Council of Thieves - Libby
Flight in the Sewers
In the Sewers
The secret tunnel under Vizio’s Tavern is rough-hewn and leads down along a 20-foot-long, 5-foot-wide hallway to a simple wooden door. The opposite side of the door has a wooden bar; as the PCs and their guides pass through, Janiven bars the door to help slow the sure-to-be-following Hellknights. If the PCs need light, Janiven lights her sunrod. On the other side of the door is a sewer tunnel running to the left and right—Morosino or Janiven quickly points out the mark they left on their previous scouting of the tunnels, indicating they should flee to the left. They tell the PCs to look for these marks at every intersection, should they get separated from the group—the sword always points in the direction of the safe house.
Before Janiven and the PCs begin their flight through the sewers, she pushes aside a rock near the entrance to reveal a small hollow in the wall and sighs in relief. “Good,” she says, “They’re still here.” She stashed a small cache of healing potions here a few weeks ago in the event of an emergency just like this one. Janiven explains that they won’t have time to stop and rest as long as the Hellknights are after them, and splits the potions up among the PCs— there should be enough potions of cure light wounds so that each PC gets three.
While they walk, Janiven explains, “Arael and I made these marks a few months ago when we explored the sewers. We marked all the intersections so our people could find their way through the sewers to our hideout.”
As they travel, the noise of the Hellknights back at Vizio’s Tavern diminishes, but Janiven is sure they’ll follow. “They might take a few minutes to search in the tavern, but some are going to follow us down here after they grab a lantern or make torches. They might even try to infiltrate the sewers ahead of us if they can guess our route. We need to keep moving.” Light is an important issue in the sewers, since if the PCs are using light, the Hellknights have a greater chance of noticing them in the long, dark sewer tunnels, and Janiven wants to travel fast to get at least a couple of turns and zig-zags between themselves and Vizio’s to prevent this. Because she and Morosino can’t see in the dark, she’s hesitant to rely on characters with darkvision to navigate to a safer place (remember, characters without darkvision can only travel at half speed in dark conditions and need to remain in contact with the navigating character or follow a guide rope to avoid falling into the sewer). The need for light may also work in the PCs’ favor; a stealthy party or one relying on darkvision may detect nearby Hellknights and set up an ambush from a position of darkness, using ranged attacks against their illuminated pponents and retreating to force the Hellknights to charge forward or shoot into dimly-lit areas.
Janiven is against pauses to rest, even if the group is able to hide in an abandoned room to do so—she wants to get to the hideout as soon as possible, especially as she doesn’t know if the rest of the rebels know that Arael has been captured by the Hellknights or if the Hellknights know anyone else involved. If the PCs insist on resting overnight, Janiven takes Morosino with her and says she’ll come looking for the PCs in the morning.
Splitting Janiven from the group has three positive effects: it keeps the PCs from relying on her, it puts the PCs in charge of their situation rather than following her orders, and it gives the GM the opportunity for her to show up later in the sewers if the PCs are on the verge of defeat.
Because of these reasons, it is a good idea to get her away from the PCs fairly early, once they are comfortable taking a proactive role and able to recognize the sword-marks showing the way to the hideout.
This part of the adventure is a series of flexible encounters and encounter sites. Use the threat of Hellknight pursuit to push the PCs to move. Let them get lost or have to make a hard choice because of a smudged or missing rebel-symbol. The number of healing potions made available to the PCs (through Janiven’s stash and each Hellknight defeated) should help them to keep going. The point of the sewer encounters is to challenge the PCs and encourage them to move around, not force them to slog through hard battles until they’re ready to give up; reward their creativity and ingenuity in dealing with the situation. If the PCs reach a point where they simply can’t go on, that’s the point to let them reach the exit and the safe house beyond.
