Background Lore

Magic is a powerful thing. And arcane energies can represent a devastating force in the wrong hands. Hence, an archmage’s staff or a lich spellbook are sometimes better off destroyed. However, such mighty beings never bother with the trivial dilemmas of mortals. Their goals are always long-term projects and they seldom threaten small communities or towns. A lich has more class than to steal livestock from a farming settlement.

Town guards and soldiers don’t have to face the horrors of necromancy to make a living. They arrest burglars and thieves. Occasionally, a guard becomes a local hero after drawing swords with a thug and coming out victorious. But the euphoria doesn’t last more than a few days. This is the kind of routine job than Sir Wellington has to deal with day by day. He loves what he does though, and he is satisfied to bring good to the world. Greenfields, his hometown, is safe. And that makes his life a success.

But what happens when the ability to do magic gets mixed with the lack of class of a thug, and the will to steal of a thief? A rogue mage, a very dangerous criminal. Edifaris Lissawi is a changeling that has spent their whole life on the run. They have benefited from their ability to change their appearance to get away with mischief over and over. Edifaris travels from town to town transporting their pocket universe, a wagon pulled by two mules. The wagon multiplies its size and transforms into a whole structure. Edifaris’s Laboratory is a dreamlike building. It looks like a regular two-story wooden house from the outside, but upon entering, the place grows even larger and stone hallways and tiles.

Edifaris finds a good spot to place their temporary home, assumes an appearance that is certain to mislead the locals, and proceeds to do some research in town to determine potential targets to steal. They stay no more than a fortnight and then leaves. Edifaris steals wealthy individuals. They target jewels, fancy clothing, but most of all, they are interested in magical components that tend to be rare and very expensive. Sophisticated fabrics such as cashmere, silk, wool, and furs. Crystal balls, human-size mirrors, gold and silver bars, liquid mercury, griffon feathers, manticore quills, etc. They stole everything that had a use.

The time came when Edifaris arrived in Greenfields. At first, Sir Wellington didn’t suspect anything from the newcomer. An old lady with a fat white cat following her could not represent a threat what so ever. But he was more confused than surprised when he saw the old lady’s house the next day. Sir Wellington is not the sharpest tool of the shed, but he is certain that the house wasn’t there before. He felt more uneasy the day after when a couple of his men informed him of a robbery.

The victims were the Lirio family. They are the wealthiest individuals in town. They own almost half of it. They lost thousands of gold worth in family jewels. A day after the incident, a horse went missing from Willby’s farm. After some hours looking into that as well, “Amenities and Goods”, a local store, got robbed. Half of their goods disappeared. Sir Wellington noticed the robberies had something in common. First, it was gold, then the horse, and now food. He suspected someone was gathering supplies to leave town. He had a hunch about where the criminal would hit next. The only missing ingredient for a long trip away from Greenfields was alcohol.

He gathered some men and organized them in rounds. They stood guard outside the winemaker. Edifaris arrived, but this time they didn’t take the shape of the old lady. A swift and nimble elf, capable was better for this occasion. The mage entered the store while the guards were watching. But no one suspected anything at first. It was after the sound of an explosion that the guards saw the elf coming out of the store with a bag under an arm. However, three more identical elves followed suite. Edifaris cast an illusion spell that made copies of themselves. This made it harder to track them. Plus, little after they changed their shape to the frail old lady again.

Sir Wellington couldn’t help but think about the odd old lady and her appeared-out-of-nowhere home. All these calamities started the day after he saw that house. Trusting his gut, he decided to hire some external party to investigate the house. He doesn’t want his guards thinking he has something against a poor old woman. He offers 350 gold pieces to a group of adventurers who can stop the rogue mage and recover the missing belongings.

Dealing with Edifaris

The clever wizard doesn’t mind the presence of the intruders. They find it amusing. It is not often that they get to see their traps and defensive mechanisms in action. Edifaris doesn’t stop the adventurers from entering their home, nor when they find the stolen gold and goods. They take it personally if the adventurers loot their cache. Their magic items are not to be stolen, and they don’t take it lightly if it happens.

Edifaris (mage) confronts the adventurers followed by two helmed horrors in area 1 of the Laboratory just before they leave. If their life is threatened, Edifaris tries to flee to area 5 using gaseous form. Once they are safe, they cast teleportation circle and leave Greenfields.

Area Descriptions

The following descriptions of areas 1 through 11 correspond to Edifaris’s Laboratory.

Magical House. This home looks like a regular house from the outside. In reality, it is Edifaris’s plane.

Terrain. Edifaris’s Laboratory has stone walls and floors. Magic keeps the place neat and clean. The air is fresh and every room is magically warm.

Doors. There are three doors with magical glyphs on them. The doors are otherwise unlocked.

Light. All the laboratory is magically lit. The rooms look as if sunlight hits them from above but the light doesn’t dazzle.

Smells and Sounds. The whole place smells of sulfur, ashes, a bit of acid, and coal. The laboratories have stronger versions of those same stenches.

