657 Chasm of Fireflies – Shadowdark Introductory Adventure

Our goddess, Wise Gede, provides a way to reach her realm. One must look into her sacred light and find the hidden ways across the fabric of the planes.

Book of Gede

The fruit of a covenant between elves and hu­man druids, the Chasm of Fireflies, is an un­derground compound that serves as a place of worship, a crypt, and where the druids cap­tured and studied the bodies and anatomy of their then-worst enemies: a goblin nation that threatened to over­come the Great Forest. In their expansionist dreams, the goblins threatened to burn everything in their path.

In the depths of this compound, a magical pond con­nects the Material Plane to the Woodland Realms, home of faeries and elves. This mythical place attracts fireflies from both worlds. Over time, human settlements took over the goblin lands, pushing them back to the moun­tain ranges. Mankind came to terms with the druids and found a way to coexist with the Great Forest. Thus, the compound was abandoned centuries ago, left in place should it be needed again. Today travelers come to peti­tion goddess Gede for good fortune. Being dangerous to explore, most people ignore the true nature of this place.

Adventure Hooks

Rescue. Four farmers went to the Chasm of Fireflies looking for treasures days ago and never returned. The town offers a reward for rescuing them (30 gp, 1 XP).

Escort. A scholar named Argus offers a hefty reward for escorting him to explore the Chasm of Fireflies. The scholar (peasant) must survive the ordeal. (40 gp, 2 XP).

Bio-Samples. An alchemist named Rollo hires the characters to retrieve four samples of the magical fire­flies in the locally-known elvish dungeon (25 gp, 1 XP).

RUMORS d6 Details
1 The place was built by elves thousands of years ago. Its purpose is yet unknown but it is certain to be magical.
2 Pilgrims visit the place yearly to petition Gede for good fortune. They only visit the Glowing Chasm (area 4).
3 People claim that crossing the Glowing Chasm is a death sentence. Sacred guardians protect this place.
4 A man once fell down the chasm. He disappeared for a week and reappeared by the dungeon’s entrance.
5 The entrance archives and libraries are off-limits. People think it is dangerous to read the documents therein.
6 The farmer delvers are indebted to a criminal guild.

Level 1 Adventure

  • Danger. Risky. Check for a random event every 2 crawling rounds and after loud noises (1-in-6 chance).
  • Lights. Some chambers have braziers with permanent light; the rest are dark. All denizens are dark-adapted.
  • Magic Aura. The magical aura in area 10 disrupts magic-detecting spells for incautious mages. The detect magic spell has a 3-in-6 chance of failing altogether.
  • Secret Areas. Close inspection of an area for 1 crawling round reveals a hidden lever (if any). Pulling it reveals a narrow passage into any of the hidden vaults.
1 Acidic brine pours from a crack in the ceiling on some­one’s backpack. It dissolves a random item inside it.
2 A giant leech drops from the ceiling and attempts to attach to the character wearing the least armor.
3 A sudden gush of howling wind puts out all fires and uncovered light-sources. It sounds like a desperate cry.
4 1d3 skeletons rise in area 4 and seek the characters if they have trespassed into the deeper chambers.
5 A cave creeper approaches from the depths. The stench of blood or the noise has brought it to this place.
6 A vision of a lady made of fireflies appears before the characters (DC 13 WIS check). The lady calls and shows them an ethereal window into a forest-covered world.
7 Oscar, a farmer (peasant), approaches, drops his dagger, and asks for help. Elisson, his friend, fell into area 12.
8 A giant bat swoops from the dark ceiling and attacks a random creature. It flees when hurt for the first time.

1. Entrance Hall

Four standing sarcophagi flank a one-foot-tall stone circle. The stone lids are marked with elvish runes.

  • Getting Here. The locals lead the characters to the forest trail that leads to the dungeon. A 2-hour walk.
  • The Enclosures. The lids bear two human and two elvish names, denoted as druids. Removing any lid caus­es four skeletons to emerge and attack trespassers. In decades of pilgrimages, none had dared open the boxes.
  • The Circle. The elvish pattern on the stone can be recognized as goddess Gede’s seal (DC 12 INT check).

2. West Library

An ancient library filled with packed-to-the-brim book­cases, shelves, and scholastic tools and implements.

The door to this area is locked (DC 14 DEX check). The documents in this chamber may be reviewed in 2 crawl­ing rounds. They reveal the general use of the dungeon as a portal to the faeries’ realms and as a place to con­duct trials and experiments on captive goblins.

  • Pitfall Trap. Stepping on the rug triggers the trap­door trap (DC 14 DEX check to avoid falling). The target takes 2d6 damage, falls to area 11, and may be impaled.

3. East Library

Oscar and Elisson, two farmers, barged into this room af­ter the other two fell in area 4. Elisson triggered the pit­fall trap earlier and lies impaled below, in area 12. The same information found in area 2 can be learned here.

