, and it is guarded by an Air Elemental. Within the room, the Air Elemental can move about instantly -- It can move to any other point in the room as a Move action. The Air Elemental can also turn Invisible at will, though it cannot use Lightning Attacks while it is Invisible. (When it is going to use Lightning Attacks, its body clouds up like a miniature thunderstorm, and its eyes crackle with electrical energy.) Like the Fire Elemental, the Air Elemental has an unlimited number of Lightning Bolts that it can throw, but it takes a turn to "charge up," and then it "releases" the bolt on the second turn, doing six damage dice of injury to the target.
The Air Elemental will not attack unless the heroes try to damage the room, or grab the gem. It is very haughty and proud of itself, and (at the GM's discretion) it may be worthwhile to distract it by flattery and questions about the "marvelous machinery," while someone else approaches the sphere or otherwise moves into position.
Getting to the central sphere is tricky. It is only possible to get in or out of the central sphere area once every six turns. So, if anyone jumps in there, he's going to be stuck there for six turns before he can get out again, unless he has some magical means of transportation back out ... and the Air Elemental is bound to take issue by then!
The Air Elemental can be dealt with, however. The Air Elemental draws its power from the storm raging outside the tower, which it reaches by means of the four open windows. (It cannot pass through completely solid objects.) The four tapestries hanging on the walls happen to have enchantments to protect them from the elements (this room being so open to the outside air, after all), and it is possible to hang them up over the windows. For each window that is blocked -- either by a tapestry, or some other barrier -- the Air Elemental is weakened. Its Lightning Bolts inflict two less damage dice per hit. (Three windows are enough to make its Lightning Bolts totally ineffective!) If anyone blocks a window, it will immediately see that as a threat, and will respond appropriately.
Regardless, the Air Elemental cannot leave this room, and if the heroes get the gem then come back later, the Air Elemental will not go out of its way to harm them; it is merely compelled to stop any attempts to steal the gem, but once it's already gone, it has no reason to fight.
This room is particularly conducive to the use of magic. If anyone tries to use a magic item or cast a spell that requires an Intelligence test to do so successfully, treat the user's Intelligence as at +2 while in this room.
Level Four: The Pool Chamber - Level of Water
The fourth level of the tower is tiled in turquoise, and in its center, flanked by four columns, is a placid pool that glows faintly from the light of a luminescent emerald submerged beneath the surface of the water. Lanterns hang on hooks from the four columns, and at the north side of the room there is a rack with several towels on it, and above that is a mirror that is slightly misted over from the dampness in the room. Next to the stairs leading up to the next level, there is a chamberpot ... though perhaps that does not merit any closer inspection.
The Emerald of Water
Within the pool is an enchanted emerald that is the third key to the tower's puzzle. It is guarded by a Water Elemental that will emerge if anyone approaches the pool. The Water Elemental is concerned with cleanliness, and will clean anything dirty in its presence. If someone in the room is particularly filthy (such as, say, you've got an Ogre Mercenary in your group), it is bound to draw the special attentions of the Water Elemental's "attacks". (A successful "hit" will cover the target in suds, and render him sparkling clean -- and very wet.)
It may be possible to enter the pool, under pretenses of taking a bath. (Doing so in full armor will arouse the elemental's suspicions, however.) Upon any indication that someone is going for the gem, though, the elemental will try to "flush" the offender; the offender must roll under his Strength, or he will be magically "flushed" to the sewers underneath the city of Altdorf. He can, of course, rejoin his comrades later (once combat ends and the GM decides that enough time has passed), but it's bound to be a bit inconvenient. It takes another Strength test to grab the gem successfully, and another Strength test to get out of the pool with it. (A creative hero might think to -- once getting the gem -- toss it to someone outside the pool. Roll for range as normal with Bow Skill to get it to the intended person.) Note: Any bonuses to "Avoid Traps" may be added to the hero's Strength for purposes of trying to keep from getting "flushed" -- and to escape -- while in this pool.
The lanterns are enchanted, and illuminate the room. They may be removed from their hooks and carried about the tower -- though light sources are not generally a problem in the tower unless the heroes have been deliberately doing something about that.
