Free Adventure Friday - Our Drow Town
They say the enemy of your enemy is your friend, but it’s not always that easy. The Drow wait in the Underdark as a potential ally to your cause, but can they be convinced to help?
This is a stand-alone adventure intended for you to work into your campaign if you are experiencing writer's block, or if your players go somewhere unexpected. Please change names and other details around to best suit your world. This works best if your players are outmatched by a powerful foe whom the Drow would also oppose. Alternatively, this entire area could be included as one part of a larger dungeon crawl.
This adventure is designed for three or more level 8 characters. Creatures from the Monster Manual (abbreviated MM) are used. Many of these creatures are listed in a range of numbers. Use the largest number for groups of five or more players, the smallest number for groups of three players, and the average for groups of four.
Two optional “random encounters” have been included. You may ignore these, throw one in should the game start to slow too much, or check with a d20 roll at the specified intervals.
Frequency Chance of Encounter
Every 10 minutes 1-2
Short rest 1-10
Long rest 1-20
On an EVEN result...
6-8 giant spiders (MM pg. 328) hunt the tunnels of this cavern. They mostly avoid the areas populated by Drow and myconids, but will still investigate any unusual activity. They attack from all directions— climbing on ceilings and walls to get at prey.
On an ODD result...
Another party of adventurers is currently exploring the area. It consists of 3-5 characters: a knight, spy, priest, and possibly berserker and druid (MM pg. 344-349). This is a fairly chaotic-aligned group, who each care only for their own fortune. Each of these NPCs carries a potion of healing, and their total coinage amounts to 600 cp, 400 sp, and 60 gp.
A natural ramp leads from another part of the Underdark to this level. If you wish to give the party a quicker means of entrance, there could also be a teleportation gate here instead.
This entire cavern is made of naturally-carved stone. Ceilings are generally around ten feet high for narrow passages, and twenty to thirty feet high in larger chambers.
2. Fungal Lair
Many strange fungal growths carpet the floor and walls of this area. 3-5 myconid adults (MM pg. 232) are usually at 2A. 2B will have 2-4 more adults, as well as a myconid sovereign (MM pg. 232). The myconids will not attack the party unless threatened, but if this happens, myconids from both sections of the cave will come together to fight. They are familiar with all of the denizens of this area and their rough locations.
At the center of cave 2A is a very large uncut emerald perched on a stalagmite that gives off an eerie green glow. If removed from the cave, its light will gradually diminish and go out, but will still be worth 2,500 gp. The myconids believe this gem gives them life, and will not suffer it to be stolen.
3. Drider Lair
Thick webbing begins at the points marked 3A and warn of something nasty living further in. It is a drider (MM pg. 120) who was formerly Drada Glannath, a Drow priestess of Lolth. Driven mad by her transformation, she still dwells close to her former temple and has even carved a tunnel so that she may keep an eye on things there.
Her tunnel is just wide enough for a large creature to squeeze through, so those of size medium or smaller have no problem walking single-file through it. A peephole at its end looks into area 8. There is no passage into that area, but the stone is thin enough that it could be broken down with some effort.
4. Xanar’s Defenses
As soon as anyone steps into this tunnel, they see a wall of fire appear before them. This is actually a programmed illusion and the simulated fire lasts for five minutes before disappearing. Just beyond the illusion is a very real, but invisible glyph of warding. It requires a DC 14 Intelligence (Investigation) check to discover. When a creature other than Xanar and his animated servants step past the illusory fire, explosive runes detonate, dealing 5d8 fire damage, or half on a successful DC 14 Dexterity saving throw.
5. Xanar’s Camp
Xanar Arkenndar is a drow mage (MM pg. 129) who has camped here along with 1-5 animated armors (MM pg. 19) who act as his servants and bodyguards. He has stolen a tentacle rod from Vornalla Khalazza in order to shame and discredit her, a member of a rival family. Having fled from the temple, he has camped here while he plans his next move.
Xanar is paranoid that Vornalla will be coming after him any moment, and almost always has mage armor cast on himself. He will also react swiftly should anyone detonate the glyph of warding he set up. But he is not above working with the party should they introduce the idea of working together to kill Vornalla (area 8). Xanar will still hang back in such a confrontation and conserve his abilities so that it’ll be easier to eliminate these “allies” afterward. He would not be able to give them the support of the Drow anyway, although he will lie and say he could.
6. Temple Guard Watchpost
At least 2 Drow temple guards (count as berserkers- MM pg. 344) are always on watch here. Any shouts will immediately be heard by reinforcements in area 7.
7. Temple Barracks
This cavern has been set up as living space for those who maintain the temple. There are several bunks for the guards, and a much more elegant living space set aside for the priestess. 2-4 additional temple guards (see area 6) are off duty in here.
Vornalla has a locked wardrobe of personal effects including clothes and several bottles of fine liquor. Hidden inside one of the drawers is a bag of 40 pp.
8. Temple of Lolth
A temple of black marble has been built here, contrasting with the natural stone around it. Large columns support the structure’s stone ceiling that seems to meld into that of the cavern.
Vornalla Khalazza (drow priestess- MM pg. 129) can usually be found at the altar in the center of the temple, accompanied by 0-2 pet displacer beasts (MM pg. 81).
The priestess, like most Drow, is ambitious and cruel. Her first impression is to simply kill any invaders, but she is also logical. Vornalla is embarrassed by the fact that Xanar Arkenndar (area 5) has stolen her symbol of office, a tentacle rod, and could task a diplomatic party with retrieving it for her. She is prominent enough to try and get the help of the Drow empire, but this will take more than a successful Charisma-based check. She will need something substantial in return.
12 statuettes of carved obsidian sit on the altar and are each worth 25 gp. Anyone who investigates the area outside the temple and succeeds on a DC 20 Intelligence (Investigation) check finds the peephole looking into area 3.