On a voyage across a great northern sea, the party encounters a fearsome gale. During the storm, the vessel’s captain is washed overboard. After a brief struggle to ride out the tempest, the party will also be swept out to sea. They will succumb to the icy waves, fall unconscious, and wake up on mysterious shores.
On these shores, the party will be at constant risk of attack. Intermittently, the GM should roll 1d10: on a roll of 2 or below, the party randomly encounters something. Roll 1d10 and use the tables below to determine what.
Above Ground Encounters
- Roll of 1-2: 2-6 goliath crabs
- Roll of 3-5: 10-20 ravenous sea birds
- Roll of 6-9: 8-10 giant rats
- Roll of 10: lightning bolt (+2 damage to 1 random target)
Below Ground Encounters
- Roll of 1: 1-6 acrid slimes
- Roll of 2: 8-10 blackscale leeches
- Roll of 3-5: 2-4 blackwater lizardfolk
- Roll of 6-7: 4-6 darkmind mutants
- Roll of 8-9: 1-2 frigid hatchlings
- Roll of 10: 1 black-ice serpent
A thick fog clings to the rocky shore. Waves lap softly in the storm’s wake. Steep cliffs, roughly 30 feet tall, climb to meet a shadowy spire, its identity obscured in the gray mist.
The island is about 150 feet long and 100 feet wide, and completely shrouded in fog. Should the party explore the shoreline, they will discover wreckage of their ship. If they search the area, they will find 1d5 unstable healing elixirs (T6 perception check) and 1d10 explosives (T8 perception check).
Area A: The Lighthouse
A1. The Ground Floor
The lighthouse reaches high into the dark sky, disappearing in the low-hanging clouds. Its white stone exterior is faded and worn, and deep gouges crisscross its surface. The door is open, and it hangs loosely from one hinge.
The lighthouse is roughly 15 feet in diameter and 50 feet tall. Its interior is sparse. In the center of the room, there is a 10-foot wide sink hole in the natural stone floor. On the far side, an old wooden desk sits against the wall.
To the right of the door, an iron staircase spirals to the upper floors. The desk is covered in the dried wax of old candles. An aged piece of paper partially obscured by the wax reads: In becomes out. Inside the desk are 1d10 torches which will burn for 1d5 hours each.
A2. The Second Floor
The room is dark and damp and filled with the brittle bones of small animals.
1d10 + 10 giant rats will attack until roughly half are killed. They will then flee.
A3. The Third Floor
Two small windows leak grey light, illuminating a sparse scene: several bookshelves lie on the floor, and books and writing quills litter the room. The smell of decaying paper fills the air.
If the adventurers did not defeat at least half of the rats from A2, they find 1d10 more here.
The books are filled cover-to-cover with illegible scrawls, and contain dozens of different handwriting styles. In lieu of ink, blood has been used. Infrequently, a word or phrase can be read; each player should roll 1d10 and use the following table:
- On a roll of 6: The word shipwrecked is scrawled repeatedly.
- On a roll of 8: The phrase trapped forever appears in the middle of an ink-smudged page.
- On a roll of 10: The phrase I am going below appears at the end of a newer-looking book.
Otherwise, the room is empty, save for a small dagger crusted in dried blood (T6 perception check).
A4. The Keeper’s Room
One wide window illuminates the room. A small bed and nightstand, both covered in dust and long disused, sit against the far wall. Beside the stairs, an armoire, its doors swung wide, stands empty.
In the nightstand’s top drawer are 6 small black rubies. In the bottom drawer, 40-50 candles are stored. A ladder leads to the final floor.
A5. The Light
The small room’s walls are made of glass, latticed together by thin iron rods. In the center, a wide stone pit holds thousands of copper-red shards.
The shards are cold to the touch, but if a torch is held close to them, they burst into flame and are blindingly bright.
Area B: The Caverns Below
1d10 turns into the caverns, the party finds a message scrawled in long-dried blood: Down becomes up.
