RPG Adventure Hook – Commotion near the Ocean

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Two girls dressed as lobsters participate in the Lobster Festival.

This week, a lot of motion in the ocean, rocks that roll, and an all you can eat lobster special.

The world had gone mad, that much was certain. It wasn’t that there were giant, primeval monsters with claws and tentacles that seemed hells-bent on carrying away whomever they could snare. That was nothing new. No, it was the rocks that came to life,  crushing any who stood in their way, and the old leather cloak unfurling itself and howling, dark and terrible in the moonlight. Those were the symptoms of a world gone mad. And a lesson that when a wizard asks for help, you should always say no.

This adventure is designed for players of 8-10th Level

The PCs are approached by a fledgling wizard with a curious request. Her mentor was researching a new talisman, when he vanished mysteriously, while she was studying the talisman. She seeks the adventurer’s help in finding her mentor–but before they can set out, the town they are in is overrun by Chuul. In the aftermath of the Chuul attack, the PCs must round up the weary survivors, mount a rescue mission, and uncover the strange secret that lurks at the bottom of the depths…sleepytown

A few days ago, Calvarius Enkrith, a wizard of some renown discovered a powerful talisman. Last night, his apprentice, Erminia Dunst was trying to study the talisman without her mentor knowing, and while she studied it, he vanished without a trace. Now, she has sought adventurers to help track down her erstwhile mentor, with the hopes that they might help her learn something about the talisman along the way.

Unfortunately for her, the world has other plans, and a band of Chuul attack the town. They are bent on mayhem, but rather than murdering all they come across, they appear to be searching for something. They attack townspeople and (for the most part) ignore the PCs, fighting them only as a distraction while the majority of the band tries to carry off their victims.

In the wake of the attack, the PCs follow after the Chuul assault–which is not very difficult. But, following them to their subterranean lair with Erminia in tow (she insists) only awakens a slumbering, rocky guardian who attacks the PCs and the Chuul alike. When all is said and done, the PCs manage to fight their way to where the Chuul keep their captives… and there, do they find the truth behind Calvarius’ disappearance.

Read on for more details, or scroll down for all the stats you’ll need.


Lots of Trouble.

The ruins of Obereth Tower were thought explored, and stripped bare. That is until a few days ago, when Calvarius Enkrith, a well-known (locally anyway) wizard ventured into their depths and with his mighty magics unearthed a talisman, hidden in the very stones of the tower’s base. It radiated arcane power–this is because it is the control stone for a powerful Slaad commander. It was stolen in the past by the order who built the tower, and Calvarius, investigating their lore, found mention of a secret.

This is where the trouble begins. For Calvarius Enkrith *also* happens to be the unwitting servant of an ancient Aboleth. He crossed paths with the creature some months ago, and it was the Aboleth who set his mind to wandering the distant echoes of the past. The aboleth has become obsessed with Slaad ever since a band of them assaulted its lair and broke its power. Sensing that its servant (mostly acting of his own accord) has found something of use, it has called him to its side.

Unfortunately, Calvarius has an apprentice. Erminia Dunst. She is an up-and-coming young wizard, who makes up for what she lacks in magical talent with raw enthusiasm and a devious sort of cunning. She hasn’t mastered many spells, but has figured out a number of arcane principles. She’s less interested in studying, and more interested in getting right to the good stuff by hook or by crook. And in this case, she stole borrowed her mentor’s talisman to research it. Without his knowing, of course. She was hoping to impress him with her aptitude–and so the Aboleth’s prize slipped through its slimy tentacles.

That brings us to today: Erminia Dunst, looking for her missing mentor (and worried that she is somehow to blame/going to be in trouble) has sought out our heroes in the hopes of hiring them.

The Aboleth, on the other hand, has sent a small army of Chuul to attack the town in the hopes of seizing whatever has been lost. It does not care to understand the pathetic mewlings of its servant, Calvarius (who is well aware that Erminia probably stole the talisman), and instead has directed its Chuul to capture any who might fit the muddled images it has stolen from Calvarius’ mind. A band of 5 Chuul per player attacks the town while they are speaking with Erminia. Only a small group attack the PCs (maybe 1-2 per player at most), while the rest rampage through the town, grappling, paralyzing, and then carting off townspeople who vaguely resemble Erminia. They are Chuul, though, so, they aren’t very good at identifying the target. They can sense the magic though–so the PCs will have to stop Erminia from being carted off by the group that advances on them.

chuul-1Someone saw a rock. It wasn’t a rock.

