This entry is part of an ongoing series that follows the development of The Secret of Forsaken Peak megadelve project that myself and Justin David Russell are working on. It is part prototype, part proof-of-concept, and part design journal.
Please note that some details may be missing (such as story hooks, etc.) but are due to come later. Right now, we want to make sure that the adventure is mechanically sound before adding in the other appropriate elements (which will shortly follow).
Interested in updates for The Secret of Forsaken Peak? Sign up to our mailing list and get a FREE PDF copy of this adventure sent to you when it is completed.
Welcome to the Forsaken Peak
Below the first level of the Forsaken Peak is a large, central, water-filled cavern around which are several smaller caves and tunnels inhabited by a myriad of denizens. In the northern caves are goblins. They serve the aging dragon, Orithranx, who lives on one of the isolated islands in the underground lake. The goblins have hewn their home, crudely, from the very mountain.
Slaves work the mines and serve the goblins as food. The Chaosmen are eager to ally themselves with the goblins, but the chaotic creatures have not yet committed. The dragon believes it can harness the power of Gorgolog, the sleeping slug god imprisoned in the roots of the Forsaken Peak.
Unless otherwise stated in the area descriptions, the goblin mine has the following features:
- Ceilings. Goblins average 3 to 4 feet in height. As such, many of the chamber ceilings are shorter than normal. Ceilings in chambers and constructed tunnels are 8 feet high unless otherwise noted.
- Floors. The floors in tunnels and chambers are made from smooth, hewn stone. In natural caverns (areas #A15 and #A20) the floors are stone, but vary in smoothness and may have loose gravel and rocks.
- Walls. Lacking the engineering sensibilities of dwarves, most of the walls in the tunnels and chambers are crudely hewn stone and rough cut blocks, sometimes with support beams to carry the load of the peak above it.
- Light. A majority of the mine is without a light source since goblins do not require light to see in the dark. The area description text blocks assume that the characters are able to see in the dark or have light sources of their own.
- Non-Cell Doors. Most of the doors are sturdy wooden doors measuring 3 feet by 6 feet high (causing most non-goblins to have to bend down) that are 3 inches thick. The hinges and locking mechanisms are made of cast iron. Most of the doors remain unlocked unless the alarms have been raised. Locked doors require DC 15 checks with lockpicking tools to open, or DC 17 Strength checks to break down. Each door has an Armor Class of 15 and 15 hit points.
- Cell Bars and Doors. The cell bars are made of thick, wrought iron, each spaced 5 inches apart. It requires a DC 21 Strength check to pry the bars apart. Cell doors also require DC 15 checks with lockpicking tools to open, or DC 19 Strength checks to break down.
- Keys. There are a handful of goblins and servants in the mine that carry keys on them.
- Rolfin (area #A9) and Tuuk (area #A26) have keys to every door in the complex.
- Lamarr (area #A10), Linandra (area #A13), one of the hobgoblins in area #A21, and one of the bugbears in area #A23 have keys to every door in the complex except for the strong room (area #A5).
- Alarms. The goblins are very conscious of their proximity to the other factions in the mountain. As such, they’ve created an alarm system using bells that can reverberate through the tunnels. The goblins are trained to raise the alarm immediately upon the site of unwelcome guests. In any area that is designated as having an alarm and an encounter occurs, at least one goblin or hobgoblin will attempt to use its action to sound the alarm. If the alarm is sounded, 2d6 + 2 goblins with 1d4 + 1 wolves will arrive in 1d4 turns and the entire mine will go on full alert (see below).
- Full Alert. When the mine is on full alert, the following occurs unless it is impossible for the goblins to do so (GM’s judgment):
- All slaves are returned to their holding cells in area A23.
- All doors are locked.
- The chance of a random encounter increases to 16-20 on a roll of a d20.
- Rolfin is ushered back to his chambers in area A9 and guarded by 2 ogres and 4 goblins.
All the encounters listed here are keyed to the map of the Goblin Mine (above):
A1 – Main Entry
After the long, arduous hike following the directions Gleencoak gave you, the tree cover breaks just enough for you to make out the entrance to the goblin mine. Two large wooden doors bar entry and exit into the mine. Guarding these doors are a pair of ogres. To the right side of the lumbering giants, you can make out a pair of crude arrow slits.
Getting in won’t be easy.
This is the only exterior entrance into the mine and it’s guarded by two ogres. In addition, two goblins keep a keen watch from the arrow slits (see area #A2). If the characters learned from Greencloak that the goblins use an alarm system to warn the others of intruders, they may try to draw the ogres away to deal with them. Or, at the very least, deal with the goblin archers before they can pull the alarm.
Mine Entry Doors
Armor Class 15
Hit Points 44 (8d10)
Damage Vulnerabilities fire, lightning
Damage Immunities poison, psychic
Entry Methods. The door is barred from the inside. Beyond destroying the door (which would draw attention and raise the alarm), here are some ways the players could get inside:
- Persuasion. The characters could convince the ogres and goblins that they need entry. A successful Charisma (Persuasion or Deception) check contested by the goblins’ Wisdom (Insight) could work. The goblins are well-trained, however, and make all their Insight checks with advantage. If the goblins pass their check, they give the characters 2 rounds to leave before they open fire and raise the alarm. Intimidation causes the goblins to immediately attack and raise the alarm, even with a success.
- Break Down the Door. A successful DC 23 Strength check might open the door, but it’s very difficult. In addition, the noise draws the attention of the goblins and ogres inside, who will raise the alarm.
- Use Leverage on the Bar. A successful DC 13 Intelligence (Investigation) check reveals that the door is locked from within by a huge, wooden bar. Using a narrow enough item such as a greatsword or spear and a fulcrum such as a rock (or, you know, a dead ogre), the bar can be shifted out of place with a successful DC 15 Strength check.