Hellknight Patrol (CR1)
The Hellknights of the Order of the Rack have leapt at the chance to squash what they believe is a major rebellion in the throes of its birth. In addition, with a new recruitment of armigers in progress, command has decided to make quelling this suspected nascent uprising a major element of the training procedure. As a result, a large number of devoted and idealistic Hellknight armigers are sent out onto the streets of Westcrown to aid in finding and punishing these rebels. When the PCs flee into the sewers, several enthusiastic groups of these trainees decide to enter the sewers as well, locking the entrances behind them to prevent the rebels from escaping.
Creatures: Each Hellknight patrol consists of three armigers—the sense of competition among the trainees keeps their groups tiny, and they’re hesitant to call for help from competing groups, giving the PCs an advantage in that they’ll be unlikely to face more than a trio of Hellknight armigers at one time. When a patrol is encountered, there’s a 25% chance that they’re busy arguing among themselves about which way to go, and as such suffer a –4 penalty on Perception checks to notice the PCs’ approach.
Note that while these Hellknights wear what appears to be the intimidating armor of the Order of the Rack, as armigers they have not yet earned the right to actually wear plate armor. Instead, the “plates” of their armor are actually boiled leather with chainmail reinforcements—the armor itself functions identically to chainmail.
Ooze Bugs (CR 1)
Cheliax’s sewers are remarkably free of rats, but not because there’s nothing for rats to eat—instead, the sewers are infested with strange amorphous predators called ooze bugs. Since these creatures are content to dwell in the sewers and rarely venture up into the buildings above, and since rats are their favored meal, they have become the unofficial “mascot” of those who dwell in or work in the city sewers.
Creatures: In sufficient numbers, ooze bugs see larger creatures as prey. This encounter is with a small nest of them—they react to the presence of the PCs with a sudden attack, and fight until destroyed.
Goblin Patrol (CR 1/2)
Creatures: Although the number of goblins that live in Westcrown’s sewers is larger than most folk think, they are still far too few to present any real threat to those who live above. Content to scavenge and live among the junk and refuse of humanity, the sewer goblins of Westcrown lead a rough life, and as such are slightly more dangerous than the standard goblin warrior. This encounter is with a single goblin scout—if he notices the party approaching, he attempts to hide (likely by hunkering under a piece of refuse, mostly concealed by the sewage), only to pop up and try to sneak attack the last person in line in the group. Once he delivers his blow, the goblin panics and flees down the tunnel. The sewer goblins of Westcrown fight with fragile dogslicers that are effectively already broken. A dogslicer is similar to a short sword, save that it deals slashing damage.
Goblin Lair (CR 2)
Creatures: The sewer goblins live in relatively small groups, generally no more than three. Rumors of larger tribes that claim entire remote sections of forgotten sewers elsewhere under Westcrown persist, but in this adventure, the PCs only encounter smaller dens of goblins, each consisting of three of the craven menaces.
These three goblins live in the small side room in the encounter—if they notice any PCs nearby, they rush out of their lair to attack, enraged that humans have dared to intrude on their territory. Their rage turns to fear as soon as any of the goblins drops below 5 hit points—a goblin so wounded runs in fear.
XP: 200 each hp 9 each (see page 22) Treasure: The goblins have amassed a small cache of treasure consisting of 20 gp in coins and clutter.
Undead (CR 1)
Creatures: A less common but still very real threat in the sewers is undead. These encounters are with a group of skeletons 75% of the time, or a group of zombies the other 25% of the time. These undead are the remnants of an evil cult that operated in a hidden temple elsewhere in the sewers; after the cult was destroyed by adventurers, these few skeletons and zombies “leaked out” into the sewers. They now wander aimlessly, and attack the PCs on sight. Each encounter (one with skeletons, one with zombies) can occur only once—the second time you roll this encounter, it’s automatically the other group (and they’ve just killed a group of three Hellknights without taking any damage in the fight—the Hellknights’ gear lies on their bodies, ready for looting). If you roll it a third time, reroll until you generate a different encounter.
Human Skeletons (3) CR 1/3 XP 135 each hp 4 each (Bestiary 250)
Human Zombies (2) CR 1/2 XP 200 each hp 12 each (Bestiary 288)