Jacob’s Tower Level 9: Campfire
65,200xp, Approx 50,000gp, 4 - 5 hours
Campfire is a massive break in style from the usual dungeon crawl. It provides an outdoor setting where the action comes to the PCs instead of the PCs going to the action. The characters are tasked with defending tending a campfire across a 24 hour period. In addition to monsters and NPCs, the characters must contend with weather, food, and sleep.
Cliff walls run along the north and south edge of the map, ascending into the clouds above at unimaginable heights. Each grey square represents a vertical wall that extends infinitely high. Attempts the climb or fly up the cliffs will reveal that the wall simply goes on forever.
An impossibly dense low hanging fog shrouds the forest immediately to the west and east of the map. Characters cannot see through this fog, and are only able to view objects within the confines of the map. Creatures who enter or leave through the west or east of the map are immediately birthed from or consumed by the fog. The fog wall is about 50 feet high and, if height is gained, tree tops can be seen poking out from the mist as far as the eye can see. This fog cannot be removed or seen through by any means, even magic or special ability which normally allow vision through fog. Players cannot move through the fog, nor are they able to fly over it. They are stuck within the borders of the map.
Despite the stray clouds and mist, the sun is easily visible throughout the entire day, rising at 6am and setting at 6pm. It burns through the fog and can be seen from sunrise to sunset. The full moon, which rises as the sun is setting, can be seen all night.
A dirt road runs from the west side of the map to the east. It is marked by the stone on either side, but is otherwise fairly overgrown and unused.
A small wooden bridge with no railing lifts 5 feet off the ground to go over a river.
Large oak trees, marked with “T” on the map, stand 50 feet high, their trunks a mass of wood completely obscuring their squares. They require a DC 10 Climb check to climb and their branches extend 20 feet in all directions at 20 feet off the ground. DC 15 acrobatics checks are needed to move at half speed across the branches, and DC 20 acrobatics checks are needed to move at full speed.
A stagnant, 10 foot deep pool to the south west teems with fish and insects. All around it are a tangle of swampy brambles, marked with b, which act as difficult terrain. Each time a player ends his turn in the pool, he must make a DC 16 Fortitude save or contract Bog Rot.
A waterfall descends from the cliff face at the northern wall and turns into a river which flows south and then into a slit in the southern cliff wall. Except for directly below the waterfall, the river is fairly shallow and simply counts as difficult terrain.
The waterfall throws up mist on the ground to the north, marked with an M, which provides concealment beyond 10 feet and total concealment beyond 20 feet.
Treasure Rune & Adventurer’s Corpse
A DC 20 Perception check or Detect Magic in the North East Corner will reveal a faintly glowing magic rune at “G.” The rune means “Treasure” in an ancient Dwarven Dialect. Detect Magic or a Spellcraft DC 15 check will reveal that, if activated correctly, the glyph will dispense gemstones.
A single Use Magic Device Check may be made. Once the check is made, the glyph will dispense an amount of rubies, sapphires and other gemstones equal in gold to the check times 200. The Rune will then fade and become inactive.
10 feet down in the pool in the south west corner of the map, the skeleton of an adventurer clutches a +1 Thundering Falchion (m). Although the skeleton and falchion can only be seen with a DC 20 Perception check from the surface, they are easily visible if anybody goes swimming in the pool. Each time a character ends his turn in the pool, he must make a DC 16 Fortitude save or contract Bog Rot.
Protector of the Forest
There is only one Treant, and once he is dead our heroes are free to do whatever they like to the forest.
Eating and Hunger
Any hero may take half an hour to forage and hunt for food. Game is scarce in these parts. A DC 10 Survival check will provide food for one meal, while each additional 5 points (15, 20, 25) provides a meal for one additional person. If these foraging missions are interrupted, they may be continued without incident.