Once through the mine entry doors, a set of crude steps leads up to another set of double doors with the same statistics, except the entry methods change as follows:
- Persuasion. There is a small window in the left door for the ogres to communicate with the worg-riders in area #A3. The characters could convince the worg-riders that they need entry into the mine. A successful Charisma (Persuasion or Deception) check contested by the goblins’ Wisdom (Insight) would work. The goblins are well-trained, however, and make all their Insight checks with advantage. If the goblins pass their check, they raise the alarm and ready an attack action for any intruder that comes through the door. An attempt at Intimidation causes the worg-riders to immediately raise the alarm and ready an attack, even with a success.
- Break Down the Door. A successful DC 23 Strength check might open the door, but it’s very difficult. In addition, the noise draws the attention of the worg-riders inside, who raise the alarm.
- Use Leverage on the Bar. A successful DC 13 Intelligence (Investigation) check reveals that the door is locked from within by a huge, wooden bar. Using a narrow enough item such as a greatsword or spear and a fulcrum such as a rock (or, you know, a dead ogre), the bar can be shifted out of place with a successful DC 15 Strength check. If the characters fail or pass the check by more than 5, it draws the attention of the worg-riders who raise the alarm and ready an attack action.
These doors are guarded by a third ogre.
Other than the items listed on their stat block, the ogres carry nothing of value.
A2 – Entry Guard Post
Two goblins are stationed in this lookout at all times. They have been trained to regard nearly any sort of intrusion by outsiders as a full-scale attack. For this reason, one of the goblins will immediately raise the alarm before attacking through the arrow slits. The goblins are very proficient tacticians, using their Nimble Escape feature to duck between shots, effectively giving them full cover between their turns and potential advantage from hiding.
Other than the items listed on their stat block, the goblins carry nothing of value. They do have some food stuff of questionable quality (poor quality rations for 1 character) and a wineskin.
A3 – Entry Hall
Once the characters make it past the second set of doors, read the following text block:
The doors open into a dimly lit hallway, its walls barren and undecorated. Mine tracks cut through the center of the hallway, eventually leading up to your position where the tracks curve into the alcove to your immediate right. An empty cart rests there. The smell of goblin musk is strong in the air. In the distance, you can hear the clangs of picks and shovels on stone, the crack of whips, the screams of slaves, and the laughter of the wicked goblinoids.
This hallway is patrolled by three goblins each riding a worg.
The secret door leading to area #A20b can be detected with a successful DC 13 Perception (Wisdom) check. A successful DC 11 Intelligence (Investigation) reveals the door opens with just a push. There is a latch on the other side, but it is left in an upward position unless the mine is on high alert.
A4 – Strong Room Guards
The door into this room is always kept locked by the guards inside. When the players enter this chamber from area #A3 for the first time, read the following text block:
This room has slightly higher ceilings than the other parts of the mine you’ve seen so far, held up by four, thick columns. Broken arrows litter the floor by the door you just came through. In fact, there are a few arrows still lodged in the wood.
There are six hobgoblins in this room, each working in groups of three around two rapid-fire arrow machines. Both machines are positioned at the opposite end of the room facing the door entering from area #A3.
Rapid-Fire Arrow Machine
Armor Class 15
Hit Points 50
Damage Immunities poison, psychic
Challenge 2 (450 XP)
The rapid-fire arrow machine fires nearly two arrows per second thanks to a clever crank device. The rapid-fire arrow machine has a shield at the front of it that offers three-quarters cover to the weapons team that operates it. Before it can be fired, a special container holding the arrows must be loaded and the machine must be aimed. It takes one action to load the weapon, one action to aim it, and one action to fire it. In addition, a creature can use its action to push the machine 10 feet forward on its wheels.
Arrows. The rapid-fire arrow machine fires a blast of arrows in a 90-foot line that is 5 feet wide. Each creature in that area must make a DC 11 Dexterity saving throw, taking 19 (4d8 + 1) damage on a failed saving throw or half as much damage on a successful one.
Between the six hobgoblins, the characters will find 15 gp, 23 sp, 8 sp and a platinum ring worth 10 gp.
A5 – Strong Room
Both doors into this room are locked and trigger the poison trap (see below for details). The doors are strong iron doors.
Strong Iron Door
Armor Class 19
Hit Points 45 (10d8)
Damage Threshold 5
Damage Resistances fire
Damage Immunities poison, psychic
Entry Methods. The door is locked with a key which only Rolfin (see area #A9) and Tuuk (see area #A25) carry.
- Break Down the Door. A successful DC 25 Strength check might open the door, but it’s very difficult.
- Pick the Lock. A successful DC 18 Dexterity (Thieves’ Tools) check can pick the lock.
Trap Trigger. The door triggers a trap within the strong room.
- Notice the Trap. Noticing the trap requires a DC 18 Intelligence (Investigation) check.
- Disarm the Trap. A successful DC 18 Dexterity check using thieves’ tools will disarm the trigger to the poison gas.
Once past the doors, read the following:
You can see the sparkling blue gems from where you stand. Beyond two thick columns and up a short flight of steps, there are bags of coins, weapons, jewelry, art objects, and trinkets. It might be the biggest treasure hoard you have ever seen.
Rolfin keeps all the valuable gems discovered in the lode as well as the possessions of adventurers who thought the goblin mine was an easy target. In addition to the strong doors protecting the room, there is a poison gas trap that kills anyone that enters the room without the correct key.
Poison Gas Trap
Simple trap, (level 1-4, dangerous threat)
Poison gas fills the room with the intention of killing any intruder that might steal Rolfin and the goblins’ hoard.