B1. The Cavern of Spires
The cavern is wide and vaulted, the ceiling looming too high above to see. The air is damp and cold. Tall spires rise like giants from black water on either side of the narrow, rocky path.
The path is roughly 10 feet wide. If an adventurer gets near the water, they are immediately attack by 1d5 + 5 blackscale leeches. If the spires are climbed (T6 power /reflex check), 1d10 more black rubies are found.
B2. The Pearl Chamber
The narrow tunnel opens into a circular room. Five ghostly white, perfectly spherical marbles are arranged in its center. They glow faintly.
Each pearl is a black-ice serpent egg, and is about three feet in diameter. If an adventurer touches one, they become marked, and next combat encounter they alone will be targeted by enemies.
B3. The Glowing Ooze
A carved-stone staircase winds downward and leads into a small, high-walled cavern. The floor is coated in a viscous ooze, which pulses slightly with a bluish glow. Large, broken eggshells, soft and gelatinous, litter the floor.
If the party has a random encounter here, there is a 50% chance that it will be with the darkmind mutants.
B4. The Bones
The cavern is wide and long, and its tall ceiling is host to countless stalactites. The floor descends steeply and is littered with bones. The sound of black water dripping into pools fills the dead air.
Upon inspection, the party will find a variety of species among the bones, including fish, humans, and giant serpent-like skeletal remains.
B5. Den of the Black-ice Serpent (hidden area)
The flickering torch light is weak, barely penetrating the inky blackness of the cave. The air is hot, and the wet stone walls reflect the torch’s dim glow. It is deadly silent, excepting the steady drip of water somewhere in the dark distance.
The den, the entrance to which is found in B4, requires a T8 perception check to find. Once sufficiently far inside, the black-ice serpent, a giant beast of fearsome proportions, will strike. If the party escapes the den (T6 perception check to find the exit), there is a 20% chance the serpent will pursue them.
If the party manages to slay the serpent, its eyes will glow a rich blue. They are ice cold to the touch, and feel hard as glass. The eyes may be cut from the serpent’s head and used once each to divine the immediate future.
B6. The Hatchling Nest
The narrow, winding tunnel leads to an enclosed cavern flooded with cold, knee-high water. Three large heaps of slimy, half-digested fish sit in its center.
Within each pile of fish sleeps a frigid hatchlings. Every adventurer must succeed a T7 reflex check or wake them.
Should any of the hatchlings roll a 10 during combat, their screeching will call the black-ice serpent to them (unless it has already been defeated). It will take 1d5 +1 rounds for the serpent to arrive.
B7. The Tower in the Lake
A vast cavern stretches out into the darkness. An underground lake stirs at black sand shores. An ancient wooden dock juts into the lake, and at its end, a small row boat is moored. In the distance across the lake, a tall stone tower gives off a faint blue glow.
In the lake lurks the blackwater aberration, a many tentacled beast whose black limbs will attack the party and try to flip their boat. At least half of the adventurers (rounded down) must succeed a power challenge against the aberration or be capsized.
If they are thrown from the boat, the aberration will try to drown them. A successful attack against it – or a successful power challenge if the attack fails – will prevent that. If both fail, the aberration will pull the victim underwater; each round spent underwater deals 1 damage.
It takes 5 rounds by boat to reach the tower. If capsized, it takes an additional 5 rounds.
The small rocky island rises sharply from the black water. Squarely in its middle, the glowing tower rises into the darkness above.
The cliffs climb 15 feet to meet the tower. A large, open archway leads into it. Inside the great structure, a stone staircase, smooth and polished, spirals down deep into the earth. On the floor below, a white halo of light can be seen.
As soon as the party descends the staircase, they are attacked by 1d10 x 5 cave nymphs: grotesque insects with soft, pale bodies and wicked mandibles. The nymphs swarm down from the dark, empty spire above, and will pursue the party as they descend. It is 50 feet to the bottom, and takes 5 rounds to reach.