As our heroes continue to hunt and forage in this small area, food becomes more and more scarce. For every previous attempt by any member of the group (or any simultaneous attempt), the DC of the survival check and the amount needed for an additional meal increases by 1. Thus after the first check, the DC becomes 11 (17, 23, 29). After the second check, the DC becomes 12 (19, 26, 33). Etc…
If a character does not eat for the entire day he will become famished for the boss fight, suffering a -4 penalty to all attack rolls, saving throws, skill checks, and ability checks.
Let the players know these rules for hunger at the start of the level.
Sleeping and Fatigue
It takes 15 minutes to fall asleep. Naps under one hour do not count towards the total rest. Heroes are fatigued for 3 rounds after waking up as they rub sleep out of their eyes.
Naps throughout the day will push the 10pm bedtime back as far as the nap was, and will count towards the total amount of sleep needed.
Any character who has had 2 or fewer hours of sleep across the entire day will become exhausted when the boss comes by at 5:58am.
Let the players know these rules for sleeping and fatigue at the start of the level.
6am: The Campfire
In the midst of the camp, a campfire burns brightly (C). A small piece of parchment is pinned under a rock near the flames. The parchment reads:
“Thank you for agreeing to watch my campfire. Make sure that it is well fed. You will need to gather wood and tend to it every few hours. Remember, DO NOT LET IT GO OUT. If it goes out LIGHT IT IMMEDIATELY.
I will be back at sunrise. Please keep it burning bright until then.”
Gathering firewood is simple, and requires no skill check. However, every four hours, (at 10am, 2pm, 6pm, 10pm and 2am) a DC 10 survival check that takes one minute must be made to tend to the flame. If failed, the campfire goes out. A campfire that is out may be re-lit with any spell that deals fire damage and has a duration of longer than instantaneous. A campfire may also be lit with a DC 20 survival check as a full round action that provokes opportunity attacks.
If the campfire goes out, a Colour Out of Space appears in the squares surrounding the campfire. An additional Colour Out of Space will appear every minute (10 Rounds) that the campfire is out in nearby squares. If the fire is re-lit, all Colours Out of Space will immediately disappear.
Besides the fantastic sunrise through the mist, nothing immediately happens to our heroes after waking up. They should feel free to explore the map until the next event.
At night, the campfire will prove normal light for 40 feet, and increased light for 80 feet (the remainder of the map).
9am: The Ettins and Owlbears
Running across the map along the road, they will both shout “They're after me! They're after me!” before reaching the other end of the map. If attacked or waylaid in any way, the NPCs will dissolve into mist.
Two rounds later, four monsters will enter the area, an Owlbear and an Etin from each side. These monsters have broken shackles trailing from their feet. These will move far more slowly than their victims, scanning the woods and area as they proceed. If any monster sees a character, he will hoot and bellow and combat will begin. All four monsters will work in tandem to defeat their enemies.
If the heroes hide from these monsters, the creatures will tentatively approach the campfire and, within a few turns, build up the courage to stomp it out.
11am: The Wandering Peddler
If our heroes hide from him and he does not see them, the peddler will slowly walk west and leave the map. However, if he does spot our heroes he will immediately greet them, explaining that he hasn’t seen a client in days. If asked about Jacob’s Tower, his life, or anything outside the map, he will skillfully avoid questions or become confused. He is known only as “The Peddler”
The Peddler will then open up his pack and attempt to “sell” the players items. He will lay a mat on the ground and place four items on it: a tiny golden ball, a figurine of a horse, a small lockbox, and a broken object (which corresponds with the group’s highest craft skill. If no players have the craft skill, then the broken item is a jeweled music box which does not play).
First, the Peddler will gesture to the golden ball. “See the incredible luster to this gold? The blinding sheen of it’s coat? The perfect shape of the ball? You see before you one of the three Dancing Spheres of Avalain, made by Avalain the Summer Prince for his three daughters. It’s pure gold, you can tell by the weight.” With this, the Peddler picks up the ball and tosses it into the air. It immediately grows wings begins to dart away with quick, hummingbird movements.