Trigger. Unless the characters use the key found on Rolfin (area #A9) or Tuuk (area #A26) to open one of the doors into the strong room, it arms the pressure plates in the stairs leading up to the treasure platform. Once a Small or larger creature sets foot on any of the steps, the full poison trap is triggered.
Effect. On initiative count 20, both doors into the chamber shut and lock (unless one has been broken down) and the room begins to fill with gas from vents in the walls piped in from a cavern below the room. A creature in the room must make a DC 15 Constitution saving throw at the start of each of its turns, taking 5 (1d10) poison damage on a failed saving throw, or half as much damage on a successful one. Each turn at initiative count 20 this damage increases by 5 (1d10) to a maximum of 27 (5d10).
Countermeasures. A creature can willingly hold its breath each round to avoid taking poison damage. The vents can be blocked with thick fabric, wood, or anything else that measures 1′ x 2′. There are seven vents total. A DC 15 Intelligence (Investigation) check reveals how the trap works, and a DC 20 Dexterity check using thieves’ tools disables it. If either of the doors are opened (or cannot shut) the trap automatically disarms itself.
Challenge. 8 (3,900 XP)
There is a ring bearing the sigil of Lorden Keep amongst the treasure. Any character with even a passing knowledge of Lantern Falls will recognize its importance.
The ring was Jerick of Lantern Falls, one of Lorden’s cousins. He had traveled to the Forsaken Peak to seek an audience with Golebruk but was attacked by the goblins. Horribly, Jerick was cooked by Lamarr (area #A10) and fed to the goblins of the mine. Now, his ghost haunts the cold storage near the cistern (area #A12). Showing Jerick his ring calms him and reminds him who he is, even if the moment is brief.
The characters find the following treasure in this room: 307 pp, 1,305 gp, 22,780 sp, 520 ep, and 134,300 cp; a carved ivory statue worth 250 gp; 2 silver necklaces with gemstone pendants worth 250 gp each; 530 blue quartz gems worth 10 gp each; 12 long swords; 8 short swords; 2 shields; and a suit of chainmail with chaosmen markings.
In addition, the room has nearly 4,300 lbs of raw iron ore kept in the southern end of the room just by the smithy door (area #A6). It is worth 1 sp per pound.
A6 – Smithy
It feels like the inside of an oven in this room. A massive furnace at the center belches flames where a man whose skin looks as if it is made of bronze stands. Incredibly, the man’s hair and beard are made of fire. He hammers a rod of redhot steel, shaping it into some sort of weapon. To his right, seemingly assisting the strange, bronze man, stands a creature made of pure fire.
The smithy’s name is Roez (LE male azer) and his assistant is Fszzh, a fire elemental. While the pair does not appreciate being disturbed, they will not attack unless provoked, if the characters attempt to go into the strong room, or if the mine is on high alert.
Because Roez and Fszzh are immune to fire, this room is kept extremely hot at all times. Any metal objects in the room for more than 3 rounds, including worn armor and carried weapons or shields, suffer the effects of a heat metal spell. The effect ends once the item has been removed from the room, or if the furnace is shut off.
Many of the weapons that Roez and Fszzh have worked to create are goblin-sized. Regardless, there are 30 scimitars and 8 shields here. In addition, Roez recently created a suit of half-plate for Rolfin. A Small humanoid can wear the armor no problem, but a Medium or larger humanoid will need to spend 375 gp to have the armor resized.
A7 – Main Hall
This hallway connecting many of the main areas has a pair of hobgoblins stationed at each of the doors leading to areas #A4, #A6, and #A8. In addition, two goblins riding worgs stand guard at the top of the stairs leading down into area #A20. Each set of guards has access to an alarm if need be. In addition, half of the guards from #A20a will respond to any combats that occur in this hallway, arriving in 1d4 rounds.
The guards have 93 sp and 13 gp among them.
A8 – East Temple Hall
It’s quiet here. Red tapestries depicting a dragon’s head hang on the walls every five feet.
A successful DC 12 Wisdom (Perception) check reveals chanting coming from area #A9. The door to the temple (area #A19) is always kept locked.
A9 – Rolfin’s Chambers
If the alarm has not been raised, Rolfin can be found here in his chambers alone, praying to Alzerax, God of Red Dragons.
This large bedroom is lavishly decorated with scarlet accents. Kneeling in front of a bronze shrine in the shape of a dragon is a man in long red robes. He looks like he could be a goblin, but the red scales covering his face and neck tell you otherwise. “Oh good. My prayers have been answered,” he hisses at you, drawing a knife fashioned from a large tooth from his belt.
Rolfin (NE male goblin mage) fears very little and won’t hesitate to attack intruders. He believes he is a demi-god and cannot be killed, thus, he will fight to the death.
If the mine is on high alert, Roflin is guarded by two ogres and four goblins.
A note sits on Rolfin’s desk. It is addressed to “Whoever You Are” and reads:
What leverage do you think you have over me? And what purpose does it serve us to fight against your enemy? Enemy of my enemy you say! No, it is you who are an enemy, Chaosman. I will not help you overthrow your lord no matter what pathetic offers you make.
This is our last correspondence.
Rolfin, Highest Servant of His Manificence Alzerak the Terror
The letter is in response to a letter Rolfin received from Aliq the Chaosmagi. Rolfin burned the letter burned out of frustration (the ashes are still on Rolfin’s desk). Aliq has been trying to recruit Rolfin and the goblins to help him overthrow Golebruk and Golebruk’s allies.
