Saturday, 15 April 2017

The Secret of the Caves

The Secret of the Caves

Beneath the ruins of Galenford keep there are secret caves that are being used by the foul river pirate Moran Grave to rob and murder traders on the Stajin river. There is not a lot of trade on the river this far south of the human realms but there is enough to support Grave and his gang of unsavory humans and goblin underlings.

Background
As mentioned previously, Galenford Keep has been a foreboding, blackened ruin for a few hundred years. There are no villages or hamlets in the nearby area. There is a fair amount of river traffic from traders bringing trade goods to the barbarian nomads of the wilderlands coming down the Stajin and Nearnflow rivers.

The pirate Moran Grave had been plying his trade on the Stajin river much further north of Endernoth Lake. Lying low after sinking a merchant riverboat he came south and discovered the hidden cave beneath the keep. The cellars beneath the keep made a perfect location for Grave to hide out.

Introducing the Players to the Pirates
Players could stumble across the entrance to the dungeons in the ruins of the keep or they could be guards on a riverboat headed north or south on the river. In the latter case they could come under attack by Moran Grave and his pirates and then follow him to the tunnels

Entrances to the Keep
There are three entrances to the dungeons beneath the keep.

(1a.) Beach tunnel
Hidden in the bushes just off the beach is a rough hewn tunnel through dirt and rock that is 4 feet wide and 5 feet tall. The tunnel ends is a stout wooden door in a stone wall. The door is double barred from the inside and has a small peep hole at eye level. There is no light shining from the room beyond. It will be very difficult for players to batter down the door. It is solidly built and newly installed. Excessive noise will bring guards running from nearby rooms.

(1b.) River Cave
Hidden behind low hanging trees that brush the surface of the water is a 10 foot wide 3 foot tall entrance at water level to a tunnel. The water is 5 feet deep in the tunnel.

(1c.) Beneath the rubble
The cellars of the keep are still accessible from the ruins of the keep.  But they are buried under a pile of stone rubble. It will take 3-4 characters 1 hour to clear enough rubble to safely access the cellars. The entrance is a 5 foot in diameter in the ceiling of area 1a. In clearing the rubble the characters will disturb the rest of 3 skeletons buried in the rubble. The skeletons will attack immediately.

3 skeletons

(2.) Pit trap
Expecting that any trouble that would come to the dungeons would come from the keep, Moran Grave had his goblin underlings create some traps in the stairwell leading down from the keep ruins. The first step in the lower set of stairs is the trigger that opens a pit trap. The trap drops the entire 10 foot passage section down 15 feet to a spike filled pit. The spikes are only 6 inch long wooden ones added by the goblins but they are coated with poison. People falling into the pit will take falling damage, damage from the spikes and have a chance of being poisoned as well. The poison is not deadly anymore because it has not been renewed for months but it can make characters very sick.

(3.) Fire Trap
The very last step of the next two sets of stairs down is the trigger for a fire trap set up by the goblins. Once that step is stepped on a blast of fire will be triggered bathing anyone on the steps in fire. The trap consists of a bladder of flammable liquid that sprays over a lit oil lamp in a reservoir in the wall.

(4.) Storage room
This chamber is lit by three oil lamps. It is cluttered with crates, bags and barrels. The accumulated loot taken from merchants on the river. The material is stored here and then packed up and shipped by mules to a merchant in Whitewater. There is nothing really valuable in the goods. It is mostly furs, blankets, water, wine, beer and spears. The valuable loot is kept in Moran Graves’s chamber. The human pirates Ganon and Cerus are here in the room playing dice on a barrel top. They are armed with shortswords and wear leather jerkins. Both have a pouch with their personal valuables (Ganon, 15 gold coins and Cerus 25 silver and 10 gold coins).

