Courage is what separates individuals who lead a single, meaningless life from those who find pleasure in the oneiric landscapes of the mind and the soul…
Excerpt of the Tome of Molten Dreams
Delve Level 5 (6,460 XP)
4 cult fanatics
Beware of the undisputed influence of popular leaders for their followers’ deeds may wreak havoc upon the world. The leaders of powerful organizations like religions, sects, or even political parties wield the weight of their influence like a murderous weapon. A charismatic, evil person who commands the respect of dozens or even hundreds of individuals has a tremendous impact on their surroundings. Furthermore, their personal qualities often attract the weak-minded or the outcasts. People without a purpose such as these, become zealous believers. They are capable of unthinkable atrocities.
A man with a mighty vision came to the great city and offered the poor citizens a way to overcome their bounds and become free from the kingdom’s oppressive system. They call him Onno Matis, which means ‘The Great Liberator’ in a forgotten language. Onno Matis is an accomplished spellcaster. He unearthed an ancient temple dedicated to separating the mind from the body so that it can forever exist in the Realm of Dreams. A cult following has formed around Onno Matis, dozens of people now attend his speeches and prove themselves to be worthy of reaching the Realm of Dreams. The authorities worry about the mage’s increasing power and influence, Constable Dallaghir offers a reward for arresting the mage.
DC 14: ‘Onno Matis’ read backward is Sitam Onno. Sitam was a controversial mage who got expelled from the kingdom’s covenant of mages. He served for seven months as the king’s court mage but his actions were deemed immoral, evil, and treacherous.
DC 17: Sitam Onno was removed from his position in the king’s court for using his enchanting magic on members of the court for selfish political purposes. After that, the mage disappeared for several years.
Constable Dallaghir gives the characters clear directions to the temple’s entrance. His scouts located Onno Matis’s lair by tailing several of the cult followers. The entrance is located near the docks in the city, next to a rocky formation on the shore. A 100-foot-long, dark, descending staircase leads to the temple’s entrance hall.
1. Entrance Hall
Archaic, draconic inscriptions decorate the humid, limestone walls of this chamber. The arched ceiling features a carving of two battling dragons.
Two cult fanatics and four cultists await in this chamber. They are not initially hostile unless the characters brandish weapons or attack. The cultists expect prospective members to come from time to time. If the characters pretend to be interested in the cult, they are sent to area 3 to wait for Onno Matis (DC 14 Deception).
2. Temple Archive
This is an old archive cared for by the long-gone temple builders. Most documents here are written in old forms of Draconic. A cult fanatic sits on the desk trying to decipher runes from a scroll. He commands the characters to leave immediately and claims their presence here is forbidden. If attacked, the cultist tries to flee.
Lore. Reading the archive reveals that a cult of kobold mages built the temple eons ago. From the imagery, jumping down the main chamber’s opening splits the body from the mind. The body also becomes liquid.
3. Chamber of Dreaming
A large opening pierces the chamber’s center and leads down into areas 6 (50 ft. below) and 9 (100 ft. below). Two 30-foot-tall statues of dragon knights oversee the hall. Since the cult began, Onno Matis has performed five successful Rituals of Molten Dreams. The participants jump down into area 9, their bodies turn to liquid when touching the spikes, and their minds are free. Six guards, one knight, and one priest pray by the dragon knight statues as they wait for Onno Matis’s arrival.
4. Dungeon Landing
The second-level landing is empty except for two shelves with useless trinkets. The arched ceiling features a carving of a council of kobolds dressed in long robes.
5. Containers of Liquid Dreams
Two rows of stone plinths hug the walls of this hallway. A sound like sea waves comes from each plinth.
Each of the plinths contains a glowing substance that moves on its own. Those who overcome the Ritual of Molten Dreams abandon de physical world; their minds now live in the Realm of Dreams. Their bodies melt and become an iridescent substance that is later retrieved and put into the plinths and enclosures. Four specters emerge from the eerie plinths and attack any trespassing creatures. They consider Onno Matis their leader because he performs the mind-splitting ritual.
6. Images from the Past
Spectral apparitions coalesce next to the stone enclosures in this chamber. Images of kobolds and humans performing impossible dream-like feats.
The six coffins contain such a high amount of the dream-like substance that the dreams transpire ephemerally into the Material Realm. The characters cannot interact in any way with the dream subjects as they are too far removed from reality. The arcane qualities of this room are living proof that the Ritual of Molten Dreams works as intended. The dream subjects here have been dreaming for countless years and shall continue to do so forever.
7. Arcane Study
One cult fanatic and six commoners study tomes in this chamber. They are new members and are expected to learn about the temple. The fanatic attacks trespassers at once but the commoners crouch in fear by a corner. Studying the contents of this room for 10 minutes allows a spellcaster to perform the Ritual of Molten Dreams.
8. Room of Goblets
Touching the door to area 9 causes the clay goblets to explode and deal 6d6 fire damage to all creatures within the room. The cultists use the hidden passage south of the room to bypass this chamber and reach area 9.
9. Room of Spears
Onno Matis (mage) and four cultists meditate by the east end of the room. Onno offers the characters one last chance to stand back and become part of the cult. If they act on behalf of the cult for a time, they may earn the privilege of jumping down the shaft and live forever in the Realm of Dreams. Should the characters refuse, the unmerciful mage orders the cultists to attack.
If the characters refuse to join the cult, Otto Matis attempts to use a suggestion spell to target two characters (see Features) and leads them to try out the cult experience. The mage and the cultists may still take advantage of the confusion to attack when the characters least expect it. In battle, Otto Matis has the dominate person spell prepared. He uses it on the two characters with the weakest minds to divide the party and overwhelm the rest of the characters. If things turn sour, Otto Matis attempts to cast dimension door to escape safely.
Features of the Area
Lights. Magical wall-sconces and floor braziers provide bright light throughout the dungeon. They feature continual flame spells that stop working after 1 minute if the implements are removed from their locations.
Secret Doors. Pushing cleverly-hidden buttons on the walls causes sections of it to slide inward and reveal narrow passages to other areas (DC 16 Perception).
Treasure. Constable Dallaghir pays a 1,350 gp reward for the characters’ services. There are 500 gp in the coffers in area 1. The statues in area 3 have ruby eyes (200 gp each). There are seven random wizard spell scrolls in area 7. There is assorted coinage, silverware, and exotic fabrics (4,000 gp), a +1 dagger, three arrows of slaying, and four potions of healing in the vault of area 4.
Glamour Aura. A detect magic spell reveals an aura of enchantment that permeates the dungeon. Spells of the enchantment school can affect an additional target.