Chapter 1: Bane and Boon
Chapter 1: Bane and Boon
Elementals in the Hall of Miners (area 6) are apotential threat to the deep gnomes. The elementalsare not overtly hostile, but they are under the swayof Ogrémoch’s Bane, an evil force that has hauntedthe city for more than a century. If Blingdenstone isto return to its former glory, the elementals must betamed, and Ogrémoch’s Bane must be banished.
The deep gnomes lack the strength and the knowhowto perform this task. Fortunately for them,another group of creatures has made a home in theold Armorers and Weaponsmiths Guild (area 7).These creatures are pechs, strange humanoids thatcan become one with the earth. They are shy, withthe tendency to disappear into the stone to avoidcontact with other creatures, but they have neverbeen hostile to the svirfneblin. Their affinity withthe earth might allow them to deal with theelementals and even expel Ogrémoch’s Bane, butthey must first be persuaded to help.
The adventurers must convince the pechs to helptame the wild elementals in the Hall of Miners.With the pechs’ aid, the group must then disperseOgrémoch’s Bane.
Meeting the Pechs
Past the barricades, the tunnels of the ruined city areeerily quiet. The guild cavern comes into view. Stalactiteshang low from its ceiling, sometimes touching thestalagmites jutting up from the floor, and the walls areblackened with ancient soot. At the very edge of your light,a small form—too lithe to be a deep gnome—flits behind astalagmite and out of sight.
The pech actually moved into the stone, so thecreature cannot be found.
Forges at the far eastern end of the cavern are stilland dark, partially covered with stone that looks asif it has flowed over them. This stone, like thestalagmites and stalactites throughout the cavern, isthe work of the pechs. They tend the stone andguide it back to its natural state.
Pechs are thin beings, a little shorter than dwarvesand taller than gnomes, but far more willowy thaneither. They have long arms and legs, broad feet andhands, and yellowish skin. Their large, dark eyeshave no pupils, and their hair is red or reddishbrownin hue.
The pechs flee if any character attacks one ofthem. They disappear into the stone to escape. Suchan attack guarantees the failure of this mission.
The first step to securing aid from the pechs is toovercome their caution. Pechs are unwilling toapproach those who carry drawn weapons or otherobvious signs of combat readiness. If a characterassures the pechs that the party has only peacefulintentions, one pech emerges.
This pech, named Gallus, speaks Common,Dwarven, Gnome, and Terran, the language of earthcreatures. A leader among the pechs here, he canconvince his people to help. Use information in thefollowing sections to guide interactions with Gallus.Call for Charisma or other checks as necessary (DC11 or 13 in general, but harder if the charactersattempt to fool or intimidate Gallus).
What Gallus Knows
? Gallus has little to say about his race. Pechs arecreatures of earth and stone. They speak to thestone, and it responds as it grows and flows.
? Pechs are neither friendly with nor hostile to thesvirfneblin. The pechs have not responded tothe gnomes’ presence, because the pechsdislike the way the gnomes alter the cavernsand treat the earth elementals. These pechshave spent a great deal of effort reworking thestone since the gnomes left.
? The pechs consider the wildness of theelementals in the Hall of Miners, which thepechs call “the Wounded Cavern,” to be a resultof the deep gnomes’ practice of bindingelementals. Pechs avoid the elementals, sincethe influence of Ogrémoch’s Bane, which pechscall “the Raging Spirit,” makes the elementalsdangerous.
? Ogrémoch’s Bane is an earth elemental that takesthe form of a dust cloud. In the city’s heyday, itdrifted about, freeing elementals and drivingthem into destructive rages. Given the Bane’sform, the pechs suppose it is unlikely to takedamage from nonmagical sources.
? The deep gnomes once summoned Entemoch ina cavern about a day’s journey northwest of thecity. Entemoch is Ogrémoch’s twin brother andthe consort of Sunnis, Princess of Good EarthCreatures. He granted a blessing in the cavern,now called Entemoch’s Boon, so that spells thatdraw on elemental earth are enhanced. Thepechs believe that the Boon is why the Baneremains, and the Bane exists only to see theBoon destroyed. However, the pechs surmisethat the Bane can’t end the Boon with only thehelp of elementals. Further, the deep gnomeshighly esteem the Boon, and they are likely tobe unwilling to destroy it to counteract theBane.