Rolfin has the Dragon’s Tooth on his person, gold vestments worth 250 gp, and a key ring with keys to all the doors in the Goblin Mine. Searching his chambers, the characters will also find an iron lockbox (DC 15 Dexterity check with thieves’ tools to open) containing 115 platinum pieces, 11 sardonyx gems worth 50 gp each, and a small gold idol carved in the shape of a dragon worth 750 gp. There are also scrolls tucked away between the pages of his books: animate dead, dispel magic, fireball, gentle repose, and revivify. Finally, he has a small collection of healing potions: 3 potions of lesser healing and 1 potion of greater healing.
A10 – Kitchen
Even if the mine is on high alert, Lamarr the Necromancer is found here cooking.
Dirty pots, pans, cleavers, and spoons, thrown haphazardly on grime covered countertops: you’ve just walked into a disgusting kitchen. Your nostrils fill with the aroma of cooking meat, which would almost smell delicious were it not for its source. On a spit over a crackling fire is the carcass of something that almost looks humanoid. Bits of offal, entrails, and even blood cover the floors.
A filthy, gluttonous man wearing a black apron stands at one of the counters chopping roots. It’s clear that he can see you, but it doesn’t stop his work. He just winks at you and whistles before scraping the chopped vegetables into a nearby pot.
A killer and a cannibal, Lamarr is evil personified. Oh, and if that wasn’t bad enough, he’s an aspiring necromancer, too. “Never make waste!” he’s usually heard bragging to his mindless zombie sous chefs. Lamar is a CE male human berserker, but with the following changes:
- Lamarr has the Multiattack action, allowing him to make two attacks with his cleaver as a melee weapon.
- In place of the greataxe attack, Lamar is armed with a cleaver. The cleaver has the same statistics as a handaxe.
Lamarr combines his “passion” for cooking with necromancy. Nearly all of his dishes have some sort of zing to them that many don’t recognize. However, those who’ve seen him working in the kitchen realize it’s just humanoid body parts.
Knowing the danger the characters represent, Lamarr hopes to size them up a little and enchant them somewhat before engaging. Should a fight break out, in addition to the two zombies assisting him, Lamarr has hidden undead servants all over the kitchen inside cabinets and pantries: a pair of crawling claws and an unarmed skeleton (the skeleton’s armor class is 12 and in place of its shortbow and scimitar it has a slam attack that deals 1d4 + 2 slashing damage on a successful hit).
A successful Wisdom (Medicine) check reveals that the zombies and claws are the remains of Chaosmen (they have the Mark of Chaos tattoos). They were messengers sent by Aliq to deliver the note to Rolfin (see area #A9).
Lamarr keeps a Necromancer’s Cookbook in his apron and he has keys to all of the doors in the goblin mine except for the strong room (area #A5).
A11 – Storage
The only door into this room is kept locked and trapped to keep the other goblins out.
This large room is divided into two main areas: a cistern where the clean water supply is kept and dry food storage.
A11a – Food Storage
Barrels and crates fill this portion of the room. Your hunch tells you it’s probably food stored by the goblins; the smell of grain and pickeled mackerl is strong.
Tuuk doesn’t want the other goblins of the mine pilfering the food in this room. Unless a key is used to enter it (Lamar, Tuuk, Rolfin, and Linandra all carry keys) it sets off a poison needle trap. The poison needle trap is detailed on page 123 of the DMG.
There are approximately 500 lbs worth of grain, root vegetables, and other food commodities in this storage room (each pound is worth 1 cp in the open market).
A11b – Mine Cisterns
Four evenly spaced pools of clear water dominate this room sandwiched between massive stone columns supporting the lower-than-usual ceiling.
The ceilings here are 6 feet high. Most of the room is covered in water.
A12 – Cold Storage
The door handle leading into this room is cold to the touch.
Once the door opens, a rush of cold air sends chills down your spine. Frost clings to from the barrels and crates that fill this room. Hanging from hooks are three skinned carcasses. Much to your horror, the shape and length of the carcasses’ chests reveal that the meat was actually once a person.
From the tops of the crates just past the dead humanoids, you hear cackling. Four, sneering, winged creatures made of solid ice grin at you from their perches.
Four ice mephits keep the room cold for the goblins. They are not outwardly hostile but will attack if they see something gained by it (such as a character has its back turned to them while the others are away).
Should any of the characters speak the mephits’ language, they can learn that a ghost sometimes appears at night.
If the characters wait long enough for the ghost to appear, Sir Jerick arrives, weeping of the loss of his wife and child (they’re fine, he just knows he will never be able to see them again). Any character with a passing knowledge of Lantern Falls can tell that he is originally from there by the way he once dressed.
After a few rounds of this, he flies into a rage and attacks the characters. His goal will be to possess one of them so he can leave the mine and return to his wife and children in Lantern Falls. Seeing the ghost attack as the perfect opportunity for mischief, the mephits will join in against the characters.
Jerick’s ring was cut from his finger and put into the strong room (area #A5). If the characters have his ring and show it to him, he will calm down and speak reasonably, revealing what he knows of the mine:
- The mine’s leader is a goblin mage named Rolfin.
- Jerick believes that his niece, Laren, is still alive somewhere in the mine.
- Anybody that the goblins capture are either enslaved or eaten. Stronger humanoids are put to work in the lode.
- The goblins worship an ancient red dragon that lives at the center of a massive underground lake. Some of the slaves are given to the dragon as an offering.
Jerick requests that the characters bring his ring to his wife and children in Lantern Falls. Doing so will free him of his undead state.
A13 – Servants Quarters
Five ramshackle beds cobbled together from hay, burlap sacks, and broken crate bits are the only thing of interest in this room.
