View Full Version : Dungeon encounter/ potential really long sidequest idea

Lord Afro
2008-07-09, 11:44 AM
This encounter is meant for some players below level 13.

In a dungeon (anywhere, but I used this encounter in a sea cave) the players discover a small room, perhaps 15x15ft with two prison cells in it. In one cell is a pile of bones, opposite from that cell is a man in a cage. As soon as they examine the area, they will notice the skull in the bone-filled cell. The skull will talk to them, " Can one of you pick me up?" addressing the most evil-looking character (or detect evil).
In reality, this is the skull of a lich named Mazken. Mazken is an 11th-level wizard. I have him as a necromancer, but anything will do (I don't wanna post stats of his spells there's a lot). His ECL is 13, if he had his body. But as a disembodied head he has only 1d12 hp(or 1d4, I figured a head was 8% of a body, so 8% of the HD and I took the lich HD.) and the regular DR15 of a lich, but you can reduce the DR as well. He also can be "killed" easily because he has only a break DC of 18. He is always flat-footed unless carried and his non flat-footed armor class is the same as the AC of the carrier +2. His speed is 0, but he can scuffle around on his jaw or, if you allow it, cast fly. In my game I did not want to give him mobility so he is afraid of heights and never learned fly or levitate. This brings us to his spells. He is incapable of casting with somatic components above 4th level, and he casts these using silent spell. This is a great way of limiting his power. He cannot aim his spells without a body to aim his skull, and his attack roll for rays and other spells requiring them is the same as his carrier.

The idea is that he asks to be picked up. Once a player has done so (preferably a spellcaster) he immediatley asks them to remove his mark of justice, which stops him from casting spells on himself, or non-evil creatures, and also stops him from touching his phylactery. He may decide not to tell the players he is a lich, and to lie about the mark of justice. Perhaps he says it traps him in the skull. Or, if faced with a more evil party he might whisper in his holder's ear, promising them great power and status as his right-hand man if they remove the mark and help him find his phylactery, to build him a new body. Perhaps he would teach them to become a lich. However, Mazken is most likely far too evil to uphold all of this. He could use a servant, though he would rule them with fear. If they agree Mazken tells the player to kill the man in the other cell, as a kind of test of worthiness, but also to animate the corpse and be carried. Another possibility is for Mazken to be held on the belt of his carrier, which limits him more. He can be asked to cast spells but he will not always do it, claiming he is out of spells for the day.

Whadda you think?

PS i was thinking his phylactery could be in his Leomund's Secret Chest, but the chest was stolen and has to be recovered from the astral plane.

2008-07-09, 12:07 PM
I'm liking this. Have you already used this in a campaign?

Lord Afro
2008-07-09, 12:39 PM
I'm about to. But if you're asking for an online one, it's tough because I'm really bad when it comes to keeping PbP schedule.

Ps: I might post stats.

2008-07-09, 07:21 PM
I can't think of any beyond the most gullible partys falling for this. A talking skull with a mark of justice? Unless they are unusually greedy, most good-leaning parties would probably just smash the skull outright.

You'll need to mask the mark, or at least make it unrecognizable. Make it the brand of a long-forgotten god, or better yet, the mark of justice from an evil diety. Your party is more likely to try to help remove a spirit trapped behind the mark of Vecna than the mark of Pelor.

What happens if the skull is destroyed? The lich is dead? Returns to the phylactery? Floats around as a powerless ghost?

What's up with the guy in the cage? Does he matter at all in this?

Lord Afro
2008-07-10, 09:12 AM
It's not meant as a challenge, it's meant as a sidequest or potential ally.
And, did I not say he may lie about the mark? To an evil party, he's an ally, to a good party he's toast. Faced with a good party he would lie about the mark, or perhaps not even say anything. And the man in the cage: If you had read the entire post you would have understood his purpose.