The Chamberpot, sadly enough, is indeed animated. It is very morose, given its purpose in life. Any trash placed inside it is magical teleported to the sewers underneath the tower. If anyone troubles it too greatly, it can swell to enormous size and attempt to swallow anyone in base contact with it. (Its target must roll under a Speed test to avoid this fate. "Avoid Traps" bonuses may be applied to Speed for purposes of this roll.) Anyone so swallowed will get sent right down to the sewers.
The Towels of Drying
The towels are enchanted, and have runes on them. If a Wizard tries to discern the purpose, he will determine that they are runes pertaining to the element of water -- particularly for the purpose of drying. The towels are very good at drying things ... in fact, too good. If anyone touches them, they will spring to life, latching onto any wet thing (such as a living creature) nearby and soaking all the moisture from them. It is possible to rip the towels off with a successful Strength test, but they are capable of crawling around on their own like caterpillars. They are, however, deathly "afraid" of fire, and will avoid it. (The towels themselves are very, very dry, and will be instantly destroyed by any fire-based attack.)
If a towel is on a victim and "drying" it, if that victim is carrying any sources of liquid (other than himself), then those sources will be expended first before he takes damage. Flasks or other containers of ordinary water will go first, then drinks (tea, wine), and lastly things such as potions -- one item per turn. If no such liquids are present to be drained, then the towel will drain one Wound from the target. If the target is dropped to 0 Wounds, the towel will leave the victim and go seek another.
Incidentally, if anyone falls victim to the towels, the water elemental (if it is not busy fighting off the heroes from the gem) is capable of restoring any damage caused by the towels.
The towels, due to the boundaries of their enchantment, will not go to the pool on their own initiative, and cannot leave the level. They can, however, be thrown into the pool. If they do so, the water elemental will go into a frenzy, trying (and failing) to cast the towels out of the pool. This will keep the water elemental occupied for several turns, during which time it would make for an ideal distraction while the heroes try to grab the Emerald of Water! After the towels are done, they'll lay around on the floor, happily bloated, soaked to capacity, while the water elemental sulks. (By the next expedition, the water elemental will be back to normal.)
The Mirror of Deceit
The mirror hanging above the towel rack is enchanted, and it's grown a bit mischievous over time. If someone goes to look in the mirror, you should write a note to that person. He or she will notice that some other member of the party (choose based on what seems most "plausible") appears, in reflection, to not be himself at all ... but rather some sort of horrible monster, perhaps a walking corpse! Of course, if the person goes and looks at that person directly, he won't see anything amiss. It's only the reflection that lies. The mirror may selectively show others the same phenomenon, or make it out to be someone else who is the monster, or any number of lies, based on what might be the most divisive tactic. Incidentally, if anyone attacks the mirror, it's quite easily broken ... but also very bad luck! Anyone who breaks the mirror instantly loses all Fate Points!
Level Five: The Bedroom - Level of Earth
The fifth level of the tower is tiled in earthy tones, and is apparently the master bedroom of the Archmagus. Though a stairway leads up to another level, the trapdoor set in the ceiling is closed tightly shut, and seems not inclined to allow further ascension. There is a large bed dominating the north end of the room, with a dresser beside it, a set of keys hanging on the wall, and a pair of blue boots sitting on the floor. A chest sits at the foot of the bed, slightly ajar, allowing a glimpse of something glittering inside. Across the room, a table holds a large tome, flanked by two burning candles, and there is also a desk with writing implements and papers scattered across its top. The south side of the room is dominated by a stone statue that stands upon a rune-marked pedestal, and which holds a glowing diamond in one hand.
The Bed of Restfulness
Woe to anyone who sits on the bed or turns his back to it! The bedsheets will spring up and try to grab anyone within reach, dragging him into the bed! Anyone who fails to roll under his Strength will be hauled into the bed. ("Avoid Traps" bonuses may be applied to avoid being trapped by the bedsheets.) Then, a chiming melody -- a lullaby! -- will echo out of the empty air. Anyone in the bed (willing or not!) must roll under his Intelligence, or fall fast asleep. Each turn spent in the bed requires another Intelligence test to stay awake -- but each turn the victim can make another Strength test to try to get out. Anyone who falls asleep in the bed will stay that way until taken out, or until he gets a full night's sleep. (In the scope of the game, that would constitute sleeping through an entire expedition!) On the good side, if someone actually does that, all Fate Points will be restored when he wakes up the next morning.