Some of the slaves of the mine have earned the right to live outside of the prison (area #A23). Lead by a stone-faced half-elven woman named Linandra (LE female half-elf commoner), the four servants (N female human commoners) live in this small, cramped room. Once the characters enter, roll a D6:
|4-5||1d4 servants (50% chance Linandra is among them)|
|6 (or high alert)||Linandra and all 4 servants.|
If Linandra is with the servants, she will immediately raise the alarm. Although she doesn’t enjoy being a slave to the goblins, she’s learned the hard way more than once that adventurers only bring false hope. Nothing or no one can persuade her otherwise. At most, she will promise not to interfere in their plans.
The other servants will at least give the characters a chance to make their case. But without a successful Charisma (Persuasion) roll contested by their Wisdom (Insight), they, too, will raise the alarm.
The five servants keep nothing of value in these quarters.
If the characters can convince the servants that they can save them, the servants will travel with them. All of them originally come from Lantern Falls, therefore, escorting them out of the peak will be treacherous. After all, they could end up in the hands of the chaosmen which may prove even worse for them.
A14 – Storage
If the characters enter from the door to the west, read the following:
Crates, barrels, rolled up tapestries, shovels, pickaxes; this must be some sort of storage room. The place is a complete mess, too–you can’t even see the walls! From a desk to the right of you comes a sigh.
“Oh, no, not adventurers,” says a squeaky, grizzled voice.
The voice comes from Gum-Gum, a half-blind, grumpy old goblin. Gum-Gum was put in this position to guard the door leading to the slug tunnels buried behind all the old junk. Knowing that Gum-Gum isn’t the fighter he used to be, Rolfin tasked Gum-Gum’s with raising the alarm should anything he see anything out of the ordinary in the old storage room. Gum-Gum knows his strength and will gladly allow the adventurers to continue on their way without raising the alarm if they promise to spare his life.
Of course, Gum-Gum is no good guy. Once the adventurers leave the room, he will lock the door behind them and raise the alarm, laughing as he does so.
Passage to the Pool of the Mind Slugs
Years ago, when Rolfin and Tuuk first started building the mine, they discovered an old, natural cavern that leads deeper into the mountain. Early expeditions proved fruitless, however, as the pairs’ goblins either never returned or came back haunted by what they had seen. Not wanting to waste any more of their men, the mine’s co-founders decided to seal up the door and guard it while the rest of the mine was built. Eventually, the old door was forgotten about, buried behind decades worth of junk.
Noticing the old door without moving any of the junk requires a DC 14 Wisdom (Perception) check.
Should the characters take the time to uncover the old door, they will discover that it is a sturdy wooden door similar to the ones in area #A1. In addition to a large bar put across it (facing the inside of the room), the door has been chained in place and bound with a padlock. The chains and padlock have AC 19 and 10 hit points. The padlock can be picked with a successful DC 15 Dexterity check using thieves’ tools.
Other than Gum-Gum, the rest of the goblins avoid the old storage room. This is a good place for characters to take a short or long rest.
A15 – Hidden Tunnel
If the characters enter this tunnel from the hidden door in area A14, read the following text block:
A narrow, natural cavern with low ceilings dives into the darkness beyond. It’s eerily quiet here. What could have made the goblins seal this tunnel off?
No humanoid has laid eyes on these tunnels in years. Walk far enough, and the characters will travel to The Pool of the Mind Slugs. There is also a natural staircase leading up The Eyries on Level 1. These locations are detailed in later issues of BroadSword Magazine.
A16 – Feast Hall
This huge room is the goblin feast hall.
If the mine is on high alert, this room is completely deserted. All of their plates were left on the tables. Only a pair of wolves remains, eating the dishes on the table. Distracted by the food, they won’t attack unless provoked.
If the characters have managed to avoid high alert this entire time, then there will be seven goblins, two ogres, and two wolves here, easily heard from the hallways leading in or the eastern barracks (area #A17). Distracted by their eating, drinking, and bickering, all of their passive Perception checks suffer a -5 penalty. Once they notice the characters, however, they will immediately attack and raise the alarm.
Between all of the goblins and ogres, the characters will find 75 sp and 103 cp.
A17 – Barracks East
Bunk beds stacked floor to ceiling, footlockers, and hooks for weapons: this must be the goblins’ barracks.
At any given time, there are 1d6 + 2 goblins and 1d4 hobgoblins found here (half as much if the mine is on high alert).
A thorough search of the room reveals 45 silver pieces, 250 copper plus 2 blue quartzes worth 10 gp each hidden among the footlockers.
A18 – South Temple Hall
If the mine is on high alert, many of the goblins and ogres from the barracks and feast hall are here: fifteen goblins, four ogres, and four wolves. During high alert status, these guards will defend the main entrance to the temple with their lives.
The secret doors connecting A16, A18, and A21 are all made of heavy stone blocks that can be pushed aside. Noticing their presence requires a DC 15 Wisdom (Perception) check.
A19 – Temple of Alzerak
The doors to the west and east leading into the temple are always kept locked.
Of all the chambers in the mine, this is one of the few that has art and decorations. Poorly drawn and sculpted frescoes, reliefs, murals, and elaborate tile mosaics depict images of fierce red dragons turning humanoids to ash or standing upon massive treasure hoards. The thick stone columns are carved to look like blocky red dragons, too, their backs and wings holding up the room’s 20-foot high ceilings. At the head of the temple is probably the largest stone dragon of them all, painted dark red. Its mouth is agape and arms outstretched as if daring any who enter this temple unwelcome to approach it.
Before the statue, curled on the steps, are the pitch black bones of a what was once a huge dragon. Although dead, it is not without sentience; it lifts its skull and releases a hiss, then stands, demonstrating the full might of its undead, draconic nature.
This red dragon skeleton (see the Appendix) guards the temple against anyone (including goblins) who would dare enter without Rolfin present. The red dragon skeleton also rests atop a pressure plate. Once it stands, the fire trap goes off.