The PCs should have little difficulty tracking down the Chuul. A DC 5 survival check is all that is required. The Chuul are…not subtle. They may as well be running off with their captives chanting the deep speech equivalent of “we make holes in teeth.”

Erminia insists on accompanying the PCs, saying that they might have been after the talisman she was researching. She’ll accompany them, whether or not they accept her help, even going so far as to use a Wand of Invisibility to follow them if they should refuse.

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The PCs track the Chuul to a seaside cavern, where a number of boulders have fallen near the entrance. A quick investigation reveals that the tide is currently out–but, PCs will only have about three hours before the tide rolls in and floods the cavern. As the PCs walk past the cavern, they become aware of the rocks…two of them animate and attack. These rocks are animated by a guardian known as Krakamok the Enduring. Krakamok once warred with the Aboleth below, sealing it with a rockfall. He settled in to act as a silent guardian, should it ever rise from the depths. However, the Aboleth has been slowly eroding its mind–and now, it senses the corruption of the Slaad’s talisman and perceives the party as a threat. Thus Krakamok attacks.

During the fight, a number of Chuul (1 per player) join in the fray. The PCs might notice that Krakamok directs the occasional attack at the Chuul–PCs who can communicate with Krakamok (who speaks Terran only), can win his allegiance with a DC 13 Persuasion check. Those who fail will instead have to contend with Krakamok and his Boulders.

The Chuul will flee when reduced to below half of their number. Any surviving Chuul flee into the depths. Krakamok will pursue them, whether or not he is on the PC’s side. It is possible that the fight may leave the PCs at the entrance, contending with the animated boulders.

When the fighting has subsided (or moved on) the PCs can continue into the depths, where they face one last foe.

There Went a Manta Ray

cloakerThe Chuul have brought their captives to an ancient shrine to a deep and forgotten god (the Aboleth). The shrine is ruined, and an old leather cloak hangs on one wall. Any Chuul from before and Krakamok (if alive) may be down here. Four more Chuul keep watch over their prisoners–and when the fighting inevitably breaks out–the cloak unfurls from the wall and shrieks angrily, revealing itself as an opportunistic cloaker hoping for an easy meal.

When all is said and done, the captives can be freed. But… a secret door behind the shrine reveals a hidden journal–one kept by Calvarius that details his quest for the talisman. Of particular note are the entries that do not appear to be in his hand–messages from below. The last one reads BRING THE STONE. I SHALL ASCEND.

TO BE CONTINUED…


Chuul

Large aberration, chaotic evil

Armor Class 16 (natural armor)
Hit Points 93 (11d10 + 33)
Speed 30 ft., swim 30 ft.

STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
19(+4) 11(+0) 16(+3) 5(-3) 11(+0) 5(-3)

Skills Perception +4
Damage Immunities poison
Condition Immunities poisoned
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 14
Languages understands Deep Speech but can’t speak.
Challenge 4 (1,100 XP)

Amphibious. The chuul can breathe air and water.

Sense Magic. The chuul senses magic within 120 feet of it at will. This trait otherwise works like the detect magic spell but isn’t itself magical.

Actions

Multiattack. The chuul makes two pincer attacks. If the chuul is grappling a creature, the chuul can also use its tentacles once.

Pincer. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 11 (2d6 + 4) bludgeoning damage. The target is grappled (escape DC 14) if it is a Large or smaller creature and the chuul doesn’t have two other creatures grappled.

Tentacles. One creature grappled by the chuul must succeed on a DC 13 Constitution saving throw or be poisoned for 1 minute. Until this poison ends, the target is paralyzed. The target can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success.


Krakamok the Enduring

Medium elemental, neutral

Armor Class 16 (natural armor)
Hit Points 85 (9d8 + 45)
Speed 15 ft., 30 ft. when rolling, 60 ft. when rolling downhill.

STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
20(+5) 14(+2) 20(+5) 11(+0) 12(+1) 11(+0)

Damage Resistances bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical weapons
Damage Immunities poison
Condition Immunities exhaustion, paralyzed, poisoned, petrified
Senses darkvision 60 ft., tremorsense 60 ft., passive Perception 11
Languages Terran
Challenge 6 (2,300 XP)

False Appearance. While Krakamok the Enduring is motionless, he is indistinguishable from a normal boulder.