The Boots of Speed
The two boots beside the bed are enchanted. They give the wearer a +2 to Speed while worn. However, these boots have a secret problem -- they're just a bit over-eager to run. Anytime that someone rolls to Run with these boots, if he rolls over his Speed, the boots kick into high gear. The wearer's Speed is effectively treated as 12 ... and he must spend every turn running! He simply can't stand still! The only way to end this effect is to take the boots off, which requires that he roll under his Starting Speed, whereupon he'll fall on the floor in a heap for an entire turn. If the boots are put back on, they'll be back to normal ... but there's always this chance of malfunctioning again. (Incidentally, these are not "animates." These are just slightly askew magical items, which will also work outside the Tower.)
The Key Ring
The key ring above the dresser will open any lock in the tower, except for the trap door leading up to the laboratory.
In the dresser drawer are some Fine Robes and a Thinking Cap. The Thinking Cap gives its wearer a +1 to Intelligence while worn, but cannot be combined with any other headwear (such as a magic helm). The Fine Robes have no particular magic to them, except that the Animates in the tower will not attack the wearer. (This does not, alas, include the Elementals.)
The trunk has 50 GCs in it, plus a cut-off hand and a set of Enchanted Lockpicks. These lockpicks will give the user a +1 bonus on any attempts to Pick Locks, Disarm Traps, or Avoid Traps, in addition to any other bonuses the user would already have.
However, getting the contents is bound to be a bit tricky. If someone simply reaches into the chest, the chest sprouts teeth and clamps down its lid. The unlucky intruder must roll under his Speed, or get chewed on! ("Avoid Traps" bonuses may be applied here.) If he fails to pull his hand back out in time, this will automatically cause 3 damage dice of injury -- If for any reason this is enough damage dice to kill the victim, then instead of dying, he is reduced to 0 Wounds, but he loses the limb he was reaching into the chest with!
If there's still someone to chew on, or if the chest is provoked in some other way (attacking it, prodding inside with a stick, etc.) it will animate, and though it is incapable of moving from its position, it will attack anyone in base contact.
The work desk includes several sheets of parchment and writing materials, plus a total of Four Component Stones. Component Stones may be used as material components for a spell, in lieu of the normal specific components. (That is, they are interchangeable, and may be used for any spell the caster knows. Each stone replaces one component.)
The Diamond of Earth
The gem held by the statue is the fourth key to the puzzle in the entryway. Any attempt to grab it will be met with resistance by the Earth Elemental. The Earth Elemental otherwise will be cordial, and may be asked to perform various duties about the room, such as tidying up the room, dusting the floor, cleaning off cobwebs and so forth, though it has already been pretty diligent about this. It is capable of melting into the floor (with the gem still in its "hands"), and doing so allows it to regenerate any damage it has taken, at a rate of 1 Wound per turn. However, it will not use the tactic of taking the gem and "hiding" in the floor; that's just against the rules for this elemental.
If asked to perform cleaning chores, it is compelled to do so, to the best of its ability, though it may not leave this room except for specific purposes, such as taking laundry down to the Water Elemental to be cleaned. If the Elemental is ever separated from the rest of the stone of the room, it will immediately become very weak, and easily overpowered (at which point the diamond can easily be pried away from it). One way to accomplish this would be if it can be tricked into getting within striking range of the bedsheets -- which will quite happily grab the elemental and haul it off the floor, tucking it in, and "singing" a lullaby to it! (One way of doing this would be to ask the elemental to change the sheets.)
On the table is a magical book, full of an encyclopedia of magical information. But this is no ordinary book, as will be quickly discovered if a Wizard approaches the table. The book is capable of sprouting two feet and popping up, revealing itself to actually be a Spell Familiar. It is a "portable" familiar: closing the book will cause it to revert (for all anyone can tell) into a perfectly ordinary book that can be stowed away. It will gladly latch onto a Wizard in the group who does not already have a Familiar; if there are multiple qualifying Wizards, then if they all show interest, have them each take competing Intelligence tests to see who "wins" the Familiar. Each hero must roll 1d12 and add it to his Intelligence. The highest total wins. (If you have any ties, reroll.)