“Quickly!” Screeches the Peddler “If you can catch it, you can have it!”
The ball is immune to any magic, and will not be knocked out of the air if hit with a projectile. It must be manually caught. The ball moves up at a speed of 15 feet a round, dancing and cavorting in crazy angles through the air. If it is not caught within 6 rounds, it careens away at lightning speed and is lost.
If a hero or animal companion catches up with it, he or she must make two consecutive DC 15 fly checks to catch the crazy ball. He or she may make these checks once per round every round until the ball careens away. If caught, the ball may be sold for 5,000gp.
Panting, the Peddler continues.
“This next item is even more rare than the last. Steamrunner, the mechanical horse created for the Dwarven Archduke Goriad in the famous Skystone War. On this horse, Goriad slew many a goblin, skillfully severing head from shoulder. With just a touch of a button, Steamrunner grows to full size. Watch closely.” With this, the Peddler touches a button on the horse, and it grows into a majestic white enameled mechanical horse.
Steamrunner, however, is in none too good a mood. He prances and brays angrily, moving slowly towards the edge of the map. If he is not ridden in 6 rounds, he bolts for the mist and leaves the map.
“Quickly!” Screeches the Peddler. “If you can ride him, you can have him!”
Steamrunner will not respond to handle animal or the like, and he will break out of any cages that bind him. Instead, he must be calmed by riding him. If a character can make a DC 15 ride check to leap on (as a move action) and a second DC 15 ride check to keep from being bucked (as a second move action, either that same turn or the next), Steamrunner calms down and immediately bonds with the group. He may be taken as an animal companion by anybody who could normally have a horse. He is like a horse in every way, except he has construct traits and may be shrunk to the size of a dove egg or returned to full size as a standard action. Alternatively, he may be sold for 5,000gp.
Panting, the Peddler continues.
“But this item puts the previous two to shame. Said to contain the last treasure of first Elven King, it has never been opened. I have heard legends that inside is an treasure so verdent, it is where mother nature got the idea for grass. I shall sell you this unopenable box for only 10,000gp.” He pauses and licks his lips. “However, I must admit that in my old age, my curiosity has gotten the better of me. Tell you what. If you can open it, you can have it.”
The Peddler will allow three attempts at a DC 30 Disable Device check before he changes his mind, takes back the lockbox, and moves onto the final item (he will still sell the box for 10,000gp). If any of these checks are successful a gleaming emerald can be found inside worth 5,000gp.
The Peddler continue.
“This last item is the most valuable of all. But, unfortunately, it is worthless in its present state. It used to be the pride of my stock, and now… ruined.” He pauses and licks his lips. “Call an old man sentimental, but I would love to see it fixed. If any of you can fix it, I’ll give it to you, free of charge.”
The Peddler will allow three attempts at a DC 25 Craft check before he changes his mind, takes back the item, and says his goodbyes. If any of these checks are successful the characters will receive an item worth 5,000gp. If not fixed and our heroes insist, the peddler will part with the broken item for 7,500gp.
When he has gone through his materials, he will pack up, smile, and leave the map to the west.
1pm: The Witch
If approached and questioned, the woman will reveal that her name is Hazel. She comes from a nearby town, where the use of magic is seen as witchcraft. When Hazel’s son Bren fell sick, Hazel used her magical powers to save him. Now, the town has kicked Hazel out, and threatens to kill her if they ever see her again. Even worse, they have taken Bren. A DC 20 sense motive check reveals that this is all true, and that Hazel has nothing but the best intentions.
Hazel explains that she needs to sneak into town, take her son, and then leave forever. She needs someway of looking different. To complete this task, our heroes may use either magic or the disguise skill. The town is about 3 hours away, so any magic spell needs to last at least 3 hours.
A DC 23 Disguise check must be made to adequately disguise Hazel. Roll all disguise checks in private, so our heroes do not know the result. After the check has been made, Hazel thanks our heroes and goes back the way she came, promising to return by 7:00 that evening.