Rolling Charge. If Krakamok the Enduring rolls at least 20 feet straight toward a target and then hits it with a slam attack on the same turn, the target takes an extra 7 (2d6) bludgeoning damage. If the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 16 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone.

Actions

Multiattack. Krakamok makes two slam attacks.

Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 12 (2d6 + 5) bludgeoning damage.

Animate Boulders (1/Day). Krakamok can magically animate two boulders he can see within 60 feet. A boulder has statistics identical to Krakamok’s except that it has Intelligence 1 and Charisma 1, it can’t be charmed or frightened, and it lacks this action option. A boulder remains animated as long as Krakamok maintains concentration (his save is +5), up to 1 minute (as if concentrating on a spell).

 

Roleplaying Krakamok: Krakamok was once a proud guardian of the cliffs, keeping watch on the Aboleths that lurk in the cliffs below. However, an encounter with the Slaad and one of their chaos stones has driven him insane. When he spies the Chuul he will immediately attack the party. Characters who can speak Terran can make a DC 14 Persuasion check to convince him to stop fighting long enough to plead their case. Though he suspects they are Aboleth Skum, and will not accept the evidence of his eyes.


Cloaker

Large aberration, chaotic evil

Armor Class 16 (natural armor)
Hit Points 93 (11d10 + 33)
Speed 30 ft., swim 30 ft.

STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
17(+3) 15(+2) 12(+1) 13(+1) 12(+1) 14(+2)

Skills Stealth +5
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 11
Languages Deep Speech, Undercommon
Challenge 8 (3,900 XP)

Damage Transfer. While attached to a creature, the cloaker takes only half the damage dealt to it (rounded down), and that creature takes the other half.

False Appearance. While the cloaker remains motionless without its underside exposed, it is indistinguishable from a dark leather cloak.

Light Sensitivity. While in bright light, the cloaker has disadvantage on attack rolls and Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight.

Actions

Multiattack. The cloaker makes two attacks: one with its bite and one with its tail.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 10 (2d6 + 3) piercing damage, and if the target is Large or smaller, the cloaker attaches to it. If the cloaker has advantage against the target, the cloaker attaches to the target’s head, and the target is blinded and unable to breathe while the cloaker is attached. While attached, the cloaker can make this attack only against the target and has advantage on the attack roll. The cloaker can detach itself by spending 5 feet of its movement. A creature, including the target, can take its action to detach the cloaker by succeeding on a DC 16 Strength check.

Tail. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 10 ft., one creature. Hit: 7 (1d8 + 3) slashing damage.

Moan. Each creature within 60 feet of the cloaker that can hear its moan and that isn’t an aberration must succeed on a DC 13 Wisdom saving throw or become frightened until the end of the cloaker’s next turn. If a creature’s saving throw is successful, the creature is immune to the cloaker’s moan for the next 24 hours

Phantasms (Recharges after a Short or Long Rest). The cloaker magically creates three illusory duplicates of itself if it isn’t in bright light. The duplicates move with it and mimic its actions, shifting position so as to make it impossible to track which cloaker is the real one. If the cloaker is ever in an area of bright light, the duplicates disappear.

Whenever any creature targets the cloaker with an attack or a harmful spell while a duplicate remains, that creature rolls randomly to determine whether it targets the cloaker or one of the duplicates. A creature is unaffected by this magical effect if it can’t see or if it relies on senses other than sight.

A duplicate has the cloaker’s AC and uses its saving throws. If an attack hits a duplicate, or if a duplicate fails a saving throw against an effect that deals damage, the duplicate disappears.


Be sure to check back next week for the thrilling conclusion. In the meantime… enjoy the following.

  • Dat music video… what did I just watch? Ô.o

    • Gideon Ernesto

      The first two albums by The B 52’s are amazing, give them a listen. And as with every new wave band, the videos and performances are deliberately crazy. That music spun off from punk. They are mostly that riotous. But they got some more grounded an emotional stuff too. My favorite B 52’s song:
      https://youtu.be/Hl_EEpRfrkk

    • Graham Bartram

      If that was a bit crazy for you I could send you a list of music videos that would leave you needing therapy buddy.

      • I may regret this, but now I’m really curious.

  • Sonic tooth

    Classic song!

  • euansmith

    These Hooks are a lot of fun.

  • Gideon Ernesto

    Pass the tanning butter!