660 Heart of Flames – LV-2 Shadowdark Adventure

Those that wield the Heart of Flames have the cinders within them kindled and reforged. Alas, the power that comes from it cannot be easily controlled.

Tome of the Secret Flame

Old forge-masters from dwarvish societies re­quired the hottest fire to feed their mithral forges. Through mighty incantations that bound elemental spirits to their hammers and the flames of their hearts to the forges, they created the Heart of Flames, a fabled relic that contains a pure ever-lasting flame. The Heart of Flames is empowered by whoever wields it. It sets the wielder’s soul to flames and feeds from this fire. Or so the legend says…

Many a dwarven hero possessed the Heart of Flames during the heroic exploits that made them historical fig­ures. It was also used to light the grandest forges in the dwarven halls; used to craft legendary items and weap­ons. In time, the dwarvish kingdoms succumbed to greed in terrible wars to control the mighty artifact. The Heart of Flames was hidden in a dwarven tomb near a human town. It awaits to be unearthed once more.

Adventure Hooks

Retrieval. The characters seek the power of the Heart of Flames to defeat a formidable foe. Rumors of the rel­ic’s location lead them to the caverns in area 2 (0 XP).

Bounty. A mage named Selesnya offers a reward for retrieving the Heart of Flames. The wizard teleports the party to the magic circle in area 1 (60 gp, 3 XP).

Earthquake. A cave compound near the forest is the epicenter of recent seismic activity. The bailiff hires the characters to explore it and find a solution. He provides a map that leads to a set of stairs in area 3 (40 gp, 2 XP).

RUMORS d6 Details
1 Sudden earthquakes have grown increasingly stronger during the past years, causing worry and dismay.
2 A flame-worshiping cult was vanquished six years ago. They hid in the strange underground compound.
3 Myth has it that the relic ignites the wielder’s heart and grants them the power to beat insurmountable odds.
4 A daring explorer visited the dungeon a year ago and came back with tales of lava rivers and deadly guardians.
5 This land was long ago ruled by dwarvish clans. They prayed to ancient fire deities to kindle their forges.
6 Elvish scholars came decades ago claiming to seek the Heart of Flames. They perished exploring the dungeon.

Level 2 Adventure

  • Danger. Risky. Check for a random event every 2 crawling rounds and after loud noises (3-in-6 chance).
  • Fire Power. The unstable, magic aura in area 9 caus­es frequent earthquakes and enhances the casting of cer­tain spells. Fire spells are cast with advantage.
  • Lava. It is too viscous, submersion is not possible. Contact with it deals 1d8 damage per round (no save).
  • Light. Some areas have braziers or faintly glowing lava; the rest are dark. All denizens are dark-adapted.
  • Secret Areas. Close inspection of an area for 1 crawl­ing round reveals a hidden iron lever, if any. Pulling it re­veals a narrow passage into the hidden chambers.
1 A giant bat swoops from the dark ceiling and attacks a random creature. It fiercely fights to the death.
2 A gelatinous cube approaches and attempts to consume a random character. The ooze is almost invisible.
3 A sudden magic pulse from the Heart of Flames puts out all fires and light-sources in a 2-mile radius.
4 1d4 dwarven skeletons approach the characters. The axe-wielding undead are fearsome warriors.
5 The Heart of Flames causes an earthquake. Debris falls on a random character (1d8 damage, DC 15 DEX check).
6 A giant leech drops from the ceiling and attempts to attach to the character wearing the least armor.

1. Teleportation Circle

Four clay vases on stone plinths surround the one-foot-tall, rune-inscribed, stone circle on the floor.

  • Teleportation. The characters may enter the dun­geon by teleportation if they were hired by Selesnya. The teleportation causes a longing sensation in them.
  • Crossbow Trap. Stepping into the dark hallway trig­gers the automated crossbow to fire multiple bolts. Crea­tures in front of it take 1d8 damage (DC 15 DEX check).
  • The Vases. Collectively, the vases contain seventeen finger bones. An ancient dwarvish legend says that those who wielded a legendary artifact would offer a finger as an offering to Ord, the Secret-Keeper (DC 18 INT check).

2. The Caverns

The cool cave air is quickly replaced by intense heat from the tunnels ahead. The faint, crimson light fur­ther out suggests the presence of molten rock.

  • The Rumors. The characters may enter the dun­geon from here by following the legends of the Heart of Flames. A cavern near the forest leads to this location.

