Remnants of Tecal’s power summon spikes that target any ships that sail too close. Rowboats big enough for just a handful of people are shattered instantly, while larger ships are thrust out of the water like skewered whales. The shadows of sharks and other sea life, accustomed to feed on the bounty of those corpses, can be seen beneath the surface.
A perception check (DC 15) will spot wrecks impaled on the tips of the obsidian spikes. Another check Arcana/Insight check (DC 12) will make what is about to happen abundantly clear. If the player’s pass that check with 15 or more, they will also understand that the lantern is meant to protect a single ship from attack. Passing the check with 18 or more will also realize that Tolome’s plan will fail. The ship with the lantern onboard will be the only one protected. The others, even though they’re tied together, will be attacked.
Any ship that is half a mile away from the shore of Tecal will be attacked by The Maw’s weapon. Upon entering combat, each ship will be attacked by a giant obsidian spike — a magic siege weapon — from below once every 2 rounds.
Spell: Obsidian Spike
Magic siege weapon
+8 attack bonus
3d12 (x2 against objects)
- Ignores hardness
- Can only attack ships.
- A ship that takes more than half its total health in a single attack is considered impale, and is lifted 30 feet above the surface of the water
Ships bearing a lit Lantern of Tecal can’t be targeted.
If the players are still on board of a ship that is destroyed by the obsidian spikes, move on to Unfortunate mariners.
If the players are on board of the ship protected by Tolome’s lantern, they will watch the other two ships be destroyed, and the survivors, if any, promptly be eaten by sharks and other conspicuously aggressive marine life.
Unfortunate Mariners (1000 XP)
The water is warm and waves are placid, broken up by the obsidian spikes that are the maw’s fangs. What lurks beneath them isn’t.The debris of other ships that fell prey to the maw are scattered on the water or loom overhead, dangling, impaled, on the obsidian spikes. The silhouettes of sharks flash past beneath them. There may be a splash, a scream cut short, and then the droning crash of the waves against the shore.
Swimming from the obsidian spikes to shore is a Swimming check (DC 12). Any NPCs that may have come with them will be attacked by a single Medium Barracuda. This will give the players two rounds before they’re attacked themselves, usually preferring those who are furthest from the beach.
The survivors will find themselves on the southern beach of the island, 100 yards from the Villa of the Alchemist, 300 yards from one of Tecal’s roads, and several miles away from the city.
The beach is strewn with the remains of other ships and their cargo that managed to wash ashore.
- 165 GP in loose currency/jewels
- 3 lesser minor spell scrolls
- 3 lesser minor potions
- 20 iron rations equivalent
- Masterwork Light Flail
City of Ash and Cinder
The streets of the capital of Tecal were buried in magma and the buildings were hollowed out by rocks thrown by the volcano. The Tecalese nobles and their servants who dwelled here died in a rain of fire. Some of them still roam the streets, their souls locked in a cage made out of their own ashen bones.
A long stone pier, easily 200 yards long and 20 feet wide, extends from the beach into the clear blue waters. The wrecks of other ships bearing a phoenix as their figurehead are moored along most of the pier’s length. A lighthouse sits atop a wide stone circle at the end of the pier itself. Its beacon is a blood-red light. Shambling up from the sea and the lighthouse, a horde of undead attack the ship
The following encounters are intended for a Level 1 4-man party. Adjust according to party strength/level, especially if the party is coming in from the jungle rather than aboard Tolome’s ship. The encounters are also organized in a suggested sequence, though it need not be forced.
The Welcoming Party (800 XP)
A group of 3 Zombies and 1 Cinder Skeleton attack the ship from the lighthouse at the end of the pier, outflanking the mercenaries. The players are ordered by Tolomei to protect the ship. The players will have enough time to cross the plank as the shambling undead make their way
Supporting Fire (optional)
A small group of archers, other hirelings rather than mercenaries, will provide support from the ship’s castle. Each turn, they will do 1d8 + 2 damage to a single enemy. No attack roll is necessary since it’s a trio of archers firing, but it should be treated as a ranged attack.
The crates around the ship are full of forgotten cargo. Most of the goods are spoiled or useless. However, there were some valuables to be found — though the mercenaries will take most of it.