The main door of Edifaris’s home is unlocked. Upon crossing the threshold, a spectral voice says “Welcome, if you must. But beware, for intruders, I don’t trust.

1. Foyer

There are a couple of wooden tables here. They feature fresh fruit and water that regenerates every 24 hours. A detect magic spell can perceive a conjuration aura coming from the silverware on the tables. There are permanent create food and water spells in them.

There is a 5-feet-wide corridor north that leads to area 2. There is a pressure-sensitive tile at the beginning of the corridor that activates a trap. A massive double-edged ax swings from east to west and slashes anything in its path. Any creature that crosses the threshold must succeed on a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw or take 20 (3d12) slashing damage and be knocked prone on a failed save or half as much in a successful one. A passive Perception score of 14 or higher reveals the pressure-sensitive tile on the floor. A character using thieves’ tools can disarm the trap with a successful DC 15 Dexterity check. Failing by 5 or more causes the trap to swing the ax as if the trap were activated. Even after disarmed, the ax returns to its initial position magically in 10 minutes.

East of this area, there is a set of stairs leading to area 11. There is an illusion covering access to these stairs. The wall looks identical to the rest of the room unless targeted by a detect magic spell, in which case the wall becomes transparent.

2. Main Hall

The entry door to this area has a glyph of warding spell on it. Opening the door triggers the glyph. The glyph casts a lightning bolt spell when triggered. Any creature in a 30- feet-long straight line from the door must succeed on a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw or take 20 (6d6) lightning damage on a failed save or half as much in a successful one. The glyph is invisible to the eye. It can be perceived with a detect magic or detect traps spell. A successful DC 15 Intelligence (Arcana) check allows a character to dispel the magic of the glyph with a dispel magic spell. The glyph reappears in 10 minutes regardless if it was either spent or dispelled.

There are two pillars to each side of the entrance. Two identical sets of stairs lead to the second level of Edifari’s Laboratory (areas 3 and 4). North of the main hall, one of Edifaris’s inventions takes the place where the door should be. This mechanical contraption has levers, buttons, switches, and a knob. There is a small note on the door that reads: “Intelligence shall always be stronger than strength”. The door serves as a defensive mechanism. It prevents anyone from entering the teleporting circle (area 5).

Edifaris knows the magic word to bypass the security, but the door can be deactivated with three successful Intelligence checks as well. Failing at any of the attempts causes the spells imbued in the door to summon Edifaris’s defenders. Any creature who manipulates the door must make a suc­cessful DC 18 Intelligence check. On a failure, the door’s gears turn and a flesh golem materializes in the center of the room in a matter of seconds. Creatures who manipulate the door after that must make a successful DC 16 Intelligence check. On a failure, the door summons a shield guardian. Creatures who manipulate the door after that must make a successful DC 14 Intelligence check. On a failure, the door summons 4 helmed horrors.

If the door is targeted by a melee attack, a ranged attack, a spell, or any other means that can cause damage, the door summons all six Edifaris’s defenders at the same time and a glyph on it explodes. Any creature standing in a 15-feet-cone in front of the door must succeed on a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw or take 19 (6d6) fire damage on a failed save or half as much in a successful one. The exploding glyph reappears on the door in ten minutes.

3. Fake Laboratory

The entry door to this area has a glyph of warding spell on it. Opening the door triggers the glyph. The glyph explodes when triggered. the glyph erupts with magical energy in a 20-foot-radius sphere centered on it. The sphere spreads around corners. Each creature in the area must make a Dexterity saving throw. A creature takes 5d8 fire damage on a failed saving throw, or half as much damage on a successful one. The glyph is invisible to the eye. It can be perceived with a detect magic or detect traps spell. A successful DC 15 Intelligence (Arcana) check allows a character to dispel the magic of the glyph with a dispel magic spell. The glyph reappears in 10 minutes regardless if it was either spent or dispelled.

Edifaris’s intention with this laboratory is to mislead possible intruders. The lab has a couple of working tables. On their surfaces, unknown contraptions to the untrained eye contain several substances. Crystal containers with weird shapes transport a bubbling goo from one point to another. The lab looks well equipped and full. Looking to make his deception stronger, he even added a small treasure room to dissuade intruders from entering further, assuming they had the brain or the muscle to bypass all his security measures in the main hall (area 2). A passive Investigation score of 14 or higher reveals it is possible to extract a valuable concoction from the lab’s equipment. A successful DC 16 Intelligence (Investigation) check allows a character to dilute the different solutions into one powerful concoction. The process takes about 10 minutes and the result is one potion of heroism. The substances are spoiled if the check is failed. However, failing by 5 or more results in a potion of poison.

Treasure. The chests contain 213 gold pieces divided into gold and silver coins, two silver rings, and one golden circlet. There are two sets of high-quality robes and several meters of soft purple silk. The fabrics are worth 116 gold pieces. There are two potions of greater healing, one revivify spellscroll, and one clairvoyance spellscroll, and one arcane eye spellscroll.