  • Triggered Trap. The trapdoor is revealed and open. Oscar is here unless he was encountered in Random Event 7. Oscar claims that Elisson fell 1 hour ago. Oscar is desperate but he lacks the tools to climb down to area 12. The spiked floor is 30 feet below, if the characters reach Elisson before 1d6 rounds have elapsed, they may yet provide first aid. Otherwise, Ellison dies.

4. The Glowing Chasm

The large chamber is interrupted by a 30-foot-deep chasm. The faint glow of flying insects dimly lights the watery bottom. Two narrow, curved bridges cross over the chasm but light doesn’t reach the other side.

  • The Bridges. Stepping on a bridge causes the skel­eton sentinels at the mounted-crossbows to attack. Two more emerge from the north-side coffins. The undead at­tempt to push trespassers down into area 10. Creatures that fall take 1d6 as the water below softens the hit.
  • Central Platform. This circle was used for teleporta­tion magic by elves and druids (DC 15 INT check).

5. Vessel of Eternal Life

The west side of this chamber collapsed and became connected to a natural cavern of goblin origin.

  • The Vase. A relic crafted by druids. Drinking its end­less water rejuvenates a person 1 year and awards them 1 luck token. It can safely be used once per year (DC 14 WIS check to infer that indulging more than once could be dangerous). Drinking again before 1 year has elapsed causes the person to age 25 years (DC 16 CON check).
  • The Force Field. A detect magic spell reveals a force­field on the collapsed wall. Examining it for 1 crawling round reveals that it keeps goblinoid creatures out.

6. Collapsed Structure

Numerous goblins have come snooping but the force field in area 5 prevents their ingress into the dungeon.

  • Footprints. Inspecting for 1 crawling round reveals this was once part of the dungeon but it collapsed. There are also many goblin foot-tracks (DC 12 WIS check).
  • Pitfall Trap. Stepping on the marked spot (see map) triggers the trap (DC 13 DEX check to jump out). The target takes 2d6 damage and falls to the cell in area 8.

7. Upper Vault

The narrow and shallow passage leads to a vault with three stone chests brimming with unearthed treasure.

  • Treasure (3 XP). The stone chests contain 20 gp, 300 sp, a potion of healing, and one immovable rod.

8. Goblin Warrens

A band of six goblins roams these caverns looking for easy prey despite the inaccessibility into the compound.

  • The Cell. The cell contains the ancient bones of two humanoids and a cave critter that fell to the trap in area 6. The wooden bars can be broken (DC 14 STR check).
  • South Tunnel. The way south leads into a large net­work of goblinoid caverns. Evidence of increased goblin activity suggests that the goblins are migrating back and may plan to take over the region soon enough.

9. Decrepit Armory

The south side of this room collapsed a long time ago, destroying everything except the weapon racks.

  • Treasure (0 XP). There are nine shortswords, a han­daxe, and a sickle. All of them are dull and rusted.

10. Chasm of Fireflies

An inordinate amount of glowing lightbugs fly over the tepid, 2-foot-deep, glimmering pond. Dismem­bered human remains float aimlessly in the pond.

This place is an arcane gateway to the Woodland Realms, the land of fey creatures and elves. It is also a dangerous place as creatures cross over to the Material Plane often.

  • Water. The characters move at half speed in the 2-foot-deep pond. A crocodile lurks in the water, slightly obscured by the fireflies’ glare on the water. It killed two of the farmers and has almost eaten all of their bodies. Oscar is appalled to see what is left of Rami and Al­larus, if he sees what is left of them.
  • The Doorway. After the crocodile is dealt with, the fireflies coalesce into the shape of the goddess, Gede. She commends the characters on their bravery and of­fers to open a gateway into the Woodlands Realm. If the characters crossover, they can explore the plane of faer­ies temporarily. After 1d4 weeks pass, each creature that crossed is transported to the central platform in area 4. The doorway can be used again, but it requires an offer­ing worth 100 gp to Gede for each additional use.

11. West Laboratory

The ancient lab has not been used in ages. It contains tools, torture implements, and empty glass vials.

  • spikes. There is a 2-in-6 chance that targets of the trap in area 2 become impaled. In such a case, they can­not leave the area without help and die in 1d6 rounds.

12. East Laboratory

This lab is a mirrored version of the one in area 11. It contains a wooden cabinet packed with research data.

  • Elisson. The poor farmer has a leg impaled on the spikes. He dies 1d6 rounds after discovery (see area 3).
  • Research. The documents reveal that inhumane ex­periments were performed by elves and druids on gob­lins. If Argus (see Adventure Hooks) is present, he col­lects all information and is satisfied with the expedition. He promises there will be more work a month from now.

13. Lower Vault

The narrow and shallow passage leads to a vault with three stone chests and a large, decorated coffer.

  • Treasure (3 XP). The chests contain 10 gp, 250 sp, a potion of healing, and a set of ophidian armor.

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