- 200 GP in loose currency/jewels
- Potion of Vanish
- Potion of Sanctuary
- Potion of Cure Light Wounds
- Scroll of Detect Chaos (cr, 25 gp)
- Scroll of Prestidigitation (cr, 12 gp 5 gp)
- Scroll of Shield of Faith (cr, 25 gp)
- Masterwork studded leather armor
A Pleasant Evening
Tolome, pleased with the performance of the party at a surprisingly vulnerable moment, rewards them by sharing a meal with them; a roast and vegetables, far better than the rations the mercenaries enjoy, and the bare scraps the hirelings are given. Tolome regales them with a tale about the might of Tecal, telling them that he’s just a scholar obsessed with their history, there to find out the truth behind the fall of the empire. He doesn’t know why there are undead infesting the island, but he suspects it’s related to the demise of Tecal.
Ruined Streets (800 – 1600 XP)
There are several locations throughout the city, each one with its own encounter. Searching the city means risking confronting the undead that haunt the city as a random encounter (CR 3 – 800 XP). Sneaking past is always an option, and should award the same XP for the encounter.
1 Gelatinous Orb
1 Phlegmatic Ooze
1 Magma Mephit
1 Ectoplasmic Human
3 Cinder Skeletons
The Lighthouse – First Floor (800 XP)
The lighthouse at the end of the pier is a spire 268 feet tall. It’s constructed out of impossibly smooth stone, with four distinct strands twisting upon one another. Inlaid into the stone, a brass relief depicting the Tecalese eagle takes flight. The eagle itself is massive, coiled around the entire length of the tower. A concealed doorway leads into the spire. The inside is hollow, with a staircase projecting out of the wall leading to the platform. The ground floor has the debri of a caretaker’s apartment, the remnants of a modest life. Meanwhile,
4 Zombies shamble through the debri of the first floor, becoming aggressive the moment the players enter
A trap door hidden under the debris on the first floor (perception DC 14) leads to a cellar beneath the lighthouse. All the provisions there are spoiled, but there is a tunnel leading to an entrance near the center of the city. Other entrances and passageways have collapsed or have been filled with cooled magma.
The Lighthouse – Second Floor (800 XP)
The upper platform is dominated by a massive lantern caging an immortal flame that burns with a blood red light. From that height, nearly the whole island is visible; an emerald jungle to the East, the rest of the city ruins and the rising volcano to the North. The scar left behind by the lava as it eradicated the city scorches its way into the sea. From here, the island is eerily, deceptively, peaceful.
4 Flaming Skulls have wandered to the upper platform, while other undead who can’t negotiate the difficult stairs, have remained below.
The Storehouse (800 XP)
Rows of storehouses once stood next to the docks. Of those, only a single one survived the cataclysm. The two-story building sits sagged to one side, with cooled lava pooled up against the wall facing the volcano. Its windows shattered, its doors blown out, it looks as though it’s going to collapse at any moment. Inside, piles of amphora and boxes are crushed together — probably the only reason why the building is still standing. Undead shamble inside.
3 Zombies and 3 Cinder Skeletons wander in the husk of the storehouse. They attack any trespassers, if they’re noticed (passive perception 11).
- Potion of Resistance (cr, 25 gp)
- Scroll of Comprehend Languages (cr, 25 gp)
- Scroll of Fox’s Cunning (cr, 150 gp)
- Masterwork Rapier (320 gp)
Searching the building (DC 11) reveals a false wall that concealed a small cubby. A satchel inside of it contains a large number of papers written in common. This is a spy’s dead drop, with roughly a year of intelligence notes tucked away. The spy highlights the following:
- Tecal’s magic is mostly based on living sacrifices.
- Even if they don’t pursue conquest, they do have small outposts scattered throughout the world.
- The most powerful Tecal arcanists use portals powered by their magic to travel to those outposts. All it takes to use them is to have enough charged bloodstone shards to activate them.
This accomplishes the goal of learning how to leave tie island for chapter 2.
The Alchemy Lab (1200 XP)
There is a building on one of the most opulent streets of the city. It refuses to bow or collapse as the fragile palacetes around it, standing on reinforced foundations, with marble steps leading to a grand entrance framed by the wings of a phoenix, Tecal’s favored symbol. Although it must’ve had two or three floors, only the ground floor remains. Inside, the vessels in the ruins of one of the most elaborate alchemy labs in Golarion history still stand.
Some of those massive glass tanks are filled with experiments that roil and bubble. Others, toppled by the mud and magma that poured through one of its windows lie, shattered, on the floor. There’s a large pit in the center of the room, sixty feet across, deep enough for the bottom to be lost in darkness, though it’s clear that the lava drained into it as well, sparing most of the building. A constant roiling sound bubbles up from it. Noxious fumes waft and sizzle up from the pit, strong enough to be physically repulsive. Other things emerge from that boiling cauldron, sometimes crawling out, sometimes erupting from it.