Simple trap, (level 1-4, moderate threat)
The columns supporting the ceiling of the temple are rigged to shoot jets of fire, covering every square in the temple.
Trigger. Once the red dragon skeleton stands up, his weight is lifted from the pressure plate. Until the trap is reset using a switch hidden behind the statue of Alzerak (the topmost column in the temple), the pressure plate will not work. Finding the reset switch requires a successful DC 15 Intelligence (Investigation) near that particular column.
Initiative. The trap acts on initiative count 20.
Active Elements. Jets of fire leap from the mouths of every dragon statue in the place. No square is spared. In addition, the alarm is automatically raised (if it hasn’t been already).
- Flame Jets (Initiative 20). Each creature in the temple must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw. On a failed saving throw, the creature takes 11 (2d10) fire damage or half as much damage on a successful saving throw.
Countermeasures. A character can disable or avoid the flame jets of one part of the temple or they can escape through one of the three sets of doors.
- Flame Jets. A character must choose a 10′ x 10′ square (there are 25 total squares not counting the larger statues to the south and the stairs in front of the east and west doors), then perform one of the following actions:
- Intelligence (Investigation), DC 15. As an action, a creature that can see the dragon heads shooting flames can attempt an Intelligence (Investigation) check. A successful check means that the character has learned how to anticipate the dragon heads’ movements and flames. The character now only takes half damage on a failed saving throw to avoid the flame or no damage on a successful saving throw. Characters with the Uncanny Dodge feature that succeed on the Intelligence (Investigation) check automatically pass their saving throws.
- Attack. A creature in the area can attack the dragon heads affecting the square. Each dragon had has AC 17 and 20 hit points. Destroying the dragon heads means that flames no longer affect that square.
- Dexterity check using thieves’ tools, DC 15. Creatures can use thieve’s tools in the area roasted by the flame jets to foil the mechanism. A successful check means that the flames no longer affect that square.
Challenge. 6 (2,300 XP)
The trap and red dragon skeleton are meant to scare those who intrude more than anything.
The red dragon whose skeleton has been reanimated was actually Orithranx’s eldest wyrmling, Rodalranx. One hundred years ago, Rodalranx was mortally wounded while fighting knights south of the Forsaken Peak. Following the battle, Orithranx brought his son back to the mountain where the enchanted poison in the knight’s lances eventually finished him off. Orithranx, saddened by the passing of the last of his children, interred Rodalranx in an old cave, then made his home within the walls of the dwarven outpost across the lake.
80 years later, Rolfin discovered the remains of Rodalranx, which eventually lead him to Orithranx. Rolfin believed that he was actually the bastard son of Rodalranx and that Orithranx was his grandfather. Whether or not this was true, Rolfin used this potential relationship to persuade Orithranx to allow him to build the temple to Alzerak and the mine surrounding it. Orithranx agreed. Out of respect for Rodalranx, the temple’s art tells the story of the dead dragon (even if the goblin art isn’t that great). Pleased with Rolfin’s efforts, Orithranx gave Rolfin the black opal (see below) to reanimate Rodalranx’s bones so those who enter the temple would remember Rodalranx even better.
Orithranx can sense the opal whenever it is within 500 feet of him. Should the characters take the opal away from the temple and out of range, Orithranx will know something is amiss and send his minions to investigate (explained in the “Orithranx’s Minions” chapter of Castle of Chaos portion of this adventure series detailed in a future installment of BroadSword Magazine).
The red dragon skeleton is powered by a large black opal found within its skull. The opal is worth 2,500 gp. However, removing it from the temple could lead to trouble (see above).
A20 – The Lode
The heart of the goblins’ mine is here, the lode, where the goblinoids drive the slaves to dig for iron ore and precious blue quartz.
This must be the heart of the mine. The hewn stone gives way for natural rock, heavily picked at by picks and shovels. Mine tracks spill into the lode curling around titanic columns made of pocked stone.
If the mine is not on high alert:
The crack of goblin whips followed by the screams of humanoids tells you all you need to know about this operation: slave labor. All around you see the sullen, emaciated faces of workers pushed to pry treasure from the mine’s jagged, black walls.
Massive, armadillo-like beasts chained to a railing along the walls moan as goblins cruelly jab at their hind quarters with spears.
Unless the mine is on high alert, there are 54 slaves located throughout the entire lode, all commoners of different races and backgrounds. The slaves are all non-combatants, although they will arm themselves and fight if necessary. Unfortunately, they all have one level of exhaustion.
If the mine is on high alert, the goblins will return the slaves to the prison (area #A23). It is possible that the characters will catch the goblins in the process of ushering the slaves back, especially if the alarm was first sounded by the guards in area #A7.
Iron and Quartz
The goblin mine is thick with iron ore and blue quartz. For each hour a character spends digging anywhere in area #A20, there is a chance that they discover something of value. Roll a d20 and reference the table below.
|17-19||1 lb of iron ore (1 sp)|
1 blue quartz gem (10 gp)
Once a character discovers something in the walls and spends another hour digging in the same spot, they make their next d20 roll with advantage. If nothing is found on the second roll, they do not have advantage on any subsequent rolls until they find more ore or quartz.
Getting the slaves out of the mine is no easy task. Most are malnourished, exhausted, and suffer from severe post-traumatic stress. If any character tries to give an order to one of the slaves, the character must make a DC 10 Charisma (Persuasion) check contested by the slaves’ Wisdom (Insight) (you can roll for them all as one). On a failed contest, 3d6 slaves revolt, and run away screaming.
Many of the slaves have been locked in the mine for years. Some won’t even remember their original homes.