2 pirates

(5.) Goblin Barracks
The goblins that have joined the pirates have their chambers here. The room has a stout wooden door on the west wall that is locked. There are a total of 8 goblins in the gang but only 4-5 will be here at any one time. The room is dirtier than the other chambers. The goblins are just as likely to toss leftover food on the floor as dispose of it in the river cave. The goblins have knives and have been given spears. Their leader is Sugarot. The remaining goblins are Gujek, Dagho, Alog, Cegug, Jogus, Krilge and Tog.

(6.) Human barracks
The human pirates are quartered in this stone chamber. The room is well-lit and the pirates have done their best to make it more comfortable. They have constructed simple wooden pallets (8 total) and there are tables and chairs built from barrels and wooden crates. There is a rack of spears and swords against one wall. Each of the pirates is careful to keep his share of the loot on his person so there is no loose treasure lying about this chamber. There are usually 3 pirates resting in this chamber. The total list of pirates is Ganon, Cerus in area 4 and Khadbi, Onumont, Pitguras, Olur, Wotnath and Henath. Each pirate has 20-40 silver and 10-30 gold coins on his person.

3 pirates

(7.) Grave Pirate
This chamber is the sleeping area of Moran Grave the pirate. Grave is a heavy set dispicable human brigand and highwayman from the Realms to the north. He is concerned first and foremost with his own skin so he can be bargained with but he is completely untrustworthy and will turn on any deal the moment an opportunity presents itself.

In this chamber is a bed built by the goblins for Grave covered in fairly expensive clothes. There are a half dozen crates full of fur pelts from the south. Two locked chests are in the room. The keys to the chests are located in a belt pouch slipped inside the pirates pants. If there is a nearby commotion, Grave will come to investigate.

The locked chests hold the very best of the pirate loot and the pirate leaders share. In one chest are 750 gold coins, 825 silver coins and two pieces of jewelry worth 200 gold each. In the other chest are two jeweled daggers (300 gold each), 700 silver coins and 500 gold coins.

(8.) Cells
The pirates place human captives in these two cells that they plan to sell to the barbarians to the south. At any time there is likely to be 1-3 captives held here chained to the wall.

(9.) Mud Room
The pirates (or rather the goblins) dug a tunnel from this stone chamber out to the beach. They used to store all of their goods here for easy transfer to and from the beach. Unfortunately they did not take into account the spring flood waters which rose up and flooded the tunnel and filled the room beyond with slimy mud. The goblins have cleared enough of the mud to one side to allow the barred door to be opened and closed. The room is no longer used for storage.

(10.) Tunnel to the caves
The tunnels leading to the river cave slope slightly toward the river. The first chamber looks like it is the bottom of a former well. The chamber is wet and ascends 40 feet up to a pile of debris blocking the top of the well. A lot of banging on the walls of the well could bring the debris crashing down.

(11.) Storage chamber
This area has been recently cut out of the surrounding rock and lined with wood boards to hold up the roof. A large number of crates and barrels line the walls of this room. The crates and barrels are empty. The contents sorted and moved to sturdier barrels for transfer to Whitewater. The loot termed to be useless is dumped in the river.

(12.) River Cave
This is a large natural cave with a stone dock in this cave. The ceiling of the cave is about 20 feet high at its highest point. The most noticeable feature of the cave is the 22 foot long riverboat tied up to the stone dock. The boat has room for 12 rowers and has a mast for a sail that is currently stowed down so it can negotiate the tunnel to the river. Any goblins or pirates not stationed in other locations in the dungeon will be found here unloading the boat.

There are two nearby sandy caves. In one cave (a) there are open crates full of weapons, specifically spears, polearms, swords and arrows. In the other cave (b) there are five crates of furs recently taken from the boat. There are 2 more large crates of furs resting on the floor of the main cave.

Epilogue
The pirates are not heroes. They will flee from adventurers if they start taking significant losses. The goblins will fight as long as Moran Grave is still around to direct them. Once he is gone they will head for the nearby forests.


Reposted GM Map of the Caves

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