Each round, adventurers must succeed a T5 reflex check to maintain their balance while being attacked. If they fail, they must save 8 or fall to the bottom of the tower. They suffer 1 damage for every 10 feet fallen.
When the party reaches the bottom, they encounter a circular stone door that must be pushed to open. A blinding, warming light bursts from it, making it impossible to see into. The cave nymphs flee after 1 round.
When the party climbs into the opening, they find themselves crawling up and out of a narrow cave and into the light of day.
- Acrid slimes (T4; 6 HP) – an unthinking, unfeeling ooze, commonly found in caves. The acrid slime has the following ability:
- Acidic – on an attack roll of 10, completely destroy one metallic weapon.
- Black-ice serpent (T4; 18 HP; +2 damage) – a giant beast of fearsome proportions. Roughly 60 feet long and armed with thousands of needle-like teeth, the black-ice serpent is blind, but can detect the body heat of its prey through solid stone walls. The black-ice serpent has the following abilities:
- Toxic bite – save 8 or suffer -1 to attack for 1d5 rounds.
- Darken – become nearly invisible in low-light conditions for 2 rounds; +3 to toughness.
- Blackscale leeches (T6; 5 HP) – blind, aquatic parasites as large as a man’s arm. Blackscale leeches can survive indefinitely out of water, but suffer -1 attack when on land.
- Blackwater aberration (T4; 20 HP; +3 power) – a massive, many-tentacled beast whose black, rubbery flesh acts as camouflage in low-light conditions. The aberration is the guardian of the lake, and will attempt to stop the party at all costs.
- Cave nymphs (T4; 1 HP) – grotesque insects with soft, pale bodies and wicked mandibles. Cave nymphs are quite large, reaching up to two feet long.
- Darkmind mutants (T7; 7-9 HP; +2 aspect) – deformed, but vaguely humanoid, monsters. Darkmind mutants are part of the black-ice serpent’s ecosystem. They care for and defend the frigid hatchlings, and share a telepathic connection to the black-ice serpent. Darkmind mutants have the following abilities:
- Dark thoughts – on an attack roll of 9 or higher, you invade your target’s mind; the target must succeed an aspect challenge or lose its turn.
- Frigid hatchlings (T5; 5 HP; +4 damage) – the offspring of the black-ice serpent. Frigid hatchlings can be even more dangerous than adults – they are considerably more toxic while young, and can deal a nasty bite.
- Giant rats (T5; 2 HP; +1 damage) – mangy, vicious rodents roughly the size of a cat.
- Goliath crabs (T4; 6 HP; +2 power) – massive crustaceans with iron-hard carapaces and vice-like claws. Goliath crabs average six feet wide by four feet tall.
- Lizardfolk (Blackwater) (T8; 4 HP) – an intelligent but primitive humanoid. Blackwater lizardfolk dwell exclusively in sea caves and are excellent swimmers. They possess limited psychic abilities, and communicate telepathically. If blackwater lizardfolk are randomly encountered in this adventure, they will be a hunting party who discovered the mysterious cave through an underwater tunnel; as such, it may be possible to ally with them to find the exit.
- Ravenous sea birds (T3; 1 HP; +1 reflex) – desperate and starved, they will attack ferociously until killed.
Equipment, Items, and Weapons
- Black rubies – on an attack roll of 10, deals double damage; additionally, carrying even 1 ruby increases the chance of a random encounter by 10%.
- Explosives – deals 1d5 damage to all entities in a 10 foot diameter.
- Unstable healing elixirs – heals 1d5 + 1 hit points. Every time an unstable healing elixir is used, roll 1d10: if the roll is 1, the elixir does not heal, and instead inflicts 1 damage.
This completes Tiny d10’s flagship adventure, The Broken Light. Please enjoy, and share your feedback below!