However, one slave, a man named Mikel of Smalltown, claims he knows the secret of The Forsaken Peak. In exchange for getting him out of the mine, he will tell the characters all he knows. Mikel knows it’s the only card he has to play and will take what he knows to the grave with him; no amount of nonmagical persuasion or intimidation will work on him.
Once freed, Mikel explains that he was captured while on a mission for Prince Golebruk in the old dwarven outpost across the lake. Within its passages, he discovered a mural depicting the Lost Temple. Before he was able to decipher the dwarven runes, he and his men were attacked by the gargantuan red dragon that lives there (Orithranx). Mikel escaped death by jumping into the lake but was eventually caught by the goblins on the opposite shore. Mikel believes that the key to opening the main gate of the Lost Temple can be found within the old outpost ruins.
A20a – Entrance to Mine and Tool Storage
Three goblins each on a worg and four hobgoblins guard this entrance. If combat occurs in area #A7, half of these guards will respond to the fighting; the rest will stay to guard the slaves. Mine tracks lead out of the entrance into the hallway through A3.
All throughout the mine, there are mine carts on tracks. A character can push a mine cart as part of their move action, but they must spend 2 feet for every 1 foot they push the cart. Standing or sitting inside the cart offers half cover.
Among the guards, the characters can find 72 cp and 4 gp.
A20b – The Pit
Most of the digging in the mine occurs in the pit where most of the lode is found. In addition to the slaves, the goblins employ two bulettes chained to a railing along the wall to dig. There are three goblins for each bulette, each armed with a spear (in place of their scimitar and shield). If the goblins are distracted by combat, the bulettes use the fight as an opportunity to break free of their chains. Each round, roll a d20 for each bulette. On a roll of 12-20, the bulette breaks its chain and attacks the closest creature it sees (slave, goblin, or character). In fact, if any creature gets within the bulette’s range, it will attack it. Even on high alert, the bulettes and their assigned goblin teams remain.
In addition to the bulette teams, there are eleven more goblins armed with whips (in place of scimitars and shields). The slaves are submissive and won’t join into the fray until it’s clear that the characters have the upper hand.
Finally, at least one of the goblins (from either the bulette or slave teams, GM’s choice) will take the opportunity to run into area #A20c to call the worgs away from their den. The worgs arrive in 1d4 rounds.
Among the guards, the characters can find 153 sp, 7 gp, and 3 ep.
A20c – Worg Den
The worgs that are not currently in rotation rest in this retired branch of the mine. There are six worgs here. The alpha of the worgs is named Rukz; she has 44 hit points, can make two bites per attack action, and has a CR of 1. If a fight breaks out in the pit, chances are Rukz and the worgs will respond, especially if a goblin alerts them or the alarm has been sounded.
There is nothing of value in the worg den.
A21 – Guard Room
There are two hobgoblins in this room.
There is 6 sp between the two hobgoblins. One of the hobgoblins has a key ring with keys to every door in the mine except for the doors leading into area #A5.
A22 – Barracks West
The floors of this room are covered in loose hay topped with pillows made of burlap sacks and dirty feathers. And the entire place stinks.
Along with a few of the wolves, this is where the ogres of the mine sleep. At any given time there are 1d4 ogres and 2d4 wolves found in this room.
The ogres keep nothing of value here.
A23 – Prison
The door leading into the prison is locked.
If the prison is on high alert, read the following text block. Otherwise, the prison cells are empty.
Sobbing and groaning is the first thing you hear as you step into this large room. To your left and right you see small cells, each with a half dozen humanoids locked inside. These poor souls stare at you through tear-wrapped eyes, filthy, scarred hands trembling on the bars.
Three bugbears work as the jailers here and remain even when the slaves are working. If they hear the characters coming, they hide behind the natural column with hopes of catching the characters by surprise.
If the prison is on high alert, the slaves described in area #20b are found locked up here, six to a cell, including Mikel of Small Town.
There are 15 sp and 8 gp between the three bugbears. One of the bugbears has a key ring with keys to every door in the mine except for the doors leading into area #A5. The keys can set the slaves free.
A24 – Guard Posts, Rear Exit
The wide hallway splits at a T-junction then ends at a large, barred-gate where two hobgoblins stand. Against the wall, bound and gagged is a dark haired human in torn, black and red robes. His defeated look turns to hopeful one once he sees you.
The two hobgoblins are guarding Alzon (LE human mage), one of Aliq’s chaosmagi. In addition to the hobgoblins, there is one goblin in each of the arrow posts to either side of the hallway. However, they can only see the 10′ x 10′ square directly in front of the barred door leading to area #A26. Should combat break out between the characters and the hobgoblins, these goblins will raise the alarm (round 1), lock the doors leading into their posts (round 2), then man the slits, firing from cover (round 3). In addition, the goblin on the right side will alert Tuuk who is in his chambers studying with Laren.
The barred door leading to area #A26 is a portcullis. It can be opened from either of the guard posts on either side. Otherwise, it requires a DC 20 Strength check to lift and has the same stats a cell door.
Alzon was sent by Aliq to infiltrate the mine but was caught by surprise by Rolfin and his guards. Since Alzon is a wizard, Rolfin believes that the chaosmagi is more valuable as a sacrifice to Orithranx than as a slave or food. He is scheduled to be tossed over the cliffs into the lake (area #A26) the following morning.
If the characters save Alzon, he lies and explains that he was sent on a reconnaissance mission by Aliq to learn the location of the goblins’ treasure hoard. The truth is that Aliq sent Alzon to learn more about Rolfin and to learn out what it would take to persuade him to join forces against Golebruk.