4. Edifaris’s Hoarder Room

This room is full of everything and nothing. Countless bookshelves are packed with more stuff than they can carry. Piles and piles of rubble impede normal movement. The room is cramped with stuff a mage might like. Old staves, fancy parchment scrolls, small wooden and stone sculptures, paintings, vases with eyes and ears, animal claws, feathers, quartz, and crystals, etc.

Treasure. A successful DC 15 Intelligence (Investigation) check allows a character to draw a couple of gold and silver trinkets that are worth 117 gold pieces.

5. Teleporting Circle

There is no magical word to make the circle work. Any creature that steps on the circle appears in the antechamber (area 6) in one round. The circle can teleport four medium creatures at a time.

6. Antechamber

There are two identical pillars northeast and northwest of the teleporting circle in this room. This area is empty except for a few paintings on the walls, a couple of small wooden tables, and a chandelier hanging from the ceiling.

7. Studio

This area has several bookshelves. There are countless books, treatises, scrolls, documents, journals, and the like. A large desk with a fancy comfortable red velvet chair is where Edifaris does most of his studies. A passive Perception score of 16 or higher reveals there is a small book with a dark leather cover and gold bindings. It is Edifaris’s journal. A successful DC 16 Intelligence (Investigation) check allows a character to identify the glyphs and traps that Edifaris installed inside their home. The check also reveals the magic words to bypass the glyphs.

8. Cache

This is where Edifaris stored most of the stolen goods from Greenfield. The Lirio’s family jewels are all here, as well as the food and alcohol stolen. A section of the room has a large pantry. Its doors are made of iron and they are cold to the touch. Inside it, several pieces of meat and food are stored. The temperature inside the storage is considerably lower than the outside. A permanent ray of frost spell keeps the interior of the storage at a very low temperature. This allows for food to be stored for long periods.

There is a trapdoor east of this area. Opening it leads to a 30-feet-deep tunnel (area 11). Climbing down the tunnel requires a successful DC 14 Strength (Athletics) check. Edifaris uses levitation magic or a fly spell whenever they take this passageway.

Treasure. Besides everything that belongs to the Lirios and the stolen goods from “Amenities and Goods”, there are two chests with treasure. They contain a spell book with all the spells known by a mage, plus 10 other spells (Dems choice). There is a flask of sovereign glue, a rod of alertness, and a robe of useful items. Plus, there is a bag of holding with leather bags in it. They are packed with copper, silver, and gold pieces. The collective value of it all is 1,500 gold pieces.

9. Edifaris’s Wardrobe

This hallway is empty except for some decorations on the walls and a large tall mirror north. The mirror is attached to the wall. It is magical. Edifaris speaks the programmed commands to change their outfit at-will. Attempting to remove the mirror from the wall is impossible without Edifaris’s intervention. Insisting and using force to remove it from the wall breaks it. If the mirror breaks, two invisible stalkers attack whoever broke it.

10. Hidden Laboratory

The entry door to this area has a glyph of warding spell on it. Opening the door triggers the glyph. The glyph casts a phantasmal killer spell when triggered. Any creature that opens the door must succeed on a DC 16 Wisdom or be triggered by the spell. The glyph is invisible to the eye. It can be perceived with a detect magic or detect traps spell. A successful DC 15 Intelligence (Arcana) check allows a character to dispel the magic of the glyph with a dispel magic spell. The glyph reappears in 10 minutes regardless if it was either spent or dispelled.

This is Edifaris’s real laboratory. It is better equipped than the one in area 3. There are a couple of bookshelves with ancient tomes and books. There are a crystal ball and a couple of vials on one of the shelves. A passive Investigation score of 15 or higher reveals it is possible to extract a valuable concoction from the lab’s equipment. A successful DC 17 Intelligence (Investigation) check allows a character to dilute the different solutions into one powerful concoction. The process takes about 10 minutes and the result is one potion of invulnerability. The substances are spoiled if the check is failed. However, failing by 5 or more results in two potions of poison.

11. Hidden Passageway

This long corridor traverses the whole structure underneath it. There is a trap 30 feet away from the entry stairs. A pressure-sensitive tile opens into a spiked pit. Any creature standing in the area must succeed on a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw or take 18 (4d8) piercing damage and be poisoned for one hour. A passive Perception score of 14 or higher reveals the pressure-sensitive tile on the floor. A character using thieves’ tools can disarm the trap with a successful DC 15 Dexterity check. Even after disarmed, the pressure-sensitive tile retakes its place in one hour.

Development

Sir Wellington pays the adventurers the agreed-upon amount whether they made Edifaris flee or murdered them. The Lirio family rewards the adventurers with 200 gold pieces if they were able to return their belongings. “Amenities and Goods” rewards the heroes 100 gold pieces and pays for their stay in town for a week, all-inclusive. The winemaker pitches in 50 gold pieces for their service. Unfortunately, the horse that disappeared from Willby’s farm is nowhere to be found. Perhaps Greenfields holds yet more mysteries that need to be unfolded.

 

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