Iron Gods - Mike Korupp
Torch - Dolga Freddert
Elderly, dwarven town councilor of Torch
Dolga Freddert, the town’s oldest councilor, was present at Torch’s founding over a century ago, and though her body has grown old in those 100 years, she remains alert and energetic. She is still capable of hefting her favorite weapon, an adamantine warhammer, with ease, though she rarely has need of this symbol in her capacity as councilor. Frustrated with what she thinks of as “desk riding” at Town Hall (she’d rather be out solving the problem herself, but without an obvious solution, she’s at a loss), she immediately beams with relief once she realizes the PCs are eager to head into the Black Hill Caves to see whether they can help solve the town’s problems and find Khonnir. She can confirm that the reward for rescuing Khonnir is 4,000 gp, plus the town’s scroll of resurrection if he’s brought back alive. A separate reward of 4,000 gp is still awaiting those who can reignite the torch atop Black Hill, but for the moment, the council is more interested in getting Khonnir back home safe and sound.
What Dolga knows.
How long ago did the flame go out? “It’s been eight days, but only seven since the first explorers braved the new tunnels Khonnir discovered. Khonnir himself led his second foray into the caves just a couple of days ago—and he has yet to return.”
Where’s the entrance to these caves? “There’s an underwater passage connecting them to Weeping Pond. Khonnir noticed a large number of human footprints on the pond’s banks—he was there the day the fires went out testing the water to ensure it hadn’t suddenly grown more toxic—and he realized that a sizable group of people had entered the pond but had not emerged.
Who made those tracks? “We don’t know. Word about town puts blame on the Technic League, but I think that’s too convenient and obvious an answer. Khonnir was hoping to find out more by delving deeper into the caves, but who knows what he found in there… or indeed, if he’s even still alive?”
How many explorers have gone into the caves before us? “Four teams in all, but only one came back to report what they found—Khonnir’s first expedition. Khonnir spoke at length with the council before going back in, and he confirmed what his group told us, despite how outlandish it sounded. The first team was a group of halfling adventurers, the second a group of local thugs, and the fourth a small adventuring party devoted to the worship of Brigh from out of town. Khonnir’s team undertook the third and fifth expeditions under Black Hill, and it was on the fifth expedition—his second trip—that he went missing.”
What did they find? “The caves are inhabited by several enormous vermin and other scavengers, along with some strange humanoids who had the ability to blend into the shadows of the cave walls, and a nest of gremlins. Khonnir believed this indicated a deeper connection in the caves to the Darklands, but of more immediate interest was his discovery of a wall of solid metal deep in the caves. A wall made of a skymetal alloy called glaucite. He said it was like the kind we mine from the hills and surrounding plains, but formed into a structure with doors. It was near one of these doors that Khonnir found the broken automaton that he brought back after his first expedition.”
What do we know about the metal wall? “Very little. Khonnir examined it himself, and confirmed that it was an alloy of adamantine and iron, and that one of the doors in the wall was locked tight but the other was open. He had planned on exploring deeper beyond that door on his second expedition, but who knows if he actually made it that far?”
What assistance can you provide us? “Once you’re on the job, I’ll give each of you a writ that you can show to any of the merchants in town for a flat 20% discount on any gear you need to purchase—I wish I could offer a greater discount than that, but that’s the best I can do. Further, Val, Khonnir’s adopted daughter, has closed down her father’s tavern, the Foundry, for the time being. She’s told me that any group that’s going into the caves to look for her father can use the tavern, free of charge, as a headquarters and a place to rest between forays. Finally, the entrance to the caves is flooded. You’ll need to swim a bit to get to the caves. Joram Kyte has agreed to cast water breathing on any group to aid in entering the caves—free of charge, of course. You can find him at the temple of Brigh or up at Crowfeather Palace when you’re ready to go.”