3. Entrance Staircase

From a ruined entrance in the forest of which only erod­ed boulders remain, the stone staircase descends 150 feet into the depths of the earth. As the characters pro­ceed, a rising heat assails their dark descent.

  • Bailiff’s Map. The characters may enter the dungeon from here by following the bailiff’s directions and map to the dilapidated entrance in the forest depths.
  • Carvings. The walls are carved with the images of dwarven kings; their hearts depicted as raging flames.

4. Ruined Archive

The rotten remains of wooden furnishings and tomes are nothing but ashes on the ground. All that remains are a few magically-warded scrolls on stone plinths.

  • Preserved Scrolls. If studied for 1 crawling round, The scrolls tell the tale of a warrior with a heart of fire who single-handedly defeated two stone giants.

5. Shrine to Ord

A statue of Ord the Unbending, the Wise, the Se­cret-Keeper stands proud with its arms spread wide.

  • The Statue. This is Ord as dwarf cultures know him. They believe Ord is the prime force that empowers their magical artifacts and forges (DC 13 INT check).
  • Honest Prayer. Praying to Ord for 1 crawling round earns a character a luck token. If a character prays for benefit without true faith, the statue’s eyes shine bright and the character is dealt 1d6 fire damage (no save).

6. Chamber of Guardians

A shallow pond of lava in the center of the chamber is flanked by sarcophagi on alcoves and golden vases on stone plinths. A carving on the ceiling depicts ten dwarves worshiping a giant, floating heart in flames.

  • The Pond. The lava is more fluid than its counter­part in area 8. Submersion of a living creature in the lava pond causes a painful, immediate death (no save).
  • The Enclosures. Each stone casket contains the bodily remains of a dwarven blacksmith. If opened, the sarcophagi release four angered dwarf skeletons.
  • The Vases. Each vase contains a potion of protection from energy (fire). They can be used to traverse the la­va-immersed areas as long as the user maintains focus.

7. Lava Caverns

The cave-in in area 8 created these lava streams which further increase the seismic activity in the region. A half-exposed vault is hidden by one of the streams.

  • Treasure (3 XP). The seemingly inaccessible vault contains 10 gp, 100 sp, and two immovable rods.

8. The Lava Pit

A 40-foot-long, lava-filled pit fills this chamber. Cave-ins have caused some walls to collapse outward.

Crossing the lava without the magical protection from area 6 is a dangerous ordeal. The lava is so viscous that dropping objects into it may be used to craft a temporary path across the molten rock (DC 15 DEX check).

9. The Heart of Flames

The glowing Heart of Flames lies surrounded by the scorched remains of those who got here and per­ished from the lethal wounds trying to control it.

  • The Heart. Only dwarves can wield the Heart of Flames. Other creatures that touch it drop to 0 HP and start dying (DC 18 CON check). It ignites the dwarf’s soul and allows marvelous feats worthy of legends. The true power and reach of the Heart of Flames are left to the GM’s discretion as its impact is dependent on the overarching campaign. The item should be pivotal to the campaign’s completion. Dwarvish tradition dictates that upon their death, the user’s remains should be brought to the empty niche to rest among their legendary peers.

10. Dwarven Crypt

Thirteen dwarves who once owned the Heart of Flames are interred in the spiral-shaped crypt. One niche re­mains empty. Each niche is marked with a name and a short description of the person’s greatest achievement.

  • Treasure (0-2 XP). Plundering the funerary niches yields 1d6 gp and 2d10 sp per burial place explored.

11. Tomb of the Warrior

A lavish, opulent sarcophagus dominates the cham­ber. A 3-foot-wide, glimmering emerald-like gem is embedded on the rune-carved, silver-inlaid stone lid.

  • Lore. The only copy of the Tome of the Secret Flame is in the bookcase. It contains a recount of all those who wielded the Heart of Flames and their deeds, which vary from the mundane to those only available to deities.
  • The Guardian. If the characters ransacked any of the niches in area 10, the ghost of Arbrank emerges to stop the characters in their tracks. The Tome of the Secret Flame claims Arbrank used the fire within him to craft a mighty hammer and destroy an entire goblin civilization.

12. Secret Vault

The narrow passage leads to a staircase that descends to this vault. It contains several stone containers.

  • Treasure (3 XP). The stone enclosures contain 40 gp, 300 sp, 1,200 cp, two scrolls with random cleric spells, two potions of healing, and a pearl of power.

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