The Familiar communicates by flipping its pages back and forth, conveniently turning to a "new" page (for it seems to have no end to its number of pages) that displays a diagram or fine handwriting (as appropriate) with whatever it wants to "say." This Familiar may also be a useful source of hints for the heroes on how to get past some of the puzzles in here, and to fill in gaps about the story of the Celestial Tower.
Level Six: The Laboratory
If you've made it this far, you may want to consider just letting the heroes find the laboratory, loot it of cool stuff, and find a spellbook that explains whatever ritual the Archmagus was working on when he passed on ... and by finishing it, they can end the storm and save Altdorf. (Hurrah!) The heroes get some goodies, and that's the end of it. This is probably the best option if you're trying to run this as a convention scenario to fit it into four hours. If you go on with the "final conflict," it could well stretch onto six hours, as the daemons can present the heroes with a pretty nasty final battle to deal with.
If, however, you decide to go on with the "expanded" ending....
This laboratory can only be reached once the four gems have been set in the table at the entry level, thus allowing the magically sealed trap door to be opened. A treasure trove of interesting magical items and tomes can be found here on the shelves, and a wizard's throne and work table dominate the center of the room; there is a chalice tipped on its side on the table, and a stain that marks where some wine must have been spilled and allowed to dry. A telescope points up at the ceiling, curiously enough, and a mirror on the north wall shows not a reflection of the room, but some sort of cloudy expanse beyond. There is a faint odor lingering in the room, sweet and musky, but stale, intermixed with that of all the dust and the combined aromas of ink and various chemical preparations associated with wizardry.
Despite the fact that there's a ceiling over this room, anyone who actually looks through the telescope can see the starry night sky in whatever direction the telescope is pointed -- whether or not it happens to be nighttime outside, and whether or not there are intervening obstacles such as a ceiling or storm clouds. If left unmoved, the telescope is currently aimed roughly at a comet known as the Dark Herald -- generally associated with ill omens and chaotic magical happenings.
This room has a treasure trove of magical goodies for those who bother to hunt around. Among the items to be found:
Any Alchemist (Gold Wizard) may identify the potions. Any other Wizard can attempt to identify a potion by rolling under his Intelligence score. If he fails, he cannot try identifying that potion again.
If anyone sits in the throne, he must roll under his Intelligence. If he fails, he will feel a searing shock, and be thrown bodily from the chair in a shower of sparks.
If, however, he succeeds, a ghostly image of Archmagus Stargazer himself will appear, standing across the room. It seems, oddly enough, like some sort of magical recording.
I am storing within this enchanted throne a recording of my knowledge and memories. You shall inherit from me my accumulated learning. I trust that you will use it wisely. This enchantment was made at no small risk to myself, since in order to work a spell of this potency, I had to open up a portal to the Realms of Magic during a key alignment of the heavenly bodies. Listen and understand, and forget nothing.
If someone by this point tries to leap out of the chair, the phantom vanishes. The sudden breakaway will result in one Wound automatically being suffered by the one who pulls from the chair, due to the jolt. If, however, he remains....
(The phantom looks past you, toward the mirror. His eyes widen in horror.)
No. It can't be. I worked those wards perfectly! It can't ... no ... stop! Don't come through ... I beg you ... NOOOOOOOOOOO!
(The phantom's form melts away, and sparks fly around the throne. The one who sits in the throne is filled with insane impulses, an uncontrollable fear, indescribable jolts of pleasure, offset with mind-numbing pain. He experiences the wizard's death at the hands -- the claws -- of something horrible ... a daemon!)
The person in the chair suffers 3 damage dice of injury that are rolled against his Intelligence rather than his Toughness. (Yes, magical or other artificial bonuses to Intelligence still apply for this.) If he somehow survives this, his Starting Intelligence is permanently increased by one point.
Furthermore, unless he is of a profession that absolutely would never use magic (such as a Barbarian!) he gains the use of one and only one spell from the Starting Spells available to the Celestial College. If he is already a caster in the Celestial College, then he learns one spell from the Celestial College of his choice.
If a Fate Point is expended to avoid damage from this, then no benefits are conferred. Somehow, he wrenches away from the chair before he suffers undue anguish ... but he similarly breaks off the transfer of knowledge.