Alzon offers the characters 100 gp if they will return him to the chaosmagi camp in the Castle of Chaos. In addition, he promises to put in a good word with Aliq, which could potentially earn them a favor (see more details about the Chaosmagi faction in the Castle of Chaos section of this adventure, coming soon in BroadSword Magazine).
All of Aliq’s weapons and possessions were taken off him and Rolfin burned his spellbook. The hobgoblin guards have 20 cp between the two of them.
A25 – Tuuk’s Chambers
This room smells like a goblin’s chambers but hardly looks like a goblin’s chambers. Books clutter desks and shelves all around. Maps of the continent hang from the walls and doors of a tall wardrobe. Even the small, goblin-sized bed in the center of the room is neatly made with what appears to be a spellbook resting on the covers.
Regardless of the state of the alarm, Tuuk (NE male goblin gladiator) is always found here. However, if the mine is on high alert, he will keep Laren (NG female human mage) hidden in his wardrobe. Otherwise, the two are found studying together on his bed.
Tuuk, like many of the goblins of the mine, is a rotten, grumpy bastard. As captain of the mine’s guard, Tuuk rules his crummy coterie with nothing more than his spear and sneer.
However, Tuuk’s not completely evil. For starters, he’s a vegetarian; meat (and especially Lamarr’s cooking) never really sat right in his stomach. And second, he has an interest in magic. Seeing as most goblins shy away from the arcane arts, it’s something he’s kept a secret, even from Rolfin.
After a recent raid on a group of magic students from Lantern Falls, Tuuk kidnapped an apprentice mage named Laren riding with the group. He covertly whisked Laren away to his office, where he keeps her hidden and fed. In exchange for keeping her alive, she’s worked with Tuuk to teach him magic. While she hasn’t exactly “fallen in love” with her captor, she has developed a bond with the brutish gobbo.
Should the characters initiate combat with Tuuk, Laren will come to his aid, begging the characters to spare his life. She will make the case for Tuuk, saying that he wishes to change in his heart and leave his old life behind. Of course, that is easier said than done. There is no love for goblins in the Kingdoms, especially not those originally of cannibalistic, mountain-dwelling tribes.
Laren will eventually make the suggestion that the characters save her and take Tuuk with them. She wishes to return to her home in Lantern Falls, where she can be reunited with her family and Greencloak. Returning her to her people will earn the characters a favor from the Temple of Law.
If the characters kill Tuuk (or even Laren) and search the room, they will find a small, locked chest (DC 15 Dexterity check with thieves’ tools to open) with 175 gp and 8 blue quartz gemstones (10 gp each) inside and Laren’s spellbook (contains all the spells on the mage spell list). On Tuuk, they can find a key ring with keys to all the doors in the Goblin Mine, including the strong room (area #A5). Finally, there is a crude map of the second level hanging on the wall. It shows the locations of the mine, the Dwarven Outpost, the Pool of the Mind Slugs, and the Labyrinth of Yuul relative to the large lake in the center of the level. Tuuk has notes regarding The Eyries, as well. These are his notes:
- Tuuk believes that The Creature of the Eyries is ancient and may have been living in the peak for thousands of years. It is not a dragon, though, but something new, never recorded.
- The Creature of the Eyries seems to be indestructible. However, Tuuk theorizes that it fears the light of the righteous.
- A number of beasts in the Eyries have evolved to avoid the presence of The Creature. As such, they can take on the appearance of the natural structures within.
- One note reads “The Lost Expedition?”
A26 – Sacrificial Cliffs
If this is the first time the characters have seen the underground lake, read the following text aloud:
Before your very eyes is an underground lake of immense proportions. So large, in fact, that in any direction you look its edges disappear into the darkness. The ceilings over the lake are easily 50 to 100 feet high at certain parts, rough with stalactites. Winged, subterranean creatures–something like bats, but not quite bats–flutter between perches, their chirps drowned out by the sound of the powerful waterfall to your right that thunders into the water below.
To your left, a stairway descends down the edge of the cliff, vanishing out of sight.
This area is nearly 30 feet above the lake’s water.
These cliffs are used to sacrifice slaves or goblins that Rolfin dislikes to Orithranx, the ancient red dragon that lives in the dwarven outpost across the lake. No one has ever survived being pushed into the waters below. They are either dashed against the rocks and die, drowning, their bones resting at the bottom of the lake. Or they are scooped up by the old wyrm and promptly eaten to the cheers of its goblinoid worshippers.
All of the bodies were stripped of valuables before they were tossed into the waters below. So, it’s just bones down there.
The staircase leads to the Pool of the Mind Slugs to the east of the mine.
Thanks for reading!
Wow, this was a ton of fun to write. I don’t know about you, but I’m excited to see what happens next. By the end of the adventure, the player characters should a variety of adventure hooks to lead them to other parts of the dungeon. In addition, the PCs should have reached level 6 when all is said and done.
If you’re interested in receiving more updates and exclusive content as it pertains to the adventure, be sure to sign up to The Secret of Forsaken Peak mailing list below. Here’s what you can expect by being on this mailing list:
- A PDF version of this adventure and all of the accompanying monsters, magic items, and special rules once it’s complete (probably within the next week).
- News on the release of additional adventures related to The Secret of Forsaken Peak.
- Discounts and offers on future digital copies of the adventures.
- News from myself and Justin David Russell on what we’re putting on our own Patreons, blogs, and more, a lot of which will be free.
- Contests and prizes related to the eventual Kickstarter release of a hardcopy book of the adventure.
- And a whole lot more!
- Your information is 100% safe (protected by AWeber, a mailing list operator with over 20 years in the business) and we will never spam you.
See you soon and thanks so much for your support!
Art by Wizards of the Coast, Paizo Publishing, JonasJensenArt on DeviantArt, Paolo Puggioni, and Shutterstock (used with permission).