If the check is below a 23, then Hazel is discovered and burned at the stake. Our heroes never hear from her again. If the check is a success, then our heroes will see Hazel again at 7:00pm.
3:30pm: Sudden Deluge
6pm: The Impostor
She will approach the heroes and bow deeply. Then through a thick eastern accent, she will say “Thanks to you for keeping my fire, heroes. You have succeeded in the task I assigned. The time has now come to put the flame out. Quickly, before the last rays of the sun vanish from the sky” she will not respond to any questions or queries. With this, she will begin casting a spell which pours water on the campfire. Within two rounds it will go out.
At any point, our heroes may make a DC 25 sense motive check to realize that this is not the person they are waiting for. She is an impostor, and she means to do them harm.
If the imposter is attacked, she will drop her walking stick, cease her spell then return to her true form as a swift action: A Young Forest Dragon. She will then attack the party.
If the imposter is allowed the quench the fire, a Colour Out of Space will appear, as per the campfire rules. The imposter will then drop her walking stick and transform into a Young Forest Dragon as a swift action and the pair will likely wreak havoc on the party. The dragon will not attack the ooze, but the ooze may attack the dragon if she seems like the most dangerous party.
The Dragon's walking stick is actually a Intensified Metamagic Rod (Lesser), although she will not use it.
7pm: Return of the Witch
As usual, if either Bern or Hazel are attacked they will disappear into mist and will not drop any treasure.
12:30am: The Wounded Squirrel
If investigated, a small squirrel can be found lying on the ground near a tree to the west of the campfire. The squirrel is shivering, panting and squealing, clearly sick. If any character has Remove Disease, they may attempt to remove a DC 20 disease from the squirrel. If no character can magically remove the disease, a DC 30 heal check may be attempted. Character should feel free to take 20 on the check.
If the squirrel is cured, he will lead them back to his squirrel hole, where he has stashed 3 Potion of Barkskin +5.
Alternatively, the squirrel can be killed if our heroes just desire a quiet night’s sleep. If this route is taken, the potions cannot be found.
1:15am: Bees in the Night
At around 1:15am, three bee-like Thriae Solders and their pet Two-Headed Troll will sneak from the east to as close to the campsite as they feel comfortable. Depending on our heroes’ sleeping arrangements, this generally means they will group up on the opposite side of the river from the campsite, keeping their targets just within their 60 foot darkvision.
Their buzzing and plotting makes some noise and movement in the dark, provoking a DC 25 perception check (DC 40 for anybody sleeping). Make the appropriate adjustments for distance (+1 DC for every 10 feet) and darkness.
If the Thriae are not discovered, they drink their stimulating “merope,” then take a surprise round, loosing their arrows at any targets and sending their troll to move as close as possible. The troll will utter a war cry as he comes charging across the bridge, waking any still heroes sleeping. Battle will then commence as normal.
Among the corpses of the Thriae a Druid’s Vestments and Headband of Alluring Charisma +2 may be found.
5:59am: T-Rex Boss
At 60 feet tall and taking up a 30x30 square, the T-Rex will simply ignore any adverse terrain except for the cliff. The T-Rex will move through trees and river as if they are not there, completely destroying them.
Alert your players that this creature is extremely dangerous looking. Without clever tactics, this CR 11 fight could easily become a TPK.
After the T-Rex Boss is killed, or if the fight takes more than 1 minute (10 rounds), the first light of dawn will fall on the campfire. The sun and the fire will grow brighter and brighter until it is impossible to see anything. When our heroes open their eyes, they will find themselves on level 10.
If the heroes are just playing Jacob’s Tower, distribute 40,000gp evenly.
Level 10: Resurrection
Roll20 Map by Jamie "RedClaws" Bosmans:
You may purchase printable PDFs of the entire dungeon here including the secret final level not available online:
Jacob's Tower, Levels 1 - 13 ($9.99)