A magic mirror stands on the north wall, with a portal that leads to the realms of Chaos. If anyone looks through, he will see a strangely wonderful and frightening expanse, with no solid ground below -- only broken pieces of ground that float in the air the way that solid rock normally does not. Vaguely seen, lithe figures dance here and there atop the fragments of ground. Suddenly, a large figure on one of the islands starts gesticulating wildly ... and one particularly large "island" is now slowly headed this way.
Exactly how long it takes for the island to reach the mirror is at the GM's discretion, as they should have enough time to look around the room and work things out. I would recommend that from the time that someone actually looks through the mirror, you set a 1d12 up on the table as a "counter," and each turn, you turn it down one count. That island happens to have two Daemonettes and a Keeper of Secrets on it ... not a nice thing for most heroes to have to tangle with, but probably bound to bring a nasty gleam to the eye of a Trollslayer (Daemonslayer?) if you have one in the group.
At "1," the island is on the other side of the mirror. Next turn, a Daemonette will come through. The turn after that, another Daemonette will come through. And after that, if the portal is still operational -- and there's nobody on the other side to keep it busy, a Keeper of Secrets will step on in!
It would be in the heroes' interest to break the portal -- no matter what sort of bad luck it might cause. The mirror itself can't be harmed -- anything that touches it will simply go to the other side! (You might want to give your heroes a break -- if they stick a sword through, let the sword go through first, then drop into oblivion, if the island hasn't arrived yet. There's empty space on the other side of that gate. Anyone who just jumps through right now is doomed unless he can somehow fly!)
The frame of the mirror must be destroyed in order to close the gate. There are three dragon heads sculpted on the frame, and each one has glowing gems for eyes. Each "head" must be destroyed to break the frame. (Either let the heroes learn of this fact from the Spell Familiar, give some Wizard in this party this information if he tries to "figure out" how the gate can be closed, or whatever means you deem appropriate.) Each "head" has a Toughness of 12 if attacked with a non-magical weapon, and a Toughness of 6 if hit with a magical attack. Each "head" also has 5 Wounds. Area attacks (such as fireballs) that can cover the whole mirror will damage all three "heads" at once. A melee attack will automatically hit except on a fumble. (A fumble means that the attacker goofs and sends his weapon flying through the portal to the other side!)
Destroying the Mirror
If the heroes succeed in destroying the magic mirror and closing the gate, then the storm outside the tower will abate. There may still be the matter of dealing with any daemons that got through, but otherwise the heroes are victorious! (Well, except if anybody was on the other side of that gate when it closed ... but that can't be helped!)
Fate Points are awarded as normal, plus dispelling the storm will earn the heroes a total reward of 600 GCs to divide amongst the survivors as they see fit.
For this adventure, I created a tower "facade" (front side only), self-standing, out of foam insulation board (with a hot wire cutter), and put it together with wood glue and nails. I covered the seams and nail tops with pieces of thin cardboard cut out to suggest "blocks", and I painted the whole thing in "blue stoneware" (blue-grey), though with a bit of shadow gradient toward black here and there to make it look not quite so flat. The banners were made some some star-spangled fabric remnants that I painted with designs to suggest the sigil of the Celestial College, as well as the circular emblem of the Winds of Magic. The little suns and moons were actually some baubles I got in a craft store, meant to be tied into one's shoelaces -- I incorporated them into the tower design in various places.
The back side had several "shelves" into which I could slide the pieces that represented the various floors, so I could stow them away a little more easily. The individual levels were also made from insulation board, though decorated with various furnishings that I got from my "bitz box" of spare pieces, as well as assorted scenery pieces. The Laboratory consists of resin pieces from the Grendel "Wizard's Laboratory" set, as well as metal pieces from an old Grenadier "Astrologer's Laboratory." Here and there through the tower, I made use of simple items such as beads to represent vases and pots, and I also made use of some of the old plastic furniture pieces from the original HeroQuest game.
A very few of the pieces were actually sculpted or made from scratch -- specifically, some shelves on the bottom floor, the fireplace and fire (made from air-dry clay), and some stonework on the top level. The trap doors were just made with pieces of cardboard, scored with an exacto blade to suggest a wood grain, and then with some small loops of wire added for handles.