Suspecting the Bane can only be harmed bymagic, the characters might return to Henkala toask for aid. She gives them the +1 handaxe shewould have given them at the end of the mission.
What Gallus Wants
? Burrow Warden Kargien has made no efforts tomeet the pechs or secure their friendship. Hehas erected barricades between the gnomes’territory and the pechs’ cavern, just like thosethat protect the svirfneblin from the orcs. Thepechs resent this sign of mistrust and wouldlike to speak with Kargien about peacefulcoexistence. If the adventurers assure Gallusthat they will try to gain him an audience withKargien, the pech greets their requests forassistance more warmly.
? The deep gnomes wound the earth, and these
caverns are better off without them. However,Gallus admits that the gnomes need a home,and it is better that they salvage their old city,where damage has already been done. But ifthe svirfneblin reclaim their city, the pechs willbe driven out, and all the work they have doneover the past decades will be undone. If thedeep gnomes can be convinced to preserve thecavern as pechs have reworked it, and to allowthe pechs to stay here, Gallus is more inclinedto help. But the gnomes will want their forges,which must be removed from the stone andrelocated if the pechs are to remain here. Thepechs can and will help with such relocation ifit benefits them.
? Although the orcs in the northern part of theruins avoid the pechs, Gallus is afraid that theorcs might overcome their fear and attack. If theadventurers promise to deal with the orcs,Gallus is more willing to give aid to the gnomes.
? The kobolds in the southeastern caverns oftenwander into this cavern in search of treasure orfood. The pechs use their ability to shape stoneto divert the kobolds and steer them away, butthe pechs resent the intrusion. If the charactersagree to deal with the kobolds, Gallus is morelikely to lend a hand against Ogrémoch’s Bane.
If the adventurers make promises to Gallus thatthey have no intention of keeping, the speakingcharacter must make a DC 15 Charisma check tofool the pech. If Gallus believes the adventurers arelying to him, he becomes angry and must be calmedbefore negotiations can continue.
What Gallus Can Do
If the adventurers address Gallus’s desires, theysecure the pechs’ aid. Gallus leaves through thestone wall, promising to return shortly withcompanions that can help. He returns after aboutten minutes with seven other pechs, ready toconfront the elementals and Ogrémoch’s Bane.
If the characters attempt to lead the pechs intoreclaimed gnome territory, the sentries at thebarricades protest. They don’t trust the pechs anddon’t want them wandering through their caverns,where they might decide to alter the shape of thestone or even collapse the caves. No amount ofdiplomacy or argument sways the sentries on thispoint. If the argument goes on too long, the pechsbegin to drift away. In that case, if the adventurersdon’t immediately turn their attention to reassuringthe pechs, the pechs leave. The characters mustsecure the creatures’ aid again.
The adventurers must traverse the northerncaverns to reach the Hall of Miners, which meanspassing through orc-held territory.
As the characters travel, read:
The narrow tunnels winding through the caverns north ofthe city are spooky. Strange sounds, such as cackling andgrowls, echo through the halls.
The pechs know caverns G and H are thick withorcs. Unless the House Center is cleared, the pechsare nervous about entering area 17, but they preferthat path to entering the heart of orc territory. Theyrecommend steering around the House Centerbuilding and sticking close to the southern wall.
Each time the group enters a cavern marked witha letter (A through Q), roll 1d10. On a result of 1 to4, consult the “Blingdenstone Encounters” table inappendix 2. Keep track of the number of orcs theparty kills if you plan to run chapter 5. If, despitethe pechs’ warning, the group enters cavern G or H,see chapter 5.
Pechs disappear into the stone when monstersattack. The pechs might help the adventurers byusing rock to slow down an enemy or block a criticalhit enough to turn it into a normal hit. Otherwise,they avoid conflict.
After the trip, the party finally arrives at area 6.