2 Alchemic Amoeba will attack anyone who wanders into the ruins of the alchemy lab.
Alchemical Eruption (Optional – 1200 XP)
The pit bubbles up and ejects 2 Phlegmatic Ooze Swarms and 1 Magma Mephit onto the ground floor on random spaces around the rim once someone enters the lab, and then again every two hours. If a player is caught in a space where one of these oozes will land, they will be immediately subjected to the Viscous ability, and must roll a DC 13 Reflex save.
If the players enter the labs more than once, they will find that other ooze creatures (CR 3 – 5) have somehow emerged either from the pit or from the vessels once per day. This could be relevant if the party attempts to escape from the city through this location
The paranoid members of Tecal’s ruling class of scholars had secret escape tunnels scattered throughout the city. Most of those collapsed or were filled with magma during the cataclysm. The tunnel beneath the laboratory — which can be found with a Search/Dungeoneering check (DC 14), revealing a trap door behind the vessels on the western wall of the main room — survived relatively intact.
The debris of the lab has scattered precious metals, in particular gold, along with loose items.
- 1271 gp worth of gold nuggets & other precious metals
- Scroll of Command (cr, 25 gp)
- Scroll of Magic Fang (cr, 25 gp)
- Scroll of Shocking Grasp (cr, 25 gp)
- Wand of Animate Rope (cr, 750 gp)
- Wand of Create Water (cr, 375 gp)
The Amphitheater (1600 XP)
The amphitheater sits in the shadow of the volcano’s slope at the end of the main thoroughfare. Benches sculpted out of smooth marble and onyx surround a stage, with half-molten, disfigured and shattered statues line the upper edge. The stage itself is a wide half-circle, with an altar and a palatial backdrop obscuring entrances from the sides.
Performing on the stage there are two automata, locked in a dance they repeat over and over. Their beautiful figures are marred by caked mud, dark stains and burns.
They must’ve danced through a conflagration that burned around them. The stands have scattered bones, and piles of ash that may have been the corpses of an audience. There is a seat of honor with its own entrance — a tunnel projecting from the center of the stands — that is surrounded by a scorch-mark twenty feet in diameter that managed to burn into the polished stone. A boiling shadow hovers there, as though watching the figures dance.
A Blast Shadow watches the show of the dancing automata. It will remain passive until it detects the players (passive perception 14), at which point it will engage them as normal.
The Choir (Optional – 800 XP)
A group of 4 Flaming Skulls can be added to the encounter. The group will be hovering behind the automata, singing otherworldly music. They will remain passive until the Blast Shadow engages the players.
The audience watching the last performance were wealthy scholars and mages. In the piles of ash, jewels, vials and scroll-carrying can be found.
- Hematite x 4 (40 gp)
- Jasper x 2 (120 gp)
- Lapis Lazuli x 5 (50 gp)
- Malachite x 4 (48 gp)
- Sardonyx (60 gp)
- Turquoise x 10 (100 gp)
- Potion of Cloak of Shade (apg, 50 gp)
- Potion of Sanctuary (cr, 50 gp)
- Potion of Virtue (cr, 25 gp)
- Scroll of Detect Secret Doors (cr, 25 gp)
- Scroll of Heat Metal (cr, 150 gp)
- Scroll of Longstrider (cr, 25 gp)
- Scroll of Magic Missile (cr, 25 gp)
- Wand of Ray of Frost (cr, 375 gp)
The automata dancers are driven by souls of two artists, locked in those artificial bodies so they could retain the perfection they had in life. Searching the altar (DC 13), a mechanism containing a bloodstone shard. Removing the bloodstone shard makes the automata shudder and collapse.
Finding this shard accomplishes the “Acquire a bloodstone shard” objective listed in chapter 2.
“Listen… I know all of you came out here looking for your fortunes, and you can handle yourselves, without a doubt. But… You lot need to take off. Tonight. Tolome isn’t the eager little bookworm he’s pretending to be. He’s going to feed all of you to the thing that devoured this place, and our captain is going to go along with it.”
The players will be approached by Sergeant Clayburn after they’ve cleared the city all the way to the entrance of the temple. Surreptitiously, he will tell them that the mercenaries intend to sacrifice them, along with the other hirelings, at an altar inside the temple. The mercenary cleric will also warn them that fighting the entire company would be hopeless, but they will have a chance to escape that night to try their chances in either the city or the jungle.
If the players attempt to free the rest of the hirelings, they will find Sergeant Clayburn assigned to guard duty that night, and will let them go. The players can convince Sergeant Clayburn to come with them with a Persuasion check (DC 17). If they don’t, Sergeant Clayburn will become one of the ‘sacrifices’ Tolome will use.